Authorities free journalist who criticised religious extremism

first_img NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say April 28, 2021 Find out more Saudi ArabiaMiddle East – North Africa to go further Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders has noted the release on 18 April of Rabah Al-Quwai, who writes for the Saudi daily newspapers Okaz and Chams and the Arabic-language websites Dar el-Nadwa and Gasad al-Thaqafa. He was arrested on 2 April for criticising religious extremism in Saudi Arabia on the Internet.————————————————————————–13.04.2006 Saudi journalist arrested for criticising religious extremism in his countryReporters Without Borders today condemned the detention of Rabah Al-Quwai, who writes for the Saudi daily newspapers Okaz and Chams and the Arabic-language websites Dar el-Nadwa and Gasad al-Thaqafa. He has been held at a police station in the northern city of Hail since 2 April, apparently for criticising religious extremism in Saudi Arabia.“The arrest of a journalist for expressing his views on the Internet is simply unacceptable,” the press freedom organisation said. “We also deplore the lack of transparency in this case. No one knows what he has been charged with. He has not been allowed to receive a visit from a lawyer or his family although he has been held for more than a week.”Reporters Without Borders added: “We appeal to King Abdullah to intervene and have this journalist released. The time has come for him to show that he is sincere in his pledges to carry out reforms in the kingdom.”Reached by a family member at the time of his arrest, Al-Quwai said the police were “investigating the beliefs he had expressed in his writing.” The Saudi authorities have confirmed his arrest and have said he will be tried. But they have not said what the charges are.Al-Quwai received death threats last November over website articles that were considered too liberal. He wrote that Islam was interpreted in too strict a fashion in Saudi Arabia and that this had contributed to Al-Qaeda’s popularity there. Someone smashed the windscreen of his car, leaving a note saying: “Next time it will be you.” The police never investigated this incident. April 20, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Authorities free journalist who criticised religious extremism Help by sharing this information News RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance March 9, 2021 Find out morecenter_img News RSF_en Saudi ArabiaMiddle East – North Africa News Organisation Saudi media silent on RSF complaint against MBS News Follow the news on Saudi Arabia June 8, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Journalist flees South Africa after police beatings over lockdown reporting

first_img News Help by sharing this information Twitter arbitrarily blocks South African newsweekly and several reporters over Covid vaccine story South AfricaAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Covid19Judicial harassmentViolence November 27, 2020 Find out more RSF_en South AfricaAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Covid19Judicial harassmentViolence This is the first time in post-apartheid South Africa that a journalist has fled the country with the intention of seeking asylum as a result of reprisals in connection with their reporting. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the South African authorities to guarantee the freedom and safety of journalists covering the coronavirus epidemic and to punish all those responsible for abuses against reporters, including the newspaper editor who fled to Lesotho last week after repeated police beatings. Nthoba was initially punched and kicked by police while covering the operation in a Ficksburg township on 15 May. He told RSF that he went to Ficksburg police station the same day to file a complaint, but was punched and kicked again and was detained for several hours. “They promised to deal with me once I’m released,” he said. He reported the violence to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, which polices the police, but was given no protection. May 27, 2020 Journalist flees South Africa after police beatings over lockdown reporting Instead, he was charged with violating lockdown regulations and is facing up to six months in prison under the Disaster Management Act, as amended in April to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. His trial is scheduled for 27 August. News In Eswatini, a small enclaved nation between South Africa and Mozambique that is Africa’s only remaining absolute monarchy, Eugene Dube, the editor of Swati Newsweek website, was also forced to flee abroad last month after publishing articles criticizing the king and his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. South Africa is ranked 31st out of 180 countries and territories in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. center_img Follow the news on South Africa Organisation Reports Receive email alerts The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa The editor of the Mohokare News community newspaper in Ficksburg, a town on the border with Lesotho, Paul Nthoba fled across the border into this small enclaved nation on 19 May, four days after being repeatedly assaulted by Ficksburg police in connection with his coverage of a lockdown enforcement operation. February 4, 2021 Find out more “It is unthinkable in the South Africa of 2020 that a journalist should have to flee the country for covering a simple lockdown operation,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk.  “The police cannot act with complete impunity on the grounds that they are enforcing the lockdown. And you mustn’t target the wrong enemy. Paul Nthoba committed no crime. The authorities must ensure that this journalist is able to return and resume working in complete freedom and safety. The charges against him must be dropped and those responsible for assaulting him must be punished.” Le directeur du journal communautaire sud-africain Mohokare News Paul Nthoba. News On eve of the G20 Riyadh summit, RSF calls for public support to secure the release of jailed journalists in Saudi Arabia Rubber bullets were fired at News24 reporter Azarrah Karrim while she was covering a lockdown enforcement operation in Johannesburg on the first day of the nationwide lockdown in South Africa, the sub-Saharan country with the highest coronavirus death toll (481 on 26 May). The emergency measures it has adopted include the possibility of up to six months in prison for disseminating “false information” about the epidemic. to go further November 19, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Ailing Cameroonian journalist must be freed before it is too late

first_imgNews RSF_en News April 23, 2021 Find out more CameroonAfrica Condemning abuses ImprisonedJudicial harassment Cameroonian reporter jailed since August, abandoned by justice system CameroonAfrica Condemning abuses ImprisonedJudicial harassment News News Follow the news on Cameroon Receive email alerts Case against Amadou Vamoulké baseless, French lawyers tell Cameroon court to go further Help by sharing this information November 20, 2019 Ailing Cameroonian journalist must be freed before it is too late Held for the past three years and three months in Yaoundé’s Kondengui prison on an unsubstantiated charge of misusing state funds to benefit CRTV, Vamoulké is due to appear before Cameroon’s Special Criminal Court (TCS) for the 24th time today. At tomorrow’s hearing, the court is expected to rule on his lawyer’s request for his provisional release on the grounds of the extremely worrying deterioration in his health, which RSF saw for itself when it visited him in Kondengui prison. Vamoulké told RSF that he has “pains in both feet that keep him awake at night” and that he has received no treatment for the neuropathy, a condition affecting the peripheral nerves, that was diagnosed in September.RSF has copies of the two medical reports issued in September, one by Yaoundé’s central hospital and the other by the American Hospital of Paris, that describe his neuropathy as “severe” and say he needs tests and treatment that are not available in Cameroon.“In the absence of appropriate medical care, this journalist is reduced to treating himself with vitamins that he buys with his own money after reading online that they could help to relieve his pain, said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. The authorities must free Amadou Vamoulké before it is too late. If the denial of medical care continues, he could lose the use of his legs. Regardless of the substance of the case, which has dragged on for years in the absence of evidence, the court has at the very least an obligation not to put this eminent journalist’s life in danger. His medical evacuation is a moral obligation.”On 12 November, RSF used an emergency procedure to refer his case to the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, enclosing copies of the two medical reports.In September, RSF referred Vamoulké’s detention to two special rapporteurs at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights – the special rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information and the special rapporteur on prisons and conditions of detention.CRTV’s director-general from 2005 to 2016, Vamoulké was arrested in July 2016 on a charge of misusing several millions of euros in state funds, not for personal ends but with the sole aim of benefitting CRTV. No evidence to support this charge has been produced at any of the 23 trial hearings so far held.Vamoulké was the only African journalist nominated for this year’s RSF Press Freedom Prize. A staunch campaigner for the decriminalization of press offences in Cameroon and for opening up broadcasting to the private sector for the sake of diversity, Vamoulké was the first president of the Union of Cameroonian Journalists.Cameroon is ranked 131st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. Cameroonian journalist Paul Chouta sentenced and fined in defamation case May 31, 2021 Find out more May 19, 2021 Find out more After visiting Amadou Vamoulké, the detained former director-general of Cameroon’s state-owned radio and TV broadcaster, CRTV, in prison, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed by the continuing decline in his state of health and calls for him to be medevacked to receive the specialized hospital care he badly needs. Organisation last_img read more

Government wants to ban Internet users from discussing the news

first_img Three more independent reporters arrested in Vietnam April 7, 2021 Find out more RSF_en Vietnam sentences journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu to eight years in prison News Reporters Without Borders regards a new law on blogs and social networks – announced on July 31st and due to take effect in september – as a gross violation of the right to inform and be informed.Known as Decree 72, the law restricts the use of blogs and social networks to “providing or exchanging personal information” and bans using them to share information from news sources.“The announced decree is nothing less than the harshest offensive against freedom of information since Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decree imposing tough sanctions on the media in 2011,” Reporters Without Borders said. “If it takes effect, Vietnamese will be permanently deprived of the independent and outspoken information that normally circulates in blogs and forums. “The decree is both nonsensical and extremely dangerous. Its implementation will require massive and constant government surveillance of the entire Internet, an almost impossible challenge. But, at the same time, it will reinforce the legislative arsenal available to the authorities.They will no longer have to charge independent news providers with ‘anti-government propaganda’ or ‘trying to overthrow the government.’ Instead, they will just have to set a few examples under the new law in order to get the others to censor themselves. This decree’s barely veiled goal is to keep the Communist Party in power at all costs by turning news and information into a state monopoly.“If Decree 72 is implemented, we urge the entire international community to condemn Vietnam severely and to consider imposing economic sanctions, especially on the tourism sector, to which the government pays a great deal of attention. Sanctions on tourism are the most likely way to get a reaction from the authorities.Reporters Without Borders added: “Vietnam’s exclusion from the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership negotiations should also be considered. Everything possible must be done to prevent the creation of a new information black hole.”Until now, blogs and social networks have been important sources of news and information for Vietnamese Internet users, and an effective way of bypassing censorship. But Prime Minister Dung announced that they could henceforth be used only to “provide or exchange personal information.”The news website VNExpress quoted Hoang Vinh Bao, the head of the Broadcast and Electronic Information Department, as saying the new decree would mean that “individuals should not quote or share information from press agencies or websites of government agencies.”The decree’s announcement came just days after Vietnam decided to be a candidate for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for 2014-2016. Reporters Without Borders points out that Article 9 of the General Assembly resolution creating the council – Resolution 60/251 of 3 April 2006 – states that “members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.” Vietnam falls far short of the highest standards and persecutes bloggers and netizens. Reporters Without Borders recently launched a petition for the release of the 35 cyber-dissidents currently jailed in Vietnam, which is now second only to China in the number of news providers it is detaining.Just a few months before his reelection as prime minister in 2011, Dung signed “Media Decree 2/2011/ND-CP” on the sanctions that could be imposed on journalists and media without reference to the courts.It provided for fines of 1 to 4 million dongs (35-140 euros) for information about national or international developments that were not “honest” or “in accordance with the interests of the country and people.” It also banned bloggers from using pen-names and said journalists could be fined if they failed to identify the sources of their information.Ranked 172nd out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Vietnam also featured in the special “Enemies of the Internet” report on surveillance that Reporters Without Borders released on 12 March, World Day Against Cyber-Censorship.The Netizen Prize that Reporters Without Borders awarded on 12 March went to the blogger Huynh Ngoc Chenh for his commitment to freedom of information in Vietnam.You too can demand the release of the 35 bloggers by signing this petition. News to go further Receive email alerts Organisation RSF laureates support jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trangcenter_img VietnamAsia – Pacific Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Vietnam News VietnamAsia – Pacific April 22, 2021 Find out more August 2, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government wants to ban Internet users from discussing the news News April 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Government could make RCTV unavailable by cable on 1 August

first_img VenezuelaAmericas June 15, 2020 Find out more Seven weeks after RCTV was forced off the air by the Chávez government’s refusal to renew its terrestrial broadcast licence, the station is to resume transmission by cable and satellite to paying subscribers on 16 July. Nonetheless, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for RCTV to be allowed to go back to free terrestrial broadcasting August 25, 2020 Find out more VenezuelaAmericas July 27, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Government could make RCTV unavailable by cable on 1 August Organisation Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives News Follow the news on Venezuela Ten days after the embattled Venezuelan broadcaster RCTV, now called RCTV Internacional, resumed broadcasting via cable and satellite on 16 July, a new threat emerged yesterday that could result in its being removed from cable service distribution by 1 August. The government stripped RCTV of its terrestrial broadcast licence on 27 May. Mario Seijas, the president of the Venezuelan Chamber of Subscription Television, yesterday said RCTV Internacional had five days to register as a national broadcaster under a provision of the National Commission for Telecommunications (Conatel) that was introduced by the Radio and TV Social Responsibility Law of 2004.This provision in theory requires any broadcaster operating in Venezuela to be formally registered as a “national broadcasting producer.” The authorities have said that if RCTV Internacional does not comply, its programming will cease to be available by cable on 1 August.RCTV Internacional responded with a statement disputing that it has to register as a national broadcaster. Legally, it said, RCTV Internacional is “an international TV station producing programmes to be broadcast worldwide, just like Telesur, Warner, HBO, Sony, History Channel, Sunchannel, E ! Entertainment Television and A&E Mundo.” The stations cited are all available by cable in Venezuela.Currently available by cable and satellite in Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago and part of the Netherlands Antilles, RCTV Internacional is going after international Spanish-speaking viewers, not only in Latin America but also in the United States and Europe.RCTV said in its statement that it was seeking the same treatment as Telesur regarding the system of “cadenas,” in which privately-owned broadcasters are required to simultaneously retransmit the president’s speeches and other government messages when they are broadcast by the state media. A public TV station which gets most of its funding from the Venezuelan government and which broadcasts terrestrially and by cable, Telesur has been exempted from the “cadena” system for its cable broadcasts. The day after RCTV resumed cable and satellite broadcasting, the Venezuelan authorities said the law would be amended in order to extend the “cadena” system to privately-owned cable and satellite broadcasters as well as terrestrial broadcasters.“Assuming RCTV does have to register as a ‘national broadcast producer,’ why did the Venezuelan authorities wait 10 days to notify the station of this, leaving it just five days to complete the formalities,” Reporters Without Borders asked. “Why was this question not raised immediately? Finally, and above all, why did this issue emerge at the very moment that RCTV was returning to the screen via cable and satellite?”The press freedom organisation added: “The other international cable stations have never had to submit to this requirement. The government’s intentions are all too obvious. This is another attempt at censorship. The government always denied that it was closing down RCTV when it terminated its terrestrial broadcasting. But what else will it have done if it now makes RCTV unavailable by cable?”_____________________________________________________________19.07.07 – Government wants to force cable and satellite TV stations to carry president’s speechesThe resumption of broadcasting by Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) on cable and satellite on 16 July has been followed by an announcement by information and communication minister William Lara that the law will amended to force pay-TV cable and satellite broadcasters to carry the same occasional government programming that terrestrial broadcasters are already obliged to transmit.The system of “cadenas” (obligatory simultaneous broadcasts) was established by the telecommunications law of 2000 and the broadcast media social responsibility law of 2004. It allows the government to take over all the terrestrial frequencies whenever it wants to broadcast official messages.It is used mainly by President Hugo Chávez to force the privately-owned media to simultaneously retransmit his speeches when they are broadcast by the state media. Privately-owned broadcasters are fined when they do not comply.Lara announced on a state-owned radio station that pay-TV stations will also have to “retransmit the national anthem and connect to the ‘cadenas’ of the government, the National Electoral Council and other state authorities.” He added that the required amendments to the existing broadcasting laws would be incorporated into an upcoming law that will empower President Chávez to govern by decree, without going through parliament.Many cable and satellite TV broadcasters including RCTV (which renamed itself RCTV Internacional after being forced off the terrestrial broadcast frequencies on 27 May) are registered as foreign companies. RCTV’s headquarters are now located in the United States and the station has said it would not submit to the system of “cadenas”.____________________________________________12.07.07 – Stripped of its terrestrial frequency, RCTV to resume broadcasting by cable and satelliteReporters Without Borders today reiterated its call for Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) to be allowed to resume free terrestrial broadcasting after learning that the privately-owned broadcaster will resume transmission by cable and satellite to paying subscribers on 16 July. The government refused to renew RCTV’s terrestrial broadcast licence a month and a half ago.“Since losing its terrestrial licence on 27 May, RCTV has managed to have one of its news programme carried by another terrestrial broadcaster with a more limited audience, namely Globovisión,” the press freedom organisation said. “Its reappearance on cable and satellite would not enable it to reach the same number of viewers it used to have when it was a terrestrial broadcaster. For this reason, and in view of the serious irregularities surrounding the government’s refusal to renew its licence, we are calling for RCTV to be allowed back on the airwaves.”RCTV is to resume broadcasting at 6 a.m. on 16 July on channel 103 of Direct TV, a satellite service available to subscribers, and on Inter and Net Uno, two Venezuelan pay TV services supplied by cable. The country’s most popular TV station, RCTV was already broadcasting by cable and satellite before the withdrawal of its concession on 27 May. But it had to suspend all forms of broadcasting as the new public TV station that replaced it on terrestrial channel 2, Televisora Venezolana Social (Tves), also took over its cable and satellite access. Furthermore, the government also bought up CANTV, Venezuela’s main phone and cable service provider, shortly before the withdrawal of RCTV’s concession.“Public interest in seeing or re-seeing our programmes has increased considerably since 27 May,” an RCTV journalist told Reporters Without Borders. “Abroad, stations such as Mexico’s biggest broadcaster, Televisa, have even decided to transmit some of our news programmes as well as the game and entertainment programmes we were already supplying them. Our news and current affairs programmes can obviously be viewed on our website and are often posted on other sites such as YouTube or by Internet users.”Under an agreement reached last month, Globovisión is retransmitting one of RCTV’s news programmes every evening. The only remaining terrestrial broadcaster not to adopt a pro-government editorial policy, Globovisión nonetheless broadcasts only in the Caracas region and its requests to cover a bigger area of the country have been turned down.For its switch to cable and satellite, RCTV has re-labelled itself RCTV Internacional with a view to extending its coverage to all of Latin America and parts of the United States.In the meantime, the broadcaster’s legal and financial wrangling with the government continues. On 25 May, two days before the expiry of its broadcast licence, the supreme court ordered that all of RCTV’s broadcast equipment should be “put at the disposal” of the new public station Tves. However, the 2000 telecommunications law states that, while the broadcast frequencies belong to the state, the equipment belongs to the broadcasters. The head of RCTV estimates that the order would cost the group “140 million dollars.” Help by sharing this information News to go further January 13, 2021 Find out more News Receive email alerts Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets News RSF_en last_img read more

Renewed call for protection plan after third journalist murdered

first_img Follow the news on India Reporters Without Borders appeals again to the Indian government to set up a national plan for the protection of journalists amid a continuing wave of physical attacks on media personnel. RSF_en Organisation July 22, 2015 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Renewed call for protection plan after third journalist murdered News News Help by sharing this information News RSF demands release of detained Indian journalist Siddique Kappan, hospitalised with Covid-19 Receive email alerts Raghavendra Dube, the 44-year-old owner and editor of Khushboo Ujala, a local weekly in Mumbai, the capital of the western state of Maharashtra, last week became the third Indian journalist to be murdered this year.His body was found near Mira Road police station, in a Mumbai suburb, at around 5:30 a.m. on 17 July, just half an hour after he left the police station, where he had been helping a police investigation into an attack on two other journalists. He was beaten and stabbed to death.Although the murder motive has yet to be determined, sources said he often helped the local police by informing them about bars that were operating illegally. The police investigating his murder have arrested several suspects.“We offer our heartfelt condolences to Raghavendra Dube’s family and colleagues,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “The investigation into this barbaric murder must be thorough and transparent in order to shed light on all the circumstances and bring those responsible to justice.”“We reiterate our appeal to the Indian authorities to establish a national plan for the protection of journalists and other news providers in order to ensure the safety of those who contribute to the public debate in Indian society.”Dube’s murder appears to be linked to the previous evening’s attack on two other journalists, Mumbai Headlines reporter Santosh Mishra, 45, and Dabang Khabr reporter Shashi Sharma, 49. They were covering a police raid on a Mumbai suburb bar called the White House when they were attacked by around ten of the bar’s employees for photographing its owner, Ganesh Kamath. Four police officers, including an inspector, looked on without intervening, they said. Both journalists were hospitalized with serious injuries.Violence against journalists in India usually goes unpunished. Although an alarming number of journalists have been killed in connection with their coverage of corruption, politics, crime or other sensitive subjects, the government has yet to adopt any measures to protect media personnel.This year’s two other media murder victims were Jagendra Singh, allegedly killed by police officers because of his coverage of illegal activities by certain Uttar Pradesh state officials, and Sandeep Kothari, who was murdered in connection with his coverage of organized crime in Madhya Pradesh.Climate of violenceMany other media freedom violations, including physical attacks on journalists, continue to be reported.Manashree Pathak, a 24-year-old reporter for Marathi-language TV station ABP Majha, was verbally harassed and then physically attacked by a group of men while covering a deadly fire in Mumbai on 16 July. Her cameraman, Narayan Parmar, and two other ABP Majha journalists, Sachin Gaad and Shrikant Sankpal, were also hit when they tried to defend her.Katak TV reporter Satyajit Sen and his cameraman were beaten and their equipment was damaged by a railway security officer while they were covering a protest by the passengers of a train that had been delayed for several hours on 29 June.Uttar Pradesh journalist Haider Khan was beaten unconscious and then dragged behind a motorcycle for a hundred metres on 13 June after writing about questionable land expropriations.India’s journalists are favourite targets for all those opposed to freely and independently reported news and information. By repeatedly ignoring the need to protect journalists and by denying the current climate of violence, the federal government is just encouraging the enemies of media freedom.India is ranked 136th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.center_img March 3, 2021 Find out more IndiaAsia – Pacific to go further In rural India, journalists face choice between covering pandemic and survival IndiaAsia – Pacific June 10, 2021 Find out more (Logo : cartoon by Aseem Trivedi) India: RSF denounces “systemic repression” of Manipur’s media News April 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Two years after Martin O’Hagan’s murder, the investigation is at a standstill

first_img News February 12, 2021 Find out more The police enquiry into the murder of Sunday World reporter Martin O’Haganhas drawn a blank and his killers are still at large. O’Hagan, who wasgunned down on 28 September 2001, investigated links between the NorthernIrish police, military intelligence services, armed groups and drug gangs. Organisation RSF condemns BBC broadcast ban as example of Chinese government reprisal Receive email alerts RSF_en United KingdomEurope – Central Asia News September 26, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two years after Martin O’Hagan’s murder, the investigation is at a standstill March 23, 2021 Find out more February 11, 2021 Find out more Safety of journalists remains active concern in Northern Ireland as BBC Panorama team is threatened On the eve of the second anniversary of the murder of Irish investigative journalist Martin O’Hagan on 28 September 2001 in Northern Ireland, Reporters Without Borders today voiced deep concern about the lack of progress in the police investigation, which has ground to a complete halt.In a letter to the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Paul Murphy, the organisation urged the authorities to appoint a new team of investigators, independent of the police of Lurgan in County Armagh, where O’Hagan was gunned down outside his home, and to deploy all human and financial resources necessary to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation.”The impunity enjoyed by Martin O’Hagan’s murderers is an insult to the memory of this journalist, who was killed for doing his job,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in the letter. “The feeling of impunity that has taken hold poses a real danger for Irish journalists, who are the target of increasing threats and harassment from the paramilitary groups,” he warned.”The inability of the police to identify those responsible is a threat to press freedom, and the growing vulnerability of journalists is liable to foster widespread self-censorship,” Ménard added.According to the police, eight suspects have been detained and then released for lack of proof. Thirty-two searches have also been carried out, but with no results to show for them. The investigation is at a standstill, but has not been closed.The police reject claims that senior security officials fear that their alleged links with the paramilitary groups would be exposed if O’Hagan’s killers were brought to justice. But some journalists claim that the investigation has been deliberately blocked because an informer or an agent for the security or intelligence services was part of the group that killed O’Hagan. Mick Browne, a former colleague of O’Hagan who has investigated the murder, maintains that an officer now in charge of the police enquiry was himself the target of an investigation by O’Hagan.According to the Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Seamus Dooley, death threats against journalists have increased since O’Hagan’s murder, most of them coming from loyalist paramilitary groups. Several journalists with the Sunday World, the Irish weekly O’Hagan worked for, and the Andersonstown News Group have been the target of intimidation. On 12 September, a photographer with the North Belfast News, a weekly that belongs to the Andersonstown News Group, received a death threat from a loyalist paramilitary gang. The group’s management said it followed a series of threats against journalists covering the gang’s activities.Aged 51 and the father of three children, O’Hagan used to write for the Sunday World about the links between the Northern Irish police, military intelligence units, armed groups and drug gangs, and he testified in a libel court case about allegations of collusion between the police and Protestant armed groups in the 1980s.The day after his murder, a caller to the BBC claimed responsibility on behalf of the “Red Hand Defenders,” a name used by loyalist paramilitary groups, especially the “Loyalist Volunteer Force” (LVF). O’Hagan had previously been the target of many threats as a result of his investigations aimed at proving that loyalist militia, especially the LVF, killed Catholics with the sole aim of covering up their drug trafficking activities. An abortive attempt to killed him in the early 1990s was attributed to loyalist terrorist Billy Wright. News Solidarity with Swedish media outlet Realtid ahead of UK defamation case hearing Follow the news on United Kingdom News Help by sharing this information United KingdomEurope – Central Asia to go furtherlast_img read more

Open letter to President Kabila about steadily worsening climate for journalists

first_imgNews Reporters Without Borders and Journalist in Danger (JED), its local partner organisation, wrote to President Joseph Kabila today to condemn the steady decline in the climate for journalists and the reduction in the space for free expression in the Democratic Republic of Congo.The two organisations, which are particularly worried about Jullson Eninga, a journalist who is facing a possible 20-year jail sentence or even the death penalty on a charge of treason, urged President Kabila to undertake courageous and major reforms to promote press freedom and improve the climate before next year’s presidential election. This is the text of the letter: President Joseph Kabila Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Paris and Kinshasa, 30 August 2010Dear President Kabila, Reporters Without Borders and Journalist in Danger (JED), its local partner organisation, would again like to draw your attention to the steady decline in the climate for journalists and the reduction in the space for free expression in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Our two organisations already sounded the alarm on the 50th anniversary of the RDC’s independence on 30 June, referring to several cases of murders of journalists, the frequent arrests and threats against media personnel, and the foreign media’s difficulties in working properly.Nothing has been done to improve the situation in the two months since then. Our organisations have even registered ten more deliberate attacks on journalists and media in the past two months, attacks that could foreshadow even greater repression in the run-up to next year’s elections if preventive measures are not adopted. Here are some examples:1. Michel Tshiyoyo, a cameraman working for Radio Télévision Amazone (RTA) a station based in Kananga, the capital of Kasaï-Occidental province, was given an emergency evacuation to Kinshasa by the UN Stabilisation Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) on 17 August, shortly after receiving SMS threats from individuals allegedly close to the province’s governor, Trésor Kapuku. His only crime was to have witnessed clashes a few days before between the governor and his men, on the one hand. and the population of the village of Lwandanda, 25 km from Kananga. Even after being evacuated, he continued to receive threats, including one coming from the telephone number 0812221172, warning that “murder is common in Kinshasa” and recalling the “fate of Chebeya.” Is it necessary to point out that it is the prevailing sense of impunity that permits this kind of brazenness?2. Pascal Mulunda, the editor of the privately-owned weekly Le Monitor, has just been released after spending 24 days in prison and having to pay 600 dollars in unjustified bail amounts. He was arrested on 27 July and placed in pre-trial detention in Kinshasa prison as a result of a libel action brought by Baudouin Iheta, the coordinator of the Small-Scale Mining Technical Assistance and Training Service (SAESSCAM), over a 23 June article accusing Iheta of mismanagement and embezzlement. He was released conditionally on 19 August. According to his lawyer, he has to present himself before a judge every Tuesday and Friday and is banned from leaving the capital.Is it also necessary to point out that the DRC continues to be a country where journalists are systematically jailed on defamation charges and the defamation legislation does not even require verifying the facts of a case?3. Jullson Eninga, the editor of the daily Le Journal, has been held in the Kinshasa Penitentiary and Re-education Centre (CPRK) for the past five months without being given any chance to avail himself of the presumption of innocence. Initially accused of “propaganda on behalf of a rebellion,” a crime that does not exist under the DRC’s legislation, he is currently being tried before a Kinshasa high court on a treason charge, which carries a possible 20-year jail sentence or the death penalty. This is because, in June 2009, he published a communiqué by the Hutu rebels of the Rwanda Democratic Liberation Forces (FDLR), who operate in the eastern DRC. The communiqué was taken from the website. Eninga insists on his innocence, explaining that the publication of the communiqué was a mistake by the newspaper for which he has formally apologised. Le Journal has nonetheless remained closed for the past year at the behest of the communication ministry, which is also behind the prosecution. Everything points to a deliberate desire to hound and gag the independent press.4. The transmission signals for Canal Kin Télévision (CKTV), Canal Congo Télévision (CCTV) and Radio Liberté Kinshasa (Ralik) – three opposition stations owned by Jean-Pierre Bemba – were all cut on 26 July. According to our information, a group of armed men stormed into the complex that houses the transmitters and ordered technicians to cut off their broadcasts. No official explanation was given to the three stations, which were able to resume normal broadcasting two days later.5. Several soldiers stormed into Moto Oïcha, a radio station based in Oïcha, near Béni (in the eastern province of Nord-Kivu), on 28 July and asked to speak to a presenter. As he was absent, the solders beat the technician who was there, and then searched the building. Fearing for his safety, the presenter has been in hiding ever since. A few days before this incident, the station’s news editor had received anonymous telephone threats.All these press freedom violations are indicative of the difficulties that Congolese journalists are encountering in the course of trying to work without being exposed to threats and risks. This is the case both in the capital and the provinces, especially the eastern provinces.We have for years been calling on your government to take measures to provide journalists with more security, to guarantee a better climate for free expression and to ombat impunity for murders of journalists. Shortly after Didace Namujimbo’s murder in Bukavu in November 2008, for example, we urged you to create a special judicial commission to shed light on the murders of journalists, but you took no action.The need is now more urgent than ever for you to undertake such courageous and major reforms to promote press freedom in the DRC. It would allow you to respond to the current problems as well as to prepare for next year, bearing in mind that the country’s journalists are likely to encounter new problems linked to the campaign for the 2011 presidential election.We very much hope you will take account of these requests.Respectfully,Jean-François Julliard,Secretary-General of Reporters Without BordersDonat M’Baya Tshimanga,President of Journalist in DangerPicture : President Joseph Kabila (AFP) Follow the news on Democratic Republic of Congo News Organisation February 16, 2021 Find out more News Journalist arrested on provincial governor’s orders Congolese reporter wounded by gunshot while covering protest in Goma Democratic Republic of CongoAfrica August 30, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Open letter to President Kabila about steadily worsening climate for journalistscenter_img News Receive email alerts to go further February 24, 2021 Find out more Democratic Republic of CongoAfrica Help by sharing this information February 18, 2021 Find out more Reporter jailed in DRC for allegedly defaming parliamentarian RSF_en last_img read more

Detained suspects confess to killing radio journalist for the cash he was carrying

first_img 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies Reports The two people who were arrested for the 14 June murder of radio journalist Garrid Muñoz Tello – army sergeant Albeiro Otálvaro and army civilian employee Fanny Estela Lozano – reportedly confessed on 17 June to killing him in order to rob the large sum of cash he was carrying. Muñoz, the founder of Arauca-based radio La Voz del Cinaruco, travelled to Bogotá on 13 June to collect the equivalent of 80,000 euros from another army sergeant. He met Otálvaro and Lozano while in Bogotá and they travelled with him to Villavicencio, in the central department of Meta, where they rented the motel room in which Muñoz’s body was found.___________________15.06.07 – Regional radio station founder murdered, two suspects quickly arrestedReporters Without Borders today voiced shock and sadness in reaction to the murder yesterday of Garrid Muñoz Tello, aged 68, founder of radio La Voz del Cinaruco, who was gunned down by a man and a woman as he drove his car in Villavicencio, in the central department of Meta. Police quickly said they had arrested and detained two people : one is an army sergeant, Albeiro Otálvaro and the other one is an army civilian employee, Fanny Estela Lozano.”While the state of press freedom has remained highly critical in Colombia, murders of journalists have tended to decrease in recent years,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “The death of Garrid Muñoz Tello is a reminder that this country is still one of the most dangerous in the world for the press.””Naturally, we are pleased at the immediate arrest of his suspected killers. We very much need to know if their motives were linked to their victim’s work,” it added.The murdered journalist was a fierce critic of several local politicians and armed groups. “Garrid Muñoz Tello was never afraid to tell the truth. Sometimes he did it with a radiant sense of humour that was typical of him, which we will miss from now on, and sometimes much more seriously and incisively,” editorial staff at La Voz del Cinaruco told Agence France-Presse.The headquarters of La Voz del Cinaruco is based in the eastern department of Arauca on the border with Venezuela, which is rife with guerrillas from the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), currently in peace talks with the government, and extreme-right para-militaries, which have refused to disarm.A US Army elite commando is currently working with Colombian armed forces in the struggle against guerrillas and to protect an oil pipeline, which transits the area, owned by North American multinational, Occidental Petroleum. The department is also on a notorious drugs routeGarrid Muñoz Tello was the first Colombian journalist to be murdered since the start of 2007. ColombiaAmericas Reporters Without Borders is appalled at the murder yesterday in Villavicencio, central Colombia, of Garrid Muñoz Tello, founder of regional radio La Voz del Cinaruco. The station broadcasts from the eastern department of Arauca, which is crawling with armed groups and drug-traffickers. October 21, 2020 Find out more Organisation to go further RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America May 13, 2021 Find out more June 19, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Detained suspects confess to killing radio journalist for the cash he was carrying Receive email alerts Follow the news on Colombia RSF, IFEX-ALC and Media Defence, support FLIP and journalist Diana Díaz against state harassment in Colombia News ColombiaAmericas News RSF_en Help by sharing this information April 27, 2021 Find out more Newslast_img read more

Information ministry bans 61 newspapers

first_img Reporters Without Borders calls on the information ministry to rescind two new decrees, one on 18 August declaring 75 newspapers defunct for failing to publish for the past three years, and one on 20 August banning 61 other newspapers on the grounds that they have no legal existence.Signed by information minister Lambert Mende Omalanga, the decrees are being fiercely criticized by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s media community. Citing article 16 of the 1996 press law, the first decree declares that 75 newspapers have ceased to exist because they have not brought out any issue for three years. The second decree, citing article 22 of the same law, declares that 61 newspapers “have no (legal) title allowing them to operate in the Democratic Republic of Congo and therefore do not exist as press organs.”Reached by Reporters Without Borders, the owners of several publications named in the decrees insisted that they did not meet the criteria for being banned, either because they have continued to publish issues during the past three years, or because they have a receipt showing that they are duly registered.It should nonetheless be acknowledged that some of the newspapers named in the 18 August decree have ceased to publish altogether or appear only sporadically and usually in the form of – often very politicized – pamphlets rather than real newspapers.“We prefer to regard this as an information ministry gaffe rather than a censorship attempt,” said Reporters Without Borders. “Nonetheless, it is important that the Congolese authorities should not use bureaucratic pretexts to harass the media, as they are doing here.“It is also questionable whether the ministry has the power to ban newspapers. This should be a matter for the regulatory authorities or, if appropriate, the courts. We call on the ministry to rescind these decrees at once and to allow the newspapers to continue publishing.”In response to the outcry from the media community, including the NGO Journalist in Danger, the information ministry has given the named publications 45 days to comply or to produce the required documents. However, the deadline extension only concerns those that owe back taxes or have not published for three years.Under the 1996 press law, newspapers must register but do not need a permit to publish. The DRC has several hundred publications, some of which appear very occasionally, and do not meet the criteria expected of a newspaper.The DRC is ranked 151st out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. Reporter jailed in DRC for allegedly defaming parliamentarian February 18, 2021 Find out more August 25, 2014 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Information ministry bans 61 newspapers to go further Help by sharing this information Journalist arrested on provincial governor’s orders News RSF_en Follow the news on Democratic Republic of Congo Receive email alerts Democratic Republic of CongoAfrica News Democratic Republic of CongoAfrica Organisation News News Another 75 are declared defunct for failing to publish regularly February 24, 2021 Find out more Congolese reporter wounded by gunshot while covering protest in Goma February 16, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more