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Three years after attack on journalists in Ingushetia, investigation is stalled

first_img Follow the news on Russia Читать на русском / Read in RussianThe investigation into a violent attack on a group of journalists and human rights defenders near the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya, in the Russian Caucasus, exactly three years ago, has stalled. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the authorities to keep their promise to identify those responsible.Will impunity prevail yet again? No suspect has yet been identified although it was one of the most shocking attacks on journalists in recent years in Russia. The Ingush investigators’ refusal to allow Andrei Sabinin, one of the victims’ lawyers, to have access to the case file was ruled legal by an Ingush court last month.The attack occurred against a backdrop of intimidation by the Chechen authorities, but no Chechen official has been questioned. Although the investigation’s complete closure was narrowly avoided in 2017, it has ground to a complete halt.The attack on a minibus carrying journalists and human rights activists on 9 March 2016 caused an outcry in Russia. The victims included Swedish journalist Maria Persson Löfgren, Norwegian journalist Øystein Windstad, and four Russian journalists – Egor Skovoroda, Alexandra Elagina, Anton Prusakov and Mikhail Solunin.They were on a tour of the Russian Caucasus organized by the Committee to Prevent Torture, a Russian NGO, and had just crossed from Chechnya into the neighbouring Russian republic of Ingushetia when around 20 masked men blocked their way, beat them up and set fire to the minibus.Several of the journalists had to be treated in a local hospital. Their equipment was destroyed in the fire. A few hours after the attack, masked gunmen ransacked the Committee to Prevent Torture’s local office in Ingushetia.In response to the ensuing outcry, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described the attack on the minibus as “intolerable” and said everything would be done to solve it. “We count on the security forces to take the most active measures to look for and find the perpetrators,” he said. But Chechen presidential spokesman Alvi Karimov criticized RSF for emphasizing the climate of impunity and intimidation prevailing in the region.“Allowing such a shocking attack to go unpunished would send another disastrous signal to journalists investigating human rights violations in the Russian Caucasus,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.“The federal and local authorities have a duty to honour the promises made at the highest government level and Russia’s international obligations with regard to the safety of journalists.”RSF points out that governments are required by many UN resolutions to conduct “impartial, speedy, thorough, independent and effective” investigations into acts of violence against journalists.Russia is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index. The situation is worsening steadily in Chechnya, which is a news and information “black hole” within Russia. Listed as a “foreign agent”, Russia’s most popular independent website risks disappearing May 21, 2021 Find out more June 2, 2021 Find out more to go further March 8, 2019 Three years after attack on journalists in Ingushetia, investigation is stalled News News Help by sharing this information Related documents cp_napadenie_na_zhurnalistov_v_ingushetii.pdfPDF – 110.45 KB Organisation center_img RussiaEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ImpunityFreedom of expression Receive email alerts Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown RSF_en Credit : Denis Siniakov / Mediazona RussiaEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ImpunityFreedom of expression News News Two Russian journalists persecuted for investigating police corruption May 5, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

TV reporter released on bail after six weeks

first_img June 2, 2021 Find out more News Pakistani journalist critical of the military wounded by gunfire Receive email alerts RSF_en Farhan Ahmed Bangash, a Royal TV reporter who had been held on terrorism charges in connection with his coverage of clashes in Kohat district, near Islamabad, since 20 November, was finally released on bail by a Peshawar high court on 1 January.“We are relieved but we regret that this decision came so late,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is wrong for a journalist to be arrested so arbitrarily in connection with his work. We condemn the arbitrary treatment Bangash received from the police, who destroyed his professional equipment.”Reporters Without Borders added: “We disturbed by the reinforcement of the anti-terrorism law on the pretext of protecting lives, and its use to arrest journalists. If the government is sincere, why doesn’t it take measures to end the cycle of violence against journalists and to end the impunity that surrounds this violence?”Seven charges were brought against Bangash, including “inciting violence” under the anti-terrorism law, in connection with his coverage of clashes on 15 November in Kohat, in which ten people were killed. He was even accused of participating in the clashes, which he covered for Royal TV.Bangash told Reporters Without Borders he was mistreated psychologically by the authorities, who held him for two weeks in a room with 17 other people. His camera was destroyed along with the photos it contained, showing police fleeing the scene of rioting and clashes between two clans in Kohat.Bangash, whose first request for release was rejected, has been supported by his TV station but had to pay his lawyer’s fees and his bail himself.Pakistan is ranked 159th out of 179 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. January 28, 2021 Find out more PakistanAsia – Pacific News News Organisation center_img Pakistani supreme court acquits main suspect in Daniel Pearl murder Pakistani TV anchor censored after denouncing violence against journalists January 6, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 TV reporter released on bail after six weeks News April 21, 2021 Find out more PakistanAsia – Pacific to go further Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Pakistanlast_img read more

Massoud Hamid, winner of 2005 Reporters Without Borders Internet Freedom Prize, released at end of prison sentence

first_img Receive email alerts Organisation Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release from prison on 23 July of Massoud Hamid, winner of the 2005 Reporters Without Borders – Fondation de France Internet Freedom Prize, at the end of a three-year sentence for posting photos online of a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Damascus. It noted that he had been “frequently ill-treated during his totally unjustified” sentence and said it was “disgusting” that he had been jailed simply for exercising his right to speak freely.Hamid, a journalism student, was released a day before his sentence officially ended and returned to his family home in the Kurdish town of Derbesye, in northern Syria. Scores of villagers went to the house to welcome him despite police sent there to prevent them.He was held in solitary confinement during his first year in Adra prison, in a suburb of Damascus, and was not allowed to see a doctor, or read in his cell or wear glasses, which badly damaged his eyesight. He staged several fruitless hunger-strikes in protest, suffers from back pain and is due to have tests in hospital.He had been arrested on 24 July 2003 as he was taking an exam at Damascus University. After a mockery of a trial, the state security court sentenced him on 10 October 2004 to three years in prison for “belonging to a secret organisation” and “trying to annex part of Syria to another country.”A month before he was arrested, he had sent photos of a peaceful demonstration on 25 June that year in front of UNICEF offices in Damascus to a German-based Kurdish-language website (www.amude.com). He won the Internet Freedom prize on 7 December 2005 and had been adopted while in prison by the Maison de la presse in Charleroi (Belgium), the radio station NRJ (Belgium), The Link (Canada), and Spanish media outlets Varios Foros, Periodicom.com, Interviu, and El Mundo, as well as the Colexio de Xornalistas in Galicia.————-Create your blog with Reporters without borders: www.rsfblog.org Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release from prison on 23 July of Massoud Hamid (photo), winner of the 2005 Reporters Without Borders – Fondation de France Internet Freedom Prize, at the end of a three-year sentence for posting photos online of a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Damascus. It noted that he had been “frequently ill-treated during his totally unjustified” sentence. News SyriaMiddle East – North Africa News SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law Follow the news on Syria Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria February 3, 2021 Find out more March 12, 2021 Find out more July 25, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Massoud Hamid, winner of 2005 Reporters Without Borders Internet Freedom Prize, released at end of prison sentence to go further RSF_en News March 8, 2021 Find out more Newslast_img read more

Two journalists released at the end of their sentences

first_img May 31, 2021 Find out more US journalist held in Yangon prison notorious for torture MyanmarAsia – Pacific RSF_en Two journalists and writers Kyaw San (pen name Cho Seint) and Aung Zin Min have been released after seven years and three months in prison, both of them in a very weakened state. They were due for release in December 2003, but for unknown reasons served an extra three months.Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) and the Burma Media Association (BMA) noted their release on 1 March but strongly regretted that these two journalists had to serve their entire sentence for having simply expressed their opinions.The two organisations repeated their demand for the release of 13 journalists who are still behind bars, in particular Win Tin who will spend his 74th birthday in prison on 12 March.Despite his fragile state of health, the Burmese authorities have shown no compassion towards Win Tin, journalist and member of the National League for Democracy, who will spend his birthday at Insein Jail after already spending 14 years in prison, the international press freedom organisations said.Five prisoners of opinion, including Kyaw San (Cho Seint) and Aung Zin Min, were released on 1 March 2004, on the eve of the arrival in Burma of the UN Secretary General’s special envoy Ismail Razali.The two journalists have been able to return to their families. Aung Zin Min lives in Rangoon and Cho Seint has gone to his sister’s home in Taungoo, north of Rangoon.Members of the military secret services (MIS) arrested both of them during student demonstrations in 1996. They were sentenced to seven years in prison under Article 5 (j) of the 1950 emergency law for having written in support of the demonstrations in articles carried by opposition publicationsKyaw San, a poet and journalist with the private cultural magazine Style-thit (New Style), had been detained in the Tharrawaddy prison (100 kilometres in the north of Rangoon). During his questioning, which took place during the beginning of the year 1997, Kyaw San was tortured. He was beaten on the head and is partially deaf as a result of this. This period of questioning, which lasted several weeks, weakened him physically and psychologically. He is the grandson of Thakin Kotaw Hmime, one of the fathers of independence with general Aung San. His family has been deprived of resources since 1962 by the military junta. Since 1997, he has received few outside visits and assistance. “Two visits in two years,” according to one of former cellmate. He doesn’t get the medicine he needs to treat the diarrhoea and stomach problems he suffers from; his family is very poor. According to one of his former cellmates, he never lost his fighting spirit, and participated, in June 1998, in a hunger strike to obtain more water and the opening of cell doors during the day. The prisoners obtained their demands.Aung Zin Min was a state employee (accountant) and a writer with Style-thit magazine. Aung Zin Min had been transferred to Thayet prison in 2001. The military tribunal had accused Aung Zin Min of belonging to the banned Burmese Communist Party. According to the journalist’s family, he was never a militant of this party.The two organisations stressed that they oppose any lifting of political or economic sanctions against the Burmese government until all political prisoners are released and press censorship ends. MyanmarAsia – Pacific Journalists and writers Kyaw San (pen name Cho Seint) and Aung Zin Min have been released after seven years and three months in prison, both in a very weakened state. Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association have called for the immediate release of the prominent journalist Win Tin, in prison for 14 years despite his age and his fragile state of health. Organisation News Follow the news on Myanmar News May 12, 2021 Find out more Thai premier, UN rapporteurs asked to prevent journalists being returned to Myanmar RSF asks Germany to let Myanmar journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu apply for asylum to go further Receive email alerts March 10, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two journalists released at the end of their sentences May 26, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information News Newslast_img read more

Peru: ​RSF condemns disproportionate penalties in defamation cases

first_imgNews October 5, 2016 – Updated on March 16, 2017 Peru: ​RSF condemns disproportionate penalties in defamation cases PeruAmericas Condemning abuses Judicial harassment Organisation PeruAmericas Condemning abuses Judicial harassment Help by sharing this information Ronald Daniel Ormeño , the editor of the weekly Prensa al Día, was jailed on 4 September for failing to pay 10,000 soles (2,600 euros) in damages in a libel case brought by Mirtha Nancy Toledo Morales, a lawyer and administrator of a university in the city of Chimbote, over an October 2013 article.The article, for which Ormeño was also given a suspended sentence of one year in prison, accused her of management irregularities and lying about her qualifications. He was freed two weeks later, after his family and friends succeeded in raising the money to pay the damages, but he is still the subject of the suspended jail sentence. Receive email alerts Latin American media: under control of families, economic and political elites RSF_en Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned about the scale of the damages awarded or sought in two recent defamation cases against Peruvian journalists and calls on the authorities to decriminalize media offences without delay. Newscenter_img News to go further Follow the news on Peru April 1, 2020 Find out more China’s diplomats must stop attacking media over coronavirus reporting Latin America’s community radio – a key service but vulnerable February 10, 2017 Find out more The other case concerns Milagros Rodríguez Hidalgo, a journalist based in the northern city of Tumbes who reports for the Diario Tumbes 21 newspaper and presents the “En ContactoTV” programme on La Hechicera TV.Pedro Octavio Mejía Reyes, a senior official in the Tumbes regional government, brought a defamation case against her on 12 September demanding 100,000 soles (26,000 euros) in damages in connection with her coverage in May about alleged corruption within the regional administration.As a result of her reporting, Rodríguez has also repeatedly received anonymous threatening messages and she says she has been denied access for her coverage of local government matters.“We reiterate our appeal to the Peruvian government to comply with international standards on freedom of expression by decriminalizing media offences,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk.“The damages awarded or sought in these two cases are utterly disproportionate. The cases against Ormeño and Rodríguez are typical of the way powerful Peruvian plaintiffs, often public officials, use the justice system to censor and retaliate against journalists. This sends an extremely negative signal for media freedom in Peru.”Peru must quickly clarify its position on the criminalization of media offences in order not to continue obstructing the work of journalists.In another recent case, TV reporter and presenter Rafo León was given a suspended jail sentence on 3 May in a defamation case brought by fellow journalist Martha Meier Miró Quesada. A higher court finally quashed the sentence on 8 September. Meir Miró Quesada is appealing.And the journalist Fernando Valencia was given a 20-month suspended jail sentence on 18 April for allegedly defaming former President Alan García. This sentence was also subsequently overturned, on 9 August.Peru is ranked 84th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index. December 4, 2019 Find out more Newslast_img read more

Lukpan Akhmedyarov: “The judicial system has become a way of hounding independent news media”

first_img News Regional newspaper editor harassed after investigating real estate scandal October 30, 2020 Find out more This is an exclusive Reporters Without Borders interview with Lukpan Akhmedyarov, a Kazakh journalist who will receive the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism at a ceremony in Washington today. Akhmedyarov was the target of a murder attempt in April and has been subjected to judicial persecution ever since.—-Reporters Without Borders : Lukpan Akhmedyarov, can you tell us about the lawsuits you are facing?Lukpan Akhmedyarov: Lawsuits and demands for millions of tenge (tens of thousands of euros) in damages have become routine. But curiously, in the case of our newspaper, Uralskaya Nedelya, it is only senior officials who are filing lawsuits and the lawsuits only concern articles about government corruption. In all these cases, the plaintiffs claim they have been defamed and demand exorbitant damages well in excess of their annual income. And the courts always accede to their requests.Personally, I have no doubt that the latest lawsuit filed by local deputy governor Abzal Braliyev will be successful and that I and my newspaper will again be asked to pay millions of tenge. In murder cases, judges order no more than a million tenge in compensation, but journalists who are supposed to have defamed an official are asked to pay 5 to 10 million tenge (30,000 to 60,000 euros). It is impossible for a journalist or a newspaper to comply with such rulings.The law clearly states that court decisions must respect the principles of rationality and legality and must be capable of being carried out. But all the court rulings issued against us have been completely impracticable. How can this encourage respect for the judicial system and the law?RWB: Under Kazakhstan’s laws, libel suits automatically target both the article’s author and the newspaper in which it is published. What steps are you taking to protect yourselves and demonstrate the accuracy of what you reported?LA: We (…) produce evidence, including documentary evidence, to support our claims but the courts always side with the authorities. Right now, we have gone to the supreme court to contest the ruling issued against us as a result of a complaint by Tlekkabyl Imashev, a senior official. We were ordered to pay 5 million tenge in damages, and this was upheld on appeal. We intend to exhaust all the appeal possibilities. At the same time, we are awaiting a ruling on the lawsuit brought by a member of the financial police, Arman Kojakhmetov, who is demanding 3 million tenge (approx. 18,000 euros) in damages. Again, I am not deluding myself about the probable outcome. Braliyev’s suit is the third one against me.RWB: Why are you so sceptical about your chances of demonstrating your good faith and obtaining justice?LA: Because I see how these trials are conducted. It is clear to me that the authorities want to get rid of Uralskaya Nedelya and get rid of a journalist who annoys them. At the same time, they are trying to make it look legal. In practice, local senior officials control the court and rulings are handed down “by phone call.” In our city, Uralsk, for example, the same judge, Batykgul Baymagambetova, handles all lawsuits by local officials against our newspaper. It is hard to believe that this is a coincidence. We assume they trust her with all these cases because she issues rulings in a predictable and guaranteed fashion.Her rulings have been full of irregularities. Last week we submitted six motions to recuse her. That our motions were rejected is one thing, but it was the judge herself who personally examined and rejected the last four motions. A judge who examines motions for her own removal? This is legal nonsense, but it is standard practice in Kazakhstan.RWB: And yet you are appealing against all of these decisions before higher courts. Do you think they provide better defence and protection?LA: No. If I could ask for the entire Kazakh judicial system to be recused, I would. We appeal to higher courts in order to eventually refer the case to the European Court of Human Rights. You cannot do that without exhausting all possibilities of legal recourse at the national level first. We have no illusions about Kazakh justice. It will always do what the politicians want. These cases are the best possible proof that objective and independent justice does not exist in Kazakhstan. It is a sort of experiment, if you like, the result of which we unfortunately all know in advance.RWB: So you think the courts never rule in favour of journalists and news media?LA: Yes. It pains me to see how the judicial system is used against society. Sure, you could say: “Big deal! A small provincial newspaper, Uralskaya Nedelya, is going to disappear but there are thousands of others. There is no reason to worry.” But even if Uralskaya Nedelya is a provincial newspaper, is it very important for the local community. As all the other media are controlled by the authorities, Uralskaya Nedelya has become the only source of alternative news and information, the only one that respects the principles of honest journalism and allows views to be freely expressed. If our newspaper did not exist, people would lose hope of social change. There are no longer many newspapers like this in Kazakhstan. There will soon be no more pluralism in Kazakhstan if newspapers like ours disappear.RWB: Aren’t you afraid that the damages awards will ruin your family?LA: The exorbitant damages no longer worry me. There is no way I will be able to pay them because my earnings are very modest (…) In the course of ten years of working as a journalist, I have been sued many times because of what I wrote. My adversaries have always been senior officials or the heads of big firms linked to the government. The officials responsible for ensuring that court decisions are legal have not objected to any of the illegal rulings against me. I regretfully have to say that in Kazakhstan the judicial system has become a way of harassing the news media.Interviewed by Rozlana Taukina for Reporters Without Borders(Picture: Uralskaya Nedelya) RSF_en News January 15, 2021 Find out more KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia October 12, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Lukpan Akhmedyarov: “The judicial system has become a way of hounding independent news media” Follow the news on Kazakhstan to go furthercenter_img News Help by sharing this information February 5, 2021 Find out more KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia Reporters prevented from covering Kazakh parliamentary elections Kazakh reporter accuses police of attacking her Organisation Receive email alerts Newslast_img read more

New law fails to protect journalists, creates new problems

first_img* Article 5, subsection 2 (new) – “The journalist has the right to publish comments when he considers this to be appropriate, in order to express his view, independently of differences of opinion and interpretation and within the limits of respect for the law.”* Article 7 (repeated) – “No one has the right to encroach on the journalist’s tools of work unless this is permitted by the law.”Article 7 seems to want to protect “the journalist’s tools” but is imprecise because neither the term “tool” nor “encroach on” is explained. To really protect journalists’ equipment and material, the criminal code would have to contain specific provisions for searches and seizures, and sanctions for violations of the confidentiality of sources. Exceptions would have to be really exceptional and require authorization from an independent judge. Saying that searches and seizures are possible when “permitted by the law” completely nullifies the protection.* Article 8 (repeated)Article 8 is one of the most confusing and pointless in this law. It says “the journalist cannot be held responsible for his opinions or the information he publishes, and these opinions or this information cannot be regarded as reasons for causing him any prejudice, unless his actions are contrary to the law.” This confusion between “opinions” and “information” is dangerous. The law should strictly define the circumstances in which journalists can be held responsible without any need to distinguish between “opinions” and information.” And the definition needs to respect international legal standards.Some of the law’s articles provide for a judge to intervene and authorize restrictions on the rights of journalists. The introduction of arbitration by judges might seem reassuring, but no guidance or directive imposes any limits or conditions on their action. The lack of precision increases the danger of arbitrary intervention.* Article 15 says “it is forbidden to prevent the publication of newspapers or to permit their seizure unless this is done by judicial decision.” Prior bans or seizures should be exceptional measures that are strictly limited to extremely grave offences and when no other, less draconian, measure is possible.* Article 10 seems to want to protect journalists from overly “heavy-handed” interrogation but it is obvious – and essential for the respect of defence rights – that a judge should have to give his permission for a journalist to be interrogated in the event of “an investigation into a crime that has been attributed to him and is linked to his work as a journalist.” To really protect journalists, the authorities should set about decriminalizing press offences rather than calling them “crimes.”Finally, far from proposing a system of social benefits and protection, or containing provisions about labour rights for journalists, the law just offers generalities about the need for a “work contract” and a ban on “arbitrary dismissal,” and refers vaguely to the labour law. September 6, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 New law fails to protect journalists, creates new problems News Organisation RSF_en Receive email alerts December 28, 2020 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa to go further Reporters Without Borders regards Iraq’s new law on the protection of journalists as pointless at best and dangerous at worst. Adopted on 9 August, the law had been under discussion since 2009.The law that was finally adopted contained changes to the draft that was presented to parliament in May, and took account of the many comments made at the time, including those made by Reporters Without Borders in a letter to the authorities on 10 May that was released on 16 May. In that sense, the final law seems to represent an improvement. Although some of the criticized provisions in the earlier draft were dropped, the law’s overall lack of effectiveness and usefulness is unchanged. The result is a succession of 19 articles devoid of specifics despite the bold declared intention not only to “ensure the protection of journalists” (as in the earlier version) but also to “promote the rights of journalists and provide them with needed protection.”President Jalal Talabani described the law as “stemming from respect for the freedom of the press and expression, as well as guaranteeing the rights of Iraqi journalists and their heirs, and their important role in realizing democracy in the new Iraq.” But this was little more than empty rhetoric.Where are the concrete measures? Where are the sanctions for violations of the principles proclaimed in the law? Where is the compensation fund? Where is the training for the police and judiciary in protecting journalists and prosecuting attacks on the press? Where is the repeal of jail sentences for journalists and where are the specific measures to protect the confidentiality of sources and access to information?The law’s vagueness and many serious omissions are all the more incomprehensible for the fact that many NGOs including Reporters Without Borders offered a detailed critique, proposed specific changes to the wording and recommended ways to better protect journalists and combat impunity for physical attacks on the media.Reporters Without Borders therefore thinks that this law, which aims to protect Iraqi journalists, in fact does nothing to improve the current situation for the media and even represents an additional danger for media freedom and freedom of information.Only three articles place the authorities under any obligation to support journalists. Article 3 obscurely states that “state and public sector institutions, and any other entities where journalists operate, undertake to provide them with the facilities required by their obligations and in such a way as to preserve their dignity.” Articles 11 and 12 mention compensation, but only for freelance journalists, and the provision of free medical care, but without going into more detail about a proper system of social benefits.In order to really protect journalists’ independence and physical integrity and combat impunity for those responsible for crimes of violence against journalists, the Iraqi authorities should adopt concrete measures and make effective resources available instead of limiting themselves to statements of intent.More detailed commentsAs said, the law contains improvements on the earlier draft. For example, journalists no longer have to belong to the journalists’ union in order to be protected by the law. And, despite its imprecision and omissions, article 1 defines “journalist” and “media,” which the draft did not.As regards judicial proceedings against a journalist, subsection 3 of article 10 says: “The Union of Journalists or the head of the news media that employs the journalist or the person they designate may attend the interrogation, preliminary investigation or trial.” This provision could help to avoid harassment and threats, but it is vague.Vague wording* Article 1 defines the terms “journalist” and “media” too vaguely and too narrowly. The concept of “journalism” is not developed and only “full-time” work is taken into account. Article 2 talks of “protection” and journalists’ “rights” but does not define them. Also, if the law protects only journalists, then it excludes media assistants, bloggers and anyone else providing the public with news and information.Recognition of the right to “preserve the confidentiality of sources of information” (article 4, subsection 2) is positive but too imprecise, and it is regrettable that the issue of protecting sources is just mentioned in passing. This provision gives no real protection.Repeated conditioning on respect for “laws” or “judicial decisions”The law conditions all journalistic rights on “respect for the law.” Aside from stating the obvious, this provides no additional protection. This vague principle is reiterated several times without specifying the content or article of law alluded to, posing a major danger to the ability of journalists to work properly.Such is the case with the following rights: Access to information (article 4-1 and 6-1)* Article 4 subsection 1 refers to the possibility of accessing information, data and statistics “that are not prohibited by their different sources” and “within the limits of the law.” Conditioning access on other legal provisions renders it very illusory.* Article (6) 1: “The journalist has right of access to official reports, information and statements, and the relevant authorities are required to guarantee this right, unless divulging this content would be detrimental to the public interest or contrary to legal provisions.” This clause nullifies the positive affirmation of the right of access to information, without clearly defining what “the public interest” means. It is highly likely that officials who want to prevent the release of information will use this restriction, especially as no procedures are specified. And there is no provision for appealing against a refusal to release documents.Freedom to publish information IraqMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information December 16, 2020 Find out more Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” February 15, 2021 Find out more News RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” Follow the news on Iraq News Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan Newslast_img read more

WE FIGHT CENSORSHIP – Let’s shelter the news

first_img The site, wefightcensorship.org, will be the showcase of all the anti-censorship activities that Reporters Without Borders undertakes as part of its mission to defend freedom of information.It will be a platform for posting censored or banned content that that can be easily mirrored on other sites in order to make censorship obsolete. Using an extremely secure digital “safe,” Internet users will be able to send censored or banned content to Reporters Without Borders in a completely anonymous fashion.Reporters Without Borders will carefully verify the material it receives before posting the selected content, including documents, articles, photos and videos, and it will put this content into context so that the public can appreciate its news value. The site is intended to be a “virtual shelter,” a refuge for all those still being hounded by censors.The site will also offer practical tools, advice and technical resources that will help netizens to learn how to circumvent censorship, secure their communications and preserve their online anonymity.You can register now on wefightcensorship.org in order to have access to a beta version of the site before the official launch. News RSF_en Reporters Without Borders plans to launch an anti-censorship website in October. Help by sharing this information Organisation July 23, 2012 – Updated on January 25, 2016 WE FIGHT CENSORSHIP – Let’s shelter the newslast_img read more

Canadian TV crew hoping to cover mining dispute fears being denied entry

first_img January 30, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Canadian TV crew hoping to cover mining dispute fears being denied entry News Organisation Three journalists with Canada’s state-owned CBC TV, who set off from Toronto today to cover a dispute between indigenous groups and Canadian and other international mining companies in Panama, fear that they may not be allowed into the country because a CBC fixer who was supposed to prepare their visit was denied entry 10 days ago.The three CBC journalists – Mellissa Fung, Lynn Burgess and Paul Seeler – are on a flight that is due to land in Panama City at 10:15 pm.When CBC fixer Rosie Simms arrived in Panama City on 20 January, the Panamanian immigration authorities cited an unspecified “problem” with her passport as grounds for refusing her entry although she presented a perfectly valid passport that does not expire until 2015. They held her for four hours at the airport before putting her on a flight to the United States.“We are concerned that she was targeted because she had been in touch with some of the anti-mining communities in the country, and even more concerned that we will be met with the same fate when we arrive,” Fung told Reporters Without Borders.“What happened to Simms is reminiscent of what befell Paco Gómez Nadal and Pilar Chato, two Spanish freelance journalists affiliated to the NGO Human Rights Everywhere, who were deported last February, 48 hours after being arrested during a major protest by indigenous groups against various mining projects.“That outrageous violation of freedom of information must not be repeated. The tension arising from the controversy about mining cannot be used to justify any censorship whatsoever. This is a subject of public interest and not just in Panama. The international press must be able to cover this. We therefore demand that the three Canadian journalists be allowed into Panama.”The Canadian TV crew’s visit coincides with a resumption of parliamentary debates about mining legislation, including mining in territory that has been assigned to indigenous communities and is therefore supposed to be protected.A project by Toronto-based Inmet Mining was thwarted last October when a Panamanian court ruled in favour of Ngöbe Buglé, one of the indigenous “comarcas” that has been opposing mining by foreign companies in their territory.If the CBC crew is denied entry today, it will confirm the negative trend in Panama as regards respect for freedom of information. Panama has fallen more than 30 places in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.Photo: La Estrella PanamaAmericas Anti-Corruption Day : Journalists on front line of fight against corruption December 9, 2016 Find out more News News RSF’s calls for release of Dutch journalist jailed in Panama Newscenter_img RSF_en to go further Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts November 22, 2011 Find out more December 7, 2016 Find out more PanamaAmericas Radio station owned murdered during media campaign against violence Follow the news on Panamalast_img read more

Two court cases test online free expression

first_img to go further February 11, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two court cases test online free expression March 17, 2021 Find out more Record fine for Malaysian news site over readers’ comments Organisation News MalaysiaAsia – Pacific New Malaysian ordinance threatens very concept of truth February 22, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts MalaysiaAsia – Pacific center_img Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders calls for the withdrawal of the charges against blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, also known as “RPK”, and human rights lawyer P. Uthayakumar, whose cases were heard in appeal hearings yesterday before the federal court in Putrajaya, the country’s highest court. Both Kamaruddin and Uthayakumar have run afoul of the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), under which suspects can be held for two years without trial. “Both RPK and Uthayakumar are victims of a law that openly violates the right to free expression,” Reporters Without Borders said. “RPK spent 56 days in detention at a minister’s pleasure. Uthayakumar is still being held in this manner in appalling conditions, and has been so for the past 426 days. If the judicial system dared to question what has happened, it would demonstrate some impartiality. We hope it can rise to the challenge posed by these cases.” Kamaruddin’s case was postponed yesterday until 17 February at the request of his seven lawyers, who have challenged the partiality of one of the three judges, Augustine Paul. At the next hearing, a new panel of judges will consider the interior minister’s appeal against a 7 November high court decision to free Kamaruddin, who had been held at the minister’s behest following his arrest on 12 September under article 73 (1) of the ISA for allegedly spreading confusion and insulting “the purity of Islam.” Kamaruddin edits the Internet Malaysia Today website (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/), in which he often criticises government policies. There are two other cases currently pending against him, one on a charge of defamation, and the other on a sedition charge. An hearing in the defamation case is to be heard before the Kuala Lumpur high court tomorrow. The federal court in Putrajaya yesterday rejected a request for the release of Uthayakumar for the second time. Held under the ISA since 13 December 2007, his case was heard at the same time as those of four other members of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf). Uthayakumar is accused of violating the ISA by posting a letter he wrote to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on his website asking Brown to support a UN security council resolution condemning the Malaysian government’s “atrocities” and “persecution” of the country’s Hindu minority and referring the case to the International Criminal Court. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of Uthayakumar, who is diabetic and has been mistreated while in detention. “Throughout these 14 months of my imprisonment under the ISA, my health condition has deteriorated,” he wrote in an open letter on 10 February that was posted online. “Sometime on or about January 2008, I believe I had suffered a silent heart attack at a time when I was denied my diabetic medication (…) sugar is being added to my food from time to time.” Follow the news on Malaysia News RSF_en News News Malaysian cartoonist Zunar facing possible sedition charge again January 29, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more