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#wef12 – WAN-IFRA publishes ‘report on violence against Mexico’s press’

September 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Press freedom and ethics

Image by Christian Frausto Bernal on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

WAN-IFRA has this week published a report called “a death threat to freedom”, which looks at “violence against Mexico’s press”.

The report was published on Tuesday (4 September), a day after the organisation’s World Editors Forum presented the Golden Pen of Freedom to Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez.

The report calls on the government to “take urgent action to guarantee the safety of journalists and media professionals”.

Receiving her award yesterday, Hernandez urged the international community to not “just stand and watch”.

“I do not want to be another number on the list,” she said. “I do not want to be another dead journalist, I want to be one of those who fought to live and who survives.”

I dedicate and symbolically award this prize to all the Mexican journalists whose voices have been silenced by death, forced disappearance or censorship.

I also dedicate it to all those Mexican journalists who daily continue to set an example in their duty to inform and denounce at whatever cost.

Here is a link to her full acceptance speech.

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Hugh Grant: Leveson inquiry has shone ‘disinfectant sunlight’ into ‘infected corners’

May 18th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

Hugh Grant, Tom Watson MP and president of the National Union of Journalists Donnacha Delong were among a number of speakers at a rally calling for media reform last night.

The Livestream video embedded below shows the speeches, with Hugh Grant praising the “progress made since last July”.

The first two modules of Leveson inquiry has shone a lot of very disinfectant sunlight into a lot of very infected corners.

He added that he believes the public has started to realise the scandal is “not just about phone hacking but a wider corruption of police and officials and the intimidation elected politicians”.

We’ve been living for the past 30 years in a media-controlled state.

Giving the example of police production orders calling for journalists to hand over journalists’ footage, Donnacha Delong from the NUJ called for a new regulator to define journalists’ rights and responsibilities.

Improved press regulation which details the rights and responsibilities of the press is potentially something we could use to defend the press against from those kinds of illegitimate requests from those in power.

mediareform on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free
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Voice of America: China’s Foreign Ministry questioned on Al Jazeera journalist visa issue

Image by jamiejohndavies on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Voice of America has published what it says is a transcript of questions put to the spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, in relation to Al Jazeera English’s report that its China correspondent Melissa Chan had her visa renewal application “refused”.

Journalism.co.uk reported on Tuesday (8 May) that Al Jazeera English has closed down its Beijing bureau after Chan’s visa was apparently “refused” by authorities.

Al Jazeera said in its report “it is continuing to request a presence in China”.

Voice of America has published “a transcript of some of the questions and answers at the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s daily briefing” in which a spokesman is said to have responded to questions from foreign journalists about what had happened.

Hong Lei: I have stressed that China welcomes foreign journalists to report in China and we have also provided convenience to foreign journalists in reporting objectively in China. I think you have been in China for several years and are very clear about this. At the same time I want to stress that foreign journalists should abide by Chinese laws and regulations while reporting in China.

Read Voice of America’s full article here.

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Index: Hungary faces squeeze on freedoms

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Sándor Orbán, the director of the South East European Network for Professionalisation of Media, reports for Index on Censorship on the raft of new laws passed by the ruling Fidesz party and the threat to democracy and media freedom.

The new constitution put an end to liberal democracy in Hungary. It was pushed through the parliament without any public discussion by a populist prime minister, who used his party’s super-majority to rush the legislation, passed in only few weeks last spring.

Hundreds of controversial new laws — including the ones on media — have been passed since the Hungarian Civic Union, Fidesz, came to power in 2010. Their election has led to the elimination of many of the checks and balances in the democratic system.

See the full post on Index at this link.

See Journalism.co.uk’s full coverage of Hungary’s controversial media law reform at this link.

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Pakistan tops another 2011 journalist death toll

January 3rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

Google Maps image of Pakistan

Pakistan has topped another 2011 list of countries ranked by the number of journalist killings, this one recorded by the International Federation of Journalists.

It follows being named the “deadliest country for journalists” in 2011 by the Committee to Protect Journalists in its December report.

The latest toll reported a total of 106 journalist and media worker deaths worldwide last year, in what the IFJ called “another bloody year for media”.

The organisation has written to the secretary general of the UN calling “for effective implementation of international legal instruments to combat the prevailing culture of impunity for crimes against journalists”.

The IFJ report found a total of 11 deaths in Pakistan, the same figure was also reported for Iraq and Mexico.

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Journalists shot dead in Somalia and Russia

December 19th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

Last week it was reported that the founder of independent Russian newspaper Chernovik was killed after being shot at 14 times.

The BBC reports that Gadzhimurat Kamalov “was hit by a hail of bullets” as he left his workplace in Dagestanon in the North Caucasus on Thursday, referred to by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the “most dangerous place for reporters” in Russia.

According to the press freedom group, reporters from the title “have been routinely persecuted for their work”.

“The assassination of Gadzhimurad Kamalov is a massive loss for independent journalism in the North Caucasus, Russia’s most dangerous place for reporters,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Russian authorities must immediately, thoroughly, and effectively investigate this terrible crime and bring Kamalov’s killers to justice.”

This was followed with news over the weekend that a journalist working for a Somali television station was also killed after being shot in Mogadishu.

According to a report by Reuters, Abdisalan Sheikh Hasan “was shot dead in the capital Sunday by a man wearing a government soldier’s uniform, witnesses said”.

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Reporters Without Borders secretary-general to step down in new year

December 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

Press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders announced this week that its secretary-general Jean-François Julliard will step down on 31 January, in order to take up a role as director-general of Greenpeace France.

According to the announcement from RSF, “the organisation’s board of governors is currently looking for a replacement”.

Until they find a successor for Julliard, who was first appointed to the position in 2008, the organisation’s current representative in Brussels, Olivier Basille, will cover the role.

In a statement Julliard said:

I am leaving Reporters Without Borders at a time when it is in good shape. I have been pleased with what we have achieved recently. The development of our cyber-censorship unit and our repositioning as a press freedom NGO in both France and Europe have been important changes for our organisation.

We have just opened a bureau in Tunisia for the first time and we are soon going to reinforce our activities in Libya. I hope that this development at the international level will continue. Reporters Without Borders will have more exciting challenges to face.

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Two-year anniversary of massacre of 30 journalists in Philippines

November 23rd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

Two years ago today 30 journalists and two support workers were killed in the Philippines in the “Maguindanao Massacre”, and what Index on Censorship has described as the “single deadliest event for the media”.

Today, 23 November, also marked the inaugural International Day to End Impunity; last year a Global Day of Action was held to mark the first anniversary of the massacre.

Index on Censorship, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists and English PEN have joined forces with several freedom of expression pressure groups around the world to call for demanding justice for journalists’ murdered in the line of duty.

In a post, Index on Censorship said:

In the past 10 years, more than 500 journalists have been killed. In nine out of 10 cases, the murderers have gone free. Many others targeted for exercising their right to freedom of expression — artists, writers, musicians, activists — join their ranks.

On this day two years ago the single deadliest event for the media took place when 30 journalists and two support workers were brutally killed in Ampatuan, Maguindanao province, The Philippines. The journalists were part of a convoy accompanying supporters of a local politician filing candidacy papers for provincial governor. In total the “Maguindanao Massacre” as it has come to be known, claimed 58 victims. Not one of more than a hundred individuals suspected of involvement in the atrocity has been convicted yet.

We join those in the Philippines not only in honouring their slain colleagues, friends and family members, but demanding justice for them and hundreds more in Russia, Belarus, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Colombia, Iraq and Somalia and other countries where killings of journalists and free expression activists have repeatedly gone unpunished. Above all we demand an end to the cycle violence and impunity.

 

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‘Silencing the messenger is all too often the name of the game': Mark Austin speaks at St Bride’s

The address given by ITV News at Ten presenter Mark Austin at St Bride’s Church yesterday (Wednesday), for the service to commemorate journalists who have died while covering conflicts across the world, has been published online.

He opened by talking about his own recent travels with a cameraman to Mogadishu in Somalia, and the “considerable risk” faced. He said the need to resort to protection from armed men “to watch our backs every step of the way” was a cause of “considerable sadness, and in a sense, guilt”.

Sadness, because of what it says about what has happened to our trade. Where once the neutrality and independence of the media was widely recognised and respected, now it’s clear journalists are being specifically targeted or sought out by those who fear the truth emerging. It’s no longer enough to blame the messenger, it seems. Silencing the messenger is all too often the name of the game now. And guilt because of the glaring inequality that now exists in journalism. I can insist on that security in Somalia, I am insured and have the backup of a large organisation with considerable resources and which makes safety a priority. But by and large the journalists we should be thinking about and honouring tonight have no such protection . They are the local reporters and photographers and freelancers in places like Somalia, who put their lives on the line every single day.

See his full address here.

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Index: Take action to end impunity

November 9th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Politics, Press freedom and ethics

This coming 23 November will be the second anniversary of the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre in the Phillippines, in which 34 journalists were murdered during election related violence in the country.

Last year, on the first anniversary, there was a “global day of action” to commemorate the killings.

This year, the second anniversary will also be the inaugural Day to End Impunity, organised by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.

Index on Censorship is marking the event by revealing on each of the 23 days of November leading up to it the story of a journalist, writer or free expression advocate who was killed in the line of duty and whose case remains unsolved.

Read the first nine:

1 November: Mohammad Ismail
2 November: José Bladimir Antuna Garcían
3 November: Abdul Razzak Johra
4 November: Laurent Bisset
5 November: Carlos Alberto Guajardo Romero
6 November: Wadallah Sarhan
7 November: Ahmed Hussein al-Maliki
8 November: Francisco Castro Menco
9 November: Dilip Mohapatra

Visit Index’s Take Action to End Impunity site at this link.

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