Media Ownership Monitor: Pakistan a high-risk country in terms of media pluralism

first_img Screenshot of the MOM Pakistan July 18, 2019 Media Ownership Monitor: Pakistan a high-risk country in terms of media pluralism “Real freedom of the press means more than the absence of state repression. Only if media landscapes are diverse and pluralistic and only if journalists enjoy maximum independence the media can hold up to its democratic mandate to provide a spectrum of different opinions to inform citizens,” Christian Mihr, Executive Director of RSF Germany, said in Berlin. Due to stringent visa regulations, no representative of RSF was able to enter the country for the course of the research or the presentation of the findings. Cross-media ownership concentration, which measures concentration across media sectors, indicates a medium risk in Pakistan. The top 8 owners reach 68% of audience share across television, radio, print and online. However, the numbers are likely to be higher, since the reach of these owners through various other media outlets they operate were not taken into account due to lack of audience data. The top 8 players in the Pakistani media are Jang Group, ARY Group, Express Group, the Government Group, Nawa-i-Waqt Group, Samaa Group, Dawn Group and Dunya Group – all have significant presence in more than one media sector. In terms of audience share, the biggest cross-media owner (Jang Group) controls over a third of the market among the top 40 media entities. TV and online media outlets are the most prone (7 of 8 media groups) to cross-media ownership, while radio is the least (3 of 8 media groups). The government is among the top three cross-media owners (Pakistan Television Corporation PTV, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation PBC and the FM 101 stations) in the country. MOM Pakistan researchers also approached the federal and four provincial governments to seek official data on advertisement rates and payments made to the selected sample of media houses. Neither federal nor the provincial governments, however, shared the requested information – except for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, which is ruled by the Tehreek-e-Insaf party of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and which provided at least partial information. A collaborative research study, the Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) Pakistan – carried out by the global media rights organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Pakistani media watchdog Freedom Network – has found Pakistan a “high-risk country” in terms of media pluralism. More than half of the mass media ownership is concentrated in only a few hands. Besides, the regulatory framework lags behind the current market developments including convergence of technology and emergence of online media. For example, the laws do not specify any thresholds necessary for measuring ownership concentration, either of audience share, circulation, turnover/revenue, the share capital or voting rights. “While it is essential to have comprehensive legislation for protection of net neutrality to safeguard media diversity and guarantee equal ability to access and disseminate information, opinions, perspectives, etc. online, there is no such legal framework in this regard in the country,” the findings read.  January 28, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Pakistan The findings of MOM Pakistan were revealed in Islamabad on 18 July 2019, after a team of researchers worked for eight months to retrieve and analyse all available data from official and non-official sources, including the government, media houses and their owners. Audience share data was acquired form a third party source, Gallup Pakistan, and publicly available data obtained from company registry offices in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore after fees payment with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Information requests were also sent out to all owners of the media outlets investigated, but only one newspaper group owner, one TV outlet owner, two private FM radio stations’ owners and one website owner responded and agreed to share at least partial information. Also the federal government was unresponsive to share the ownership structure, revenue and net profit data of state-owned Pakistan Television, Radio Pakistan and FM 101 for the 2017-18 financial year. Organisation RSF_en High risk to media pluralism The MOM research also analyzed the existing regulatory framework, particularly in terms of both concentration control and net neutrality. The findings were that the regulators are often seen as overtly pushy on regulating the content rather than being facilitators of the industry, setters of professional standards or protectors of media consumer rights. This contributes greatly to the massive concentration of media ownership.  Lack of transparency News media concentration in Pakistan, in terms of both ownership and audience share, is very high. The top four television channels, radio stations, newspapers and news websites cover, in each of the four categories, over 50% of the country’s entire audience share. If diversity of ownership reflects diversity of sources of information, then the Pakistani audiences are restricted by limitation of choice and plurality. The Pakistan media economy, boom – and bust? The new millennium saw a radical transformation in the landscape of Pakistani media in terms of size. In 2002, before the country opened up the broadcasting sector for commercial players, only one state-owned TV channel and one radio station were on air. Now in 2019, a total of 88 TV channels (including news and entertainment) and 209 radio stations are broadcasting, according to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). The numbers of journalists in the same period ballooned from about 2,000 to over 20,000 and the overall number of people associated with the media industry to about 250,000. This expansion of the media industry came off the back of improving economic fundamentals, an increase in per capita income and a rise in consumer economy, including a growing surplus in private incomes accompanied by an expanding advertising sector. Flawed legal framework However, the second half of 2018 brought bad tidings. Pakistan’s media industry, once viewed as among the most vibrant in South Asia, started to decline with close to 2,000 journalists and media workers reportedly laid off and several outlets shut down. The situation was partly affected by the ailing economy, partly by the outcome of the July 2018 elections that brought a government to power headed by a party not seen as friendly to business, coupled with the withdrawal of government subsidies and dwindling advertising revenue. This forced even big and stable media groups to shut down publications and lay off journalists. The Jang Group – the country’s largest media group – shut down three of its publications and two bureau offices, leaving more than 1,400 journalists and related staff jobless in one single day. Express Media Group and Dunya Media Group – the third and fourth largest media groups – also laid off over 200 journalists, cutting the salaries of the remaining workers by 15 to 35 percent. To assess the country’s risk to media pluralism, also in comparison with the existing twenty other country editions of MOM, ten indicators were computed, including criteria like media audience concentration, cross-media ownership concentration, regulatory safeguards, political control over media outlets and net neutrality. As a result, 6 indicators showed ‘high risk’, 2 a ‘medium risk’ and only 1 a ‘low risk’. to go further Receive email alerts “This means Pakistan needs more broad-based media ownership to ensure greater diversity in news sources,” Iqbal Khattak, Executive Director of Freedom Network, said to underscore the importance of this unique research which the stakeholders could use to debate whether or not the country needs more diversity in its media ownership as well as news and views. The Media Ownership Monitor Pakistan is now publicly available online at http://pakistan.mom-rsf.org in English and Urdu. Pakistani supreme court acquits main suspect in Daniel Pearl murder Pakistani TV anchor censored after denouncing violence against journalists June 2, 2021 Find out more News News April 21, 2021 Find out more PakistanAsia – Pacific Reports and statisticsMedia independence Economic pressureJudicial harassment News News Help by sharing this information Pakistan’s official news agency Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported in 2017 that there had been a cumulative investment of USD 4 billion in the electronic media industry in Pakistan between 2002 and 2017 and it was estimated to touch USD 5 billion by end of 2018. It said the overall national growth contributed significantly to the development of the electronic media industry in the private sector and helped expand the work of media groups, content production houses, advertising agencies and the performing arts. Pakistani journalist critical of the military wounded by gunfire Out of 180 countries, Pakistan ranks 142th in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. It lost three positions compared to the previous year. PakistanAsia – Pacific Reports and statisticsMedia independence Economic pressureJudicial harassment last_img read more

Dusko Jovanovic murder: a karate champion charged

first_img RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijan June 8, 2021 Find out more “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says Europe – Central Asia News Help by sharing this information October 4, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Dusko Jovanovic murder: a karate champion charged Europe – Central Asia Follow the news on Europe – Central Asia News Receive email alerts Dusko Jovanovic, publisher and editor of the daily Dan, was gunned down in the street. The shots were targeted at “freedom of expression, independent journalism and democracy”, the newspaper said. News Respect judicial independence in cases of two leading journalists in Serbia and Montenegro, RSF says to go further RSF_en June 4, 2021 Find out more June 7, 2021 Find out more Damic Mandic, former karate champion and key organised crime figure in Serbia-Montenegro, has been charged with the murder of Dusko Jovanovic, editor of the opposition daily Dan. Held in custody since the beginning of June, Mandic is suspected of having driven the car that was involved in the journalist’s murder on 28 May this year.The murder of Jovanovic, known for his strident criticism of the powerful Montenegro Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic, heightened tensions in the country. His family and friends have on several occasions accused the authorities of seeking to bury the case and to obstruct a full investigation. The implication of secret service involvement in the killing, as charged by those close to the journalist, has been strongly denied by the Montenegro authorities.————28.05.04 – Newspaper editor murdered in capital of MontenegroDusko Jovanovic, publisher and editor of the daily Dan, was gunned down in the street outside his newspaper’s headquarters in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, shortly after midnight today. He was getting into his car when he was hit in the head and chest by shots fired from an automatic rifle. His assailants fled in a black vehicle. Jovanovic died shortly after being rushed to a hospital. Investigating judge Radomir Ivanovic said the police had detained several suspects but the motive for the murder was not yet known.Reporters Without Borders called on interior minister Dragan Djurovic to ensure that investigators do not rule out the possibility that the killing was linked to Jovanovic’s work as an editor. The organisation also asked to be kept informed of developments in the enquiry.Dan said Jovanovic had received many death threats. The murder was an attempt in “the most horrible manner to silence Dan,” the newspaper said. The shots were also targeted at “freedom of expression, independent journalism and democracy,” the newspaper added.Dan has been involved in several judicial cases and Jovanovic, a former member of the Montenegro parliament, had often criticised the ruling coalition led by the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, who had tried to sue him and the newspaper.The newspaper was, for example, accused of libel in connection with a case concerning cigarette trafficking in the Balkans. It is said to support the opposition and the People’s Socialist Party, which backed former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.In 2003, Jovanovic was charged by the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia for revealing the name of a protected witness in the Milosevic trial. The prosecution of Jovanovic was dropped in April 2004 after he apologised in an editorial, expressing “true remorse” for any harm done to the court or the witness. Organisation Newslast_img read more

A year after trial of Liu Xiaobo, journalists sentenced to jail in Xinjiang and Tibet

first_img Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes Follow the news on China RSF_en One year ago a Beijing court handed down a jail sentence of 11 years to Liu Xiaobo (刘哓波), the Chinese authorities thus sending a very tough Christmas Day message to the international community which had pleaded for him. At the end of a travesty of a trial from which his wife, his supporters, the foreign press and diplomats were banned, China’s most renowned prisoner of opinion was found guilty of “subversion of state power”. Since then, and despite the dissident being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the authorities continue to view him as a “criminal”. We call on the authorities in Beijing to reopen Liu Xiaobo’s legal file to allow a review of his trial for “subversion of state power”. We urge President Hu Jintao, ahead of his visit to the United States in January, to do everything possible to secure the release of Liu Xiaobo and his supporters, including his wife Liu Xia, who is currently under house arrest in Beijing. Trial of Liu Xiaobo on 23 December 2009: http://en.rsf.org/chine-verdict-for-liu-xiaobo-25-12-2009,38561.htmlSpecial file on Liu Xiaobo: http://en.rsf.org/liu-xiaobo.htmlMeanwhile in Xinjiang and Tibet, judges continue to hand down very harsh prison sentences to journalists for what they write. We have just learned that Memetjan Abdulla, a journalist working for the Uyghur service of Chinese national radio and manager of the Uyghur website Salkin, was sentenced to life imprisonment in April this year for translating and posting articles on the plight of Uyghurs in the country. Gulmire Imin, a young woman also working for the website, was handed down the same sentence for “revealing” state secrets “organising a demonstration” and for “separatism”. Radio Free Asia said this very harsh sentence, pronounced after a secret trial in Urumqi, was also intended to punish him for answering questions from foreign journalists and translating or posting a series of articles on Salkin. The authorities also accused Memetjan Abdulla of having provoked ethnic unrest in Xinjiang in July 2009, after Uyghur workers died in a factory in Shaoguan. He also reportedly translated into Uyghur and posted on Salkin, an appeal by the (banned) World Uyghur Congress to demonstrate abroad against this incident.For more information about Memetjan Abdulla, held since September 2009: www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/journalist-12212010162519.htmlOther journalists and webmasters sentenced in Xinjiang: http://en.rsf.org/china-uyghur-journalist-and-website-24-07-2010,38016.htmlLast May, Reporters Without Borders sent an open letter to Zhang Chunxian, the new secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Xinjiang: http://en.rsf.org/china-open-letter-to-the-xinjiang-s-20-05-2010,37527.html In Tibet, Sungrab Gyatso, a monk at the Mu-ra monastery was found guilty of having fomented demonstrations. This editor of the Tibetan magazine Rewa-kang-lam (Hope in March), was sentenced to three years in prison after a trial, on 16 December 2010, before a court in Kanlho. The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (based in Dharamsala, India) said this defender of Tibetan culture has been in prison since March 2010. Reporters Without Borders calls for his release.The organisation is very concerned about the plight of Tashi Rabten, editor of the Tibetan magazine Shar Dungri, who has been secretly imprisoned since 6 April this year. He is reportedly being held in harsh conditions in a prison in Barkham, Ngaba region, in Sichuan province. His colleague, Druklo, was released in May this year.Fore more information: http://en.rsf.org/china-two-young-tibetan-writers-arrested-09-04-2010,36… News China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures ChinaAsia – Pacific March 12, 2021 Find out more ChinaAsia – Pacific Receive email alerts to go furthercenter_img News China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison News Organisation December 24, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 A year after trial of Liu Xiaobo, journalists sentenced to jail in Xinjiang and Tibet June 2, 2021 Find out more News Help by sharing this information April 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Independent news website blocked for past year

first_img News As I said, we mainly focus on human rights and anti-corruption issues. We recently published some photographs of a Tamil youth who was tortured to death. We got those photos from Human Rights Watch.When we report anything sensitive about the armed forces, the Sri Lankan defence ministry gets really annoyed.None of our national media reports malpractices in the armed forces or the behaviour of some top brass officers – how they victimise their fellow officers and so on. All these things are happening behind an iron curtain.Since we are operating outside of Sri Lanka we can report such incidents without fear. That is the root cause for the harassment we are currently facing.One of the state media said your website carried a totally fabricated ‘exclusive’ story claiming that the government had given a Chinese firm a contract to clear dead bodies from the Nanthikadal lagoon in Mullaitivu? How do you respond?We challenge the government to prove that it is a fabricated story. Our reporters cited highly reliable diplomatic sources. Anything we report that does not reflect well on the government and its officials is branded as fabricated.If we report anything erroneously, the aggrieved parties are able to exercise their right of reply. That is guaranteed on our website. We will always defend and adhere to the finest ethics of journalism.Some say you are the victim of political witch-hunt. Can you tell us about that? What kind of accusations have been made against you and why?The Sri Lankan Government is out to get us. That is pretty clear.After failing to get the website by banning it, they turned on me. They reported me to Interpol, alleging that I failed to appear in a court case in the Colombo high court.I left Sri Lanka 10 years ago. Suddenly, they trumped up a criminal charge against me, accusing me of forgery and counterfeiting. I voluntarily ceased my notarial practise in Sri Lanka a long time ago. I would be more than happy to face any trial as long as it was fair and impartial.Since the attorney-general’s department is currently under the president, there could be more indictments against not only me but also other anti-government activists in the future.Do you see this prosecution as a way of intimidating reporters and activists?It is pretty obvious. This is a clear intimidation. There are people who smuggled billions of people’s money from various institutions. The Sri Lankan courts have repeatedly issued warrants for them. But the government never tried to execute those warrants through Interpol. They have targeted me because of my political stance.What is the next legal step? What kind of sanctions do you face if convicted?I have already started correspondence with Interpol. My lawyers are making further representations to Interpol in this regard. I have further consulted my lawyers in Sri Lanka with regard to my high court case.Under this regime, you cannot expect a fair trial, just a conviction. We are already facing sanctions.How would you describe the Sri Lankan press freedom situation today? What role can websites and online journalists play in keeping people informed? Sri LankaAsia – Pacific RSF_en News Help by sharing this information News Receive email alerts Organisation Sri LankaAsia – Pacific July 29, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders calls on the Sri Lankan authorities to stop blocking the Lanka News Web site at once. Sri Lanka Telecom, the country’s main Internet service provider, has been blocking the online newspaper’s access since 11 July 2009.In an interview for Reporters Without Borders, Lanka News Web editor Chandima Withanaarachchi talks about its editorial policies and the probable reasons for the government’s persecution of the site. He also describes the press freedom situation and the difficulties for journalists in Sri Lanka.The government has been trying to assert control over online media since its military victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels and the ensuing presidential election, which was accompanied by propaganda and intimidation of the news media. Three other independent news websites – Lanka-e-News, Infolanka and Sri Lanka Guardian – were also blocked on 26 January, shortly before the election results were announced. Lanka News Web is the only one that is still inaccessible inside Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka was on the list of “countries under surveillance” in the latest Reporters Without Borders report on “Enemies of the Internet.” Read the Sri Lanka chapter: http://en.rsf.org/surveillance-sri-lanka,36672.htmlCan you tell me more about your website, Lanka News Web? What sort of topics does it cover? What is the audience? How many people visit it every month?Lanka News Web is formed by Sri Lankan journalists living in exile. It began operations on 3 March 2009, following the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the editor of The Sunday Leader, in January 2009. At the time, the situation in Sri Lanka was highly volatile because Eelam War IV (the fourth phase of the armed conflict between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tigers) was at its peak. Freedom of expression was totally suppressed and everyone was censoring themselves. Our intention was to eliminate these self-imposed restrictions and minimise the fear that had engulfed our society.From the very outset, Lanka News Web maintained an anti-war stance. We focus mainly on human rights abuses, corruption and malpractices of government officials. Since there was no other source of bold, fearless reporting, Lanka News Web became very popular within a very short period of time. We filled a big vacuum in our society.Our popularity became a nightmare for the government of Sri Lanka. As a result, we were banned in Sri Lanka on 11 July 2009, almost one year ago.Despite this ban, Lanka News Web gets about 3 to 4 million hits per month from within Sri Lanka. In all, we are getting 30-40 million hits worldwide every month.What kind of stories has Lanka News Web been covering these past months? Do you believe you are being harassed today because of some stories in particular? January 13, 2021 Find out more to go further Follow the news on Sri Lanka July 9, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Independent news website blocked for past year News Press freedom in Sri Lanka is an appalling and horrifying topic. There is no press freedom at all. The latest victim of media suppression is freelance journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, who disappeared five months ago. There is still no clue of his whereabouts. Most journalists have fled the country.Press freedom is just a lovely memory of days gone by.The only ray of hope, the only glimmer of hope for press freedom in Sri Lanka, is preserved through websites. Most of these websites are operating from overseas. Lanka News Web and Tamilnet have been banned.What can human rights organisations and the international community do to help you and the independent media, especially the new media? Sri Lanka: RSF signs joint statement on attacks against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists Sri Lanka: tamil reporter held on absurd terrorism charge This is an excellent time for the international community, human rights organisations and media institutions to extend their support and solidarity to the people who are fighting against this injustice within and outside Sri Lanka.We may see some foreign countries trying to mend relations with Sri Lanka, which deteriorated during the war. We do not mind if they mend their relationships, but they must insist that law and order prevail in the country. Sri Lanka: Journalist manhandled by notorious police inspector currently on trial July 15, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Two journalists get suspended jail terms for “publicity” against the government

first_img March 18, 2021 Find out more After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists News Help by sharing this information Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 June 11, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two journalists get suspended jail terms for “publicity” against the government Follow the news on Iran News Receive email alerts RSF_en Organisation center_img News to go further June 9, 2021 Find out more News Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists IranMiddle East – North Africa IranMiddle East – North Africa February 25, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders condemns the suspended prison sentences that have been passed on journalists Said Matinpour and Yaghoub Salaki Nia in separate cases. Matinpour’s jail term was eight years. Nia’s was one year. In each case, the sentences were handed down in closed door hearings without their lawyers being present. They both plan to appeal.At the same time, the organisation welcomes the news that Masoud Rafai Taleghani of the daily Farhangh Ashati was released at the end of May after being imprisoned arbitrarily for more than a month. The grounds for his arrest were never revealed. His release brings the number of journalists imprisoned in Iran to seven.“As is customary in Iran, the authorities prosecute and sentence journalists with a complete lack of transparency,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The lawyers were not given the details of the charges against their clients. It is also worrying to see that trials involving journalists are being held behind closed doors with increasing frequency.”Matinpour, who reports for Yarpagh, an Azeri-language weekly based in Tehran, was given his eight-year suspended sentence by a Tehran revolutionary court today for “maintaining relations with foreigners” and “publicity against the Islamic Republic.” He was arrested at his home in the northwestern city of Zanjan on 28 May 2007 and was held in pre-trial detention for nearly eight months until his family was able to pay the exorbitant sum of 500 million toumen (500,000 euros) demanded as bail.Nia, a freelancer, got his one-year suspended sentence from the same court for “publicity against the Islamic Republic.” He spent 50 days in Tehran’s Evin prison at the end of last year, until his release on 19 December on payment of 80 million toumen (80,000 euros) in bail.last_img read more

Two journalists freed on bail

first_img Help by sharing this information Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists News News IranMiddle East – North Africa Receive email alerts News Follow the news on Iran After Hengameh Shahidi’s pardon, RSF asks Supreme Leader to free all imprisoned journalists IranMiddle East – North Africa center_img News The court in Zanjan in the north-west of the country decided on 19 May to release the two journalists with the weekly Sedai e Zanjan,  Massiolah Soltani (the editor) and Massoud Almassi, who had been arrested on 13 and 15 May respectively. The court said they could be freed pending “preparation of their cases” and set bail of 35 million tomans for Soltani and 10 million tomans for Almassi.———————————————- 18 May 2004 – Arrests of journalists and press freedom violations continue unabatedTwo more journalists arrested, a managing editor banned from doing his job, and two newspapers suspended. Iranian courts persist in serious press freedom violations.Managing editor Massiolah Soltani, of the weekly Sedai é Zanjan, was summonsed on 13 May 2004 by the third chamber of the Zanjan court in the north-west of the country and after questioning he was immediately remanded in custody. He is accused of “disseminating false news” and “disturbing public opinions and order”.His colleague, Massud Almassi, was arrested for the same reasons on 15 May. The newspaper decided to suspend publication in protest against the arrests which it termed “illegaI and arbitrary”. The arrests appeared to be linked to a story carried by the newspaper about the rape of a four-year-old girl.Editor of the monthly Aftab (The Sun), Issa Saharkhiz, was given a six-month ban on all journalistic work and fined two million rials (about 2,000 euros). The Tehran court gave its verdict almost three months after the trial, that took place on 25 February. One year earlier, in its 28th edition, Aftab carried a translation of an article “The Lessons of Iran” written by Israeli Bary Robin on the 1979 Iranian revolution. The author considered that “the Ayatollah Khomeini’s criticism of the Shah’s relations with the West was unjust.” Iranian courts ruled that the article was “an insult to the guide of the revolution”Elsewhere, on 5 May, the Azeri-language daily Nedai Azarabadegan was suspended for two months by the Tabriz court and ordered to pay a three million-rials fine (about 3,000 euros). Its editor Abolfazle Vésali, said that several bodies had made complaints against the newspaper but that he believed “it had only done its job in providing news”.The following day, the weekly Gorgan é Emrouz was banned. Its editor Mostafa Sabti, has been imprisoned since 19 March on the orders of the first branch of Gorgan Court in northern Iran. Sentenced on 1 September 2003 to three months in prison and four months suspended, Sabti had been on temporary release since then. He had published an open letter from residents of a neighbourhood in Gorgan protesting at the taking over of a park by the local authorities. The courts, implicated in the case, laid a complaint for defamation. With 14 currently behind bars, Iran is the Middle East’s largest prison for journalists. June 9, 2021 Find out more to go further RSF_en March 18, 2021 Find out more Organisation May 19, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two journalists freed on bail February 25, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Kazakh reporters arrested while covering protests

first_img Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the repeated arrest of RFE/RL correspondent Svetlana Glushkova during a protest in Kazakhstan’s capital on 22 March and calls on the Kazakh authorities to stop harassing reporters when they are covering demonstrations.Glushkova, who reports for the Internet TV channel Nastoyashee Vremya, was arrested twice while covering the demonstration in protest against the decision two days earlier to rename the capital Nur-Sultan in honour of newly retired President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The protest was held on the same day as tradition celebrations marking the Norouz, the Persian New Year.Unidentified individuals tried to prevent other reporters for Radio Azattyk – RFE/RL’s Kazakh version – from filming Glushkova’s arrests. The journalists said they were jostled by these individuals and prevented from freely covering the protest, during which many activists were arrested.“We urge the Kazakh authorities not to obstruct journalists covering demonstrations,” RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk said. “The adoption of measures that allow journalists to work freely should be one of the new Kazakh government’s priorities.”Previous arrestsAnother Radio Azattyk reporter, Sanya Toiken, spent the night of 11 March in a police station in the western city of Zhanaozen, where she was doing a report on the repeated protests there. When released the next day, she was told that an administrative court had fined her 120 euros for “refusing to follow police orders.”This was her third arrest in recent months in Zhanaozen. The most recent previous one was on 26 February, when she and her cameraman, Sanat Nurbek, were arrested on arrival.After ruling for 30 years, “Leader of the Nation” Nursultan Nazarbayev has stood down, leaving those close to him in key positions. The press freedom situation is all the more worrying because journalists are being arrested with increasing frequency. The main national opposition media outlets were all banned in 2012 and the Internet is closely controlled. Kazakhstan is ranked 158th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index. News Regional newspaper editor harassed after investigating real estate scandal Kazakh reporter accuses police of attacking her to go further October 30, 2020 Find out more January 15, 2021 Find out more News Reporters prevented from covering Kazakh parliamentary elections February 5, 2021 Find out more News Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Kazakhstan Receive email alerts KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesProtecting journalists WomenFreedom of expressionEconomic pressure Kassym-Jomart Tokaïev, Président du Kazakhstan par intérim March 28, 2019 – Updated on April 2, 2019 Kazakh reporters arrested while covering protests Organisation News KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesProtecting journalists WomenFreedom of expressionEconomic pressure RSF_en last_img read more

Arsonists set fire to bi-weekly Independent

first_img News Gambia still needs to address challenges to press freedom News Three journalist arrested, two radio stations closed in Gambia GambiaAfrica August 6, 2020 Find out more Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information Gambia: former president must stand trial for journalist’s murder Follow the news on Gambia to go furthercenter_img October 20, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Arsonists set fire to bi-weekly Independent News January 27, 2020 Find out more News RSF_en Reporters Without Borders today condemned an arson attack on the headquarters of The Independent newspaper in Banjul on the night of 17 October and the failure the police to go there although alerted. The fire was put out by firemen and did not cause major damage.”I am amazed the police did not even bother to go to the scene to establish the facts, although they were informed about the fire,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said, calling for a investigation to find out who was behind the attack and bring them to justice.Acting editor in chief Sidi Bojang said at press conference yesterday three unidentified individuals went to the newspaper on the evening of 17 October, sprayed pepper gas on the caretaker and beat him with an iron bar. After he was taken to hospital, four men climbed over the perimeter wall and set fire to the inside of the building through the windows. They fled on the arrival of staff from the security company used by the newspaper.The Independent, which comes out twice a week, is known for its criticism of the government, although it had been less virulent since the release of managing editor Abdoulie Sey from detention on 23 September. Sey was detained on 19 September by members of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), who questioned him about articles considered very critical of the president. He fell ill a few hours after his release as a result of the poor conditions of detention at the NIA’s premises, colleagues said. Sey has still not returned to work. July 23, 2019 Find out more GambiaAfrica Organisation last_img read more

Imprisoned cyber-dissident risks five-year jail sentence

first_img November 12, 2019 Find out more Follow the news on Tunisia Organisation TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa Eleven organizations from civil society create the Forum on Information & Democracy, a structural response to information disorder News Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” Reporters Without Borders notes that over the past six months in Tunisia, one journalist has been jailed, two physically attacked, two publications seized and two others suspended.Yahyaoui’s website Reporters Without Borders today denounced as “outrageous” tomorrow’s scheduled trial of Tunisian cyber-dissdent of Zouhair Yahyaoui, founder and editor of the online news site TUNeZINE, and said it feared more Tunisian cyber-dissidents would be arrested in coming days.”He is facing a five-year prison sentence just for putting news on an Internet website,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. “This is outrageous. Since the 26 May constitutional referendum, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has committed all kinds of abuses against his opponents. When is this going to stop?” Ménard protested to interior minister Hedi M’Henni on 5 June against his arrest and called for his immediate release.Yahyaoui is due to appear tomorrow before Judge Akram Mnekkebi, of the 4th division of the Tunis magistrates court, charged under clause 2 of Article 306b of the criminal code which requires between six months and five years imprisonment and a fine of between 200 and 2,000 dinars for “knowingly putting out false news giving the impression of a criminal attack on persons or property.”  Yahyaoui was arrested on 4 June at a Tunis cybercafé where he was working by six plainclothes police, who showed no credentials and gave no reason for the arrest. He was taken to his home, where the police searched his bedroom and seized his computer equipment. His lawyers visited him on 11 June at the April 9 Civil Prison in Tunis and found him in good health. Zouhair Yahyaoui, founder and editor of the online news site TUNeZINE.com, faces up to five years imprisonment when he appears in court in Tunis tomorrow just for putting news on the Internet. RSF_en Receive email alerts News to go further News Help by sharing this information TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa December 26, 2019 Find out more Yahyaoui, who uses the pseudonym “Ettounsi” (“Tunisian”), set up the site in July last year to put out news about the fight for democracy and freedom in Tunisia. He published opposition material online and was one of the first people to circulate a letter from his uncle, Judge Makhar Yahyaoui, to President Ben Ali criticising the country’s legal system. Between 26 and 28 May, TUNeZINE organised an online forum on the referendum and the state of the opposition which drew a very large number of participants.   The website has been censured by the authorities from the start. But each week a list of “proxy” addresses has been available so Tunisians could get round the blockage and access the site. A few hours after Yahyaoui’s arrest, the site had vanished from the Internet, reportedly because police obtained the access code to it. The site has since returned but access from Tunisia is only possible with very powerful proxy addresses. June 12, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Imprisoned cyber-dissident risks five-year jail sentence News November 11, 2020 Find out more Tunisia : RSF asks Tunisian president’s office to respect journalistslast_img read more

2006 Laureate in the “Journalist” category : U Win Tin

first_imgTwenty years in prison for “The Sage”After more than 17 years in prison and despite faltering health, U Win Tin, 76, will not give way. In his special cell at Insein jail, near Rangoon, Saya, “The Wise”, as his comrades call him, refuses to renounce his commitment to the National League for Democracy, robbed by the military junta of a landslide electoral victory in 1990. He continues to demand the unconditional release of thousands of political prisoners held in his country’s jails.Burma’s most renowned journalist was sentenced in 1989 to 20 years in prison for “subversion” and “anti-government propaganda”. U Win Tin, who was one of the political mentors of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi – also deprived of her freedom – is still serving the sentence which was handed down after an unjust trial.Weakened by a urinary infection and two heart attacks, U Win Tin, has the right to two visits per month. A member of his family brings him food, medication and some news from the outside world. But the journalist is no longer allowed to write and can only read the official press.Since the start of the year 2006, he has also been denied visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR) after the military junta decided that they could only take place in the presence of an official.A columnist as far back as the 1960s, U Win Tin exposed corruption, the militarisation of the country and promoted peaceful resistance in the style of Mahatma Gandhi. Burma, prison or advance censorshipBurma is one of very few countries in the world which is subjected to advance censorship. It is a positive paradise for the censors. Scissors in hand, agents of the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division check every article, editorial, cartoon, advertisement and illustration before publication. In 2005, they even began going through obituaries published in Burmese papers, chiefly to remove all references to the UN, accused of wanting to overthrow the regime. More seriously, the authorities censor independent news on the reality of the bird flu epidemic, Aids and drug-trafficking in this former jewel of the British empire.Burmese generals in power since 1988 have for unexplained reasons transferred the country’s capital near to Pyinmana, an isolated city in the mountainous centre of the country. Two journalists were sentenced in 2006 for taking photos of this new town where the military believe themselves to be safe from a possible US invasion.While seven journalists had their sentences reduced during a wave of prisoner releases in 2005, seven more are still in jail, including U Win Tin, whose name did however appear on the list of those freed. But the authorities seem to be still afraid of the influence of this close advisor to Aung San Suu Kyi, sentenced to 20 years in prison.In Burma, a journalist can be given seven years in prison simply for possessing an unauthorised fax, video camera, modem or copy of a banned publication. It is also banned to watch Burma’s leading independent channel DVB TV which is broadcast by satellite from Norway.The junta also filters opposition websites and keeps a very close watch on cybercafés, where the computers carry out an automatic screen capture every five minutes so as to ensure surveillance of Internet-users. Since June 2006, the authorities have been blocking Internet telephone and chat services such as Google’s Gtalk. May 31, 2021 Find out more RSF asks Germany to let Myanmar journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu apply for asylum Burma’s most renowned journalist was sentenced in 1989 to 20 years in prison for “subversion” and “anti-government propaganda”. U Win Tin, who was one of the political mentors of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi – also deprived of her freedom – is still serving the sentence which was handed down after an unjust trial. News Follow the news on Myanmar May 26, 2021 Find out more RSF_en Hollman Felipe Morris, ColombiaHollman Morris, 36, has become one of the leading experts in human rights and the peace process in his country which has been mired in civil war for more than 40 years. In 2003, he took control of the Contravía (misinterpretation) programme dedicated to covering the armed conflict and human rights initiatives. The programme which was first broadcast on the public station Canal Uno, is about to resume after a period of suspension.The investigative work carried out by Hollman Morris earned him some implacable enemies. Highly critical of President Álvaro Úribe and targeted by all armed groups, he receives frequent death threats. MyanmarAsia – Pacific Help by sharing this information Newscenter_img Receive email alerts Thai premier, UN rapporteurs asked to prevent journalists being returned to Myanmar US journalist held in Yangon prison notorious for torture MyanmarAsia – Pacific The other 2006 nominees in the “Journalist” category were:Dawit Isaac, EritreaJournalist and owner of the weekly Setit, Dawit Isaac, 42, was arrested on 23 September 2001 during a major crackdown which followed the “suspension” of the privately-owned press five days earlier. He is one of 13 newspaper publishers, editors and journalists accused by the government without any evidence of being “traitors” and “spies” for Ethiopia. None of them has ever been charged. They are not allowed visits from their families or a lawyer.Dawit Isaac has had Swedish nationality since the 1980s and was a leading figure among the young Eritrean elite. He is married and father of three children. News Organisation to go further May 12, 2021 Find out more News December 13, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 2006 Laureate in the “Journalist” category : U Win Tinlast_img read more