Tag Archives: Press Freedom

Right to blog: New Article 19 Report

10 May

ARTICLE 19 proposes a set of recommendations to state actors and policy makers about what they should do to promote and protect the rights of bloggers domestically and internationally.

Journalism, Journalists and the World

For Americans the idea of using any and all means to spread ideas is second nature.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution put in writing what had become common place in first the 13 colonies and then the United States. The protection given to freedom of speech and press has expanded as technology changed.

“Press” no longer means just a printed document. It has come to mean any method of communicating thoughts and ideas.

And so blogging and Tweeting are fully protected in the United States.

In other countries, not so much.

Now Article 19 has come out with a document that talks about how press freedom issues have evolved in the age of the Internet.

The Right To Blog

Executive summary

In this policy paper, ARTICLE 19 proposes a set of recommendations to state actors and policy makers about what they should do to promote and protect the rights of…

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Malian army expels French journalist from Gao

9 May

A French freelance reporter has said she was expelled from the city of Gao after reporting on allegations of human rights abuses in a nearby town, according to news reports.

Dorothée Thiénot, who contributes to various French news outlets, published an article on the French daily L’Express on January 20, 2013, that cited claims by anonymous local residents that Malian army soldiers were killing real or perceived Islamist insurgents and their accomplices in Sévaré, a frontline town in the conflict between the government and militants linked to Al-Qaeda.

The article quoted a Malian army officer as denying any knowledge of the allegations.

Thiénot told CPJ in an email that she became the target of intimidation once local army officers became aware of the story. She said two days after an officer publicly threatened to expel her from the country, two soldiers entered her house in Gao and escorted her out of the city without allowing her to collect her belongings from the house. She said she was forced to return to Bamako, the capital.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Lt. Col. Nema Sagara, a senior officer with the Mlian army, accused Thiénot of attempting to “ruin the image of the Malian army” with her reporting.

L’Express issued a press statement condemning Thiénot’s expulsion.

from Committee to Protect Journalists http://cpj.org/2013/05/malian-army-expels-french-journalist-from-gao.php

Visiting Somali journalist shot dead in Mogadishu

25 Mar

Nairobi, March 25, 2013–Somali authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist who was shot dead on Sunday evening in Mogadishu, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Two unidentified gunmen shot Rahmo Abdulkadir five times as she was walking to a relative’s house near Bacaad Market in Yaaqhiid District of Mogadishu, news reports said. Local journalists said the gunmen fled the scene before police arrived. News accounts reported that Rahmo’s unidentified female companion was unharmed.

Rahmo, 25, a reporter for Radio Abudwaq (Worshipper), was visiting Mogadishu from Galgadud district, a region in central Somalia, where the station was based. Abdikarim Ahmed, director of Radio Abudwaq, said the staff was shocked by the news and knew of no motive for the attack, news reports said.

Local journalists told CPJ the station covers news and social affairs for the central region of Somalia. It is unclear if the station had aired any sensitive stories in recent weeks.

Last month, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon set up an Independent Task Force on Human Rights whose mandate includes investigating past cases of journalist murders, according to news reports. The prime minister also announced a $50,000 public reward for information leading to the conviction of a journalist killer.

“Despite promising measures set up by the government last month, the number of killed journalists in Somalia continues to grow,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “Authorities must double their efforts and ensure security forces in Mogadishu are prepared to ensure the security of all civilians, including journalists.”

At least one journalist has been killed in direct connection to his work in Somalia in 2013, according to CPJ research. CPJ ranks Somalia as the most dangerous country to practice journalism in Africa. For the third consecutive year, the country has ranked second on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population.

from Committee to Protect Journalists http://cpj.org/2013/03/visiting-somali-journalist-shot-dead-in-mogadishu.php

Journalists threatened in sectarian violence in Burma

25 Mar

Bangkok, March 25, 2013–Violent mobs have threatened journalists covering communal riots in central Burma and destroyed their reporting materials, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to make the security of journalists working in the violence-hit area a top priority.

Clashes between Buddhist and Muslim residents erupted in the central town of Meikhtila on March 20, resulting in at least 32 deaths, dozens of injuries, and an unknown number of arson attacks, according to news reports. On Friday, President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency that gave the military exceptional powers to contain the fighting. The Associated Press reported that the sectarian violence had spread to two other townships in central Burma over the weekend.

Journalists working for local and foreign news agencies were confronted by weapon-wielding mobs, some led by Buddhist monks, that blocked them from reporting on the riots. Radio Free Asia reported on Friday that a group of armed Buddhist monks threatened a group of nine journalists, including one of its reporters, who were photographing monks as they damaged a mosque. The monks put a knife to one journalist’s throat and seized and destroyed the memory cards from two reporters’ digital cameras, the report said. The journalists were eventually allowed to seek refuge in a nearby Buddhist monastery, from where they were later evacuated by police.

The Democratic Voice of Burma, an independent TV broadcaster and online news provider, reported that sword-wielding rioters threatened one of its reporters and deleted footage from his camera. The Associated Press reported that a Buddhist monk who covered his face placed a foot-long dagger at the throat of an AP reporter and demanded he hand over his camera. The AP report said the photographer handed over his camera’s memory card.

There have been no reports yet of any journalists being killed or seriously injured in the violence, according to CPJ research. Some journalists have decided to leave the city due to their concerns that authorities could not guarantee their personal security, according to The Irrawaddy, an independent Burmese-run news magazine. The publication also reported that rioters had threatened one of its reporters and forced him to delete his footage of the violence.

“We condemn the threats and intimidation of journalists covering the recent communal riots in Burma,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Authorities are obliged to ensure the security of journalists working in conflict areas. We are concerned that Thein Sein’s administration has not prioritized its obligation to protect the press.”

News agency photographs of the violence in Meikhtila published over the Internet have included images of smoldering burnt bodies in public streets and victims who appear to have been bound before they were killed.

News coverage of communal riots between Buddhists and Muslims in western Rakhine State last year showed that Buddhist monks were often involved in the violence that left 180 killed and over 110,000 displaced. Government officials claimed that irresponsible news coverage, including the use of racially charged language and graphic photographs, fanned the flames of that conflict.

from Committee to Protect Journalists http://cpj.org/2013/03/journalists-threatened-in-sectarian-violence-in-bu.php

Pakistani journalist gunned down in Baluchistan

19 Nov

New York, November 19, 2012–Pakistani authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a journalist who was shot to death in Baluchistan on Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Rehmatullah Abid was the second Dunya News TV journalist to be killed this year.

“We demand that the Pakistani government conduct a thorough investigation to determine a motive and bring the killers to justice,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Unpunished attacks on journalists are effectively silencing news coverage and depriving the public of important information about the conflict in Baluchistan.”

Abid was killed by unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle in Panjgur District, about 375 miles (600 kilometers) from Quetta, the provincial capital of the strife-torn province. The journalist had worked for the Urdu-language Dunya News, a news and current affairs TV channel, for several years as a general news reporter.

Abid’s family members told local journalists that they were unaware if the reporter had any enemies, news reports said. Police said they were investigating the case, but that no arrests had been made, according to news reports. No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting.

CPJ is investigating the case to determine if he was killed because of his reporting.

Baluchistan is a scene of protracted violence, where clans and ethnic animosities are aggravated by the area’s extreme poverty. With little or no public security or investigation into crimes in most areas, it is difficult to determine the motives for attacks on journalists. Journalists in the province have repeatedly called for special investigations and more protection, but to no avail.

Another Dunya TV reporter, Mukarram Khan Aatif, was killed by two gunmen in January 2012 outside Peshawar. A Taliban spokesman said the group took responsibility for the killing.

With five journalists killed in direct relation to their work this year, Pakistan ranks as the third deadliest country for journalists in 2012. In 2010 and 2011, the country was ranked the deadliest in the world for journalists. Pakistan ranks 10th on CPJ’s global Impunity Index, which identifies countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes.

  • For more data and analysis on Pakistan, visit CPJ’s Pakistan page here.

from Committee to Protect Journalists http://cpj.org/2012/11/pakistani-journalist-gunned-down-in-baluchistan.php

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