Government lies used to conceal visit by North Korea’s “Dear Leader”

Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the news blackout imposed by the Chinese authorities on a visit by North

Volunteer fire units receive ‘much needed’ funds

Volunteer fire units receive ‘much needed’ funds Latest Stories John Register, president of the Pike County Fire Fighters Association, said the annual appropriation is much needed and much appreciated by

USS Gettysburg Welcomes Aboard US Ambassador to France

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Security forces abduct two journalists in Pakistan’s Sindh province

first_img Kamran Sahito, who works for the Sindh Express newspaper and BOL TV, was kidnapped in similar circumstances on 6 February in Hyderabad, the province’s second largest city. The police repeatedly denied holding him but his father filed a complaint with a Hyderabad court and, on 28 February, a judge ordered the police to produce him within three days.Although his colleagues emphasize his professionalism as a journalist, he is now charged with burglary.“The crude police behaviour and trumped-up charges border on the absurd,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “These reporters are clearly the collateral victims of the relentless harassment of independent journalism in Sindh.” “We call on the government to dispatch an independent commission of enquiry to shed light on these arbitrary arrests. The police must stop serving as the armed wing of private interests, as is so often the case in this province.”Investigative journalists are constantly harassed by the security forces in Sindh, a province still marked by feudalism and tribal conservatism. Jarar’s brother, fellow journalist Nasrullah Jarar, told RSF that his brother’s abduction was a reprisal for his investigative coverage of complaints by local cane sugar producers about their treatment by major landowners with links to provincial politicians.Sahito’s father said he was concerned for his son’s safety and feared that he could be used as an example to intimidate other journalists in the province.Another Sindh Express reporter, Ghulam Rasool Burfat, was reported missing on 5 August. Based in Jamshoro, a city 15 km west of Hyderabad, he is said to have been investigating the province’s separatist movements a little two closely. Four days after his abduction, masked gunmen abducted Badal Nohani, the secretary-general of the Jamshoro Press Club.Despite repeated demonstrations by their families and fellow journalists, the provincial authorities have said nothing about their disappearances.Pakistan is ranked 139th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Receive email alerts Follow the news on Pakistan News January 28, 2021 Find out more April 21, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of two Pakistani journalists held on spurious charges by the police in the southeastern province of Sindh. Both were initially the victims of enforced disappearances before the police eventually acknowledged holding them. to go further ————————————————————————–Update:The journalist Kamran Sahito was finally released on bail on 9 March after being held for more than a month. His release was ordered by courts in Hyderabad and nearby Jamshoro, where he has been the subject of separate police complaints. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hails this decision by the Sindh province authorities and urges them to also free Rafaqat Ali Jarar, a journalist who was arrested in similar circumstances on 15 February.————————————————————————–Rafaqat Ali Jarar, the Daily Koshish correspondent in Tanda Bago, a small town 100 km southeast of Hyderabad, was kidnapped by gunmen on 15 February. It was only on 2 March that the police admitted having him in their custody.He is now charged with terrorism and, according to the Sindh security forces, was part of a group created by India’s counter-intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). However, little is known about this group. Organisation News PakistanAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independence Conflicts of interestJudicial harassmentPredatorsImprisonedDisappearances News Help by sharing this information News Pakistani TV anchor censored after denouncing violence against journalists June 2, 2021 Find out more The Hyderabad police portray Rafaqat Jarar as a “terrorist” during a press conference (right). There are frequent demonstrations in Sindh, including in the provincial capital Karachi (left), in protest against arbitrary behaviour and violence by the security forces (photos: Archives – Asif Hassan / AFP). Pakistani journalist critical of the military wounded by gunfire PakistanAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independence Conflicts of interestJudicial harassmentPredatorsImprisonedDisappearances March 9, 2018 – Updated on August 23, 2019 Security forces abduct two journalists in Pakistan’s Sindh province Pakistani supreme court acquits main suspect in Daniel Pearl murder RSF_en last_img read more

Media, human rights groups call on Turkmenistan to free Nepeskuliev

first_imgDear President Berdimuhamedov,July 7, 2016 marks one year since Saparmamed Nepeskuliev, a freelance journalist who contributed to RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service and Alternative Turkmenistan News, has been in custody. For much of that time he has been in incommunicado detention. We the undersigned, are writing to call for an end to his wrongful imprisonment and urge his prompt release.Prior to his disappearance, Mr. Nepeskuliev reported on economic development, infrastructure, social services, and education in Turkmenistan’s western regions with the aim of informing citizens about challenges facing their communities and of helping them to improve their lives. He went missing in Avaza on July 7, 2015 and, after three weeks, on July 28, his family learned that he was being detained in a prison in Akdash. On August 31, 2015, in closed proceedings, Mr. Nepeskuliev was convicted on fabricated charges of narcotics possession and sentenced to three years in prison by a Turkmenbashi city court.In light of concerns expressed by the UN Human Rights Committee about conditions in detention in Turkmenistan and the risk of ill-treatment including torture (See the Human Rights Committee, CCPR/C/TKM/CO/1, para. 9), we fear for Mr. Nepeskuliev’s health and safety. We have not been able to obtain any information about Mr. Nepeskuliev’s welfare since September 2015. Our concern for Mr. Nepeskuliev is intensified by our recollection of the fate of Ogulsapar Muradova, an RFE/RL contributor who died in a Turkmen prison under suspicious circumstances in September 2006.Mr. Nepeskuliev’s case has been reviewed by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which in December 2015 designated his detention “arbitrary” because he “has been held incommunicado with no access to a legal representative; he was deprived of his right to legal assistance of his own choosing” and he “has been deprived of liberty for having peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” The Working Group called for his release and that he be compensated.Numerous rights groups and NGOs have protested Mr. Nepeskuliev’s detention, and called on EU officials to raise his case during the recent EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue in May.As representatives of our respective organizations and leaders of the international NGO community, Mr. President, we are committed to promoting and protecting the same international conventions and standards guaranteeing international law and human rights that Turkmenistan has pledged to uphold. Mr. Nepeskuliev’s conviction on trumped-up charges and his incommunicado detention are violations of his rights as guaranteed by Turkmenistan’s constitution and its commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkmenistan is a party. We call for his immediate release.Sincerely, Judy Gearhart, Executive Director, International Labor Rights Forum Thomas Kent, President, RFE/RL, Inc. December 18, 2020 Find out more Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director (Research), Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, Amnesty International Saparmamed Nepeskuliev Coronavirus off limits in Turkmenistan March 31, 2020 Find out more Thirteen media and human rights organizations have sent a joint letter to the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, calling for the release of freelance journalist Saparmamed Nepeskuliev. Nepeskuliev, who contributed to both RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service and Alternative Turkmenistan News, has been kept in incommunicado detention since July 7, 2015, when he disappeared while visiting the Caspian Sea resort city of Avaza. Convicted in closed proceedings on fabricated charges of narcotics possession on August 31, 2015, nothing has been heard from or about Nepeskuliev since September 2015. News Thomas Burr, President, National Press Club President of the Republic of Turkmenistan c/o H.E. Meret Orazov, Ambassador Embassy of the Republic of Turkmenistan in the U.S. 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20008 Organisation Receive email alerts Follow the news on Turkmenistan Ruslan Myatiev, Editor, Alternative Turkmenistan News TurkmenistanEurope – Central Asia Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentImprisoned News Delphine Halgand, U.S. Director, Reporters Without Borders Hugh Williamson, Director, Europe and Central Asia Division, Human Rights Watch News #CollateralFreedom: RSF now unblocking 21 sites in 12 countries Four-year jail term for independent website’s correspondent in Turkmenistan Ryota Jonen, Director, World Movement for Democracy Help by sharing this information News RSF_en March 13, 2020 Find out more Robert Herman, PhD, Vice President for International Programs, Freedom House Nina Ognianova, Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists Kate Watters, Executive Director, Crude Accountability Ivar Dale, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Helsinki Committee TurkmenistanEurope – Central Asia Condemning abuses Judicial harassmentImprisoned His Excellency Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov July 6, 2016 Media, human rights groups call on Turkmenistan to free Nepeskuliev Matthew Fischer-Daly, Coordinator, Cotton Campaign to go furtherlast_img read more

Despotic Erdoğan seizes control of leading daily

first_img to go further Help by sharing this information Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit Organisation News March 4, 2016 – Updated on March 8, 2016 Despotic Erdoğan seizes control of leading daily Receive email alerts News April 2, 2021 Find out more Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor TurkeyEurope – Central Asia RSF_en News Follow the news on Turkey News April 2, 2021 Find out more Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law April 28, 2021 Find out more True to form, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today orchestrated an Istanbul court decision to place Zaman, a leading daily newspaper that supports the opposition Gülen movement, under state control.“The Turkish presidential office’s interference in the media has reached a new level,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “It is absolutely illegitimate and intolerable that Erdoğan has used the judicial system to take control of a great newspaper in order to eliminate the Gülen community’s political base.“This ideological and unlawful operation shows how Erdoğan is now moving from authoritarianism to all-out despotism. Not content with throwing journalists in prison for ‘supporting terrorism’ or having them sentenced to pay heavy fines for ‘insulting the ‘head of state,’ he is now going further by taking control of Turkey’s biggest opposition newspaper.” With a print run of more than 600,000, Zaman supports the religious movement led by Fethullah Gülen, who was closely allied with Erdoğan until they fell out in 2012. Since then, the authorities have been suspending the licences of pro-Gülen media outlets and have been bringing charges against their journalists. Turkey is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. TurkeyEurope – Central Asia last_img read more

Government lies used to conceal visit by North Korea’s “Dear Leader”

first_img Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the news blackout imposed by the Chinese authorities on a visit by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, which no Chinese news media has mentioned. One official after another at every level has repeatedly denied that any such visit is taking place.“This is not so much a lack of transparency as an orchestrated state lie to protect the planet’s worst dictator,” the press freedom organisation said. “Are the Chinese authorities ashamed of their troublesome ally.”Kim arrived in China in his armoured train on 10 January. Today (13 January) he is said to be in southern China visiting the city of Shenzhen, the symbol of Chinese capitalism. The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that Kim stayed in the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. All other visitors were asked to leave the hotel, which – according to the receptionists – was full.There are many accounts confirming the visit, despite the denials by Chinese and North Korean diplomats. A Japanese commercial TV station today broadcast footage shot clandestinely that showed Kim outside a luxury hotel in Guangzhou. Agence France-Presse reporters meanwhile confirmed the existence of extraordinary security measures around the hotel. A North Korean diplomat told the Russian news agency Interfax that, “none of our government figures is currently in China.” At a press briefing yesterday, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said: “I know that you are all very interested in knowing (where Kim is) but for the time being I have nothing. Each country has its own way of giving out information.”For “security” reasons, the Chinese government usually does not announce a visit by Kim until he has already returned home. The North Korean media never mention visits by the “Dear Leader” until the day afterwards. ChinaAsia – Pacific Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the news blackout on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il’s visit to China, which began on 10 January. Both the Chinese and North Korean governments have denied the visit is taking place, although a Japanese commercial TV station today broadcast footage of Kim outside his hotel in Guangzhou. Other foreign media have confirmed Kim’s presence in China. ChinaAsia – Pacific News April 27, 2021 Find out more January 13, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government lies used to conceal visit by North Korea’s “Dear Leader” RSF_en Help by sharing this information News News to go further China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison June 2, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on China News Receive email alerts Organisation China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures March 12, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Shooting attack on Salta radio station, Buenos Aires station off the air after break-in

first_img November 19, 2020 Find out more Journalists face archaic sanction of capital punishment in some parts of the world ArgentinaAmericas Shots were fired with a big-calibre firearm at Radio FM Cerrillos, a local station based in San José de los Cerrillos, in the northern province of Salta, on 26 November but no one was injured although it is located in the house where station’s owner and his family live. The unidentified gunmen fled immediately after the shooting.Luisa Tilca, the wife of owner Carlos Villanueva, was hosting the morning programme when three shots were fired at the door to the radio station and one passed within a few centimetres of her. Villanueva’s two sons, aged 17 and 18, were also present at the time of the attack.It was the second attack on the station in three months. Villanueva’s car was sent on fire inside the house’s garage on 24 August, with one of his sons sustaining serious burns in the ensuring blaze.The Villanueva family regards the shooting as a murder attempt but does not know the identity of either the perpetrator or instigator. “None of the radio station’s seven employees has any political or activist links,” Villanueva told Reporters Without Borders.He acknowledged that he had sometimes been very critical of the municipal government and its mayor, Humberto Rubén Corimayo, during the past 14 months but he said he was just exercising the media’s right to inform.After Villanueva reported the “murder attempt” to the police, Salta government Manuel Urtubey expressed his support and promised that all possible resources would be deployed to ensure that the investigation was successful. So far no suspect has been identified. Given the previous case of violence against the station, Reporters Without Borders hopes there will be an active investigation that produces quick results.Meanwhile, FM Nueva Generación, a community radio station in San Martín (in Buenos Aires province), has been off the air since a break-in on 18 November. Unidentified intruders forced the entrance door and removed the transmission equipment without taking anything else, the station’s coordinator, Luis Medina, told Reporters Without Borders. The press freedom organization voices its support for the station and will help it to replace its equipment. RSF_en Organisation July 6, 2020 Find out more Receive email alerts December 1, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Shooting attack on Salta radio station, Buenos Aires station off the air after break-in Follow the news on Argentina to go furthercenter_img ArgentinaAmericas News Latin American media: under control of families, economic and political elites News Help by sharing this information News News On eve of the G20 Riyadh summit, RSF calls for public support to secure the release of jailed journalists in Saudi Arabia December 4, 2019 Find out morelast_img read more

US – RSF joins The Washington Post’s Press Freedom Partnership

first_img WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists Beginning November 2, The Washington Post will launch a new press freedom initiative dedicated to highlighting the work and campaigns of press freedom organizations like RSF in advancing the protection and safety of journalists worldwide. The Post’s readers can learn more about the organizations and their work, as well as view the latest reporting on press freedom issues at www.wapo.st/pressfreedom. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) are also participating in the Press Freedom Partnership.  RSF is honored to expand its partnership with The Washington Post after working with the news outlet on previous projects. These include the campaign to bring home journalist Jason Rezaian after he was unjustly detained for 544 days in Iran while working as The Post’s Tehran Bureau Chief, working with the parents of detained American journalist Austin Tice to secure his safe return from Syria, and the annual launch of RSF’s World Press Freedom Index in 2017 and 2018 at events held at The Post’s Washington, DC office. News News Receive email alerts United StatesAmericas RSF_en Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is thrilled to announce its participation in The Washington Post’s Press Freedom Partnership to promote freedom of the press and raise awareness for the rights of journalists around the world in pursuit of the truth. November 5, 2018 US – RSF joins The Washington Post’s Press Freedom Partnership News June 7, 2021 Find out morecenter_img to go further “Reporters Without Borders is thrilled to take its long-standing partnership with The Washington Post to the next level with this new initiative to regularly highlight our work to defend journalists, bloggers, and the free flow of information online,” said Margaux Ewen, RSF’s North America director. “With press freedom increasingly under threat across the globe and attacks against members of the press on the rise, the Post’s leadership in shining a light on these issues has represented a beacon of hope for those who are risking their lives by simply reporting the news.”RSF looks forward to building its partnership with The Washington Post and like-minded organizations to work towards achieving a safer environment for journalists and media workers around the world. NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say United StatesAmericas Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says Organisation June 3, 2021 Find out more News April 28, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on United Stateslast_img read more

Wave of arrests in run-up to anniversary of uprising

first_img to go further March 19, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Wave of arrests in run-up to anniversary of uprising Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information RSF_en March 8, 2021 Find out more Related documents Arabic versionPDF – 79.2 KB SyriaMiddle East – North Africa News News SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Many people, including journalists and bloggers, were arrested in the run-up to the 15 March anniversary of the Syrian uprising. The lawyer and blogger Rudy Othman was among the new detainees. He was arrested on Hamra Street in Damascus on 15 March for the third time since the start of the protests. The blogger and activist Jamal Al-Omar was arrested at the Lebanese border the same day as he returned from Beirut. The blogger Muhammed Abu Hajar was arrested in the Mediterranean-coast city of Tartus on 14 March because of what he has been writing in his blog “Mazaj.”Ahmad Salal, a journalist who was arrested on 12 February, was meanwhile released yesterday.As already reported, the 12 young people who were arrested on the evening of 7 March in the restaurant Niniar, in the Damascus neighbourhood of Bab Sharqi, included Yara Michel Shammas, 20, an information technology specialist who is the daughter of Michel Shammas, a human rights lawyer active on Facebook, Jehad Jamal, a blogger known by the name of ‘Milan’, who had been released on 29 December after two and a half months in detention, and Etab Labbad, a 20-year-old journalism student who has worked with various newspapers and websites such as Kassioun and Baladna.The authorities are still holding eight of the 16 people who were arrested during a 16 February raid on the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression. They are Mazen Darwish (the head of the centre), Hussein Gharer, Hani Zetani, Joan Farso, Bassam Al-Ahmad, Mansour Al-Omari, Abdelrahman Hamada and Ayham Ghazzoul. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for their release. The latest member of the original 16 to be freed was Shady Yazbek, on 12 March.There is still no news of two Turkish journalists – Adem Özköse, a reporter for the magazine Gerçek Hayat and the daily Milat, and cameraman Hamit Coşkun – who were abducted by Shabiha militiamen near the northwestern city of Idlib on 10 March and then handed over to members of the Syrian intelligence services. Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists Follow the news on Syria News March 12, 2021 Find out more News February 3, 2021 Find out more Organisation last_img read more

Mix of hope and resignation about the return of independent press

first_img News Follow the news on Zimbabwe to go further The Zimbabwean press was still one of the most vigorous in Africa at the start of the past decade. The public read the newspapers avidly every day, especially The Daily News. Privately-owned and run by experienced journalists, it was known for its independence and its serious, reliable reporting. “It was a vibrant newspaper and when it came on the market, it was a sell-out almost every day,” said Annie Musemburi-Musodza, who used to be former editor Geoffrey Nyarota’s assistant. “It sold more copies than The Herald, the state-owned daily.”But President Robert Mugabe, who has been on the Reporters Without Borders list of “Predators of Press Freedom” for years, had the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) passed in 2002. It banned foreign investment in Zimbabwe’s media with the sole aim of killing off The Daily News, one of whose shareholders was Scottish. It was followed on 6 August 2007 by the Interception of Communications Act, which made it easier for the political and police apparatus to give free rein to its paranoia by allowing the authorities to monitor email messages and mobile phone calls without having to seek court permission.This repressive legislation, enabling close surveillance of journalists and constant control of the press, is one of the biggest obstacles to media development in Zimbabwe, an obstacle that the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) is determined to combat. By means of its Media Law Reform Project, this NGO coalition is trying to get parliamentarians to completely overhaul the press laws. It also wants to get “freedom of the media” added to freedom of information in the Zimbabwean constitution.When Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai reiterated his government’s priorities at the end of March, the presentation of a Freedom of Information Bill (to replace the AIPPA) and a Media Practitioners Bill to parliament were mentioned prominently. The 21 March issue of The Standard, an independent weekly, said the government hoped to complete these reforms by the end of the year. Zimbabwe Media Council and return of independent pressThe Zimbabwe Media Council (ZMC), which has replaced the Media and Information Commission (MIC), is supposed to issue newspapers with licences and thereby open the way for the independent press to re-emerge. The promise has hung in the air for months without materialising. “Let’s be clear about this,” said lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa. “The ZMC is there to save the media. It should be doing its job”Created in 2009, the ZMC did not officially get under way until its inaugural meeting on 18 March 2010. It was only after months of prevarication and negotiations between Zanu-PF, President Mugabe’s party, and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s party, that the ZMC’s nine commissioners were named. They are Godfrey Majonga (chairman), Nqobile Nyathi (deputy chairperson), Chris Mutsvangwa, Matthew Takaona, Chris Mhike, Henry Muradzikwa, Lawton Hikwa, Miriam Madziwa and Millicent Mombeshora.They are the ones whose job it is to receive and examine the applications submitted by news media. At a meeting with the editors of all of Zimbabwe’s newspapers at the start of March, no less a person than the president asked the ZMC to begin to work, fulfil its role and create a space for the media. The prime minister, for his part, insisted that nothing is tying the hands of the ZMC’s commissioners. Nonetheless, nothing is happening and it looks as though the ZMC is playing for time.Reporters Without Borders hoped to meet with the ZMC’s chairman, Godfrey Majonga, during its visit. Several requests for an interview were made, but without success. At first, Majonga insisted that he had nothing to add to what was said at the 18 March inaugural meeting. Then he said he could not give an interview on his own as the ZMC was a collective commission. “He has held the position for only seven days,” the deputy media and information minister, Timba, said. “Give him a bit of time.”Jethro Goko, the head of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the company that owns The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, pointed out that it obtained favourable high court ruling in 2006. “We are ready,” he said. “We are just waiting for the ZMC to give us our licence but we will not reapply because a ruling confirmed four years ago shows we have everything in order. The ANZ does not have a lot of resources but we are dedicated to providing the Zimbabwean people with credible quality newspapers.”Another privately-owned daily, NewsDay, decided not to wait for its licence in order to start working. When the newspaper threatened to begin publishing without a licence in 2009, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of media and information, George Charamba, warned that its journalists would be arrested. NewsDay has gone ahead and hired journalists, who are currently producing a four-page insert that is distributed inside the weeklies The Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent. Government control of state media, persecution of independent mediaMeanwhile, until the ZMC starts issuing licences, the media landscape continues to be dormant and subject to heavy government control.In the state-owned media, for example, the hands of the journalists are tied by their editors, who take their orders from the government. Amid a constant fear of unfair dismissal, self-censorship is widespread. Six journalists employed by the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) were fired in 2008 for allegedly not giving President Mugabe enough coverage during the election campaign.ZBC’s management took radio presenter Godfrey Gweje off the air in March 2010 for making “subversive political comments” after he criticised the low pay (189 US dollars a month) received by civil servants, then on strike for better pay. The previous week, Wellington Toni was fired as the Sunday News sports editor for referring on a website to corrupt practices in the regional state-owned weekly The Chronicle.“We cannot express our opinions,” a state media representative told Reporters Without Borders on condition of anonymity. “We are men, with weaknesses, and we are afraid.”Freelance journalists and those working for the privately-owned weeklies are often harassed or threatened. Constantine Chimakure and Vincent Kahiya of the Zimbabwe Independent, for example were arrested together in May 2009 and were subsequently the target of judicial proceedings for a year before charges were finally dropped.Freelance journalist Stanley Gama was summoned to Harare central police station on 30 March, just two days after communication minister Webster Shamu said the harassment of journalists should stop, and was questioned by Chief Superintendent Chrispen Makedenge about his sources for a story in the Zimbabwe edition of South Africa’s Sunday Times about a cabinet minister’s alleged corrupt practices.Two months before that, on 15 January, Makedenge made a death threat against freelance journalist Stanley Kwenda over one of his articles for the privately-owned newspaper The Zimbabwean. Makedenge, who has been implicated in the abduction of journalists and MDC members, told Kwenda: “You are not going to last this weekend.” Kwenda fled the country.Nick Maunze, an official in the Zimbabwean government’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), publicly threatened Godfrey Mutimba, The Standard’s correspondent in the south-eastern province of Masvingo, in March. “You must be careful young man, very, very careful because I will reduce you to nothing,” he told Mutimba. “I do not care what your papers write about me; they are useless and will not change anything. What I need to tell you and your other reporters is that you should know that I have dealt with even bigger fish which had thick heads.” Referring to opposition activist Job Sikhala, Maunze added: “I am the one who forced Sikhala to drink urine when he was arrested and it is not hard for me at all to deal with an even smaller fish and useless reporters like you. What will you do to me?”These are just a few examples of the threats and harassment to which Zimbabwean journalists are routinely subjected.Hounded news photographer Shadreck Anderson ManyereKidnapped in December 2008, freelance news photographer Shadreck Anderson Manyere, was subjected to an ordeal comparable to what was inflicted on leading journalist and human rights activist Jestina Mukoko during his next four months in detention. Charged with banditry, sabotage and terrorism, he was held in appalling conditions, brutally interrogated and tortured.In the year since his release on 18 April 2009, he has had to report to a police station in the capital under pain of being arrested again. This is a major handicap for a freelancer as it means he cannot accept a job in the provinces.At the same time, Manyere is hounded whenever he works in the capital. He was arrested while covering a demonstration by members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) on 18 January 2010 and then released without charge. On 24 February, he was forced to delete his photos of a demonstration by pro-Zanu-PF activists against western government sanctions against party leaders including President Mugabe. He was arrested at a Harare court on 1 March for taking pictures of detainees as they arrived to face charges of plotting against the government. Told he did not have permission, he was taken to the central police station. He was released the next day after paying a 20-dollar fine but his camera was confiscated. Manyere told Reporters Without Borders: “Whenever I cover a demonstration or an event, the police ask me: ‘Are you working for The Herald or for ZBC?’ As soon as I reply that I am a freelancer, they try to confiscate my camera and they often take me to a police station.”“They are after him, that’s obvious,” lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said. “They want to push him to the limit and force him to give up his profession.”Three years of silence about cameraman Edward Chikomba’s deathOn 23 March, the last day of Reporters Without Borders’ visit, the police raided a Harare art gallery and removed more than 60 photos that had been put on display by the human rights group ZimRights. Most of the photos were taken in the run-up to the 2008 elections and showed the use of violence to disperse demonstrations. They also showed the current prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, with his face swollen from being beaten while in detention.Freelance cameraman Edward Chikomba, a former employee of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), was one of the people who took the photos of Tsvangirai. He was found dead in Darwendale (60 km west of Harare) on 31 March 2007, two days after being kidnapped by four men suspected of being intelligence officials. They went to his home in Glen View, a high density suburb of Harare, and forced him to get into their four-wheel-drive vehicle at gunpoint.Chikomba was accused of selling his footage of Tsvangirai to foreign news media. Since leaving the production team of “Vision 30,” broadcast by ZBC until 2001, Chikomba had been making documentaries independently for individuals or news media. According to his wife, who witnessed his abduction, Chikomba knew he was in danger. “I am dead,” he said, when he saw the four men arrive outside their house. No proper, independent investigation has ever been carried out into his death.Given the current state of the Zimbabwean media and the urgent need to restore press freedom, Reporters Without Borders makes the following recommendations:- To the Zimbabwean government: Put a stop to the frequent police violence against journalists, quickly foster a climate more favourable to free expression for privately-owned independent newspapers, and open up broadcasting, currently monopolised by ZBC. The two parties, Zanu-PF and MDC, must work in a more determined and concerted fashion. It is time to pass from words to action.- To the Zimbabwe Media Council: Immediately issue licences to newspapers that request them and conduct itself in a more transparent manner by ceasing to be uncommunicative about its activities, which are not known to the public.- To the international community (SADC, African Union, European Union, UN and bilateral aid agencies): Put more pressure on Zimbabwe to ensure that opening up the media sector is one of the reform timetable’s priorities.- To South African President Jacob Zuma (as the person mandated by the SADC to ensure full implementation of the Global Political Agreement, a power-sharing agreement between Zanu-PF and MDC): Be firmer with President Mugabe and Zanu-PF. By not cooperating fully with the MDC, President Mugabe and his party are the source of several obstacles to implementation of the power-sharing agreement and are thereby preventing Zimbabwe from advancing with determination down the road of democratisation.- To Zimbabwean journalists: Try to avoid the very marked polarisation of political life by not taking a pro-Zanu-PF or pro-MDC position and by respecting the principles of neutrality and objectivity in order to provide the Zimbabwean people with better reporting. RSF_en Help by sharing this information November 12, 2020 Find out more ZimbabweAfrica News May 11, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Mix of hope and resignation about the return of independent press Reports Receive email alertscenter_img ZimbabweAfrica November 27, 2020 Find out more Fed up with years of inactivity because of forced closures and still waiting for their newspapers to be given licences to start working again, Zimbabwe’s independent media journalists are drifting in limbo – between hope and resignation – Reporters Without Borders found during a fact-finding visit to Harare from 20 to 23 March, its first trip to Zimbabwe after years of being denied visas. “The Zimbabwean press has endured enough repression in recent years,” Reporters Without Borders said, pointing out that Zimbabwe is ranked 136th out of 175 countries in its press freedom index. “It is time for the government of national unity to demonstrate its will to reform press legislation and liberate the country’s media. There have been enough statements. We urge the Zimbabwe Media Council to quickly grant licences to the media that request them.”During the visit to Harare, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk met Jameson Timba, who is the deputy minister of media and information and an adviser to the prime minister, human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, photojournalist Shadreck Anderson Manyere and members of the management and staff of The Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard, NewsDay, The Financial Gazette and the defunct Daily News.Reporters Without Borders also met a foreign press correspondent, a state media representative, and representatives of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Zimbabwean Chapter (Misa-Zimbabwe), the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights (ZJHR) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). Reporters Without Borders regrets being unable to meet the head of the Zimbabwe Media Council (ZMC), who did not want to give an interview. September 1, 2020 Find out more Organisation Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono denied bail The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa Iniquitous laws News Zimbabwean court must free imprisoned journalist who is unwelllast_img read more

Reporters Without Borders appeals to religious chiefs to help save kidnapped French journalists

first_img Reporters Without Borders expressed “extreme concern” today at a threat to kill two kidnapped French journalists and called on the country’s top religious authorities – the Sunni Committee of Muslim Ulemas and the Shiite leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani – to help free them.The so-called Islamic Army of Iraq, which last week executed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, said on 28 August it would kill reporters Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot if the French government did not end its ban on Muslim headscarves in schools within 48 hours.The group’s video demand was broadcast by the pan-Arab TV station Al-Jazeera. The film showed the two reporters, who said they were both in good health.The worldwide press freedom organisation said it was “deeply shocked that journalists, who are protected civilians under the terms of the Geneva Conventions, are being used in this kind of blackmail.”Chesnot, a freelance with Radio France Internationale and Radio France, and Malbrunot, a senior reporter with the dailies Le Figaro and Ouest France, disappeared on 20 August. Baldoni, of the Italian daily Diario della Settimana, was killed when Italy refused the kidnappers’ demands that Italy withdraw its troops from Iraq. February 15, 2021 Find out more News December 16, 2020 Find out more News Members of the Islamic Army of Iraq threatened to execute kidnapped French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot. Reporters Without Borders expressed extreme concern and called for their release. News Follow the news on Iraq RSF_en Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan IraqMiddle East – North Africa to go further News Organisation Help by sharing this information December 28, 2020 Find out more RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” IraqMiddle East – North Africa Receive email alerts August 29, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Reporters Without Borders appeals to religious chiefs to help save kidnapped French journalistslast_img read more

Presidential pardon only hope for cyber-dissident Zouhair Yahyaoui

first_imgNews TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa RSF_en November 11, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Tunisia December 26, 2019 Find out more Help by sharing this information Eleven organizations from civil society create the Forum on Information & Democracy, a structural response to information disorder Tunisia : RSF asks Tunisian president’s office to respect journalists to go furthercenter_img News Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” Organisation News Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders today called on President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to grant a swift pardon to jailed cyber-dissident Zouhair Yahyaoui, who is in a very weak condition after staging a series of hunger strikes.The organisation issued its appeal after the Tunis court of cassation on 12 July rejected a request by Yahyaoui’s lawyer for it to overturn his conviction. The court is the country’s highest appeal court, and its ruling means that Yahyaoui has exhausted all possible means of legal recourse.”We condemn the hard line taken by the Tunisian judiciary with this cyber-dissident, whose only crime is to have dared to denounce President Ben Ali’s totalitarian regime,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said.Yahyaoui was arrested on 4 June 2002 and was sentenced on 10 July 2002 to two years in prison for allegedly circulating false news and making fraudulent use of Internet connections. Last month he was awarded the first Reporters Without Borders cyber-freedom prize. News July 16, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Presidential pardon only hope for cyber-dissident Zouhair Yahyaoui November 12, 2019 Find out morelast_img read more