Tag Archives: Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders interviews Sakharov prize winner

Last week Journalism.co.uk reported that journalist and Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas had been awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov human rights prize for 2010. In his battle against violations of free speech Fariñas has carried out more than 20 hunger strikes, according to the European Parliament, including a four month strike which ended in July this year.

Today Reporters Without Borders published an interview with Fariñas, with his responses translated into English, where he discusses his feelings on being awarded the prize, the current situation in Cuba and the challenges for independent journalists in the country.

We have no Internet. We have no Internet connection. Most of the Cuban population does not have an Internet connection either. But, for example, I have ten memory cards and everything we write, I give it to a university academic. And this academic circulates the memory cards throughout the university and people fill them up, they fill them up. As a result, people are beginning to think, and that is important. But thanks to universities that have Internet access, such as Havana University, when you travel by train or car or bus, suddenly people tell you, “I know you,” or “I liked that article by you” or “I have it here.” It is incredible. Because technology undermines dictatorships.

Iranian blogger jailed for 19 years

An Iranian journalist and blogger has been sentenced to almost 20 years in prison and a five-year ban on working in politics or journalism upon his release, after being accused of managing an “obscene website” by Iranian authorities.

Hossein Derakhshan, who has dual citizenship in Iran and Canada and reportedly previously studied in London, was convicted yesterday of “collaborating with hostile governments, committing blasphemy and propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and managing an obscene website”, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

Reporting on the ruling, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said the sentence was the longest to have ever been made against a blogger in the country.

He is the victim of political rivalry within the government and the case against him was fabricated. We urge President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to intercede personally in order to obtain his release without delay.

Derakhshan defended the Islamic Revolution’s principles, supported Ahmadinejad’s policies and returned to Iran from Canada after being assured by people close to the president that he would not be arrested. Canada and the rest of the international community must press for this harsh sentence to be quashed and for Derakhshan to be freed at once.

Derakhshan can appeal the decision, according to reports. A petition has been launched calling for his release.

Press freedom group reaffirms support for WikiLeaks after criticisms

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has “reaffirmed” its support for WikiLeaks, following their publication of an open letter to the whisteblowing site accusing it of being irresponsible in its publication of the Afghanistan war logs.

RSF says its criticisms of the way the material was made public do not mean it supports any kind of censorship of the group, an “unfair accusation” it claims has been made by online papers reporting the story.

We reaffirm our support for WikiLeaks, its work and its founding principles. It is thanks in large part to WikiLeaks that the world has seen the failures of the wars waged by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan (…) A media is responsible for what it publishes or disseminates. To remind it of that is not to wish its disappearance. Quite the contrary.

See their full post here…

Afghanistan government criticised for closing down TV station

Press freedom groups have condemned a decision by the Afghan government to close down privately-owned TV station Emroz.

According to a BBC report, the government closed down the station which is owned by MP Najibulla Kabuli for allegedly fueling religious tensions.

The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the government to put the station back on air while Reporters Without Borders added that the move breaks media law.

The government must not under any circumstances violate the media law, which gives the media commission sole decision-making authority when a media commits an offence. We call on the government to rescind these decisions and never interfere in the content of Afghan TV stations again.

See the RWB full post here…

Three of four kidnapped journalists freed in Mexico

Three journalists thought to have been kidnapped in Mexico have been freed according to national reports, while one remains missing.

Journalism.co.uk reported on industry calls for the safe release of four journalists who went missing on Monday after covering a demonstration taking place outside a prison.

Police have now reportedly announced that two cameramen, Javier Canales and Alejandro Hernandez, were freed over the weekend while another journalist, Hector Gordoa, was freed on Friday. It remains unclear whether the three men were released by their captors or rescued by security forces.

Reporters Without Borders said the country is one of the deadliest in the world for journalists.

We are very relieved to learn to learn that cameramen Jaime Canales of TV Milenio and Alejandro Hernández of Televisa have been freed and our thoughts are with reporter Oscar Solís of El Vespertino, who is still being held. The war between the drug cartels and the authorities is wreaking havoc in Mexico and journalists are being targeted with increasing frequency. Those responsible for killing journalists take advantage of the prevailing impunity, which is fuelling the violence.

A total of 67 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000 and 11 have gone missing since 2003. In the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Mexico was ranked 137th out of 175 countries.

Marking the World Day Against Cyber Censorship

“Against the enemies of the internet”  – this is the short but incisive message for today’s World Day Against Cyber Censorship, organised by press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Jean-Francois Julliard, secretary-general of RSF, explains the day in this video:

To mark the day, RSF has published an article, ‘Web 2.0 versus Control 2.0’, emphasising the idea of the internet as a force for democracy and freedom.

The fight for free access to information is being played out to an ever greater extent on the Internet. The emerging general trend is that a growing number of countries are attempting to tighten their control of the net, but at the same time, increasingly inventive ‘netizens’ demonstrate mutual solidarity by mobilizing when necessary.

Last night RSF, with support from Google, awarded the inaugural Netizen Prize to the Iranian creators of website Change for Equality, “a well-known source of information on women’s rights in Iran […] and rallying point for opponents of the regime.”

RSF creates centre of operations for Haitian journalists

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is to set up a centre of operations for Haitian journalists in Port-au-Prince with the aim of enabling them “to cover the situation and thereby assist the process of providing assistance to the population”.

[T]he centre will be equipped with laptops, mobile phones and generators provided by the leading Canadian media group Quebecor, Reporters Without Borders’ partner in this initiative.


The creation of this centre of operations will be followed by reconstruction assistance – again in partnership with Quebecor – for Haiti’s media, which are virtually all currently unable to function. This will be one of the targets of the donations raised by the appeal already issued by Reporters Without Borders.

Full story at this link…

RSF: Journalist sentenced to 60 lashes in Saudi Arabia – for link to TV programme about sex

[Update from the AP: The Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, has now waived the flogging sentence, ‘the second such pardoning of such a high profile case by the monarch in recent years’. Full article at this link…]

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released a statement condemning the sentence of 60 lashes passed by a judge in Jeddah, on journalist Rozanna al-Yami, ‘because she worked for the Lebanese Broadcast Corporation (LBC), a satellite TV station that shocked conservative Saudis last July by broadcasting an interview with a Saudi man talking openly about his sex life’.

It is understood that the judge dropped the charges that she had directly worked on the programme, but imposed a sentence nonetheless.

RSF release at this link…

More from the Associated Press at this link.

RSF: Lindhout and Brennan still captive in Somalia 12 months on

From Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a reminder of the anniversary of the abduction of Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan in Somalia.

“We are very worried about these two hostages, given the length of their ordeal and the extreme dangers prevailing in Somalia.” Reporters Without Borders said. “We reiterate our support for their families and we hope they will be released without delay.”

Full story at this link…

The @press_freedom timeline – tracking threats to journalism around the globe

In December, Journalism.co.uk launched a page, and subsequently a Twitter service (@press_freedom), to track violations of freedom of expression around the world.

This week we’ve added a few more sources to the Dipity timeline. Headlines from the Index on Censorship, Global Voices Online and Global Voices Advocacy and the International Journalists’ Network will now be included, along with those from the original organisations – Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, the Frontline Blog, and ourselves.

Visit the page here: http://www.journalism.co.uk/5/articles/533032.php and please re-tweet it to raise awareness for the ill-treatment of fellow journalists and bloggers around the world, prevented from doing their job. Finally please do get in touch with suggestions for the page, or potential stories for Journalism.co.uk: judith at journalism.co.uk or laura at journalism.co.uk.

Recent press freedom updates: