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Sierra Leone – Journalists assaulted, equipment seized in Sierra Leone

13 Aug

10 August 2012

Alert

(CPJ/IFEX) – Lagos, Nigeria, August 7, 2012 – The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an attack on two journalists by soldiers in Sierra Leone and calls on authorities to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Soldiers in uniform attacked Poindexter Sama, senior reporter, and Alie Turay, graphic designer, both of the daily Awoko Newspaper, as the journalists photographed the troops passing the newspaper’s offices in Freetown, the capital, the paper reported on August 3. The soldiers kicked and hit Sama with their guns even though he had identified himself as a reporter, he told CPJ. The journalist said he suffered a swollen face, blistered lips, and bruises, while Turay’s shirt was torn. The soldiers also confiscated their mobile phones and two memory sticks, as well as a camera battery that belonged to the paper, the journalist said.

The soldiers were headed to a demonstration being held by former soldiers protesting their discharge by the Ministry of Defense and the alleged non-payment of their benefits, according to news reports. Earlier in the day, the former soldiers had attacked and beaten Pallo Conteh, the Minister of Defense, news reports said.

Kelvin Lewis, Awoko Newspaper‘s editor, told CPJ that he had asked the military to return the confiscated property to the journalists. He also said that even though they had video footage identifying one of the soldiers who had attacked the journalists as being connected to Conteh, no actions had been taken by the military.

“We condemn the brutal assault on the journalists of Awoko Newspaper as an affront to the rule of law and ask that their equipment be returned to them immediately,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita from New York. “We call on authorities in Sierra Leone to not permit impunity to those who break the law while wearing the uniform of the national army.”

In a press release, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists identified the soldiers as bodyguards of Conteh. The country’s media regulatory body, the Independent Media Commission, has publicly condemned the soldiers’ actions.

In a telephone interview with CPJ, Conteh refused to comment, citing “ongoing investigations.”

What other IFEX Members are Saying

Journalists manhandled by soldiers (MFWA)

Source:

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
USA
info (@) cpj.org
Phone: +1 212 465 1004
Fax: +1 212 465 9568

via IFEX

Sierra Leone – Journalists assaulted, equipment seized in Sierra Leone

13 Aug

13 August 2012

Alert

(CPJ/IFEX) – Lagos, Nigeria, August 7, 2012 – The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an attack on two journalists by soldiers in Sierra Leone and calls on authorities to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Soldiers in uniform attacked Poindexter Sama, senior reporter, and Alie Turay, graphic designer, both of the daily Awoko Newspaper, as the journalists photographed the troops passing the newspaper’s offices in Freetown, the capital, the paper reported on August 3. The soldiers kicked and hit Sama with their guns even though he had identified himself as a reporter, he told CPJ. The journalist said he suffered a swollen face, blistered lips, and bruises, while Turay’s shirt was torn. The soldiers also confiscated their mobile phones and two memory sticks, as well as a camera battery that belonged to the paper, the journalist said.

The soldiers were headed to a demonstration being held by former soldiers protesting their discharge by the Ministry of Defense and the alleged non-payment of their benefits, according to news reports. Earlier in the day, the former soldiers had attacked and beaten Pallo Conteh, the Minister of Defense, news reports said.

Kelvin Lewis, Awoko Newspaper‘s editor, told CPJ that he had asked the military to return the confiscated property to the journalists. He also said that even though they had video footage identifying one of the soldiers who had attacked the journalists as being connected to Conteh, no actions had been taken by the military.

“We condemn the brutal assault on the journalists of Awoko Newspaper as an affront to the rule of law and ask that their equipment be returned to them immediately,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita from New York. “We call on authorities in Sierra Leone to not permit impunity to those who break the law while wearing the uniform of the national army.”

In a press release, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists identified the soldiers as bodyguards of Conteh. The country’s media regulatory body, the Independent Media Commission, has publicly condemned the soldiers’ actions.

In a telephone interview with CPJ, Conteh refused to comment, citing “ongoing investigations.”

What other IFEX Members are Saying

Journalists manhandled by soldiers (MFWA)

Source:

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
USA
info (@) cpj.org
Phone: +1 212 465 1004
Fax: +1 212 465 9568

via IFEX

Kazakhstan – Another opposition journalist brutally assaulted in Kazakhstan

13 Aug

13 August 2012

Alert

(RSF/IFEX) – 10 August 2012 – Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the attempt two days ago on the life of Kazakh journalist Ularbek Baitailak, an archivist and reporter for several opposition newspapers.

“We have just awarded the Peter Mackler prize to Lukpan Akmedyarov, who was violently attacked less than four months ago, and now another opposition journalist has been the victim of a similar attack,” the press freedom organization said.

“Despite the theft of his personal possessions, Ularbek Baitailak’s profile and the method used by his attackers indicate the reasons behind the attack were work-related and political. We urge the police and Astana public prosecutor to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation, focusing on the journalist’s work.

“Once again, the deterioration in conditions for independent and opposition journalists in Kazakhstan has reached a critical point. They have come to expect censorship, arrest and intimidation. However, the frequency and seriousness of attacks has been growing month by month.

“Given the current tension in the country, we call on the authorities to return to the path of dialogue and conciliation, which necessarily involves freedom of information and firm action to put an end to the impunity of those who attack media workers, trade unionists and opposition supporters.”

Baitailak was attacked around midnight on 7 August near his home in the suburbs of the Kazakh capital, Astana. Colleagues who have visited him in hospital have told Reporters Without Borders that four men approached him from behind and hit him violently on the head. As he was getting up, he was shot at close range, probably by an air pistol, then kicked.

He tried to resist but lost consciousness and his attackers left him for dead at the edge of the road after covering his body with stones as a symbolic burial. They stole his suit, the documents he was carrying and his cell phone, as well as 50,000 tenge (approx. 270 euros) in cash.

Baitailak was taken the next day to the trauma and orthopaedic centre in Astana where doctors said he had suffered a severe head injury, a deep chest wound, a split lip and several broken teeth. Further tests are being carried out to determine the extent of any internal injuries. He also suffered bruising all over his body. He is unable to move around without help and will have to spend at least a month in hospital.

Baitailak works for the National Archives and contributes regularly to Kazakh-language newspapers DAT and Tortinshi Bilik (Fourth Estate) and the magazine Altyn Tamyr, all of which are close to the opposition. His articles are often highly critical of the authorities, in particular by making historical comparisons to point out the authoritarianism of the present government.

Kazakhstan is ranked 154th of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. It has also been included among the countries “under surveillance” in the list of Internet Enemies published by the organization.

What other IFEX Members are Saying

Journalist hospitalised after attack (IPI)

Source:

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris
France
rsf (@) rsf.org
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51
@rsf_rwb

via IFEX

Palestine – Violations of media freedoms during first six months in Palestine

13 Aug

13 August 2012

(MADA/IFEX) – Ramallah 8 August 2012 – While new figures show a slight decrease in the number of attacks against journalists and media organizations in the year to-date, the status of media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories remains under serious threat, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said today.

MADA General Director Mousa Rimawi said that in the first half of 2012 the Center monitored 102 violations against journalists and media institutions. Sixty per cent of these violations were carried out by Israeli forces, and the remainder were committed by various Palestinian parties in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The high overall number of violations is the result of of Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinian territories, and on-going internal divisions within Palestine.

These latest results are a small improvement on the 113 violations recorded by MADA in the same period in 2011, but the nature of the violations has changed. For example, in 2011 the violations by Palestinian perpetrators
outnumbered those by Israeli forces, although MADA found the Israeli violations posed a greater physical risk to journalists.

According to Mousa Rimawi: “The number of violations committed against journalists and media institutions in Palestine remains high overall, which indicates the on-going deterioration in media freedoms and the oppressive
working atmosphere for journalists. This encourages self-censorship among journalists, who wish to avoid being subjected to violations, including being detained. Sadly Palestine’s ranking will fall in Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.

“We are concerned about the continuing Israeli attacks on journalists who are simply doing their jobs, and the on-going detention of a number of journalists. Israel continues to defy the international community through its disregard for international conventions that guarantee freedom of expression. The international community must immediately intervene.”

Mr. Rimawi said MADA Center, journalists and civil society orgnizationsworked this year to take action against a number of media violations, including the prosecution of some journalists and bloggers, and the closure of a number of websites by Palestinian parties with the assistance of civil society organisations, this policy was temporarily stopped through the issuance of a Presidential decision to reopen blocked websites.

However, widespread attacks against journalists in June and early July re-ignited tensions and required another serious push by all institutions and individuals who defend freedom of expression in Palestine.

Mr Rimawi expressed his appreciation for Palestinian journalists who, despite the risks and difficulties, continue to perform their work and report on the facts for the Palestinian community and others around the globe.

Read the full report

Source:

Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms – MADA
Al-Ersal Street – Beit Asia Building
3rd Floor Office 304
West Bank, Ramallah
Palestine
info (@) madacenter.org
Phone: +970 2 297 6519
Fax: +970 2 297 6519
@palestinianmada

via IFEX

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