HOME
CONTACT - LINKS
PEC NEWS
CASUALTIES
OTHER NEWS
PEC AWARD
DOCUMENTS
NO IMPUNITY
 



Read on this page some of the news received by the PEC from other concerned organizations or media in connection with PEC activities - for PEC statements, please click (left) on PEC NEWS - Notice: the opinions expressed in this page do not necessarily represent the views of the PEC - for the latest news on prosecutions and trials, see our page: No Impunity

***************************************************************************************************************************

***25.07.2014. Israeli Forces Must Be Held accountable for Attacks on Journalists in Gaza, says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined increasing international calls for the Israeli government and its forces to be held accountable for the atrocities that are being carried out against journalists covering events in Gaza.

IFJ affiliate, the Palestinian JournalistsSyndicate (PJS), has published a list detailing the attacks that Israeli forces have carried out against journalisst reporting on the crisis, including the four media workers who have been killed since the conflict began, the many media workers who have been injured, and the three media outlets that have been targeted.

We join the international demand for an end to impunity for attacks against journalists in Palestine and we demand that the Israeli forces who carried out these appalling murders and attacks answer for their crimes and face the full weight of justice,said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

And we call on Israel, Hamas and all Palestinian armed groups to respect the rights and freedoms of all journalists and media workers and strictly abide by applicable norms of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

The media workers who have been killed are:


- Hamid Shehab, who worked for 24 Media, and was killed by a rocket while driving a car in the Gaza Strip area on the night of 9 July. The car was parked outside Shehabs house when it was hit and it was clearly marked as a press vehicle.

- Mohammed Smirir, who worked for Gaza Now website, and was killed in an Israeli war jet bombardment on Deir Albalah town, south of the Gaza Strip on July 11.

- Khaled Hamed, 25, who worked for Ray News Agency, and was shot dead while covering Israeli military operations in the Shochaeyah Gaza neighbourhood on Sunday 20 July.

- Abdurrahman Abu Hina, who worked for Alkitab TV, and was killed by an Israeli bomb which destroyed his house on 23 July. His brother and grandfather were also killed in the attack.

Other media workers who have suffered injuries include
:

- Ziad Awad, who worked for Nabaa News Agency, and was hit in the head by shrapnel while working in the field.

- Mahmoud Alloh, who worked for Wattan Radio Station, and was hit in the chest by shrapnel while working in the field.

- Sami Thabit, who worked for Palestine Today TV, and was hit in the chest by shrapnel while working in the field.

- Anas Abu Meiliq, who worked for Anadol News Agency, and was hit in the leg by shrapnel while working in the field.

- Ahmad Shayah, who worked for Alkitab TV and Media Town Agency, and was hit in the face by shrapnel while working in the field.

- Mohammed Masharawi, who worked for Media Town Agency, and was hit in the hand by shrapnel while working in the field.

- Suhair Kharaz, a female journalist who worked for the Ray News Agency, and was hit in the shoulder and leg by shrapnel while in her house which was destroyed.

The media outlets that have been targeted are:


- Offices of the National Media agency the offices were destroyed.

- Offices of the Wattan Radio station - the offices were destroyed

- Offices of Aljazeera TV Channel bullets were fired at the offices and staff were forced to evacuate.

***24.07.2014. GAZA - THIRD JOURNALIST KILLED (MADA)

Ramallah- 24/7/2014:Israeli occupation forces killed Al-Kitab TV’s Preparation Programmer, Abdulrahman Ziad Abu Hayyin ,28 years old,yesterday morning, after shelling their house in Al-Shajaia neighbourhood in Gaza city,whom is the third Journalist killed after killing the journalist Khalid Hamad and media worker Hamed Shihab by IOF since launching Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip.

Whose uncle the journalist Yasser Abu Haien reported to MADA reported to MADA: “Our three-floor house was shelled by two Israeli F16 rockets without a previous warning on Wednesday at 05:00A.M., which caused the murder of my nephew journalist Abed Al Rahman who was married with a daughter,the murder of my father, Hasan Abu Haien ,81 years old,as well as the murder of my other nephew, Osama Abu Haien ,30 years old, who worked as an engineer, the attack harmed other 15 people,it also damaged my brother’s four -floor house which locates next to our house, where 12 people live.”

The cameraman journalist of Palestine Today(Filisitin Al-Youm) TV Sami Thabet was injured when he was at Al-Aqsa Hospital to cover what was going on. Mr.Thabet reported to MADA:“The hospital was targeted by IOF on 21/7/2014 with bombs and shells ;thus;I was injured by shrapnel in the left arm,besides some bruises in the head and knee. I received aid at hospital,but the shrapnel still located in my arm, waiting my body resistance for it,or to have a surgery if it stays."

In the West Bank, the IOF arrested Raya FM network correspondent, Mahmoud Abu Khdeir,from his house in Shu’fat neighborhood in Jerusalem yesterday early in the morning,as his wife reported to MADA.

On 21/7/2014,the freelancer photo journalist Amjad Arafa was injured by a bullet in the left shoulder near Al-Maqased hospital in Jerusalem,as he reported to MADA.
The Palestinian Centre for development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns these violent and savage crimes committed by the IOF, especially killing the journalist Abu Haien.MADA also condoles Abu Haien’s family and stresses on the necessity to guarantee Palestinian journalists protection and hold IOF accountable for committing these crimes.

***22.07.2014. GAZA: MADA: Al-Jazeera office and journalists houses were targeted by IOF

Ramallah-22/7/2014: The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (MADA) considers targeting of Al-Jazeera office by the occupation forces in Gaza city today is a part of occupation forces' trials to silence the press in Gaza Strip, preventing them to cover its' daily crimes against citizens, and an attempt to terrify journalists.

Safwat kahlout,41, in Gaza city reported The producer of Al-Jazerra office to MADA:" Today morning at 09:00 am, While we were doing our work at Al-Jazeera office which locate at Al-Jalla tower,11th floor, in Gaza city, we heard a sound of opening fire. All of us were shocked since we were not able to identify the source of this sound. A few seconds later, the second shelling happened which source was unknown for us. Then we understood that the first sounds were warning sounds and Al-Jazeera office will be targeted after the warning statement of Lieberman(Israeli foreign minister) to close all Al-Jazerra offices .No casualties were reported and the material damages small”.

Israeli occupations forces also continued shelling journalist's houses. The journalist and producer Rima Mahmoud Abu Sabha,26, reported that Israeli occupation forces shelled their house at about 12:00 am by two rockets without a previous warning. Therefore, her father was killed, and their one-floor house, where 11 people live, was destroyed.8 people, who live in her uncle's house which is next to their house, were injured. Israeli occupation airplanes shelled the remaining of the house again today morning at 07:00 am, straightening it with the ground.

The Journalist Hamad Khamis Dahlan,31, who works for Al-Ahed TV reported to MADA:" At 07:50 pm , our house was shelled by an Israeli drone airplane. At 08:10 pm, the three floor- house was shelled by a F16 rocket, no casualties reported since one of our family members was told ten minutes before shelling by a phone call. The house, which locates in Al-Nasser neighborhood in Gaza city, where 40 people live who belong to 6 families ( we , my three uncles and some of my family members )whom were displaced as a result the last aggression, was completely destroyed”. The journalist Dahlan is married, and he has three kids.

MADA condemns Israeli occupation forces in targeting journalists, journalists' houses and media outlets , and condoles the journalist Rima Abu Sabha .MADA demands again freedom of expression concerned parties to move in order to protect journalists and demands the international community to exert more efforts in order to stop Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip.

***20.07.2014. GAZA. MADA : IOF killed photo Journalist Khalid Hamad

Ramallah-20/7/2014:Israeli occupation forces committed another crime against Palestinian Journalists when they killed the photo journalist Khalid Hamad,26, who works for The Continue Agency for Television Production, even he was wearing a press jacket ,while he was covering Israeli occupation forces aggression on Al-Shujaieh neighbourhood in Gaza city.

His kinsman reported to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA):”The martyr Khalid Riyad Hamad was in Al-Shajaieh neighbourhood at 06:00 am with an ambulance to cover the events there. The ambulance was shelled and he was injured while he was wearing press uniform. He was not transferred to a hospital since the ambulance was prevented to go there. At 10:00 am he was found dead in Al-Shajaieh neighbourhood-AL-Bazar street,and then, he was transferred to al-Shifa hospital.”He also mentioned that Mr.Hamad married four months ago and his wife is pregnant right now.

The general director of MADA Mr.Mousa Rimawi said that this violent and savage crime committed by IOF will be added on the crimes chain committed by occupation forces against journalists, killing “Media 24”’s driver Hamid Shihab in a deliberate targeting on the tenth of this month, injuring several journalists and targeting media outlets since the beginning of Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip 13 days ago.

Mr.Rimawi pointed out that the Israeli governmental media office warned foreign journalists in Gaza strip that Israel is not responsible on what they might face ” injury or damage that may occur as a result of field reporting.”, which indicates that IOF will target more journalists under the pretext that Hamas is using journalists as “ Human shields “, and its an attempt to pressure them to stop covering Israeli aggression on Gaza, especially after their covering of the children massacre by IOF, while they were playing on the beach, which provoke wide reaction in the international arena .

Mr.Rimawi stresses again that the international community is demanded to move instantly to protect journalists, and stop Israeli aggression on Gaza where more than 400 Palestinians were killed, and more than 3,000 were injured, most of them are women and children, In addition to the extensive damage of citizens’ houses, schools, hospitals and infrastructure, and to hold IOF accountable for their crimes against journalists and civilians.

***18.07.2014. At least three journalists injured by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza (CPJ)

New York, July 18, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Israeli airstrikes on buildings housing media outlets in Gaza that injured at least three journalists. The strikes came as Israel engages in a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip."The Israel Defense Forces know where media outlets are located in Gaza and must ensure that they are not hit as part of its offensive," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. "Attacking media outlets is a violation of international law and denies journalists their right to protection as civilians in war zone."

Early today, Muhammad Shabat, cameraman for the Palestinian news agency Watania Media Agency, was hospitalized briefly for hand injuries sustained after an Israeli airstrike hit the Al-Jawhara tower in Gaza City, news reports said. The building houses Watania as well as other Palestinian media outlets and apartments, many of which were also damaged in the airstrike, according to the station and news reports.

Hani Ghazal, Watania's communications officer, told CPJ that a helicopter carried out the strike on the eighth floor of the building, where the agency is located. The agency has shut down two of its production studios but is still operating.

On Wednesday, Ahmad al-Ajala, host of Sawt al-Watan radio station, and Tariq Hamdieh, correspondent for the station, were briefly hospitalized for foot injuries after an Israeli airstrike on the Daoud building in Gaza City, according to the station and news reports. The Sawt al-Watan radio station is located on the 14th floor of the building.

Loui Abou Amr, the station manager, told the local press freedom group Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms that the station had shut down because the attack destroyed its broadcasting equipment.

Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman Col. Avital Leibovich and Major Zohar Halevi of IDF's public affairs department did not immediately respond to CPJ's emails seeking comment. CPJ's calls to the IDF's Spokesperson's Unit and to Capt. Eytan Buchman, head of the unit's North American media desk, were not answered.

On Thursday, Israel ordered foreign journalists to evacuate beach hotels in Gaza amid stated plans to expand the ground invasion of the city, according to news reports. At least two foreign journalists entering Gaza today said on Twitter that they were required to sign a form that absolves the IDF of responsibility in the event of their injury or death.

Last week, Hamid Shihab, driver for the Gaza-based press agency Media 24, was killed in an airstrike by Israel Defense Forces. Shihab was in a car clearly marked as a press vehicle. The IDF has not yet responded to CPJ's requests for comment on that case.

In November 2012, Israeli airstrikes targeted two buildings, Al-Shawa and Housari Tower and Al-Shuruq Tower, in Gaza, which were well-known for housing numerous international and local news organizations. At least seven journalists were injured in the attacks. Israel claimed the individuals and facilities it had targeted had connections to terrorist activity, but failed to adequately respond to CPJ's repeated requests for evidence that the journalists had lost their protected civilian status.

***20.06.2014. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL. Written statement* submitted by Reporters Without Borders - An alarming deterioration of journalists’ safety (A/HRC/26/NGO/4)

In December 2013, after journalists Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont were killed in Mali, the United Nations
General Assembly condemned “all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers...in both conflict and
non-conflict situations.”
Six months later, another French journalist, Camille Lepage, a well-known young photographer, was gunned down in
the performance of her duties. Having gone to the Central African Republic to document the lives of people victimized
by the fratricidal war there, she was found dead on 13 May 2014.
Her murder illustrates the insecure conditions faced by professional and amateur journalists and news media assistants,
despite various United Nations resolutions. At least 19 journalists have been killed so far this year.

THE HECATOMB OF NEWS PROVIDERS DURING ARMED CONFLICTS

Despite Security Council 1738 which states that “Journalists, media professionals and associated personnel...in areas
of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians.” and that “attacks intentionally directed against civilians...in
situations of armed conflict constitute war crimes”, news providers are increasingly a favourite target for all sides of the
conflicts.
The situation in Syria is catastrophic. The country is today the most dangerous in the world for journalists. RWB
estimates that at least 155 journalists and citizen-journalists have been killed since the conflict began in 2011, with 17
killed so far this year.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kennedy Germain Mumbere Muliwavyo, a journalist for Radio Télévision
Muungano d’Oïcha was killed on 16 February 2014 in Beni during an attack by Ugandan rebels from ADF-Nalu. Two
journalists with him were wounded during the fighting.

PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY PROTECTION

In March 2014, in Resolution 25/38 on peaceful demonstrations, the Human Rights Council expressed its concern about
“the number of attacks targeting...journalists in the context of peaceful protests.” The Council demanded that “all
States...pay particular attention to the safety of journalists and media workers covering peaceful protests, taking into
account their specific role, exposure and vulnerability.”
Reporters Without Borders regularly expresses its fears for the safety of journalists covering demonstrations, given the
violence and intimidation which continues to be directed against them. Though the Resolution is an important
contribution to journalists’ security, it remains insufficient and a mechanism to monitor its implementation has become
crucial.

• In Brazil, 107 deliberate attacks on news professionals have been registered, from May, 2013, when the protest
movement began, through April 2014.
• In Cambodia on 1 May 2014, at least three journalists were brutally mistreated by security forces during an
opposition rally.
• In Colombia, police attacked four journalists, although they had shown press credentials, during May Day
demonstrations in Medellin this year
• In Egypt, two journalists suffered bullet wounds on 14 April 2014 while covering the violent crackdown on a
pro-Morsi student demonstration at Cairo University.
• In Turkey, during May Day demonstrations this year, at least 12 journalists were wounded and one was arrested.
• In Ukraine on 9 April 2014, journalists from the NTN and Ukraina networks were set upon by pro-Russian
demonstrations in front of security agency offices in Lugansk. Three days later, a cameraman from LOT, a
local network, was struck in the head in the same location under similar circumstances.

THE ROLE OF NON-STATE ACTORS

The United Nations General Assembly, in Resolution 68/163 on the security of journalists expressed concern “at the
threat to safety of journalists posed by non-State actors, including terrorist groups and criminal organizations.”
• In India on 14 January, the offices of the Samaj newspaper, which had published images of the Prophet
Mohammed, were attacked by fundamentalist groups in several cities in the state of Odisha (Orissa).
• In Mexico, journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz was found dead on 11 February 2014. He had been covering
crime news for local newspapers and had been kidnapped six days earlier by an armed group.
• In Pakistan on 17 January 2014, 3 employees of the Express News TV network were murdered in Karachi by a
Taliban group.

HARASSMENT BY THE POLICE AND JUDICIARY

In many countries, investigative journalists are targets harassment by the police and the when they seek to disclose
sensitive information in spite of the Human Rights Council Resolution 25/38 of the Human Rights Council which
specifically called upon States to “avoid the abuse and civil proceedings or threats of such acts at all times.”
• In Cuba, journalist Juliet Michelena Díaz was arrested on 7 April 2014, three days before the internet publication
of an article reporting police violence in Havana. She is charged with “terrorism.”
• In China, at last 21 journalists and 71 netizens are currently imprisoned. On 23 April 2014, Gao Yu, a noted
journalist, disappeared. She had expressed concern about threats from state security officers. After she was
held in secret for one week, the government’s CCTV network broadcast in early May an alleged confession.
Since May, 2014, journalist and activist Wu Wei, a former editor at the South China Morning Post, has been
missing. According to some sources, she was arrested by Beijing police. The security services are making an
increasing number of kidnapping-style arrests of this kind as the anniversary of the Tiananmin Square events
approaches.
• In Somalia in February, 2014, intelligence service personnel held the director of Radio Danan, Mohamed Bare,
for several days. They tortured and threatened to kill him if he did not stop reporting on the government.

THE REIGN OF IMPUNITY

According to GA Resolution 68/163 “Impunity for attacks against journalists constitutes one of the main challenges to
strengthening the protection of journalists.”
• In Pakistan, 63 journalists have been killed since 2002. The only case in which those responsible have been
brought to justice is that of American journalist Daniel Pearl, decapitated on 1 February 2002 in Karachi.
• In Russia, where 32 journalists have been killed since 2002, impunity prevails in most cases. In one notorious
case, the murderers of journalist Anna Politkovskaya still have not been brought to justice.

DIGITAL INSECURITY

In the digital age, journalist security is more than a physical issue. Governments today have at their disposal a wide
range of tools to monitor, identify, censor and punish journalists and netizens who circulate online information some
States would prefer not to make public. In a series of analytical reports (A/66/290; A/HRC17/27; A/HRC23/40), the
Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Opinion and Expression has consistently affirmed that the Freedoms applying
offline apply also online. Nevertheless, the new digital landscape has exponentially increased risks for newsproviders.
• In Ethiopia in 2014, the Information Network Security Agency tracked journalists as far away as the United
States using spy software from Hacking Team, an Italian company that Reporters Without Borders designated
as an “Internet Enemy” in 2013.
• In the United Kingdom and the United States, intelligence agencies have spied on the communications of several
million local and foreign citizens, many journalists among them, and have deliberately introduced security
faults in equipment that relays internet search requests.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In order to promote greater respect for the safety of journalists, Reporters Without Borders recommends:
To the UNGA:
• The appointment of a special adviser to the Secretary General on the issue of journalists’ safety. Appointed
by the Secretary General, this official would be in charge of monitoring and regulating member States’
observance of Security Council Resolution 1738.
To the international community:
• The Amendment of Article 8 of the International Criminal Court statutes on war crimes, to specifically
define the mounting of deliberate attacks on journalists, media workers and their assistants as war crimes.
• The adoption of a binding international agreement regulating the export of internet surveillance
technology that includes controls of the export of anti-freedom technology and an independent monitoring
system made up of all stakeholders, including civil society, able to inflict effective sanctions on violators
To the HRC
• The expansion of member States’ obligation to ‘respect and protect’ to all newsproviders through an
appropriate Human Rights Council Resolution.
• The establishment of effective human rights mechanisms and measures for information workers forced to
flee their countries, such as alert mechanisms and contact persons in national and regional OHCHR office
working closely with UNHCR to immediately identify and protect newsproviders facing extreme threats.
• The strengthening of the mandate of the United Nations Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights
and Transnational Corporations, especially by authorizing it to receiving individual complaints and to
investigate individual cases of human rights violations linked to these companies.

***16.06.2014. IRAQ. Journalists in Iraq Must Remain Vigilant Following Murder of Khalid Hamada

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has advised journalists covering events in Iraq to remain vigilant at all times following the murder of journalist Khalid Hamada yesterday, Sunday 15 June.

According to IFJ affiliate, the Iraqi JournalistsSyndicate (IJS), Hamada, a cameraman for Alahd TV, was killed in the Aladhem district, in Iraqs Dyali province, while covering fighting between government forces and terrorist groups.

His colleague Mutaz Hassan, who is a reporter for Alahd, was severely wounded in the same incident.

We offer our deepest condolences and respects to the family of the murdered journalist Khalid Hamada,said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. And we also send a message of support to Mutaz Hassan and his loved ones.

We call on all sides involved in the fighting currently taking place in Iraq to respect the rights and freedoms of journalists reporting on events. Journalists must be allowed to reports on what is happening without the threat of harm.

Stressing that media safety is of paramount importance, Boumelha added: We also call on media owners to protect their journalists and to ensure they are not placed in dangerous situations, while we urge any journalists covering events to remain vigilant at all times and take every measure necessary to ensure their safety.

***15.05.2014. SYRIA. IFJ/EFJ Condemn Horrifying Attack on British Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have condemned an appalling attack by rebel kidnappers on two British journalists in Syria yesterday, Wednesday 14 May.

According to media reports, Times writer Anthony Lloyd and photographer Jack Hill had spent several days reporting from the city of Aleppo and were returning to the Turkish border early on Wednesday when the car they were travelling in was forced to the side of the road. Lloyd was bound to the back seat of a car, while Hill and a local guide were put in the boot before being driven to a warehouse in the town of Tall Rifat.

Reports say that Hill and a guide attempted to escape, but they were recaptured. Hill was severely beaten while Lloyd was shot in the legs to prevent him from escaping. They were eventually freed and managed to cross the border into Turkey after receiving treatment in a Syrian hospital.

This was an absolutely appalling attack that must have been extremely frightening and unnerving for the two journalists involved,said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. We are extremely relieved that they are free after their terrifying ordeal.

But sadly this is not an isolated incident. Syria remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. We reiterate our appeal for all factions involved in the countrys conflict to respect the rights and freedoms of journalists and to allow them to work without fear of violence.

The situation in Syria continues to be extremely volatile. In March IFJ expressed its concern for media safety in the country following the brutal murder of journalist, Omar Abdel Qader, in eastern Syria.

Commenting on the attack, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "This is yet another case of shocking violence perpetrated against journalists doing their best to cover unfolding events in Syria. It is particularly concerning that the attackers were individuals who were supposed to be assisting the journalists in the pursuit of their work. The security and safety of reporters and photographers working in hostile environments is a vitally important issue.

The NUJ will continue to press the authorities in Syria to do more to ensure that journalists Syrian and foreign media workers are able to work in safety and that anyone attempting to compromise the freedom of the press will be dealt with. In the meantime the NUJ offers its full support to both Jack and Anthony and wishes them a full and speedy recovery.

The IFJ and the EFJ have urged journalists covering events to take every precaution to protect their safety and to refer to the IFJ Safety Guidelines for journalists working in the field.

***13.05.2014. Lawyer requests medical treatment for Elshamy / Egypt's prosecutor receives urgent appeal to transfer jailed Al Jazeera reporter to hospital as his health deteriorates  / Al Jazeera

The lawyer representing jailed Al Jazeera Arabic reporter Abdullah Elshamy has asked Egyptian authorities to transfer the journalist to hospital after medical tests showed his health was failing.

Shaaban Saeed said he submitted a request to Egypt’s public prosecutor on Monday, asking for the release of Elshamy and his transfer to a hospital outside prison within 48 hours.

Blood and urine tests conducted at a private laboratory on May 8 showed the 26-year-old was dangerously close to death.

The test results said Elshamy showed signs of microcytic anemia, which was preventing proper levels of oxygen from reaching his vital organs.

The results showed Elshamy's kidneys were not functioning normally, his liver was close to failure, there were high levels of urea in his blood and he also had a urinary tract infection.

Elshamy has been held in an Egyptian prison without trial since August and has been on a hunger strike for 111 days.

Journalists covering Elshamy's court hearing on May 3 recorded him as saying he had not seen a doctor or a lawyer since he was jailed.

Three Al Jazeera English journalists, Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, are also held in Egypt and are charged with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist organisation by the interim government.

The journalists have been incarcerated for 134 days in Tora prison.

Al Jazeera strongly denies the accusations made against its staff and has called on the Egyptian authorities to free them immediately.

***07.05.2014. Centrafrique: journée sans médias après l'assassinat de deux journalistes (AFP)

Les journalistes centrafricains ont décrété mercredi "journée sans journaux" et organisé une marche pacifique à Bangui pour protester contre l'assassinat le 29 mai de deux des leurs, a constaté un correspondant de l'AFP. Aucun titre n'a été publié mercredi et les radios privées comme d'Etat n'ont diffusé aucune information, à l'appel de l'Union des journalistes centrafricains (UJCA).

"Les journalistes centrafricains désapprouvent et dénoncent avec la dernière énergie l'assassinat odieux de nos confrères Désiré Sayenga et René Padou", a déclaré le président de l'UJCA Maka Gbossokotto, rendant "responsables et complices le gouvernement de transition et la communauté internationale".

A l'issue de la marche, le président du syndicat a été reçu par le représentant spécial du secrétaire général de l'ONU, Babacar Gaye.

Désiré Sayenga, rédacteur au journal Le Démocrate, et René Padou, qui collabore avec la radio Voix de la Grâce, avaient été blessés par balles et poignardés dans la nuit du 29 avril dernier à leurs domiciles.

M. Sayenga est décédé le lendemain de son agression, alors que M. Padou a succombé à ses blessures lundi.

Selon la police, les deux journalistes ont été victimes des violences qui ont éclaté le 29 au soir, après qu'un jeune musulman du PK5, dernière enclave musulmane de la ville, avait été tué et son corps mutilé.

Dans la soirée, les musulmans du quartier, par vengeance, ont attaqué plusieurs domiciles des quartiers chrétiens voisins du PK5 et des tirs nourris ont été entendus, poussant des centaines de personnes à fuir leurs maisons, selon la source policière.

La Centrafrique a sombré dans le chaos et les violences intercommunautaires, lorsque l'ex-rébellion Séléka, à majorité musulmane, a pris brièvement le pouvoir entre mars 2013 et janvier 2014 dans un pays composé à 80% de chrétiens, multipliant les exactions.

Des milices chrétiennes hostiles aux Séléka et plus généralement aux musulmans se sont formées, semant elles aussi la terreur parmi les civils.

Les massacres ont été les plus violents à Bangui, où plus de 90% des 60 à 80.000 musulmans qui y vivaient ont fui la capitale.

***06.05.2014. Ukraine Crisis: Much greater effort needed from all sides towards peaceful resolution – Navi Pillay condemns all attacks on journalists (UN)

GENEVA (6 May 2014) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday expressed deep concern about the surge in violence in Ukraine, which is resulting in more and more deaths and destruction.

“I urge all sides to make a much greater effort to find a peaceful resolution to the current crisis, especially in the various towns in eastern and southern Ukraine that have been racked by increasingly violent confrontations,” she said.

“Armed opposition groups must stop all illegal actions, including detaining people and seizing public buildings in violation of Ukraine’s laws and Constitution. These organized and well-armed groups should lay down their weapons, free arbitrarily detained persons, and vacate occupied public and administrative buildings.”

Pillay also called on the Government to ensure that military and police operations are undertaken in line with international standards.

“It is extremely important that the authorities themselves demonstrate full respect for the rule of law and scrupulously protect the human rights of all, including the Russian-speaking population,” the High Commissioner said.

She stressed the need for the authorities to carry out prompt, transparent and comprehensive investigations into the events in Odessa and Donetsk regions that led to the deaths of dozens of people in recent days, including the fire in the trade union building in Odessa last Friday in which more than 40 people are believed to have died.

“Inclusive and participatory dialogue needs, as a matter of urgency, to be undertaken at all levels to de-escalate tensions and prevent further violence,” Pillay said. “Leaders at national and local levels need to take serious steps to halt the rhetoric of hatred and confrontation, before the situation spirals totally out of control.”

“Genuine peaceful demonstrations must be permitted, both as a matter of international law and as a release valve for people’s legitimate fears and frustrations,” she added. “Policing should facilitate such assemblies while ensuring the protection of participants, irrespective of their political views.”

Condemning all attacks on journalists

Pillay also emphasised the need to create an environment where freedom of expression and opinion are fully respected, condemning all attacks on, and harassment of, journalists.

“All sides must allow journalists space to work,” she said. “This is a key element in ending the increasing misinformation, disinformation and hate speech that has been colouring conflicting narratives and fuelling the development of artificial, destructive and deeply dangerous divisions between communities.”

Pillay added that journalists themselves should make strenuous efforts to be objective, and to avoid incitement.

She also noted that very little time remains before the elections on 25 May, which represent the best opportunity for Ukraine to begin the process of reconciliation and stabilization.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights currently has a monitoring mission of 34 staff based in five locations, and is due to publish its next report on the human rights situation in Ukraine on 15 May.

***05.05.2014. IKRAINE. Journalists shot, attacked covering clashes in Odessa (CPJ)

New York, May 5, 2014--At least three journalists were shot over the weekend and others assaulted while covering deadly clashes between pro-Russia activists and their opponents in Odessa, southern Ukraine, according to news reports and a local press freedom group. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Ukrainian authorities to stand by their declared commitment to ensure journalists' safety and hold those responsible to account. "The threats to journalists trying to work in Ukraine continue to spread and multiply," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "We again call on all sides in the clashes to respect the civilian role of journalists, and for Ukrainian authorities to ensure that perpetrators of attacks on the press are held to account to the full extent of the law."

More than 40 people died over the weekend during violent clashes between pro-Russia activists and supporters of Ukraine, according to local and international news reports.

The Kiev-based Institute for Mass Information (IMI), a local press freedom group, reported that three local journalists sought medical help after being shot. On Friday, Oleg Konstantinov, chief editor of news website Dumskaya was shot in the back, arm, and leg, and Anton Dotsenko, a journalist for local news website Timer, was shot in his arm. Neither could identify the assailants, reports said. Pyotr Rakul, reporter for online news portal Info-Center, was shot in his left leg on Sunday. According to a report by Info-Center, Rakul was shot by a local police officer despite wearing a yellow vest marked "Press." It is unclear if Rakul's attacker was identified and apprehended.

According to IMI, at least two other journalists were physically attacked while reporting on the clashes. IMI said Dotsenko's colleague at Timer, Anna Levchenko, was hit on her arms and legs by rocks thrown by both sides of the clashes on Friday. On Sunday, pro-Russia activists roughed up Nataliya Tarasovskaya, journalist for the independent broadcaster Channel 5, and her cameramen as the TV crew was about to start reporting on air, news reports said.

In a statement on April 26, Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, instructed law enforcement agencies to ensure journalists' safety during security operations in eastern Ukraine. In the days since he issued the decree, violence against journalists has spread to other regions of the country.

The press freedom climate in Ukraine has rapidly deteriorated in recent months, and violent attacks against local and international reporters have continued. Journalists have been abducted and obstructed, according to CPJ research. The attacks escalated after former Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovychfled the country, and spread to the eastern and southern regions after Russia annexed Crimea, where multiple anti-press violations have also been documented. Following the Crimea annexations, armed pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine attacked government buildings, seized key junctions, and clashed with Ukrainian troops. In the process, journalists, both local and international, have been caught between the clashing parties and treated as enemies, traitors, and bargaining chips.

***02.05.2014. Europe Must Act to Counter Threats to Media Freedom (EFJ)

(Brussels, 2 May 2014) To mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has called on European policy-makers and national governments in Europe to put greater effort into reviving media freedom and pluralism to counter the worrying trends that are eroding media freedom in Europe.

The call follows the launch of EFJ’s Manifesto which reminds all candidates for the European elections on 22 – 25 May that they must not be complacent about the state of press freedom in Europe.

‘‘Europe’s media freedom is in danger,’’ said Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President. ‘‘In recent years, journalists, whether in Ukraine, Turkey or the United Kingdom, have been witnessing increasing attacks on their professional rights.’’

In Ukraine, journalists have been among the first casualties of the political crisis. Since November 2013, around 200 journalists have been attacked and one journalist (Vyacheslav Veremei) was killed while reporting on the crisis. There have also been many cases of journalists being intimidated, having their equipment confiscated and being detained or kidnapped.

In Turkey, 40 journalists are still behind bars for doing their jobs. Among them four journalists, Füsun Erdoğan, Ziya Ulusoy, Bayram Namaz, Ibrahim Cicek, were condemned to life sentences. Many journalists were also confronted with excessive police violence during the coverage of Gezi events.

In the United Kingdom, investigative journalism and journalists’ rights to confidential sources are threatened by national security and anti-terrorism laws. The arrest of David Miranda and the destruction of documents held by the Guardian were the most high profile incidents in these threats.

In Greece and Spain, the closure and drastic downsizing of public service broadcasters, ERT, Valencia TV and TeleMadrid, have not only threatened the livelihood of thousands of journalists but also media pluralism in the countries. It has set a worrying trend in Europe’s media landscape.

In Macedonia, Tomislav Kezarovski, an investigative journalist, is still under house arrest after he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Kezarovsk’s conviction and the country’s draconian media law have created a climate of fear and self-censorship in the media.

Elsewhere in Europe, journalists are witnessing their labour rights diminishing, working conditions deteriorating, quality in journalism dropping and the loss of public confidence in the media. Various forms of (self-) censorship as a result of political and economic pressures on journalists and media have also grown across Europe.

‘‘A free, safe, independent and pluralistic media is the cornerstone of Europe’s democracy.’’ emphaised Blicher Bjerregård. ‘‘There are no grounds for complacency for Europe’s media freedom.’’

‘‘All candidates for the European elections must commit to the revival of Europe’s media freedom and pluralism by turning their promises into actions.’’

The EFJ has called on all candidates for the European elections to show their commitment by endorsing the Journalists’ Manifesto. You can see a list of candidates, including candidates for the European Commission President, MEPs Ska Keller (Greens) and Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) and MEP, who have endorsed our Manifesto Here.

***02.05.2014. ETHIOPIA: NAVI PILLAY CONDEMNS CRACKDOWN ON JOURNALISTS, INCREASING RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

GENEVA (2 May 2014) – United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday expressed concerns about the increasing restrictions placed on freedom of opinion and expression in Ethiopia, following the recent arrest and detention of six bloggers and three journalists.

“I am deeply concerned by this recent wave of arrests and the increasing climate of intimidation against journalists and bloggers prevailing in Ethiopia,” Ms. Pillay said.

On 25 and 26 April, six members of the blogging collective Zone Nine and three journalists were arrested by police in Addis Ababa. They were later taken to the Maekelawi federal police station, where they remain in custody.

On 27 April 2014, they appeared before the Arada Court of First Instance in Addis Ababa. Although the exact charges against each of them remain unclear, the United Nations Human Rights Office has received information that they were arrested for “working with foreign human rights organizations and inciting violence through social media to create instability in the country.”

The nine detainees are reportedly being held incommunicado and some of their family members who tried to bring them food over the weekend were denied access.

Since January 2012, a number of journalists have been convicted under the Anti-terrorism Proclamation to sentences ranging from 5 years to life imprisonment. Two journalists arrested in July 2012 and January 2013 under the same law are currently in detention, awaiting their trial.

“The fight against terrorism cannot serve as an excuse to intimidate and silence journalists, bloggers, human rights activists and members of civil society organizations. And working with foreign human rights organisations cannot be considered a crime. Over the past few years, the space for dissenting voices has been shrinking dramatically in Ethiopia,” the High Commissioner said.

Ms. Pillay noted that the Ethiopian authorities continue to use the Charities and Societies Proclamation Law, the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and the Mass Media Law to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

The Charities and Societies Proclamation Law places restrictions on the activities that civil society organizations can engage in and institutes onerous registration procedures for registration as well as criminal penalties, restrictions on funding sources and intrusive powers of surveillance.

As a result of this legislation, local human rights organizations are unable to operate freely and have had to drastically scale down their human rights activities. Some have even been forced to close down some of their regional offices or to change their focus from human rights to development work during the re-registration process.

“In its efforts to combat terrorism, the Ethiopian Government must comply at all times with its human rights obligations under international law,” Ms. Pillay said. Ethiopia is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which both guarantee the right to freedom of expression.

Back in July 2012, Ms. Pillay had already warned that the vague definitions used in the 2009 anti-terrorism law could create a climate of intimidation and result in criminalizing the exercise of fundamental human rights.

The High Commissioner urged the Ethiopian Government to release all bloggers and journalists currently in detention for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression. She also reiterated her appeal for there to be a review of current anti-terrorism and civil society legislation to ensure its conformity with international human rights standards.

***27.04.2014. UKRAINE. PEC CONDEMNS THE OCCUPATION OF MEDIA BUILDINGS

Pro-Russian militants take over TV station in Ukraine's Donetsk (AFP)

Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Dozens of pro-Kremlin militants seized the regional television station in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk on Sunday, an AFP journalist at the scene said.
The insurgents, wearing camouflage uniforms and armed with baseball bats and knives, occupied the interior of the building, preventing anyone from entering. Most wore a red armband bearing the name of the pro-Russian group Oplot (Bastion).
They were not carrying visible firearms, but militants carried several heavy bags inside the building and refused to answer reporters' questions.
The insurgents covered the trident, Ukraine's national symbol, adorning the entrance with a sticker bearing the name of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk Republic."
"The journalists will be allowed to continue to work but they will have to tell the truth," said one militant, who gave his name as Stanislav.
"The Russian channels tell the truth. We demand to have channels in Donetsk that tell the truth," he added.
The station headquarters will be guarded "day and night," added the separatist.
Russian TV channels are banned in Ukraine, where the authorities accuse them of spreading propaganda.
The station's chief later spoke to the several international reporters gathered outside the building.
"Our channels have not yet changed," Oleg Djolos said.
"Our journalists and staff are of course worried but the men who have taken control of our station have pledged to guarantee our safety," he added.
Nearby, six Ukrainian police officers, at least three of whom were armed with Kalashnikov rifles, watched the events unfold without intervening.
Asked about this, Djolos said: "You will have to ask them. They are Ukrainian policemen."
The officers declined to comment to reporters.
"We will come to work at the normal time tomorrow," the director said.
"We are a regional Ukrainian television station. We are not a broadcasting centre. The decision to broadcast one channel or the other is not taken at our level."
When pro-Russia protesters took control of the Crimean peninsula last month, backed by Russian special forces, the TV stations were swiftly occupied in similar operations.

24.04.2014. UKRAINE - Journalists missing -All Journalists Being Held In Ukraine Must be Released (IFJ, FEJ, CPJ)

Any journalists being detained in Ukraine must be released immediately, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have stated, following reports that a number of journalists are missing or are being held hostage in the east of the country.

IFJ/EFJs Ukrainian affiliates, the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTUU) and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) have stated that in recent weeks the situation, particularly in eastern Ukraine, has become increasingly difficult and dangerous for media,with many journalists being held by pro-Russian separatist groups.

Among those detained are US journalist Simon Ostrovsky, of Vice News, who is being held by pro-Russian separatists in the city of Sloviansk, while Ukrainian photojournalist Yevegeny Gapich, who was on assignment for the Ukrainian newspaper Reporter, has not been heard from since he spoke to his family on Tuesday morning. Sergei Lefter, a Ukrainian correspondent for the Warsaw-based Open Dialogue Foundation has also been missing since last week.

We are gravely concerned about the continuing reports that journalists are being intimidated, attacked and kidnapped in the eastern region of Ukraine and we demand that any group that is holding a journalist releases them with immediate effect,said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

These attacks against local and international journalists are clearly designed to intimidate and stroke feat into the media community and they can no longer be tolerated. We appeal to all sides involved in the Ukraine crisis to ensure that the rights and freedom of journalists and media staff are upheld.

The IFJ/EFJ have repeated their call for journalists covering events in Ukraine to remain vigilant at all times and to take all necessary measures and precautions , while advising them to follow the Federations Media Safety Guidelines.

IFJ/EFJs Ukrainian unions have detailed the local and international journalists who are being held:

- On April 16, Serhiy Lefter, a journalist for the Polish NGO Open dialogue,disappeared in Slovyansk, near Donetsk

- On April 20, the journalist and civic activist, Irma Krat, was kidnapped by separatists

- On April 21, two foreign journalists from Italy, Pol Gogo and Cosimo Attanasio, and a Belarusian journalist, Dmytro Galko, who works for the New Time newspaper were detained by separatists in Slovyansk, but were later released

- April 22: Ukrainian photojournalist, Yevgeny Gapich, has not been heard from since he spoke to his family on Tuesday morning from the eastern city of Horlivka. Gapich, who was on assignment for the Ukrainian newspaper Reporter, is said to have used a code word that he and his wife used to signal danger, but he has stopped responding to phone calls.

- On April 22, US journalist Simon Ostrovsky, from the American publication, Vice magazine, was detained by separatists in Slovyansk. With him was British cameraman Frederick Paxton.

23.04.2014. In Ukraine, another journalist missing, newsroom destroyed

New York, April 23, 2014 (CPJ) --Three local and international journalists are missing or being held hostage in eastern Ukraine, while unidentified assailants burned down the offices of a newspaper. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Ukrainian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists covering the crisis. "All sides in Ukraine's continuing crisis are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of journalists. We call on anyone holding a journalist against his or her will to release them immediately," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "These attacks on the media are clearly intended not just as a message to the victims but as a warning to all journalists not to report independently on the region."

Ukrainian photojournalist Yevgeny Gapich has not been heard from since speaking to his family on Tuesday morning from the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlivka, according to the independent Ukrainian news website Telekritika. Gapich had used a code word on the phone that he and his wife used to signal being in danger. News reports said the journalist was accompanied by his brother, Gennady Gapich. Both have stopped responding to phone calls.
Gapich had traveled to eastern Ukraine on Thursday on assignment for the independent Ukrainian newspaper Reporter. His assignment was funded by a grant from Telekritika. He was also contributing to the independent news website Vikna (Windows), reports said. In his latest report for Vikna, Gapich said that separatists from the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic had replaced Ukrainian flags with separatistflags in government buildings in the city of Artyomovsk in Donetsk region.

Two other journalists have been abducted or reported missing in eastern Ukraine. U.S. journalist Simon Ostrovsky of VICE News is being held by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern city of Sloviansk. Sergei Lefter, Ukrainian correspondent for the Warsaw-based Open Dialogue Foundation, has been missing since last week, according to the foundation.

Today, CPJ spoke to Stella Khorosheva, spokeswoman for the self-declared mayor of Sloviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, who had earlier confirmed holding Ostrovsky in a pre-trial facility. Khorosheva told CPJ that Ostrovsky was detained by military units on suspicion of carrying out subversive activities and of covering the situation in Sloviansk from only one side.

Khorosheva told CPJ that Ostrovsky "is safe, alive, well fed, and working on an exclusive story" in detention. Khorosheva said Ponomaryov had vowed to release Ostrovsky "when the time comes." She said the journalist has not been charged with a crime.

Also on Tuesday, unknown assailants threw Molotov cocktails at the newsroom of the local newspaper Provintsiya(Province) in the eastern city of Konstantinovka, in Donetsk region, Telekritika reported. The newsroom burned down. One of Provintsiya's journalists, Vladimir Berezin, was forced to leave the region today after receiving threats from pro-Russia activists, according to the Ukrainian news website Gazeta which cited one of Berezin's colleagues as well as a friend.

Mikhail Razputko, Provintsiya's editor, told Gazeta that prior to the attack, an unidentified man called the paper and told the staff that they would face consequences if they continued reporting critically on the Donetsk People's Republic. On Friday, the newsroom's front door was painted with "Enough lying!" and "Here you can sign up for membership in Pravy Sector," a reference to a Ukrainian far-right political party, news reports said.

In the last few weeks, armed pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine have raided and taken over government buildings, including police stations, demanded a referendum on the status of their region within the country, and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to send troops. They are suspected as perpetrators in a series of attacks against local and international journalists and have been obstructing local broadcasters and cable companies.

16.04.2014. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have issued a renewed appeal for all sides involved in unrest in Ukraine to respect the rights and freedom of journalists covering events.

The call follows media reports that many Russian journalists have been prevented from entering Ukraine, while local and international journalists have been harassed, abused, detained and had equipment seized. News outlets have also been attacked and broadcasting signals have been disabled.

The incidents have taken place amid increasing tension in Ukraine, with pro-Russian activists occupying buildings in more eastern towns.

According to the latest media reports, over 20 journalists and crews from around a dozen Russian news outlets have been denied entry to the country over the past few days. Journalists with the newly reshuffled RIA Novosti news agency, TV channels Russia and Russia Today, the business daily Kommersant, and Forbes-Russia magazine are said to have all been turned down at the border. Reports say that Ukrainian border officers alleged the journalists did not have sufficient funds to enter the country.

On Saturday, a BBC TV crew was threatened and had their equipment broken by a pro-Russian mob in the city of Slavyansk, in the north of the Donetsk region, while a local journalist was attacked by the same group. And yesterday, in the eastern city of Horlivka, masked men attacked Frederick Paxton, a British photojournalist who works for the independent news website Vice News, and confiscated his reporting equipment.

Also on Saturday, journalists with the Ukrainian online broadcaster, Hromadske TV, and Russian news website, Lenta, were briefly detained by unidentified armed men who barred them from reporting in Sloviansk. The journalists were attempting to cover a raid by armed men on a local police station.

While on Monday, at least seven masked men are reported to have raided the offices shared by independent local news website Gorlovka and newspaper Kriminal Ekspress in Horlivka, and detained Aleksandr Belinsky, chief editor of Gorlovka.

These incidents follow last month’s news that authorities in Kiev moved to shut down the broadcasting of Russian TV channels, with media reports stating that 50% of providers throughout Ukraine have disabled broadcasting of foreign channels.

“We continue to be deeply concerned by the continuing violence against journalists and media organisations reporting on events in Ukraine,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “We strongly condemn these blatant and underhand attempts to undermine media freedom.

“We demand that all factions involved in the ongoing unrest respect the freedom of movement and rights of all journalists and media organisations reporting on events in the country. This abuse of media professionals covering events in Ukraine must end immediately.”

***20.04.2014. SYRIE - IMMENSE SOULAGEMENT APRES LA LIBERATION DE QUATRE OTAGES FRANçAIS 

(AFP, PEC) Les quatre journalistes français libérés samedi après dix mois d'une éprouvante captivité en Syrie aux mains d'un groupe jihadiste lié à Al-Qaïda sont arrivés dimanche en France. Amaigris et fatigués, ils ont reconnu n'avoir "pas toujours" été bien traités par leurs ravisseurs.

Rasés de près après leurs longues barbes de la veille, héritage de leur captivité, les quatre ex-otages ont été chaleureusement accueillis par le président François Hollande à l'aéroport militaire de Villacoublay, près de Paris.

"Ça a été long, mais on n'a jamais douté. De temps en temps, on avait des bribes, on savait que tout le monde était mobilisé", a dit Didier François. Il a remercié les "diplomates et les agents des services de renseignement (qui) ont fait un travail absolument formidable, très discret (...) pour essayer de nous sortir de là".

Dures conditions de détention

Au lendemain de l'annonce surprise de leur libération, les informations se multiplient sur les conditions de la captivité des reporters prisonniers de l'Etat islamique en Irak et au Levant (EIIL), le plus radical des groupes jihadistes en Syrie.

"On est restés dix mois complets dans des sous-sols sans voir le jour, un mois et demi entièrement enchaÎnés les uns aux autres", a de son côté affirmé Didier François, évoquant des conditions de détention "rudes".

"Dans un pays en guerre, ce n'est pas toujours simple, que ce soit la nourriture, l'eau, l'électricité, parfois c'était un petit peu bousculé, les combats étaient proches, il est arrivé qu'on soit déplacé très rapidement dans des conditions un peu abracadabrantes", a-t-il dit.

Ses deux enfants dans les bras, Nicolas Hénin, était très ému devant les caméras. A-t-il été bien traité? "Pas toujours", a-t-il répondu d'une voix étranglée. "Ca n'a pas toujours été facile".

Ce fin connaisseur de l'Afrique et du Moyen-Orient avait auparavant raconté à la chaÎne de télévision France 24 avoir tenté de s'évader trois jours après son enlèvement. "J'ai passé une nuit en liberté à courir dans la campagne syrienne avant de me faire rattraper par mes ravisseurs", a-t-il dit.

Au total, il a dit être "passé par une dizaine de lieux de captivité (...). La plupart du temps, avec d'autres personnes, notamment Pierre Torrès qui m'a rejoint assez vite. Cela a été une longue errance de lieux de détention en lieux de détention", a-t-il poursuivi.

Officiellement pas de rançon

M. Hollande a de son côté répété que la France "ne paie pas de rançon" dans les prises d'otages.

Samedi, le député UMP Alain Marsaud avait évoqué la possibilité d'un "geste" de "pays amis", de l'argent ou des armes donnés par le Qatar ou les Emirats arabes unis.

Didier François, grand reporter à la radio Europe 1, et le photographe Edouard Elias avaient été enlevés au nord d'Alep le 6 juin 2013. Nicolas Hénin, reporter à l'hebdomadaire "Le Point", et Pierre Torrès, photographe indépendant, avaient été enlevés le 22 juin à Raqqa.

Retrouvés par des soldats turcs

Selon l'agence Dogan, les otages ont été retrouvés, ligotés et les yeux bandés, par des soldats turcs à la frontière avec la Syrie.

Les quatre hommes ont été abandonnés par des inconnus dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi dans le no man's land de la frontière séparant la Turquie et la Syrie, près de la petite ville turque d'Akçakale (sud-est), selon l'agence.

La patrouille de l'armée turque a cru dans un premier temps avoir affaire à des contrebandiers. Mais quand les soldats ont vu que les journalistes parlaient français, ils les ont conduits à un poste de police d'Akçakale.

Plusieurs journalistes étrangers sont toujours otages en Syrie. Le nombre exact de correspondants en captivité est difficile à estimer, dans la mesure où certaines familles et gouvernements ont demandé aux médias de ne pas révéler la disparition de leurs journalistes.

LIRE AUSSI leur témoignage sur Europe 1 lundi 21 avril:
http://www.europe1.fr/International/Didier-Francois-et-Edouard-Elias-il-y-a-eu-des-simulacres-d-execution-2098597/#

***04.04.2014. AFGHANISTAN. THE PRESS EMBLEM CAMPAIGN IS SHOCKED. TWO FEMALE JOURNALISTS SHOT, 1 KILLED, 1 INJURED (reactions below)

The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) is condemning the killing in Afghanistan of a photo journalist and colleague at the UN in Geneva the Associated Press' photographer Anja Niedringhaus. Now and today a colleague whom we know in flesh and blood has fallen, what will representatives of UN states in Geneva do for her memory? The PEC presents its condolences to her family and the AP office in Geneva and expresses its deep grief for the loss of our colleague (PEC)

Letter sent by the PEC President to the AP bureau in Geneva:

"Dear AP colleagues 

It is with great sadness to learn of the death of our colleague photo journalist laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus.

While mourning her, her face comes up every when she covered events at the UN and in Salle 3. 

I only knew that Anja was a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer after her brutal death on April 4, 2014, while covering presidential election preparations in Afghanistan for the Associated Press. 
 
Talking to her several times at the briefings in Salle 3 and during major events at the UN in Geneva I found her a very modest person with extreme professionalism. 
 
Anja spoke of her daughter, which she devoted all her free time for her. 
 
The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), for a decade was dedicated to alert the international community to the horrors of targeting journalists, but never would we imagined or have liked to register Anja, one of us, as a victim.  
 
May you accept my sincere condolences on behalf of the PEC board, and convey my condolences to her daughter and family.

Hedayat Abdel Nabi
PEC President"

(AP, AFP, Reuters) A gunman dressed as a police officer shot two foreign journalists in eastern Afghanistan, killing one and injuring the other critically. The journalists were both women.

The pair were working in a remote town on the country’s restive border with Pakistan when the shooting transpired. According to AFP, the journalists were in a police district headquarters in Khost, which is located approximately 150 kilometers south of the capital Kabul.

A spokesman for the governor of Khost province suggested to Reuters that the assailant was actually a policeman."Naqibullah, a policeman in Tani district of Khost, opened fire on two foreign journalists. One was killed and one was wounded," Mobariz Zadran told the agency. 

A police spokesman said that German war photographer Anja Niedringhaus <https://twitter.com/NiedringhausAP> was shot and killed in the incident while Canadian journalist Kathy Gannon <.https://twitter.com/Kathygannon> was seriously injured in the shooting.

AP confirmed the shooting later on Friday, saying Gannon had been wounded twice, was receiving medical attention. She was described as being in stable condition and talking to medical personnel."Anja and Kathy together have spent years in Afghanistan covering the conflict and the people there. Anja was a vibrant, dynamic journalist well-loved for her insightful photographs, her warm heart and joy for life. We are heartbroken at her loss," said AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll, speaking in New York. . 

According to AP, the women were traveling in a convoy of election workers delivering ballots from the center of Khost city to the outskirts, in Tani district. The convoy was being escorted by the Afghan National Army and Afghan police, and the journalists were in their own car with a freelancer and a driver. According to the freelancer, they had arrived in the heavily guarded district compound shortly before the incident.

As they were sitting in the car waiting for the convoy to move, a unit commander named Naqibullah walked up to the car, yelled "Allahu Akbar" — God is Great — and opened fire on them in the back seat with his AK-47. He then surrendered to the other police and was arrested.

Medical officials in Khost also confirmed that Niedringhaus died.

Niedringhaus worked for the Associated Press (AP) and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for photography of the Iraq War. According to her Twitter account, Gannon is AP's Special Regional Correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Gannon is best known for her book: ‘I is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror in Afghanistan.’

The shootings comes less than a month after a British-Swedish journalist was summarily executed in a rare attack on a civilian in Kabul’s heavily patrolled diplomatic district.The journalist, 51-year-old Nils Horner, was a correspondent for Swedish radio. He was traveling from his hotel to the scene of a restaurant hit in a Taliban bomb attack in January when the attack transpired. Also in March, a well-respected Afghan journalist with AFP was killed alongside eight other people when Taliban gunmen assaulted a heavily fortified luxury hotel in the heart of Kabul. 

STATEMENT BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNOG ON PHOTOGRAPHER ACCREDITED TO THE PALAIS DES NATIONS, KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN

The Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva learned with shock today of the death of Anja Niedringhaus, an Associated Press photographer killed in Afghanistan where she was covering the upcoming elections. Based in Geneva, Ms. Niedringhaus had been accredited at the Palais des Nations since 2002, and was highly respected among her colleagues as a dedicated and accomplished award-winning professional. The Director-General recalled the Secretary-General's statement yesterday denouncing violence by any group in Afghanistan and reiterating that deliberate attacks against civilians are serious violations of international humanitarian law. He also stressed the importance of ensuring that journalists can perform freely and without fear or intimidation their indispensable work to report, inform and educate. The Director-General extends his condolences to Ms. Niedringhaus' family and friends.

UN DEPLORES ‘ABHORRENT’ ATTACK ON INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISTS IN AFGHANISTAN
New York, Apr 4 2014 11:00AM
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemned the “abhorrent” attack on two international journalists working for the Associated Press today which left one dead and the other wounded.

Photographer Anja Niedringhaus and reporter Kathy Gannon were shot in the Tani district of Khost province in eastern Afghanistan, according to a <"http://unama.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=12254&ctl=Details&mid=15756&ItemID=37854&language=en-US">news release issued by UNAMA. Ms. Niedringhaus died in the attack, while Ms. Gannon is reported to be in stable condition.

The two women were covering the country’s presidential and provincial council elections, which are set to take place on 5 April.

“I am outraged by this terror attack on civilians,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “The journalists were going about their work, informing the world how Afghan citizens are exercising their right to shape a better future for themselves, their children and their country.”

He added that the attack is a “huge loss” for Afghanistan. “Both journalists were highly respected and were very well known for their professionalism, love and appreciation of the Afghan people and dedication to telling Afghanistan’s story.”

UNAMA expressed its condolences to the family and colleagues of Ms. Niedringhaus and wished a speedy recovery for Ms. Gannon.

***30.03.2014. SYRIA. Spanish journalists freed in Syria after six-month ordeal (The Guardian)

Two Spanish journalists kidnapped in northern Syria last September have been freed by their captors, ending a six-month ordeal in the hands of an extremist Islamist group that continues to hold more than 40 other western hostages.

Javier Espinosa, a veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El Mundo, and Ricardo García Vilanova, a freelance photographer working with him, were handed over to Turkish authorities on Saturday night near the Syrian town of Tal Abiyad, not far from where they were seized 194 days ago.

The pair had been held in the nearby city of Raqaa, which fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) last May and remains a stronghold of the radical organisation even after an internecine fight with other Syrian opposition groups, who ousted them from nearby Idlib and Aleppo province over the past month.

It is widely believed that the bulk of the remaining hostages, comprising journalists, aid workers and priests, have also been imprisoned in Raqaa since their capture, or were moved there recently, as Isis forces retreated east with rebels in pursuit.

The scale of the hostage crisis in northern Syria, in terms of the numbers held and length of their detention, exceeds most other similar incidents anywhere in the world in recent decades. The victims come from at least 10 countries, including the US, France, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Peru.

Until recently, there had been no communication with the hostage-takers or their proxies, and their demands had been unclear. Even after intensive efforts by European governments to make contact, no key co-ordinating figure within Isis has emerged. The fate of the captives seems contingent on the whim of local warlords.

The jihadists holding the hostages are thought to be senior figures within the organisation, which has influence over a vast swath of territory from Falluja in Iraq, through Syria's eastern deserts and oil fields, and on to Raqaa and al-Bab in eastern Aleppo province.

Throughout 2013, Isis gained a foothold in Aleppo and Idlib, imposing hardline Islamist rule in towns and cities it had conquered, often through brutal, indiscriminate violence. Hostage-taking became a tool to impose both fear and influence. Prisoners were also seized in a bid to trade them for Islamist prisoners held in Syria and elsewhere.

Some hostages, including James Foley, the American videographer who was seized near the northern town of Binish, have been held for more than 18 months. Others, including five European doctors from aid group Médecins sans Frontières, were captured this year in northern Latakia. A group from the International Committee of the Red Cross was seized last October.

The families of many of those held have avoided publicising their cases, fearing a raised profile may amplify their kidnappers' demands. Others, such as Espinosa's wife, Mónica García Prieto, had chosen to make public appeals directly to his captors in the hope that personalising his ordeal would advance his release.

Espinosa had reported from the Middle East for much of the past 12 years and had worked extensively among opposition communities in northern and western Syria. He narrowly escaped death in Homs in February 2012, when a rocket fired by the Syrian army hit the house in which he and other reporters were staying, killing Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

Both Spaniards were reported to be in good health. Espinosa contacted his newspaper after crossing the Turkish border. He also spoke to his wife, who in response tweeted: "Pure happiness."

After initially doing little to respond to the creeping influence of Isis in northern Syria, Turkey has in recent months attempted to stop the group's recruits from using its borders to cross into Syria.

Ankara also allowed new weapons and ammunition into the country that were used by the two main opposition groups to fight Isis in a series of battles from early January, which eventually led it to withdraw to Raqaa.

The toll, however, was high, with up to 2,500 opposition fighters thought to have been killed and the Syrian military and its backers able to make strategic advances around the eastern flank of Aleppo, which had remained an opposition bastion for 18 months.

The regime's advance saw troops close in on the Sheikh Najjar industrial area in the city's north-east, which was being used as a base for one group of hostages, who were quickly evacuated by their captors.

The changing face of the battlefield has added a new complexity to attempts to free the hostages. Rebel groups who were attempting to monitor their movements have next to no influence in Raqaa and little means to stop them being moved further east into Iraq.

Syria's eastern deserts have descended into a lawless and lethal tract of land under the sway of competing tribes and warlords. Militants, including Isis leaders, move regularly between Iraq's Anbar province and Syria across a porous, and increasingly irrelevant border, between the two countries.

The Iraqi cities of Falluja and Ramadi are again in the grip of an extremist insurgency, less than three years after US forces left the country. The revitalised insurrection there is in turn fuelling the potent Isis presence in parts of Syria. Iraqi officials estimate that there are 6,000 Isis-aligned fighters in Anbar. European and US officials assess that the group's ranks in Syria number 12,000-15,000.

However, Syrian opposition and European officials say Isis can no longer command the influence it has had for much of the past year over parts of northern Syria.

"As strong as they are in numbers, they have taken several strategic blows recently," one senior western official said. "They have been defeated in much of the north, and they will not be coming back there. The battle has been won. The regular opposition can now get back to fighting Assad."

***28.03.2014. SYRIA: Opening of the trial against detained human rights defenders Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghrer and Hani Al-Zitani for terrorism

Paris-Geneva, March 28, 2014. FIDH and OMCT, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, express their deepest concern about the decision made by the Damascus' Anti-Terrorism Court to prosecute Mazen Darwish, Hussein Hammad Ghrer and Mohamed Hani Al-Zitani under the 2012 Anti-Terrorist Law.

On March 24, 2014, the General Prosecutor of the Anti-Terrorism Court of Damascus presented charges against Mr. Mazen Darwish, President of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), together with two other SCM members, Messrs. Mohamed Hani Al-Zaitani and Hussein Hammad Ghrer, with publicizing terrorist actspursuant Article 8 of the 2012 Anti-Terrorism Law. Two of their other colleagues, Messrs. Mansour Omari and Abdel Rahman Hamada, who were conditionally released on February 6, 2013, will also stand trial for the same charges.

Defense lawyers challenged the jurisdiction of the Anti-Terrorism Court, arguing in particular that activities carried out by SCM, an NGO promoting human rights, could not be considered as terrorist acts. They also raised several procedural irregularities: the absence of arrest warrant at the time of arrest of the human rights defenders should render the case null and void; the fact that a Military Court ruled on September 11, 2012 that SCM staff members had served prison for a sufficient amount of time and that they should all be released; that the body which conducted the investigation and decided to bring charges had no authority to do so (Article 8 of the Criminal Procedure Code).

The next hearing is scheduled for June 18, 2014. Messrs. Mazen Darwich, Hani Zaitani, Hussein Ghrer, Mansour Omari and Abdel Rahman Hamada face a penalty of 15 years imprisonment.

The indictment of the five SCM members on terrorism charges is absurddeclared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. It is a sad example of the mock justice delivered in Syria, which aims solely at sanctioning legitimate and necessary activities carried out by human rights defenders.

The Syrian government should not use its overbroad terrorism law to punish peaceful activists for their legitimate work, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General. Further, their trial should not be held in the Anti-Terrorism Court, which does not afford defendants basic due process rights according to international fair trial standards.

Mazen Darwish, Hussein Hammad Ghrer and Mohamed Hani Al-Zitani are detained since February 2012, for promoting freedom of expression and monitoring gross human rights violations committed in Syria. During nine months they were held in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance and subjected to acts of torture. There has been no investigation into the abuses.

Despite repeated calls by the international community, including the United Nations, for the release of the three human rights defenders, the authorities have refused to release them. A May 15, 2013 UN General Assembly resolution included a demand for their immediate release and on November 15, 2013, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared their detention to be arbitrary and asked for their immediate release.

Bringing charges against the five human rights defenders, especially after the UN found their two-year pre-trial detention to be arbitrary, clearly breaches international norms. Accordingly, the Observatory calls on Syrian authorities to drop charges against them and release Mazen Darwish, Hussein Hammad Ghrer and Mohamed Hani Al-Zitani immediately and unconditionally as well as to order investigations into the above-mentioned allegations of torture and ill-treatment.

The Observatory urges more generally the Syrian authorities to release all human rights defenders detained in Syria for carrying out their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities.

For further information, please contact:
FIDH: Arthur Manet / Audrey Couprie: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: + 41 22 809 49 39

***28.03.2014. Turkey: First Twitter, now YouTube – UN rights experts concerned at attempts to restrict access before elections

GENEVA (28 March 2014) – A group of United Nations independent experts expressed serious concern over the Government’s measures, taken in the context of forthcoming elections, to prevent access to YouTube a week after Twitter was shut down.

“The right to freedom of opinion and expression is a central pillar of modern democratic societies”, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, said. “Blocking access to YouTube and Twitter entirely unduly restricts this fundamental right. This is all the more surprising following the recent temporary court injunction against the blocking of Twitter”, he added.

“Concerns about national security can be legitimate, but limitations to the freedom to seek, receive and impart information must conform to the strict test of necessity and proportionality to the aim pursued”, Mr. La Rue said.

“International standards are clear: the free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues among people, candidates and elected representatives is essential,” he noted. “This requires a free press and other media to facilitate debate on public issues without censorship or restraint, in particular in the context of elections. The public also has a corresponding right to access information freely.”

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, highlighted the key role of social media and access to information for those who defend and promote human rights, including by monitoring elections and public debate, and by raising issues of public interest.

“Blocking access to Twitter and YouTube is also a severe blow to the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, since social media is increasingly used by people to mobilize and organize peaceful protests, especially in the context of elections,” the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, pointed out.

“Such restrictions could undermine the legitimacy of the electoral process and call into question the guarantees of free and fair exercise of people’s civil and political rights,” they said.

The independent experts noted that they stand ready to cooperate with the Turkish Government with a view to ensuring that it meets its obligations under international human rights law.

***24.03.2014. EGYPT - Trial of Al Jazeera staff adjourned in Egypt (Al Jazeera)

The trial of three Al Jazeera English staff jailed in Egypt on charges of spreading false news and belonging to a "terrorist group" has been adjourned until March 31.

Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed, held in a Cairo for 86 days, appeared in court for the third time on Monday.

The three men are charged with spreading false news and aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the army in July.

Al Jazeera rejects the charges against its staff and continues to call for their release.

The government has declared the Brotherhood a "terrorist" group. An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced 529 members of the Brotherhood to death on charges including murder, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement.

CNN correspondent Ian Lee, reporting from outside the court in the Egyptian capital, said the families of the jailed journalists were calling on authorities to expedite the trial and to allow the detainees longer time with their lawyers than the current 45-minute session alloted ahead of the trial.

Lee has been reporting on behalf of Al Jazeera as the network’s journalists are banned from reporting from Egypt.

The Al Jazeera staff's latest court appearance comes days after Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour pledged to help resolve the trial of Greste, an Australian award-winning journalist.

In the letter directed at Greste's parents, Mansour, appointed after Morsi's ouster, said: "Notwithstanding the independence of the judiciary authorities and the fullness of all the rights guaranteed by the law, I would like to assure you in my capacity as president of Egypt that I will spare no effort to work towards the speedy resolution of the case, in a fashion consistent with the law, and that guarantees the resumption of the family in the near future."

'Expedite trial'

As well as signing the letter as "president", he also used the title "chief justice", indicating his position as the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the highest judicial authority in the land.

Al Jazeera called the move an "encouraging sign".

The high-profile case, in which 17 others are also charged, has sparked a global outcry and fuelled fears of a crackdown on the press by the military-installed authorities.

Abdullah al-Shami, from Al Jazeera's Arabic channel, has been detained for more than six months without charge and has been on hunger strike since January 23. Al Jazeera’s correspondents Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, who covered events in Egypt and are now abroad, are being tried in absentia.

Institutions including the White House, the European Union and the United Nations have called for the release of the men, and for press freedoms to be upheld.

Freedom of speech in Egypt has been the focus of mounting global concern since the government adopted a hardline approach towards journalists.

The country has been ranked the third deadliest destination for journalists in 2013 by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

***19.03.2014. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) condemns violent attack on head of Ukraine TV

The EBU condemns as totally unacceptable a violent attack in which clearly identifiable members of Ukraine’s parliament forced the head of NTU, the country’s national television broadcaster, to resign. In a videoed scene posted on YouTube, a group of members of Ukraine’s far-right nationalist party Svoboda, including MPs, invaded the office of NTU Director General a.i. Alexander Panteleymonov yesterday evening. The men are seen to manhandle and strike Panteleymonov while shouting at him to write a letter of resignation. He was later reportedly bundled into a car and driven away, before being released.

The EBU was unable to reach Mr Panteleymonov, but he is said by colleagues to be in a state of shock following the assault.

“On behalf of the EBU and all the public service broadcasters of Europe, we condemn this vicious attack on the director general of NTU,” EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot said in a statement from Geneva. “Such actions are totally unacceptable, and we call on the Ukrainian authorities to react swiftly and resolutely. Independent public service media and freedom of expression are indispensable to a proper democracy.”

A staff meeting at NTU today elected one of Mr Panteleymonov’s deputies, Yuriy Romanchuk, to head the broadcaster pending Mr Panteleymonov’s return. NTU switched off its signals for one minute to protest against the attack.

***14.03.2014. UKRAINE/RUSSIE. Tour de vis sur l'internet russe en pleine crise ukrainienne (AFP)

Moscou (AFP) La Russie a bloqué l'accès au blog de l'opposant Alexeï Navalny et à trois des principaux sites internet critiques envers le Kremlin, une initiative dénoncée par certains comme visant à verrouiller l'information sur l'Ukraine. L'autorité de contrôle des médias, Roskomnadzor, a bloqué jeudi soir l'accès aux sites Grani.ru, EJ.ru et Kasparov.ru, fondé par le champion d'échecs et opposant Garry Kasparov, pour "incitation à des activités illégales et à participer à des rassemblements de masse qui violent l'ordre public". Les faits reprochés n'ont pas été précisés.

"C'est la façon la plus directe de verrouiller la communication sur les évènements en Ukraine", a estimé Alexandre Podrabinek, journaliste à Grani.ru. "Toute aggravation de la situation internationale incite le pouvoir à faire preuve de davantage d'autoritarisme", a-t-il ajouté.

Le blog de l'opposant Alexeï Navalny était lui aussi inaccessible vendredi: en résidence surveillée depuis le mois dernier, il a alimenté son blog alors que cela lui était interdit, a expliqué Roskomnadzor.

Cet opposant farouche au président russe, Vladimir Poutine, dénonçait mercredi dans son blog la politique du Kremlin en Ukraine, mettait en doute la légitimité du référendum organisé dimanche en Crimée et faisait l'inventaire des conséquences néfastes qu'aurait pour le pays le rattachement de ce territoire.

Le blocage de son blog et des trois sites intervient deux jours après le licenciement de la rédactrice en chef du site internet d'informations le plus ancien et le plus lu de Russie, Lenta.ru, congédiée pour "diffusion de documents à caractère extrémiste".

Roskomnadzor avait reproché à Lenta.ru d'avoir mis en ligne l'interview d'un membre de Pravy Sektor, mouvement radical et nationaliste ukrainien qui a été en première ligne dans les affrontements à Kiev le mois dernier, ainsi qu'un article citant le chef de ce mouvement, Dmytro Iaroch.

Selon les experts, la crise ukrainienne, et le changement de pouvoir à Kiev, présentés essentiellement dans les médias officiels russes comme un coup de force extrémiste soutenu par les Occidentaux à des fins géopolitiques, a déclenché à nouveau tour de vis sur les médias libres.

Accuser d'extrémisme un site est "un moyen pratique" pour justifier son blocage, explique Anna Katchkaeva, spécialiste des médias.

Une loi permet depuis le 1er février sur ordre d'un procureur et sans décision d'un tribunal de bloquer l'accès à des sites internet.

Dans un paysage médiatique cadenassé par le Kremlin, l'Internet est un des derniers moyens d'information indépendante, et d'expression pour les opposants.

"On assiste à un véritable ratissage des médias libres sur internet, rien de bon ne nous attend", s'inquiète Ioulia Berezovskaïa, directrice du site Grani.ru.

Le gouvernement tente de faire taire "ce qui ne va pas dans le sens de la politique dominante, de la rage patriotique, tout ce qui fait douter des actions du pouvoir", souligne Anna Katchkaeva, qui évoque aussi un "ratissage".

La prochaine étape pourrait être "le contrôle des réseaux sociaux", estime-t-elle.

"Le blocus sur l'information (...) s'accroît d'heure en heure", écrit sur son blog Anton Nossik, un des fondateurs de Lenta.ru, qui compare la situation actuelle des médias russes à celle connue sous l'URSS.

"Le souci n'est pas que nous n'avons nulle part où aller. Le souci, c'est qu'il semble que vous n'avez plus grand-chose à lire", ont souligné dans une lettre ouverte une quarantaine de journalistes qui quittent Lenta.ru à la suite de la rédactrice en chef.

D'autres médias indépendants sont aussi depuis quelques mois dans le collimateur du Kremlin, comme la chaîne de télévision câblée et satellite Dojd, qui a annoncé la semaine dernière n'avoir "plus qu'un mois à vivre", rejetée par les opérateurs en raison d'un sondage sur la justification des pertes humaines lors du siège de Leningrad pendant la seconde guerre mondiale, qui a fait scandale.

all/lpt/edy/fw/cj

***13.03.2014. UKRAINE. IFJ/EFJ Condemn Crimean Governments Attempts to Restrict Media Access

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have condemned the underhand attempts of Crimea's regional government to curtail media coverage of the region's referendum on March 16.

The regional government, the Verkhovna Rada Autonomous Republic of Crimea, yesterday, 12 March, published a statement (view the website statement here) on its website which says: "Applications for media accreditation are served to the press centre of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea up to 13 March 2014 by any means of communication on the official letterhead of the media, signed by the head and sealed."

Furthermore, the statement says the application should follow a number of strict procedures including:

- "stamped copy of the certificate on state registration of mass media or a copy of the license for broadcasting of audio-visual mass media;"

- "full name of mass media, its founder or the publishers, the location of media distribution area, work phone and fax number, surname, patronymic of the head of media, contact phone number;"

- "technical equipment which will be used by the journalist of accredited media to discharge their professional duties;"

The IFJ and EFJ have stated that the "ludicrously short" time period for media accreditation applications is completely unrealistic and unreasonable and the requirements of the accreditation simply cannot be obtained in time.

"This is clearly an underhand attempt by the regional government of Crimea to restrict and undermine media coverage of the upcoming referendum," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "First of all we have this laughably short one day turnaround period for applications which ends today, then an attempt to wrap journalists up in so much red tape that they haven't a hope of meeting the deadline.

"The result is deeply concerning for media who plan to cover the referendum. It will mean that journalists will be forced to work illegally, without accreditation, an action which could put their safety at risk in a region where many journalists have already been attacked and abused in recent days."

The IFJ and EFJ have called on the regional government of Crimea to scrap the ludicrous media accreditation process and give open access to media covering the referendum on 16 March.

"This attempt to undermine press freedom and restrict media coverage of the referendum must be reversed and open coverage of the events must be allowed," said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregrd.

***10.03.2014. UKRAINE. Two Ukrainian journalists missing in Crimea (read also IFJ/EFJ, OSCE statements below)

Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the fate of two Ukrainian journalists who were kidnapped yesterday at the Crimean border and have been missing ever since.

“The forces controlling the Crimea are responsible for the fate of these journalists,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We demand that they provide immediate information about their location and state of health, and that they release them without delay.”

“We are alarmed by the steady escalation in violations of journalists’ right in Crimea, which is turning into a lawless region controlled by armed bands whose anonymity reinforces the impunity. The frequency of deliberate attacks on journalists and the scale of the censorship suggest a desire to turn the region into a black hole for news and information.”

One of the missing journalists is Olena Maksymenko of Ukrainsky Tizhden, who disappeared with Kateryna Butko and Aleksandra Ryazantseva, two activists in the Auto-Maidan movement, which supports the new government in Kiev. After setting off in a car from Kherson, in southern Ukraine, the three young women were stopped a checkpoint in Perekop at around 4 p.m. yesterday.

After spotting a pro-Maidan tattoo on the hand of one of the women, the soldiers searched the car and found Ukrainian national symbols, letters and cameras, which they threw on the road.

A Glavkom journalist who was at the checkpoint, Oleksiy Byk, said Maksymenko was wearing a press badge identifying her as a journalist. The last time he saw the three women, they were kneeling near a military tent with the hands bound, and then they were taken off to an unknown destination.

Byk was himself arrested shortly afterwards at the same checkpoint along with his driver, Yevhen Rakhno, and freelance photographer Oles Kromplyas.

Soldiers without insignia detained them after searching their car and finding cameras, which they threw on the ground. Byk was released shortly thereafter thanks to intervention of his brother, who arrived at the checkpoint and was able to prove that he is a Crimean resident.

But there has been no word of Kromplyas and the driver. According to some accounts, another woman journalist is missing, but Reporters Without Borders has not been able to confirm this.

Analogue over-the-air transmission of all Ukrainian TV stations except the science channel Tonis was meanwhile suspended in Crimea yesterday and their frequencies were re-assigned to Russian national TV stations. Their transmission on digital frequencies was terminated today.

Some cable TV operators have also stopped retransmitting Ukrainian channels in Crimea. The secessionist republic’s deputy prime minister attributed this to “technical reasons” but information minister Dmitri Polonsky said the censorship was required by “moral principles” and legal imperatives.

Reporters Without Borders was relieved to learn last night (Wednesday 12) that Ukrainian journalists Olena Maksymenko and Oles Kromplyas have been released and have left Crimea. There had been no news of them since their abduction at the Perekop border post between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine on 9 March. The two activists and the driver who were seized at the same time as the two journalists have also been released. Exactly what happened to the five of them after they were taken prisoner is still not known.

A crew with Italy’s Sky TG24 TV channel – consisting of journalists Jacopo Arbarello and Fabrizio Stoppelli, a fixer and a driver – were stopped and threatened yesterday by armed men in charge of the same checkpoint. The gunmen finally let them leave, but confiscated their laptops, memory cards, camera batteries and the device that allowed the to stream video online.

UKRAINE. IFJ/EFJ Deeply Concerned for Media Safety in Crimea

Soldiers without insignia detained them after searching their car and finding cameras, which they threw on the ground. Byk was released shortly thereafter thanks to intervention of his brother, who arrived at the checkpoint and was able to prove that he is a Crimean resident.

Byk was himself arrested shortly afterwards at the same checkpoint along with his driver, Yevhen Rakhno, and freelance photographer Oles Kromplyas.

journalist who was at the checkpoint, Oleksiy Byk, said Maksymenko was wearing a press badge identifying her as a journalist. The last time he saw the three women, they were kneeling near a military tent with the hands bound, and then they were taken off to an unknown destination.A

After spotting a pro-Maidan tattoo on the hand of one of the women, the soldiers searched the car and found Ukrainian national symbols, letters and cameras, which they threw on the road.

One of the missing journalists is Olena Maksymenko of Ukrainsky Tizhden, who disappeared with Kateryna Butko and Aleksandra Ryazantseva, two activists in the Auto-Maidan movement, which supports the new government in Kiev. After setting off in a car from Kherson, in southern Ukraine, the three young women were stopped a checkpoint in Perekop at around 4 p.m. yesterday.

“We are alarmed by the steady escalation in violations of journalists’ right in Crimea, which is turning into a lawless region controlled by armed bands whose anonymity reinforces the impunity. The frequency of deliberate attacks on journalists and the scale of the censorship suggest a desire to turn the region into a black hole for news and information.”

“The forces controlling the Crimea are responsible for the fate of these journalists,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We demand that they provide immediate information about their location and state of health, and that they release them without delay.”

Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the fate of two Ukrainian journalists who were kidnapped yesterday at the Crimean border and have been missing ever since.The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have reiterated their appeal for all sides involved in the political unrest in Ukraine to respect the rights and freedom of journalists.

The IFJ/EFJ call follows reports that journalists are facing increasing harassment and intimidation in Crimea as political unrest continues, with news emerging that unidentified men are attacking journalists, brandishing guns and snatching cameras.

In response to the escalation in violence, the IFJ/EFJ are holding a meeting in Brussels on 17 March that will bring together representatives from the journalists union in Russia (RUJ) and Ukraine (NUJU and IMTUU) to discuss further measures to support journalists to uphold professional ethical standards and safety.

According to reports, on 5 March a journalist from News of the Week - Crimea' was attacked as he filmed a peaceful protest by a group of women in Crimea's capital, Simferopol, and on 6 March a journalist from Kerch.fm was threatened when she and a colleague visited the border ferry crossing.

In another chilling incident, a security camera in Simferopol captured the image of a Bulgarian freelance journalist and his assistant being attacked as they filmed masked men removing equipment from a television company. A gun was held to one of the men's heads and their equipment was taken.

In the latest incident, on Friday evening, 7 March, armed gunmen in civilian clothes are reported to have attacked journalists outside a military facility in Sevastopol. According to IFJ/EFJ's Greek affiliate, the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN), the men blocked the journalists at the entrance to the facility then attacked them, beating them, and ripping their gear and identification papers.

One of those attacked was Greek journalist Kostas Onisenko (photo and caption attached), from the Kathimerini newspaper, who was hit in the head, suffering bad bruises to his face and a fractured nose.

"We call on all factions involved in the ongoing unrest in the Crimea region to ensure that media freedom is upheld and journalists are allowed to report the truth without fear of intimidation or violence," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

The IFJ and the EFJ have also reminded journalists covering events in Crimea and across Ukraine to take every measure to ensure their safety, advising them to follow the Federation's Media Safety Guidelines.

"We urge journalists covering events to remain mindful of their safety at all times and to ensure they take every step necessary to protect themselves during this very troubling period," said EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregrd.

Stop attacks on journalists, de-escalate situation by allowing media to report freely in Ukraine, says OSCE representative

KYIV, 7 March 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today warned that the current situation in Ukraine has led to a media freedom crisis as she ended a four-day visit to the country.

“I am extremely worried about the media freedom situation, we are seeing cases of intimidation, beatings and media censorship every day. I call on all those responsible to stop the information war, ensure journalists’ safety in Crimea and elsewhere and immediately start to de-escalate the
situation by allowing media to report freely,” Mijatović said.

“In times of crisis, members of the media are among the first to be attacked to deprive citizens from receiving information from a variety of
sources. The recent demonstrations in Kyiv and other cities and what we are seeing across Crimea are clear examples of this.

Mijatović met with media associations and local journalists in Simferopol on Wednesday to discuss media freedom issues.

“The biggest problem is journalists’ safety. In addition, signals of Ukrainian television stations have been cut in Crimea, including the signal
of the independent Chernomorskaya TV,” Mijatović said.

She said Tatar journalists at the state broadcaster Krym are under political pressure from the broadcaster’s administration and that access to official information from local authorities is provided only to loyal journalists

“History has shown that attempts to silence critical voices are never successful and restrictions on media can have disastrous consequences. From personal experience I know very well what the destructive power of controlled media can be,” Mijatović said.
During her meetings in Kyiv with senior government officials Mijatović stressed that there must be no impunity for attacks
against journalists, and she raised the case of the murder of Vesti journalist Vyacheslav Veremyi.

“I noted that the public prosecutor will focus on these cases and I expect justice to be served”, she said. “Veremyi's family, friends and
colleagues deserve it.”

In her meetings with government officials Mijatović also noted that recent proposals by some parliamentarians to ban Russian television channels have been withdrawn.

“These are positive steps. But in order for media freedom to be restored, I stressed that there is a need for thorough and comprehensive actions in the media legislation reform to ensure media pluralism,” Mijatović said.

She expressed hope public service broadcasting law would be adopted to establish a politically and financial independent and impartial broadcaster, improve access to information, enhance the regulator, and continue the digitalization process without delay.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments.

***10.03.2014. The International News Safety Institute (INSI) and the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) are launching a joint report on violence and harassment against women in the news media.

The 40-page report, entitled “Violence and Harassment against Women in the News Media: A Global Picture”, reveals the findings of a global survey conducted among nearly 1,000 female journalists. It provides the first comprehensive picture of the dangers faced by many women working in news media around the world.

Core findings of the report include:- Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said they had experienced some form of intimidation, threats, or abuse in relation to their work, ranging in severity from name-calling to death threats. - The majority of threats, intimidation, and abuse directed toward respondents occurred in the work place, and was perpetrated most often by male bosses, supervisors, and co-workers. - Most incidents of harassment and violence were never reported, even though a majority of women who experienced them said they were psychologically affected.

“When we talk about the safety of journalists, we often think in terms of the risks we face in war zones, civil unrest and environmental disasters, but how often do we think of the office as being a dangerous place?”, said INSI Director Hannah Storm. “This survey shows that women journalists are often at risk in their own work places: targeted by their colleagues, and let down by the very people they should be able to trust.”

“It is telling that most respondents to our questions about reporting incidents of harassment, threats and violence they encountered chose not to do so,” said Elisa Lees Munoz, IWMF Executive Director. “Action must be taken to assure that all women in the news media have recourse against such incidents.”

In addition, the survey gathered data regarding sexual violence, physical violence, sexual harassment, and digital security threats experienced by women journalists as well as what measures have been taken for prevention, protection, and preparedness within news organisations.The survey was conducted jointly by the London-based International News Safety Institute and the Washington, D.C.-based International Women’s Media Foundation. The survey and this report were carried out with funding from the Government of Austria and supported by UNESCO.

The full report, including information about the survey methodology, is available here.

***06.03.2014. Venezuela/Demonstrations: UN experts ask for clarification on alleged arbitrary detentions and use of violence against protresters and journalists

GENEVA (6 March 2014) – A group of United Nations independent experts* have asked the Government of Venezuela for prompt clarification of allegations of arbitrary detention and excessive use of force and violence against protesters, journalists and media workers during the recent wave of protests in the country.

“The recent violence amid protests in Venezuela need to be urgently and thoroughly investigated, and perpetrators must be held accountable,” the experts stressed. They also expressed their shock at the reported deaths of at least 17 persons during the demonstrations.

“We are deeply disturbed by the allegations of multiple cases of arbitrary detention of protesters. Some were reportedly beaten -and in some cases severely tortured- by security forces, taken to military facilities, kept in incommunicado detention, and denied access to legal assistance,” they said. “These reports need to be urgently clarified and anyone who remains arbitrarily detained should be released without condition.”

The independent experts also drew attention to reports of violence against journalists and media workers monitoring and reporting on demonstrations in Venezuela: “Ensuring full protection to journalists and media workers covering the difficult period experienced by the country today is crucial.”

“The reports of the arbitrary detention of various journalists and the suspension of the broadcasting activities of TV channel NTN24 covering the protests are very worrying,” they said. “The country needs more, not less information on the ongoing protests.”

The human rights experts, who acknowledged the call for a national dialogue made by President Nicolás Maduro, emphasized the importance of fully guaranteeing the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, opinion and expression in this critical context.

“The reconciliatory dialogue that is so deeply needed in Venezuela is not going to take place if political leaders, students, media groups and journalists are harassed and intimidated by the authorities,” they stressed.

The group of UN independent experts noted they stand ready to visit the country and engage in a constructive dialogue with all parties. “We call the Government to respond positively to pending requests to visit Venezuela, and extend a standing invitation to the UN special procedures mandate holders,” they concluded.

(*) The experts: Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Mr. Mads Andenas, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on arbitrary detention; Mr. Juan Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Mr. Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

***05.03.2114. PALESTINE. MADA’s annual report on media freedoms violations: 229 violations of media freedoms in Palestine during 2013

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) held its annual press conference to review its Annual Report on the status of Media Freedoms in Palestine during 2013. The conference was held at MADA’s headquarter in Ramallah.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Ghazi Hanania, began the conference by expressing that 2013 witnessed a serious escalation of violations against journalists by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in west Bank, who violate the basic right of freedom of expression that is guaranteed in the international declaration of human right under article 19, and omitting commitment to international laws and acting above the law.

Dr. Hanania added: “The reported Israeli violations do not mean the absence of Palestinian violations against media freedoms. Although we always confirmed that the Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists are the most dangerous, life threatening, and the most frequent, but the Palestinian violations are still high in numbers, recording a slight increase during 2013 especially in Gaza, where the number of violations were higher than in the West Bank. In the west bank media freedoms violations decreased comparing to 2012”.

Dr. Hanania then explained that the Fatah-Hamas division still constitutes a fertile ground for violations to arise in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and MADA and other institutions defending human rights and Media freedoms have continuously demanded the end of the Palestinian internal division because it’s still a main cause of the continuing Palestinian violations against media freedoms, in addition the events in Egypt on the 30th of June and beginning of July had negative impacts on the development of media freedoms in Palestine as well.

Dr. Hanaia thanked Open Society Foundation(OSF) for supporting MADA’ s monitoring and documenting of media freedoms program.

151 media freedoms violations committed by Israeli Occupation and 78 by Palestinian parties

MADA’s general director Mr. Mousa Rimawi discussed the statistics of violations against Media Freedoms reported by MADA during 2013 in Palestine

The total violations of media freedoms in Palestine during 2013 monitored by MADA were 229 violations, the Israeli occupation committed 151 violations, the equivalent of 66%, and various Palestinian parties in the West Bank and Gaza committed 78 violations, which is equivalent to 34%. While all Israeli occupation violations were committed in the West Bank only, the Palestinian violations were concentrated in Gaza by 50 violations, and violations reported in the West Bank were 28.

Rimawi added “When comparing the total number of violations in 2013 with the previous year, you will find it relatively better, where violations fell from 238 to 229, and in terms of the nature of the violations, where no case reported of a journalist killed in Palestine, unlike in 2012 the Israeli occupation forces killed three journalists during its aggression on Gaza. Rimawi emphasized that MADA has monitored disturbing trends and patterns of violations this year, such as the heavy targeting of journalists in the West Bank by the Israeli occupation, where they were exposed to the greatest number of violations since 2008, especially in the province of Ramallah and Jerusalem, in addition to the security services in Gaza campaigns against journalists which tightened a rope around the voices of freedom of opinion and expression of journalists and media outlets.

These violations embodied in eleven types: physical assault, detention, arrest, prevention from coverage, travel bans, interrogation, threat, raiding, closing and blocking, trial, and confiscation of equipment.
 
The Israeli Occupation attacks on journalists in the West Bank Increased in 2013

MADA" monitored a total of 151 Israeli violations of media freedoms distributed among the cities of the West Bank only, and no Israeli violations monitored in Gaza. 2013 can be described as very difficult for journalists in the West Bank, where the number of violations on their rights increased from 101violations in 2012 to 151 in 2013. The main reason for this is the high number of popular resistance events in a number of West Bank cities and villages, where the Israeli occupation forces suppressed and attacked journalists during their attempts to cover these events, especially when the Israeli soldiers attack the peaceful demonstrators. MADA monitored about 60% of the occupation violations in Ramallah area (50 violations) and Jerusalem (41 violations). Israeli occupation forces have also committed violations in other cities in West Bank distributed as following; Hebron (20), Nablus (23), Bethlehem (8), Jenin (2), Tulkarem (1), Salfit (1) and Jericho (5).

Regarding types of violations MADA has monitored seven forms of violations committed by the occupation forces against the journalists in 2013; physical assault (87), detention (30), arrest (13), prevention from coverage (15), travel bans (1), interrogation (1), and trial (4).

Significant and Gradual improvement of freedom of press in the West Bank and a decline in Gaza

In 2013, various Palestinian parties committed a total of 78 violations against journalists and media outlets in Palestine. 63% of the total of violations were concentrated in Gaza (50 violations), and 37% of them in the West Bank (28 violations), and so the violations monitored over the past year were more by four violations of the total monitored by MADA during the year 2012 (74 violations).
 
Media freedoms violations has been influenced negatively over the past year, by the repercussions of the events in Egypt, especially in Gaza, where the journalists were arrested, interrogated, and threatened simply for expressing their opinions about what is happening in Egypt in general, and in particular about the events relating the isolation of the former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which caused a deterioration in the status of media freedoms in the Gaza. In the West Bank there is still a gradual improvement of media freedoms, but the internal Palestinian division remains one of the main reasons that lead to the continuation of human rights violations in Palestine.

Palestinian violations were concentrated in four major cities: Gaza (35 violations), Ramallah (11 violations), Khan Younis (11 violations) and Hebron (6 violations). Because media and journalists are concentrated in the cities of Gaza and Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, while in the West Bank, Ramallah city is packed with popular opposition protesting some policies of the Palestinian National Authority, and the city of Hebron is considered one of the most cities with popular support for Hamas. The rest of the cities witnessed a relatively less number of violations: Bethlehem (5), Deir al-Balah (3), Salfit (3), Nablus (2), and one violation in each of Tulkarem and Rafah.

Palestinian violations epitomized of 9 forms: arrest (22), detention (11), prevention from coverage (6), threat (5), physical assault (4), closing and blocking (2), raiding (1), interrogation (24) and confiscation of equipment (3).

In its annual report, MADA expressed its grave concern at the unprecedented escalation of the Israeli occupation forces violations against journalists in the West Bank, and demanded the official international bodies to force the Israeli occupation authorities to abide by international conventions which guarantee the right to freedom of expression, in particular Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,to hold those responsible for the violations accountable and to pressure the Israeli authorities to allow Palestinian journalists freedom of movement between the provinces and the various Palestinian cities in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and Gaza strip.

Regarding the Palestinian violations against Media Freedom, MADA stressed the need and the importance to respect freedom of expression, a right guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law, and to hold those responsible for the violations accountable. MADA also calls the Official Palestinian parties to stop all forms of attacks on journalists and enable them to work freely and safely, Allow for newspapers issued in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be distributed in both parts of the country, and to enact the right of access to information law.

To Read full Report:
http://www.madacenter.org/report.php?lang=1&id=1400&category_id=5&year=2014

***20.02.2014. UKRAINE. Violence Against Journalists in Ukraine Demands International Engagement

(Kiev, 20 FEBRUARY) The International Partnership Mission on Safety and Protection of Journalists and Press Freedom in Ukraine, meeting in Kiev on 19 and 20 February 2014, heard testimony and witness accounts from a wide variety of stakeholders, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and found: an appalling number of cases of violence and harassment against journalists, including the murder of Vesti journalist Vyacheslav Veremyi; clear evidence that journalists, other media workers, and media organisations are being directly targeted and attacked because of their work; a culture of impunity caused by failure to investigate and prosecute crimes against journalists, media workers, and media organisations; that authorities have engaged in blocking, censoring and obstructing news organisations and news content, particularly during the current demonstrations and protests; that economic pressure and other indirect methods of inhibiting and discouraging critical reporting continue to be employed by Ukraine authorities.

The partnership mission, comprising international and local media and press freedom organisations, respectfully reminds the Ukraine government that it is the duty of the state to protect all citizens, including journalists, and to ensure that journalists and media organizations can carry out their duties without fear of violence or harassment.

The mission recognises and praises the courageous work of our colleagues in Ukraine in carrying out their essential duties in dangerous and difficult circumstances.

The mission: demands that Ukraine authorities fulfill their obligations and ensure that all attacks on journalists, media workers and media organisations immediately cease; calls on the Ukraine government to allow an immediate, independent, and transparent investigation to bring those responsible for attacks to justice; urges the Council of Europe to engage with Ukraine authorities to ensure this investigation, and to conduct their own investigation; calls on authorities to enact existing legislation, including Article 171 of the Criminal Code that forbids any obstruction of journalistic activity;
 strongly calls for joint efforts to seek international justice, including through potential submission to the European Court of Human Rights; calls on Ukraine authorities to recognise the fundamental right of the public to receive accurate and diverse information and to refrain from blocking, censoring or otherwise obstructing independent media, and encourage development of an independent and viable media market.

The International Partnership Mission on the safety and protection of journalists and press freedom in Ukraine includes representatives of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine (IMTU), the Ukrainian Association of Press Publishers, the Independent Regional Press Publishers of Ukraine, the European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ), International Media Support (IMS), Open Society Foundations, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), Article19, and Reporters Without Borders.

One Journalist dead, 167 reported injured. (Download the full list)

19.02.2014. UKRAINE. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today called on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure journalists’ safety following last night’s violence in Kyiv during which Vesti daily journalist Vyacheslav Veremyi was killed.

“I was very saddened to learn that Veremyi was killed last night and my sincere condolences go out to his family and colleagues“, Mijatović said.
“Veremyi’s death is the worst act of violence suffered by media members since the start of the protests in December. Journalists’ safety must be
ensured, especially during disturbances.”

According to media reports assailants opened fire on Veremyi who was shot in the chest and died in the hospital. According to information available to the Representative’s Office 27 journalists were targeted and injured during last night’s violence (see list of names below), bringing the total of
injured journalists to 165 since the unrest started.

“There is no excuse for not acting immediately. I repeat my call to the authorities to refrain from targeting members of the media and to ensure
journalists’ safety. Common sense and conscience must prevail, the media are not terrorists and are not at fault for the existing crisis,”
Mijatović said.

An adviser from the Representative’s office is now in Kyiv as part of an international mission of the International Federation of Journalists, the
European Federation of Journalists, the World Association of Newspapers, Article 19, Reporters Without Borders, International Media Support (IMS) and
the Open Society Foundations to assess the problems facing the country’s journalists. The Representative will visit Kiev in the coming days.

The journalists injured during last night’s violence are: Glib Garanych - Reuters, Maksym Trebukhov - news photographer, Yevhenia Taganovych and Leonid Taranenko - Channel 5, Yevhen Kotenko - Holos Stolytsi, Oleksander Kozachenko - UNN photographer, Maksym Trebukhov and Azad Safarov - Channel 5, Sergiy Klymenko - Channel 5, Anatoliy Morozov - HromadskyTV, Andriy Gudzenko - PHL, Alla Khotsianivska and Artem Bagrov - 1+1 TV channel, Olena Maksymenko - freelance photographer, Ivan Lyubysh-Kirdey - 1+1 TV channel, Sergiy Holovniov - Insider, Oleksiy Byk - Glavkom, Yarmea Horodchuk - Dilova Stolytsia, Kyrylo Chebotin - Kommersant, Volodymyr Borodin - Vesti, Maksym Kudymets - Insider, Igor Lypynsky - Ukraina TV, Marianna Hardy - Chernihiv-info, Igor Volosiankin - Uyezdnye Novosti, Oleksander Ratushniak, Mykyta Didenko - Hromadske.TV, Oleksiy Kondakov - TV channel Business, Oleksander Mykhelson - Ukrainsky Tyzhden, Victor Hatsenko - From UA.

***15.02.2014. SYRIA: Mazen Darwish to commence his third year of pre-trial detention

Paris-Geneva, February 14, 2014. February 16 will mark the two-year anniversary of the arrest of journalist and human rights defender Mazen Darwish and two of his colleagues, who remain arbitrarily detained without trial in Damascus Central Prison in Adra. FIDH and OMCT, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, reiterate on this occasion their solidarity with the human rights movement in Syria and call for the release of all human rights defenders detained or disappeared.

“Though, there is no greater happiness for a prisoner than the knowledge that the outer world is remembering him, as devastation and bloodshed has engulfed my homeland, happiness has become a kind of luxury for which I feel ashamed.”Mazen Darwish, June 10, 2013, Damascus Central Prison in Adra

Mazen Darwish, President of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), together with two other SCM members, Mohamed Hani Al Zaitani and Hussein Hammad Ghrer, lingers in pre-trial detention since February 2012 for advocating for freedom of expression and for monitoring gross human rights violations committed in Syria in particular since March 2011.

On February 16, 2012, Mazen Darwish was arrested along with 15 other persons. During approximately nine months, Darwish and some of his colleagues were assumed “forcibly disappeared” and subjected to acts of torture. Yet the judges have so far failed to open investigations into these allegations, contrary to their obligation under international law. In February 2013, five of them, including the three detained SCM members and two other colleagues, Mansour Omari and Abdel Rahman Hamada, were informed that they would be prosecuted by the Anti-Terrorism Court for “publicising terrorist acts”, charges which are completely unjustified. If convicted, the activists could be imprisoned for up to 15 years. The trial has been adjourned on numerous occasions. The next hearing has been scheduled for March 10, 2014.

Human rights defenders have been paying a very heavy toll in Syria. Dozens of them are arbitrarily detained, sometimes incommunicado, or have been 'forcibly disappeared'. Meaningful negotiation for an end to the Syrian conflict requires that all peaceful advocates be immediately released”, declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

The continuous detention of Mazen Darwish, Hussein Hammad Ghrer and Mohamed Hani Al Zaitani clearly forms part of a wider campaign of threats and harassment against human rights defenders in Syria. We therefore call on the Syrian authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally as well as to order investigations into the above-mentioned allegations of torture and ill-treatment”, further urged Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General.

On the occasion of the two-year anniversary of the detention of Mazen Darwish, Hani Al Zaitani and Hussein Ghrer, the Observatory reiterates its call to the Syrian authorities to immediately comply with the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), which recently declared the detention of the three human rights defenders as arbitrary and asked for their immediate release. More generally, the Observatory urges the Syrian authorities to release all human rights defenders detained in Syria merely to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate and peaceful human rights work.

***12.02.2014. New African free expression network highlights need for protection of journalists

The newly established freedom of expression network, African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) has deplored the current state of attacks, arrests, detentions, incarcerations and harassments meted out to journalists while on the job in many countries on the continent. The network specifically notes the troubling conditions in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Somalia which make the practice of journalism unsafe with a tendency to undermine the right to freedom of expression. These conditions came up at the first General Meeting of the network in Johannesburg, South Africa, which discussed issues such as the safety of journalists, freedom of expression and media practice on the continent.

AFEX is of the view that governments in Africa have the primary responsibility for guaranteeing the safety of all journalists working within their territories and urges them to ensure the safety of journalists and to end impunity for their killers.

Below is the full statement issued at the end of the General Meeting:

From the General Meeting of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on January 30, 2014

The first General Meeting of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX), a network of African freedom of expression organisations which are members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), was held on January 30, 2014 at Protea Hotel Balalaika in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The meeting addressed institutional issues concerning AFEX as well as challenges to freedom of expression on the African continent. It discussed and approved basic working documents of AFEX such as a Host Management Agreement between AFEX and the host organization for its secretariat, MFWA in Accra, Ghana, and a Memorandum of Understanding to guide its operations and the relationship among its members. The meeting also discussed the AFEX strategic plan and deferred formal approval to a later date.

The meeting, hosted by the African Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), was presided over by AFEX Steering Committee Chairperson, Ms Zoe Titus, Regional Director of the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA), and was attended by leaders and officials representing AFIC, the Center for Media Studies and Peace-Building (CEMESP), Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), Journaliste en Danger (JED), the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), MISA, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

AFEX members present declared their commitment to making AFEX a strong, vibrant, united and democratic continental network of freedom of expression organisations that would work collaboratively to promote and defend freedom of expression in Africa.

The meeting resolved that AFEX and its members would embark on joint actions and campaigns to ensure access to information for African citizens, promote the safety of journalists, challenge impunity in the killing and other forms of attacks against journalists and bring about the repeal of repressive and obnoxious laws that curtail freedom of expression, among other issues.

The meeting also resolved to fight against the incarceration of journalists as a result of their work or for the peaceful expression of their opinions, describing the practice as a violation of basic human rights, including the right to free expression and a free media.

The meeting noted that the detention of journalists also interferes with the rights of ordinary African citizens to access information and diverse sources of news, which are critical for their decision-making in all aspects of their lives.

The meeting designated the Eritrean and Ethiopian governments as the foremost jailers of journalists in Africa with more than 30 journalists imprisoned for many years and resolved to mount an aggressive campaign against the situation. It also noted the appalling deterioration of media freedom and freedom of expression in Ethiopia, where five journalists have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes.

AFEX called on African governments, particularly those of Eritrea and Ethiopia, to immediately release all journalists in their custody, and allow them to practice their profession without fear of imprisonment or other forms of harassment. It urged African governments to stop the use and abuse of anti-terror laws to jail journalists for doing their job and to respect freedom of the media.

AFEX said it was appalled by the number of journalists killed throughout the continent while on the job, noting that Somalia and Nigeria have been Africa's deadliest countries for journalists for years. It called on governments in Africa to ensure safety of journalists and to end impunity for their killers. It noted that governments have the primary responsibility for guaranteeing the safety of all journalists working within their territories.

AFEX also expressed “grave concern” about the existence in many countries on the continent of media laws, which fail to meet international standards on freedom of expression and which allow excessively harsh judgments to be handed down to journalists and media organisations and thereby undermine the right to freedom of expression.

The meeting urged governments to reform such laws to bring them into conformity with international standards and ensure that they better promote freedom of expression.

Media Foundation for West Africa
Africa Freedom of Information Centre
Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda
Journaliste en danger
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Rights Agenda
National Union of Somali Journalists
West African Journalists Association

***11.02.2014. COLOMBIA: Protesta: sin garantías para cubrir. Informe sobre el estado de la libertad de prensa en Colombia durante 2013

La Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP) publica este 11 de febrero su informe anual ‘Protestas: Sin garantías para cubrir’, en el que hace una radiografía de la situación de la libertad de prensa en Colombia en 2013. Durante este año la FLIP registró 123 agresiones directas contra la prensa, dentro de ellas causan especial preocupación los asesinatos del periodista Edinson Molina, en Puerto Berrío (Antioquia), y del reportero y voceador José Darío Arenas, en Caicedonia (Valle del Cauca).

Además de esto, es lamentable la prescripción de algunos de los delitos por los que se investigaba a Jorge Noguera, ex director del Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad-DAS, investigado por el escándalo de las “chuzadas”; y la absolución en primera instancia de los presuntos autores intelectuales de la muerte del periodista Orlando Sierra, asesinado en 2002. En buena parte de los casos las agresiones más graves se perpetraron a periodistas que trataban asuntos relacionados con irregularidades al interior del Estado, que tuvieron como consecuencia atentados de muerte, asesinatos y amenazas colectivas.

Pese a que las agresiones durante el 2013 son menos que en el 2012, la cantidad de amenazas sigue siendo preocupante: 72 periodistas recibieron intimidaciones por hechos relacionados con su trabajo. Vale aclarar que aunque las agresiones durante este año disminuyeron, la cantidad de víctimas es la misma que en 2012. En la misma línea, hubo un decrecimiento de las amenazas acompañado de un aumento de las obstrucciones a la prensa. Por otro lado, preocupan las fallas administrativas en la Unidad Nacional de Protección que en algunos casos desencadenaron demoras de hasta seis meses para implementar medidas de protección aprobadas para periodistas.

Por otro lado, la protesta social se posicionó como un escenario de riesgo previsible para el periodismo y atendido de manera insuficiente por las autoridades: durante las diferentes manifestaciones la FLIP registró 23 agresiones a la prensa, con 44 comunicadores víctimas. Llama la atención que este tipo de incidentes sigan ocurriendo después de que en el 2012 ocurriera la muerte de Guillermo Quiroz, periodista de Sucre y la reciente condena de la Corte interamericana de Derechos Humanos contra el Estado colombiano por el caso de Richard Vélez, por hechos ocurridos en 1996. En ambos casos, las agresiones se presentaron mientras los comunicadores cubrían protestas.

La justicia sigue en deuda con el periodismo. El caso de Orlando Sierra y el de las “chuzadas” presentaron retrocesos en el 2013. Pero además de esto, se encuentra la vergüenza de cinco casos de asesinatos que prescribieron y quedaron en la total impunidad durante el año pasado. El único caso que se salvó de este destino fue el de Eustorgio Colmenares Baptista, ex director del diario La Opinión, de Cúcuta, que fue declarado delito de lesa humanidad. No obstante, a pesar de esta decisión de la Fiscalía, los avances en este caso no son significativos.

Por otro lado, se destacan dentro de los hechos positivos del año la absolución del periodista Luis Agustín González por parte de la Corte Suprema. González había sido condenado en 2012 por el delito de injuria a causa de un editorial crítico sobre la política Leonor Serrano. A pesar de esto, el acoso judicial sigue marcando pauta en las nuevas formas de censura. Los registros de la Fiscalía muestran 274 denuncias contra periodistas por injuria o calumnia desde 1998, con 15 de estos en el 2013. La cifra es alarmante, más si se tiene en cuenta que los números de dicha entidad son un sub registro, pues son pocos los casos en los que se indica la profesión del denunciado.

También se destacan otros avances para la libertad de prensa, como la sentencia C 274 de 2013, que declaró la constitucionalidad del proyecto de ley de acceso a la información pública, pendiente ahora de sanción presidencial. No obstante, la aprobación de un proyecto de ley que regula el derecho de petición y que resulta contradictorio con dicha iniciativa es una situación que debe tratarse con cuidado. En el mismo sentido, se resalta que la Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral a las Víctimas avanzó en el proceso de reparación colectiva a periodistas, pero no fue suficientemente ágil en la inclusión individual de casos relacionados con violencia contra la prensa. Además, el Grupo de Memoria Histórica está adelantando un informe especial sobre las consecuencias de la guerra para el periodismo.

Finalmente, existen retos para la libertad de expresión que tomaron fuerza durante el año. El primero de estos se refiere a la libertad de expresión en Internet, con decisiones de la Corte Constitucional que se pueden considerar como positivas en algunos aspectos y con decisiones desmedidas de bloqueo en razón del habeas data o de la prevención de la pornografía infantil. El otro, se refiere a un eventual acuerdo definitivo de paz por parte del Gobierno colombiano y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Durante la discusión del segundo punto de las mesas de negociaciones se abordaron y acordaron temas que se relacionan con la libertad de prensa y que deberán analizarse y debatirse más a fondo para que su implementación sea favorable para el periodismo, la democracia y la paz.

Para acceder al informe haz click aquí.

***01.02.2014. THAILAND. Photographer James Nachtwey shot in Thai protests (AFP)

Washington (AFP) - Acclaimed US photographer James Nachtwey was shot in the leg but not badly hurt in pre-election clashes in Bangkok Saturday, his long-time employer Time magazine said.

"The bullet passed through but didn't hit the bone," said Kira Pollack, the publication's director of photography.

"Amazingly, he went right back out and started working again," Pollack -- who was in touch with Nachtwey via text message -- said in a story on Time's website.

"That's who he is."

Tensions flared in the Thai capital ahead of controversial snap elections Sunday, with explosions and heavy gunfire erupting as pro- and anti-government protesters faced off on the city's streets.

Nachtwey -- who has won numerous awards for his reporting from conflict zones around the world -- has been a contract photographer with Time Magazine since 1984.

However, he was not on assignment for Time when he was shot, according to the publication.

A photo tweeted by Thapanee Ietsrichai, whose profile says he is a reporter for Channel 3 Thailand, showed what appeared to be Nachtwey standing up as one of his legs was bandaged.

The Wall Street Journal's Southeast Asia Real Time blog quoted Nachtwey as saying it was unclear who shot him and that he later went to a hospital to get the injury examined.

"I consider myself extremely lucky," he told the Journal.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power tweeted that her thoughts were with the "living legend."

"Will always be a career & life highlight to have worked w/Nachtwey," she tweeted. "He cld always see what the rest of us cldn't—Nobody is invisible to Jim."

Opposition demonstrators have vowed to block Sunday's poll as they seek to prevent the likely re-election of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

***31.01.2014. UKRAINE. Police attacked dozens of journalists, medics (Human Rights Watch)

(Kiev) – Ukrainian police assaulted and injured dozens of journalists and medical workers while trying to disperse street fighters and protesters in Kiev from January 19 to 22, 2014. Ukraine’s international partners should press Ukraine to investigate serious human rights violations and prosecute those responsible in accordance with international due process standards.

During its ongoing investigation of the government response to protests in Kiev, Human Rights Watch documented 13 cases in which the police beat journalists or medical workers, shot them with rubber bullets, or injured them with stun grenades. Ukrainian nongovernmental groups documented more than 60 such cases. Available evidence suggests that in many cases police deliberately targeted journalists and medics who were not participating in the protests.

“It is possible to accidentally hit one journalist or medic during violent confrontations, but not dozens,” said Anna Neistat, associate program director at Human Rights Watch, who is in Kiev. “Police faced enormous challenges during the street fighting, but that’s no excuse for deliberately targeting reporters and medics or for not taking precautions to spare them.”

Most of the journalists and medical workers were injured during the violent clashes on Hrushevskogo Street on January 19. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades, and water cannons to disperse protesters, some of whom were throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks and were carrying baseball bats and large sticks with pointed ends. Other journalists were injured in confrontations in Kiev in the following days.

In all cases Human Rights Watch documented, journalists said they were wearing a brightly colored vest marked “Press,” or a helmet with the same marking, and were holding video cameras, photo cameras, or tripods.

On January 19, journalists stayed together as a large group away from the direct line of confrontation between the protesters on the one hand and riot police and Interior Ministry troops on the other. Several journalists interviewed independently told Human Rights Watch that police threw more than 20 stun grenades toward the group, injuring at least eight journalists with shrapnel.

Other journalists were hit directly by rubber bullets, some in the face or on their hands as they were holding their equipment. In one case Human Rights Watch documented, the police threw a young female photographer to the ground, hit her on the head, kicked her, and shot her with a rubber bullet at close range as she was trying to escape. Ukrainian groups documented additional cases of such direct attacks.

The paramedics and medical volunteers Human Rights Watch interviewed said they were wearing clothing clearly marked with a red cross. They said that as they rushed in to access and evacuate the wounded, the police made no attempt to hold fire, and some believed the police tried to hit them directly. The medics said that the indiscriminate, and possibly targeted, police fire made it very difficult to assist the injured effectively.

A statement posted on the Interior Ministry’s website on January 23 said that police using a loudspeaker had ordered protesters to disperse several times on January 19, warned them that their violent actions were unlawful, and said that the police would have no choice but to use force [in Ukrainian, “special means”] against them. Such warnings, however, do not relieve the police of their duty to exercise restraint and in no way justify any deliberate attack against journalists or media workers.

Law enforcement agencies have the right and duty to stop violent attacks on police and public buildings, Human Rights Watch said. But in doing so, they are obliged to respect basic human rights standards in the treaties to which they are party, such as the European Convention on Human Rights and those specifically governing the use of force in police operations as embodied in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

The Basic Principles, requiring restraint and proportionality in the use of force, explicitly call on law enforcement officials to “ensure that assistance and medical aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest possible moment.” The failure to protect medical personnel, let alone deliberate targeting of medics, violates this principle.

Targeting journalists covering public protest is also incompatible with Ukraine’s human rights obligations, and specifically the requirement to respect the right to freedom of expression, including media freedom.

The Ukrainian authorities should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the incidents in which the riot police used force against journalists and medical workers, Human Rights Watch said.

Given that the authorities have made little progress in investigating prior incidents of police violence, Ukraine’s international partners should press Ukraine for criminal investigations and prosecutions in accordance with international human rights obligations. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe, both of which include Ukraine as a member, should urgently consider their role ensuring independent and impartial monitoring and reporting on human rights developments and progress on investigations in Ukraine.

“Journalists and medical workers were performing their professional duties, were unarmed, and posed no danger to the police during the Kiev protests,” Neistat said. “Every instance of violence against them should be fully investigated and those responsible should be punished.”

Attacks on Journalists
A list of attacked and injured journalists maintained by the Institute of Mass Information, a Ukrainian group, contains 60 names. Forty-eight of the journalists listed were injured or attacked in Kiev, and the rest in other cities, including Cherkasy, Dnepropetrovsk, and Zaporozhye. The majority work for Ukrainian media outlets, three are Russian, another three are Belarusian, and one is described as an unidentified foreign journalist. The actual number of attacked journalists could be higher, as Human Rights Watch documented several cases not included in the list.

According to the Institute of Mass Information, 22 journalists were hit, many of them injured, by stun grenades shrapnel; 21 were shot with rubber bullets; 9 were beaten by the police, and another 6 by alleged pro-government thugs; and 7 were detained. Some were attacked more than once. The lists said that one journalist was hit by a rock thrown by protesters.

Human Rights Watch was able to independently verify and document a number of these cases. In the majority, available evidence strongly suggests that the police deliberately targeted the journalists while they were covering confrontations.

All journalists Human Rights Watch interviewed said they had been wearing vests or helmets clearly marked “Press.” Several said they wore the bright orange vests because the Interior Ministry had issued a directive requiring journalists to wear vests clearly marked “Press” as a protective measure against being attacked during confrontations, as a result of police violence against journalists in 2013.

All the journalists interviewed were also carrying equipment – photo or video cameras and tripods – making it difficult to confuse them with protesters, especially those who were attacking the police.

Anton Berezhnoi, a technician and cameraman for Spilno TV, an independent, Ukrainian live streaming Internet television channel, told Human Rights Watch that on January 19, he was filming the confrontations on Hrushevskogo Street. As the confrontations intensified, with the protesters throwing rocks at the police and police responding with stun grenades, he moved to the sidelines.

Berezhnoi told Human Rights Watch that he was first hit by what appeared to be a stun grenade on the upper arm. A large bruise was still clearly visible at the time of the interview on January 27. He then moved further away from the crowd and set up his camera to film:

I was standing at a distance, in the area where there seemed to be no shooting. Suddenly, I felt that something hit my hand with which I was holding the tripod. The tripod broke, and I felt pain in my hand. Trying to protect the equipment – we don’t have a lot – I then ran away from the scene, and when I took off my glove, my hand was covered in blood.

I wasn’t wearing my orange “press” jacket because we heard that journalists wearing them were being targeted, but I had my helmet on, with the words “Press” and “Spilno TV” written on it. I had my camera on the tripod, and I was standing away from the crowd – there was no way the police could have mistaken me for a protester.

Berezhnoi went to a hospital on the outskirts of Kiev to have his wound treated – he said he was afraid of going to any of the hospitals in the city because the police had arrested some injured people at the hospitals. Berezhnoi’s doctors said that his finger was broken. At the time of the interview, his hand was still in a cast.

Roman Malko, a photographer with Ukrainskiy Tizhden magazine, told Human Rights Watch that at around 7 p.m. on January 20 he was covering the confrontations on Hrushevskogo Street. He was wearing a bright orange vest marked “Press” and a white helmet, and had a long white lens on his camera.

At one point, Malko moved away from the crowd and took a few pictures standing on the left side, away from the line of fire:

I took a few pictures, staying on the same spot for a few minutes – before, I kept changing position all the time, making sure to avoid being shot. Then I lowered the camera to look at the photos, and a second later something my hit me hard in the right eye. Everything went black, but I didn’t fall down. I think they shot me deliberately, most likely, trying to hit the camera.

I ran to a makeshift medical center on the other side of the street, but they said my injury was too severe for them to handle and sent me to another one, where the doctors provided first aid. I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I heard that injured people get arrested at the hospital, but I had no choice. We called an ambulance, but it never came. After waiting for about half an hour, I walked for about a kilometer to a place where some ambulances were parked. They took me to the hospital.

Malko said that at the hospital he received multiple stitches in the eye area. Doctors told him if the rubber bullet had hit just a few millimeters to the right, he would have lost the eye. The doctors also told him that on January 19 and 20, more than 20 people were brought to the hospital with severe eye injuries and recommended that Malko register his injury with the hospital as not related to the protests.

Ola Shatna, a 21-year-old journalist, told Human Rights Watch that on January 22 she was standing on the sidewalk near European Square taking pictures of the riot police unit “Berkut” as its members moved in to disperse the crowd on Hrushevskogo Street. She wore a bright orange vest marked “Press” and a white helmet. She said that four policemen approached her and told her to leave. As she started to move away, however, they attacked her:

I turned around to walk away, and in a split second I found myself knocked to the ground, heard a dull sound, and saw my helmet, broken, on the ground. They must have hit me on the head with a baton, I didn’t even understand what happened, as they started kicking me. They took away my phone and threatened to break my camera.

They said, “Get lost, run and complain to the medical center, tell them you’ve been beaten up.” They were just making fun and insulting me. I managed to get up and started retreating backward, still begging them to return my cell phone. At this point, when I was five or six meters away from them, one of the policemen raised his rifle and shot me with a rubber bullet in the shoulder. The bullet didn’t go through my thick coat, but hit me hard.

Footage by Channel 5 Ukrainian TV, which captured the attack against Shatna on video, confirms her account.

Mstislav Chernov, a photographer who was on an assignment with the Ukrainian Red Cross, told Human Rights Watch that at around 4 p.m. on January 22 he was taking pictures of people on the barricades on Hrushevskogo Street. He said that at one point the confrontation lessened, with the crowd throwing some rocks, and police responded with stun grenades:

I did not expect to be attacked. I was in my orange vest, and things were – comparatively – quiet. I was looking through the camera and did not see a grenade that exploded right next to me. It seemed directed straight at me as it exploded right at my feet and there was nobody else nearby. I saw a flash of light, and for a few seconds [could not see or hear].

Then I saw blood on my pants and ran to a makeshift medical center nearby. The medics there took out one large and lots of small pieces of shrapnel out of my legs. It turned out that there were also pieces of shrapnel in my eyes. To treat my eyes, I went to a hospital in Kharkov fearing that in Kiev the police might arrest me if I sought medical treatment. In Kharkov the doctors helped me, but did not register my case to avoid having to report it to the police.

Human Rights Watch is not able to verify where Chernov was standing in relation to the protesters when he was hit, leaving it unclear whether the stun grenade was more likely deliberately targeted at him or indiscriminately fired in his direction. Either way, his case fits the pattern of police actions in which no effort seems to have been taken to minimize to the greatest extent possible risk of injury or life to protesters and those carrying out professional functions.

At least eight other journalists, most of them from Spilno TV, were also injured by stun grenade shrapnel and rubber bullets while they were standing in a large group of media workers covering the confrontations on January 19 on Hrushevskogo Street, according to five journalists from a group whom Human Rights Watch interviewed separately. Some had serious injuries to their eyes, faces, and legs.

The journalists told Human Rights Watch that almost everyone in the group was wearing an orange vest marked “Press,” and that they were hiding from the main line of confrontation behind a massive billboard. They said the police threw at least 20 grenades in their direction, and that four or five hit their group.

Galina Sadomtseva, a Spilno TV editor, told Human Rights Watch that, as she was talking to one of her crew members around 5 p.m., the police threw a stun grenade that landed and exploded next to their feet. Sadomtseva had serious cuts on her legs that required stitches and minor cuts on her face. At that point she told her cameramen to leave, but some of them stayed behind and continued filming.

She later found out that two had been seriously injured by rubber bullets when police apparently opened fire directly at them. Anatoli Lazarenko had serious arm injuries. Yanek Falkevich, standing next to him, was hit by several bullets in the left eye, chin, and legs.

The January confrontations were not the first time police have attacked journalists covering protests in Ukraine. In December 2013 Human Rights Watch and other organizations documenteda similar pattern of abuses against journalists during the dispersal of protests.

In a December 2 statement, Dunja Mijatović, the representative on freedom of the media for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, expressed concern about police violence against reporters at the demonstrations in Kiev and called on the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the attacks on journalists. Human Rights Watch is not aware of any efforts by the Ukrainian authorities to carry out such investigations.

Attacks on Medical Workers
Many witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch in connection with the protests in Kiev, including protesters, journalists, and medics, said the police either directly targeted medical workers trying to rescue and provide first aid to injured protesters – including those engaged in the violent confrontations – or continued firing indiscriminately during the evacuation efforts. As a result, medical personnel were injured, and the wounded were in some cases deprived of necessary and timely medical assistance.

Witnesses said that all doctors, paramedics, nurses, and medical volunteers assisting the injured during protests were wearing clothing unmistakably indicating their role: Ukrainian Red Cross jackets or a white T-shirt worn on top of winter clothes with red cross and “Medical Aid” written in red letters. Many wore white helmets with a red cross as well. As they ran to the scene to evacuate the injured and deliver them to ambulances parked at a distance, they carried stretchers and medical kits.

The witnesses said the medical personnel on the scene of the confrontations appeared to be neutral, assisting both the injured protesters and the police. Two of the medical workers Human Rights Watch interviewed cited two separate episodes in which they assisted members of the Berkut riot police unit injured by the crowd.

Medical workers told Human Rights Watch that the police fire made it challenging for them to assist and evacuate the wounded.

One of the Red Cross paramedics working on Hrushevskogo Street during the night on January 19, 2014, said the police grabbed injured protesters and dragged them into their buses, preventing the medics from providing assistance. Witnesses said that Red Cross paramedics managed to convince the police to release the severely wounded, mainly those who could not move or had serious head injuries. But the police did not release those with less serious injuries and did not allow the paramedics to provide them with first aid.

Vasil (not his real name), a paramedic with the Ukrainian Red Cross, told Human Rights Watch that a group of about 10 medics reached Hrushevskogo Street on the night of January 19 to assist and evacuate the wounded:

We were all wearing official Red Cross clothing – bright red jackets with glow-in-the-dark crosses, red helmets, [and we had] red medical kits and stretchers. We moved in groups and it was impossible not to see who we were.

At some point, together with a partner, we ran toward a protester who fell on the ground face down. I kneeled toward him to turn him and access the injuries, with my back to the police. At that moment, two [rubber] bullets hit me on the back, one after the other, right on the cross emblem. The impact was hard. I fell on the protester, my breath knocked out. I managed to get up but could not carry the guy and asked for support. I still have a large bruise on my back.

Another paramedic, who also asked to remain anonymous, also said that on January 19 at around 9 p.m., his brigade was rescuing the wounded from the confrontations on Hrushevskogo Street. At some point, their group of five, all wearing red jackets, helmets, and carrying stretchers and a radio, was crossing the street to pick up an injured protester who had fallen to the ground. The paramedic said he heard a loud explosion and immediately felt his left arm going numb and heat on his hip:

I was scared to even look at my arm. We were just evacuating a guy whose hand was blown off by a grenade explosion. But then I continued to work and realized that my hand was still functional; apparently, I was hit by a blast wave.

One of the medical volunteers, Taras (not his real name), told Human Rights Watch that on January 19 they were helping to carry the injured protesters to an ambulance parked 500 meters away:

We were carrying an injured guy away on stretchers. A stun grenade exploded next to us, [we put the stretcher down] and I tried to cover the face of our patient with my hands. At that point, another grenade hit, and injured both of my hands. I took off my gloves and saw that both of my hands were covered in blood. The shrapnel hit my head as well, but I was wearing a helmet and it didn’t go through.

I personally heard people begging the Berkut to let the medics through and to avoid hitting them.…

At the time of the interview on January 28, Taras’s hands were still in bandages – he said he had multiple burns, cuts, and bruises.

Several witnesses – two medical volunteers and a volunteer guard – also described to Human Rights Watch an attack on a makeshift medical center set up on Hrushevskogo Street to assist those wounded in confrontations.

The witnesses said that in the afternoon of January 22, as the police were pushing the crowd down Hrushevskogo Street, some of the crowd tried to seek shelter in the medical center. The center was clearly marked by two large white banners with red crosses hanging on the wall near the entrance. Members of the Berkut riot police unit, clearly identifiable by their uniforms, started shooting and throwing grenades at the doors of the center, and, once the glass on the doors was broken, threw several grenades inside.

The volunteer guards managed to lead the injured and the medical personal out through the back doors (they said they were prepared for this possibility), and nobody was injured. However, a group of about 20 policemen ransacked the medical center and destroyed its medical resources and instruments.

Human Rights Watch has also documented the case of a 22-year-old medical volunteer, Oleksandra Khailak, whom the police detained as she was boarding the train when they saw her volunteer medical service pass. They later dumped her in a forest.

***16.01.2014. EGYPT.  THE PEC DEMANDS THE EGYPTIAN AUTHORITIES TO RELEASE THREE JOURNALISTS OF AL JAZEERA and JOINS THE STATEMENT FROM INTERNATIONAL MEDIA FREEDOM AND HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS ON THE DETENTION OF JOURNALISTS IN EGYPT

"We, the undersigned, demand the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release journalists: Baher Mohamed, Peter Greste and Mohamed Fahmy.

The 3 Al Jazeera English journalists were arrested by Egyptian security forces on Sunday 29 December 2013. They were doing their job as professional journalists reporting in Egypt on several issues from various perspectives.

Baher Mohamed is a producer with Al Jazeera English.

Mohamed Fahmy is a seasoned producer who worked at CNN International prior to joining Al Jazeera English.

Peter Greste is an award-winning journalist and was the Cairo correspondent for Al Jazeera English at the time of his arrest. He also worked at BBC World.

Mohamed Badr and Abdulla Al Shami, the two other Al Jazeera Media Network journalists held by Egyptian authorities for over 6 months should also be released.

The Egyptian government should uphold media freedoms. The authoritarian crackdown on professional journalists operating in Egypt has brought about a chilling effect on any perspective deemed unfavorable by the current regime." 

29.01.2014. IFJ Demands Release of Al Jazeera Journalists Referred to Trial in Egypt

"The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has reiterated its call for Egyptian authorities to release Australian journalist Peter Greste and his fellow Al Jazeera colleagues after letters he has written from his prison cell in Cairo have revealed the harsh conditions in which they are being held.

Greste and four other Al-Jazeera journalists, Cairo Bureau chief Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, who has dual Egyptian/Canadian nationality, and Egyptian journalists Baher Mohamed, Abdullah al-Shami and Mohammed Badr, are among 20 people who Egypt's chief prosecutor has today, Wednesday 29 January, referred to trial on charges of joining or assisting a terrorist group and spreading false news that endangers national security.

This is the first instance of terror-related charges against journalists and foreigners since the government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in December. Al-Jazeera has denied the charges, demanding its reporters be freed.

During his time in Tora prison in Cairo, Greste, a Peabody-winning Australian journalist and former BBC correspondent, has written emotional letters to his family that have been smuggled from his cell.

In the letters, he said that he had his first walk in the "weak winter sunshine" after spending ten days being locked in his cell 24 hours a day when not being questioned, while he expressed his fear that writing the letters might result in his harsh treatment, saying: "I am nervous as I write this. I am in my cold prison cell after my first official exercise session - four glorious hours in the grass yard behind our block and I don't want that right to be snatched away."

Despite his fear, Greste said he had changed his mind about remaining silent about his detention, despite risking having his books and pen taken away from him, stating: "But after two weeks in prison it is now clear that this is a dangerous decision. It validates an attack not just on me and my two colleagues but on freedom of speech across Egypt. All of a sudden, my books seem rather petty."

Later in his letters, he added: "So, all we have is what we did - a routine body of reporting on the political drama unfolding around us, and what it might mean for Egypt. The fact that this has put us behind bars is especially alarming given the historical moment Egypt now finds itself in."

Writing about his colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who were detained alongside him on 29 December, Greste said they were being held in worse conditions that he was and have been accused of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood. "Both men spend 24 hours a day in their mosquito-infested cells, sleeping on the floor with no books or writing materials to break the soul-destroying tedium," he said.

Greste has thanked the family and supporters of the journalists, stating that they are "moved and strengthened by the extraordinary support we have already had."

Christopher Warren, Federal Secretary of IFJ affiliate, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), has repeated the appeal for the Egyptian Government to immediately release Greste and his Al-Jazeera colleagues. The MEAA believe the journalists have been charged for simply carrying out their duties as professional journalists.

Backing the MEAA appeal, IFJ President Jim Boumelha has said Egypt's actions call into question the country's attitude towards basic human rights.

"By referring these journalists for trial the Egyptian government is undermining the right to press freedom and freedom of expression in the country and calling into question its attitude towards basic human rights," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "These are working journalists who have committed no crime and must be released with immediate effect."

31.01.2014. Egypt - the High Commissioner for Human Rights extremely concerned about the increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks on media in Egypt, which is hampering their ability to operate freely.

"We are extremely concerned about the increasingly severe clampdown and physical attacks on media in Egypt, which is hampering their ability to operate freely.

In recent months, there have been numerous reports of harassment, detention and prosecution of national and international journalists as well as violent attacks, including several that led to injuries to reporters trying to cover last weekend’s third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. Unconfirmed reports suggest that several journalists were wounded by live fire as well as rubber bullets last Saturday, some of which may have been fired by opponents of the government as well as by police and other government forces. This accentuates the difficult and increasingly dangerous environment for journalists trying to carry out their work in the country.

A significant number of other journalists covering events related to the anniversary were detained by the authorities, although most are reported to have now been released.

Wednesday’s announcement that the Egyptian Prosecutor-General intends to bring to trial 16 local and 4 foreign journalists alleged to have worked for the international broadcaster Al Jazeera, on vague charges including “aiding a terrorist group” and “harming the national interest”, is also of great concern.

It has not only placed a sharp focus on the systematic targeting of Al Jazeera staff – five of whom are actually in custody -- since the fall of the previous government last July, but also led to increased fears among the media in general, both national and international, which is clearly deeply detrimental to freedom of expression and opinion.

Journalists working for other media organizations have reported being attacked by government supporters after being accused of working for Al Jazeera. A video has also emerged which appears to show a police officer threatening a camera crew working for another TV station that, if they did not stop filming, he would tell bystanders they worked for Al Jazeera so that they would be attacked. If confirmed, this lends credence to allegations that the anti-Al Jazeera campaign in Egypt is, on occasion, amounting to incitement to violence.

We have also received numerous reports of intimidation of journalists, who have had their equipment seized, and in some cases of local journalists who have been sacked for reporting on sensitive issues. There are also reports of journalists in detention being subjected to ill-treatment or being held in conditions that are not in line with international human rights standards.

We urge the Egyptian authorities to promptly release all journalists imprisoned for carrying out legitimate news reporting activities in exercise of their fundamental human rights. It is the State’s obligation to ensure that the right to freedom of expression is respected, and that journalists are able to report on diverse views and issues surrounding the current situation in Egypt.

All reports of violence against journalists, including the attacks on 25 January, must be independently and transparently investigated"

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Un High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva 

***08.01.2014. SYRIA. PEC welcomes the release of two swedish journalists abducted in Syria

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two Swedish journalists who were abducted in Syria in November have been released, Swedish and Red Cross officials said Wednesday.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry confirmed the release of writer Magnus Falkehed and photographer Niclas Hammarstrom, and said both were receiving assistance from Swedish diplomats in Beirut.

The two freelance journalists were abducted as they were on their way out of Syria in November.

Swedish authorities wouldn't say who abducted them or how they were set free. But national police spokeswoman Jessica Krasser Fremnell said Swedish police had worked closely with other authorities to secure their release.

"We are grateful that they are safe," Krasser Fremnell said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross helped transport one of the journalists on Wednesday from the Syrian-Lebanese border town of Arsal to Beirut, where he was handed over to Swedish Embassy officials, said Samar el Kadi, an ICRC official in Beirut. The other journalist returned to Beirut earlier on his own, she said.

El Kadi said the ICRC was not involved in negotiations for their release, adding that the transport was carried out upon the embassy's request.

Their state of health was not immediately clear.

"Great relief that the two Swedish journalists are out of Syria. But unfortunately there are still others held against their will," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote on Twitter.

Press advocacy groups say Syria has become the most dangerous country in the world for reporters over the past two years, with kidnappings becoming a major threat.

Jihadi groups are believed responsible for most kidnappings since the summer, but government-backed militias, criminal gangs and rebels affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army also have been involved with various motives. Most kidnappings since the summer have taken place in rebel-held territories, particularly in chaotic northern and eastern Syria, where militant al-Qaida-linked groups hold influence.

***15.12.2013. Impunity breeds violence against journalists, UN rights expert tells the UN Security Council

NEW YORK (13 December 2013) The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, today warned the UN Security Council that impunity is behind growing acts of violence against journalists in the world.

Without paying systematic attention to all attacks against the press, without ending impunity, it is very difficult to ensure the safety of journalists, Mr. La Rue told the Security Council during a special meeting on the protection of journalists.

Most cases of violence and threats against journalists are not investigated and those responsible are never identified, prosecuted or tried. The sense of impunity is a main cause for the recurrence of episodes of attacks against journalists around the world, he stressed.

The Special Rapporteur said that journalists continue to be frequent victims of violence both in conflict zones as well as stable countries, as he had documented in a report to the UN Human Rights Council, in which specific recommendations to enhance media professionalssafety were made.

At least 84 journalists have been killed in Syria since March 2011. Last month, two journalists were killed in Mali. These are simply very recent extreme cases that give some idea on the risks journalists face to inform us every day, Mr. La Rue noted. Only in the last two years, I have prepared letters on attacks against 171 journalists to 40 different countries.

For the UN expert, more systematic attention of international bodies to all events of violence and harassment against journalists is crucial to change this trend: Only some extreme cases of violence raise some attention. The far majority remains totally invisible.

Before a journalist is killed, threats and other forms of attacks take place without any attention from the national authorities or the international community, the Special Rapporteur said.

In times of war or peace, when the public right to know the truth of events is threatened, all human rights can be undermined, Mr. La Rue concluded, calling the UN Security Council to pay greater attention to attacks against journalists and other threats to freedom of expression within its regular agenda.

(*)Check the full report:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomOpinion/Pages/Annual.aspx 

***11.12.2013. News outlets urge Syria rebels to halt abductions (Associated Press)

Major international news organizations sent a letter to the leadership of the armed opposition in Syria Wednesday, calling for urgent action against rebel groups increasingly targeting journalists for kidnappings.

The letter, signed by 13 news organizations including The Associated Press, is in response to a sharp rise in the kidnapping of journalists while on assignment in opposition-held areas in northern Syria.

The widespread seizure of journalists is unprecedented and has so far been largely under-reported by news organizations in the hope that keeping the kidnappings out of public view may help with negotiating the captives' release. The scale of the abductions — more than 30 are believed to be currently held — and the lack of response to individual mediation efforts have encouraged some families and employers to speak out.

Most kidnappings since the summer have taken place in rebel-held territories, particularly in chaotic northern and eastern Syria, where militant al-Qaida-linked groups hold influence. Among the most dangerous places are the northeastern city of Raqqa, which was taken over by al-Qaida militants shortly after it became the first city to fall entirely into rebel hands; the eastern Deir el-Zour province; the border town of Azaz; and the corridor leading to Aleppo, once a main route for journalists going into Syria.

"As long as kidnappings are permitted to continue unabated, journalists will not be willing to undertake assignments inside Syria, and they will no longer be able to serve as witnesses to the events taking place within Syria's borders," the letter said.

Signatories to the letter are the AP, Agence France Presse, Reuters, BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Media, The Economist, Getty Images, The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times and The Telegraph.

The open letter is being sent to the leadership of the Western-backed mainstream Free Syrian Army and to individual armed groups including the Islamic Front, an umbrella organization of six of the most powerful brigades in Syria.

Syria's rebels are a disparate group of brigades and battalions, increasingly dominated by Islamic extremists, including al-Qaida-linked groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Jabhat al-Nusra.

The closest thing to a central command is the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, headed by Gen. Salim Idris, a secular-minded moderate. But he holds limited sway over the myriad groups inside Syria, some of which have broken away from the Free Syrian Army, announcing that the group did not represent them. Infighting between the extremists and moderates is on the rise, undermining their fight against President Bashar Assad.

While jihadi groups are believed responsible for most kidnappings since the summer, government-backed militias, criminal gangs and rebels affiliated with the Free Syrian Army also have been involved. Their motives have ranged from ransom to prisoner exchanges.

The Syrian National Coalition, Syria's main opposition group in exile considered to be the political arm of the Free Syrian Army, condemned the kidnapping of journalists in a statement issued Wednesday.

"The Syrian Coalition and the General Staff of the Free Syrian Army reiterate their commitment to exerting all efforts necessary to secure the release of all kidnapped persons and provide protection to journalists and human rights activists operating in Syria," the statement said.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says approximately 30 foreign and Syrian journalists are missing and 55 have been killed since Syria's civil war began in early 2011. CPJ also has documented at least 26 other journalists who disappeared this year but are now safe.

Many of the abduction cases go unreported at the request of the families or employers. News organizations on a case-by-case basis are inclined to respect such requests, regardless of the identity of the person abducted, if they are convinced that publication would increase the danger for the victim.

On Tuesday, the families of two Spanish journalists abducted nearly three months ago appealed publicly for their release, after failing to make contact with the captors via intermediaries. Javier Espinosa, Middle East bureau chief of El Mundo newspaper, and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova, a freelance photographer who was traveling with him, were taken captive Sept. 16 by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant at a checkpoint in the northeastern Raqqa province, the families said.

In the letter, the 13 news organizations said it was "imperative" for the leadership of the armed opposition to commit itself to assuring that journalists can work within Syria, secure from the threat of kidnapping.

"Among other things, we ask the leadership to assist in identifying those groups currently holding journalists and take the steps necessary to bring about their release," the statement said.

***11.12.2013. IFJ/EFJ Welcome Release of Dutch Journalist Judith Spiegel in Yemen

he International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have welcomed the release of Dutch journalist Judith Spiegel and commended their Dutch affiliate, the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ), for its tireless work and commitment in helping secure her freedom.

Spiegel and her husband, Boudewijn Berendsen, were kidnapped from their house in the Haddah area of Yemen's capital city Sana'a around the beginning of the second week of June by a group of gunmen. According to reports, they were released at the weekend and are expected to return to the Netherlands on Wednesday.

"We welcome the fantastic news that Judith Spiegel and her partner have been released after being held in Yemen for over seven months and can now return to their family, loved ones and colleagues," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha." On this day of great relief and joy we congratulate our affiliate, the Dutch Association of Journalists, and thank them for their dedication and commitment in helping to secure Judith and her husband's safe return. We also send out thanks to our affiliate, the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate (YJS), for their unwavering support for the couple."

Over the last few months, the NVJ has kept in contact with the person who has been negotiating with the kidnappers, while also maintaining close contact with government officials, including the ministry of Foreign Affairs, who have been working behind the scenes to secure the couple's release.

It is believed that Judith and her husband were abducted in an attempt to extract a ransom or potentially exert political pressure on the Yemeni government.

"The release of Judith Spiegel is a positive step forward in the struggle for press freedom, justice and the right of journalists to work freely and safely in Yemen," said EFJ President Mogens Blicher-Bjerregård.

"But the country remains a dangerous location for both local and international journalists. Local authorities and security agencies must step up their efforts to protect the safety and freedoms of journalists, while journalists working there must remain vigilant at all times."

***19.11.2013. Syria - Human rights organizations call on Syrian government to implement the UN Resolution - the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) joined the call

The Syrian government should immediately release human rights defenders, Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghareer and Hani Al-Zitani, members of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), and drop all the charges against them. Another hearing of their trial held on 18 November 2013 at the Anti-Terrorism Court in Damascus on alleged terrorism charges brought against them by the Syrian Governments Air Force Intelligence. Reports confirmed that once again the trial was postponed to 27 January 2014, at the request of the prosecution which has failed to prove the charges against them.

Mazen Darwish is a journalist and head of the Damascus based SCM, which was instrumental in disseminating information regarding the situation in Syria to sources outside the country. He was arrested on 16 February 2012 along with 15 others including Hussein Ghareer and Hani Al-Zitani when Air Force Intelligence conducted a raid on the offices of the SCM in Damascus.

We the undersigned organizations express serious concern for the security and physical and psychological integrity of human rights defenders, Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghareer, and Hani Al-Zitani and we strongly believe that they are targeted solely due to their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities in Syria. We are also very concerned about their current situation which has had more of a political grounding rather than any legal basis, in particular given that their office was raided without a warrant and in light of the failure of the judiciary to provide any evidence against them.

Our organizations also recall that on 15 May 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 67/262 on "The situation in the Syrian Arab Republic" which strongly condemned:2 .. all violations of international humanitarian law and the continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities and the Government-affiliated shabbiha militias, such as () massacres, arbitrary executions, extrajudicial killings, the killing and persecution of protestors, human rights defenders and journalists, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, violations of the rights of the child, (...) unlawful interference with access to medical treatment, failure to respect and protect medical personnel, torture, systematic sexual violence, including rape in detention, and ill-treatment, including against children as well as any human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law by anti-Government armed groups;

The resolution also called on the Syrian authorities to:

5. .. immediately release all persons arbitrarily detained, including the members of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, publish a list of all detention facilities, ensure that conditions of detention comply with applicable international law, and immediately allow access of independent monitors to all detention facilities;

We believe also that their continuous detention forms part of a wider campaign of threats and harassment against human rights defenders in Syria in order to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate and peaceful human rights work.We, the undersigned groups, therefore:

1. Call on the Syrian authorities to immediately implement the UN General Assembly resolution 67/262 and release immediately and unconditionally Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghareer, and Hani Al-Zitani as well as all human rights defenders in Syria since their detention is arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

2. Call on the Syrian authorities to drop all the charges against Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghareer, and Hani Al-Zitani as well as all human rights defenders in Syria;

3. Call on the Syrian government to respect its international obligations including those outlined in the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Syria is a state party;

4. Call for the UN and the international community, in particular States supportive of the Syrian regime, to press for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression, guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Syria is a state party.

Co-signatories: 1. Alkarama Foundation 2. Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) 3. Front Line Defenders 4. Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) 5. Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) 6. PEN International 7. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 8. Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) 9. Violations Documentation Centre in Syria (VDC) 10. Press Emblem Campaign (PEC)

***15.11.2013. A group of the world’s leading international broadcasters say that the dangers facing their journalists are such that it is difficult to provide accurate reporting from some parts of the world. PEC welcomes and supports this call.

The statement, issued on behalf of the representatives of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) [Australia], British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [United Kingdom], the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [US], Deutsche Welle (DW) [Germany], France Médias Monde [FMM], Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) [Japan] and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), said:

“Increasing violence and intimidation against journalists means that the work of international broadcasters is being impeded. We are deeply concerned that in some parts of the world acts and threats of violence against journalists are growing in scale and intensity. This month, two journalists working for French broadcaster RFI, (part of FMM and signatories to this statement) have been killed in Mali. Elsewhere this year, six journalists have been killed in Egypt and eight in Syria. A further 12 have died in Somalia and Pakistan. In Mexico, two have died and in Yemen incidents of arrests, threats and violence have increased. A total around the world of over 60 journalists, bloggers and citizen journalists have been killed with around 340 imprisoned.*

"We are also concerned that the UNSC Resolution 1738 of 2006 (which reminds states that attacks on journalists as civilians in conflict situations may constitute a war crime, and that all states are under an obligation to investigate and prosecute such cases) has not led to an overall improvement in the situation. We welcome the Security Council debate of July 17 this year and note the statement of UN deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson urging the SC to stand up against suppression of media freedom. However, we urge the Security Council to be more proactive in making the world aware of this problem – especially with regard to the impunity of those who attack journalists and media workers. In too many cases, journalists are killed and governments do little, or nothing.”

Journalistes tués: la PEC salue et soutient l'appel lancé par plusieurs médias audiovisuels internationaux demandant à l'ONU d'agir

 (AFP) Un groupe de sept grands médias audiovisuels internationaux, dont la BBC et France Médias Monde, a dénoncé vendredi une hausse des violences visant les journalistes en zones de conflit, appelant le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU à agir contre l'impunité.

Près de deux semaines après le meurtre de deux journalistes de Radio France Internationale (RFI) au Mali, ces organisations, regroupées sous le sigle DG7, ont exprimé "leur vive préoccupation face l'augmentation et l'aggravation des actes de violence et des menaces contre les journalistes dans plusieurs régions du monde".

"L'escalade de la violence et des intimidations envers les journalistes fait obstacle au travail des diffuseurs internationaux", ont souligné ces médias de radio et télévision, rappelant que cette année huit journalistes avaient été tués en Syrie et six en Egypte.

Selon Reporters sans Frontires (RSF), depuis le dbut 2013, 73 journalistes et blogueurs ont été tués, et 341 emprisonnés.

"Il arrive trop souvent que les gouvernements ne fassent rien ou presque lorsque des journalistes sont tués", dénonce également le DG7, appelant le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU à "être plus proactif pour sensibiliser le monde entier à ce problème, et notamment à l'impunité des auteurs d'attaques contre les journalistes et les travailleurs des médias".

Le groupe rappelle que le Conseil de sécurité a adopté en 2006 la résolution 1738 qui précise que les professionnels des médias ont un statut de civil dans un conflit armé et considère leur ciblage comme un crime de guerre. Mais les médias regrettent que ce texte "n'ait pas permis d'améliorer globalement la situation".

Outre la BBC et France Médias Monde, le DG7 comprend l'Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC, Australie), le Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG, Etats-Unis), la Deutsche Welle (DW, Allemagne), Nippon Hoso Kyokai - Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK, Japon) et Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW, Pays-Bas).

***05.11.2013. Journalists are not Terrorists - Urgent Appeal of Life Sentences Given to Turkish Journalists (EFJ/IFJ)

Journalists are not terrorists - this is the powerful message the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is sending to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Stand Up for Journalism Day following the life sentences given to six Turkish journalists yesterday.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has joined the EFJ to demand an urgent appeal against the life sentences given to Füsun Erdoğan and five other journalists.

According to local media, ETHA, journalists Füsun Erdoğan, Ziya Ulusoy, Bayram Namaz , Arif Çelebi , Ibrahim Cicek and Sedat Şenoğlu were accused of being members of a Marxist organisation (MLKP) that is banned under Turkish anti-terror laws. Erdoğan was accused of being the leader of MLKP as she is the founder of the radio station Özgür Radyo which is critical of the government. On top of the life sentences, each journalist was also given extra punishments which mean that, in total, the life sentences amount to 3000 years.

"This is completely absurd. The verdict is a disgrace to the Turkish judicial system and an expression of the absolute power of the government. It further shows that the regime does not tolerate any criticism," said Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President.

We demand an urgent appeal of the verdict,'' said Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. The international journalist community is saddened by the court decision that is misguided by political influence.''

"We share our solidarity with Erdoğan and the other journalists and will continue putting pressure on the Turkish government." added Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. "It may well be that Prime Minister Erdogan will not officially bow to the pressure. Nonetheless, the pressure from international journalist community and civil society organisations will reach new heights after this outrageous decision."

The IFJ/EFJ, together with their Turkish affiliate, the Turkish Union of Journalists (Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi TGS), is taking action today against the decision. The TGS, and the Freedom for Journalists Platform (FJP-GÖP), are taking part in a March for Justice now towards Taksim Square in Istanbul. The TGS has called upon all journalists, including those who are currently in prisons and their families, as well as all the press workers, writers, intellectuals, artists, lawyers, trade unionists, students, and citizens, to Stand Up For Journalism, and for press freedom in Turkey.

In the coming days, the EFJ, with its Turkish colleagues, will discuss ways to fight back. This treatment of critical journalists is a huge setback for the already heavily beleaguered freedom of the press in Turkey. The EFJ will pressure on European institutions to react to the situation.

For more information, please visit the observer report by the EFJ representative Esben Ørberg on 30 October: http://europe.ifj.org/en/articles/the-international-media-turns-the-spotlight-on-turkey. To know more about our on-going campaign, visit Set Journalist Free in Turkey campaign site.

***10.10.2013. Blaise Lempen: «Ne pas aller dans les zones de conflit, c'est renoncer à notre mission d'informer...» Propos recueillis à Genève par El Hadji Gorgui Wade Ndoye

Entretien publié par le journal du Sénégal Walfadjri (Dakar) et sur le site de l'Organisation de la francophonie: www.francophonie.ch

Lire l'entretien : http://www.francophonie.ch/nouvelle_detail_francophonu.php?pk_news=2382 ou ci-dessous:

Interview de Blaise Lempen réalisée par El Hadji Gorgui Wade Ndoye et publiée dans le quotidien Walfadjri à Dakar

MOTS CROISES AVEC…BLAISE LEMPEN

«Ne pas aller dans les zones de conflit, c'est renoncer à notre mission d'informer...»

(GENEVE-SUISSE) - La Presse emblème campagne (Pec) a dû intervenir plus que d'habitude depuis le début de l'année à cause
des violences subies par les journalistes. Membre fondateur du Pec, le journaliste-écrivain suisse Blaise Lempen tire un bilan noir
des atrocités subies par les journalistes, à travers le monde, dans l'exercice de leur fonction. 90 tués entre janvier et septembre de
cette année. En 2012, on comptait 141 tués ! Pourtant le Henri Dunant de la presse mondiale n'en démord pas, car pour lui,
soutient-il lors de cet entretien exclusif, la presse ne peut s'exclure de là où son rôle est le plus important. Il se bat au sein
des Nations Unies pour obtenir une Convention protectrice des journalistes.

Bilan alarmant

De janvier à fin septembre 2013, 90 journalistes ont été tués dans 26 pays. La Syrie occupe le haut du palmarès avec 13 tués suivie du
Pakistan 11, l'Inde et les Philippines sont ex-æquo avec 8, de même ex æquo l'Egypte et la Somalie occupent la 5ème place avec 7 tués.
Suivent, le Brésil, le Guatemala, le Mexique avec 4 tués . Deux journalistes sont tués dans ces pays : Colombie, Haiti, Irak, Kenya,
Paraguay et Russie. Chacun des pays suivants, enregistre un journaliste tué : Afghanistan, République Centrafricaine, Equateur,
Honduras, Libye, Nigeria, Ouganda, Pérou, République Démocratique du Congo, Tanzanie, Yemen.

A titre d'exemple, l'année dernière il y a eu 141 journalistes tués dans le monde, dont 34 en Syrie. Ce qui constitue un record absolu
depuis qu'on tient les statistiques. Evidemment en Syrie, il se passe une situation grave, un conflit très difficile à couvrir et beaucoup
d'acteurs sur le terrain ne respectent pas le droit international humanitaire. Actuellement, il y a plus d'une dizaine de journalistes
détenus et ou enlevés en Syrie dont deux Français depuis le mois de juin dernier, deux Américains depuis des mois. Il y a eu également un
journaliste Italien qui a été libéré et qui a révélé avoir subi de mauvais traitements lors de son détention par un groupe armé rebelle. Les
exactions contre les journalistes sont autant le fait des troupes gouvernementales que des rebelles. Ce fut le même cas en Irak ! On
sait par ailleurs que les rebelles détiennent des journalistes pour faire du chantage.

Et l'Afrique 
                        
Malgré certains progrès notés ici et là dans la protection des journalistes, notons quand même que la Somalie s'était classée
deuxième l'année dernière dans le palmarès des pays les plus dangereux pour un journaliste. Il y a eu beaucoup d'assassinats de
journalistes dans ce pays où nos confrères n'ont aucune garantie de sécurité. D'autres pays comme la République Démocratique du Congo
(Rdc), la Centrafrique, le Nigeria demeurent des pays difficiles pour l'exercice serein du journalisme. En Afrique du Nord, en Egypte, cinq
journalistes ont été tués lors des troubles. Un des journalistes proche pourtant du gouvernement a été tué alors qu'il était dans sa voiture.
Les militaires n'ont pas respecté les procédures d'identification d'usage. Par ailleurs, dans ce pays, on note actuellement une
répression très sévère à l'égard des journalistes qui étaient proches des Frères musulmans. La Pec a fait une intervention à ce sujet lors du
récent Conseil des Droits de l'Homme. Nous allons continuer notre travail de sensibilisation auprès des gouvernements et de tous les
acteurs concernés par la protection des journalistes que nous voulons voir se réaliser sur le terrain.

Protection des journalistes

Les cas de détention de journalistes, d'assassinats, d'emprisonnements arbitraires ont augmenté ces dernières années.
Cette situation est liée à l'évolution des conflits et en grand nombre aux soulèvements dans les pays arabes. Jamais depuis sa création en
2004, la Presse emblème campagne (Pec) n'avait eu autant à intervenir. Il n y a pas de convention spécifique sur la protection des
journalistes. Ces derniers sont protégés par le Droit international comme la Convention de Genève comme n'importe quel civil. Au vu de
la spécificité du travail de journaliste (prise de risque, témoignage sur les violations des droits humains etc.) qui requiert que le reporter soit
présent sur les lieux des conflits etc., nous pensons important que le Droit international s'enrichisse d’une Convention sur la sécurité du
personnel des médias en zones de conflit. Le journaliste a, comme vous le savez, un rôle prépondérant de rendre compte des violations
des droits de l'Homme souvent dans des contextes très dangereux.

Nous nous battons pour obtenir qu'une Convention internationale avec des mécanismes précis, d'enquêtes, de suivi de l'information, d'aide
pour les victimes soit consacrée à la protection des journalistes. La situation est grave et l'on ne peut décréter que la liberté d'expression
est la pierre angulaire de la démocratie en sacrifiant celles et ceux dont le métier est basé sur ce droit !Les kidnappings ont augmentéLe phénomène des kidnappings ou d'enlèvement des journalistes a fortement augmenté ces dernières années. On peut se dire, on n'abandonne, on ne fait plus rien, c'est trop difficile de couvrir des zones de guerre etc. Mais cette attitude là n'est pas celle d'un journaliste : Ne pas y aller, c'est renoncer à notre mission d'informer, car c'est justement là où se déroulent les pires exactions, nous sommes utiles, car notre présence permet de documenter ces
violations.

Avancée

Avec le travail de la Pec et d'autres organisations journalistiques, des Etats sont de plus en plus conscients de la nécessité d'avoir une
Convention protectrice du métier de journaliste. A cet effet, à New York, le Conseil de sécurité de l'Onu, a organisé, en juillet dernier, un débat
sur la protection des journalistes. Le Conseil des droits de l'homme, qui siège à Genève, a adopté, pour sa part, une résolution. En outre, le
Conseil a décidé d'organiser un panel sur la protection des journalistes.

Notons par ailleurs que pour la première fois, il y a eu un rapport du Haut Commissariat aux Droits de l'Homme sur la protection des
journalistes qui a identifié les bonnes pratiques des Etats dans ce domaine. Grâce donc à la mobilisation de la société civile, les Ong, les
associations de journalistes, les Etats sont conscientisés à cause de la gravité même de la situation.

Réaction à propos de l'hommage rendu aux journalistes par l'Ambassadrice américaine Mme Donahoe

Nous accueillons positivement cette déclaration de Mme Donahoe très présente au Conseil des Droits de l'Homme. C'est vrai que les
Etats-Unis sont les champions de la liberté d'expression dans le monde. Ceci dit, c'est aussi un pays qui a deux visages. On connait
aussi les Etats-Unis d'être à l'origine de la tentative de fermeture de wikileaks, il y a aussi le cas de Snowden et des journalistes qui ont
voulu publier ses documents. Il y a toujours une ambiguïté mais nous sommes très contents pour les propos tenus par la diplomate
américaine , car les Etats-Unis sont du côté de la liberté de la presse et pour sa défense dans le monde. On aimerait que cette position soit
plus concrète.

Propos recueillis à Genève
par El Hadji Gorgui Wade NDOYE

(ContinentPremier.Com)

***10.10.2013. IFJ/EFJ Condemn Continued Detention of Journalists in Russia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have reiterated their call for the immediate release of the journalists who were on the Greenpeace ship that was seized by Russian authorities.

British journalists Kieron Bryan and Phil Ball, and Russian journalist Denis Sinyakov, were among 30 people on board the Greenpeace ship who were detained by Russian authorities on September 19 for allegedly trying to board a Gazprom Oil Platform in a protest against oil drilling in the Artic.

According to media reports, a court in the Russian city of Murmansk has ordered that freelance video producer Bryan be charged with piracy, a charge that carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 15 years, while photographers Ball and Sinyakov have been placed in preventative custody for two months. A bail appeal for Sinyakov has already been denied, while the appeals for the British journalists are currently pending.

It has been reported that some of those being detained are being kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, while others are held in "extremely cold" cells.

"The decision of the Russian court to detain these men and charge them with piracy is simply absurd," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "They are journalists and were doing their jobs. The court's ruling violates press freedom and freedom of expression and we call on the authorities in Russia to drop the charges and release the journalists immediately."

A petition demanding the immediate release of Sinyakov has been signed by a number of IFJ affiliates and fully backed by the IFJ. The appeal has been signed by the Russian Union of Journalists, Journalists' Trade Union of Azerbaijan, the Journalists' Union of Armenia, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Independent Asssociation of Georgian Journalists and the Journalists' Union of Moldova.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) for the UK and Ireland, has also condemned the decisions and called on the Russian authorities to release the journalists immediately.

"To accuse these journalists of the criminal act of "piracy" when they were simply doing their job as journalists is deeply worrying," said EFJ president Mogens Blicher Bjerregrd. "If Russia's Constitutional guarantees to protect freedom of expression have any foundation then both journalists must be released immediately."

***26.09.2013. US dilemma: Who is a journalist?

The Free Flow of Information Act of 2013, if passed by the US Senate, will be the first Federal Shield Law. Critics feel it divides journalists into two classes: traditional newsroom journalists, and freelancers, bloggers and citizen journalists. EUGENE CORREIA explains.

Read on: http://www.thehoot.org/web/US-dilemma--Who-is-a-journalist-/7054-1-1-7-true.html

***25.09.2013. Uzbekistan: Journalist Forcibly ‘Disappeared’ (HRW)
Detention Appears to be Retaliation for Independent Journalism

(New York, September 24, 2013) – Uzbek authorities should immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of Sergei Naumov, an independent journalist who disappeared after being detained by the authorities on September 21, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should afford him full due process rights if he is in detention. The case of Sergei Naumov, who was last heard from in police custody on September 21, highlights the Uzbek government’s continuing crackdown on independent journalists and peaceful civil society activists, and its attempts to stifle independent monitoring.

“The brutal practice of ‘disappearing’ government critics is a terrible blight on Uzbekistan’s already abysmal human rights record,” said Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The enforced disappearance of an independent journalist is going to cause the criticism to swell, not to stop.”

Uzbek authorities should immediately reveal Naumov’s whereabouts and, if he’s still in custody, either release him or bring formal charges against him, Human Rights Watch said.

Naumov, 50, is an award-winning independent journalist and a contributor to several independent media outlets, including the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Fergana.ru, and Jarayon.com. Based in Urgench in northwestern Uzbekistan, Naumov is known for his willingness to address politically sensitive issues in his work. He has collaborated closely with human rights activists on a number of multimedia projects.

In the days preceding his disappearance, Naumov had been shooting video footage in local cotton fields about the government’s practice of forcing over a million children and adults to pick cotton during the annual harvest, from mid-September to early November. Representatives of the International Labour Organization (ILO) are currently in Uzbekistan to monitor its compliance with ILO conventions banning the use of child labor.

Witnesses told activists that police officers from the Urgench police station came to Naumov’s home on September 21, claiming they had been sent in response to an allegation that Naumov had stolen a gold necklace from an unnamed woman and telling Naumov that he could face up to seven years in prison for theft. At around 7 p.m., Naumov sent a text message to a colleague at the IWPR to say that he was at the local police station and that, “I have a problem.” All subsequent attempts to reach him on his cell phone have been unsuccessful. Over the past three days, local rights activists have visited police stations and the offices of the prosecutor-general and security services in his home region to determine his whereabouts. All officials have denied that they had arrested him or were holding him.

Under international law, authorities commit an enforced disappearance when they refuse to acknowledge holding someone in custody or conceal the person’s fate or whereabouts, thereby placing them outside the protection of the law. “Disappearances” increase the likelihood of torture or other ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said.

Naumov’s close colleagues told Human Rights Watch they fear that Naumov, like many independent journalists and human rights defenders, has been detained to prevent him from carrying out his journalistic work, in his case specifically during the cotton harvest when ILO monitors are present in the country.

His colleagues also told Human Rights Watch that security services had warned him in recent months to stop his independent reporting. Naumov was most recently detained for an interrogation on August 30 when returning from Nukus, Karakalpakstan, where he had been reporting on one family’s protest of their forced eviction from their home.

“Sergei Naumov’s detention bears all the hallmarks of an illegal, enforced disappearance and appears aimed at silencing his independent reporting,” Swerdlow said.

Well over a dozen human rights defenders and numerous independent journalists and opposition activists are in prison in Uzbekistan in retaliation for their work or criticism of the government. Many activists are in serious ill-health and have been tortured in pretrial custody or in prison.

Naumov’s case is part of a pattern in which Uzbek authorities hold government critics in unacknowledged custody. In June, security services detained Hasan Choriev, father of the leader of the peaceful political opposition party Birdamlik (“Solidarity”) at his home and held him in unacknowledged custody for several weeks.

In September 2012, during the peak of the cotton harvest, authorities beat and held in unacknowledged custody Uktam Pardaev, a rights activist well known for reporting on police abuses, torture, and forced labor. After his release 15 days later, Pardaev told Human Rights Watch he believed he was arrested to prevent him from monitoring the rights of the children and adults forced to carry out the harvest.

Uzbek authorities should grant Naumov immediate access to independent counsel and allow him to contact close relatives and friends.

“Uzbekistan’s international partners, including the United States and the European Union, are by now extremely familiar with the Uzbek government’s pattern of stamping out independent journalism and human rights monitoring,” Swerdlow said. “The question now is how forcefully they will choose to condition their relationships with Tashkent on Uzbekistan immediately ending these egregious abuses.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Uzbekistan, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/en/europecentral-asia/uzbekistan

***25.09.2013. SYRIA. IFJ/EFJ Appeal to Syrian Free Army to Help Secure Release of Spanish Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have appealed to the Syrian Free Army to make every effort to secure the release of Spanish journalist Marc Marginedas who has now been missing in the country for nearly three weeks.

According to media reports, Marginedas, a special correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El Periodico, was kidnapped by a rebel group on the outskirts of the city of Hama in the west of Syria on 4 September, the last day that he made contact with his editors. A report in El Periodico said that the journalist was travelling by car with a driver when he was stopped and kidnapped by jihadist fighters.

"We strongly condemn the kidnapping of our Spanish colleague Marc Marginedas, a veteran of journalism who has covered conflicts all over the world over the past decade, from the former countries of the Soviet Union to the Algerian civil war," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

"We ask the Syrian Free Army, who may potentially have information about Marginedas' kidnappers or where he is being held, to do everything in their power to help ensure his release."

El Periodico has stated that it has not been able to contact Marginedas since his abduction, who was on his third trip to Syria since the conflict began in March 2011. The newspaper said the journalist had entered Syria on September 1 from southern Turkey "accompanied by members of the opposition Syrian Free Army" and that no Syrian opposition group has claimed to be holding him.

The Spanish Press Federations of Journalists Associations (FAPE) and the Federation of Spanish Journalists Unions (FeSP), both affiliated to the IFJ and to the EFJ, have spoken of the high regard and respect for Marginedas, highlighting the prizes and professional recognition he has gained for his journalist work.

FeSP called a gathering of journalists yesterday, Tuesday 25, at 5pm in Barcelona, in front of the El Periódico newspaper to call for Marginedas' immediate release. Hundreds of journalists showed their support and the plan is to repeat the gathering every Tuesday until the journalist is freed.

"We ask the Syrian Free Army to help secure the release of our colleague Marc Marginedas and we call on all sides involved in the war in Syria to cease the targeting of journalists, to respect media freedom and to immediately release all journalists currently under detention," said EFJ President Mogens Blicher-Bjerregård.

Earlier this month kidnapped Italian reporter Domenico Quirico was freed after five months in captivity in Syria, but a number of journalists are still missing. Polish photographer, Marcin Suder, French journalists Didier Francois and Edouard Elias and a number of Syrian television journalists have been kidnapped, while American journalists Austin Tice and James Foley have been missing for over a year and ten months respectively.

***26.08.2013. Global survey on violence against female journalists launched

The International News Safety Institute (INSI) has launched a global survey on violence against women journalists in collaboration with UNESCO as part of promotion of the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. All news media workers, and particularly women journalists, are invited to participate in the survey, which will run until 20 September 2013.

The survey is supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and was created together with the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF). It is aimed at looking into the global situation of female journalists and the nature of the dangers they face in connection with their work.

“In many parts of the world, women are threatened and attacked for the work they do – work which, in some cultures and countries, challenges gender stereotypes,” said Hannah Storm, Director of INSI.

According to her, these attacks take the form in sexual assaults, rapes, cyber-bullying, emotional harassment and threats against their loved ones. “Sadly, many of these crimes are not reported as a result of powerful cultural and professional stigmas,” she added.

The findings of the survey will serve as the basis for INSI to work further with field experts, which will be followed by a series of recommendations to increase the safety of women journalists.

This survey will allow news producers to confidentially share the experiences of women journalists, in order to get a real sense of the dangers and threats they face in their day-to-day work, and work to find ways to make the situation safer for them and their families.

The survey itself will contribute to the “UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity” which is based a multi-stakeholder approach to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers, both in conflict and non-conflict situations.

The survey also complements INSI’s on-going efforts in the issue of safety of journalists, acknowledging that danger also spans all genders. Prior to this survey, INSI has published a publication titled ‘No Woman’s Land – On the Frontlines with Female Reporters’ and has kicked off with a safety training programme specifically aimed at female media workers in various parts of the world. Women working in the news media are especially invited to participate in this survey, although men with information to add are also welcome.

The survey can be accessed here.

***06.08.2013. TURKEY. Ergenekon Trial: Severe Sentences for Turkish Journalists Violate Freedom of Media, say IFJ/EFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have expressed their outrage at the heavy sentences handed out yesterday to 22 journalists involved in the Ergenekon trial in Turkey, stating that the decision is a direct attack on press freedom in the country.

A number of journalists were given lengthy prison sentences at the special trial hearing in Istanbul, ranging from six years to life imprisonment.

Among them was daily newspaper Cumhuriyet journalist Mustafay Balbay, whose case has been ‘adopted' by EFJ affiliate the Finnish Union of Journalists (UJF). Balbay, who has been in prison since September 2008, was given a sentence of 34 years and eight months. Journalist, politician and former Biz TV owner Tuncay Özkan, who helped organise a series of anti-government protests in 2007 and has been supported by EFJ affiliate the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ), was given the most severe sentence of life in solitary confinement, without the possibility of a pardon.

"Two weeks ago the Turkish Platform for Freedom of Journalists gathered in Istanbul for the second Congress devoted to journalists' rights and freedom, calling for the release of 64 (now 63) jailed Turkish journalists and hoping the international campaign for the freedom of journalists in Turkey, initiated by the EFJ, would finally be heard," said EFJ Vice President Nadezda Azhgikhina.

"The news about the fresh convictions of Turkish media professionals yesterday was a huge disappointment. We are deeply alarmed and angry at the severe and unprecedented sentences handed out to many of our colleagues in Turkey, a decision which immeasurably undermines the right to freedom of media and free expression in the country."

The court has jailed the journalists because it says they were involved in the so-called Ergenekon plot, a conspiracy allegedly aimed at toppling the government led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP). Defendants faced charges ranging from membership of Ergenekon, an alleged underground terrorist network, to illegally possessing weapons and instigating an armed uprising against the AKP.

Dunja Mijatovic, Representative on Freedom of the Media, for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), has stated that the severe sentences violate free expression in Turkey and "the country's commitments to develop and protect free media."

The IFJ/EFJ have called on EU institutions to criticise Turkish authorities for the rulings and will be sending them letters calling for action to be taken.

"Throughout the process we warned that this has become a politically motivated trial," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "There were so many violations of legal procedure and rights well documented by independent observers, that its credibility came into question. Such long jail terms for journalists who have already spent years in arbitrary preventive detention are unacceptable, and these heavy verdicts confirm the absence of rule of law."

The EFJ has repeatedly called on authorities in Turkey to free the journalists in the Ergenekon court hearing (10.05.13), expressing its concern at the fairness of the trials (12.12.12), and sending delegates (22.11.11) to observe trials, meet with families of the jailed journalists and press the authorities for their release.

***02.08.2013. SYRIA. Franco-US photographer released from captivity

A Franco-American photographer freed from captivity in Syria last week was kidnapped by a "Syrian militia" and held for 81 days, his photo agency Polaris Images said.

Jonathan Alpeyrie, who arrived safely in Paris this week, was kidnapped on April 29 in the town of Yabrud, 75 kilometres (47 miles) north of Damascus, the New-York based agency said.

Alpeyrie had been covering air strikes and shelling of the town by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for 10 days before the militia took him to an unknown location, they added.

"He was abducted on April 29 by a Syrian militia," Polaris said in a statement. "On July 20, after 81 days in captivity, Alpeyrie was released, driven to Lebanon, and he finally arrived in Paris this week".

"His family, friends and colleagues are relieved by the happy ending to this ordeal," added Polaris.

All the photographer's equipment was taken from him by his kidnappers, the agency added.

Polaris did not specify whether Alpeyrie's kidnappers were a rebel contingent or one of Syria's feared groups of Shabiha, armed civilians loyal to Assad acting in parallel to the regular army.

French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot confirmed Alpeyrie's release on Friday but refused to give any information on where he was held, who had detained him and how he was freed.

While some kidnappings and detentions are made public, others are kept under wraps by the family, employer and by governments in a bid to facilitate any potential release, as was the case for Alpeyrie.

Lalliot said it is France's policy to refuse any comment about hostage cases even after their release.


***17.07.2013. THE PRESS EMBLEM CAMPAIGN (PEC) WELCOMES THE OPEN DEBATE AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL IN NEW YORK ON THE PROTECTION OF JOURNALISTS TO ENHANCE THE RESOLUTION 1738 ADOPTED ON 23 DECEMBER 2006 - however the PEC regrets the absence of concrete decisions at the end of the debate - speeches are not enough to improve access and fight impunity (read below the UN press release and some statements)

UN DEPUTY CHIEF, VETERAN JOURNALISTS URGE SECURITY COUNCIL TO DO MORE TO PROTECT REPORTERS (UN press release)

New York, Jul 17 2013 3:00PM
With journalists working in dangerous corners of the world being thrown in prison or murdered in record numbers, the Deputy Secretary-General joined veteran reporters today urging the United Nations Security Council to stand up against all acts to suppress media freedom wherever and whenever they occur.

"When journalists are killed, information about threats to international peace and security is often buried," Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the Council in a special meeting devoted to the protection of journalists in armed conflict. He added that the 15-member body may wish to consider the targeting of journalists and other threats to freedom of expression when addressing situations on its agenda.

Every time a journalist is killed or intimidated into silence, "there is one less voice to speak on behalf of the victims of conflict, crime and human rights abusesone less observer of efforts to uphold rights and ensure human dignity," said Mr. Eliasson.

Today's meeting is the first time the Council specifically considers the issue of protection of journalists in armed conflict since it adopted resolution 1738 on the issue in 2006, and the first time four international journalists directly address the UN body.

Those providing often chilling accounts of the dangers they and their colleagues faced in the field included Kathleen Carroll, Associated Press executive editor and vice chair of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Richard Engel of NBC News, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad from the Guardian, and Mustafa Haji Abdinur of AFP, a self-taught reporter working in Somalia, who told the Council sombrely: "I'm here simply because I'm lucky; because the gunmen who have killed so many of my friends have not yet found me. Still, it's not a matter of if, but when."

Mr. Eliasson said that in the past decade, more than 600 journalists have been killed, the majority local journalists and media staff often reporting on corruption and other illegal activities. It is "shocking and unacceptable" that more than 90 per cent of the assassinations on journalists go unpunished, he noted, urging that "the least we can do when a journalist is murdered, is to ensure that the death is investigated swiftly and justice is served."

The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issues of Impunity aims to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers, both in conflict and non-conflict situations, as a prerequisite for freedom of expression and democracy. The Plan was approved in April 2012 by the UN Chief Executives Board and led by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

A multi-dimensional, multi-actor approach, the Plan requires cooperation from Governments -- particularly through Ministries of Information, academia, as well as media houses and civil society to conduct awareness about threats to journalists.

Mr. Eliasson encouraged all UN entities to submit information which could contribute to journalists' greater safety.

Stressing the importance of freedom of expression, Mr. Eliasson highlighted that the fundamental human right at the heart of journalistic work is in the report of the Secretary-General's High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The report aimed to outline a new framework building on the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In her remarks, Ms. Carroll stressed that journalists represent the ordinary citizen. "An attack on a journalist is a proxy for an attack on the people, an attack on their right to information about their communities and their institutions."

Citing CPJ figures, she noted that 5 in 6 murdered journalists are killed in their own hometowns covering local stories, often related to crime and corruption, and that 90 per cent of the cases go unpunished.

Mr. Engel argued that protecting journalists is harder than ever because of the blurred delineation between who is a journalist and an activist.

"If the discussion today is about protection journalists, you have to decide who gets protection? Who deserves it? And who forfeits it," Mr. Engel asked, noting that professional journalists for State and private media, as well as freelancers who join rebel groups and carry guns, are often lumped in the same category.

"We're all troublemakers," Mr. Engel said stressing how journalists are perceived by Governments. "The guild of professionals isn't recognized anymore. It should be. Just like you in the diplomatic community need protection to be objective. If you want professionals who are also objective we need protection as well."

Saying that war-time reporters were often referred to as "dead men walking", Mr. Abdinur said that scores of journalists had been killed covering the decades-long conflict in Somalia. He longed for the day when the perpetrators of such crimes were prosecuted and punished, as the vast majority of perpetrators today continued to kill with impunity.

"When a journalist is killed, the news dies too," he said. The question today was, how long could that bravery continue? Indeed, "we are few remaining." The Council's discussion today would play an important role in answering that question, and in helping to encourage States to support journalist. In the meantime, the work of telling the truth would continue. "We will not fail the dream, we will never be discouraged."

For his part, Mr. Abdul-Ahad echoed many of the same sentiments, saying there is a sense of immunity for all those who captured journalists; they were never questioned and they never paid for it. That created a sense that professional journalists were "asking" for trouble just by being on a particular scene. "But we have to be there; we are telling the story," he said.

"We would happily be sitting in our countries and writing from our desks," he said, but by covering conflicts today, journalists became part of them. When he had been detained in Afghanistan and Libya, certain groups helped with his release, but other reporters had been left behind. Professional journalists were part of a community of informers who deserved protection. If the Security Council could do more to recognize journalists as a part of a "humanitarian effort to tell a story", perhaps the 15-member body could foster their protection, he suggested.
Jul 17 2013 3:00PM

Statement of the UNITED STATES. Remarks by Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations, At a Security Council Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: Protection of Journalists

Thank you, Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson, for your briefing and for your support to this issue. We also greatly appreciate the remarks of our four briefers, who have made a compelling case for the challenges and risks journalists face, and their experiences demonstrate the indispensable role that journalists play in focusing the world's attention on conflict. This is why the United States has convened today's open debate on protecting journalists.

Journalists are literally our eyes and ears in every corner of the world. They sound the warning when local tensions threaten to erupt into war. They document the suffering of civilians in conflict areas. And they expose human rights violations and war crimes. Journalists are critical to this Council's ability to remain well informed so that it may fulfill its mandate to maintain international peace and security.

Reporting from the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s brought attention to mass atrocities there and helped mobilize the international community's response, including support for a war crimes tribunal. More recently, this Council relied on videos, photos, and the reported accounts of citizens to understand the events taking place in Libya in 2011. This real-time reporting gave us the information necessary to act quickly to prevent even more horrific violence by the Qadhafi regime.

Tragically, this work is not without sacrifice, as the case of journalist Mohammed "Mo" Nabbous and his wife Samra Naas demonstrated. When a sniper killed Mo while he was broadcasting live during Qadhafi's assault on Benghazi, Samra, pregnant with their first child, took his place, declaring, "What he has started has got to go on, no matter what happens."

In Syria, the Assad regime continues to kill, imprison, and torture journalists. Mazen Darwish, head of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression-the only Syrian-based non-governmental organization accredited to the United Nations-has been held incommunicado since February 2012 and was reportedly tortured by the Assad regime. His so-called crime, like so many of his colleagues, was exercising his universal right to freedom of expression to show the world the regime's atrocities.

As others have noted, Resolution 1738 reminds us that journalists operating in armed conflict are protected under international humanitarian law. Given the invaluable contribution of journalists to our work, this Council must do all it can to ensure their protection. Therefore, we ask the Secretary-General to increase his focus on the safety and security of journalists, media professionals, and associated personnel in his reports on the protection of civilians and in his reports on peacekeeping missions whose mandates include civilian protection. Furthermore, we urge Member States-especially those who contribute troops and police to UN peacekeeping missions-to ensure that their judicial officials, law enforcement officers, and military personnel know their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law regarding the safety of journalists.

Impunity for violence against journalists must end. The United States endorses fully the 2012 UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. We encourage Member States to enact its provisions and put in place voluntary protection programs for journalists operating in conflict areas. We also underscore the specific risks faced by women journalists, including sexual and gender-based violence. A gender-sensitive approach is needed when considering measures to address the safety of journalists.

New and emerging forms of 21st century communication technology, including various Internet fora, blogging, texting, and other social media platforms have transformed the way journalists, including citizen journalists, work. These new forms of communication have allowed wider and more rapid dissemination of information from conflicts across the globe. We call on all Member States to maintain and safeguard the infrastructure that enables the work of journalists in situations of conflict.

In conclusion, recognizing the value of the work of journalists reporting on conflict, this Council has an obligation to help protect those who provide us with so much vital information. We thank journalists around the world who risk their lives to seek the truth and shine light on the darkness for the entire world to see. The Security Council could not do its job without you. We thank you.

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Protection of Journalists in Conflict

I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Serbia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

We thank the Presidency for bringing this issue back to the Council after the landmark Resolution 1738 (2006). Let me also thank Deputy Secretary General Eliasson for his briefing and the journalists for their testimonies.

2012 saw the highest number of journalists killed while carrying out their vital task and the first part of 2013 is worrying. This obliges the international community to reflect on how to best protect journalists in conflict, and on how to better use the array of existing legal and political means to this end. This debate should serve as a reminder of the increasingly heavy price paid for information.

We are deeply concerned about the worrying trend of increased violence against journalists, including bloggers, and journalistic sources both in conflict and non-conflict situations, including by non-State actors. This violence includes torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, harassment as well as killings of journalists and media workers. We are also alarmed by the restrictions to press freedom and to the use of the Internet and the increasing level of intimidation, violence and censorship that journalists, including bloggers face in many countries. At the same time we should also remember that female journalists are more often subject to harassment and sexual violence. We have repeatedly condemned these trends which must be urgently addressed.

A free, independent and vibrant press is a cornerstone of any democratic society. Freedom of opinion and expression is a fundamental right, and an inherent part of human dignity. It is also enshrined in many international and regional human rights instruments.

Freedom of expression also extends to the Internet and any other media. The EU is firmly opposed to any unjustified or disproportional restrictions of access to or its use. The European Union is developing Guidelines on Freedom of Expression, online and offline, including the protection journalists, including bloggers, in order to react coherently and efficiently to violations of the right to freedom of expression.

The EU is determined to continue standing up for press freedom worldwide. We call on all governments to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently, without undue interference and without fear of censorship, persecution or prosecution. We also call on States to ensure accountability, by investigating attacks against journalists, including bloggers, bringing perpetrators to justice and providing adequate remedies for victims. We look forward to the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on good practices regarding the protection of journalists, the prevention of attacks, and the fight against impunity for attacks committed against journalists. Ending impunity is a very effective measure to guarantee the safety of journalists in the long term.

We call upon all governments to respect the freedoms and rights of journalists and protect them especially in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict and call on all parties to armed conflict to respect their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols thereto. We further call on all parties to conflict to allow, within the framework of applicable rules and procedures, media access and coverage in situations of international and non-international armed conflict.

In this context we wish to recall the Presidential Statement of the Security Council of February 2013, which clearly states that journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians and shall be respected and protected as such. We encourage the Secretary-General to continue including the issue of protection of journalists in armed conflicts in his report on protection of civilians. We also encourage the Security Council to address the protection of journalists in situations of armed conflict, including through public statements, reporting requirements for peacekeeping missions or the secretariat and strengthening of mandates.

It is also important to underline the work of the Human Rights Council, which last September adopted a resolution on the safety of journalists, as well as that of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO in protecting Freedom of expression and safety of Journalists. The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity a work led by UNESCO, aiming at greater cooperation between UN organizations, is a key document in this debate.

We pay tribute to civil society organisations and journalist networks for their work, highlighting and exposing killings, detention and attacks on journalists and press premises. The EU lends its support to civil society organisations to increase the professional capacities of journalists, provide urgent protection and promote freedom of expression in law and in practice.

Let me finish by expressing the European Union's tribute to and support for all those who fight for the respect of freedom of expression and for free, pluralistic press and other media. The creation of a free and safe environment for journalists will undoubtedly strengthen peace, democracy and development worldwide.

Swiss statement - déclaration de la Suisse

Conseil de sécurité
Débat public sur

Protection des civils en période de conflit armé : protection des journalistes

Protection of civilians in armed conflict: protection of journalists

New York, le 17 juillet 2013

Déclaration de S.E. Paul Seger, Représentant permanentde la Suisse

Madame la Présidente,

Récemment, j’ai accordé un entretien au journaliste suisse Patrick Vallélian ; cet entretien n’aurait pas pu avoir lieu si le journaliste en question n’avait pas eu énormément de chance. Il a en effet survécu miraculeusement à un incident à Homs l’année passée. Si l’on en croit son récit, cet incident comportait tous les traits d’un piège. Son collègue français, Gilles Jacquier, en revanche, a été tué dans le même incident.

Ce n’est ici qu’un exemple parmi tant d’autres qui démontrent que, dans toutes les régions du monde, les journalistes sont confrontés à des menaces, des agressions, des enlèvements, des disparitions, voire des meurtres. Au niveau mondial, on constate une augmentation du nombre de meurtres et de détentions de journalistes au cours des dernières années. La Suisse rappelle que les journalistes accomplissant des missions professionnelles dangereuses dans des zones en proie à des conflits armés sont des civils, et qu’ils ne doivent donc pas être pris pour cibles, à moins qu'ils ne participent directement aux hostilités. Nous tenons aussi à rappeler la résolution S/RES/1738 (2006) du Conseil de sécurité, qui appelle les Etats à prévenir les attaques contre les journalistes et souligne l'importance des instruments juridiques de protection comme les Protocoles additionnels aux Conventions de Genève.

L'impunité, qui est souvent un corollaire de la portée politique du travail des journalistes, peut être considérée comme l'une des principales causes des attaques répétées dont ils sont victimes. Or, les médias ne peuvent être libres si les journalistes sont délibérément pris pour cibles, ou si leurs agresseurs restent impunis.

C’est pour cette raison que je remercie les Etats-Unis d'avoir organisé ce débat. Sans liberté d'opinion et d'expression, il ne peut y avoir de démocratie ni de bonne gouvernance. De plus, lors de conflits armés, la communauté internationale doit disposer d'informations fiables et indépendantes si elle veut être en mesure de remplir son rôle. Le travail des journalistes peut par exemple contribuer de manière significative à recueillir des informations sur des violations du droit international. Ainsi, les représentants des médias jouent un rôle non négligeable dans la prévention de telles violations et participent à la lutte contre l'impunité de leurs auteurs.

Tant que les journalistes continueront d'être harcelés ou même tués en raison de leur travail, la liberté des médias ne restera qu’un vain mot. Non seulement les journalistes ont le droit d’être protégés, mais les violences contre eux doivent faire l’objet d'une enquête rapide, impartiale et efficace.

Je vous remercie.

Unofficial translation


Madam President,

I have recently been interviewed by Swiss journalist Patrick Vallélian. The interview would not have taken place if the journalist in question had not been extremely lucky. Indeed, he miraculously survived an incident in Homs last year. His accounts show that the incident was nothing less than a trap. Gilles Jacquier, his French colleague, was killed in the same incident. 
 
This is but one example that demonstrates that around the world, journalists face threats, assaults, abductions, disappearances and even death. A worldwide increase in murders and imprisonment of journalists has been noted within the last years. Switzerland recalls that journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict are civilians and shall not be the object of attacks, unless and for such time as they are directly participating in hostilities. I should also like to recall the importance of S/RES/1738 (2006), which calls on States to prevent attacks on journalists and recalls the importance of protective legal instruments such as the additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions.
 
Impunity, often a by-product of the political impact of journalistic activities, is seen as the major cause of continuous attacks on journalists. And, if journalists are deliberately targeted, or if those who attack them go unpunished, the media cannot be free. 
 
This is why I thank the United States for organizing this debate. Freedom of opinion and expression is an indispensable component for democracy and good governance. Moreover, in situations of armed conflict, reliable and independent information is essential for the international community to play its role. The work of journalists can for instance make an important contribution to the recording of information on violations of international law. Hence, journalists assist in preventing violations of international law as well as facilitating the fight against impunity for such violations.
 
Freedom of the media will remain nothing but an empty promise as long as journalists continue to be harassed or even killed because of their work. Not only do journalists have the right to be protected, but the conduct of investigations into crimes of violence against them must also be conducted promptly, impartially and effectively. 
 
Thank you.

***JUNE 2013. SIGNS OF HOPE IN IRAN FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. THE PRESS EMBLEM CAMPAIGN (PEC) CALLS ON IRAN NEW PRESIDENT HASSAN ROHANI TO LIFT CENSORSHIP, STOP BLOCKING WEBSITES AND TO RELEASE ALL JOURNALISTS DETAINED

Press Freedom Should Be Key Indicator of Democratic Change in Iran

The election of President Hassan Rohani in Iran provides a window of opportunity for democratic change, a round table discussion hosted by the European Parliament June 25 concluded.

The event, jointly organised by the Tarja Cronberg MEP and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), brought together members of the European Parliament, IFJ leaders, Iranian journalists and writers.

"There is a window of opportunity for change in Iran," said Ms Cronberg, Chair of the European Parliament delegation on Iran, who moderated the discussion. "On the eve of the election, candidate Rohani promised to release all political prisoners."

IFJ President, Jim Boumelha, described the President-elect as a man the international community can do business with, on the basis of his inside knowledge of Iranian politics. He held senior positions in the government and served as Iran's chief negotiator in the nuclear talks.

However, Boumelha cautioned against high expectations on what President Hassan can achieve for press freedom in the immediate future.

"The excitement over his election must be tempered with the expectation that he will want to tread carefully so as not to antagonize the hardliners in Iran," said Boumelha.

In the meantime, he said that the IFJ will continue campaigning for independent media, in solidarity with its affiliate in the country, the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ), which was shut down in the wake of the clampdown on media in 2009.

Iranian journalists agreed that change may take time and called for European governments maintain pressure on Iranian authorities and demand genuine independence of media.

"President Rohani carries the hopes of Iranian people but it is too soon to tell what will happen," added Ali Mazrooei, AoIJ President. "But the situation of journalists remains bleak. At least 40 journalists are still in jail and there is no free flow of information. Very few newspapers are independent."

IFJ General Secretary, Beth Costa, said that Iranian journalists deserve global solidarity in their struggle for a free press.

"In this regard, the IFJ World Congress, which took place in Dublin from 4 - 7 June, adopted an urgent motion supporting Iranian journalists and calling for the release of all journalists and the AoIJ offices as well as a new chapter in relations between media and the government," she said.

Iran's track record on workers' rights also came under severe criticism. Stephen Benedict, Director of Human and Trade Union Rights of ITUC, accused Iran of continuously violating the rights of trade unionists, writers and journalists. These include poor working conditions, denial of licences for publications, retribution from officials and unpaid work. He also cited cases brought against Iran by the ITUC to the Committee on Freedom of Association which found on many occasions Iran to be in breach of the workers' right to organise and bargain for collective agreements.

"The only answer is more intense solidarity and focused denunciations of workers' rights violations," said Mr Benedict.

***JUNE 2013. IRAN. The PEC joined the International Federation of Journalists' call on Iran’s President – elect Hassan Rohani to make good on the promises he made after clinching the presidency in last week’ s poll.

At his first press conference on Monday June 17, President-elect Rohani was asked about the closure of the office of the Association of Iranian Journalists ( AoIJ), an IFJ affiliate. He replied that “guilds and associations are the best ways to run social affairs of the society.”

The IFJ reacted by writing to the new leader, welcoming his new approach to civil liberties , especially journalists’ rights.

“We welcome your response regarding the Association of Iranian Journalists closed down since 2009,” said the letter signed by IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “Your view has been applauded throughout the global community of journalists worldwide.”

The IFJ reminded him of missed opportunities in the past when all appeals to the Iranian authorities for an end to violations of journalists’ rights, including intimidation of journalists and their families, censorship as well as the blocking of websites and bans on reporting issues of public interest, fell on deaf ears.

In particular, the Federation referred to the situation of dozens of journalists who languish in Iranian prisons where they are subjected to inhuman treatment ranging from flogging, solitary confinement and denial of hospital and family visits.

The IFJ expressed its hopes that the President-elect’s public declarations signal a change from the hostile attitude against independent media of the outgoing administration.

“Your words of ‘new opportunities ‘and ‘constructive interaction’ and your emphasis on ‘Iranian people bringing back throughout their turnout and participation’ ring true,” added Boumelha. “However, they will have a fuller meaning if you re-open the space for free journalism by ordering the lifting of the close of the Association and release journalists in jail.”

As part of its campaign for the re-opening of the AoIJ office in Tehran, the IFJ is taking part in two events on Iran. The first is a round table discussion to be held at the European Parliament on 25 June 2013 about the ‘Future for Freedom of Expression and Independent media in Iran.’ In early July, there will be another meeting at the House of Commons in London, also discussing Iran.

***19.06.2013. TURKEY. IPI and SEEMO condemn repression of journalists in Turkey
Numerous media representatives reportedly beaten, detained arbitrarily

By: Steven M. Ellis, IPI Senior Press Freedom Adviser

The International Press Institute (IPI) and its affiliate, the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) on June 19 condemned a campaign of repression targeting journalists covering ongoing protests in Turkey.

IPI Press Freedom Manager Barbara Trionfi said: We are deeply disturbed by accounts of numerous journalists being beaten, detained arbitrarily and forced to delete footage. We are similarly disturbed by reports of outright hostility towards journalists coming from the highest levels of government. We urge Turkeys government to respect the fundamental role that journalists play in a democracy and to ensure that media representatives are allowed to do their job.

Turkish news website Bianet reported on June 18 that police conducted early-morning raids on the offices of Ozgur Radio, the Etkin News Agency and the newspaper Atilim, detaining numerous individuals. The raids followed reports Monday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) cataloguing approximately 20 instances in recent weeks in which foreign and domestic journalists were beaten, hit by tear gas canisters or rubber bullets, or detained, particularly on Saturday night as police evicted demonstrators from Gezi Park near Taksim Square in central Istanbul.

The reported targeting of journalists has come amid a climate of intolerance for news coverage of protests emanating directly from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans office. The prime minister on Sunday accused foreign media outlets such as CNN, the BBC and Reuters of fabricating newsabout the protests that have wracked Turkey for weeks, alleging that the outlets were conspiring against Turkey.

USA Today reported that Erdogan on June 18, in a meeting with legislators from his Justice and Development Party (AKP), praised the conduct of security forces and said he would seek to expand their powers to give them more leeway in dealing with protests. The daily also said that Turkeys justice ministry was putting together legislation on Internet crimethat would regulate and restrict the use of social media platforms such as Twitter.

We are working on a series of regulations for Facebook and Twitter against those who provoke the public, manipulate people with fake news, or forwards [sic] individuals to social turmoils and incidents jeopardizing property and human security, Turkish news website Bianet quoted Interior Minister Muammer Guler as saying earlier this week.

Echoing Erdogans comments about foreign media, the pro-government daily Takvim yesterday published a fabricated interview with senior CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour alleging that she said she was ordered to cover the ongoing protests in order to destabilise the country on behalf of international business interests.

Amanpour took to Twitter yesterday to condemn the defamatory article, posting: Shame on you @Takvim for publishing FAKE interview with me.

Takvim is part of the Turkuaz Media Group, which also includes the major daily Sabah. The group is owned by Calik Holding, whose CEO, Ahmet Calik, is Erdogans son-in-law.

The Turkish public initially was forced to rely on social media platforms and foreign news outlets to obtain news of the protests after they erupted in late May following the brutal police treatment of demonstrators seeking to prevent the demolition of Gezi Park. Many domestic media outlets gave little to no coverage to the story in its early days and some of those that did cover protests have been subject to official sanctions.

Last week, Turkeys High Council of Radio and Television (RTUK) fined four television networks Ulusal TV, Halk TV, Cem TV and EM TV reasoning that their coverage of protests encouraged violence and was harming the physical, moral and mental development of children and young people.

Also last week, Hurriyet reported Sunday, a court in Ankara banned daily newspaper Taraf from publishing claims that Turkeys National Intelligence Organization (MIT) illegally spied on Turkish businessmen with alleged ties to opposition parties. Taraf claimed that the surveillance occurred in order to use information collected to prevent those individuals from bidding in public tenders.

The court in Ankara concluded that the reports were targeting the institution, Hurriyet said, and Taraf on Sunday protested the ruling by publishing a graphic depicting a number of penguins. The birds have become a symbol of the reported failure by media outlets to cover the protests in their early stages, reportedly in reference to CNN Turks broadcast of a wildlife documentary on penguins rather than coverage of the initial police action against demonstrators.

Journalist and media scholar Prof. Haluk Sahin, a member of the board of IPIs Turkish National Committee, was critical of domestic media outletsearly coverage in an interview published by online magazine Jadaliyya last week.

Of course we should not generalize to the media as a whole, but the mainstream big media performed dismally which was another manifestation of its moral bankruptcy because the big media have not been doing their job for quite a while,he said. The media bosses and tycoons have decided that doing business with the government is more profitable than doing their job, which is informing the people about what is going on. So this Gezi Park uprising has show[n] very clearly that these media are not in the news business. And one of the good things that will come out of this event is the realization that a new media is badly needed in Turkey.

The recent violence against journalists in Turkey represents a troubling new nadir in the state of press freedom in Turkey, which has continued to decline in recent years. Nearly 60 journalists remain imprisoned in Turkey reportedly more than in any other country in the world. The vast majority of those journalists are being held on as-yet unproven allegations of links to terrorist groups, but supporters maintain that the journalists have been detained in retaliation for coverage that shed a critical light on government actions.

***18.06.2013. Montenegro: “Impunity of violence against journalists is unacceptable” (UN)

Podgorica/Geneva (17 June 2013) – The Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Frank La Rue called for effective accountability in all cases of violence against journalists. “Insecurity will prevail as long as cases of attack against journalists and media property remain unresolved. The impunity of well-known cases of violence against journalists is unacceptable.”

While recognizing that steps were taken to respond to recent episodes of violence, Mr. La Rue underlined the need to ensure the effective conclusion to all outstanding cases, while preventing the recurrence of such lapses. “Montenegro should establish a special mechanism to coordinate State efforts to protect journalists, and the rapid investigation of offences. Such a mechanism must include not only representatives of the police and justice systems, but also representatives of the media and human rights organizations.”

According to Mr. La Rue, who presented his findings* after a five day visit to the country, the press plays a vital role for the consolidation of democracy. “A critical and independent press, that is capable of investigating and denouncing abuses and corruption plays a central role informing the public and provoking debate.”

“At the same time that the State must ensure the complete independence of the media, the media itself is responsible for maintaining high standards of professionalism,” said Mr. La Rue. “The Montenegrin media can, and must, do more to ensure better standards of quality in journalism.”

The Special Rapporteur urged the media to ensure high professional and ethical standards through voluntary self-regulation. “I was surprised by the extreme polarization among media representatives. It is very unfortunate that efforts to establish a single self-regulatory body have so far produced very limited results. Openness to self-evaluation and criticism are essential components of professionalism and maturity for any form of media.”

Mr. La Rue commended Montenegro for its recent work in improving its national legal framework for freedom of expression. “The decriminalization of defamation was crucial for aligning national laws to international standards. The improvements to the laws on Public Broadcasting Services, Electronic Media and Access to Information represent important additional steps. Attention must now be paid to ensure they are fully implemented into practice by authorities and the justice system.” During his visit to the country, Mr. La Rue met with senior Government officials, including the Prime Minister, members of judiciary and legislative bodies, representatives of civil society, lawyers, human rights defenders, and journalists. He will present his findings and recommendations in a report to the Human Rights Council in June 2014.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement by the Special Rapporteur: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13463&LangID=E 

***17.06.2013. Journalists Call for International Action to End Crackdown on Media in Turkey

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), today condemned unreservedly the violence and arrests of journalists that took place during the crackdown on the Taksim Square protesters this weekend.

According to the TGS (Turkish Journalists Syndicate), at least four journalists have been arrested, photographers have had their pictures deleted, and cameramen have been targeted by tear gas and water cannon. In a more sinister move, four TV companies have been fined by the Radio and Television High Council over their reporting of the demonstrations while the Daily Taraf publication has also been banned.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to investigate social media and national media publishing photos on the demonstrations and the violence.
"The Turkish government must stop targeting and intimidating journalists and allow them to report protests without fear and censorship," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "We therefore call on the authorities to respect the right of journalists and its citizens to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration."

In a letter sent to journalists' unions across the world, the IFJ and EFJ condemn unreservedly the brutal attacks on journalists and civilians during the recent crackdown. They urge national governments and European institutions to take immediate actions to stop the crackdown from escalating.

According to the TGS, journalists who were arrested include Ferhat Uludaglar, Gokhan Bicici and Ugur Can all of Dogan News Agency, and Okan Altunkara of IMC TV. The police forcibly deleted the images of photojournalist Cem Turkel of Aksam daily. Meanwhile Turkey has the largest number of journalists in jail, at least 60, and facing prosecution under one of the most draconian anti- terror legislation of in the world.

The IFJ affiliate in Portugal, the Sindicato Dos Jornalistas (SDJ) also accused Turkish Police of assaulting Portuguese journalist Paulo Moura. The union said that Moura was attacked in the Taksim Square despite the fact that he had identified himself to security forces as a journalist.

"The inescapable conclusion of the targeting of journalists, fining of media and public threats of investigations is that the authorities are using all the tools at their disposal to pressure media into censoring their coverage of the events in Taksim Square and Gezi Park," added Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President. "The true story behind the events in Turkey can only be revealed if the journalists are allowed to do their job."

Take action now - download our sample letter and send it to the head of your government.

***05.06.2013. IFJ Congress Holds Commemoration and Freedom Walk for Killed Journalists Across the World

A special Freedom Walk to commemorate the 408 journalists across the world who have died in the service of their profession in the last three years was held in Dublin this evening.

Around 300 journalists from around the world involved in the International Federation of Journalists(IFJ) World Congress took part in the moving Stand Up For Journalism Freedom Walk, from Dubh Linn Garden to Dublin City Hall.

Delegates carried 408 carnations, one for each journalist who has lost their life over the last three years.

Commenting on the commemoration event, IFJ General Secretary, Beth Costa, said: This Freedom Walk demonstrates our solidarity with those who have died because they were journalists.

In saluting the men and women who have died because of their profession we also show our commitment to the profession of journalism and send a clear signal that the IFJ is vigilant in defence of journalists and journalism.

The event, which also demonstrated the IFJs commitment to media diversity and freedom, began with a symbolic wreath laying at the Veronica Guerin monument, in Dubh Linn Garden at Dublin Castle.

Veronica Guerin was an Irish crime reporter who was murdered on 26 June 1996 by drug lords because of the stories she wrote for Irish newspaper the Irish Independent exposing their criminal activity.

This was then followed by the Freedom Walk involving all 300 delegates through the streets of Dublin, from Dubh Linn Garden to Dublin City Hall.

Seamus Dooley, General Secretary, NUJ Ireland, said: This Freedom walk not only commemorates those men and women who have died in service of their profession, but also underlines our commitment to diversity and pluralism in journalism across the world.

A PDF copy of the list of killed journalists from the past three years is available at http://ifjcongress.trynisis.com/fileadmin/documents/IFJ_Journalists_KIA.pdf

***12.05.2013. AFP: reinforcement of security guidelines for coverage in Syria (AFP press release)

AFP has been covering the bloody conflict in Syria for more than two years. Conditions inside the country are extremely dangerous and many journalists have been killed, injured or kidnapped since the conflict started. A contributor to AFP’s video service disappeared in November 2012. Faced with the worsening of conditions on the ground for journalists, AFP has reinforced its procedures for covering the conflict in Syria with the aim of improving safety for everybody working for the agency inside the country. 

- All journalists working for AFP in Syria (text, photo and video) must have volunteered to cover the conflict.

- All AFP staff working inside Syria must have taken an AFP-approved hostile environment training course.

- AFP will continue to cover the conflict on the ground with its own staff journalists, as it has done since the beginning of the unrest.

- AFP will also continue to use independent contractors (stringers) inside Syria. These contributors fall into two categories:

- Independent journalists who offer their production to AFP occasionally. In most cases, these journalists would be photographers or video producers with whom AFP has no links. AFP will ensure the reliability and credibility of the journalist and sign the necessary copyright documents;

- Independent journalists with whom AFP has a regular ongoing relationship. In this type of situation, AFP would put the following measures in place:

- These journalists would be approved in line with the editorial principles of the agency (reliability, quality of work, experience) under the authority of the Editor-in-Chief.

- If AFP believes the minimum security conditions for a reporting assignment are not met, AFP will inform the stringer in writing and state that AFP will not buy any production from the assignment if it goes ahead.

- These stringers are obliged to have insurance.

- A hostile environment training course will be provided for regular contributors to AFP.

- AFP will provide the relevant safety equipment for war zones including a bullet proof vest, helmet, protective suit and first aid kit.

- These contributors are free to work for other media, but when they are working for AFP their production will be exclusively for AFP clients.

***11.05.2013. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL - FEATURE : Ten ways to repress a journalist

Governments and other organizations across the world are perfecting techniques to prevent journalists from shining a light on corruption and human rights abuses. From trumped-up charges, removing work licences to murder, here are 10 ways journalists are repressed and prevented from reporting freely and fairly.

Physical attacks

In some countries such as Syria, Turkmenistan and Somalia, governments, military forces and armed groups attack and even kill journalists who are seen to be critical of their policies and practices.

Last November, Palestinian cameramen Hussam Salameh and journalist Mahmoud al-Koumi, from the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV, were killed by a targeted Israeli missile strike on their car in Gaza City. Amnesty International found no evidence that either was anything other than a civilian journalist, despite claims by military authorities in Israel that both were “Hamas operatives”.

In May 2012, 18-year-old citizen journalist Abd al-Ghani Ka'ake was fatally shot by a government sniper in Syria while filming a demonstration in Aleppo. Armed opposition groups have also attacked and killed journalists.

Journalist Miguel Ángel López Velasco, his wife and their son were shot and killed at their home in Veracruz, Mexico, by unidentified gunmen in June 2011. He had previously received death threats.

Abdihared Osman Aden, from Somalia, was shot dead by unidentified men while walking to work on 19 January 2013. He is one of at least 23 journalists killed in the country since 2011.

Threat of prison

Journalists also risk being charged under legislation that criminalizes the peaceful expression of views, or with trumped-up, politically motivated charges (such as possession of drugs and fraud) to stop them from reporting is common.

On 12 March 2013, Avaz Zeynali was found guilty of bribery, extortion by threats, failure to implement a court decision and tax evasion and sentenced to nine years in prison in Azerbaijan. He has regularly reported on corruption and criticised the President’s clampdown on the media and activists.

In Iran, at least 18 journalists have been arrested since January 2013, accused of cooperating with "anti-revolutionary" media organizations outside Iran. Dozens of journalists and bloggers are now behind bars in Iran.

On 5 February 2013, Abdiaziz Abdnur Ibrahim was sentenced to one-year imprisonment in Mogadishu, Somalia, for insulting a national institution after interviewing a woman who reported being raped by government forces. The case was quashed in March by the Supreme Court.

In January 2012, journalists Reyot Alemu and Woubshet Taye were convicted of terrorism offences in Ethiopia. During the trial, access to lawyers was restricted, defendants were not provided with effective interpretation and evidence obtained under coercion was admitted.

Harassment

Many governments find that threatening journalists or their relatives is effective in silencing them.

Relatives of the Voice of America reporter Negar Mohammadi, from Iran, have been banned from travelling and the passport of one of them was confiscated in February 2012.

In Yemen, Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani has been under threat since early 2013 after he wrote articles about secret detention centres and torture by the First Armoured Division. Weapons were twice fired outside his home and he received anonymous phone calls asking him if he could hear the shooting.

Musa Mohammad Auwal was arrested by the State Security Services in his home in Kaduna, Nigeria, last February, held for eight days and interrogated about his news organization and the whereabouts of his Editor-in-Chief (currently in hiding in fear of his life). He was released on bail.

Monitoring

In countries including Cuba and China, activists and journalists find it particularly difficult to report on human rights issues because their communications can be monitored by state officials.

In March 2012, Cuban blogger and journalist Yoani Sánchez was unable to receive text messages or calls during the Pope’s visit to the country.

In China many people were sentenced to long prison terms in 2012 for posting blogs or sending information that was deemed sensitive.

In March 2013, the authorities in Saudi Arabia reportedly threatened to block access to Skype, WhatsApp, Viber and Line, if these telecommunication companies do not enable their encrypted applications to be monitored.

Banning access to the internet

Some repressive regimes seek to control internet access in order to regulate journalists’ activities.

The authorities in China temporarily blocked access to the New York Times and Bloomberg websites and banned searches for ‘New York Times’ after the news organizations exposed controversial financial details of some of China’s leaders.

Set up excessive libel laws

Libel laws in countries can be misused in an attempt to prevent journalists from criticising government officials and powerful individuals.

In Timor-Leste Oscar Maria Salsinha and Raimundo Oki were accused of “slanderous denunciations” after publishing articles on a District Prosecutor who allegedly received a bribe in a traffic accident case that occurred on 18 October 2011.

In August 2012, Islam Affifi, editor of Egyptian newspaper El-Dostor, was brought to trial for publishing false information “insulting the President”. The trial is still continuing.

The Palestinian Authority’s security forces in the West Bank and Hamas’ Internal Security in the Gaza Strip both have a record of interrogating and harassing journalists. In March 2013, Palestinian Mamdouh Hamamreh was sentenced to one year in prison for allegedly insulting President Mahmoud Abbas. He was released after the President pardoned him.

Removing visas and work permits

In some countries, including Syria, governments deny or remove visas from foreign journalists to stop them from investigating human rights abuses while national journalists face the same risk to their work permits.

In 2011, Ayad Shabi’s permit was revoked in Syria after he failed to comply with official guidelines provided by the Ministry of Information on how to report on the protests.

Andrzej Poczobut is serving a three-year suspended prison sentence in Belarus – imposed in July 2011 – on charges of “libelling the President” for articles about prisoners of conscience in Belarus. Under the conditions of this ruling he has to register with the police regularly and cannot leave the country.

Last August a BBC journalist who had travelled to Gambia to report on a resumption of executions was held at the airport and told he had to leave the country, despite having authorization to be there.

In May 2012, Al Jazeera English closed its Beijing bureau in China after the authorities refused to renew the visa of Melissa Chan, whose stories included reports on secret jails and forced abortions.

Failure to investigate attacks against journalists

By failing to bring to justice those responsible for attacks against journalists, governments send the message that preventing reporting on what they see as sensitive issues is permitted.

One of the individuals accused of torturing journalist Nazeeha Saeed after she was arrested in Bahrain in 2011 was acquitted, despite forensic evidence of her torture. Nazeeha was detained and tortured after speaking out about the killing of a protester she witnessed at the Pearl Roundabout.

In April 2012, Idrak Abbasov and Adalet Abbasov were hospitalized in Azerbaijan after they were attacked by around 25 state employees and police. They had tried to film illegal house demolitions on the outskirts of Baku. The attack was never fully investigated.

No one has been brought to justice in Pakistan for the May 2011 abduction and killing of Saleem Shahzad. Just two days before his death Shahzad published a story on alleged al Qaeda infiltration of the military, one of the most sensitive and taboo topics in the country.

Shutting down media outlets

The authorities in many countries shut down newspapers and radio stations deemed critical of them.

In the first two months of 2012, the authorities in Sudan suspended three newspapers using laws that allow them to ban any publication containing information considered a threat to national security.

Last September, The Standard and Daily News newspapers in Gambia were forced to close after plain-clothed men suspected to be intelligence officers, entered their offices and ordered them to suspend all activities.

In Somalia, in April 2013, the authorities in Puntland banned three radio stations in what is seen as the latest in a string of attacks on the media ahead of local elections.

Promote smear attacks

In many countries, governments promote smear attacks against journalists critical of the authorities.

In Sri Lanka a state-sanctioned smear attack forced Gnanasiri Kottegoda to flee his home in 2012 and go into exile as his safety was compromised.
Venezuelan
Rayma Suprani has been receiving threats and insults via text message and social media sites. She thinks this is a coordinated attack due to her work as a political cartoonist and journalist. 

***04.05.2013. SYRIA. James Foley, U.S. journalist abducted in Syria, likely detained by government: investigation

Reporter James Foley, who disappeared in Syria in November, is most likely in a Syrian Air Force detention center near Damascus, a lengthy investigation has determined.

By Michael Walsh / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

American conflict journalist James Foley disappeared in Syria 163 days ago, leaving his family with questions about his whereabouts — questions that a five-month investigation may have answered. Foley's family and GlobalPost, for whom he regularly reported, think that he is most likely in a Syrian Air Force detention center near Damascus.

"With a very high degree of confidence," said GlobalPost CEO and president Philip Balboni, "we now believe that Jim was most likely abducted by a pro-regime militia group and subsequently turned over to Syrian government forces."

Foley was last seen Nov. 22, 2012, in a car heading for the Turkish border when unidentified gunman, firing shots into the air, forced him into an unmarked car, eyewitnesses say.

"The not knowing is the hardest part," his father, John Foley, said. "He hasn't been seen. He hasn't been heard from. We don't know the state of his health."

"Very credible" confidential sources told GlobalPost that he has been detained by the Syrian government.

"Based on what we have learned, it is likely Jim is being held with one or more Western journalists, including most likely at least one other American," said Balboni.

Balboni said that they are pursuing all available options to negotiate Foley's release. GlobalPost met with the Syrian ambassador to Lebanon in Beirut to gain his support. He has delivered letters on their behalf to the Syrian government.

"We remain hopeful and totally committed to bringing Jim Foley home safely and as quickly as possible," said Balboni.

This is not the first time Foley has been locked up. In April 2011, Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi captured him along with three other journalists, one of whom was killed. The others spent 44 days in a prison before being released.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/james-foley-held-syria-investigation-article-1.1335141#ixzz2SVfwhDez

RELATED: FAMILY OF REPORTER NABBED IN SYRIA WANTS ANSWERS

***02.05.2013. Syrie. Journaliste en Syrie, le métier de tous les dangers (AFP)

BEYROUTH (AFP) Couvrir la guerre qui ravage la Syrie depuis deux ans est devenu le métier le plus périlleux de la planète car les reporters sont non seulement exposés aux dangers des combats mais aussi la cible d'enlèvements politiques ou crapuleux de la part du régime et des rebelles.

Alors que l'ONU célèbre vendredi la journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse, au moins sept journalistes sont portés disparus, dont le journaliste américain James Foley, qui avait fourni durant des mois des reportages vidéo à l'AFP et dont on est sans nouvelles depuis novembre.

Le dernier reporter à être porté disparu est Domenico Quirico du quotidien italien la Stampa qui, après être entré clandestinement, n'a pas donné signe depuis vingt jours. En raison de la distribution au compte-goutte de visas par le régime, beaucoup n'ont d'autre choix que de pénétrer clandestinement à travers la frontière poreuse, notamment par la Turquie, avec les insurgés.

Mais, en raison de la multiplication des groupes rebelles, le chemin est semé d'embûches. Certains insurgés sont accusés d'avoir volé des journalistes ou d'avoir réclamé des rançons et les jihadistes, plus radicaux encore, considèrent tous les reporters comme des espions à la solde de leur ennemi.

Le régime est lui aussi d'une rare brutalité. Il existe de sérieux soupçons que plusieurs reporters disparus seraient aux mains de services de renseignements syriens, comme Austin Tice, disparu le 13 août à Daraya, dans la région de Damas, où l'armée avait mené une opération de ratissage.

Le nombre de morts dans les rangs des journalistes est impressionnant: en deux ans, 23 d'entre eux ont été tués et 58 journalistes-citoyens ont subi le même sort. Ces derniers, favorables à la rébellion, avaient décidé d'écrire et de filmer le quotidien des villes assiégées et bombardées qu'aucun journaliste étranger ne peut atteindre.

"Le travail des journalistes pour couvrir le conflit en Syrie devient chaque jour plus compliqué et leurs conditions de travail ne cessent de se détériorer", assure à l'AFP Christophe Deloire, secrétaire Général de Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

"Si au début du soulèvement en mars 2011 le danger ne venait +que+ de l'armée gouvernementale et si les journalistes continuent à être la cible d'attaques de la part du régime de Bachar Al-Assad, aujourd'hui les groupes armés de l'opposition sont également responsables de nombreuses exactions, notamment à l'encontre de journalistes étrangers. Les enlèvements deviennent monnaie courante" constate-t-il.

"Tout ceci, sans compter le caractère intrinsèquement biaisé de la couverture du conflit: du fait de l'absence de délivrance de visa de la part des autorités de Damas, très rares sont ceux qui peuvent se rendre dans les zones toujours sous contrôle du régime", ajoute M. Deloire.

"Les journalistes se trouvent contraints d'entrer en Syrie de manière illégale, par les zones libérées, et ne peuvent se déplacer de part et d'autre des lignes de front. Ce qui nuit gravement à la couverture de ce conflit", ajoute-t-il.

L'AFP par exemple est ainsi contrainte d'avoir des journalistes de part et d'autre des lignes de démarcation comme à Alep, la principale ville du nord, pour tenter d'obtenir l'image la plus claire et la plus honnête possible dans un pays où chacun défend "sa vérité".

A la veille de la journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse, l'AFP a réaffirmé sa détermination à continuer à couvrir le conflit sur le terrain, comme elle le fait depuis le début, et a publié une actualisation de ses procédures de couverture avec comme objectif principal la sécurité de tous ses collaborateurs y compris ses pigistes.

Dans ce cadre, un stage de formation sur le travail en zone de guerre sera dispensé aux stringers réguliers comme c'est déjà le cas pour les journalistes de l'AFP envoyés sur le terrain.

Mais le journalisme est devenu aussi un métier de détective pour tenter d'informer face à la multiplication des annonces fallacieuses.

Jamais dans l'histoire de ce métier, il n'y a eu un tel déluge de "nouvelles" relayées par les réseaux sociaux, ce qui nécessite de véritables "enquêtes" quotidiennes principalement quand il s'agit de défections de dignitaires, de massacres, de combats, de bombardements, de rapts.

sk/ram/sw#

***02.05.2013. IRAQ. IFJ Conference Outlines Key Reforms for  Democratic Iraqi Media

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and its affiliate, the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate (IJS), today denounced the ongoing attacks against journalists in Iraq and issued a series of recommendations to improve the safety and rights of journalists in the country.

The recommendations were made at the conference ‘Iraqi Media: Ten Years On – Journalists Rights, Safety and Legal Reform’ held in Istanbul, 28-29 April, to mark the 10th anniversary of the occupation of Iraq.

"Our affiliate in Iraq, the IJS, and its members have shown an extraordinary tenacity in standing up, for over a decade, to some of the toughest challenges encountered by journalists,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “They ranged from sectarian deadly attacks making the grim toll of killed journalists in Iraq the worst in the world to their courageous fight for a free and independent media.”

“Ten years on, collective action by journalists delivers every day on many fronts, from the campaign for a strong professional culture, to building quality in media, defending public values and campaigning on self-regulation.

“Despite the still uncertain political landscape, this has placed Iraqi journalists in a key position to gather the widest coalition to help build the new democratic Iraq and look forward to the next 10 years."

Participants, including journalists, media editors, members of the Iraqi parliament, the Ministry of Human Rights and the Iraqi High Commission of Human Rights, UNESCO, the Federation of Arab Journalists and the Centre of Law and Democracy debated the reforms needed to tackle issues such as impunity, journalist safety and journalists professional and social rights in Iraq.

In a joint statement, the representatives involved remembered the 380 journalists and media workers who have lost their lives in Iraq in the last ten years, denounced the ongoing attacks and violence against Iraqi journalists and expressed their deep concern at the failure to bring killers of journalists to justice.

They recommended the following:

Safety of journalists and the Issue of Impunity - Continued safety training for journalists, the need to establish a dialogue between, journalists, the state and media owners on the duty of care for the safety and welfare of journalists, and the requirement for authorities in Iraq to take ensure freedom of expression and bring aggressors to justice.

Journalists’ Professional and Social Right and Media Development – Call on companies to co-operate with the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate to negotiate agreements providing better protection for journalists and improve their employment rights, and call for media to make all information about their ownership and mission statement available to the public.

Media Laws – Call for all decision makers in Iraq, led by the government and parliament in cooperation with the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate and other organisations, to urgently work together to ensure the adoption of a set of laws to underpin the regulation of the media and protect its independence.
Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate – to build a database recoding the deaths and acts or violence against Iraqi journalists and work towards a strong, professional culture within journalism.

As the meeting was held in Istanbul, the Iraqi participants expressed their solidarity with Turkish journalists in prison and called on Turkish authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally.

***30.04.2013. YEMEN. ATTACKS AGAINST JOURNALISTS CONDEMNED

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and its affiliate,  the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), have today condemned an attack  
on an Al Jazeera TV crew in the southern city of Aden in Yemen.

According to media reports, the crew was attacked on Saturday, 27 April, 2013, by members of the separatist movement, the South Yemen  
Movement, in the port city of Aden while they were filming a protest. Reports say that Al Jazeera correspondent Yasser Hassan had his nose  
broken, and photographer Samir Nimry was assaulted and had his camera confiscated.

“This is the latest in a series of attacks in Yemen in recent weeks that have left journalists of their family members injured. Such acts  
must not be tolerated,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “The authorities in Yemen must immediately investigate this incident,  
identify those responsible and hold them accountable.

The YJS has condemned the recent attacks on media staff in Yemen and renewed its call for freedom of the media throughout all the country.  
The union has also called for the confiscated camera to be returned.

“We are concerned about the increasing violence against and harassment of journalists in Yemen,” said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa.  “We  
call on the government of the country to adhere to the requirements of  international law and ensure the rights and freedoms of journalists  
are upheld.”

***08.04.2013. RUSSIA. Journalist in Russia, Badly Beaten in 2008, Dies (The New York Times)

By ELLEN BARRY 

MOSCOW — The Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, who became a symbol of Russia’s culture of impunity after he was brutally beaten in 2008, died of heart failure on Monday, his lawyer announced. After Mr. Beketov had called for the resignation of the municipal government in the city of Khimki, where he lived, his car was blown up. He later wrote about that in his newspaper, as well, and then was beaten so severely that he spent the rest of his life using a wheelchair, unable to form sentences. Three of his fingers and one of his legs had to be amputated.

The police barely investigated the crime, ignoring witnesses who came forward offering information and surveillance videos that could have identified Mr. Beketov’s assailants. By then, Mr. Beketov had become a hero to many and the recipient of several journalism prizes, including one bestowed by the state.

Yevgenia Chirikova, an environmental activist from Khimki, said Mr. Beketov, who was 55 when he died, never recovered from the attack.

“In essence, they killed him back then,” she said in a telephone interview. “He was just dying all these years. That’s all.”

Yelena Kostuchenko, a journalist and friend, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that Mr. Beketov choked on a piece of food at lunch on Monday, which she linked to deep tracheal scarring that he sustained after the attack.

Mr. Beketov used his own money to finance the publication of a newspaper, Khimkinskaya Pravda, which had a circulation of about 10,000. He wrote scathingly about plans to build a major highway through the Khimki Forest, and of a decision to move a monument to servicemen killed in World War II. In May 2007, someone beat his dog to death and set his car on fire.

Mr. Beketov told journalists he suspected the mayor, Vladimir Strelchenko, but the case was closed shortly thereafter for lack of evidence. Months later, Mr. Beketov was still writing: “Last spring, I called for the resignation of the city’s leadership. A few days later, my automobile was blown up. What is next for me?”

Before he was attacked, Mr. Beketov had warned Ms. Chirikova that something might happen to him, and told her the police should “look in the Khimki administration.” But investigators eventually suspended the investigation for a lack of evidence.

“The fact that the mastermind of this crime has never been punished, that means that they simply don’t want to look for him,” she said. “They know exactly who did it.”

Mr. Strelchenko, who said he played no role in the attack, won a slander case against Mr. Beketov in 2010, when the journalist was unable to speak or walk. He remained mayor of Khimki for four years, stepping down for what the authorities said were unrelated reasons.

Ms. Chirikova said she was never sure whether Mr. Beketov understood that the mayor had left office.

Municipal authorities in Khimki announced Monday that they would assist in arranging Mr. Beketov’s burial.

In comments to the Interfax news service, Lyudmila M. Alekseyeva, the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, hailed the “tenacity and heroism with which he defended the dignity and rights of citizens, despite his grave physical condition.”

***03.04.2013. SYRIA. Syria: 15 journalists and media activists killed in March - 153 within two years of the revolution (Syrian Journalists Assoication) (FYI - please note that PEC considers only professionnal journalists on its Ticking clock)

The number of media victims in Syria increased to 153 professional and citizen journalists who were killed since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011. The Media Freedom Committee of the Syrian Journalists Association has documented killing of 15 journalists in March 2013. 10 in Damascus, 3 in Daraa, and 2 in Homs.

Syrian authorities released the German journalist Billy Six on 05-03-2013. After being held two and a half months.

On 11-03-2013 the journalist Shada al-Maddad was converted to terrorism court for interrogation. Al-Madda was arrested by the State Security Branch on 11.01.2013. After her visiting to the USA.
 
Media activist Mohammad Fawaz al-Shara was injured in Khirbet Ghazaleh in Daraa province on 14-03-2013. While he was covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army, and the Syrian Regime Army. 
 
The Kurdish People Protection Units of The Democratic Union Party (PKK branch in Syria) arrested the media activist Sardar Ahmed in Afrin town in Aleppo. On 16-03-2013.

The German public television channel "ARD" announced on 30-03-2013. That its correspondent Joerg Armbruster was seriously wounded by bullets, during covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime Army in Aleppo.

Victims of March 2013:
 
1.      Waleed Jamil Amira, photographer and media activist: was killed while filming clashes between the Free Syrian Army, and the Syrian Regime Army in Jobar neighborhood in Damascus. On 03-03-2013.

2.      Mohammed Bashir Shkhshiro, a media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army, and the Syrian Regime Army in Jobar neighborhood in Damascus. On 08-03-2013.
 
3.      Saqr Abu Nabot, media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army, and the Syrian Regime Army in Daraa Albalad in Daraa. On 10-03-2013. Abu Nabot was a member of the Media Office of the Local Coordination Committees.
 
4.      Ghaith Abdul-Jawad, a media activist: was killed after targeting the media office of Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus. On 10-03-2013.
 
5.      Amer Badr al-Din Junaid, a media activist: was killed after targeting the media office of Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus. On 10-03-2013.
 
6.      Osama Abdel Basset Altaleb, a media activist: was killed while covering the bombing in the al-Quser town in Homs. On 11-03-2013.

7.      Ahmed Khaled Shehadeh, a journalist: was killed during shelling Darya town by rockets, in Damascus suburbs. On 12-03-2013. Shehadeh was managing editor of Enab Baladi newspaper, and active in the field of aid. He worked at the Office of the Commission of the European Union in Damascus.

8.      Anas al-Batsh, a media activist photographer: was shot by a sniper while he was filming clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime Army, in Harasta neighborhood in Damascus. On 13-03-2013.
 
9.      Mahmoud Alnatouf, a photographer and media activist: was killed while filming the Syrian Regime Army targeting Medmah al-Sham town in Damascus suburbs. On 14-03-2013.
 
10.  Mahmoud Abdul-Karim al-Aqraa, a media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army, and the Syrian Regime Army in Douma town in Damascus suburbs. On 15-03-2013.
 
11.  Laith Mohammed al-Homsi, a photographer and media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army, and the Syrian Regime Army in the Sheikh Miskin town in Daraa. On 22-03-2013.
 
12.  Hamed Abu Yasser: a media activist: was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime army in the Darya town in Damascus suburbs. On 27-03-2013. Abu Yasser grounded al-Sahwa newspaper with some activists, and worked in Media Office of the Daria Coordination.
 
13.  Mohammed Ibrahim Alaasmi, a media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime Army in Daal town in Daraa. On 28-03-2013. 
 
14.  Amer Diab, a media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army and of the Syrian Regime Army in Al Otaiba town Damascus suburbs. On 30-03-2013
 
15.  Walid Khaled Aljalkh, a media activist: was killed in an ambush by the Syrian Regime Army in Kalat al-Husin region in Homs with another 14 people. On 31-03-2013.

Media Freedoms Committee at the Syrian Journalists Association
Damascus 1/4/2013 

***27.03.2013. ISRAEL/PALESTINE. MADA: 238 violations of media freedoms in 2012, with the killing of three journalists as most dangerous violations

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) held a press conference which reviewed the Annual Report on the violations against Media freedom in Palestine during 2012. The conference was held at MADA’s headquarter in Ramallah this morning.

The conference was opened by the Chairmen of the Board of Directors Dr. Ghazi Hanania, who expressed that the past year witnessed a serious escalation of violations against journalists by the Israeli occupation forces IOF, who had no qualms to kill three journalists deliberately during its latest aggression on the Gaza Strip. Dr. Hanania added: "the occupation authorities did not hesitate or flinch to justify its murders, which points to the extent of Israeli disregard not only for the laws and international conventions, but for the lives of Palestinian journalist, thus violating freedom of expression and the most important human right “the right to live."

Dr. Hanania then explained that reporting Israeli violations does not mean the absence of Palestinian violations: “Although we always confirmed that the Israeli violations are the most dangerous and threatening to the lives of Palestinian journalists and the most frequent, but the Palestinian violations are still high in numbers, although they have decreased compared to 2011, where the Fatah Hamas division still constitutes a fertile ground for violations to arise in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”.

Dr. Hanania spoke to the audience about MADA’s role in defending media freedoms, either by monitoring violations and publishing press releases, monthly reports, annual reports, and special reports, or through the activities of the Legal Unit in defending journalists and spreading legal awareness through seminars and workshops.

Dr Hanania added: “the center resumes its efforts in launching campaigns to strengthen freedom of expression in Palestine and to spread awareness on the importance of the Access to Information Law, where we believe that the enactment of this law will play a big role in strengthening freedom of expression and the journalists ability to access relative information to their work, and strengthen the ability of citizens to participate in public agenda. The center also published two new studies on the Legal Regulations of Media Freedoms in Palestine, and on the Judiciary and Media: Freedom of Expression between Theory and Practice, as an effort by the center to help enact modern laws that are in line with international standards of freedom of expression”.

In his closing remarks, he thanked the Open Society Foundation for its support for the issuance of the report and the monitoring and documentation program, and he also thanked all MADA’s partners.

MADA’s annual report for 2012 explains that Media freedom status in Palestine had no promising signs since the start of the year. As journalists began the year with violations and attacks on their rights, they said their farewell to 2012 with the loss of three colleagues: Aqsa TV cameraman Mahmoud Alkoumi 30 years old, Aqsa TV photographer Hussam Salameh also 30 years old, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Educational Radio Muhamed Moussa Abu Eisha 24 years old.

MADA center reported 238 violations against journalists and Palestinian media outlets during the past year.  The Israeli Occupation Forces IOF has committed approximately 70% of the overall total with 164 violations, while different Palestinian sides committed 74 violations, the equivalent of about 30% of the total violations. And in comparison with 2011 the violations have increased approximately about 11.5% (32 violations).

The general director of MADA Mr. Mousa Rimawi outlined the violations committed by the Israeli forces in Palestine, and mentioned that the Israeli Occupation turned 2012 into hell for journalists and Media outlets, where they committed egregious perpetual violations against Journalists, most notably the killing of three journalists, the bombing of media organizations headquarters and journalists’ homes, and the serious physical assaults. Mr. Rimawi added that the Israeli Occupation not only committed awful violations but have also amplified them by %65 with 164 violations committed in 2012 comparing to 100 violations committed in 2011.

Mr. Rimawi explained that the increase in the number and quality of violations is due to several factors, most notably the power of the Palestinian image and word, and the key role played in the world public opinion by the Palestinian press in detecting the occupation violations. The other factor is that the occupation has never been held accountable and punished for its crimes against journalists and media freedoms, which encourages the occupation to commit more violations without consideration to any human rights, and international laws and conventions that guarantee freedom of expression and protection for journalists.

Mr. Rimawi pointed that the Israeli violations were mostly committed in eight areas: Gaza, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Nablus, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Qalqilya. 70% of Israeli violations were committed: in Gaza with 63 violations, in Jerusalem with 26 violations, and in Ramallah with 25 violations.

MADA also monitored 10 types of Israeli violations: Killing (3 cases), prevention from travel (1 case) bombings (37 cases), raiding (4 cases) closing and blocking of media sites (3 cases), prevention from coverage (5 cases), confiscation of equipment (4 cases), arrest (13 cases), physical abuse (80 cases), and detention (14 cases).

The annual report also explains that many violations cannot be monitored by MADA since journalists don’t commute freely between West bank cities, Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, for example journalists from West Bank don’t hold permission papers needed to enter Jerusalem nor Gaza, and Gaza journalists are also not allowed to enter the West Bank nor Jerusalem .

The Secretary of the board of MADA Mr. Majid Alarui reviewed the Palestinian violations against media freedoms monitored by the MADA over the past year, pointing out that the state of media freedoms is dramatically still worrying in Palestine, despite the drop in the number of Palestinian violations by 31% over the past year compared to 2011.

Mr. Alaruri reported that Palestinian violations were equally committed in Gaza and the West Bank as each witnessed 37 violations. Most notable types of violations were: prevention from travel, raiding of media institutions, preventing journalists from coverage, arrests, detentions, physical abuse, interrogations, trails, threats, and closing and blocking media sites.

Mr. Alruri pointed that detention is still the most prominent violations that have been monitored as it recorded during 2012 12 cases in comparison to 5 cases in 2011, in addition to the continued policy of calling journalists for investigation and interrogation with 13 violation reported, in addition to closing and blocking media sites, and prevention of travel.

The 2012 annual report: “MADA center noted a clear negligence of the authorities concerned in the investigation of violations against journalists and media institutions, where most cases of violations passed without serious investigation, and the impunity of the aggressors. This creates questions about the statements made by some officials in the West Bank and Gaza Strip regarding their full commitment and support to freedom of opinion and expression in Palestine”.

The annual report contains important details about the number of violations of media freedoms, their types, their dangers, and the cities most vulnerable to violations, per each side which commits violations against journalists in Palestine. And in regards to violations by Israeli occupation, MADA demanded the formation of an international investigating committee to inquire the circumstances relating to the killing of three journalists, and to hold the aggressors accountable for all violations and to pressure the occupation to comply with the laws and international conventions relating to freedom of opinion and expression and the safety of journalists, especially Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to facilitate the movement of journalists.

And in regards to the Palestinian violations, MADA demanded to Respect freedom of expression and opinion, the end of censorship on freedom of expression, allowing all media to operate freely and without Political restrictions, and to reconsider laws which organizes various sectors of the print and audio-visual media, in addition to the enactment of the Access to Information Law.

The press conference began with a minute of silence in tribute to the martyrs of the press in Palestine and around the world.

***04.03.2013. SYRIA: 11 media activists, including a French journalist killed in February

The Syrian regime is still targeting media activists and journalists. Media Freedom Committee of the Syrian Journalists Association has documented killing of 11 journalists in February 2013 to increase victims to 138 professional and citizen journalists have killed since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011.
 
Olivier Voisan a French journalist, was killed of wounds sustained by shrapnel, while covering military operations for Free Syrian Army in Idlib. On 24-02-2013. Olivier Voisan worked for several French media and international, including newspapers Le Monde, Liberation, L'Express, the Guardian, and Agence France Presse AFP.

Also Mohammed Saeed al-Hamwi a journalist, was killed during bombing Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus. Hamwi was a student in the Faculty of Information at the Damascus University, known as (Ghias Shami) as one of the most prominent media activist. Hamwi injured by a mortar shrapnel pierced his eye on 02-05-2013  while covering clashes, and killed of his wounds on 17-02-2013.

The media activist Youssef Adel Bakri was killed during shelling on Karam Altarab neighborhood in Aleppo. On 15-02-2013. Yousef Bakri was correspondent of Aleppo News Network. He photographed many military operations of the Free Syrian Army.

On the 1st of February Reporters Without Borders said that Ayham Mostafa Ghazzoul, a contributor to the Damascus-based Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), died under torture four days after being arrested on 5 November 2012. Ghazzoul was arrested during the 16 February 2012 raid on the SCM in which all of its employees and contributors, including its director, Mazen Darwish. 

Ghazzoul freed after 67 days in detention. He was arrested again on 5 November  2012at the office on the National Union of Students on the University of Damascus campus and was again taken to air force intelligence headquarters.

A year passed on Mazen Darwish detention. Darwish is the director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. Who was arrested with employees and contributors of SCM on 16-02-2012. Darwish and his two colleagues Hani Zitani and Hussein Al Ghurair still in arbitrary detention. According to news from Damascus, they were transferred to Adra central prison near the capital Damascus.

The brigade of Free Syria (Free Syrian Army) arrested journalists of the Aleppo Media Center and Aleppo News under the pretext of publishing false news about the brigade. On 15-02-2013. It was then released shortly after.

 Fighters of Free Syrian Army  take up arms at faces activists of Radio Free Deir al-Zour, which prompted radio to advertising a strike on 18.02.2013.
An expression of their rejection of restrictions on media, and their attacks on freedom of expression.

Victims of February 2013:
 
1.      Nabil al-Nabulsi, a media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime Army in Izraa town in Daraa. On 02-02-2013.

2.      Abdul Latif Khalil Khuder, a citizen journalist: was killed after succumbing to the wounds. He sustained by bombing of Medmah Sham town in Damascus, on 03-02-2013.

3.      Mohammed Kurdi, a media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime Army in Zamalka town in Damascus. On 06-02-2013.
 
4.      Zaid Abu Obeida, a media activist: was killed during the bombing of Daria town city of in Damascus, on 11-02-2013.
 
5.      Hamada Abdel-Salam al-Khatib, a citizen photographer: was killed while filming bombing on Talbisa town in Homs. On 12-02-2013.
 
6.      Youssef Adel Bakri, a media activist: was killed during shelling on Karam Altarab neighborhood in Aleppo. On 15-02-2013. Yousef Bakri was correspondent of Aleppo News Network. He photographed many military operations of the Free Syrian Army.
 
7.      Mohamed Mohamed, a media activist: was shot by a sniper while filming clashes between the Free Syrian Army, and the Syrian Regime Army, in al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood in Damascus, on 17-02-2013.
 
8.      Mohammed Saeed al-Hamwi, journalist: was killed during bombing Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus. Hamwi was a student in the Faculty of Information at the Damascus University, known as (Ghias Shami) as one of the most prominent media activist. Hamwi injured by a mortar shrapnel pierced his eye on 02-05-2013  while covering clashes, and killed of his wounds on 17-02-2013.
 
9.      Adnan Abu Abdo, a media activist: was killed by tank shelling on Darya town in Damascus, on 19-02-2013.

10.  Olivier Voisan: French journalist: was killed of wounds sustained by shrapnel, while covering military operations for Free Syrian Army in Idlib. On 24-02-2013. Olivier Voisan worked for several French media and international, including newspapers Le Monde, Liberation, L'Express, the Guardian, and Agence France Presse AFP.
 
11.  Wael Abdul Aziz, a media activist: was killed while covering clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime army, in Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs, on 25-02-2013.
  
Press Freedoms Committee of the Syrian Journalists Association
1/3/2013

***20.02.2013. PALESTINE. The occupation authorities carried out 27 arrests of journalists during the past two years (MADA)

Ramallah 20th February 2013: MADA center organized, in collaboration with the Palestinian Ministry of Information and Journalists’ Syndicate, a protest this morning in front of Ofer prison near the city of Ramallah. The protest was against the policy of detaining journalists practiced by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF), and it coincided with the trial of Shehab agency reporter Amer Abu Arfah’s who is under an administrative detention since 21st August 2011.

Mousa Rimawi the general director of MADA center stated that the policy of detaining journalists has been going on for decades, where Israeli occupation authorities carried out 27 cases of journalists’ arrest during the last two years, and has released most of them. Rimawi adds that the persistence of Israel policy is a blatant violation of the law and the international conventions that ensured freedom of expression. Today’s protest was held to demand the release of the detained journalists and to protest against this policy. A new manifestation of this policy was the arrest of a cartoonist of Alhayat al Jadeda newspaper Mohammed Saba'na last Saturday 16th February 2013, whose detention  was  renewed for another 9 days at Aljalama prison today.

On the other hand, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) prevented three journalists yesterday from covering the IOF raiding of Aldoha town near Bethlehem. 

Alquds TV correspondent Mamdouh Hamamreh told MADA, that him and his colleagues PalMedia cameraman Samer Hamad and Alquds Dot Com Cameraman Abdulrahman Younis went to cover the IOF raiding operation of Aldoha town, and once their cameras were turned on they were stopped from covering by the IOF, and they were checked for identifications and Press IDs. Hamamreh also added, “They prevented us from continuing the coverage of the operation, and even erased any footage Abdulrahman managed to take”.

Rimawi called on the international community for an immediate intervention, in order to force Israel to stop all attacks on journalists, which puts journalists’ lives in danger and prevents them from performing their professional duty, especially since the attacks significantly escalated over the past year and at the beginning of this year.

***16.02.2013. SRI LANKA. Sri Lanka Sunday Leader reporter Faraz Shauketaly shot (BBC)

A reporter from a newspaper in Sri Lanka has been shot by a group of unidentified men at his home near the capital, Colombo.
Sunday Leader's Faraz Shauketaly, who holds dual British and Sri Lankan citizenship, was rushed to hospital after being shot in the neck.

A doctor who treated Mr Shauketaly said the journalist was now out of danger.

Rights groups say more than a dozen media employees have been killed in Sri Lanka over the past decade.
None of the murders has been solved.

Anti-establishment paper

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says Mr Shauketaly was on the phone to a colleague at the Sunday Leader on Friday evening at his home in Mount Lavinia when the call was cut.

Shortly afterwards he answered a call and said he had been shot in the neck by three intruders, who had then escaped.

A group of foreign lodgers at his house said he was covered in blood and calling for help. Mr Shauketaly, 52, was taken to intensive care, where doctors pronounced him out of danger and have been working to remove a bullet.

Mr Shauketaly holds British and Sri Lankan passports and the UK government has called on the authorities to bring the attackers to justice.

Our correspondent says Mr Shauketaly had voiced fears that his investigative reporting might be putting him in danger, especially after strangers had called at his house recently asking for his whereabouts.

Four years ago, the Sunday Leader's editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was shot dead by a group of masked men on motorbikes.

The case, which has never been solved, highlighted the dismal state of press freedom in the country, analysts said.

"There has been a range of attacks in Sri Lanka on journalists, civil society organisations and others in recent years. To date, too many incidents have had little investigation and no resolution," UK Foreign Office Minister Alastair Burt said in a statement.

The Sunday Leader had long had a reputation for being outspokenly anti-government.

Its profile changed last year when it was bought by a well-connected businessman and retracted some of its articles, but it still does a considerable amount of investigative reporting.

***09.02.2013. COLOMBIA. De Las Balas a Los Expedientes. Informe sobre el estado de la libertad de prensa en Colombia durante 2012

La Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa-FLIP publica este 9 de febrero, día del periodista, su informe anual en el que hace una radiografía de la situación de la libertad de prensa en el 2012. La FLIP ve con preocupación que se hayan registrado un total de 158 agresiones directas contra periodistas en el ejercicio de su oficio, entre las que se incluye el asesinato de Guillermo Quiroz en San Pedro, Sucre; el atentado contra Fernando Londoño en Bogotá; la amenaza colectiva a 10 periodistas de Santa Marta, Magdalena; el desplazamiento forzado de 6 reporteros y el exilio de uno.

Si bien las condiciones de seguridad para periodistas en otros países de América Latina, como México, Honduras y Brasil son muy delicadas, Colombia es uno de los lugares más peligrosos para el periodismo, especialmente a nivel local.

Igualmente preocupa el estado de impunidad en que se encuentran varias investigaciones. En 2012 prescribieron dos casos de asesinatos de periodistas: el de José Domingo Cortés Soto, del Diario del Otún, baleado el 15 de noviembre de 1992 en Valencia, Córdoba, y el de John Félix Tirado Castañeda de la emisora Ondas del Urrá, ocurrido el 5 de agosto del mismo año en Cartago, Valle. Esto significa que, de los 140 periodistas asesinados desde 1977, hay 59 casos que ya prescribieron.

Las investigaciones por las interceptaciones y seguimientos a periodistas por parte del DAS, parecen haber entrado en un letargo. Se dieron condenas contra mandos medios de la entidad, pero las investigaciones a funcionarios de alto nivel siguen sin mostrar avances.

Por otro lado, se destacan ciertos avances en el caso de Jineth Bedoya, que fue declarado crimen de lesa humanidad, así como en los de Orlando Sierra y Jaime Garzón, ambos en etapa de juicio.

La FLIP registró el incremento de procesos judiciales contra periodistas como método de censura. En el 2012 la inquietud ha llegado al extremo con la condena dada por el Tribunal Superior de Cundinamarca contra el periodista de Fusagasugá, Luis Agustín González, por el delito de injuria tras cuestionar en un editorial las aspiraciones políticas de una reconocida dirigente del departamento. Igualmente notorio, entre otros, fue el caso ocurrido en agosto, cuando la Sala Penal de la Corte Suprema de Justicia anunció una denuncia penal contra la columnista de El Espectador, Cecilia Orozco, por criticar el trabajo de esta Corporación. Al final, la Corte se retractó.

La FLIP destaca que en el 2012 los roces entre periodismo y fuerza pública se acentuaron. La muerte de Guillermo Quiroz involucró a miembros de la Policía en hechos que están por esclarecerse. A su vez, se dieron agresiones en Bogotá, Arauca y Santander. Por otro lado, se resalta la decisión de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos de condenar a Colombia por las agresiones cometidas por miembros del Ejército al camarógrafo Richard Vélez, en 1996, y por la falta de justicia en el esclarecimiento de los hechos.

Por último, en el 2012 se dieron algunos avances en el reconocimiento de los periodistas que han sido afectados por el conflicto. En el marco de la Ley de Víctimas, la Unidad de Atención y Reparación a Víctimas reconoció a los periodistas como una población beneficiaria de reparación colectiva y, la Alcaldía de Bogotá, a través del Centro de Memoria Distrital, hizo un monumento a los afectados por el conflicto, dentro de las que se incluyó a los periodistas.

Descargue el informe completo aquí

***06.02.2013. SOMALIA. Trial and sentencing of Somali journalist and alleged rape victim a serious blow to fight against sexual violence – Pillay

GENEVA (6 February 2013) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday that the widely criticized trial and sentencing of a Somali journalist, and the alleged raped victim he interviewed, risks seriously undermining the fight against sexual violence and urged that their case should be reopened as soon as possible.

“Sexual abuse in the camps for displaced people in Somalia is a real issue, and any effort to expose, denounce and deter these crimes should be supported,” Pillay said. “It is deeply disturbing that a woman alleging rape can be penalized for reporting such a crime, and a journalist jailed for investigating it.”

“This is a terrible blow to freedom of expression in a country where independent journalists have also been regularly targeted and killed,” Pillay said. “Sexual violence is a perfectly valid subject for any journalist to investigate. No journalist should be arrested and sentenced by a court to one year in jail for doing his work,” she added.

The freelance journalist, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, who did not even publish any article based on his interview, was jailed for one year on Tuesday by a court in Mogadishu, along with Lul Ali Isman, the young woman who had alleged she had been raped by members of the security forces. Her husband and two others charged in the same case were released by the court.

Pillay condemned the statements made by some public authorities, including police commissioner General Sharif Shekuna Maye at a press conference on January 16, which exposed the alleged victim to public stigmatization, and potentially to personal risk, and in addition undermined her right to presumption of innocence. “The authorities should afford the necessary protection to victims reporting such crimes, and not seek to silence them,” she said.

“I am very concerned about the impact the penalization of the woman alleging rape could have in the fight against impunity in sexual violence cases, especially given the reports of increasing sexual violence in Somalia,” the High Commissioner said. “And I am particularly shocked by the exposure of the victim of the alleged rape to public stigmatization,” she added.

The High Commissioner also expressed her concerns about the handling of the pre-trial and trial phases, particularly the use of prolonged detention without charges – in contravention of Somalia’s own law -- and the limited space given to the defence.

“This sentencing of the alleged victim after such a perfunctory and procedurally questionable investigation into the veracity of her claim does a terrible disservice to the women of Somalia, who will now feel they have nowhere to turn if they are sexually abused  -- indeed will be actively deterred from doing so.”

“I raised this case ten days ago directly with the Government of Somalia,” Pillay said. “I am now calling on the Government to urgently re-open this case and launch a full inquiry to clearly establish what happened and, if any allegations of abuses against the victim and the journalist are confirmed, to hold those responsible accountable.”

***06.02.2013. TURKEY. Trial of 46 journalists and media workers (EFJ)

On 4 February, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was represented by its president Arne König and by the president of the Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS), Ercan Ipekci at the trial of 46 journalists and media workers held at the special security prison Silivri, outside of Istanbul. The Journalists are accused of being members, or working on behalf of KCK, the so-called “city organisation” of the illegal and armed PKK, the Kurdish Workers Party.

“It was shocking for us to hear that normal journalistic activity can be considered illegal and an act of terror,” said EFJ President Arne König.

The trial is scheduled to last all week as the prosecutor is presenting his evidence running into 800 pages of indictment. Using tapped telephone talks with activists, the prosecutor claims for example that Ömer Celik, the editor of the Dicle News Agency, is close to the KCK and PKK, and uses his journalistic profession as a cover for terror activities. Yet, the accused makes it clear on the recordings that decisions to cover political issues had to be taken in an editorial meeting.

“If all talks of this sort in a newsroom are preparation for terroristic activities, then there would be several hundred thousands of terrorists all over Europe,” said Arne König, referring to the more than 300 000 journalists represented by the EFJ.

The EFJ has from the beginning tried to attend the trial of Turkish journalists. Currently, there are around 75 of them standing trial, down from 100 who were behind bars last year at the height of the media crackdown.

“But we do not see any real change of attitude from the Turkish authorities,” said Ercan Ipekci.

In fact, there was a big operation the last week against the lawyers of the accused journalists. As a result, many lawyers and six other journalists were arrested and accused of being members of an illegal terrorist organization (DHKP-C). The EFJ warns of a new threat from provisions of a draft bill which is before Parliament designed to ban Turkish organisations or individuals from receiving financial support from foreign sources.

The EFJ and the TGS call on the international community to help put an end to violations of freedom of expression in Turkey.

***05.02.2013. IRAN. UN experts call on Iran to stop journalist arrests and release those detained

GENEVA (5 February 2013) – A group of United Nations independent human rights experts* called on Monday for the Government of Iran to immediately halt the recent wave of mass arrests of journalists and to release those already detained.

Last week, security forces raided five newspaper offices and arrested at least 17 journalists, the majority of whom work for independent news outlets. Arrest warrants and summons have been issued for several others. Before these recent arrests, over 40 journalists were already imprisoned in Iran.

“The recent wave of arrests of journalists solely for carrying out their professional activities is a flagrant violation of Iran’s obligations under international human rights law,” the UN human rights experts said.

The group of rights experts underlined the fears that the 17 arrests carried out so far are part of a broader campaign to crack down on independent journalists and media outlets in Iran, under the accusation that they have collaborated with ‘anti-revolutionary’ foreign media outlets and human rights organisations. “The right to communicate with international organisations, including non-governmental ones, is a fundamental aspect of freedom of expression, and using such accusations to conduct mass arrests flies in the face of Iran’s international human rights obligations,” the experts said.

“It is disturbing that mass arrests and detention are being used in retaliation against the exercise of freedom of expression. Journalists must be able to speak and write without fear of persecution, arrest and intimidation,” the human rights experts said.

“Ahead of the June 2013 elections, the recent arrests may serve to reinforce self-censorship and severely constrict freedom of opinion and expression at a key moment in Iran’s political development,” warned the experts.

*The Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran.

***04.02.2013. SYRIA. 18 professional and citizen journalists killed in January (Syrian Journalists Association)

 Journalists were killed while covering fierce clashes between government forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) last January.
Press freedom committee of the Syrian Journalists Association has documented killing 18 journalists in January and 8 media activists last December 2012. 127 professional or citizen journalists have died since the beginning of the civil war in 2011 as a result of their reporting.

Yves Debay, a Belgium journalist reporting for the French magazine Assault, was shot by a sniper stationed on the building of the central prison in Aleppo on 17 January. Debay covered several hot spots around the world, such as the Lebanese civil war, and the second Gulf War, the war in Yugoslavia, and the war in Afghanistan.

Mohamed Al-Messalmah, a Syrian journalist also known as Mohamed Al-Horani, was killed the next day while covering fighting in Bousra Al-Harir, a suburb of the southern city of Deraa. He worked for Al Jazeera TV  as a reporter.

 Al-Jazeera said Al-Horani was killed by a regular army sniper. Aged 33, he had worked for the Qatar-based TV news channel for more than a year. He had previously been an anti-government activist.

Three journalists from" network of free media" are being targeted by a mortar shell, Abdul Karim Nazir Ismail, Issam Obeid, Louay Nimer,  led  them to  death in Arbin town in Damascus suburbs On 01/31/2013.

Victims of December (2012)

1.         Naji al-Asaad, a journalist: was killed in front of his house in al-Taddamun neighborhood in Damascus, on 04-12-2012. Naji al-Asaad a retired journalist worked with Tishreen state newspaper. He was newspaper editor secretary, and head of Investigations section. After his retirement, he ran readers page at the newspaper.

2.         Mohamed Khair Sheikh Qwaider, a citizen journalist: was killed in a battle between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian regime army, in Erbeen town in Damascus suburbs on 06-12-2012. Sheikh Qwaider was ran page "We are all Erbeen martyrs" on Facebook. He was a member of the Erbeen coordinating in the Syrian revolution. He was one of the first journalists in town Erbeen. He contributed to documenting the names of the revolution martyrs and detainees.

3.         Mohammed al-Beesh, a citizen journalist: was killed during bombing of Daria in Damascus suburbs on 07-12-2012.

4.         Ahmed Abdul Salam Leila, a media activist: was killed while covering battle of Infantry Military College in Andan town in Aleppo. On 15-12-2012.

5.         Abdul Karim al-Ezzo, a citizen journalist: was shot by a sniper in al-Abbasia neighborhood in Homs, on 21-12-2012.
 
6.         Yasser Shaaban, a media activist: was killed by a bomb in Dara Azaa town in Aleppo. On 25-12-2012. Shaaban was an activist with Aleppo News Network, and Syrian Revolution General Commission.
 
7.         Abu Yazan al-Hamwi, a media activist: shot by a sniper while escorting Aljazeera live team in Wadi al-Daif region in Idlib countryside on 26-12-2012.
 
8.         Abdul Razak Abdul Rahim Al-Zoubi, a media activist: was killed during bombing of Tafas town in Daraa. 30-12-2012.

Victims of January (2013)

9.         Yasser Muwaffaq Nadam, a media activist: was killed during a clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime Army in Douma town, in Damascus suburbs . On 02-01-2013.
 
10.       Khaled Mohammed al-Khatib, a citizen journalist: was killed during an air raid on al-Medmah Sham town in Damascus suburbs, on 04-01-2013. Al-Khatib was director of the Press Office of al-Medmah Local Council.
 
11.       Motaz Khalil Mansour, a photographer and media activist: was killed during an air raid on al-Medmah Sham town in Damascus suburbs, on 04-01-2013. Mansour was the most important photographer in al-Medmah town. He filmed dozens videos during shelling his town.
 
12.       Sohail Mahmoud Ali, a journalist and a cameraman: was killed during coverage armed clashes taking in Aleppo, while he was present in the area belonging to the Syrian Army Regime, according to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory. On 04-01-2013. Ali was working with al-Dunia channel which is close to the Syrian regime.
 
13.       Ahmad Koussa, a media activist: shot by a sniper in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus. On 07-01-2013.

14.       Basim Fawaz Zoubi, a media activist: was killed by Syrian regime forces in Daraa, on 13-01-2013.

15.       Ahmed Asaad Shehab, a media activist: was executed by the regime troops after storming al-Hasawiyeh in Homs province, on 15-01-2013.
 
16.       Yves Debay, a Belgian-born French journalist : was killed by a sniper, in Aleppo. On 17-01-2013. Debay was based in Aleppo, where he covered clashes between the Syrian Regime Army (SRA) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the city for his online newsmagazine (Assault) . A veteran military correspondent, he contributed reports for the French military magazine Raid, and had written several books about military conflicts. Debay covered the second Gulf War, Lebanese civil war Yugoslavia war, and Afghanistan war.

17.       Muhammad al-Mesalma (al-Hourani), an Al-Jazeera reporter:  was killed by a sniper in Daraa, on 18-01-2013. al-Mesalma was shot while reporting on fighting in Basri Al-Hariri village in Daraa province. Al-Mesalma reported for al-Jazeera about a year on ongoing military clashes between the Syrian Regime Army (SRA) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Darra.
 
18.       Amjad al-Sioufi, a media activist: was killed during shelling on East Gouta in Damascus suburbs, on 18-01-2013.
 
19.       Munir al-Namous, a media activist: was shot by a sniper in Madaya town of in Damascus suburbs. On 18-01-2012.

20.       Faisal Al-Basha, a media activist: was killed in Ras al-Ain town in Hasaka, on 01/18/2013.
 
21.       Qasim Khalil al-Maaishi, a media activist: was killed in Ras al-Ain in Hasaka. On 18-01-2013.
 
22.       Yesr Fawaz Zoubi, a media activist: was killed during clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Regime Army in Busr al-Harir village in Darra. On 20-01-2013.
 
23.       Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, a sports journalist: was assassinated with his father in Tishreen neighborhood in Damascus. On 26-01-2013. Abdul Rahman was working for "Syrian Soccer" sport website.
 
24.       Abdul Karim Nazir Ismail, a media activist: was targeted by a mortar shelling with a group of Free Syrian Army in Arbin town in Damascus suburbs. On 31-01-2013.
 
25.       Issam Obeid, a media activist: was targeted by a mortar shelling with a group of Free Syrian Army in Arbin town in Damascus suburbs. On 31-01-2013.
 
26.       Loay al-Nimer a media activist: was targeted by a mortar shelling with a group of Free Syrian Army in Arbin town in Damascus suburbs. On 31-01-2013.
-- 
Massoud Akko 004746262365Skype: akkopress

***02.02.2013. IRAK. Inquiétude pour un journaliste français emprisonné à Bagdad (AFP)

Nadir Dendoune, 40 ans, réalisait des reportages sur le dixième anniversaire de l'invasion de l'Irak. On lui reproche d'avoir pris des photos sans autorisation.LibérationUn journaliste français a été arrêté par la police irakienne pour avoir pris des photos sans autorisation à Bagdad et est détenu dans une prison de la capitale irakienne sans inculpation, a-t-on appris mardi auprès d’une source consulaire française et d’un responsable irakien. Nadir Dendoune, 40 ans, s'était rendu en Irak pour réaliser des reportages sur le dixième anniversaire de l’invasion du pays pour le mensuel français Le Monde Diplomatique, selon la source consulaire qui s’exprimait sous le couvert de l’anonymat.

Le reporter, qui détient également les nationalités algérienne et australienne, «ne s’est pas déclaré auprès des autorités locales et n’a pas demandé les autorisations pour prendre des photos», a-t-elle ajouté. Un responsable des forces de sécurité irakiennes a indiqué à l’AFP que Nadir Dendoune avait photographié des «sites sensibles appartenant au dispositif sécuritaire», sans préciser lesquels. Par ailleurs, le journaliste «est en détention provisoire et non en prison», a précisé ce responsable qui a requis l’anonymat.

En Irak, tous les journalistes ont besoin d’une autorisation avant de pouvoir travailler et, a fortiori, de prendre des photos de soldats et de policiers. Nadir Dendoune a été arrêté dans le quartier de Dora (sud-ouest) «en milieu de semaine dernière» et «est toujours en détention, il n’a pas été encore inculpé», a ajouté la source consulaire. Les autorités irakiennes ont assuré qu’il «est bien traité», selon elle.«Nous ne savons pas pourquoi il a été arrêté»

En France, Madjid Messaoudene, un ami de Nadir Dendoune et conseiller municipal de la ville de Saint-Denis (nord de Paris), a confié son inquiétude à l’AFP, car «nous ne savons pas pourquoi il a été arrêté, on n’a pas d’informations et rien qui rassure vraiment». De même source, Nadir Dendoune n’a pu prévenir ses proches que «cinq jours après son arrestation».

Selon Madjid Messaoudene, son ami était bien muni d’un visa de presse à son arrivée en Irak le 15 janvier et a été interpellé mercredi dernier. Des proches de Nadir Dendoune ont été reçus à l’ambassade d’Irak à Paris mardi matin. «Ils attendent eux-mêmes d’en savoir plus», d’après Madjid Messaoudene.

Nadir Dendoune devait rentrer à Paris pour assister à la projection de son documentaire «Palestine» à l’Institut du monde arabe (IMA), prévue mercredi soir. «La projection aura bien lieu demain à l’IMA, même s’il n’est pas revenu», a précisé Nadir Messaoudene. Nadir Dendoune est l’auteur de trois livres dont «Un tocard sur le toit du monde», publié en 2010 chez JC lattès.

***18.01.2013. SOMALIA. NUSOJ Condemns the Murder of the Somali Journalist, detained Journalist to appear in Court Next Week

Mogadishu, 18 January, 2012, The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the murder of the Somali journalist on Friday Morning in the strongest terms possible and calls for prompt investigations into the murder case and along the other previous cases, meanwhile, the Somali Journalist held in communicado for conducting a interview of a woman who claimed she was raped by members of the Somali Security forces will appear in
court on next Tuesday 22 January, 2012.

Armed gunmen shot to death Abdi Hareed Osman of Radio Shabelle in Wadajir district on Friday morning. The motive of the killing is yet unknown.

NUSOJ condemns the killing of the journalists and calls for prompt investigation into the murder case. The union sends its sympathies and condolences families, friends and colleague who might have missed Mr. Osman.

"on behalf of the Somali Journalists, I send my sympathies and condolences to the families and friends of late Osman." Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, "We call for prompt investigations, so that the killers be brought to justice, to end the culture of impunity."

Osman is the first journalist killed in Somalia in 2013. 18 Media workers have been killed in Somalia in 2012 alone and none of the killers has been punished for their crimes. The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, His excellency, Hassan Sheik Mohamoud told journalists and union representative that "The era of impunity has finished and the criminals will be identified and brought to justice, during the meeting on 9 November 2012 at the presidential palace.

The National Union of Somali Journalists calls for government to speed up the formation of the task force against the crimes against the journalists in order for the criminals who are enjoying the impunity be brought to justice.

On a separate incident, the Somali Journalists and union officials gathered at the court on Thursday 17 January, 2013, where it was
expected from the police to bring the detained journalist Abdiasis Koronto of Radio Dalsan, but was later announced that it was delayed
until next Monday. The hearing of his case will take place next Tuesday 22 January, 2013 and Somali journalists are very well prepared
to defend the journalist in court by facilitating all necessary means to win the freedom of the detained journalist. Already, a lawyer has
been secured for the journalist who will defend him at the court.
 
For further information, contact:
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Human Rights House, Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District,
Mogadishu, Somalia, Tel: +252 1 859 944,
e-mail: nusoj@nusoj.org.so / newsletter@nusoj.org.so
Internet: http://www.nusoj.org.so

***01.01.2013. SYRIE. Défection de journalistes du camp Assad : "notre mission ' tuer par la parole" (AFP)

PARIS (28.12.2012) - Lama al-Khadra résume son travail à Radio Damas d'une phrase : "notre mission était de tuer par la parole". Avec deux autres responsables de cette radio officielle syrienne, elle a fait "défection" à Paris et rejoint le camp de l'opposition au président Bachar al-Assad. 

"C'est difficile de toujours porter un masque, ne rien montrer, penser, parler, comme eux, les hommes du régime", dit-elle après la lecture solennelle d'une "déclaration de défection" dans l'arrière-boutique d'une librairie du centre de Paris. 

Pendant des mois, cette responsable des programmes politiques et culturels de Radio Damas, la radio publique historique en Syrie, a dû "mettre des mots" sur les opposants au régime. "Il fallait se cantonner aux dépêches de Sana (l'agence officielle de presse syrienne), et dénigrer les opposants, ce n'est pas facile", assure-t-elle. Lama écrit alors "groupes armés" pour "manifestants", "complot" pour "contestation". 

La journaliste décrit un climat de paranoïa générale dans la rédaction, où on n'ose regarder que les télévisions officielles : "Il était dangereux de regarder al-Jazeera sans passer pour un révolutionnaire". 

"Au sein des rédactions des médias officiels, beaucoup de journalistes vivent la souffrance du peuple", assure-t-elle. 

"Certains d'entre nous ont été convoqués par les services secrets", précise Kamal Jamal Beck, directeur des programmes de la radio et également patron du site internet de la radio et de la télévision, lui-même interrogé à trois reprises. 

"Travailler pour un média d'Etat en Syrie, c'est comme être dans une prison invisible", confesse Baddour Abdel Karim, ancienne patronne du service culture de la radio. "Nous n'étions plus journalistes", regrette-t-elle, décrivant une rédaction où "certains soutiennent le régime et ne s'en cachent pas, d'autres restent en place parce qu'ils n'ont pas le choix". 

Lancer une nouvelle radio 

Kamal Jamal Beck raconte l'action d'"experts iraniens en informations". "A l'intérieur de la radio, un service a été créé avec ces experts iraniens parlant parfaitement arabe", affirme-t-il. Les journalistes "les plus zélés" ou les shabbihas, la milice de nervis du régime, sont formés par ces experts ou à Beyrouth auprès de la chaîne de télévision du Hezbollah, Al-Manar. 

Après l'enlèvement et l'assassinat par un groupe rebelle jihadiste en juillet de leur ami et collègue Mohammed al-Saïd, décision est prise : partir. 

Les trois journalistes quittent la Syrie pour le Liban, avant de rejoindre cette semaine Paris avec l'aide des autorités françaises. 

"Pour nous, assoiffés de liberté, le départ est amer", disent-ils. Mais ils ne veulent plus rester en Syrie, "avec des balles dans la bouche". 

Ils vivent désormais dans la banlieue sud de Paris et rêvent de lancer une nouvelle radio, "embryon d'une future radio publique de l'après-Assad". 

"En l'absence d'un canal de transmission médiatique, il y a un fossé entre le terrain et les responsables de l'opposition à l'extérieur", estime Baddour Abdel Karim. 

Tous trois veulent, avec la Coalition nationale syrienne, la principale instance de l'opposition, créer une radio qui "prenne le pouls de la révolution syrienne" pour "renforcer l'union nationale entre les Syriens". 

Depuis le début de la contestation qui a tourné à la guerre civile, des dizaines de journalistes ont fait défection. La plupart ont quitté leur poste en toute discrétion et ont pris la route de l'exil, en Turquie, en Jordanie ou au Liban comme des centaines de milliers de Syriens. D'autres, telle l'ancienne présentatrice Ola Abbas partie en juillet de la chaîne officielle d'informations télévisées en continu Al-Ikhbariya, ont déserté le micro et l'ont fait savoir. 

Pour tous ceux qui continuent de se rendre au siège de la radiotélévision d'Etat, place des Omeyyades, dans le centre de Damas, l'enlèvement ou l'assassinat par les rebelles sont des menaces de plus en plus fortes. 

17 journalistes professionnels, étrangers et Syriens, et 44 citoyens-journalistes ont été tués depuis le début du conflit en mars 2011 en Syrie, "cimetière des acteurs de l'information".  

***31.12.2012. IFJ Renews Call to UN and Governments to Halt Slaughter of Journalists after 121 Killings in Bloody 2012

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said that 2012 has been one of the bloodiest years for journalists and media workers after recording 121 killings in targeted attacks and cross fire incidents. The IFJ warned that these terrible numbers are the result of a systematic failure by governments and the United Nations to fulfill their international obligations to protect and enforce journalists’ basic right to life.

“The death toll for 2012 is another indictment of governments which pay lip service to the protection of journalists but have consistently failed to stop their slaughter,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “It is no wonder that these sky-high numbers of killed journalists have become a constant feature in the last decade during which the usual reaction from governments and the United Nations has been a few words of condemnation, a cursory inquiry and a shrug of indifference.”

According to figures released today by the Federation which has published annual reports of journalists and media workers killed in work-related incidents since 1990, 121 journalists and media staff lost their lives in targeted attacks, bomb attacks and other cross-fire incidents this year, up from 107 recorded in 2011. Thirty more died in accidents or of illness while they were at work in 2012, against 20 last year.

Syria tops the IFJ’s list of the most dangerous countries for media in 2012. More violence and lawlessness in Somalia turned the country into a media killing field while organised crime in Mexico and insurgents in Pakistan account for the high numbers of fatalities in these countries.

The Federation said that, in their majority, journalists were deliberately targeted because of their work and with the clear intention to silence them. This constant finding in IFJ annual reports bring into sharp focus the need for genuine measures to protect journalists and punish those responsible for violence against media.

Last month, the IFJ urged accountability for violence targeting media at the UN Inter-Agency’s conference in Vienna, Austria which officially launched the UN Action Plan on the safety of journalists and the issue of Impunity, noting that ‘ the new UN plan is akin to drinking in the last chance saloon."

“We now look to the UN Plan on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity to deliver on its mandate,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “The situation is so desperate that inaction no longer represents an option.”

As of 31 December, the IFJ recorded the following information on killings of journalists and media staff in 2012:

Targeted killings, bomb attacks and cross-fire incidents: 121

Accidental and illness related deaths: 30

Total Deaths: 151

The deadliest region in 2012 was the Middle East and Arab World with 47 journalists and media personnel killed.  Syria had the region's highest death toll with 36 dead.

Among countries with the highest  numbers of media fatalities are:

Syria: 35
Somalia: 18
Pakistan: 10
Mexico: 10
Philippines: 5
Iraq: 5    

The list of journalists and media personnel killed in 2012 is available on the IFJ website:

www.ifj.org

For more information, please contact IFJ  :
Jim Boumelha, IFJ President                   :+44 1865723450
Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary           : + 32 2 235 22 10/ +32 279077194
Ernest Sagaga, Communications Officer   : +32 2 235 22 07/+32 477 71 40 29

***28.12.2012. UN Plan of Action on The Safety of Journalits and the Issue of Impunity: new draft version of the Implementation Strategy (for the period 2013-2014). This latest version has been prepared taking into account the discussions which took place at the 2nd UN Inter-Agency Meeting on The Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, held on 22-23 November in Vienna, Austria.

go to the following link: www.unesco.org/webworld/en/UN-plan-safety

***20.12.2012. Global death toll for journalists \'third worst on record\' (INSI)

Journalists killed while covering the the violence in Syria made up the majority of news media casualties in 2012 in one of the bloodiest years on record.
Preliminary findings by the International News Safety Institute show that at least 156 journalists and other media staff were killed because of their work. The global death toll is the third worst on record since INSI began in 2003.
The 33 casualties in Syria were almost double those of the second most dangerous country for journalists, Somalia, where 18 media workers were killed.
News crews have faced unprecedented challenges while trying to report on the unfolding events in Syria, with journalists killed in crossfire or targeted by government or opposition forces. Other journalists have been attacked, tortured, kidnapped and threatened.
The first journalist to be killed in Syria was Shukry Abu Burghol of the state-run al-Thawra newspaper. He was shot by gunmen in Damascus in late December and died on January 2.
Few international journalists have been able to cover the conflict - Syria has been dubbed 'the most difficult one [conflict] we've done' by BBC Middle East correspondent Paul Wood.  
Last week, award-winning NBC correspondent Richard Engel and his team were kidnapped in Syria. They were released on Tuesday after five days in captivity. Other journalists are still missing, including Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva who was kidnapped in October.
And with local news outlets under state control, citizen journalists and activists took extreme risks to try to document the war with cameras and mobile phones.
It has been the deadliest year on record for journalists in Somalia, with 18 media workers killed – all of whom were murdered. Many of these cases were linked to militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab.
The third most dangerous country is Nigeria, where 12 media workers died. Seven of these were unidentified staffers for Nigerian newspaper ThisDay who were killed when suicide bombers detonated explosives by their offices in Abuja and Kaduna in coordinated attacks. A spokesperson for the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram later said the group attacked the newspaper's offices to send a strong message that it would 'no longer condone reports misrepresenting them in the press'.
Pakistan and Mexico were the fourth and fifth deadliest countries, with 10 and 11 fatalities.
The worst year on record was in 2007, when INSI counted the deaths of 172 media workers – 65 of whom were in Iraq. In 2006, 168 journalists died.
Richard Sambrook, Honorary President of the International News Safety Institute, said:
"These figures are a shocking testimony to the risks run by journalists in the course of their work. Not just those reporting conflict - but also those confronting corruption and crime. What's most shocking is how few murders of journalists are pursued to prosecution. All parties - agencies, governments and industry - must work together to reduce risks and end impunity for those who threaten journalists.
“In the words of Sunday Times Correspondent Marie Colvin, who we sadly lost in Syria this year, 'The real difficulty is having enough faith in humanity to believe that enough people, be they government, military or man on the street, will care when your file reaches the printed page, the website or the TC screen. We do have that faith because we believe we do make a difference.' (St Bride's London, 2010)”
The preliminary findings, compiled in liaison with INSI's regional contacts, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the International Press Institute (IPI), are a prelude to INSI's biannual 'Killing the Messenger' report, an analysis of media casualties around the globe.
As a safety organisation, INSI records all deaths, whether deliberate, accidental or health-related, of all news media staff and freelancers while on assignment or as a result of their news organisation being attacked because of its work.

***12.12.2012. SYRIA. IFJ and EFJ Warn of Media Safety Crisis in Syria after Rebels' Threats to Execute Reporter

Fears are mounting for the life of Anhar Kochneva, a female journalist and a dual national of Russia and Ukraine, who was kidnapped in October by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Her captors are now threatening to execute her tomorrow unless their demand for a ransom is met.

The International Federation and its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today called on those who hold the reporter to respect her right to life.

"This news is very alarming indeed and we are gravely concerned for the safety of Anhar  Kochneva," said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. "Those who are holding her will be held responsible for summary execution if she is killed."

According to the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), an IFJ and EFJ affiliate, Anhar Kochneva was kidnapped near the Syrian city of Khoms at the beginning of October. The union says that the journalist, who was reporting for a number of prominent Russian media from Syria, appeared on 7 November in a video published on the Internet, in which she appealed to the Embassies of Ukraine and Russia as well as the Syrian government to meet the demands of her kidnappers. RUJ quoted family and friends as saying that she is held by two commanders of the Free Syrian Army, Aby Jamal and Farid Abu Hussein.

In a second video released on 28 November, the journalist read a text in Arabic, admitting to having "participated in the battles, translated for and supported Syrian and Russian officers, worked as a military interpreter," added RUJ, noting that both appeals seemed to be made under pressure. Her captors are believed to have demanded a ransom of 50 million US Dollars, threatening to execute the journalist on 13 December if the payment is not made, RUJ says.

The European Federation of Journalists has accused the FSA of putting the journalist's life in danger for financial gains.

"This blatant use of journalists as a money spinning scheme is outrageous,' added Arne König, EFJ President. "She and her family should not be subjected to such a cruel blackmail. She should be released immediately and unharmed to be reunited with her relatives and colleagues."  

The case of Anhar Kochneva is a reminder of risks to media in the current Syrian conflict in which both sides have been accused of serious violations, including arbitrary arrests and detention, kidnappings as well as killings of journalists and media workers.

At least three other journalists and media staff are either missing or held by warring factions in Syria. They include U.S. freelance journalist Austin Tice, who writes for The Washington Post and McClatchy newspapers and went missing in August 2012, Palestinian Bashar Fahmi al-Kadumi of the Arabic-language television channel Al-Hurra who disappeared during the same month in the city of Aleppo and Mustafa al-Khateeb, a Syrian interpreter who was arrested by the FSA in the city of Bab al Salameh in October.

***11.11.2012. Number of journalists in prison reaches record high (Source: Committee to Protect Journalists)

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, December 11, 2012 - The number of journalists imprisoned worldwide reached a record high this year, a trend driven primarily by terrorism and other anti-state charges levied against critical reporters and editors, according to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

"We are living in an age when anti-state charges and 'terrorist' labels have become the preferred means that governments use to intimidate, detain, and imprison journalists," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Criminalizing probing coverage of inconvenient topics violates not only international law, but impedes the right of people around the world to gather, disseminate, and receive independent information."

The three leading jailers of journalists were Turkey (49), Iran (45), and China (32), where imprisonments followed sweeping crackdowns on criticism and dissent, making use of anti-state charges in retaliation for critical coverage. This pattern is present in most of the countries in the census. In Turkey, the world's worst jailer, authorities held dozens of Kurdish reporters and editors on terror-related charges and other journalists for allegedly plotting against the government. Following an extensive case-by-case review in 2012, CPJ confirmed journalism-related reasons in numerous cases previously unlisted by the organization, thus significantly raising the country's total.

CPJ's 2012 census of imprisoned journalists identified 232 writers, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 53 from 2011 and the highest since the organization began the survey in 1990. The 2012 figure surpasses the previous record of 185 journalists imprisoned in 1996, underlining a disturbing trend of conflating coverage of opposition groups or sensitive topics with terrorism, evident since 2001.

Rounding out the top five jailers were Eritrea, with 28 journalists in prison, and Syria with 15, the worst abusers of the rule of law. None of the journalists in jail in either country have been publicly charged with a crime or brought before a court or trial. In line with findings over the past five years, a little more than half (118) of those held globally were online journalists and more than a third were freelancers.

"With a record number of journalists imprisoned around the world, the time has come to speak out," said Simon. "We must fight back against governments seeking to cloak their repressive tactics under the banner of fighting terrorism; we must push for broad legislative changes in countries where critical journalism is being criminalized; we must stand up for all those journalists in prison and do all in our power to secure their release; and we must ensure the Internet itself remains an open global platform for critical expression."

All of the governments included in CPJ's 2012 census have received letters expressing serious concern. CPJ continues to advocate for the release of four recipients of its International Press Freedom Award who remain imprisoned: Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan held in China, Azimjon Askarov in Kyrgyzstan, Shi Tao in China, and Mohammad Davari in Iran. In 2012, CPJ helped 58 imprisoned journalists from around the world win early release.

CPJ also registered some improvement this year: For the first time since 1996, Burma did not rank among the nations jailing journalists. As part of the country's historic transition to civilian rule, authorities released at least 12 imprisoned journalists in a series of pardons in 2012.

Of the 27 countries imprisoning journalists, the top 10 jailers were:
* Turkey: 49
* Iran: 45
* China: 32
* Eritrea: 28
* Syria: 15
* Vietnam: 14
* Azerbaijan: 9
* Ethiopia: 6
* Saudi Arabia: 4
* Uzbekistan: 4

CPJ's annual census is a snapshot of those incarcerated at midnight on December 1, 2012. It does not include the many journalists imprisoned and released throughout the year, which are otherwise documented on http://www.cpj.org . Journalists who either disappear or are abducted by nonstate entities such as criminal gangs or militant groups are not included in the prison census. Their cases are classified as "missing" or "abducted."

An analysis of CPJ's 2012 imprisoned census is available along with detailed accounts of each imprisoned case.

The report is also available in Arabic, French, Russian, Turkish, and Spanish.
Download the report in English:
CPJ_Prison_2012_overview.pdf (291 KB)

***11.12.2012. Killing of a journalist in SOUTH SUDAN (Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville) 

We are concerned about a number of physical attacks on human rights defenders and the killing of a journalist in South Sudan in recent months, which can also be seen as an assault on freedom of expression.

In the most recent attack, Diing Chan Awol, a local blogger and well-known political commentator in South Sudan was killed outside his home in the Juba suburb of Gudek on the morning of Wednesday 5 December. Local witnesses have asserted that the victim was shot after being lured out of his house by unidentified gunmen. According to his family, he had been receiving a number of threats including a clear ultimatum to stop writing or face the consequences.

We welcome the fact that the President has ordered the security services to conduct a “thorough investigation,” into the murder of Mr Diing Chan Awol, who was also known by his pen name, Isaiah Abraham. Yesterday during the Human Rights Day celebration in Juba, many speakers spoke about his killing and the Legal Advisor of the President read a statement on behalf of the President in which he mentioned the Government's determination to seek justice and accountability for crimes committed.        

In addition to this tragic silencing of a prominent public commentator, during the past six months, there have also been similar attempts to intimidate local human rights activists belonging to the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance, two members of which have been kidnapped and badly beaten by unidentified armed men.  

One of the two men, Ring Bulabuk, a leading human rights and civil society activist, was kidnapped in October, and subjected to torture. Before his kidnap, the victim publicly criticized corruption practices by senior government officials.

We urge the Government of South Sudan to take remedial action and send a strong signal of its readiness to protect the safety of journalists and human rights defenders, as part of a wider effort to bolster support for freedom of expression in this young and fragile democracy.

In a separate incident, we are deeply concerned by the killing of 10 people in Wau, Northern Bahr al Ghazal State, when the South Sudan army allegedly fired at protestors at the weekend. Six people were reportedly killed late on Saturday and another four on Sunday morning. The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is investigating the incidents.  

***07.12.2012. IFJ Voices Concerns for Media Safety in Egypt Crisis after Reporter’s Shooting

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today raised concerns of the safety of journalists and media workers who are covering the unfolding crisis in Egypt. The Federation was reacting to reports of a serious incident in which journalist El-Hosseini Abul-Deif was shot on Wednesday.

The reporter, who worked for El-Fagr newspaper, was shot and critically injured during the clashes and doctors at Zahraa Hospital declared him clinically dead on Thursday morning, according to media reports. Five people were killed during violent clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohammed Morsi.

“We condemn the shooting of El-Hosseini and urge the authorities to investigate thoroughly the circumstances of this incident,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “The violence on the streets of Cairo must not serve as an excuse for mindless attacks on journalists, causing loss of life and serious injury.”

Reports say that El-Hosseini was seemingly shot at close range for photographs he had taken of the protests outside the Presidential palace in Cairo. The Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate has blamed members of the Muslim Brotherhood for the attack.

Egypt is in the grip of unrest following the decision of President Mosri to issue a decree, stripping the judiciary of power to challenge his decisions. His critics also oppose the draft of the country’s new Constitution to be voted on 15 December, saying it does not offer adequate protection of fundamental rights.

The IFJ is concerned that the escalation of the crisis in Egypt is attracting stronger media interest, raising the risks to the safety of journalists and other media workers who are likely to travel to the country.

“We urge journalists in Egypt to take extra precautions for their physical safety in this highly volatile situation,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “At the same time, the authorities have an obligation to protect our colleagues and to do everything in their power to prevent and punish acts of violence targeting media.”

***01.12.2012. SYRIA. Syria: 100 journalists and media activist where killed since revolution upraised. November is the bloodiest
(Media Freedoms Committee at the Syrian Journalists Association)

November was , the bloodiest records against media and journalists in Syria, as the Commission of the press freedoms in the Syrian Journalists Association, who involved in monitoring and documenting abuses against journalists and media activists has documented. The Commission has documented that / 13 / journalists and media activists were killed all over the country. In a clear, serious and dangerous indication indicates that the targeting of journalists and media workers. Three of them by armed forces of the opposition in Damascus and Hasakah. Four journalists were killed in Damascus and its countryside, three killed in Aleppo, and two each in Deir Ezzor and Hasaka and one in Idleb.

Mays Ghassan Alchihawi, a student in the third year in the Faculty of Information at the University of Damascus was released .after she was arrested on 02/10/2012.

Shaza Al maddad , was arrested at the beginning of November, She has summoned for investigation by the Internal forces in the capital, Damascus.

She has been summoned to the branch mentioned twice, first after returning from the United States after spending months as a guest in Visiting journalist Program, the second after she resigned from her job in Damas Post website because of her political view and the way she was covering Syrian revolution events.

Baraa Mays , a media and political activist working for Aleppo News network was arrested in a checkpoint near aL-HAYAT Hospital in Aleppo, there is no information about the circumstances of his arrest and whereabouts until this moment.

Arabiya TV channel correspondent Mohammed Dughmush wounded shrapnel, while covering a demonstration in the Al Bustan Al kaser in the city of Aleppo, on 11/16/2012. Where dozens of civilians has killed and wounded by bombing missile.

Media activist Mustafa Kerman, was killed there, during the shelling too.

The Turkish journalist Johnat Unal was released on 11.17.2012, he was abducted by Syrian intelligence last August, according to a statement the deputy in the Turkish parliament for the Republican People's Party, "Hassan Akgul."

While the situation of Bashar journalist Fahmi Kaddoumi, the reporter of Al Hurra still unknown. Where he has disappeared three months ago, since 20 -08 - 2012 third day of Eid al-Fitr, during his doing his job as a correspondent for the channel "a" l Hurra” at the outskirts of the city of Aleppo with his Turkish colleague photographer Johnat Unal. While Syrian regime formally denied his detention, no clue on his situation yet.

Below are the names of journalists and media activists who were killed in November:

Mohammed Khalil al-Wagaa, a media activist: was killed in artillery shelling on the Mayadeen town in Deir al-Zour. On 01-11-2012.

Hassan Haidar Sheikh Hamoud, a media activist: was killed while filming the bombing on Saan and Housh Hijo neighborhood in Talbisa town in Homs. On 02-11-2012

Jamal Abdel Nasser Malas, a photographer and media activist: was killed during the shelling on Maart al-Nouman town in Idleb. On 03-11-2012.

Samer Kherisha, a photographer and media activist: was killed while filming military operations with the Free Syrian Army, in the Arbin in Damascus Suburbs. On 05-11-2012.

Mustafa Kerman, a media activist: was killed during bombing Al Bustan al-Qasir neighborhood by rockets in Aleppo, on 16-11-2012.

Abdullah Hassan Kaaka, a media activist: was killed under torture in the Military Intelligence branch in Aleppo, on 17-11-2012. Abdullah is the brother of Abdul Ghani and Ahmed Kaaka who were killed during the Syrian revolution.

Mohammed al-Khalid, a media activist: was killed by "Namr" battalion gunmen of Diraa al-Shahba brigade in Aleppo. On 18-11-2012. al-Khaled was executed by firing squad for his repeated criticism of some elements of the Free Syrian Army.

Mohammad al-Zaher, a media activist: was killed by shelling on al-Bouaida town in Damascus suburbs. On 19-11-2012.

Abed Khalil, a journalist: was killed by the free Syrian army in Ras al-Ain town in al-Hasaka province. On 19-11-2012.

Hozan Abdel Halim Mahmoud, a media activist and photographer: was killed by the military forces of the Democratic Union Party in Ras al-Ain According to Syria Stamp Network. On 20-11-2012. Hozan has covered Kurdish demonstrations in Qamishli. He moved on 19-11-2012 to Ras al-Ain town to cover clashes between the Free Syrian Army and forces of the Democratic Union Party. Hozan was killed during the clash while he was filming. he was a correspondent of Syria Stamp Network.

Basil Tawfiq: a journalist: was killed by an "armed terrorist group" according to the Syrian Arab News Agency "SANA". In al-Taddamun neighborhood in Damascus. On 22-11-2012. Tawfiq was working as a journalist at the Syrian General Organisation of Radio and TV.

Mohammed Al-Khal, a photographer and activist media: was killed while filming military operations with the Free Syrian Army, in Deir ez-Zor, on 11-25-2012.

Mohammed Quraytam journalist: was killed by shelling Darya town, in Damascus suburbs. On 29-11-2012. Quraytam was working with (Inab Baladi) newspaper, and one important activist in the Syrian peaceful movement. He was a member of the media committee in the “Freedom Days” group. And a former prison in 2003.

Media Freedoms Committee at the Syrian Journalists Association
Damascus 1/12/2012

***23.11.2012. On the International Day to End Impunity - MADA: ‘Yes’ to holding those who abuse journalists to account

Ramallah 23/11/2012: on this day, 23rd November, human rights organizations in general and freedom of expression organizations in particular organize activities in honour of the International Day to End Impunity. Such activities include campaigns and various events in order to hold those who abuse journalists to account, especially in light of the international community’s failure to secure their protection. Crimes against journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories have been acutely witnessed during the latest phase of aggression against Gaza. Israeli occupation forces killed three journalists, namely Mahmoud Al- Komi, Hossam Salamah and Mohammed Abu Eisha, and bombed the headquarters of a number of media outlets; furthermore, occupation forces killed four journalists during its aggression on the Gaza Strip at the beginning of 2009. A total number of 23 journalists have been murdered since the commencement of the new millennium.

According to the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), a total of 559 journalists have been killed worldwide since the turn of 2008, with 129 journalists losing their lives since the beginning of this year alone. Many of the casualties have included journalists operating in the Arab regions, particularly in Iraq, and throughout 2012 a great number have fallen victim in Syria where media freedoms have deteriorated in an unprecedented way over the last year and a half. The fate of Palestinian journalists Bashar Qaddoumi and Muheeb Nawati remains unknown, following their disappearance in Syria and the refusal of the authorities to supply information regarding their whereabouts or welfare.

Members of the Global Network for Free Expression (IFEX), which represents 95 international, regional and national institutions including the MADA Center (which is an IFEX Council member), elected 23rd November as the International Day to End Impunity during their General Meeting in the Lebanese capital of Beirut in June 2011. This date marks the anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre where 32 journalists were killed in the Philippines in 2009, the deadliest attack on journalists in recent history.

IFEX also launched its annual ‘23 actions in 23 days’ campaign at the beginning of this month in which the network profiled 23 individual stories around the world who have suffered gross violations and who have not yet experienced due justice. Palestinian photojournalist Jafar Ishtayeh is one such journalist and IFEX highlighted his story on the eighth day of the campaign. On the same day, MADA organized a sit-in in the city of Ramallah protesting the continued violations of journalists perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces.

On this marked occasion, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) demands accountability for all aggressors against journalists in Palestine and around the world. It demands the release of imprisoned journalists and appeals to international society and relevant United Nations organizations to employ and implement clear and specific mechanisms to ensure adequate protection for journalists, particularly during times of war and in conflict zones.

PAKISTAN - International Day To End Impunity - Impunity against Pakistani Media rises to unacceptable levels

Pakistan, November 23, 2012. Eighty eight journalists have been killed in Pakistan during last decade out of which 36 were shot dead in target killing. In 2012, ten journalists including one TV channel driver were killed in three provinces, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of the country as impunity against Pakistani media rises to unacceptable levels. According to the figures compiled by the Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) twenty six journalists have been killed in Balochistan province during last five years which Khuzdar district had been declared as one of the dangerous place for working journalist by the Reporters without Borders (RSF).Up to November 18, this year four journalists were shot dead in Balochistan province.

The biggest challenge apart from direct threat to the life of journalists in Pakistan is a culture of impunity.”The killers of not a single of the 88 journalists killed in Pakistan excluding US journalist Daniel Pearl have been arrested, tried and convicted. This promoted impunity and allowed anyone to threaten and target journalists because they know they can get away with murder. Journalists often complain about receiving threats, including from the country’s intelligence agencies which can lead to violent attacks against them. Investigations, when commissioned, tend to lack credibility and recent case of GEO TV channel reporter Wali Khan Baber who was shot dead in Karachi in January, 2011, saw the murder of all six witnesses who were willing to testify against the five dependants.

The areas bordering Afghanistan-FATA Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are the most dangerous areas for journalists. Journalists hailing from Balochistan province face violence and threats from ethnic, sectarian and separatist groups as well as from security forces and intelligence agencies. Tribal leaders, militants ,district administrations, political agents and security agencies ask journalists in FATA, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to get clearance from them before filing their news to both print and electronic media.

Situation in the country’ biggest Punjab province is not even better where a young female journalist Seemab bibi committed suicide by jumping from the fourth storey of a hotel in provincial capital Lahore on August 15 this year over nonpayment of her several months salary while many anchorpersons and senior journalists were threatened by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.Similarly in small towns a large number of journalists were detained, injured, threatened and implicated in false cases on their reporting.

South Punjab, a home of 50 million people is in the grip of religious extremism and sectarian violence now days. Law enforcement agencies have arrested dangerous terrorists from various areas of South Punjab who are activists of banned religious organizations including their mastermind a PHD degree holder. Suicide jackets, hand grenades, mine, and explosive material in heavy quantity was also recovered from an area seven kilometers away where RMNP is based. This situation demands strict safety precautions from media men. They put their life in danger to cover different assignments. Religious extremism is spreading in different parts of the country. There are many sectarian organizations fighting for domination. Former Bahawalpur province is a part of South Punjab where militants have strong base. Religious extremists force journalists to cover their speeches and pressurize them to publish their news word by word. Recently a man was burnt alive in Chanigoth town of Bahawalpur province where

TV channels reporters received threatening messages from extremists on cell phones. Rural journalists in various parts of former Bahawalpur province and feudal dominated areas of South Punjab face three major problems and put their life in danger while they report on sectarian extremism, honor killings and corruption of feudals and government functionaries.

The security of the media persons remained a big question during the eleven months of 2012, and no proper steps have been taken to provide security by the authorities and even by the media houses. The attitude of media houses was more indifferent towards the safety and security of journalists as compare with the authorities. The journalists who are involved in their professional duties in the conflict areas are more vulnerable and exposed before the law enforcement agencies, militant groups and other non state actors. The majority of the journalists are under paid or allowed only to use ID cards of the channels they work for and have to arrange their own earnings.

Article 19 of the constitution of Pakistan guarantees that every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of press. RMNP urges the authorities to stop the impunity to the perpetrators who are involved in killings, abduction and disappearances of the journalists, attacks on journalists and media houses. The non committal and indifferent attitude of federal and provincial governments towards the killings of journalists has provided encouragement to the powerful groups to unleash against the journalists to suppress the freedom of expression and freedom of media. The killings of journalists and continuous attacks on them shows that policy of the civilian government towards the freedom of media and expression is no more different from the military rule and it may be called as extension of the policy of military dictators.

Journalists Killed in 2012 in Pakistan: 18 November 2012 Rehmatullah Abid - 3 October 2012 Musthaq Khand - 29 September 2012 Abdul Haq Baloch - 21 September 2012 Aamir Liaquat (TV Channel Driver) - 28 May 2012 Abdul Qadir Hijazi - 19 May 2012 Abdul Razzak Gul - 10 May 2012 Aurangzeb Tunio – 8 May 2012 Tariq Kamal 9 - 19 April 2012 Murtaza Razvi - 10-17 January 2012 Mukarram Khan Atif

Ehsan Ahmed Sehar is President Rural Media Network Pakistan

SOMALIA: International Day to End Impunity commemorated in Mogadishu

Mogadishu, 23 November, 2012

Somali journalists, media employers, union representatives, trade unionists and officials from the Somali presidency and the office of
the prime minister among other government officials who gathered at the conference hall of the presidential guest house to mark the World
Day to End crimes of impunity against the journalists in the midst of a year in which 18 media workers have been killed in Somalia and that
no one has been brought to court.

The participants condemned all the heinous murders against the journalist during the occasion of the International day to end
impunity organized by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and supported by the Media department of the Somali presidency, was
focused the safety of the journalists and the impunity as part of the union’s campaign in its fight against the continued impunity. During
the event, it was announced that the task force will be launched very soon and that both the prime ministers’ office and the office of the
presidency has been busy in the establishment of this important committee and that seven people have been shortlisted.

Officials from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) on behalf of the Somali Journalists requested the Somalia’s President,
H.E. Hassan Sheik Mohamoud to launch a body that investigates the crimes against the journalist during a meeting with Somali journalists
and other media stakeholders on 9 November 2012 at the presidential palace in Mogadishu. President Hassan Sheik Mohamoud told the
journalists and other media stakeholders that the era of the impunity will soon finish and has asked the Prime Minister of Somalia H.E. Abdi
Farah Shirdon (Saa'id) to urgently set up a Task Force to thoroughly investigate all cases involving the killing of Somali Journalists with
a view to bringing those responsible to justice, which was an important step taken forward in the history of the Somali media
community.

The Secretary General of the National Union of the Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim called the Somali President’s
announcement in forming a task force a milestone achievement which has boosted the morale of the working journalists during the bloodiest
year for the Somali media community in its history, while noted that this event is a reminder to the murderers that they will be punished
for the crimes they committed.

“This important gathering of the International Day to end impunity serves two important issues; to remember our fallen colleagues and
sends a message to the criminals that they were not forgotten and will be brought to justice once and for all.” Mohamed Ibrahim, Secretary
General of the National Union of Somali Journalists said, “We welcome our president’s pledge in ending the impunity, which hope might
provide the media workers an safe environment which they can practice their profession freely without fear of being killed.”

The chairman of the Somali Congress of Trade Unions, Mr. Mohamed Osman condemned the targeted attacks against the media workers and
acknowledged that the media workers receive all sorts of threats, intimidations, arrests among the Somali workers at large and
encouraged the media workers to continue.

Several speakers from the Somali Media stations managers, youth representatives and other government officials pointed out that the
task force establishment is a great achievement which shows the Somali government commitment in ending the era of the impunity.

Garad Salad, an official from the Media department of the office of the prime minister said that the Somali government has taken your
concerns very seriously and is committed a real change, not only the safety of the journalists but also the whole country at large and
urged the journalists to stick to the ethical and professional standards while reporting and take part the country’s long road to
reconstruction, development and peace and reconciliation.

Finally, the Director of the Somali presidency, Mr. Kamal Dahir said that the Somali government is committed in ending the continued
impunity and condemns the assassinations against the media workers. Mr. Dahir told the event participants that the Somali Presidency and
the office of the prime minister has been working jointly in the formation of the task force from the day the journalists, NUSOJ and
other media stakeholders met with the president, H.E. Hassan Sheik Mohamoud on November 9, 2012 noting that the shortlisted people will
be announced by the office of the prime minister in the coming days to go.

“Both offices, the presidency and the prime minister’s office consulted with the ministry of information, police, judiciary and the
journalists’ union in the establishment of the task force, which shows how the Somali government is committed in ending the unpunished crimes
against the journalists.” Kamal Dahir, Director of the Somali presidency said, “We will continue to ensure the safety and the
security of the Somali journalists as your concern is out concern as well.” <END>

For further information, please contact:
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Second Floor, Press House, Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District,
Mogadishu, Somalia, Tel: +252 1 859 944,
e-mail: nusoj@nusoj.org.so / nusojsomali@gmail.com or nusoj@ymail.com
E-Newsletter: newsletter@nusoj.org.so
Internet: http://www.nusoj.org.so
Follow us on Twitter: @NUSOJ_Somalia

COLOMBIA - Lanzamiento del informe anual sobre impunidad en América Latina

23 de Noviembre de 2012

En el marco del Día Mundial Contra la Impunidad, que se celebra cada 23 de noviembre, IFEX-ALC, el capítulo de América Latina de la Red Internacional de organizaciones que promueven y defienden la libertad de expresión -IFEX, y de la cual hace parte la Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa- FLIP, lanza el Informe anual de impunidad 2012: Rostros y Rastros de la Libertad de Expresión en Latinoamérica y el Caribe.

Este informe resalta la situación deimpunidad por ataques contra periodistas en 12 países de la región, entre ellos, Colombia, México, Honduras y Brasil. Cada capítulo desarrolla un análisis del contexto social y judicial de cada país, en el que se presentan fenómenos de violencia e impunidad contra los comunicadores.

Igualmente, por cada país, el informe expone un caso emblemático. Para Colombia, IFEX-ALC seleccionó el caso de la periodista Jineth Bedoya, quien fue secuestrada, torturada y abusada sexualmente, en mayo del 2000, mientras cumplía con su trabajo periodístico. 12 años después de lo ocurrido ninguna persona ha sido condenada.

En cuanto a los asesinatos a periodistas, según el registro de la FLIP, en Colombia 139 reporteros han sido asesinados desde 1977 hasta el 2012, y de estos casos, 55 procesos continúan sin información oficial de la Fiscalía sobre el estado de las investigaciones.

El lanzamiento del informe de IFEX-ALC, se lleva a cabo en Ciudad de Guatemala, con el apoyo de CERIGUA, el Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala, y coincide con las actividades del Día Mundial Contra la Impunidad, una fecha que conmemora el aniversario de la masacre de Ampatuan, ocurrida en Filipinas en 2009, donde 32 periodistas y trabajadores de medios fueron asesinados.

FUNDACIÓN PARA LA LIBERTAD DE PRENSA 

Tel. (571) 3406943 - (571) 2454734
Bogotá, Colombia
info@flip.org.co
www.flip.org.co
2012 Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa

***21.11.2012. Israel Has Journalists in its Sights as Gaza Strikes Kill Three more, Says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused the Israeli army of waging war on journalists in Gaza. The Federation was reacting to yesterday’s strikes which killed three journalists travelling in their cars in two separate incidents in Gaza city.

“This latest deadly attack targeting journalists is clear evidence that the Israeli military has declared war on journalists in Gaza,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “There can be no more lame excuses from the Israeli Defence Force that it was targeting enemy communications. The army, which claims its strikes are surgically precise, must have known there were journalists in these cars and it must be held to account for what appears to amount to a war crime.”

Media reports say that Mahmoud Al-Komi, cameraman for Al-Aqsa TV and his colleague Hossam Salameh were killed when their car was hit by an Israeli missile near the Ashifa hospital. The two were reportedly on their way to the hospital to report on victims of the Israeli attacks. Another journalist, Muhammad Abu Aisha, Director of Al-Quds Educational radio, was also reported killed in his car in a separate incident.

Meanwhile, journalists in Gaza have reported more attacks on media offices and hotels where journalists are staying. The AFP offices in Gaza were among media facilities which have been hit, along with Deira and Beach hotels.

The Israeli Defence Forces warned journalists in a tweet to stay away from Hamas facilities whom they accuse of using media workers as human shields. But the IFJ says that warnings should be given ahead of any attack to allow for evacuation of civilians, including journalists.

“The intimidation of journalists has turned into an open war through the Israeli Defence Forces’ practice of shooting first and warning later,” added Boumelha. This is reckless and highly irresponsible and we are urging the world community to investigate potential breaches of international humanitarian law.”

The IFJ is examining options for an urgent mission to Gaza to investigate the targeting and killing of journalists.

***20.11.2012. GAZA. Israeli forces killed Aqsa TV cameramen Salamah and Al-Komi
MADA demands the formation of an international investigation commission

Ramallah- 21 November 2012: Israeli occupation forces committed a new crime against the Palestinian journalists when they killed Al-Aqsa TV cameramen  Mahmoud Al-Komi (30 years) and Hossam Salameh (30) years at about six o'clock in this evening, after their car  was targeted In Gaza City, by a Missile fired from an Israeli warplane, which led to their deaths immediately. 

MADA lawyer Karem Nashwan said that Salamah and Al-Komi were travelling in Al-Aqsa TV car, with press sign, but the occupation forces targeted it.  The crime took place in Alnaser (Victory) Street near alshifa Tower near Alshifa Hospital, and it seems they had intended to go to cover the martyrs and the wounded in the hospital, where occupation forces have escalated from its bombardment of the Gaza frantically through the last few hours, where about twenty martyrs fell.  Al-Komi and Salamah were married and each of them has four children. 

This heinous crime comes as part of the ongoing Israeli attacks on Palestinian journalists since the beginning of the aggression on the Gaza Strip since seven days, and the Israeli attacks on them for decades, where twenty journalists have been killed over the past decade, four of them during the Israeli aggression on Gaza at the beginning of 2009.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) expresses   condolences to their families, and repeats condemnation of this crime, which is considered a breach flagrant of the international conventions that protect journalists .MADA demands the formation of an international investigation committee, and hold accountable those responsible for this crime and crimes committed against Journalists. Israeli impunity for its crimes against journalists encouraged them to commit more of them.

***19.11.2012. GAZA. Arab Journalists Demand UN to Open Formal Investigation into Israeli Attacks on Journalists in Gaza

Journalists’ leaders representing 14 journalists’ syndicates and associations in the Arab World currently gathered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, strongly condemn the attacks of the Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip and the deliberate targeting of journalists and media staff.

The participants, gathered to discuss press freedom in the Arab World and the protection given for killers of journalists and impunity, condemn and denounce the Israeli army’s deliberate attack on the headquarters of media organizations in Gaza on the morning of the 18th of November 2012, in particular ‘Quds TV’. The attacks injured at least six journalists, including photographer Khader al-Zahar, who lost his leg as a result.

The participants believe that the Israeli army attacks on Palestinian journalists and media in Palestine, and Gaza in particular, is part of a systematic and deliberate plan used by the Israeli occupation authorities to cover up the heinous practices and killings and destruction committed against the Palestinian people.

The participants support the Palestinian journalists and media professionals in their plight and support the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in their demands to the United Nations to form an international commission of inquiry into the crimes of the occupation, to question and punish the perpetrators of these crimes and the violations against journalists and media organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Participants consider this attack to be a violation of international law and international humanitarian law, including the UN Security Council Resolution 1738, which criminalizes the intentional targeting of journalists in conflict zones. They further warn that failure to hold accountable and punish those responsible for this incident would be considered as providing a license from the international community to the Israeli authorities to keep on targeting the media and journalists.

The President of International Federation of Journalists, Jim Boumelha, who is participating in the conference, said: ”We demand the United Nations to set up a committee to carry out a full investigation into these attacks and take action against the Israeli government. Moreover, the international community must respond immediately to this heinous act. The United Nations confirmed in particular the rights of journalists working in conflict areas and member states cannot stand by when one state acts in a reckless and dangerous manner."

The participants appealed to their colleagues in the international community of journalists and union members in the International Federation of Journalists to express their solidarity with their fellow Palestinian journalists and their right to work in a safe and free environment. The participants recommended the International Federation of Journalists to work in collaboration with member unions in the region to continue organizing training courses, professional safety trainings and awareness activities for journalists and media professionals.

Participating unions include: Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Jordan Press Association, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate, journalists Association of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain Journalists Association, Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, Omani Journalists Association, Sudanese Journalists Union, National Union of Somali Journalists, Algerian journalists' union, National Union of the Moroccan Press, Mauritanian Journalists Syndicate, Mauritanian Journalists' Association.

***19.11.2012. GAZA: The occupation attacks on journalists are unrelenting (MADA) 

Ramallah, 19th November 2012: The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored fresh attacks on journalists and media outlets on 18th and 19th November 2012. These violations occur as part of the continued targeting of journalists and media outlets in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Palmedia cameraman, Samer Hamad informed MADA that the occupation forces prevented his reporting of clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces in the Dar Salah region near the city of Bethlehem this morning. Hamad added: "They prevented me and my colleagues, the photographers Mousa Al-Shaaer and Luay Sababa, from coverage.  The soldiers were pushing us and they put their hands on the cameras whenever we tried filming. They took my car keys until I stop coverage, but they returned them later. We told them that we are journalists, but they did not care and continued to prevent us from coverage and pushing us".

In another incident, a female Israeli soldier attempted to assault Muna Hasan, a correspondent of Raya FM radio this morning as she reported on clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the area of Jabal Almokaber in Jerusalem. According to Muna, the Israeli soldier prevented her from covering the events, pushed her several times and raised her hand to physically assault her, before she managed to escape. Muna added: "She screamed at me several times and she said to me “Get out of here”, but I did not care her".

On Sunday 18th November 2012, French Agency photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk and fellow agency colleague Ahmed Grabula attempted to cover the clashes at Qalandia checkpoint. Abu Turk stated: "When we started filming a group of soldiers approached us, so we showed them our press cards so they left us. But one of the officers pushed me several times during the covering, so i went away from the soldiers." He added: "During imaging I noticed that two soldiers are talking , laughing and looking at me, I felt that they were planning to target me, so I tried to withdraw from the region, but a sniper fired at me bullet with iron coated with rubber hitting my neck. Fortunately I was wearing a leather jacket and the belt of the camera saved my neck, I received treatment in the field". Abu Turk concluded: "I've been a photographer for 30 years, for the second time I feel that I'm targeted for killings by the Israeli occupation forces only for covering events”.

On Sunday 18th November 2012, Israeli occupation forces also attacked Palestine TV correspondent Ali Dar Ali while reporting on clashes near the Israeli Ofer camp. Ali informed MADA that as he covered the clashes, rubber bullets were being fired indiscriminately at young Palestinians; one of the bullets hit his waist, causing redness and swelling. Ali added: "We have been deliberately being targeted where the press signs were obvious, and I was holding the microphone and the cameraman was holding a camera.  There is no doubt that we are journalists".

Since the commencement of the aggression on Gaza six days ago, the occupation forces have started to interfere with radio and local television stations and penetrate their frequencies. Rabah Marzouk, Executive Director of Quds Radio in Gaza informed MADA that since the second day of the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, the occupation army has seized the radio station's airwaves and broadcast information to the people in Gaza "warning them not to cooperate with the Palestinian resistance". This message was repeated on several occasions in addition to interfering with the station’s operations. Interfering through ‘jamming’ is not considered as important an issue as physically seizing a station’s airwaves and broadcasting messages from the occupation army. The frequencies of other stations have also been seized, including Radio Al-Aqsa, and an Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed such actions in a statement to the AFP agency: "We controlled Hamas television and broadcasted warnings”.

Ahmed Kherti, director of audio engineering at Sawt Alshaab radio station informed MADA of the Israeli army’s interferrance with the station’s airwaves and control of its frequencies. Warning messages for the people of Gaza were broadcasted, instructing them to stay away from the resistance, from Hamas positions and from eastern regions (the border area).  The radio’s website was hacked and pictures of the Israeli flag along with phrases such as "peace for Israel" and "Israel is under threat" were posted. Other Palestinian news sites were also subjected to intense hacking attacks, a number of whom were forced to stop working for hours or days on end, including the SAFA and Pal Today agencies.

Sunday 18th November 2012, the Israeli Occupation Forces bombed the Shawa, Alhusari and Alshurouq towers, warning foreign journalists to evacuate the Alshurouq tower in particular. Many offices and employees of local, Arab and international media outlets operate in Gaza and this latest aerial assault has placed yet more obstacles in the path of journalists and media reporting. MADA issued a statement on Sunday 18th November 2012 denouncing the Israeli occupation strike against media headquarters and another press release in condemnation of killing the baby son of Arabic BBC journalist, Jihad Mashharawi, through the bombing and destruction of his home.

MADA center renews its condemnation of the increasing number of attacks on journalists, which constitute a flagrant violation of international laws and conventions. MADA calls upon the International community to immediately intervene to protect journalists. 

***19.11.2012. IFJ Calls for Probe into Media Targeting in Gaza Violence

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the international community to investigate deliberate attacks by Israeli military against media buildings in Gaza.

At least six journalists were injured, including cameraman Khader al Zarah who lost a leg after their offices came under sustained bombing from Israel's military which targeted in the early hours of Sunday Al Shawa and Husari where several media organisations, including Hamas' TB Al Quds TV, Al Qudsa radio, Maan network and many other radio stations are based. Another media facility, the Asshurouq building, which houses Sky, ITN, Al Arabiya TV and Abu Dhabi TV was also attacked.

"We demand a full inquiry by the United Nations to investigate the attacks and to take action against the Government of Israel," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "The international community must respond immediately to this outrage. The rights of journalists in conflict zones have been particularly highlighted by the United Nations and members states cannot stand by when one state acts in a reckless and dangerous manner."  

The Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate (PJS) condemned the bombing and the National Federation of Israeli Journalists (NFIJ), has called for the respect of journalists' safety.

The Israeli authorities reportedly told the Foreign Press Association in Israel that the army targeted the antenna on the media buildings but journalists who escaped from the Al Quds TV building told the PJS affiliate that three floors of the building were bombed.

The IFJ says that these recent attacks serve as a reminder of the government's failure to protect journalists covering armed conflicts.  The Federation recalls a similar direct assault on media houses took place the 22-day military offensive by the Israeli army on Gaza in 2009.

The issue of journalists' protection is scheduled to be debated at a UN Inter-agency meeting in Vienna next week and the Federation is urging the UN to take governments to task over their international obligations on this matter.

"The reckless intimidation of media by the Israeli Defense Force on a shocking scale should not go unpunished. If it does, it leaves journalists and media exposed to the threat of attack in any conflict at any time in the future," added Boumelha.

***18.11.2012. MADA: the occupation is trying to silence the press in Gaza and its crimes against journalists must not go unpunished.

Ramallah – 18 November 2012: Again, journalists and media outlet headquarters were targeted directly by the Israeli occupation forces to silence journalists covering events and the crimes committed by IOF in the Gaza Strip.

This morning (18/11/2012), the occupation forces targeted the offices of Al-Quds TV and Al-Aqsa TV in the Gaza Strip, causing injury to six journalists and a driver working for Al-Quds TV. Their injuries ranged from minor to medium, in addition to causing severe damage to their offices.

Imad Ifranji, director of Al-Quds TV in Gaza, told MADA that the Israeli occupation forces fired three missiles at the TV editing and filming department and at the eleventh floor of Burj al-Shawa – Husari at 1:30 am. IFranji added: "shelling caused injury to all in the office of photographers and assistants and a driver, in addition to significant damage in the section, in addition to damages in the ambulance that rushed to the place for the transfer of injuries, and damage to the TV car." According to IFranji, the injured included the following:

- Khader al-Zahar: amputation of his right leg from below the knee and bruising.

- Hazem Da’our: wounded by shrapnel and bruising.

- Mohammed al-Akhras: shrapnel fragments throughout his body. His injuries are considered of medium severity.

- Ibrahim Lapad: wounds and bruising.

- Hussein al-Madhoun: suffocation and bruising.

-Omar Ifranji: wounds in the foot.

- Darwish Bulbul: minor injuries.

Saed Radwan, programme director at Al-Aqsa TV, reported that Israeli Occupation warplanes targeted the broadcasting section on the fifteenth floor of the Alshorouq (sunrise) tower, in the Alrimal area of Gaza city at 6:30am. Severe damage was caused and most of the equipment and studios were destroyed. Radwan added: "one rocket penetrated the office of ‘Palestine Media Production’ actually on the fourteenth floor, causing damage".

Last Friday (11/16/2012) the occupation forces targeted the house of European Agency photographer Ali Ibrahim resulting in moderate injuries to his father (71 years), his sister (40 years) and her daughter (8 years), as well as causing extensive damage to their home. On the same day, occupation forces targeted the headquarters of "Free Media" in the Sheikh Radwan area of the Gaza Strip, almost completely destroying it.

The Israeli occupation forces killed Omar Mashharawi, the 11-month-old son of a BBC Arabic employee Jihad Mashharawi when his home was targeted on Wednesday.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly condemns the renewed Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip and the direct targeting of a number of journalists and media institutions. It calls for the need to protect journalists and prosecute the perpetrators of such crimes against the press and freedom of expression. The evasion from punishment of the Israeli occupation forces (which coincides with the commencement of global events to end impunity at the beginning of this month and culminating on the 23rd November) especially with regard to its crimes against the four journalists killed during the aggression on Gaza in 2009, enabled such occupation forces to commit further crimes against journalists and the media and demonstrates the urgent need to prosecute the perpetrators of attacks on freedom of the press. 

Riham Abu Aita
Public Relation Officer
Riham@madacenter.org
www.madacenter.org
0097222976519

PCHR Strongly Condemns Targeting of Journalists in Gaza by Israeli Warplanes
 
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the wounding of 10 journalists and media professionals while they were carrying out their jobs, when Israeli Occupation Forces attacked the offices of al-Quds Television and al-Aqsa Television this morning.  PCHR stresses that journalists and media professionals, like civilian persons, enjoy special protection in time of war under international humanitarian law; targeting them constitutes a systematic crime to silence the press and prevent journalists from reporting on the crimes that are being committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.
 
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 01:35 on Sunday, 18 November 2012, Israeli warplanes fired 4 missiles at the office of al-Quds Satellite Channel, which is located on the top floor of the 11-storey Shawa and Hussari tower building in Gaza City.  The missiles penetrated the roof of the building and exploded inside the office.  As a result, 7 journalists and trainees who were in the office were wounded.  The wounds of two were described as serious; Khader al-Zahhar, 20, lost his leg in the attack and sustained shrapnel wounds throughout his body, and Mohammed al-Akhras, 20, also sustained extensive shrapnel wounds.  The other persons who were wounded are:
 
1)     Ibrahim Lubbas, 22, who sustained bruising throughout his body;
2)     Omar al-Efranji, 18, who sustained bruising throughout his body;
3)     Hussein al-Madhoun, 22, who sustained bruising throughout his body;
4)     Hazem al-Da'our, 25, who suffered from temporary suffocation; and
5)     Darwish Bulbol, 29, who suffered from temporary suffocation.  
 
The office and the nearby offices of al-Quds Radio and Ramattan News Agency were extensively damaged.
 
At approximately 06:55. also on Sunday, a missile was fired at the office of al-Aqsa Television on the 15th floor of al-Shorouq tower building in the west of Gaza City.  The missile penetrated to the 14th floor and exploded inside the offices of Palestine Media Production (PMP).  As a result, 3 journalists were moderately wounded:
 
1)     Mazen Naeem, 27, Correspondent of Press TV;
2)     Mohammed al-Sharafi, 30; a cameraman of PMP; and
3)     Mohammed al-Mubayidh, 25, a cameraman of PMP.  
 
The offices of al-Aqsa Television and PMP were damaged.
 
At the time of writing this press release, media reports indicate that, early this afternoon, Israeli forces requested international journalists to leave al-Shorouq tower building in Gaza City; this indicates that more crimes may be committed against journalists and media institutions in the Gaza Strip.  It is worth noting that many local and international press and media outlets use these offices, including Fox News, Abu Dhabi Satellite Channel, Dubai Channel, al-Arabiya News Channel, MBC and PMP, which provides media services to many international televisions.  
 
Additionally, in the early morning, Israeli forces jammed the broadcasts of a number of local radio stations, and broadcast messages on the waves of these stations.  Further to this, 4 local news websites were hacked by Israeli forces on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.  
 
It should be noted that Israeli forces have committed dozens of crimes against local and international journalists since 2000.  As a result of these crimes, 11 journalists, including two international ones, have been killed while carrying out their jobs reporting on crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, and dozens of other journalists have been wounded.
 
PCHR strongly condemns crimes committed by Israeli forces against journalists and media professionals, who enjoy special protection in time of war under the international humanitarian law.  PCHR calls upon the international community, in particular the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, to fulfill their obligations to ensure respect for the Convention, and to effectively intervene to prevent grave breaches of the Convention by Israel.

RWB condemns air strikes on news media in Gaza city (RSF)

Reporters without Borders condemn Israeli air strikes targeting news organizations in Gaza City today and call for an immediate end to such attacks. At least night journalists were reportedly injured and several local and international media were prevented from operating.

“These attacks constitute obstruction of freedom of information,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We remind the Israeli authorities that, under humanitarian law, the news media enjoy the same protection as civilians and cannot be regarded as military targets.

“Even if the targeted media support Hamas, this does not in any way legitimize the attacks. We call for a transparent investigation into the circumstances of these air strikes. Attacks on civilian targets are war crimes and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions. Those responsible must be identified.”

At around 2 a.m. today, Israeli warplanes fired several missiles at the Al-Shawa Wa Hassri Tower, a building in the Gaza City neighborhood of Rimal that houses local and international media organizations. Around 15 reporters and photographers wearing vests with the word “TV Press” were on the building’s roof at the time, covering the Israeli air strikes.

Five missiles destroyed the 11th-floor offices used by Al-Quds TV. The station said six journalists were injured, four of them Al-Quds employees – Darwish Bulbul, Khadar Al-Zahar, Muhammad al-Akhras and Hazem al-Da’our. The other two were identified as Hussein Al-Madhoun, a freelance photographer working for the Ma’an news agency, and Ibrahim Labed, a reporter for the Palestinian news agency SAFA. Zahar’s condition was described as critical after one of his legs had to be amputated.

At around 7 a.m., three Al-Aqsa TV employees were seriously injured when two missiles were fired at the Al-Shourouk building, also known as the “journalists’ building.” A spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces said on the @IDFSpokesperson Twitter account that the air strike had targeted a Hamas communication centre.

Among the local and international media whose offices were damaged by Israeli missiles were Sky News Arabia, the German TV station ARD, the Arab TV stations MBC and Abu Dhabi TV, Al-Arabiya, Reuters, Russia Today and the Ma’an news agency.

Information was also one of the victims of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009 (read the RWB report). At the time, Reporters Without Borders condemned Israel’s decision to declare the Gaza Strip a “closed military zone” and deny access to journalists working for international media. The IDF also targeted pro-Hamas media during Operation Cast Lead.

***08.11.2012. RESTRICTIONS TO LIMIT INTERNET ACCESS ON THE RISE, WARNS UNESCO

New York, Nov 8 2012 2:10PM
The United Nations agency which deals with freedom of expression on the Internet today warned that restrictions directly limiting Internet access appear to be on the rise, and called on governments to implement policies that facilitate broadband connectivity instead of putting up barriers particularly during political developments.

“Knowledge and ideas today flow in volumes and at speed that we could not have imagined years ago, ‘regardless of frontier’ and at low cost,” the Assistant Director-General for Communication of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Janis Karklins, told participants at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). “However, barriers to this flow still exist, and new ones continue to emerge.”

The Forum, which opened in Baku, Azerbaijan on Tuesday, includes the participation of governments, intergovernmental organizations, business representatives, the technical community, civil society organizations, as well as any individual Internet users interested in Internet governance issues.

The theme for this year’s Forum is ‘Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development’ and reflects the increasing role of the Internet in the evolution of the various aspects of development, across all countries.

According to its website, UNESCO recognizes that the Internet holds enormous potential for development, providing an unprecedented volume of resources for information and knowledge and opens up new opportunities. “The principle of freedom of expression must apply not only to traditional media but also to the Internet and all types of emerging media platforms which will definitely contribute to development, democracy and dialogue,” it states.

In an IGF session focusing on online freedom of expression, Mr. Karklins said UNESCO has seen cases of Internet service shutdowns during times of political developments in some countries, limiting connection of specific communication platforms, arbitrarily blocking and filtering content, and criminalizing legitimate speech to silence dissent.

“Unwarranted surveillance and violations of the right to privacy have also been inflicted upon Internet users around the world,” Mr. Karklins said. “Many have faced imprisonment, harassment and cyber-attacks. In extreme cases, people who have expressed themselves on the Internet have been killed.”

The constant evolution of the Internet landscape, as well as its trans-national nature, present challenges to legal frameworks, with discrepancies arising in laws in different jurisdictions, Mr. Karklins noted, and warned that freedom of expression must be safeguarded to prevent abuses to this fundamental right.
The UNESCO official also underlined that States must promote accessible Internet connection and inexpensive equipment, as well as media literacy among their citizens.

“Within a multi-stakeholder Internet governance framework, the effective realization of freedom of expression should be considered just as critical as widening access to infrastructure. This is in the interest of individuals, the societies, of governments and the community of nations,” he added, and reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to promoting freedom of expression through traditional as well as online platforms.
Nov 8 2012 2:10PM

***31.10.2012. SYRIA. 85 journalists and media activists killed during the revolution -7 journalists and media activists were killed in October 2012 (Syrian Journalists Association) 

Seven journalists and media activists being killed in October 2012, according to the Media Freedoms Committee in the Syrian Journalists Association, which is monitoring violations against journalists and media activists in Syria.

The number of journalists and media activists who have been killed in Syria has risen to /85/ since March 2011.

Media Freedoms Committee documented in October 2012 the killing of /7/ journalists and media activists. Three in Damascus and its suburbs, two in Homs, one in Deir Ezzour, one in Aleppo.

Below are the names of journalists and media activists who were killed in October:

1.      Ahmed Ali Sa’ada, a citizen photographer: was killed in shelling by Assad's forces in Douma in Damascus suburbs. On 02-10-2012. Sa'ada was a photographer and reporter for the Syrian National Council, and a volunteer with the Syrian Red Crescent.

2.      Mona Bakkour, a journalist: was killed in the explosion of the officers' club, and Saadallah al-Jabri Square in Aleppo. On 03-10-2012. She was in a al-Siyahi hotel overlooking at Saadallah al-Jabri Square where explosion happened. Bakour was working in the office of Thawra newspaper in Aleppo, and manages "Syria al-Qaalla” site.

3.      Muhammad al-Ashram, a journalist: was killed by a bullet in his chest and the other in his foot, in al-Mwazafeen neighborhood in Deir al-Zour. On 10-10-2012. Al-Ashram was al-Ikhbariya channel correspondent, which is a state channel.
 
4.      Hisham Moussalli, Editor at the Syrian General Organisation of Radio and TV: He was killed under torture, after being detained for two months by Syrian Security .He was returned to his family in Damascus as corpse. On 15-10-2012.
 
5.      Omar Abdel Razzaq Al-Lattouf, a media activist: He was arrested at ICARDA checkpoint near Aleppo, he was brutally tortured and was killed under torture. On 21-10-2012. Al-Lattouf was from Talbisseh town ,Homs. He was returning from Turkey when he was arrested.
 
6.       Mohammed Jomaa Abdel Karim Al-Lattouf, a media activist: He was arrested at ICARDA checkpoint near Aleppo, he was brutally tortured and was killed under torture. On 21-10-2012. Al-Lattouf was from Talbisseh town ,Homs. He was returning from Turkey when he was arrested.
 
7.      Anas al-Ahmed, a media activist: was killed in a shelling on Muadamayet Al Sham town. On 23-10-2012. Al-Ahmad was an officially spokesperson of the Revolutionary Council in Damascus's suburbs.

Media Freedoms Committee at the Syrian Journalists Association
Damascus 1/11/2012

 ***30.10.2012. Attacks on journalists in Somalia and Bolivia (Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville)

"We are extremely alarmed by the continuing assault on Somalia’s media workers and journalists by Al Shabab and other elements. Yesterday, a well-known musician and poet working for Radio Kulmiye, Mr Warsame Shire Awale, was shot dead in what appears to have been yet another targeted killing of media workers.

The previous day (Sunday, 28 October) Mohamed Mohamud Turyare, a journalist and producer with another radio station, Radio Shabelle, died as a result of wounds received a week earlier on 21 October, when in a similar attack near his home he was reportedly shot by two men with pistols.
 
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSJ) has said that Warsame Shire Awale had received threats linked to critical comments he had made about gunmen targeting civilians, and added that it believes his murder may also be the result of his public commentaries.

According to the NUSJ, these two latest deaths take the number of media workers killed this year in Somalia to 18, the second highest toll in the world after Syria. Nine of them were killed in the past six weeks, including three in separate incidents in the past seven days alone.

We urge the new Government of Somalia to take urgent steps to protect journalists and other media workers, and to end the complete impunity that has been enjoyed by their killers. Each death should be properly investigated. Al Shabab has allegedly claimed responsibility for around ten of the killings, but the remainder may have been committed by other elements easier to investigate and arrest.

The role of the media is crucial as Somalia tries to get back on its feet, and the continued regular slaughter of the country’s journalists risks stifling the media’s ability to contribute to an improvement in law and order and good governance.

We also roundly condemn the vicious and brazen attack yesterday on Bolivian radio journalist Fernando Vidal, who reportedly had petrol poured over him and was set on fire while in the studio in the town of Yacuiba near the border with Argentina. Early reports suggest that he and the studio technician who also suffered burns, have survived the attack.

You may recall, at the press conference here 12 days ago, the High Commissioner said she was shocked by the number of journalists who are killed because of their work. She reminded governments that it is their responsibility to fully respect the right to freedom of expression and to protect those who exercise this right."

***30.10.2012. GREECE. EFJ calls Greek Court to drop charges against journalist Kostas Vaxevanis

Kostas Vaxevanis should not face criminal charges for doing his job, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) said today.  
After an inquiry by the Prosecutor of the Misdemeanor Court of Athens on Saturday 27 October, the police was seeking Greek investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis for publishing on HOT DOC magazine the "Lagarde List" consisting in 2059 names of Greek citizens with deposits in the Swiss HSBC bank. Mr Vaxevanis was briefly detained by the police the following day and he is now facing trial on 1st November for publishing the "Lagarde List" thus "violating privacy law".    

"We clearly think that the publication of a list already shown in public in 2010 by Ms Lagarde when she was still French Minister of Finance is only a matter of providing information to the public. Mr Vaxevanis was doing his job of a journalist working for the public good, not only in relation to the list itself but also in relation to the lack of reaction of the authorities to carry out inquiries about potential large-scale tax evasion".

Dimitris Trimis, the President of the EFJ/IFJ affiliate JUADN, said "I consider absolutely hypocritical the Court's fastidious inquiry against investigative journalism, in particular when evidence is brought to public attention concerning matters investigated with no success for months by Justice and politicians who blame each other for inefficiency. Press openness and transparency are the very soul of Democracy and Justice!"

The EFJ also points out that as Mr Vaxevanis  is brought to court,  one of the large dailies "TA NEA" also published the "Lagarde list", fortunately without any judicial prosecution up to now.

Almost two and a half years ago Ms. Christine Lagarde (French Minister of Finance at that time) gave to her Greek counterpart Minister of Economy Mr. G. Papakonstantinou a CD, with the names of 2059 Greek citizens having large bank accounts in Swiss Bank HSBC.  The Greek press continuously referred to the existence of the list. Mr. Evangelos Venizelos currently President of PASOK and a successor of Mr. G. Papakonstantinou in the Ministry of Economy at the time, admitted at a Parliamentary Committee hearing that he had a copy of the list in his office. However the authorities always considered that it could not be used "for reasons of violating privacy law".

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

***29.10.2012. SEEMO/IPI Press Release: SEEMO condemns detention of Greek journalist and hopes for a fair trial
 
Vienna 29 October 2012- On 28 October 2012, Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis expected the police to come and detain him several hours after having published a list of 2,059 names of Greek residents who hold bank accounts at the HSBC bank in Geneva. Vaxevanis published a special issue of his Hot Doc magazine, dedicated to this list.
 
 He was arrested in the northern suburbs of Athens on Sunday, minutes after he had tweeted his whereabouts and challenged police waiting outside to pick him up, according to the Athens News.  He was released three hours later and ordered to appear in court on Monday, 29 October. However, the hearing has been deferred to 1 November. Kostas Vaxevanis is expected to be charged for violating personal data.
 
In 2010, Greek authorities received an alleged list of Greek account holders in the Swiss Bank from the then French Minister of Finance and present Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagard. For two years, according to numerous news accounts, this list circulated from one drawer to another, since several ministers tried to avoid taking action. Finally, Vaxevanis decided to publish the names, arguing official inaction. Media claim that some account holders may be tax dodgers. Apparently, high profile politicians and business people are named.
 
 The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI),  considers that that press freedom, data privacy protection and the right of the public to know have all to be respected. “I call on the court to establish if the list published by Hot Doc is a violation of privacy.  At the same time, the court should take into account that the public has the right to know if account holders are also tax dodgers, especially now, when Greeks are expected to endure severe economic cuts,” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said. “As a press freedom organization, we believe that the public has the right to know and that journalists should not be detained. I condemn the detention of  Vaxevanis, “Vujovic added.

***29.10.2012. OSCE media freedom representative expresses concern over Greek journalist case, calls for open trial

ASTANA, 29 October 2012 - The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, expressed concern today about the arrest and the forthcoming trial of a Greek journalist, Kostas Vaxevanis, charged with violating privacy laws, and called on the authorities to ensure a fair and open trial.

Vaxevanis was arrested on Sunday morning and released several hours later. The detention followed a publication in his weekly magazine, Hot Doc, of the names of 2,000 Greek nationals, including prominent members of Greece’s political and business elite, who allegedly hold accounts in a Swiss bank for tax evasion purposes.

“I am relieved that Vaxenavis was released from custody after a brief detention, and trust that he will now be tried in a transparent manner considering the acute public interest in the case,” Mijatović said.

“I am confident that the Greek courts will find the right path between respecting confidentiality and privacy and at the same time ensuring the public's right to know,” she added.

“It is the responsibility of media as the watchdog of democracy to disclose information in the public interest even if it is considered sensitive by some,” Mijatović said. “OSCE commitments oblige participating States to safeguard and implement society’s right to freely discuss issues of public concern, including corruption or bureaucratic wrongdoing,” Mijatović said.

Mijatović is currently in Astana on an official visit.

For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/fom/96683

For further information contact:
Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
Wallnerstrasse 6
1010 Vienna
Austria
Office: +43 1 514 36 6800
Fax: +43 1 514 36 6802
pm-fom@osce.org

***19.10.2012. TUNISIE. La FIJ se félicite du succès de la mobilisation des médias en Tunisie

La Fédération Internationale des Journalistes (FIJ) s’est aujourd’hui félicitée de la décision par le gouvernement tunisien d’appliquer deux décrets qui garantissent la liberté de la presse. L’annonce a été faite  mercredi suite à une mobilisation générale des journalistes qui ont fait grève pour exiger le respect de leur indépendance.

« Nous saluons cette décision des autorités tunisiennes dont nous attendons d’autres mesures en faveur des revendications des journalistes », a déclaré Beth Costa, la Secrétaire générale de la FIJ qui participait à la manifestation. « Le succès de la mobilisation de mercredi  démontre la détermination des journalistes tunisiens, sous la coordination de leur syndicat, à défendre le journalisme professionnel dans le pays ».

Les dirigeants du Syndicat national des journalistes tunisiens (SNJT), affilié à la FIJ, se sont déclarés satisfaits de la décision qui répond à certaines de leurs demandes mais regrettent « le temps perdu et les conflits que cela a engendré », selon le quotidien français, Le Monde.

La décision annoncée  concerne l’application du décret 115 qui porte sur les droits des journalistes. Cette disposition légale interdit toute restriction à la circulation de l’information et garantit la protection des journalistes. Le décret 116 crée une Haute Autorité indépendante de la communication audiovisuelle et garantit la liberté de la communication audiovisuelle. Cet organe est appelé à délivrer les licences des radios et télévisions tunisiennes, indique Le Monde.

Selon  le syndicat, la grève  a été bien suivie avec la participation de centaines de journalistes qui ont manifesté devant le siège du SNJT en brandissant es pancartes et autocollants dénonçant la  censure dans la presse tunisienne. La Secrétaire de la FIJ a pris part à la manifestation pour témoigner la solidarité de la Fédération et de ses affiliés qui ont répondu massivement à son appel pour soutenir les journalistes tunisiens.

La manifestation des journalistes s’est tenue dans un climat de tension entre le gouvernement dominé par le parti islamiste Ennahda et les journalistes. Ces derniers l’accusent de garder la main mise sur les médias avec des nominations de dirigeants controversés à la tête des médias publics.

La FIJ a récemment soutenu un autre mouvement de grève à Dar Assabah, le groupe  de presse tunisien, suite à la nomination de Lotfi Touati, comme directeur général. M.Touati est accusé d’avoir appartenu au régime répressif de l’ancien président, Ben Ali. Une délégation de la FIJ dirigée par son président Jim Boumelha avait rencontré le Premier ministre tunisien Hamadi  Jebali pour discuter de l’indépendance des journalistes.

M. Jebali avait assuré la délégation de son attachement à la liberté de la presse et s’était engagé à prendre des mesures nécessaires à cet effet.

« L’annonce de la décision sur les décrets 115 et 116 est une victoire de notre membre dans lutte pour une presse libre en Tunisie », a dit M. Boumelha. « Nous espérons que le gouvernement poursuivra dans la même lancée pour faire de la liberté de la presse une réalité irréversible dans le pays », a ajouté M. Boumelha.

***15.10.2012. FRANCE. At Bayeux, war correspondents stress duty to report

By Jean-Paul Marthoz/CPJ Senior Adviser

Winners of this year's Bayeux-Calvados prizes, which largely recognized reporting in Libya and Syria, are honored in Bayeux, France. (Anne-Marie Impe)Syria and Libya were the main themes at the 19th edition of the Bayeux-Calvados Prize for War Correspondents, which took place this weekend in the historical city of Bayeux, a few miles away from the Normandy beaches where Allied forces landed in June 1944 to liberate Europe from the Nazi yoke.Chaired by Magnum photographer Gilles Peress, the jury rewarded courage to report, while the laureates used the tribune to call on the international media to keep sending reporters to areas of brutal conflict.

"Today 80% of journalists covering Syria are freelancers. The big media have to send their people too," said Javier Espinosa, the winner of the print press award for his article "The last battle of Bab Amr." A Beirut-based correspondent for the Madrid daily El Mundo, Espinosa knows the risks involved. He was with French photographer Rémi Ochlik and Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin when they were killed by mortar fire in Homs. "We have the duty to tell the world what is happening there. I will go back to Syria as soon as I can," he said.

On the eve of the official ceremony Espinosa and a band of seasoned war reporters--Laurent Van der Stockt, Mani, Maite Carrasco, Rémy Ourdan--debated on the risks involved and insisted that they are not hotheads in need of adrenalin and in search of glory. Risk-taking, however, is one of the key criteria guiding jury members.

CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson took risks indeed to produce the gripping report "Syria, the frontline city" that won him the television award. He followed a team of African Union observers on a particularly scary mission in the middle of angry rebels and edgy soldiers. BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen also had to make his own informed judgment when he plunged into the midst of mayhem in Douma, a report for which he was awarded the radio prize.

The Bayeux-Calvados trophies also rewarded reporting on Libya (France 24's Mathieu Mabin, AFP photojournalist Aris Messinis and Associated Press photographer Manu Brabo), Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (Rémy Ourdan, Le Monde), Egypt (Ed Ou, Getty Images) and the battles of war wounded beyond the battlefield (David Wood, The Huffington Post).

Bayeux is also the site of the Mémorial des Reporters, an alignment of white stone steles that commemorate the memory of journalists killed in war. The names of the 2012 victims were unveiled on a rainy Saturday afternoon in front of some 200 journalists, municipal authorities, and others. During the evening ceremony, the directors of "Envoyé Special," the top current affairs program on the public service channel France 2, gave a moving tribute to Gilles Jacquier, the war reporter killed last January in Homs while embedded with Syrian security forces. "He was reporting on humankind in all its blackness and all its humanity," they said.

On June 6, 1944, Robert Capa, the legendary photojournalist, had landed a few miles away on Omaha beach, with the first wave of U.S. soldiers. His famous grainy images offer a powerful testimony of one of the most momentous battles in history. Two days later in the Lion d'Or hotel in Bayeux, he celebrated the successful landing with journalist pals Ernie Pyle, George Rodger, and a few bottles of Calvados.

The plaque that honors Capa's memory stands not far from the Mémorial. His famous sentence, "If your photos aren't good enough, you aren't close enough," was on everyone's minds this weekend in the bistros of Bayeux as an inspiring and daring celebration of the grandeur and the passion of war reporting.

***02.10.2012. IRAN. Iran clamp down on critical voices (UN Human Rights Office)

The UN Human Rights Office is seriously concerned by the arrest and imprisonment of several prominent human rights defenders, journalists and political activists in the Islamic Republic of Iran in the past two weeks. This appears to reflect a further severe clamp down on critical voices in the country.

In particular, we are concerned about the 29 September arrest of Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a prominent human rights lawyer and co-founder (with Shirin Ebadi) of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders. Mr Dadkhah is now beginning a nine-year jail sentence previously imposed on him after he was charged with “membership of an association seeking to overthrow the government and propaganda against the system.”

The prison sentence was coupled with a 10-year ban on legal practice and teaching. Mr Dadkhah had been involved in defending many high-profile cases, and the case against him is widely believed to be linked to his work as a human rights defender.

Mr Dadkhah's case is reminiscent of those of other jailed human rights defenders in Iran, in particular that of the lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose case has been raised in the past by the High Commissioner.  Ms Sotoudeh is one of the three final nominees for the prestigious Martin Ennals human rights award, which is being awarded this evening here in Geneva, despite the fact she is serving a six-year jail term.
Last Wednesday (26 September), the authorities closed down an independent newspaper, the Daily Shargh, for publishing a cartoon, and arrested its director, Mehdi Rahmanian. A summons was also issued against the cartoonists.

Mr Ali Akbar Javanfekr, the press advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and head of the state-run news agency (IRNA), was arrested on the same day to serve a six-month jail sentence issued previously for insulting the Supreme Leader. The Reuters bureau chief in Iran, Ms. Parisa Hafezi, has also been charged with spreading lies and propaganda, and the wire agency's entire operation has reportedly been suspended. The ongoing arrest and detention of media professionals and intimidation of media organizations is deeply worrying, especially given we are now entering the run-up to the June 2013 Presidential elections.

Also in the past ten days, Ms Faezeh Hashemi, and Mr Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, the daughter and son of Mr Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former President of Iran, were both arrested by the authorities. Faezeh Hashemi was arrested on 22 September to serve a six-month jail sentence, apparently linked to her participation in an opposition rally in February 2011. Her brother, Mehdi, was taken into custody at Tehran airport two days later, on Monday 24 September, after returning from 36 months exile in London. He is facing charges related to his role in the 2009 post-election unrest.

Lawyers, human rights defenders and independent media make a key contribution in democratic societies and must be allowed to carry out their work without facing intimidation, harassment, arrest and prosecution. The arrests and harsh sentences imposed on such figures reflect a disturbing trend apparently aimed at curbing freedom of expression, opinion and association, which are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a State party.

We urge the Government of Iran to promptly release all those who have been arrested for peacefully exercising their fundamental rights.

For more information or media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org

***01.10.2012. Syria: 78 journalists and media activists martyred during the revolution - 13 journalists and media activists were killed in September 2012 (SJA)

This month has been the most violent month since the Syrian revolution began in March 2011, with /13/ journalists and media activists being killed in September 2012, according to the Media Freedoms Committee in the Syrian Journalists Association, which is monitoring violations against journalists and media activists in Syria.

The number of journalists and media activists who have been killed in Syria has risen to /78/ since March 2011.

Media Freedoms Committee documented in September 2012 the killing of /13/ journalists and media activists. Five in Damascus and its suburbs, four in Deir Ezzour, two in Aleppo, and one in Hama and one in Homs.

Below are the names of journalists and media activists who were killed in September:

- Mohammad Badee’e Al Qasem: a media activist; killed on 4/9/2012 while covering the clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the regime’s forces near the mailbox center in Deir ez-Zor city; Al Qasem is one of the founders of the media center of Deir Al Zor.

- Anas Abdullah, a citizen cameraman: was killed by a shrapnel from a mortar shell, while he was covering the violent shelling on his neighborhood al-Tadamon, as well as the violations committed by Assad forces in Damascus on 06-09-2012.

- Tahseen al-Toom, a media activist: killed due to his wounds on 06-09-2012. After targeting his car by a tank shell in Arbeen in Damascus suburbs on 29-08-2012.

- Nawaf al-Hindi, a human rights and media activist: was killed by a mortar shell in Bait Saham, Damascus suburbs, on 06-09-2012.

- Tamer al-Awam, a film maker and media activist: killed due to his wounds. Tamer injured by a bullet while he was covering the events in Aleppo, on 09-09-2012.Al-Awam who returned to Syria secretly made several documentary films about Syrian revolution, the last film was about events in Idlib. Al-Awam reported a lot of events for German and international media, and he organized many demonstrations and activities to support Syrian revolution in Europe.

- Yusuf Ahmed Deeb, a journalist: killed by warplanes bombing printing house of “Liwaa al-Fatih” newspaper in Aleppo, on 16-09-2012.

- Abdul Rahman Maree al-Mashhour, a media activist: was killed in a demonstration in Hamidiya neighborhood in Deir ez-Zor, on 18-09-2012.

- Abdul Karim al-Oqda, a photographer and ground reporter: was killed with three of his colleagues, while the Syrian regime forces surrounded his house and burned, in al-Arbaain neighborhood in Hama, on 19-09-2012. Al-Oqda was one of the most prominent of Sham News Network reporters and photographers in Hama, he filmed of more than 1250 videos from the combat zones.

- Mamoun Ahmed al-Gghanndo, a journalist: was killed with his twin brother Faris, by falling a mortar shell on his house, in al-Madamia town in Damascus suburbs. On 25-09-2012.

- Abdul Aziz Ragheb El-Sheikh, a media activist: was killed by random shelling on al-Qousur neighborhood in Deir ez-Zor. On 26-09-2012. El-Sheikh was a correspondent of Sham News Network in Deir ez-Zor.

- Maya Nasser, an Iranian journalist: a correspondent of "Press TV" Iran channel, was killed by a sniper near of the Umayyad Square in Damascus, according to the "Press TV" channel. On 26-09-2012.

- Yusuf al-Aqraa, a media activist: was killed during filming a battle in the al-Soultaniya neighborhood, in Homs. On 27-09-2012. Al-Aqraa was one of media activists of al-Farouq Battalions Press Office in the Free Syrian Army.

- Mohammed Fayyad al-Askar, a citizen journalist: was shot on the ground by al-Assad forces in Deir ez-Zor, on 28-09-2012. Al-Askar was an activist in the Deir al-Zour News Network, and Free Deir ez-Zor Radio.

Media Freedoms Committee at the Syria Journalists Association
Damascus 1/10/2012

***25.09.2012. VIETNAM - Navi Pillay concerned about harsh sentences against journalists and bloggers

GENEVA (25 September 2012) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday expressed deep concern about the conviction and harsh sentencing of three  prominent Vietnamese journalists and bloggers, noting this reflected a trend of increasing restrictions on freedom of expression in Viet Nam, especially against those who use the Internet to voice their criticisms.

On Monday, Mr. Nguyen Van Hai (also known as Dieu Cay) received 12 years’ imprisonment and five years’ probation, Ms. Ta Phong Tan received ten years’ imprisonment and three years’ probation, and Mr. Pan Thanh Hai four years’ imprisonment and three years’ probation. The three were convicted of “conducting propaganda” against the State under article 88 of the Penal Code, for posting articles on the website of the Vietnamese Club of Free Journalists, of which they are prominent members.

"The harsh prison terms handed down to bloggers exemplify the severe restrictions on freedom of expression in Viet Nam," Pillay said, adding that the fact that the court's decision came after only a few hours of deliberation raises further questions about the defendants’ right to due process and a fair trial. Pillay also expressed concern about reports that several supporters were detained and prevented from attending the trial. In 2009, during the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Viet Nam’s human rights record, the State accepted a number of recommendations on freedom of expression, including one to “fully guarantee the right to receive, seek and impart information and ideas in compliance with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

"Monday's verdicts are an unfortunate development that undermines the commitments Viet Nam has made internationally, including during the UPR, to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression," the High Commissioner said.

***21.09.2012. SOMALIA. Somalia: NUSOJ Condemns Killing of Journalists in a wave of Suicidebombings in Mogadishu

Mogadishu, 20 September 2012

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) vehemently condemns the barbaric attack that killed three journalists and wounded at least
7 other journalists after three suicide bombers blew themselves up at a cafeteria known for journalists’ gathering, on Thursday afternoon
around 5:50pm local time bringing the total journalists killed this year alone to 12, while the union sends its condolences and shares the
tragedy with the Somali media community at large.

The Journalists killed in the attack include Liibaan Ali Nor and Abdisatar Dahir Sabriye of Somali National Television and Abdirahman
Yasin, Director of local independent Radio station, Radio Hamar, VoD, on the spot. Whereas, Abdiqadir Ahmed Timoos, Mohamed Husein
“Gentleman”, Mohamed Ibrahim “Biibaaye” of  radio Mogadishu and SNTV, Abdullahi Mohamed “Suldaan” and Nuure Mohamed Ali of kulmiye radio,
Mohamed Bishaar of Mustaqbal Radio and Abdikarin Gutale of S24 Television were wounded among them severely, according to witnesses
accounts. All reporters and newscasters, anchors, editor and director at their respective media stations. Five of these wounds are currently
receiving treatment from Madina Hospital and other privately owned hospitals. There are other journalists slightly wounded, but were
discharged from the hospitals due to their injuries.

The attack, took place at the Village restaurant better  known as “Hooyooyinka” across from the National Theatre,  where journalists and
media workers regularly meet. Witnesses said that the attackers refused any chance of escape by first blowing up in the middle of the
restaurant and when people fled for survival, another suicide attacker blew himself up at the only entrance of the restaurant by killing
those who survived the first suicide attacker followed by another one outside the restaurant.

“I was completely lucky, I left the area five minutes before the attack.” Abdifatah Omar Halane, director of Gool FM Radio told NUSOJ
while he was on the way to the hospital carrying wounds “this is a complete tragedy and loss of many important friends and colleagues.”

No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack. But similar attacks were carried out previously by the Shabab militant group.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns this violent attack against the journalists in the strongest terms possible, while
the union sends its sympathies and condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those killed in the attack and wishes those
injured for immediate recovery.

“We are shocked by these Horrific attack against the journalists and we condemn the act in the strongest terms possible.” Mohamed Ibrahim,
NUSOJ Secretary General said, “Though words can not express how awful this is but We send our condolences to the families and friends of
killed journalists and share the pains of these disasters to all the Somali media community at large.”

“Somali Journalists and media workers should be vigilant about the public gatherings to avoid further risks and call for the  Somali
government to launch urgent investigations into the killings of Somali Journalists and bring the killers to court” Mr. Ibrahim added.

This year, 2012.  was a bloody year for the Somali journalists bringing the total journalists and media workers to 12.

The National Union of Somali Journalists once again warns all journalists and media workers in Mogadishu to stay away from public
gatherings and should take safety precautions as much as possible. Most of the Journalists and media workers lack the needed safety
trainings, an important skills for hostile environments.

The National Union of Somali Journalists urges to journalists and media workers who work in these difficult and dangerous situation to
continue their work and not be intimidated by these senseless attacks, which is meant to silence the Somalia media.

NUSOJ will update you the list of the slightly wounded journalists shortly.
 
For further information, please contact: National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Second Floor, Press House, Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District,
Mogadishu, Somalia, Tel: +252 1 859 944,
e-mail: nusoj@nusoj.org.so / nusojsomali@gmail.com or nusoj@ymail.com
E-Newsletter: newsletter@nusoj.org.so
Internet: http://www.nusoj.org.so
Follow us on Twitter: @NUSOJ_Somalia

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) mourns the loss of the another prominent journalist who was assassinated in Mogadishu’s
General Daud High School in Yaqshid neighborhood on Friday noon around 11:30am heightening the dangerous work journalists do in Somalia and
bringing the total number of journalists killed this to 13.

Unknown assailants shot five bullets, three of them on the head of Hassan Yusuf Absuge, in his 40s,  a veteran and academic, who was the
head of Programs of radio Maanta, as he was heading his home, finishing his night shift, according to the Radio Maanta. Late Hassan
Yusuf  Absuge died on the scene.

“We have lost our colleague, he was killed at General Daud High school, after leaving the radio station.”  Hussein Abdulle Mohamed,
program producer of Radio Maanta told NUSOJ.

No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) outrageously condemns the act of assassination against our colleagues.  .

“We condemn this brutal assassinations against the media practitioners in Mogadishu, an act meant to intimidate the journalists either stop
the profession or force into exile.” Mohamed Ibrahim, Secretary General  of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said, “We
call on the Federal government of Somalia to give priority on the security of the journalists and open independent investigations into
the murders of the journalists cases.”

“It is very unfortunate that journalists are killed in assassinations on the eve of the World Peace day.” Mr. Ibrahim added.

On Thursday afternoon, three journalists were killed in suicide bombing and 7 others were wounded.

***20.09.2012. SYRIA. APPEAL FOR ANY INFORMATION ON TWO JOURNALISTS MISSING (INSI)

The International News Safety Institute appeals for any information on two journalists missing in Syria for the past month.
Al-Hurra TV correspondent Bashar Fahmi, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin, and his Turkish cameraman Cuneyt Unal, have been missing since they entered Syria on August 20.
Initial reports suggested they had been captured by Syrian loyalist forces in Aleppo.
On August 27 Unal appeared in an interview with a pro-government Syrian television channel. He said that he had been seized by Syrian soldiers in Aleppo and gave a brief statement in which he described himself as part of an international militant force. The Turkish Foreign Minister said that Unal was forced to make the statement.
There was no mention of Fahmi and nothing further has been heard from either man.
On September 4, the Syrian Information Ministry released a statement saying that Fahmi was not with the Syrian authorities.
"The safety of these men is of major concern and we appeal for any information on their whereabouts and wellbeing," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.
"The Syrian authorities especially have a duty to ensure the safety of all correspondents in their country. They and others in Syria must know something and we ask them to please make contact. INSI assures any informant of the utmost confidentiality."
INSI has recorded the deaths of 23 journalists in Syria this year, and many more have been wounded and arrested and detained.

Anyone with information can contact Rodney Pinder email rodney.pinder@newssafety.org or mobile +44 7734 709267

***20.09.2012. OSCE media freedom representative visits Serbia, urges government to speed up media reforms

BELGRADE, 20 September 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today urged the Serbian government to accelerate reforms to safeguard media freedom.

“Independent journalism and free reporting do exist in Serbia, but looking at the cases of threats and violence against journalists, this still comes at a price,” said Mijatović, who paid her first visit as the OSCE media freedom representative to Belgrade, where she discussed Serbia’s media freedom situation with government officials and journalists.

She also emphasized that the murder cases of three journalists - Slavko Čuruvija, Milan Pantić and Dada Vujasinović – still remain unsolved and that the investigation into these cases should be intensified to bring those responsible to justice.

During her visit, the Representative met Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dačić, Speaker of Parliament Nebojša Stefanović, Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Aleksandar Vučić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Telecommunications Rasim Ljajić, Minister of Culture and Information Bratislav Petković, State Secretary of the Justice Ministry Danilo Nikolić, members of the Broadcasting Agency’s Council, the Director General of the Public Radio and Television Aleksandar Tijanić and media and civil society representatives.

In her meetings Mijatović underscored the need to address the challenges facing media freedom in Serbia: “Without a robust legal and regulatory framework, institutionally protected public and private media and a politically and financially independent broadcast regulator and public service broadcaster, it will not be possible to meet the challenges of digitalization and harmonization with international standards, let alone create a free and vibrant media environment.”

“There is also an urgent need for the state to completely withdraw from the media market and to foster an environment conducive to free media and safety of journalists,” she added. “The case of journalist Laszlo Sass showed that there is a need to fully decriminalize defamation as the threat of criminal sanctions for speech offences has the potential to stifle public debate.”

The Representative also called upon journalists and media owners to resist political and economic pressure and to serve the public and society at large.

Mijatović welcomed the readiness of the authorities to co-operate with her office, as well as to improve media legislation in a open and inclusive manner, support public service broadcaster RTS, ensure the independence of broadcast regulator RBA and to foster transparency of media ownership.

Mijatović is also opening the second South East Europe Media Conference on “Shaping Policy for the Future” today in Belgrade. Organized with the OSCE Mission to Serbia, the event brings together some 200 international and regional journalists, media professionals and experts.

For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/fom/93891

***17.09.2012. Mexican journalists covering drugs traumatised as if in war - Report

Journalists in peacetime Mexico trying to cover drug-related stories are suffering levels of traumatic stress similar to those of war correspondents, according to a scientific study.
The survey was carried out by Dr Anthony Feinstein, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, who 10 years ago also published the most authoritative study into trauma and stress among war reporters.
He found that 25 per cent of the 104 journalists he surveyed reported they had stopped covering drug news because of intimidation directed either at them or their family - and that they reported significantly more symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and general psychological dysfunction than colleagues.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a journalist, largely due to targeting by drug lords trying to influence the news. INSI figures show it was the most murderous country last year with 11 deaths and is the fifth this year so far with seven dead. It has been in the top six deadliest countries consistently over the past 15 years. The rate of impunity is high with killers of journalists rarely brought to justice.
Feinstein's study, carried out with assistance from INSI, was the first of its kind on the effects of trauma on journalists covering their own country in peacetime. He found that more than 70 per cent of the journalists lived in a province where there was drug-related violence. Almost half of them knew a colleague who had been murdered by the drug cartels. More than half of those reporting drug-related news had been threatened. One in 10 had had a family member threatened.
Feinstein, whose landmark work Dangerous Lives: War and the Men and Women Who Report It exposed the trauma suffered by many war correspondents, said the percentage of Mexican journalists showing evidence of psychological distress fitted with data from the war reporters.
But he added:"Unlike the war group, who 'parachute' in and out of danger ... most Mexican journalists studied here both work and live in areas where extreme is endemic. There is no respite from danger..."
UNESCO, which funded the research, said it raised important questions about freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Mexico.
"If journalists are too intimidated to report the news and if their emotional stress is such that they can no longer continue working on a story, the supply of information to the public becomes undermined," it said.
"These disturbing psychological findings should come as a call to Mexican news organisations to support the men and women who, at considerable risk, tell the stories of a local conflict with regional implications for all of the Americas."

***11.09.2012. IFJ and EFJ Welcome Release on Pardon of Journalists Held in Ethiopia

Two Swedish journalists are among prisoners who have been pardoned in Ethiopia to mark the country’s New Year Day. Johan Persson and Martin
Schibbye were jailed in December 2011 for 11 years following their conviction for "supporting a terrorist organisation and illegally entering
Ethiopia". The two journalists, who were reportedly pardoned in July by former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who died in August, were freed
yesterday and are expected to fly home soon, according to media reports.

“We welcome the news of their release which will come as huge relief for their families and colleagues,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “They
have spent more than a year in prison on flimsy charges but it is now time to put their ordeal behind them and get on with their lives.”

Persson and Schibbye entered Ethiopia via Somaliland to investigate the oil project in the region, focusing on Lundin Oil, a company in which the
Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt was on the board and a shareholder, before becoming a government’s minister.

They were arrested after smirches between the Ethiopian military and the rebel movement fighting in the Ogaden region, on the border with Somalia,
where they were captured by the Ethiopian army in July 2011.

Last December, they were sentenced to 11 years in jail after an Ethiopian court convicted them of entering the country illegally and supporting
terrorism. Both journalists admit they entered Ethiopia without permission but strenuously denied any accusations of supporting terrorism.

They did not appeal their conviction, preferring to appeal for clemency based on the Ethiopian tradition of ‘pardoning’ prisoners on the country’s
New Year Day.

“There was never an admission of guilt to terrorism nor any credible evidence to justify their conviction. They were just two journalists
trying to tell a story on a conflict stricken area that needs to be told,” added Arne König, EFJ President . “But they saw little to gain from a
protracted appeal process and we are delighted that they are now free.”

***04.09.2012. Time is Running out for Eritrean Journalists held in Communicado for over Decade, Says IFJ

Fear is mounting over the fate of a group of Eritrean journalists who have been held without charges since 2001, following the regime’s clampdown on
independent media. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which has from the beginning campaigned for their release, today called on
the Eritrean government to disclose information about their situation amid reports that some have died.

“These journalists have been denied justice by the regime’s unconscionable disregard for their fundamental rights,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.
“Now their very lives are at risk and time is running out to save them. The authorities must disclose their whereabouts and state of health.”

The IFJ says the Eritrean authorities have resisted previous calls for the journalists’ release, denying even requests to provide information about
their conditions of detention and to allow family visits. In 2007, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights found Eritrea in breach of
the journalists’ rights and ordered their release or a speedy trial and fair trial but the government failed to comply with the ruling.

The Federation estimates that at least 18 journalists have been detained without charges since the Eritrean government imposed a ban on independent
media in September 2001. They include Zemenfes Haile, founder and manager of independent weekly Tsigenay, his editor-in-chief Yosef Mohamed Ali and
reporter Ghebrehiwet Keleta, Selamyinghes Beyene, reporter for MeQaleh, Binyam Haile of Haddas Eritre, Seyoum Tsehaye, freelance and former
Director of Eritrean State Television (ETV), Temesgen Gebreyesus of Keste Debena, Mattewos Habteab (MeQaleh), Dawit Habtemicheal (MeQaleh), Medhanie
Haile, editor-in-chief (Keste Debena), Fessahye Yohannes, editor-in-chief of Setit, Said Abdulkadir, chief editor of Admas, Amanuel Asrat, chief
editor of Zemen, Amanuel Asrat (Zemen) and Dawit Isaac, a dual Eritrean and Swedish national. He had returned to his native Eritrea after
independence and helped launch the country's first independent newspaper, Setit. Dawit was briefly released in 2005 but re-arrested and there has
been no official information on the journalists’ situation.

This week in Swedish, an online campaign ‘4000 days’ is being organised on social media, Facebook and on Twitter ‘#fourthousand’, to mark the 4000
days he and his colleagues have spent in detention.

Recent reports have claimed that some of the detainees have died after the Eritrean officials acknowledged earlier in the year that some of the
journalists had died in detention but refused to give names.

“These reports will understandably add to the anguish and distress of the journalists’ families and colleagues,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General
Secretary. “This may be the last chance to save Isaac and his colleagues and we must pile on the pressure on Eritrea to release them.”

***02.09.2012. SYRIA. Nine journalists and media activists have been killed in Syria during August - The biggest number since the beginning of the revolution (Syrian Journalists Association)

This month has been the most violent month since the Syrian revolution began in March 2011, with nine journalists and media activists being killed in August 2012, according to the Media Freedoms Committee in the Syrian Journalists Association, which is monitoring violations against journalists and media activists in Syria.

The number of journalists and media activists who have been killed in Syria has risen to 65 since March 2011.

Below are the names of journalists and media activists who were killed in August 2012:

 1 - Zuhair Mohammed al-Shaher, a citizen photographer: killed in Deir al-Zour on 02/08/2012.

2 - Haitham Hamsho, a media activist: killed in Salah al-Din neighborhood in Aleppo on 09/08/2012.

3 - Baraa Yusuf al-Boushi, a journalist: killed in al-Tall, Damascus suburbs, on 11/08/2012.

4 - Ahmed Fouad al-Mohammad, a media activist: killed while filming in Daraa on 14/08/2012.

5 - Ghias Abdullah, a media activist: killed by a sniper in Saif al-Dawla neighborhood in Aleppo on 18/08/2012.

6 - Mika Yamamoto, a Japanese journalist: killed by heavy shelling by the Syrian army in Suleiman al-Halabi neighborhood in Aleppo on 20/08/2012.

7 - Mosaab Mohamed Said al-Odaallah, a journalist: killed by the Syrian regime’s forces after a raid on his home in Nahir Eisha in Damascus on 22/08/2012.

8 - Omar al-Hamed Al-Zamil, a media activist: died of his wounds as a result of shelling in the city of al-Hirak in Daraa province on 22/08/2012.

9 - Mahmoud Zakaria Al-Basha, a citizen journalist and photographer: killed in the  shelling of al-Bab city in Aleppo province on 31/08/2012.

Media Freedoms Committee of the Syrian Journalists Association
Damascus 01/09/2012

***16.08.2012. SOMALIA. NUSOJ launches campaign to end Impunity of Killing Journalists and Media Workers in Somalia

Mogadishu, August 16, 2012

Somali media representatives, civil society organizations, human rights advocacy groups, journalist and union officials gathered at
Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on August 16, 2012 to discuss the raising concerns of the terrifying surge of journalists killings, the safety
of the working journalists, media impunity, lack of justice and way to assist families of fallen colleagues, as part campaign to combat the
impunity and injustice launched by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

It has been a matter of concern that 10 journalists and media workers were killed in Somalia since December last year, most surprisingly all
the attacks are happening in the government controlled areas and no one has been held accountable for this heinous crimes against the
media practitioners, the conference noted raising concerns of who are the actual killers? Are all related to the Shabab or there are other
elements who are targeted the messengers?

On his opening remarks, Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim, the Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) highlighted the
dangers the media practitioners and human rights defenders are facing at a time the country is in transition which is due to end this month,
the continued targeted attacks and the government’s inability to conduct investigations and bring the killers to court, is becoming a
real threat to the lives of other living journalists.

“Enough is enough, we can not wait until we are all killed,” Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “It is time we seek justice for
our fallen fellow journalists and the criminals are accounted and bring them to court.”

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) believes that if the government opens independent investigations into the killings and
bring them to court of law could lessen the targeted assassinations against the journalists and media workers, which is meant to sabotage
the free flow of information.

"We will not be intimidated by these heartless assassins and urge the government and the African Union mission in Somalia to carry out
investigations into the killings of journalists and do not let the killers to walk freely. NUSOJ and Somali Media fraternity will not
rest until the killers are accounted for their crimes." Mr. Ibrahim said, "I take this opportunity to thank Doha Center for Media freedom
for their vivid cooperation and generous support to the Somali journalists in need for help, thanking the support they have provided
the wounded journalists in Somalia."

The conference acknowledged the fact that the outnumbering targeted killings, death threats, intimidations and the lack of investigations
into the murder cases followed by fear for safety have profound affect to the lives of the media practitioners. It was also noted that there
are other elements besides Shabab that are targeting the journalists.

“Dear friends, there are other criminals who are targeting us in the government controlled areas besides the Shabab, which we will have to
be very careful about it.” Abdullahi Ali Farah, Director of SIMBA radio said.

The conference underlined that, condemnation was not helpful when one of our journalists is killed but more solidarity among the community
is needed. “We need to focus the reality and speak with the government, put them pressure to investigate these crimes.”

Osman Abdullahi Guure, Director of Radio Kulmiye urged conference participants to take measure in ensuring the safety of their staff,
“Every media station has to provide security, especially those working late at nights.”

The conference raised that the importance to assist families of fallen colleagues and seek way to support them. “As you know the widows and
orphans of killed journalists and media workers are in need of support and we must find ways to help them.” Abdirashid Abdulle Abikar, NUSOJ
Treasurer said. It was agreed that this issue be discussed to another upcoming meeting.

Somalia is becoming one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist and each month a journalist is killed. The conference
participants praised the NUSOJ’s role in defending the rights of the journalists and promoting the freedom of expression and the freedom of
the press. The conference also thanked Doha Center for Media (DCMF) for their continued support to the Somali journalists in distress.

The Conference agreed NUSOJ take the lead in:
1. Engaging the relevant government institutions and discuss the best possible ways to conduct urgent investigations into the killings of
the journalists.
2. To engage the African Union in Somalia (AMISOM) and how they can be of help in carrying out such investigations.
3. To lobby among the local and the relevant international partners to pressure the government in conducting these investigations
4. Urged NUSOJ to continue the lobbies until the criminals are brought to justice.
5. Urged NUSOJ to conduct safety trainings in a bid to empower the journalists ability to manage the risks.
6. Noted the importance to conduct Election reporting workshops a time dozens of candidates are running for the presidential election by the
end of August.

By conducting these investigations could mean survival for the living journalists. The launch of this campaign comes a crucial time the
Somali journalists and media workers worry their safety.

Similar conference took place in Nairobi, Kenya organized by the union members led by Somali Exiled Journalists (SEJASS)

Click this link to see the photos:
nusoj.org.so/alerts/2012/August2012/NUSOJ_launches_campaign_to_end_impunity_of_killing_Journalists_and_Media_Workers_in_Somalia.htm
--
For further information, please contact:
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Second Floor, Press House, Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District,
Mogadishu, Somalia, Tel: +252 1 859 944,
e-mail: nusoj@nusoj.org.so / nusojsomali@gmail.com or nusoj@ymail.com
E-Newsletter: newsletter@nusoj.org.so

***13.08.2012. Somalia: NUSOJ Condemns the murder of two journalists in Mogadishu in a single day

Mogadishu, August 12, 2012

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns the murder of two Somali journalists in separate incidents in Mogadishu on
Sunday, August 12, 2012, the latest in a string of attacks against the media workers and journalists in Somalia and numbered the total
journalists and media workers killed in Somalia in 2012 to nine (9).

Three unknown gunmen dressed like school children shot to death Yusuf Ali Osman, a veteran Somali Journalist and former director at the
Somalia’s Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication, several times on the head on Sunday morning around 7:00am local time.
Osman was killed in Mogadishu Dharkenley district near a garage where he used to park his car to go for work, according to witnesses. the
attackers immediately fled the area.

Witnesses reported that the gunmen called the journalists name to ensure it was him before he was shot. His funeral took place at
Baghdad area, 10km South of the capital Mogadishu. The tragic incident was notified to Mohamed Ibrahim, the Secretary General of the
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) upon his arrival at the Mogadishu airport after finishing International Investigative
Reporting at the ABC News as a Galloway Family Foundation Fellow in the United States attended the funeral, calling the murder, “Cowardly
and barbaric.”.

“This is another tragic loss for the Somali media community and we should not be intimidated by these cowardly acts of assassinations
meant to silence the voice of the voiceless.” Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “on behalf of the Somali journalists, we
condemn in the strongest possible to these heinous and targeted crimes and call for an immediate end of the senseless murders of the
journalists.”

“The criminals must not be let free and must be accounted for.” Mr. Ibrahim added sending condolence to the family and friends who might
miss him. “Our sympathies and prayers goes to him and his families.”

Some senior government officials also attended the funeral among them was the Director General of the Ministry of Information, Posts and
Telecommunication, Mr. Abdirisaq Bahlawi who condemned the murder.

Late Yusuf Ali Osman in his sixties served from as a journalist for more than 30 years from the Somali National Radio and Television,
Eastern Africa Radio Director in Mogadishu. He served as a media trainer and He was the former head of the National Media Council that
drafted the current Media Law in 2007.

“We are particularly saddened by the loss of a great colleague, Mr. Yusuf Ali Osman, who has been a remarkable manager and hardworking
staff in the Ministry of Information.” The Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, H.E. Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed said
today in a statement.

The United Nations Political Office for Somalia condemned the assassination of late Yusuf Ali Osman in a statement.

“It was only 12 days ago that the comedian and media worker “Marshale” was killed. Today we mourn another prominent member of the Somali
media community, Yusuf-Farey.” The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga said. “I send
my deepest condolences to his family and to all Somali media professionals, who for too long have seen their colleagues targeted,
injured and assassinated without a single perpetrator being brought to justice”,

In a separate incident, a broadcast journalist, Mohamoud Ali Yare better known as Buneyste, who is the Nairobi correspondent of the
Mogadishu based Radio Hamar – Voice of Democracy – (VoD) - was killed by straying bullet that hit him on the head, while he was watching a
football game at a playground at Towfiiq neighborhood of Yaqshid District in Mogadishu on late Sunday afternoon, around 5:30pm,
according to the Director of Radio Hamar, Voice of Democracy, Abdirahman Yasin who spoke with NUSOJ. Radio Hamar is a privately
owned Radio station.

Late Mohamoud Ali, in his 20, came to Mogadishu recently to visit his sick mom in Mogadishu and planning to return to Nairobi to continue
his reporting.

“He was hit by a straying bullet on the head as he was watching soccer game at a playground in Towfiiq neighborhood.” Mr. Abdirahman Yasin,
Director of Radio Hamar, Voice of Democracy said, “There was a firefight in the area among the Somali government forces.”

“He was our Nairobi reporter and recently came to Mogadishu to visit his sick.” Mr. Yasin added. <END>

The photos of the Funeral are posted on Union website:
http://www.nusoj.org.so/alerts/2012/August2012/NUSOJ_strongly_condemns_the_murder_of_two_Somali_Journalists_in_MOgadishu.htm

--
Gunmen Kill Somali Media Worker in Mogadishu

Mogadishu, July 31, 2012,

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) Denounces in the strongest terms possible to the killing of the Somali comedian and a
media worker in Mogadishu on July 31, 2012, making it the seventh to be killed in Somalia in 2012 alone.

Two unknown assailants shot to death a renowned Somali comedian and a media worker, Abdi Malaq Jeylani better known as Marshale, in front of
his home in Waberi district in Mogadishu at late Tuesday afternoon on July 31, 2012 around 5:30pm local time.

The attackers fled the scene immediately. No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns this heinous attack in the strongest terms possible. The Union’s sincere and
heartfelt condolences go out to the families and Friends of Late Jeylani who was assassinated near his home in Waberi district.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of late Jeylani affected this terrible tragedy." Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ
Secretary General said, “We must stand together in challenging the reckless impunity in a widespread and call for the government to
investigate these horrible crimes against the journalists and the media workers"

“We call upon the Somali government to protect the journalists at this critical stage in which the country is in transition as the
criminals are killing a journalist each month and walk freely without facing justice.” Mr. Ibrahim added.

Late Jeylani, 43, has worked several radio and Television stations and took part dramas that were critical to the Shabab. He has
previously reported to the union that he has received several threatening phone calls from the Shabab ordering him to abandon the
media.

He survived two wives and six (6) children. One of the wives is pregnant. He is the seventh to be killed in 2012 and several other
journalists survived from assassination attempts.

On July 8, 2012, A Somali Journalist, Abdulkadir Omar Abdulle survived from an assassination attempt near his home at Madina District in
Mogadishu when two unidentified gunmen approached him and shot him four times, he is recovering at the Nairobi Hospital and he is now in
good health. Similarly, Two armed men shot and seriously wounded Mohamed Shariif of Bar-Kulan Radio, a UN Funded radio, at hamarjajab
district minutes after he left the office Horn Cable television and was heading home on June 8, 2012.

***31.07.2012. SYRIA - INSI SAFETY ADVICE

Syria has become one of the biggest challenges facing news organisations the world over. Since the start of this year, at least 19 journalists and
members of the Syrian and international news media have died there covering the news and many more have been detained, assaulted and
threatened.
One of the key and recurring issues affecting the security and safety of both local and international journalists has been the paucity and
sensitivity of reliable information.
The International News Safety Institute has been working with its members, who include some of the world’s leading media organisations, since the
violence began in Syria last year, to share information that might impact on the safety of journalists and news crews covering the events there.
But because of the sensitivity of a lot of the information we have often had to do this by liaising directly with news organisations and individual
journalists rather than publicly discussing issues that might compromise their safety. For this reason, we have not been issuing as frequent safety
advisories as we did during the conflict in Libya.
However, as the focus of the fighting has moved to Syria’s second city, Aleppo, where the Syrian Army’s offensive has entered a fourth day, the
concerns around the safety of news crews have exacerbated and we are issuing this guide for journalists about Syria.

SYRIA SAFETY UPDATE
On Monday, an Al Jazeera correspondent was hit by shrapnel covering the clashes in Aleppo. Omar Khashram was evacuated across the border and is
now receiving medical treatment.
The BBC’s Ian Pannell, who has been inside Aleppo with his team described a “very confused” situation. Snipers are operating in many areas of the
city, and the government troops appear to be shelling indiscriminately.
News crews should be aware of this high level of uncertainty and volatility and have a solid evacuation plan.
News teams should also be aware that some of the fighters in Aleppo have been identifying themselves as belonging to Al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, thousands of Syrian people are fleeing the fighting in Aleppo and across Syria, heading for the borders with neighbouring countries
Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

BORDERS
Turkey - There are signs that the number of news media travelling to the Turkish border with Syria is increasing.
Most foreign journalists are heading towards the Turkish border town of Antakya, where there are reports that prices for accommodation and other
facilities are being inflated substantially.
INSI is concerned that some journalists travelling to the border have not built up contacts in Syria, and do not have a ‘point person’ in Turkey.
All journalists should have good, reliable and trustworthy contacts in place before they attempt to cross into Syria. INSI is concerned that
without this preparation, the increasing number of journalists heading to the border could be risking their safety, or putting themselves in a
situation where they are charged exorbitant rates by smugglers to get across the border and then left to their own devices.
All journalists should ensure they have a reliable and trustworthy translator if they are not Arabic speakers.
The FSA command structure now appears to be very fractured. FSA commanders do not trust each other and some journalists have reported being handed
from one commander to another only to be told not to trust the second one.
However as the insecurity increases, journalists must ensure they know who the local FSA commanders are as they may be reliant on them in an
emergency.
In the past, journalists were able to rely to an extent on the activist network, but this now appears to be almost non-existent, although there is
still some activist presence from the Turkish side.
There has been evidence of Al Qaeda, and other Islamic extremist groups working in the border regions. A British and Dutch photographer were
released several days ago after being held by such a group for over a week.
Journalists should not assume that there is necessarily safety in numbers inside Turkey. There have been reports of PKK presence in the area of the
camps, and Turkey has expressed concern about the influence of the PKK supported by the Syrians, though reports suggest that the PKK is unlikely
to target Turkey from Syria.
Lebanon – The Lebanese border is extremely and increasingly challenging, with arrests reported of journalists and frequent shelling, and it is now
becoming very difficult for news teams to operate on the Lebanese side. A number of crews have attempted to enter Syria this way, but have faced
lengthy delays and some have turned back.
If crews are going from the Lebanese side, they should expect that the experience will be similar to an embed. Those trying to cross the border
are very much reliant on smugglers, and there is the possibility that someone else may offer a greater price than the news teams and they might
be ‘sold out’.

COMMUNICATIONS
Communications remain a major issue, as they have been throughout the conflict. The Syrian authorities have a very powerful technological
capability to jam, monitor and possibly track GSM and satellite communications, though its true reach and ability is not known for sure.
News crews are advised to act extremely cautiously to protect their technological equipment and all phones and laptops should be sanitised and
journalists should be incredibly vigilant about sharing information on social media sites and of those with whom they make contact doing the
same.
It has been very challenging for news teams to get lines of communication out of Syria and though some organisations say their Bgans and satellite
phones are not working, others are able to get brief lines out.
Likewise, some teams have been able to file by internet and others have been able to text locally.
Aleppo is currently causing a number of issues with communications with some news crews unable to file at all.

INSI is coordinating a secure email forum for its members to share confidential and time sensitive information about issues affecting the
safety of news crews and journalists covering events in Syria. For more
information, please contact Hannah Storm, Hannah.storm@newssafety.org or
+447766 814274

***27.06.2012. INSI appeals to Syrian combatants to respect safety of journalists

London, 27 June - The International News Safety Institute appealed to all sides in the Syrian conflict to respect the safety of journalists - and
reminded that deliberate targeting of the news media is a war crime.
Gunmen raided the headquarters of the pro-government Syrian TV station Al-Ikhbariya early Wednesday, killing seven employees, kidnapping others
and demolishing buildings, according to reports. The Syrian government accused rebel forces of a "massacre against the
freedom of the press".
According to INSI data, Syria is the bloodiest country in the world this year for journalists with 17 deaths out of a global total of 73. Several
citizen journalists also have been killed.
Syrian forces stand accused of being responsible for the great majority of the killings, but pro-government journalists also have been attacked on
several occasions during the 15-month uprising.
"Journalists are not combatants - they are innocent bystanders simply doing their jobs, either as independent reporters or as employees of news
organisations - and their safety must be respected," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder.
"Every attack on the news media is an assault on the freedom and human rights of all Syrians - the cause both sides claim to be fighting for."
Pinder drew attention to the Geneva Conventions which clearly state that to intentionally attack civilians not taking direct part in hostilities is
a war crime. Journalists are regarded as civilians, protected under international law.
"Journalists and other news media staff are not fair game for murder in any cause or conflict and those responsible should eventually be held to
account by the international community," he said.

***22.06.2012. IFJ Urges UN Human Rights Council to Act on Journalists' Summary Killings Report

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has said that recommendations by the Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killings and summary executions to the 20th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council are a step in the right direction but urged the Council to hold states to their international obligations.

This followed the report of Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killings and summary executions, to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday in Geneva. In his report, Mr. Heyns focused on the killings of journalists whom he warned "are killed at an alarming rate by States and non-States actors while others are intimidated into self-censorship."

His report identifies impunity as one of the main reasons for journalists' killings, most of whom are local reporters covering corruption, crime and human rights issues. He notes that "The problem does not lie with gaps in the international legal framework. The challenge is rather to ensure that the established international framework is fully used and that its norms are reflected in domestic laws and practices." He recommends raising the awareness about the issue of journalists' killings "from the local to national and international levels."

The IFJ welcomed the report's findings and recommendations, saying that they represent an indictment of governments' failure to protect journalists.

"The fact that far too many journalists continue to lose their lives, in times of peace and for reasons related to their professional activities, is an indictment of many governments' failure to fulfill their obligations to protect our colleagues' most fundamental right --- the right to life," said IFJ Human Rights and Communications Officer, Ernest Sagaga in a statement to the Council.

The Federation also called on the United Nations and its specialized agencies, especially the Human Rights Council, to play a more engaging role.

"This involves taking a clear stand against states which systematically violate their own laws and international treaties they are a Party to, in denial of - or indifference to - what has become a regular pattern of targeted killings of journalists," added Sagaga.

***20.06.2012. UN HRC: Two Special Rapporteurs both call for those who violate journalists’ rights to be held accountable (article 19)

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the unusual event of two reports concentrating on the same issue being presented at the twentieth session of the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday 19 June 2012.

The reports, by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression and the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, both focus on the issue of impunity for violations of journalists’ human rights.

Both reports urge relevant state and non-state actors to secure journalists’ rights by implementing international human rights law and monitoring this implementation. ARTICLE 19 strongly endorses the Special Rapporteurs’ recommendations and hopes they signal the start of more concerted global efforts to protect journalists.

It is unusual for two Special Rapporteurs to focus on one particular issue. Each has done so from the perspective of their particular mandate: The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (SRESA), Christoph Heyns, has investigated the mechanisms in place to provide greater protection to the right to life of journalistsThe Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression (SRFOE), Frank la Rue, has focused on the protection of journalists and media freedom, particularly in situations which do not involve armed conflict.

The overlap of the reports’ content suggests that they are intended to be mutually supportive. This impression is reinforced by the fact that both documents are being presented on the same day of the current session of the Human Rights Council. It also shows how urgently the protection of journalists worldwide needs to be addressed.

The two reports should spur the international community to:take a more comprehensive look at the current shortfalls in the protection of journalists’ rightstake positive steps to implement the Special Rapporteurs’ recommendations for addressing these problems.

ARTICLE 19 welcomes both reports and hopes they will lead to states improving how they respond to violations of journalists’ rights: to date, these have been grossly inadequate.

more on: www.article19.org

***31.05.2012. SYRIA. Four journalists killed in two days (DCMF)

Four journalists were killed just one day apart in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus, increasing the death toll of journalists to 35 since the beginning of the anti-regime protests last year.

In a statement published on Facebook, Al-Sham Information Network confirmed the death of its director Amar Mohamed Souheil Zada, and of citizen journalists Ahmed Adnan Al Ashlaq and Fahmi Al Naiimi ambushed by the Syrian army on May 27.

Next day, Bassel Al Shahade, a Fulbright scholar and a student filmmaker, was killed in Homs by a shell explosion launched by the Syrian army.

Bassel Al Homsi, a Syrian activist, told Doha Centre for Media Freedom that Al Ashlaq, aged 20, was targeted by the army as he was filming the army attacking Al Khalidiyah, a city near Homs.

In a letter addressed to DCMF, Al Sham confirmed the loss of their young journalist, adding that the website would not give any additional details for security measures.

Al Ashlaq was studying engineering at Al Baat university in Damascus and was reporting for news website Al Sham. He was also helping managing the website from Homs.

Al Homsi also confirmed the death of Al Shahade on May 28 and highlighted that violence was intensified on all Homs and Alhamidiya areas on the day of the filmmaker's death.

Al Shahade, a student at Syracuse University in U.S, was in Homs despite the violence to conduct workshops on photography and filmmaking for activists.

He was arrested by the Syrian authority after Al Maydan demonstration last July and was freed shortly after.

Al Shahade was born in Damascus and was graduated from the Information Sciences University and also studied filmmaking in the United States during one year.

***30.05.2012. SYRIA. The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) joined a statement about Mazen Darwish and the court cases against SCM activists

Yesterday, on May 29, 2012, seven employees of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) and one SCM visitor were summoned to stand on trial at a military court in Damascus. They have been charged with “possessing prohibited materials with the intent to disseminate them”. However, at the start of the court hearings, the judge decided to postpone the trial until June 25, because the Air Force Intelligence Service had failed to notify whether SCM Director Mazen Darwish would appear as a witness. This trial fits in a pattern of censorship and repression against journalists, media workers, bloggers and activists who defend freedom of expression in Syria. Our organisations consider that the charges against them are politically motivated.

We, the undersigned human rights organizations express our concerns about the personal safety of SCM Director Mazen Darwish. Therefore, we have kindly requested His Excellency Mr Kofi Annan and his team to visit Mazen Darwish during this visit to Syria, and get first hand information about his health situation.

We call for the immediate release of Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghareer, Abdelrahman Hamada, Mansour Al-Omari and Hani Zetani – the five people who remain in incommunicado detention in the Air Force Intelligence (AFI) detention centre without any charges, as well as the release of Bassam Al-Ahmad, Joan Farso, Ayham Ghazzoul, Yara Bader, Razan Ghazzawi, Mayadah Al-Khaleel, Sana Zetani and Hanadi Zahlout, who will stand on trial on June 25, 2012.

We express our our solidarity with these media activists and urge the judge to observe rigorously all the guarantees of a fair trial in accordance with international standards.

Trial against SCM

On February 16, 2012, the Air Force Intelligence (AFI) conducted a raid at the premises of SCM in Damascus during which they arrested 16 persons, including its Director Mazen Darwish. Seven of them were conditionally released on March 18, 2012, and had to report to the AFI detention centre every day for further interrogation. The others were kept in detention, some of them incommunicado.

On April 22, 2012, the Military Prosecutor in Damascus informed eight of the 16 initially arrested that they would be prosecuted by a military court for “possessing prohibited materials with the intent to disseminate them”, a criminal offense that is punishable by six months of imprisonment under Article 148 of the Criminal Code. These eight people would stand on trial yesterday, May 29. They are Bassam Al-Ahmad, Joan Farso and Ayham Ghazzoul (who were still detained on April 22) and Yara Bader, Razan Ghazzawi, Mayadah Al-Khaleel, Sana Zetani and Hanadi Zahlout (who were released on bail on March 18 and again detained on April 22). Mrs Zahlout is not a SCM staff member, but was a visitor to the centre on February 16.

Meanwhile, five other activists are still in held incommunicado in the AFI detention centre in Al-Mazzeh, Damascus. These are Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghareer, Abdelrahman Hamada, Mansour Al-Omari and Hani Zetani. They have not been charged so far, but since their arrest on February 16 they have been denied access to their lawyers. Mazen Darwish and Hussein Ghareer are in solitary detention. Mazen Darwish has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

The undersigned international NGOs had organized an observation mission, composed of lawyers from the region. We have decided to cancel this observation mission, because we could not sufficiently guarantee the personal safety of these observers under the current high tension circumstances in Damascus.

Suppression of freedom of expression

This trial fits in a pattern of censorship and repression against professional journalists, media workers, citizen journalists (bloggers) and media activists who defend freedom of expression in Syria. Syria is one of the most unsafe countries for them, with the highest number of killings. Since the beginning of the uprising in March 2011 several journalists and media activists have been killed. They have been executed, killed by car bombs or tortured to death. A horrible example is Khaled Mahmoud Kabbisho, who was arrested on April 17 and whose head was crushed by a tank of governmental troops. Three days earlier, the body of citizen journalist Alaa Al-Din Hassan Al-Douri was delivered at his family’s home. There was evidence that he had been tortured to death. Citizen journalist Mohammed Abdelmawla Al-Hariri is now handicapped as a result of torture. At least 31 professional journalists, citizen journalists and media activists are currently detained by the Syrian authorities. This includes the staff of SCM who are still detained.

Signatories

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
Front Line Defenders
Hivos
International Media Support
Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT))
Reporters Without Borders
Samir Kassir Foundation (SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom)

***24.05.2012. SOMALIA. NUSOJ is grieved by the Senseless Murder of Radio Journalist in Mogadishu.

National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is outraged and grieved by the increasing attacks against the journalists in Somalia,
following the brutal murder of Radio journalist in Mogadishu on Wednesday 24, may 2012, around 1:25 PM local time.

Four unknown assailants armed with pistols shot to death Ahmed Addow Anshur, a producer and reporter for the Mogadishu based Radio
Shabelle. The journalist died instantly with bullets hit on the head and the chest and the killers immediately escaped from the scene
according to the witnesses at market.

The incident took place near the home of the journalist at Suuq (Market) Bo’le in Dharkenley District of Mogadishu, an area controlled
by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

It is not yet known the motive behind the killing. The body of the victim has now taken to the family’ house and laid there until his
burial is arranged.

This is the latest of string of attacks against journalists and media workers meant to undermine the media freedom and the freedom of
expression, says NUSOJ.

“The death of Ahmed Addow Anshur is a great loss, a savage and inhuman act. We strongly condemn this barbaric attack,” says, Burhan Ahmed
Dahir, the President of the Supreme Council of NUSOJ. “On behalf of NUSOJ, I send my sincere condolences to the bereaved families and
friends of Mr. Anshur and ask Allah to rest his soul in paradise”.

“The mounting attacks against the media professionals in Somalia are a source of dire concern. Journalists play a vital role for informing,
educating and preparing the community to enable the society to take informed decisions. There can be no political or religious reason for attaking these media people,” added Mr Dahir.

The National Union of Somali journalists (NUSOJ) calls on the authority of Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to take prompt
and public to safeguard the journalists and thoroughly investigate the crime to bring justice those responsible for these murders to prevent
further killings.

Late Ahmed Addow Anshur is the sixth journalist and media workers murdered in Somalia in 2012 alone in the hands of the criminals in
Somalia. He survived a wife.

It is being planned to bury the body in this Wednesday afternoon at Jazeera cemeteries in Southern suburbs of Mogadishu according to the
victim’s family members.

In Somalia, where the violent attacks were raging over the past two decades, journalists and the media houses were under insistent
attacks. A significant number of journalists where killed, injures, arrested, as media houses were censored, suspended, or physically
raided as well.

***24.05.2012. DOHA FORUM - Journalists’ Safety Is Back on Top of World Community’s Agenda, Says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) made a crucial contribution to a debate on safety of journalists at the 12th Doha Forum
which closed yesterday.

Bringing together over 600 international participants, including a Representative of the PRESS EMBLEM CAMPAIGN (PEC) (Red), political leaders, decisions makers, academics, media figures as well as representatives of civil society and regional and international organisations, the Forum held a two-day debate focussing on the Arab Spring and the global financial and economic risis.

One of its major sessions led by IFJ president Jim Boumelha and the General Secretary of the National Union of the Philippines, Nestor Burgos
Jr, built on the momentum created last January by an international conference for the protection of journalists in dangerous situation also
held in Doha.

“The Forum presented the IFJ with an important opportunity to highlight before an audience of world agencies and governments the vital issues
concerning safety of journalists and the urgency for strengthening national laws to end impunity,” said Boumelha.

Chaired by Dr Ali Bin Smaikh Al-Marry, Chair of the Qatar National Human Rights Committee, the participants reviewed the recommendations made by
the last international conference and plans to put safety on the agenda of the UN General Assembly and highlight the obligation of states to provide
more coherent and practical measures to combat targeted violence and to eradicate impunity.

Nestor Burgos Jr gave a moving account of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre where 33 journalists were murdered and its impact on journalists in the
Philippines. He also provided an update on the trials of the suspects in the massacre and on the campaign waged by the families of killed
journalists.

“The Doha Forum’s workshop on the recommendations of the International Conference on the Protection of Journalists is a welcome and significant
step in further calling international attention to and action on the unabated murders of media workers in many parts of the world including in
the Philippines,” he said.

The recommendations issued by the last Doha conference, organised by the Qatari National Committee for Human Rights, have become a key part of the global campaign to press governments on their responsibility to protect journalists. They emphasise the need to vigorously enforce the existing
legal instruments, binding national authorities to prevent and punish violence against journalists and request the UN to develop new strategies
to promote states' compliance with their obligations as well as the creation of a special unit in the Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights to follow up media cases. They call for the right of their families to receive compensation as well as the need for donors to link
aid assistance to countries' record on media protection. They further request news organisations to provide adequate safety training and all
appropriate support, including protection equipment and trauma counsel to their staff.

“These renewed activities have put media protection back on the top agenda of world institutions and the IFJ is now a key player in the global
campaign aimed at the UN and its agencies," added Boumelha.

***DOHA FORUM 2012. Journalist protection should be a priority (DCMF)
 
At the Doha Forum 2012, media experts urged news networks to train journalists in dangerous situations & recognise the importance of new media.
By Zainab Sultan (DCMF)

Journalists should undergo hostile environment training, try and record any attacks on them and be ready to handle interrogations if captured. These were some of the recommendations made by media experts at the recently concluded Doha Forum 2012.

Among the topics discussed during the three day event were the role of media post Arab revolutions and the impact of social and electronic media on Arab politics. A workshop was also conducted for journalists to train them on how to protect themselves in hostile situations.

“In 2011, 106 journalists died from 35 countries with Iraq, Pakistan and Mexico topping the list,” said Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists. “This year many journalists have died in Nigeria and Syria.”

According to IFJ, one out of four journalists working in a war or conflict zone is likely to die but two-third of the killers face no trial or punishment.

“In 15 years the global rate of impunity has remained constant and I think impunity is the best tool to assess press freedom,” said Boumelha.

Qatar National Committee for Human Rights organised the International Conference to Protect Journalists  in January 2012 and drafted out several recommendations for the UN, local and international governments, news organisations and journalists.

Some of them included recalling the declarations of the UN and Geneva Conventions, creating awareness among journalists about their rights and involving all NGOs to collaborate and evaluate the current status of media in conflict areas and discussing the draft convention to protect journalists in dangerous situations.

Hassan Rachidi, Doha Centre of Media Freedom consultant, called for all organisations to collaborate because “implementation of laws can be achieved based on cooperation not competition.”

Rachidi stressed that “we have to mobilise the management to believe that the protection of journalists is the responsibility of the employer and journalists should have the right to refuse to go to conflict zones.”

Role of new media and its future in the Arab world

At the session on social and electronic media, media gurus explored the impact and future of social media in the Arab world and the role of citizen journalists during the Arab revolutions.

Ben Bradshaw, former Secretary of State, Department of Culture, Media and Sport in UK said that it would be unfair to label the Arab Spring as Facebook or Twitter revolution because “other countries like Yemen and Libya who do not have many internet users were able to carry out a revolution successfully.”

However, Mustafa Sawaq, Director of Al Jazeera News in Doha did not want to undermine the impact of social media as “it gave us a better way to cover the revolution because we were prohibited to enter many countries for coverage.”

But all of this information flow comes with challenges. Sawaq explains that “Al Jazeera receives more than 1,000 videos each day and we need an army of staff to view this material and verify it for us.”

The panellists advised against ignoring the presence of new media and its usage because Arab countries’ media is evolving and the lines between traditional and other forms of journalism are  becoming blurred as news networks   increasingly rely on citizen journalists.

“Absence of freedom and censorship in totalitarian governments has led to the birth of citizen journalists and we need to note that this is a gift for us,” said Rachidi.

 The forum is in its 12th year and the theme this year was democracy, development and free trade in the Middle East and the Arab world. It was attended by 610 delegates from 84 countries. 

***17.05.2012. HONDURAS. Alerta del Secretariado Permanente de la Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe para la Democracia (Redlad):
Secuestro y asesinato de periodista en Honduras (English below)

El Secretariado Permanente de la Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe para la Democracia (Redlad) lamenta el secuestro y asesinato del periodista
hondureño Alfredo Villatoro, conductor del noticiario radial El Matutino en la emisora HRN, por mano criminal.

Villatoro, gran aliado de las Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil hondureña y director de noticias de la emisora más importante del país,
fue secuestrado por criminales el pasado miércoles 9 de mayo. El periodista fue encontrado muerto la noche del martes 15 de mayo, según lo
confirmó el Ministro de Seguridad, Pompeyo Bonilla.

Según la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, se contabilizan más de 21 asesinatos de periodistas en menos de 3 años, todos los casos
permanecen impunes. Honduras, el país más violento del mundo con más de 87 homicidios por cada 100 mil habitantes y en donde cada hora y media se contabiliza una nueva muerte violenta.

El Colegio de Periodistas de Honduras (CPH) condenó el secuestro de Villatoro y alertó sobre la pésima situación que vive la libertad de
prensa y expresión en el país centroamericano. Igualmente, el Cardenal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez, repudió el hecho delictivo. A su vez, la
Asociación de Medios de Comunicación de Honduras (AMCH) exigió al Gobierno del Presidente Porfirio Lobo que "investigue, identifique y castigue" al
crimen organizado que ha secuestrado, violentado y asesinado a tantos periodistas en Honduras.

Por ello, el Secretariado Permanente de la Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe para la Democracia, plataforma de impulso a la democracia y el
respeto de los derechos humanos, integrada por más de 300 organizaciones de la región. Miembro Oficial del Foro de Sociedad Civil de la
Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) y Capítulo Regional del Movimiento Mundial por la Democracia (WMD):

· Alerta al gobierno del presidente Porfirio Lobo para que tome cartas en el asunto y no escatime gastos en asegurar el pleno respeto de
la libertad de prensa. La violencia en Honduras es una situación alarmante que requiere soluciones concretas y rápidas.
· Insta a la comunidad internacional y gobiernos democráticos del mundo a solicitar públicamente el respeto a la libertad de expresión y
prensa en Honduras y aumentar los vínculos de cooperación para la ejecución de proyectos encaminados a enfrentar el dilema de violencia
generalizada que azota al país.
· Urge a los medios de comunicación internacionales, organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil e instituciones defensoras de la
libertad de prensa y expresión a manifestarse sobre el hecho y respaldar acciones para una prensa libre en Honduras y el mundo entero.
· Se une los gremios de periodistas hondureños, organizaciones sociales y personalidades que reprocharon el secuestro del periodista y
han defendido la libertad de prensa.
· Se solidariza con los allegados, familiares y compañeros de lo que es otra víctima más de la intolerancia, la violencia y la violación de
derechos humanos llevada a cabo por parte el crimen organizado

La libertad de prensa debe ser obligatoriamente respetada y protegida. El tema de la violencia en Honduras es una cuestión que requiere de urgente
atención por parte del gobierno hondureño, gobiernos hemisféricos, agencias de cooperación y Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil del mundo
entero. ¿Cuántos periodistas más deben morir?

Alert of Permanent Secretariat of Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy (Redlad):  Murder of journalist in Honduras.
May, 2012.

The Permanent Secretariat of Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy (Redlad) deplores the murder of journalist Alfredo Villatoro,
host of The Morning radio news on the radio station HRN, by criminal hand in Honduras, .

Villatoro, a great ally of the Civil Society Organizations in Honduras and news director of the country's largest radio station, was kidnapped on
Wednesday May 9 by criminal hands. The journalist was found dead on Tuesday night May 15, as confirmed by the Minister of Security, Pompey
Bonilla.

According to the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras, are accounted for more than 21 murders of journalists in less than 3 years, all cases
have gone unpunished. Honduras is the most violent country in the world with more than 87 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants, in Honduras every
hour and a half happens one new violent death.

The Journalists Association of Honduras (CPH) condemned the kidnapping of Villatoro and warned about the terrible situation that live freedom of
speech and press in the Central American country. Similarly, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez, condemned the crime. In turn, the Asociación de
Medios de Comunicación de Honduras (AMCH) demanded the government of President Porfirio Lobo to "investigate, identify and punish" the
organized crime that has kidnapped, raped and murdered so many journalists in Honduras.

Therefore, the Permanent Secretariat of Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy, a platform for advancing democracy and respect for
human rights, integrated over 300 organizations in the region. Official Member of the Civil Society Forum of the Organization of American States
(OAS) and Regional Chapter of the World Movement for Democracy (WMD):

· Warning the government of President Porfirio Lobo to take action on the matter and spare no expense in ensuring full respect for press
freedom. Violence in Honduras is an alarming situation that requires specific solutions and fast.
· Urges the international community and democratic governments of the world to apply for respect of freedom of speech and press in Honduras
and increase cooperation to implement projects to address the dilemma of widespread violence plaguing the country.
· Urges the international media, civil society organizations and institutions that defend press freedom and expression that will manifest
publicly about the problem and will support actions to get free press in Honduras and the world.
· Joining to the Honduran journalists unions, social organizations and personalities who criticized the kidnapping of journalist and have
defended freedom of the press.
· Give solidarity with the relatives, family and colleagues of who is yet another victim of intolerance, violence and violation of human
rights carried out by organized crime.

Press freedom must necessarily be respected and protected. The issue of violence in Honduras is a matter that requires urgent attention by the
Honduran government, hemispheric governments, aid agencies and civil society organizations worldwide. How many journalists have to die?

Secretariado Permanente
Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe para la Democracia
San José, Costa Rica
http://www.redlad.org/

***14.05.2012. SYRIA. Eight journalists and bloggers freed, 31 still held (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the provisional release of eight journalists and bloggers who were arrested by intelligence officials
during a raid on the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in Damascus on 16 February.
“The release of these eight news and information activists at the end of last week is a positive sign, but it should not divert attention from the
fact they are still facing a court martial and that dozens of other journalists and netizens are still languishing in Syrian jails,” Reporters
Without Borders said, reiterating its call for their immediate release.
Seven of the eight released – Yara Badr, Razan Ghazzawi, Mayada Khalil, Sana Zetani, Joan Farsso, Bassam Al-Ahmed and Ayham Ghazzoul – are SCM
members. The eighth, Hanadi Zahlout, was visiting the centre at the time of the raid.
They are all due to appear before a military court on 29 May on a charge of “possessing prohibited documents with a view to distributing them,”
which carries a maximum five-year jail sentence.
Five of the eight who are women – Badr, Ghazzawi, Khalil, Zetani and Zahlout – were released three days after the raid but were rearrested when
they first appeared before the military court in Damascus on 22 April. The other three – Farsso, Ahmed and Ghazzoul – had remained in detention but
were brought before the military court at the same time as the five women on 22 April. They spent at least part of their time in detention in
solitary confinement.
Five other SCM members who were also arrested during the 16 February raid – Hussein Gharir, Hani Zetani, Mansour Al-Omari, Abdel Rahman Hamada and SCM president Mazen Darwish – have been held apart from the others and have not as yet been brought before any court.
Human rights lawyer Anwar Al-Bonni told Agence France-Presse during the weekend that he had received word that they might in poor health. The
judge handling the case of the other eight has ordered that that Darwish appear as a witness at the 29 May hearing.
According to a Reporters Without Borders tally, at least 31 professional journalists, citizen journalists and cyber-activists are currently
detained by the Syrian authorities.

12.05.2012 - Two Turkish journalists released but more than 37 Syrian journalists still held
Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that two Turkish journalists who were captured while making a documentary in northwestern
Syria two months ago were released today. Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Iranian government acted as mediator in their release.
Adem Özköse, a reporter for the magazine Gerçek Hayat and the daily Milat, and cameraman Hamit Coşkun were abducted by a pro-government militia near the northwestern city of Idleb on 10 March and were handed over to a government intelligence agency.
IHH, a Turkish Islamist humanitarian NGO, announced on 5 May that it had managed to visit the two detained journalists in Damascus. Turgut Alp
Boyraz, the head of foreign news at Milat, said they were able to telephone their families on 5 May for the first time since their capture.
Announcing their release, the Turkish foreign minister said: “We expect that they will arrive in Tehran shortly. At our prime minister’s request,
we have sent a plane to Iran to bring back journalists.” They are expected to arrive in Turkey this evening or tomorrow, the Turkish news agency
Anatolia reported.
Reporters Without Borders said: “Their release is a big relief but more than 37 journalists and citizen journalists are still detained in Syria.
We must not forget them.”

***14.05.2012. MEXICO. Mexico: international and regional experts urge swift action to protect human rights defenders and journalists

GENEVA / WASHINGTON D.C. (14 May 2012) – “The killings and threats repeatedly suffered by rights defenders and journalists in Mexico must
stop immediately,” urged a group of four experts from the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, calling on the
Government to move ahead with the swift promulgation and effective implementation of the ‘Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
and Journalists’.

Highlighting the immediacy of the threats facing defenders and journalists, the experts also urged the Government to implement existing
protection mechanisms as a matter of urgency, in order to avoid further attacks and loss of life and to complement the new provisions when they
come into effect.

The Bill, which has been approved by both chambers of the Federal Congress, seeks to guarantee and safeguard the life, integrity and
security of human rights defenders and journalists by creating a mechanism with the authority to implement measures to protect those at risk, as well
as at preventing such risks from arising in the future.

“Human rights defenders in Mexico desperately need the State’s effective protection now,” said Margaret Sekaggya, the United Nations Special
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. “They continue to suffer killings, attacks, harassment, threats, stigmatization and other
serious human rights violations.”

“The State has to implement, as a matter of priority, a global protection policy for human rights defenders. The lack of appropriate and effective
systems for implementing specialized protection measures are related to the situation of defenselessness in which many human rights defenders find
themselves, which has caused the death of many of them in recent years,” stressed Santiago A. Canton, the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of the Rapporteurship of Human Rights
Defenders*.

“We have to break the cycle of impunity in Mexico, which is becoming an increasingly violent place for journalists,” said Frank La Rue, United
Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. “The recent killing of four press
workers in Veracruz underscores the dire need for concrete steps to be taken to guarantee the safety of journalists and put an end to impunity.”

Catalina Botero, Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, stressed that “safeguarding
journalists and human rights defenders is not only compatible with the fight against crime, it is an essential element of this struggle. The
Mexican authorities should take immediate measures to protect those journalists and human rights defenders that are being threatened, as well
as to make definitive advances in the struggle against impunity for the crimes that have been committed against them.”

The four experts commended the Federal Congress for approving the Bill, pointing out that it would provide added impetus and sustainability to
existing protection frameworks, while also strengthening these frameworks.

The Bill was drafted in consultation with civil society organizations, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico provided
technical advice throughout the drafting process.

The human rights experts praised the consultative process which allowed multiple stakeholders to play an important role in the drafting of the
Bill, and called for the same participatory approach throughout the implementation process. However, they emphasized the urgency of providing
effective protection to those at risk and ensuring that human rights violations against journalists and human rights defenders do not go
unpunished.

(*) In keeping with Article 17(2)(a) of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, of Mexican
nationality, does not participate in matters concerning said country.
ENDS

***30.04.2012. Clombia - Todavía se desconoce paradero de corresponsal francés Roméo Langlois (FLIP)

La Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa – FLIP, manifiesta su preocupación por  la situación del periodista francés Roméo Langlois, quien está desaparecido luego de encontrarse atrapado en medio de combates entre el Ejército colombiano y la guerrilla de las Farc, en las selvas del departamento de Caquetá, al sur oriente del  país.
 
La FLIP hace un llamado para que se maneje con mayor prudencia la información sobre lo sucedido. Cualquier especulación e información no confirmada sobre los hechos y el paradero actual del reportero, pueden ponerlo aún más en riesgo. La FLIP espera que pronto se puedan tener noticias favorables sobre las condiciones de Roméo Langlois.
 
Lo sucedido
 
El sábado 28 de abril, el periodista Langlois, corresponsal de la cadena de televisión France 24 y el diario Le Figaro, acompañó una operación de militares y policías contra laboratorios de coca custodiados por las Farc en las selvas de Caquetá, como parte de la realización de un documental sobre el narcotráfico en Colombia.
 
Durante el operativo, el grupo cayó en una emboscada del Frente 15 de las Farc, lo cual inició los enfrentamientos militares. El periodista quedó entre el fuego cruzado.

El domingo el Ministro de Defensa, Juan Carlos Pinzón, señaló que, de acuerdo a información dada por los soldados, durante el combate el periodista, que portaba chaleco antibalas y casco blindado, quedó herido en un brazo. “En medio de la tensión seguramente tomó la decisión de quitarse el chaleco y el casco militar, y manifestar que era de la población civil para desplazarse al área desde donde disparaban los guerrilleros”, explicó.

Por su parte, el Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Francia, Alain Juppé, anunció ayer que el reportero había sido secuestrado por el grupo guerrillero. Sin embargo, en las últimas horas precisó que “no hay certeza absoluta” de que Langlois haya sido plagiado.

El gobierno colombiano dice no saber dónde se encuentra el periodista y hasta el momento las Farc no se han pronunciado sobre el tema.
  
Simone Bruno, periodista que trabaja en el documental junto con Langlois, pero que no fue al operativo, viajó a Caquetá junto con otros periodistas internacionales para tener mayor claridad sobre lo sucedido. "Hay muchos comentarios y rumores sobre su situación pero son simples rumores”, dijo Bruno.

Hasta el momento lo único cierto es que Langlois se encuentra desaparecido y se desconoce su estado de salud.

Roméo Langlois es un corresponsal con amplia experiencia en el cubrimiento del conflicto en Colombia y ha hecho varios reportajes sobre el tema.

Periodismo y conflicto

El Caquetá ha sido históricamente uno de los departamento más afectados por el conflicto armado colombiano. Para las Farc es un territorio estratégico para el cultivo y producción de coca, así como para la confrontación contra el Estado. En ese departamento el Ejército cuenta con la Brigada XII y dos birgadas móviles más.

El trabajo periodístico es fundamental para infomrar y comprender el conflicto en Colombia. La situación de Roméo Langlois, demuestra, una vez más, las difíciles condiciones y el peligro que representa para el periodismo cubrir temas relacionados con el conflicto armado.

***27.04.2012. Brazil. UN alarmed by another journalist killed in Brazil - statement by Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville 

We are alarmed that yet another journalist has been killed in Brazil, bringing to at least four the number of journalists murdered in the
country so far this year. Décio Sá, an investigative journalist reporting on local politics, corruption and organized crime, was gunned down in a
bar on Monday, 23 April. We condemn his murder and are concerned at what appears to be a disturbing trend of killing journalists that is damaging
the exercise of freedom of expression in Brazil. We have long been concerned about the need for Brazilian human rights defenders, including
journalists, to be able to conduct their work without fear of intimidation or worse.

We welcome the fact that state authorities have committed to conducting a thorough investigation and call for this and other similar cases to be
treated as a major priority so that perpetrators are not emboldened by the prevailing lack of accountability for such crimes. At the same time, we
urge the Government to immediately implement protection measures to prevent any more such incidents.

A bill introduced into Congress in 2011, ordering police investigations into crimes against journalists to be conducted at a Federal level, would
be a step in the right direction. We hope this and other measures to protect journalists will be adopted as a matter of some urgency.

***24.04.2012. UN approves common strategy on safety of journalists

The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, led by UNESCO, was endorsed on 13 April 2012 by the UN Chief Executives Board, the highest level coordination mechanism of the UN system. The Plan of Action aims toward the creation of a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, told fellow board members that “the safety of journalists is essential to upholding Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees the right to freedom of expression.”

Over the last decade, more than 500 journalists and media workers have been killed worldwide, with many more wounded or threatened while carrying out their professional responsibilities. In 2011 alone, 62 journalists were killed, according to the latest biennial UNESCO Director-General Report on The Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, presented in March. In most cases, noted this report, these journalists were not reporting on armed conflict but on local stories, particularly related to corruption and other illegal activities such as organized crime and drugs.
In light of these dramatic statistics, there has been a pressing need for the various UN agencies, funds and programmes to develop a single, strategic and harmonized approach in order to have greater impact on combating the issue.
The measures in the Plan include the establishment of a coordinated inter-agency mechanism to handle issues related to the safety of journalists, and the involvement of other intergovernmental organizations at international and regional levels to encourage the incorporation of media development programmes focusing on journalists’ safety within their respective strategies. The plan also foresees the extension of work already conducted by UNESCO to prevent crimes against media workers. This includes assisting countries to develop legislation and mechanisms favourable to freedom of expression and information, and by supporting their efforts to implement existing international rules and principles.
To further reinforce prevention, the Plan recommends working in cooperation with governments, media houses, professional associations and NGOs to conduct awareness-raising campaigns on a wide range of issues such as existing international instruments and conventions, the growing dangers posed by emerging threats to media professionals, including non-state actors, as well as various existing practical guides on the safety of journalists. Emphasis is also given to the importance of disseminating good practices on the safety of journalists and how to counteract impunity. Journalism education institutions will also be encouraged to include in their curricula, materials relevant to the safety of journalists and impunity.
The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity is the result of a process that began in 2010 upon request of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

***23.04.2012. BAHRAIN. IFJ Condemns Media Restrictions in Bahrain ahead of Controversial Grand Prix

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused the authorities in Bahrain of deliberately obstructing the work of foreign reporters who sought to cover the anti-government protests ahead of the Formula One race which took place in the country yesterday. Bahrain denied visas to non-sport journalists and arrested those who were working in the country without journalists’ visas.

“This selective approach to media accreditation is arbitrary and totally unacceptable,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “The authorities were only too happy to tout the return of the Grand Prix to Bahrain as a sign that the situation is normal. Yet, they deliberately set out to deny independent media to verify this claim on the ground.”

Reports say that a number of journalists were denied visas to enter the kingdom as the decision by Formula One to stage the race there sparked new anti-governments protests. Last year’s pro-democracy demonstrations marked by violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces led to the cancellation of the motor sport event.

Among journalists who were prevented from entering Bahrain were Financial Times’ Simeon Kerr, Sky News' chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay, Times' journalist Karen Lee, CNN correspondent Amber Lyon, two AP reporters and all Reuters' non-sport correspondents.

The authorities also detained on Sunday Jonathan Miller, reporter of Britain’s Channel 4 News, along with his team for working without accreditation, according to reports. They were released this morning and deported from the country. The news channel said that the team’s local driver was assaulted and separated from the foreign reporters and his whereabouts were unknown.

The IFJ voices concerns over the authorities’ commitment to implementing meaningful changes, including respect for press freedom. The Federation points to the failure of the government to implement in full the recommendations of the Bassiouni report, in particular to review court cases involving journalists as well as reinstating all sacked journalists. The case of France 24’s reporter Nazeeha Saeed has been referred back to the public prosecutor by the High Criminal Court while journalist Reem Khalifa was recently fined BD 600 (around US$ 1600).

“The government’s ongoing resistance to legitimate scrutiny by independent media renders its claim to genuine change less credible,”’ added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “Unless they match their words with verifiable action and stop interfering in media affairs, their already poor record on democratic rule will soon be beyond repair.”

***19.04.2012. SYRIA. Four citizen journalists killed despite ceasefire (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders has learned of the deaths of four citizen journalists in Syria: Ahmed Abdallah Fakhriyeh shot dead in Dmeir and Samir Shalab Al-Sham Abu Mohamed killed by a shell in Homs, both on 14 April, and Alaa Al-Din Hassan Al-Douri, whose dead body was recovered in Hama province yesterday, and Khaled Mahmoud Kabbisho, summarily executed yesterday in Idlib.

The information we have received about the identities of these four activists and the circumstances of the deaths is difficult to confirm, however.

“Every day the violence in Syria causes dozens of deaths and takes a heavy toll among journalists and citizen journalists,” the press freedom organization said.

“The government disregards its international commitments and shows little sign of ending its brutal crackdown. Information from Syria has become extremely difficult to obtain, to the point where we are unable to confirm with certainty our information about the deaths of the four citizen journalists.”

“We hope that the arrival of international observers will allow the government to end the media isolation it has adopted so that it can pursue its bloody crackdown, and we draw the observers’ attention to this issue.”

Fakhriyeh, 35, was shot dead while he was driving to film the arrival of Syrian army troops in the village of Dmeir, about 40 km northeast of Damascus. He was a member of the local coordinating committee and had been filming events in Syria for the past year.

Al-Sham, 26, was wounded when a mortar round hit the building from which he was recording the shelling of two Homs neighbourhoods by Syrian forces. Residents were unable to go to his aid and he died shortly afterwards. Known by the nickname Abu Layla, he had been covering the Syrian uprising in Syrian for the Syria News Network for more than a year.

Al-Douri, 44, was wounded by a bullet at a roadblock near the ancient ruins of Apamea, about 40 km northwest of Hama. He was held in custody by security forces and his dead body, showing signs of torture, was handed over to his family three days later. A leading rights activist, he had given up his job more than a year ago to devote his time to the revolutionary movement. He was married with two children.

Kabbisho was held for questioning then summarily executed in the town of Idlib in the northwest of the country. His head was reported to have been crushed by a Syrian army tank. The activist, who regularly posted videos of demonstrations in Idlib onhis YouTube channel, was married with three children. His wife is pregnant with their fourth child.

Reporters Without Borders has also learned, again without confirmation, the arrest of Mohamed Al-Hariri two days ago in Deraa. If this turns out to be the case, the worst is feared for this citizen journalist, who appeared on the TV channel Al-Jazeera describing the operations of the Syrian army in the town.

***05.04.2012. SYRIA. SAFETY ADVICE FOR JOURNALISTS (INSI)

LONDON (April 4/INSI) Syria was the most dangerous country for journalists in the first three months of this year, with 10 members of the news media killed there since the start of 2012.
As next week's deadline approaches for an internationally brokered ceasefire, the International News Safety Institute urges all journalists to take adequate precautions in what continues to be an extremely dangerous and unpredictable environment for those working in the news media.
 
The following advice has been collated by INSI for those working in Syria:
Share your travel plans with a trustworthy person who would be able to contact the authorities/international pressure groups in the case of an emergency;
Consider sharing passwords for your emails in case you are arrested and your accounts are hacked
Make sure you are discreet about moving into a building - when you move around during the day don't give away your night-time positions
Try to move locations during the night and change locations each day/night
Ensure you are not next to an anti Government forces position or any sort of political base
Where possible seek out a cellar with reinforced concrete, so you can take cover if they start shelling
If no cellar, then try to find a stairwell or an escalator shaft; they are normally made of reinforced concrete
Wear your flak jackets and helmets day and night - sleep in them if you feel the need
Make sure editors are sending in people with advanced trauma kits, who know how to use them and have the training in advanced life support
Think about taking a safety advisor as they can advise on military tactics, weapons systems and ranges of weapons and when to think about moving locations
Carry your first aid kit with you at all times, as well as communication equipment (satphone) grab bag, GPS and all emergency kit
Think about where, how and when you transmit and receive. Is it absolutely necessary to film or can you send a mobile message back - this is a lot safer (why? because transmissions can be tracked?)
Make sure you have an exit plan as well as an emergency escape plan
Make sure you are covered by life assurance for this area
Make sure the management is clear at what stage they need to pull people out - ask yourself whether the story still worth it?
Do not transmit from where you are staying
Find a location inside as far away as possible from your living location to transmit - do this with the least amount of people, so if there is a probability that fewer people get hurt
Transit in 2 minute bursts and then get off the phone and move location. The Government Forces will find it more difficult to get a location fix
Your management should not have a "I have to transmit" policy. If you cannot do the above then you don't file
Think about filming at night, they often have less people awake at night and it is more difficult to locate due to the darkness and lack of vision. Still file in 2 minute bursts and move location, but maybe just a few hundreds metres under cover of darkness.
Don't hang around in huddles of journalists and consider avoiding news hubs as they attract enemy fire


***31.03.2012. 23 journalists killed in Syria - Doha Center for Media Freedom (DCMF) documents the killing of 23 journalists in Syria as part of government crackdown on anti-regime protests.

Death toll of journalists and citizen journalists killed in Syria since the beginning of the regime campaign to flush out anti-government protests has jumped to 23, according to Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF).

The DCMF has documented the killings based on its sources in Syria, Local Co-ordination Committees, the Homs Revolutionary Council and the Syrian Journalists Association.

Some of the journalists were killed during Syrian army random shelling of some neighbourhoods, while others were killed by snipers or due to torture following their capture.

While the DCMF conveys condolences to the families of all journalists killed in Syria, it expresses shock and sadness at the deaths and pays tribute to the immense courage of all local and foreign reporters covering the events in Syria.

The Centre also condemns in the strongest possible manner the brutal killings of those journalists-- in bold violation of international human rights norms and freedom of expression --- and urges the Syrian authorities to end targeting local and foreign journalists and to guarantee their right to move freely to cover events currently taking place in Syria.

The following is the list of journalists killed in Syria as documented by the DCMF:

Ahmed Daheek, photographer, killed by tank gunship near Homs on 29-5-2011.

Farzat Yahya Jerban, broadcast technician and photographer. He was arrested by the Syrian intelligence service in the small city of Al-Qusayr, near Homs on 19-11-2011. His body was found dumped in the street the following day with clear signs of torture on his body.

Nizar Adnan Humsa, a photographer. He was detained by Syrian intelligence for one month and a half in Al Bayada neighbourhood in Homs. His dead body was handed over to his family on 26/11/2011.

Firas Barshan, a photographer shot and killed by Syrian security in the city of Hama on 07/12/2011.

Hamza Khalid Amer, a photographer. He was killed by an ARPJ rocket while filming the army’s incursion of Shamseen, near Homos on 15-12-2011

Bilal Jibss, a photographer killed by a sniper in Kafr Tkharam, Idlib on 16/12/2011.

Basil Al Sayed, photographer, killed in a random shooting. He filmed the shooting which cost his life in 22-12-2011

Muawiya Ibrahim Ayoub, photographer, killed by security forces while filming their incursion of Rasten neighbourhood near Homs on 28-12-2011

Muatassim al Saleh, broadcast technician, was killed near Hamah in 27-12-2011

Shukri Ahmed Ratib Abu Burghul, Radio presenter, received gunshot wound to the head on 30 December on arriving at his home in the Damascus suburb of Darya after hosting his weekly programme on Radio Damascus. He died of his wound in a Damascus hospital on 2-1-2012.

Usama Burhan Idriss, photographer, killed in a shelling of Inshaatt neighbourhood in Homs on 27-1-2012

Gilles Jacquier, French photographer killed by a rocket or a mortar shell in Homos 0n 11-1-2012

Madhar Amr Tayara, photographer, killed near Homs in 4-2-2012.

Saleh Samih Murjan, photographer, was killed by sniper fire in Karm Zeitun near Homs on 5-2-2012.

Rami al-Sayed, photographer, killed in an arbitrary bombardment of Baba Amr neighbourhood in Homs on 21-2-2012.

Anas Tarshah, photographer, killed in a random shelling in Homos on 24-2-2012

Abdullah Khaled Awad, photographer, killed in a random shelling of Al-Kusair city near Homs on 24-2-2012.

Amr Kaaka, photographer, killed by the security forces in Doma near Damascus on 9-3-2012

Marie Catherine Colvin American journalist, killed in a shelling of Baba Amr neighbourhood on 22-2-2012.

Rémi Ochlik French photographer, killed in a shelling of Baba Amr neighbourhood on 22-2-2012.

Jawan Mohammed Qatna, Kurdish photographer, was abducted by four men from his home in the town of Derbassiyeh, north of the eastern city of Al-Hassakeh on 25-3-2012. His body, which showed signs of torture, was found three hours later in a nearby village.

Nasim Entriri, Algerian journalist holding British passport, was shot dead by the Syrian army near Azmareen village on Turkish border on 26-3-2012.

Walid Blidi Algerian journalist holding British passport, was shot dead by the Syrian army near Azmareen village on Turkish border on 26-3-2012.

***25.03.2012. SOMALIA. JOURNALIST WOUNDED (NUSOJ)

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is outraged over the incident in which two men armed with pistols shot and wounded a radio
journalist at the Madina neighborhood of the bigger Wadajir district on Sunday evening around 06:00pm, the latest in a series of attacks
against journalists and media workers in recent months.

Two men armed with pistols shot and wounded Mohyadin Hasan Mohamed, "Mohyadin Husni" , who is the head of the News for the Shabelle Media
Network,, after returning from his work place on Sunday evening around 06:00pm, 25 March, 2012, according to Mohyadin Hasan Mohamed,
"Mohyadin Husni" who spoke with NUSOJ.

"I was passing nearby Mogadishu Cinema in Madina neighborhood of Wadajir district, when two men armed with pistols started shooting at
me." Mohyadin Husni told NUSOJ, "Luckily, the first shot slightly penetrated the muscle over the left part of my chest, just close to my
heart. But I am feeling good now."

"I escaped with my foot. I am lucky I am alive." Mr. Husni added.

It is not clear the reason behind the attack and no group has yet claimed.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns the shooting incident which was an apparent assassination attempt and
calls for the concerned authorities to investigate the incident immediately without delay.

"Journalists are working in a very difficult circumstances, despite their bravery to continue reporting the news to the Public and risking
their lives and it is unfortunate that they are targeted and killed." Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, "We call for immediate
and urgent investigation into the shooting incident and bring the assailants to a court of Justice."

"We Pray our colleague for his immediate and speedy recovery." Mr. Ibrahim added.

On March 4, 2012 Unidentified assailants shot and killed the journalist, Ali Ahmed Abdi, a young journalist in his 24, near Hotel
Guhaad, on his way home after returning from his work place on Sunday night around 10:00pm local time in the town of Galkacyo, controlled by
the Puntland authorities.

***24.03.2012. SRI LANKA. Alarming Increase in Hostile Rhetoric, Threats of Reprisals Against Journalists in Sri Lanka

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly deplores the alarming escalation in hostile rhetoric and the barely concealed threats
of reprisals that have been made against some of the country’s leading journalists and human rights defenders by representatives of the Sri
Lankan government and by state-owned media outlets.

This follows the adoption of a resolution by the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 22, in which the Sri Lankan government was censured for
rampant human rights violations during the last phases of the country’s long civil war and urged to initiate urgent measures of reconciliation to
ensure a durable peace between the country’s main ethnic groups.

“We observe that state-owned media has in the days since the U.S. made known its intention to table a censure resolution against the Sri Lankan
government, been rapidly ramping up the tone of its attacks on the country’s journalists and media freedom defenders,” said the IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park

On January 26, Dinamina, the Sinhala-language daily from the state-owned Associated Newspapers (or Lake House) group, carried a story quoting
senior minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, to the effect that exiled journalists who had taken up the campaign for human rights and
reconciliation were “traitors” who were bringing the country into “disrepute.”

Later, the English-language daily from the Lake House group, the Daily News, reported that human rights defenders, including journalist and press
freedom campaigner Sunanda Deshapriya, were betraying Sri Lanka and continuing to work with the terrorist rump of the defeated Tamil insurgent
group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

In an editorial on March 16, Dinamina described human rights defenders as “degenerates” and denounced Deshapriya as a “mouthpiece of the LTTE”. It
warned that in a country like Iran, “ these kinds of bastards would be stoned to death”.

Dharmasiri Lankapeli, one of the veteran leaders of the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions (FMETU) has also been targeted by the
state-owned media. The attacks have become particularly harsh since the country’s main professional media associations and journalists’ unions
joined hands for a “black January” observance this year, to protest against the continuing climate of impunity for attacks on the right to
free speech.

The attacks have also extended to social scientists and political commentators such as P. Saravanamuttu, Nimalka Fernando and Sunila
Abeysekara, and prominent figures of the church who have argued the cause of national reconciliation and accountability for human rights abuses
since the end of the civil war.

The government-controlled ITN TV channel has been a platform for severe verbal assaults against journalists and human rights defenders. Between
January 9 and 24, the channel carried no fewer than five programmes in its daily slot titled “Vimasuma” attacking journalists who had been present
during the nineteenth regular session of the UNHRC, for having allegedly “betrayed” the country.

The IFJ learns that vivid and graphic photo-montages have been circulated by various political actors, which represent journalists and other
prominent human rights defenders as terrorists and traitors, working at the behest of alien forces.

On March 23, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Public Relations, Mervyn Silva addressed a public demonstration against the UNHRC resolution, threatening
to “break the limbs” of any of the exiled journalists if they dared set foot in the country again. Among the journalists mentioned was Poddala
Jayantha, who suffered a brutal assault in Colombo city in June 2009 that left him with permanent disabilities, and has lived in exile since January
2010.

Silva has been known for several bruising encounters with the media in recent years and was in July 2009, credibly reported as publicly claiming
credit for the murder of newspaper editor Lasantha Wickramatunge in January and the assault on Jayantha in June.

Though he later disavowed the statement attributed to him, Silva’s record as a baiter of journalists committed to human rights and free speech, has
continued to cause deep unease.

“We fear that the hostile climate created by the stream of rhetoric from government spokespersons and state-owned media, could engender serious
hazards to those who dare to speak up in Sri Lanka for peace and national reconciliation,” said Ms Park.

The dangers are clear and imminent and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has issued a public warning against reprisals
that target Sri Lanka’s journalists and human rights defenders.

“We call on the top political leadership in Sri Lanka to promptly distance itself from the manner of hostile rhetoric that has been seen and heard
over the last three months,, said Ms Park.

“We urge that serious consideration be given to the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission which recently submitted a
comprehensive report pointing the way forward for post-conflict Sri Lanka, after being invested with a wide-ranging mandate by the President of the
country.”

***13.03.2012. INSI. INSI book sparks lively debate on women journalists in danger zones

The challenges faced by women journalists working in conflict and danger zones around the world were highlighted at the launch of INSI's ground-breaking book 'No Woman's Land: On the Frontlines with Female Reporters'.

A panel of prominent journalists moderated by BBC special correspondent Lyse Doucet, ranged over critical issues raised by some of the 40 female journalists who had written for the book. The platform, at the Thomson Reuters building in London last Thursday also included freelance photographer Kate Brooks, Sky News Head of International News Sarah Whitehead, CNN Presenter Nima Elbagir, Reuters reporter Maria Golovnina and Head of News for BBC World News Andrew Roy.

Introduced by INSI President Chris Cramer, the event began with a silent tribute to 75 female journalists who have died covering the news since 2003, the year the International News Safety Institute was founded. The recent death of Marie Colvin in Syria was a tragic reminder of the dangers of frontline reporting.

CBS correspondent Lara Logan, whose shocking assault in Cairo's Tahrir Square last year inspired the book, wrote the foreword to 'No Woman's Land', a collection of compelling stories describing the risks, the challenges and the emotional and physical impact of danger on newswomen around the globe.

The book also contains safety advice and guidance for all journalists (more on: www.newssafety.org)

***12.03.2012. In honour of World Day against Cyber-Censorship, RSF releases new list of internet enemies (RSF)

(RSF/IFEX) - 12 March 2012 - To mark World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, Reporters Without Borders is today releasing its new list of "Enemies of
the Internet" and "countries under surveillance." This report updates the list released in 2011.

Two countries, Bahrain and Belarus, have passed from the "countries under surveillance" to the "Enemies of the Internet" category. Venezuela and Libya have been dropped from the "under surveillance" category while India and Kazakhstan have been added to it.

"The changes in this list reflect recent developments in online freedom of information," Reporters Without Borders said. "Netizens have been at the
heart of political changes in the Arab world in 2011. Like journalists, they have tried to resist censorship but have paid a high price.

"Last year will be remembered as one of unprecedented violence against netizens. Five were killed while engaged in reporting activity. Nearly 200
arrests of bloggers and netizens were reported in 2011, a 30 per cent increase on 2010. These unprecedented figures risk being exceeded in 2012
as a result of the indiscriminate violence being used by the Syrian authorities in particular. More than 120 netizens are currently detained.

"On World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, we pay tribute to the ordinary citizens who often risk their lives or their freedom to keep us informed
and to ensure that often brutal crackdowns do not take place without the outside world knowing."

Reporters Without Borders added: "As online censorship and content filtering continue to accentuate the Internet's division and digital
segregation, solidarity among those who defend a free Internet accessible to all is more essential than ever in order to maintain channels of
communication between netizens and to ensure that information continues to
circulate."

Social networks and netizens versus filtering and surveillance

The last report, released in March 2011, highlighted the fact that the Internet and online social networks had been conclusively established as
tools for organizing protests and circulating information in the course of the Arab world's mass uprisings. In the months that followed, repressive
regimes responded with tougher measures to what they regarded as unacceptable attempts to destabilize their authority.

At the same time, supposedly democratic countries continue to set a bad example by yielding to the temptation to put security above other concerns
and by adopting disproportionate measures to protect copyright. Technical service providers are under increasing pressure to act as Internet cops.
Companies specializing in online surveillance are becoming the new mercenaries in an online arms race. Hactivists are providing technical
expertise to netizens trapped by repressive regimes. Diplomats are getting involved. More than ever before, online freedom of expression is now a
major foreign and domestic policy issue.

Two new Enemies of the Internet - Bahrain and Belarus

Bahrain and Belarus have joined Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam in the "Enemies
of the Internet" category. These countries combine often drastic content filtering with access restrictions, tracking of cyber-dissidents and
online propaganda.

Bahrain offers an example of an effective news blackout based a remarkable array of repressive measures: keeping the international media away,
harassing human rights activists, arresting bloggers and netizens (one of whom died in detention), smearing and prosecuting free speech activists,
and disrupting communications, especially during major demonstrations.

As Belarus sinks further into political isolation and economic stagnation, President Lukashenko's regime has lashed out at the Internet in response
to an attempted "revolution via the social media." The Internet was blocked during a series of "silent protests," the list of inaccessible
websites grew longer and some sites were the victims of cyber-attacks. Internet users and bloggers were arrested or invited to "preventive
conversations" with the police in a bid to get them to stop demonstrating or covering demonstrations. And Law No. 317-3, which took effect on 6
January 2012, gave the regime additional Internet surveillance and control powers.

(. . .)
Click here to read more

http://12mars.rsf.org

***07.03.2012. RUSSIA. IFJ Condemns Media Crackdown in Russia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group the Federation of European Journalists (EFJ) today joined the Russian
affiliate, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), in condemning serious violations of press freedom during the presidential poll held in Russia
last week. Media reports say that police in Moscow attacked journalists who were covering the presidential poll and arrested some of them.

“Evidence is emerging of numerous incidents across the country in which police deliberately attacked journalists who were duly accredited to cover
the elections, some of whom have also been arrested, ” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “ We condemn this thuggish behavior and we support the call from our members in Russia for an investigation into these acts.”

In a statement, the Russian Union of Journalists said that police in Moscow arrested journalists who were covering protests held on Monday to
denounce electoral irregularities during last Sunday presidential poll which was won by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The Union also accused
police of attacking some journalists, including Pavel Nikulin, correspondent of the Moscow News, Andrey Stenin of RIA Novosti, Alexandre
Borzenko of Echo of Moscow, Vladimir Romansky, correspondent of TV Dozhd TV and Ilya Barabanov of The New Times.

According to RUJ, police detained journalists despite the fact that they had been shown accreditation documents. The union has also written to the
Head of the Investigative Committee in the Office of the Russian General Prosecutor, demanding an investigation in the attacks on media, the
statement says.

The IFJ also learned that Igor Taro, the special envoy of the Estonian Public Broadcasting Service (Eesti Rahvusringhääling -ERR) to cover
elections in Russia was arrested on 1 March in the Pskov region. He was accused of filming without permission even though he was duly accredited
to cover the elections in the country. Police detained and interrogated him for several hours. The reporter later recovered his equipment but had
to return to Estonia on 2 March. The Estonian Journalists’ Union, an EFJ/IFJ affiliate, condemned the action of Russian police as” a rude
breach of journalistic freedoms “.

The EFJ also backed the RUJ’s call for investigation, saying that the recent attacks signal an aggressive approach the authorities have taken to
confront the opposition to President-elect Vladimir Putin.

“We are concerned that the crackdown on journalists we have seen over the last days is a sign of worse things to come,” added EFJ President Arne
König. “The authorities give every indication that they plan to suppress independent reporting on the political protests against the new leadership
in Russia.”

***05.03.2012. JOURNALISTS REPORTING ON HUMAN RIGHTS NEED GREATER PROTECTION, SAYS UN EXPERT

Recent global events have highlighted the fact that journalists and media workers reporting on human rights issues are particularly vulnerable to
threats and attacks, an independent United Nations expert <"
http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11905&LangID=E
">said today, calling for greater protection for those who carry out such vital work.

“Because of the potential impact on society that journalists and media workers can have by disseminating information about human rights through a
wide array of media, those individuals are often threatened, wounded and killed in an attempt to silence their voices,” stated Margaret Sekaggya,
the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

“Their work is of extreme importance in holding Governments accountable. However, those same Governments often crack down on them, including
through threats, harassment, arrests, detentions, and in the worst of cases killings,” she added in a <"
http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/HRC/19/55">report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, which is currently meeting in Geneva.

Restrictions on media and press freedom, and impunity around violations against journalists and media workers defending human rights can foster a
climate of intimidation, stigmatization, violence and self-censorship that can have a chilling effect on their work, according to the expert.

“States should publically recognize the role of these defenders and ensure prompt and impartial investigations and the prosecution of those
responsible for violations against them,” she wrote.

Presenting her report to the 47-member Council earlier today, Ms. Sekaggya said the ‘Arab Spring’ helped focus global attention on the extraordinary
risks rights defenders face while promoting and protecting human rights in all regions of the world.

She also expressed deep concern that State actors, including Government officials, State security forces and the judiciary, are reportedly the
perpetrators of many of the violations committed against these defenders.

“Journalists, environmental, student and youth rights defenders and those working on land issues are in significant need of protection,” she told
the Council. “Most of these risks directly affect their physical integrity and that of their family members, but also involve the abusive use of
legal frameworks against them and the criminalization of their work.”

The popular protests in countries across the Middle East and North Africa have also shed light on the situation of defenders of youth and student
rights. “History shows us that youth and students have played a key role in the promotion of human rights and in placing new ideas on the human
rights agenda.

“However, members of youth and student movements are in many cases seen as troublemakers rather than serious actors who can fruitfully contribute to public debate,” she said. “Their voices deserve to be heard, and they should not be threatened as a result of their engagement.”

The expert also highlighted the plight of defenders working on land and environmental issues, such as the impact of extractive industries. In her
report, she noted that both State and non-State actors are involved in violations against this group of defenders, and underlines the disturbing
number of killings and physical attacks reported to her.

“Human rights defenders have the right to protection, and it is the State’s responsibility to ensure this protection, so that defenders can
carry out their important and legitimate work in an enabling environment,” she underscored.

***01.03.2012. SYRIA. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) - UN Human Rights Council resolution calls for end to impunity for Syrian regime

http://www.fidh.org/UN-Human-Rights-Council-resolution,11388

1 March 2012 - While the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria is still deteriorating rapidly, the UN Human Rights Council (the Council)  this morning concluded an urgent debate on the crisis in the country. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) commends the decision to convene this debate as both a significant and necessary display of responsibility by the Council.

Following the debate, the body adopted a resolution by an overwhelming margin of thirty-seven votes to three with three abstentions (1). Russia, China and Cuba were the only states to reject the text, and the near-consensus by the rest of the Council in support of the resolution unequivocally shows that the position of these three states is firmly out of step with the international community at large. While the last resolution on Syria adopted by the Council (in December 2011) enjoyed the support of 37 states, this already broad majority was widened still further today, with an unprecedented number of 39 member states standing in favour of the resolution (2). This week's debate marked the fourth major initiative undertaken by the Human Rights Council on Syria in the past nine months, following the three Special Sessions that took place last year, of which the first inaugurated a Commission of Inquiry.

As well as insisting on the importance of ending impunity for those violating human rights in Syria, the Council resolution also “deplores the brutal actions of the Syrian regime over the past 11 months” and calls for it to put an end to human rights violations and attacks against civilians. Furthermore, the resolution also calls for “free and unimpeded access by the United Nations and humanitarian agencies,” which is all the more crucial in light of a reported ground assault on the Bab Amr district of Homs today, as well as yesterday's refusal by the Syrian authorities to allow UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos access to the country (3).

Reacting to the adoption of the resolution, FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen commented that “the text is particularly significant due to its emphasis on accountability, which signals an important evolution in the discourse on Syria at the international level.” Belhassen continued by stating her hope that “the  members of the Security Council seize upon the momentum gained in Geneva by referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court (ICC).” As pointed out by FIDH during its oral intervention, “only when international law is applied consistently and universally does it allow for sustainable peace and democracy to emerge.” As Belhassen noted, “discord in the Security Council has created a wall behind which the Assad regime has been able to act with perceived immunity. This perception will only change when agreement is reached at all levels of the UN system.”

As pointed out in FIDH's oral statement to the Human Rights Council on Thursday, the decision to hold a debate within the Council could not be more timely, with hundreds of people killed over the past month alone and Homs remaining besieged by government forces. This position is confirmed by statistics emerging from the UN this week, which put the death toll in Syria in excess of 7,500 since the start of the uprising a year ago (4). At the opening of the debate, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay emphasized the gravity of the situation, noting that conditions have significantly worsened in Syria as of late, and called for an end to the killings (5).

In highlighting the importance of a strong follow-up to the debate, FIDH made a series of recommendations and underlined a series of additional themes to the Council. These included the imposition of an arms embargo, the release of political prisoners and the importance of guaranteeing safe and unhindered access for humanitarian organizations.

Press contact : Karine Appy + 33 1 43 55 14 12 / + 33 1 43 55 25 18


ENDNOTES :

1) Yes: Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Koweit, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Poland, Quatar, Republic Moldova, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United States of America, Uruguay No: China, Cuba, Russian Federation Abstention: Ecuador, India, Philippines. Absent from the room: Angola, Burkina Fasso, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda (Kyrgyzstan and Burkina Fasso later declared they would have voted yes and Angola declared they would have abstained)

2) Bangladesh and Cameroon had abstained in December but voted yes today. Ecuador had voted no in December, but abstained this time.

3) The Syrian authorities have continuously refused to allow the Commission of Inquiry mandated by the Council access to the country.

***23.02.2012. PALESTINE. Violations of Media Freedoms in the oPt during 2011 (Mada)

MADA: 206 Violations of Media Freedoms in Palestine in 2011 - With the Murder of Italian Journalist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza Representing the Most Serious Violation of the Year  

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) released its annual media freedom violations report for the occupied Palestinian territories in 2011. The report includes documentation of all violations committed against journalists and media freedoms monitored by MADA, in addition to analysis of the most prominent and dangerous types of violations committed in 2011.

MADA identified a total of 206 violations against media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories during 2011, showing little improvement on 2010, which witnessed a total of 218 violations. Although the numbers show a decrease in the violations compared with 2010, with twelve less violations, they cannot be considered a qualitative improvement in media freedoms considering the seriousness and brutality of a number of the violations that occurred in 2011.

MADA general director Mousa Rimawi stated that the status of media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories remain tentative because of continued Israeli occupation forces violations against journalists and media freedoms, and ongoing Palestinian security forces violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  Rimawi stressed that without an end to the occupation and the ratification of the Palestinian political reconciliation it is difficult to talk about real improvements in media freedoms.

Rimawi said that the number of Palestinian violations exceeded Israeli occupation violations - by a small margin - for the first time. Palestinian security services committed 106 violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2011, marking a significant increase on 2010 which witnessed a total of 79 Palestinian violations, and marked decrease in IOF and settler violations in 2011 with a total count of 100 violations compared with 2010, which saw a total of 139 Israeli occupation violations.

Rimawi, however, stated two important factors in this regard.  Firstly, that although the total number of Israeli violations decreased, the violations committed constituted a greater threat to the health and wellbeing of the journalists, who were targeted with, for example, the excessive and inappropriate use of crowd control weaponry such as rubber coated steel bullets, tear gas, concussion grenades and the recently introduced Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), coined “The Scream”. Secondly, that in cases of non-violent abuses, such as restriction of movement, prohibition from travel or prevention from covering an event, many journalists do not report the incident. In addition, it is also important to note the different Palestinian security service trends seen in the two divided Palestinian territories, with 2011 seeing 62 violation in the Gaza Strip and 44 in the West Bank.

MADA also believes that this marked increase in Palestinian security service violations is spurred on by the continuing Palestinian political divisions. Despite the signing of a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas in 2011, no real steps towards appeasement have been made and there remains a lack in accountability for perpetrators.

 The most serious and heinous violation seen in 2011 was the criminal murder of Italian journalist Vittorio Arrigoni by an armed group in Gaza. As a well known long-term solidarity activist and advocate of the Palestinian people, Arrigoni’s murder sent shockwaves through Palestinian society. Before his death, Arrigoni had spent three years living in and reporting from the Gaza Strip, writing articles and raising awareness of the terrible conditions suffered by the people of Gaza as a result of the Israeli blockade and siege.  Arrigoni was known throughout the Palestinian territories as a kind man who loved helping anyone anywhere he could, a dedication for which he received Palestinian citizenship in honor of all his efforts.

2011 also witnessed the severe injury of journalist Mohamed Othman who was shot in the chest and hand by Israeli occupation forces on 15 May 2011, while covering a march commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba. The severity of Othman’s injury, which included paralysis from the waist down, necessitated his transfer to a hospital in Turkey—where he remains today—for specialist treatment. After approximately 10 months of treatment his condition has improved.  Othman is now able to walk with the aid of a special device, however, his doctors estimate that it will take a further 2 years for him to be able to walk unassisted.  

MADA stressed in its report that Israel’s continued violation of international conventions, particularly article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and their continued assault on freedom of expression in the occupied Palestinian territories has made journalism one of the hardest and most dangerous professions practiced by Palestinians. MADA also denounced the widespread official international silence towards Israeli violations and the lack of any tangible steps taken to reduce the danger faced by journalists in the line of duty.

MADA additionally called upon the concerned Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to respect the right of freedom of expression and abide by Palestinian Basic Law, particularly article 19, which sanctions this right. MADA also called for an end to the division’s effect on the media, the allowance for all media outlets to work freely and without hindrance, and demanded that all those responsible for attacks on journalists be held accountable.

To read the complete report, please click on the following link:

www.madacenter.org/images/text_editor/annualR2011.doc
 

***21.02.2012. SYRIA. UN experts raise alarm over arbitrary detentions and likely use of torture

GENEVA (21 February 2012) – United Nations independent experts condemned the arrest of at least 16 persons, including prominent Syrian human rights figures, and voiced their concern that the individuals may be subjected to torture and ill treatment. It appears their arrests and detention are
directly linked to the activities of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression’s (SCM) in the defence of human rights.

“The Syrian authorities should end all acts of harassment against human rights defenders and release all those arbitrarily arrested and detained,”
said the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya; freedom of expression, Frank La Rue; torture, Juan Méndez; and
the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, El Hadji Malick Sow.

On the afternoon of Thursday, 16 February, security forces raided the offices of the SCM, a prominent human rights organization, which enjoys UN
consultative status. All persons present in the centre, including its director, Mazen Darwich, blogger Razan Ghazawi, and at least 14 other
persons, were reportedly arrested, blindfolded and taken to Al Jawiya in Mezza airport.

“The arrest of these persons, including prominent human rights defenders, is emblematic of an alarming and recurrent pattern of arbitrary detention
in Syria since March 2011. Detention without legal basis should never be used as a method of repression,” independent expert Sow said.

Special Rapporteur Sekaggya underscored that States must ensure that no harm comes either physically or mentally to human rights defenders. “The
current situation in Syria does not provide a pretext for Governments to harass and arbitrarily detain human rights defenders,” she said. “On the
contrary, they play a crucial role in the protection of human rights in high-risk situations. The Government should work with them, not against
them.”

Similar concern was expressed by Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue about the arrests of several people, including human rights activists, bloggers and
journalists. “Their role is essential in protecting and promoting human rights in the country,” he stressed. “I am concerned that these arrests
and detention are related to the SCM’s work on human rights. If so, these persons should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

“I fear that Mr. Mazen Darwich and other persons arrested may be at serious risk of torture or ill treatment,” said Special Rapporteur Méndez.
“I am deeply concerned about their physical and mental well-being particularly in the current context of the ongoing violence in Syria.”

The four UN independent human rights experts called on the Syrian authorities to release the individuals immediately. Their arrest came on
the same day as the adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution condemning the violent Government crackdown in Syria.

***29.01.2012. SOMALIA. NUSOJ and Somali Media Fraternity Grieve As They Take Part The Burial Ceremony On Sunday

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) organized the member journalists and Somali media fraternity to gather at Madina hospital
on Sunday morning to attend the funeral and show solidarity to our slain colleague who was killed in Mogadishu on Saturday evening,
meanwhile the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) welcomes the government’s probe into the killing of the Radio Director.

Late Hasan Osman Abdi (Fantastic), the director of Shabelle Radio, was killed by two unknown assailants armed with pistols, near his
home near his home in Nasteeho neighborhood of Wadajir district in Mogadishu on Saturday evening January 28, 2012, according to
witnesses.

The gunmen immediately fled from the area, according to Shabelle radio. It is not yet clear the reason behind his killing.He was rushed
to Madina Hospital, where he was declared dead, where his body has been kept in the overnight. It is not yet clear the reason behind his
killing and no group claimed the responsibility of the attack. NUSOJ officials and Somali media fraternity, some of the Shabelle
Radio staff, where Hassan has worked, and family members took the body to a cemetery at Baqdaad village, in the outskirts of Mogadishu,
almost 10km Southwest of Mogadishu, where late Hassan Osman Abdi’s burial took place. The burial took place at around 10:00am Sunday
morning.

NUSOJ Treasurer, who is also the union’s press freedom coordinator, Abdirashid Abdulle Abikar, spoke to the local and international media 
soon after the burial ended and extended condolences to the families, friends and colleague of late Hassan. Mr. Abikar also called the
journalists and media workers to be vigilant and take safety measures following this murder.

“We pray Almight Allah to remain his soul in Paradise.” Abdirashid Abdulle Abikar, NUSOJ Treasurer and Press Freedom Coordinator said
urging that the journalists should take urgent safety measures to ensure their safety in the wake of this horrendous murder.

Mr. Abikar also stressed such killings could only mean to silence the voice of the voiceless and called the journalists to continue their
normal work they serve to the public, while he thanked to the journalists in general for their bravery in continuing providing
accurate and balanced information to the public in line with the rules and regulations of journalism, which going against such rules could be
disastrous and unprofessional, which has nothing to do with journalism.

On Sunday, Somalia government condemned the brutal murder of the radio director pledged urgent investigations into the killing, according to
a statement.

Late Hassan Fantastic, 30yrs, is survived by a wife and three children - two girls and a boy and was the third Shabelle director killed since
2007. Three journalists have been killed in Mogadishu last alone Journalists in Somalia who are working in one of the most dangerous
environments in the world to be journalists lack the appropriate safety trainings and as well as need their level of professionalism to
be upgraded.

SEE HERE FUNERAL PHOTOS:
http://www.nusoj.org.so/alerts/2012/Jan2012/NUSOJ_and_Media_Fraternity_grieve_as_they_take_part_the_burial_ceremony_on_Sunday.html
 
***27.01.2012. INSI attends Doha conference on journalist safety

LONDON - The International News Safety Institute welcomes the recommendations of this week's international conference in Doha for the
Protection of Journalists in Dangerous Situations as an important contribution to the debate on safety standards. INSI hopes the
recommendations will help supplement international frameworks to protect journalists and media staff, and highlight the urgency of improved access
to safety training for all journalists around the world.
"This international conference is an important part of the safety jigsaw. We are pleased that safety is now forming part of the conversation in the
Middle East, which has provided the focus of so many of the major challenges to news crews in the past year. It's vital that the organisers
of this conference continue to build on the momentum created here and help make safety a part of the culture in every newsroom throughout the region and beyond," said INSI Deputy Director Hannah Storm, who attended the conference.
The conference called on the United Nations and its agencies to work with non-governmental organisations in promoting the issues of journalism
safety for all those working in dangerous situations, be they conflict or non-conflict. It urged governments to respect pre-existing conventions and
discussions focussed on journalism safety and recommended a strengthening of national laws to end impunity, which means that the majority of those
who target journalists never get prosecuted.
"By supporting international attempts to raise the awareness of safety issues, we hope this conference can put pressure on those governments
which are not yet doing enough to identify and prosecute the killers and attackers of journalists. We hope this will also help persuade news
organisations that they have a duty of care to all their news media employees and freelancers - be they reporters, fixers or drivers - and
they should provide them with adequate training, equipment and support wherever they are working - be that in areas of conflict, civil unrest,
organised crime or disaster zones."
The meeting was part of a jigsaw of international conferences aimed at addressing journalist safety issues. UNESCO last September organised a
meeting of relevant UN agencies, funds and programmes to design a joint UN strategy on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. INSI and
other journalist support groups spoke up at the conference, highlighting the issues before an audience of UN and other world agencies and
governments. Conclusions drawn from the meeting will be contained in an inter-agency plan of action, due by March, which will formulate a
"comprehensive, coherent and action-orientated UN-wide approach".
In November, News Xchange 2011, a global convention of broadcasters from around the world, passed a landmark resolution proposed by INSI and the
European Broadcasting Union demanding action by world bodies and governments to stop the killing and end impunity. More than 99 per cent of
the 440 delegates from 168 media organisations in 56 countries also pledged to research suspicious deaths, creating maximum exposure for each,
and report back to News Xchange 2012.
Later the same month the Austrian government, working with the International Press Institute, staged a conference of experts from UN
agencies, journalist support groups and governments to address means of establishing a more effective international framework for journalist
safety. INSI presented the News Xchange resolution to the conference, which concluded with a pledge by Austria to carry the issue forward during
its term on the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, to which it was elected earlier this year.
Sadly there were far fewer active journalists at the Doha event than there might have been. However, as the sole organisation run by journalists
focussing on journalist safety, INSI was able to share its expertise at the conference, and INSI's Hannah Storm was rapporteur for a workshop on
safety standards, the conclusions of which will feature separately on the INSI website. It will be a part of a delegation that represents the future
activities of the conference.
The conference, which was organised by the National Committee for Human Rights in Qatar, was attended by more than 100 delegates from countries as far afield as the Philippines and Pakistan, Mauritania and Mexico, representing media support groups, unions and human rights bodies.

***26.01.2012. PALESTINE. MADA and DCAF hold workshop on access to information in Bethlehem

Ramallah – 26 January 2012: The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) and the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) held a workshop for journalists on the right of access to information at Maan News Agency headquarters in Bethlehem, on Thursday 24 January 2012.

The workshop – which was conducted over four hours – covered important topics such as the concept of the right of access to information, local
legislation ensuring this right - particularly Palestinian draft law - as well as international standards and best practices regarding the right of
access to information, relevant international initiatives in this field, and compared them with the Palestinian legal status.

The journalists, who came from various media outlets in Bethlehem, spoke about the most prevalent obstacles facing them in their quest for
information and discussed methods for overcoming these obstacles.

MADA and DCAF will hold a series of workshops in the different cities across the West Bank and Gaza Strip to promote journalists’ knowledge about
access to information draft law, and to collect their notes and recommendations on this draft law to develop it.

Please visit www.marsad.info

***19.01.2012. SOMALIA - NUSOJ annual report says 2011 even worse for journalists

The annual report of the National Union of Somali Journalists paints a worrying picture of abuses suffered by the media in 2011 and condemns the silence and impunity that surround crimes against journalists.

The report on the state of press freedom, published yesterday, said 2011 was worse than 2010 and lists four journalists killed, seven wounded and 19 arbitrarily arrested, as well as seven attacks on media organizations and at least five prosecutions for criminal defamation.

The organization deplores the fact that journalists were targeted by the authorities and the security forces, and also by militias and individuals. It says attacks were not only politically motivated and systematic but also institutionalized, depriving journalists of the ability to carry out their work without fear.

The report, entitled “Lives and Rights of Journalists Under Threat”, notes an increase in prosecutions of journalists in the semi-autonomous north-eastern region of Puntland and the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland in the north, as a new means of clamping down on the media and restricting the flow of information.

The Mogadishu region, which is in the hands of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was the most dangerous part of the country for freedom of information, it said. It was followed by Somaliland, where the number of prosecutions for criminal defamation, slander and false news has escalated.

In third place was Puntland, where there were closures of media organizations, criminal prosecutions and other mistreatment of journalists. 

The report says the NUSOJ considers impunity “the foremost, albeit silent, enemy of journalists and press freedom”.

It appeals to the TFG, Somaliland and Puntland authorities:

- To adopt and implement a consistent policy of zero-tolerance for crimes against journalists and media organizations as the only way to ensure reliable practice to respect, protect, defend and promote press freedom.

- To bring police and other security forces under control by immediately stopping the harassment, brutality, arbitrary arrests, and even killing, regularly perpetrated against journalists and media organisations and to ensure full accountability for previous violations.

- To promptly cease violations of journalists’ right to freedom of association and to stop threats of criminal prosecution against journalists, including their organisations and leaders.  

The NUSOJ calls on the international community to make their support of, and cooperation with, Somali authorities conditional on respect and protection of the fundamental rights of journalists, and of the people of Somalia in general.

NUSOJ annual report : http://en.rsf.org/somalia-nusoj-annual-report-says-2011-even-19-01-2012,41703.html

***18.01.2012. TURKEY. Hrant Dink Killing Verdict "Contradictory and Shocking" Says the EFJ

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), today expressed its surprise at the contradictions in the verdict concerning the murder of Turkish author and journalist Hrant Dink as his colleagues commemorate the fifth anniversary of the killing.

"The Court announced that the premeditated killing of a journalist was not an "organised" crime, while nearly a hundred Turkish journalists are currently in jail charged with organised terroristic activities. We are shocked by such a contradictory verdict" said the President of the EFJ Arne König.

Yesterday the "specially authorised" 14th High Criminal (Penal) Court in Istanbul found Yasin Hayal guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Erhan Tuncel, accused of planning Dink's murder, was not found guilty but was instead sentenced to 10 years and 6 months for his involvement in the bombing of a McDonalds restaurant before Dink's death. The actual gunman, Ogün Samast, was first sentenced to life imprisonment which was then reduced to 22 years and 10 months because he was a minor when he committed the crime.

Astonishingly, the court also ruled that Dink's killing was not an "organised crime": meaning the criminals did not act as an "organised group" but were assumed to have acted in a private capacity. For this reason, Erhan Tuncel is free today, following the normal criminal law procedure, because he had already spent five years in jail prior to the trial.

Tomorrow, the EFJ and some of its affiliates in Europe will commemorate the 5th anniversary of the killing of Hrant Dink, with celebrations or messages to their government in defence of press freedom in Turkey.

Currently 97 journalists are in jail in Turkey and many of them accused of being members of "terrorist organisations".  In November 2011 the EFJ led an international mission, in co-operation with other international press freedom groups, with the aim of showing support for the immediate release of all Turkish journalists who appear to have been jailed because of their work. The EFJ President was in Istanbul twice in the past weeks to witness the continuation of the trials.

***16.01.2012. SOMALILAND. IFJ Condemns Crackdown on Media in Somaliland


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the arrest of twenty five journalists in Somaliland recently, accusing the
authorities of waging a campaign of intimidation to silence independent reporting.

Reports say that 21 journalists were detained over the weekend by security forces and held in Hargeisa, Borame and Las Anod police stations. They
were released today, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, but four who had been arrested earlier remain
in custody.

"We welcome the release of the journalists but remain concerned by the crackdown on media in Somaliland," said Jim Boumelha, President of the
IFJ. "These are wanton acts of intimidation against the journalists and the media in Somaliland. We support the right of journalists to report
independently and call for the release of the four colleagues still in detention."

On Saturday, 14 January, police in Somaliland stormed the main headquarters of HornCable TV in the capital town Hargeisa, threw out the
staff and sealed off the offices. Two production studios of the television network in Haregisa, which were not in the same building of the
headquarters, were also closed down.

According to NUSO, the authorities in Somaliland were angered by the channel's report on a tribal meeting in Taleeh district of Sool region, in
which tribal politicians and elders announced the establishment of an autonomous administration". The TV station also reportedly aired views of
people criticising Somaliland administration for not preventing this meeting from taking place, reports said.

On Sunday, 15 January, journalists organised a peaceful protest demonstration in front of Somaliland State House. The Presidential guard
attacked protesters, beating up journalists and arresting 18 journalists working for HornCable TV. Police also hunted down other journalists who
took part in the protest and arrested journalists and media practitioners.


According to NUSOJ, a total of 21 journalists, including 6 female, were arrested over the weekend and detained. They were Mohamud Abdi Jama,
editor-in-chief (Waaheen ), Mohamed Omar Abdi, editor-in-chief (Jamhuuriya ), Ahmed Aden Dhere, reporter (Haatuf ), Mohamed Said Harago,
head of news (Berberanews), Najah Adan Unaye, director (Hadhwanaagnews), Suhur Barre, reporter (HornCable TV), Abdiqani Abdullahi Ahmed, reporter (Hadhwanaagnews), Mohamed Ahmed Muse, reporter (HornCable TV), Mohamed Fayr , reporter, (Geeska Africa ), Saleban Abdi Ali Kalshaale, reporter (Waaheen), Khalid Hamdi Ahmed, reporter (Waaheen), Nimo Omar Mohmed Sabriye, presenter (HornCable TV), Hamsa Ali Bulbul, reporter (HornCable TV), Mohamed Ahmed Muse Kurase, reporter (HornCable TV), Abdirahman Sheik Yunes, newscaster (HornCable TV), Ayan Diriye, reporter (HornCable TV), Nimo' Diriye, reporter (HornCable TV), Hodan Ali Ajabi, reporter (HornCable TV), Safiya Nuh Sheikh, presenter (HornCable TV), Ahmed
Abdirahman Hersi, news editor (HornCable TV), Jama Omar Abdullahi, reporter (Waaheen).

Farhan Haji Ali Ahmed, owner of HornCable TV, was also summoned to report today at the Somali Presidency for questioning but the 21 journalists were released today.

NUSOJ also condemned the arrests and called for the release of the four journalists who are still held.

"The release of these journalists is good news but we also demand the immediate release of four colleagues who have no case to answer," said
Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of NUSOJ who called for their immediate and unconditional release. "This systematic harassment and
intimidation of journalists and media workers by the police and Somaliland security forces must end."

***06.01.2012. PHILIPPINES - THE PERSISTENCE OF IMPUNITY A BAD START FOR THE NEW YEAR
Statement of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) on the killing of Christopher “Cris” Guarin
                                                                                                        
THE KILLING of General Santos newspaper publisher and RMN blocktimer Christopher Guarin hardly a week since the new year began is one more indication of the persistence of the culture of impunity that encourages the killing of journalists and media workers in the Philippines.

Unless the necessary steps are taken to speed up the ongoing trials of the accused in the killing of journalists as well as the masterminds , and to investigate, arrest, and try those involved in the killing of Guarin, as well as that of six other journalists in 2011, the killings are likely to continue in 2012 and the coming years.

Among the steps journalists and media advocacy groups including the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) proposed to the Aquino administration  as early as August 2010 are strengthening the Witness Protection Program; rehabilitating the criminal investigation units of law enforcement agencies; organizing multi-sectoral Quick Response Teams; and reviewing the Rules of Court to speed up court trials. None of these proposals have so far been acted upon except that on the Witness Protection Program, the budget of which the government has increased.

The killing of Guarin demonstrates the urgency of the government’s acting on these proposals. FFFJ urges all media advocacy and journalists’ groups to intensify the campaign for government to do so, and calls upon civil society to add its voice to the imperative of punishing the guilty so as to end the culture of impunity that has claimed the lives of 124 journalists and media workers since 1986 to the detriment of the right of the people to information in a democratic regime. 

***30.12.2011. IFJ Presses UN for Action on Media Killings after Violence Claims 106 Lives of Journalists and Media Staff in 2011 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today urged the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take drastic action against governments of the most dangerous countries for media after it published its annual list of 106 journalists and media personnel killed in 2011. The Federation says 2011 has been another bloody year for media and blames governments’ failure to uphold their international obligations for the ongoing violence targeting media. In a letter to the UN Secretary General, the IFJ calls for effective implementation of international legal instruments to combat the prevailing culture of impunity for crimes against journalists.

“It is abundantly clear that deadly violence against journalists is not just a blip due to conflicts around the world but has become a regular cycle in many countries where journalists are hunted down, targeted and murdered by the enemies of press freedom,” said the letter signed by IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “In a situation where governments are in denial or indifferent to what has become a regular pattern of targeted killings of journalists, it is incumbent upon yourself and the United Nations to remind them of their responsibility to protect journalists.”This year’s list confirms that journalists are among the primary victims of violence in armed conflict, ethnic and religious tensions as well as political upheavals which erupted in many countries during the past twelve months. Media professionals are exposed to serious risks, often with tragic consequences, as they report from the frontline of conflicts such as in Pakistan and the Arab world or crime prevention in the lawless parts of Mexico where they are considered unwelcome witnesses.

The IFJ list of work related media killings is coordinated with the International News Safety Institute (INSI) and contains 106 journalists and media personnel who died during 2011, up from 94 killings recorded in 2010. An additional 20 journalists and collaborators also died in accidents and natural disasters incidents.

The IFJ says that violence targets not just journalists but also colleagues from all sectors of the industry, including cameramen, drivers and fixers and other support staff which are all recorded to underscore their crucial role in news gathering and reporting.

The systematic failure of governments to protect journalists and punish those who are responsible for violence against them has entrenched the culture of impunity in most parts of the world and contributed to ever rising numbers of journalists’ killings. This prompted the IFJ and the press freedom community to hold for the first time the International Day against Impunity for Crimes against journalists on 23 November 2011.

"This year’s numbers just prove that violence targeting media workers continues unabated,” added Stephen Pearse, IFJ Deputy General Secretary. “We need to send out a strong message that action is needed to stop the violence and the bloodshed.”

As of 31 December, the IFJ recorded the following information on killings of journalists and media staff in 2011:

Targeted killings and homicides incidents        : 106
Accidental deaths                                             : 20
Total Deaths                                                     : 126

The deadliest region in 2011 was the Middle East and Arab World with 32 journalists and media personnel killed. Iraq had the region's highest death toll with 11 dead.

Among countries with high numbers of media fatalities are:

Iraq                  11
Pakistan           11
Mexico              11
The Philippines    6
Libya                    6
Yemen                 6
Honduras            5
India                   5                                                                                                                 

The list of journalists and media personnel killed in 2011 is available on this link: http://www.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-presses-un-for-action-on-media-killings-after-violence-claims-106-lives-of-journalists-and-media-staff-in-2011
                                                                                                 

***23.12.2011. SOMALIA. Somali Journalists Walk to mourn for their murdered colleague for Justice in Hamarjajab neighborhood

Mogadishu, 23, Dec. 2011 - A walk event, co-organized by the campaigning team of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the commissioner of Hamarjajab district, started from the scene where the late Abdisalan Hiis was shot at Hamarjajab district in Mogadishu and ended at the Horn Cable Television station where the journalist had worked on Thursday, December 22, 2011

At least 100 journalists attended the walk event which was part of the NUSOJ campaigns to combat impunity and ask for justice to the killers
of our slain colleague late Abdisalan Sheik Hassan (Hiis).

All journalists and media officials and members of the Hamarjajab community wore red and white clothes on their heads, which they vowed
they will not put off until the killer is brought to court, portraits written on "The killing of Abdisalan Hiis is brutal, journalists are
non-combat civilians.". Women from Hamarjajab neighborhood also joined the walk wearing red, yellow and white dresses dressed in white scarf,
the same as the female journalists expressing sadness and solidarity for the death of the journalist held portraits written, "Don't kill
your Muslim brother, Respect the journalists, respect the non-combat civilians."

Abdirashid Abdulle Abikar, NUSOJ treasurer who addressed the mourners said that Somali journalists are waiting from their government to
immediately bring to fair court the killer of our colleague/friend late Abdisalan Sheik Hassan, who was killed on 18 December, 2011 at
this neighborhood where the event is taking place.

"We want action!" Abdirashid Abdulle Abikar, NUSOJ official who was delegated to speak on behalf of the union in his opening remarks said,
"We want from our government that they immediately bring the killer to court."

Mr. Abikar later thanked to the journalists for the solidarity, courage and bravery they have shown in search for the justice.
The union campaigners also spoke at the event reiterated that the government must take action.

Mohamed Ali Ahmed, Hamarjajab district commissioner, where the crime has taken place, condemned the shooting incident, while he pointed out
the necessity to work closely with the security services, which will ease the capture of the killer and promised that he will give all
necessary help in this case.

The chief of the Somali Military court, Hassan Mohamed Hussein (Muun Gaab) who attended the walk event said that he was surprised by the
unity among the journalists who have been protesting since the journalist was murdered and vowed that the military court will take
action as soon as the murderer is brought to court.

"The targeted assassinations are the worst crimes among the society." Mohamed Hussein (Muun Gaab), The chief of the Somali Military court
said, "On behalf of the Somali military court, I promise that the killer will be brought to court and will be charged according to the
law."

Somali journalists with the help of the Somali media community has been launching campaigns for justice for the murdered journalist and
campaigns to support the family of the slain journalist late Abdisalan Sheik Hassan.

Somali Journalists vowed that they will not throw away the red and white signs and will not stop campaigning for call to justice until
the murderer is found and brought to court.

FOR THE STORY READ THIS LINK AND FOLLOW UP MORE UPDATES ABOUT OUR
CAMPAIGNS FOR JUSTICE TO COME SOON:
http://www.nusoj.org.so/alerts/Dec2011/Somali_journalists_walk_to_mourn_for_their_murdered_colleague_for_justice_in_Hamarjajab_neighborhood.htm

***22.12.2011. Journalists Dismiss as ‘Travesty of Justice’ Conviction of Swedish Reporters on Terror Charges in Ethiopia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for the reversal of the ruling by a court in Ethiopia which found Swedish reporters, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, guilty of “supporting a terrorist organisation and illegally entering Ethiopia”. The pair, who was arrested in July while reporting on a project to exploit oil and its impact on the regional environment, faces up to 15 years in prison.
“We are outraged by this ruling which amounts to a travesty of justice,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “Journalists’ contacts with organisations do not in any way represent support for whatever causes they defend. This verdict will not only severely undermine press freedom in Ethiopia but also adversely impact on the country’s good standing and we
look to the higher court to set it aside and order the journalists’ release.”
Media reports say that the judge in the case of the two reporters accepted that they were “esteemed journalists” but held that “They have not been able to prove that they did not support terrorism.”
The IFJ voiced its grave concern over this finding which shifts the burden of proof from prosecution to the accused, noting that the standards of due process have been affected by a clear bias against the two reporters.
Today’s verdict has been widely criticised by journalists’ organisations in Africa and beyond. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) accused the Ethiopian authorities of engaging in a campaign of intimidation to suppress independent reporting on the country’s affairs.
“This is a political verdict intended to deter journalists from covering events in a major conflict zone,” EFJ President Arne König said. “We call on the Ethiopian authorities to respect the freedom of the press and release these two journalists who were clearly in the country for genuine journalistic reasons. We also call on the government to act to ensure that
all journalists in Ethiopia are free to do their job and not be suppressed through legal actions designed to silence critical voices.”
The Eastern Africa Journalists’ Association (EAJA) has also condemned the ruling, calling on the Ethiopian Government to release the two reporters and to respect the right of journalists, including foreign reporters, to report independently on Ethiopian matters.
“Our Swedish colleagues, Schibbye and Persson, cannot conceivably be considered terrorists or supporters of a terrorist group,” said EAJA General Secretary, Omar Faruk Osman. “They have suffered enough in detention and we call for their immediate release.”

***21.12.2011. 'Journalists are not Terrorists' Says EFJ ahead of Verdict for Swedish Journalists Arrested in Ethiopia

Today the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) renewed its call for the release of two Swedish photojournalists Johan Persson and reporter Martin Schibbye in Ethiopia. They were arrested on 27 June 2011 while reporting on the rebel movement, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which is fighting the Ethiopian government in the region. The two journalists were also injured after coming under fire from the Ethiopian military.

"These colleagues are clearly not terrorists, and should be released immediately", says EFJ President Arne König. "This is what the EFJ has claimed since the first day, and we see that Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson have been able to show that without a shadow of a doubt in the court".

They will be in court again on Wednesday 21 December for what is expected to be the final day of the trial and also the day on which the court will present a verdict on their case. The journalists are said to be risking up to 15 years imprisonment, in a worst case scenario. They were originally accused of also working with ONLF guerillas in the Ogaden area. These charges were dropped, but the two journalists are still being accused of supporting the guerilla movement.

The Swedish Union of Journalists has had two representatives in Ethiopia since Monday this week. They will talk to the families of their colleagues and be in the Court to offer support on the 21 December.

According to Swedish media reports, the two colleagues were successful in the last parts of the Court hearings, as they were able to tell the court of the working methods of the media with help of American and British war correspondents. Two Swedish editors also acted as witnesses to support the statements of Schibbye and Persson that they were in Ethiopia only for a journalistic purpose. Both men deny any terrorist accusations but admit they entered Ethiopia without permission.

The aim of the two journalists was to investigate how the oil industry exploiting resources in Ethiopia is behaving in connection with human rights. They were specifically interested in Lundin Oil, a company in which the Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt was on the board, and had investments, before becoming a minister.

"We expect our colleagues to be able to enjoy Christmas at home with their families", said König.

Since June this year, eleven journalists have been accused of terrorist activities in Ethiopia, most of them locals. In November alone, six journalists were charged with terrorism.

***20.12.2011. UN CALLS ON RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES TO PROBE KILLING OF DAGESTAN JOURNALIST

New York, Dec 20 2011 10:10AM
Two United Nations agencies today called on Russian authorities to conduct an independent and transparent investigation into the recent murder of journalist Khadzhimurad Kamalov in Dagestan and to bring the perpetrators
to justice.

Mr. Kamalov, the founder and editor of the independent weekly newspaper Chernovik, was shot dead on 15 December as he was leaving his office. He was also the executive director of the Svoboda Slova (freedom of
expression) organization.

His killing is the latest in a series of attacks against journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers in Russia, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Mr. Kamalov had reported extensively on alleged abuses by the police and other human rights violations in Dagestan, OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

“His murder sends a chilling message to journalists seeking to cover such issues,” he added.

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), condemned the killing and urged the authorities to ensure that those responsible are brought to trial.

“Fear must not be allowed to muzzle media professionals, deny reporters the basic human right of freedom of expression and bar citizens from accessing information,” she stated in a news release.

Mr. Kamalov is reportedly the fourth journalist killed in Russia this year, according to sources quoted by the International Press Institute.
Dec 20 2011 10:10AM

***19.12.2011. SOMALIA. IFJ Condemns ‘Cold Blood’ Murder of Prominent Journalist 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today urged the Somali Transitional Federal Government to launch an immediate investigation to identify the killer - and whoever ordered the murder - of Abdisalan Sheik Hassan, a prominent Somali journalist who was gunned down in Mogadishu on Sunday. The IFJ says that this incident will serve as a test case for the Government’s commitment to combating the impunity for crimes targeting media in Somalia.
“We are appalled by this cold blood murder of a journalist which has shocked the journalists’ community in Somalia,” said IFJ General Secretary, Beth Costa. “The authorities must do their utmost, including seeking outside help, to ensure this crime does not go unpunished. Their claim to respecting press freedom and restoration of rule of law will not
survive failure to bring to justice our colleague’s killers.”
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, said in a statement that the journalist, who was shot after getting out of his car at the gate of HornCable TV offices, was rushed to Madina hospital where he was declared dead.
According to NUSOJ, the slain journalist feared for his life after receiving a string of death threats in recent weeks due to his reports.
Hassan recently filmed a meeting at the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament where a group of members sought to remove the Speaker. The footage of the proceedings was aired on HornCable TV which attracted unwelcome interest from some political forces within the Transitional Federal Institutions, his colleagues say.
“We strongly condemn this atrocious killing of Abdisalan Sheik Hassan. This murder is a massive loss for journalists and media in Mogadishu, the most dangerous place for Somali journalists in their country,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
The IFJ has learnt that journalists working in the private media are facing campaign of intimidation in Somalia and is concerned that such an environment can expose them to mob violence and acts of retaliation as a
result of their work.
“Somalia is already one of the toughest countries for journalists and any attempts to introduce political rivalries in the country’s media are bound to make the situation even more explosive,” added Costa. “We urge all
political forces to refrain from any undue interference in journalists’ affairs.”
Hassan becomes the fourth journalist to be killed in Somalia this year, making the war ravaged country a permanent feature on the list of the most dangerous countries for journalists in Africa since 2006.

***19.12.2011. Conference organized by The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) in Amman

The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ organized a conference earlier this month during which key media
participants squarely ejected charges they were contributing to the ongoing revolts with their coverage http://www.huffingtonpost.com/magda-abufadil/www.cdfj.org> 

"Media did not foment Arab revolutions," headlined the English-language *Jordan Times * <http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=44036>  quoting former Al Jazeera director general Wadah Khanfar at the CDFJ's Media Freedom Defenders in the
Arab World Forum (#MFD2011), who added that "creating the revolutions would be an honor."

Participants agreed that freedom of expression isn't a luxury, it's a right, with CDFJ head Nidal Mansour insisting that "the era of oppression is over."

A major challenge facing the forum was the inability of Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/05/syria-arrested-blogger-razan-ghazzawi> 
to attend because she was stopped at the Syrian-Jordanian border and arrested for her opposition to the regime of President Bashar Al Assad. Mansour drew heated applause when he saluted those who were absent and
barred from attending.
A Syrian activist who made it to the conference told me that if a blogger or journalist traveling with a colleague is nabbed by security forces or border police crossing into a neighboring country like Jordan, the other person pretends not to know the detainee so that at least one of them can report the incident to the outside world and bear witness.
So are online activists and citizen journalists setting the media agenda? Said Emna Bin Joum'a from Tunisia, where the first spark of the so-called "Arab Spring" began: "I've become a blogger to whom journalists listen, although I'm a journalist."
Meanwhile, veteran Egyptian journalist-turned-activist Hedayat Abdel Nabi promoted the need for better protective measures for journalists in conflict zones.

She has been very involved with the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), an NGO with U.N. consultative status dedicated to combatting impunity, bringing perpetrators of crimes against journalists to trial and providing better protection. 

The campaign began following the U.S. invasion of Iraq when Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana was killed by American troops while on assignment there, she said.
Abdel Nabi called for an end to targeting journalists, the investigation of recent anti-media crimes, and asked that the CDFJ monitor violations. "International laws don't protect journalists," she said. "We need an international convention to protect them and must join forces with other organizations to do so."
The three-day event (two in Amman and one at the Dead Sea) ended with a workshop that drafted recommendations including creating an Arab network to monitor press freedom violations, an annual report, a training manual on
journalists' rights, establishing a legal team to pursue media freedom violators, and a unified model for documenting violations.

***09.12.2011. OSCE media representative urges Russian authorities not to harass journalists covering protests

VIENNA, 9 December 2011 -- The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, urged today Russian authorities to protect journalists reporting from the scene of protests from detention and police harassment.

On 5, 6 and 7 December police apprehended about two dozens reporters covering post-election demonstrations in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

“Journalists must be free to report on public events including protests and demonstrations. The duty of the police is to protect journalists, not harass and detain them. The Russian authorities should investigate all these incidents and ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly prosecuted, ” Mijatović said.  

At least two journalists, Forbes.ru editor Aleksei Kamensky and FORUM.msk editor Anatoly Baranov, were charged with refusing to comply with the lawful demands of police officers. Kommersant newspaper correspondent Aleksandr Chernykh said he was beaten by a law enforcement officer during his detention.

Other detained journalists included Bozhena Rynska, a columnist with the Gazeta.ru online newspaper; Timur Zaynullin of the Interfax news agency; Ilya Barabanov, the deputy chief editor of the New Times/Novoye Vremya magazine; Ilya Vasyunin, a reporter with the Dozhd television station; Yana Makarova of the RIA Novosti news agency; and Aleksandr Komelkov of the Arsenevskie Vesti newspaper. Most of them were released after a few hours.

“My Office will continue to follow the situation and the response by the authorities,” said Mijatović. She expressed hope that Russian authorities would recognize the important role journalists play in reporting on matters of public interest. “Safety of journalists throughout the OSCE region remains a major concern and a priority of my work. We are ready to support and assist Russian authorities in ensuring full implementation of their OSCE media-freedom commitments.”

***08.12.2011. CPJ report - 179 journalists behind bars

The number of journalists imprisoned worldwide shot up more than 20 percent to its highest level since the mid-1990s, an increase driven largely by widespread jailings across the Middle East and North Africa, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ identified 179 writers, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 34 over its 2010 tally.

Iran was the world’s worst jailer, with 42 journalists behind bars, as authorities kept up a campaign of anti-press intimidation that began after the country’s disputed presidential election more than two years ago. Eritrea, China, Burma, Vietnam, Syria, and Turkey also ranked among the world’s worst. (Read detailed accounts of each imprisoned journalist.)

More on: www.cpj.org

***25.11.2011. EGYPT. As the world watches Egypt, the threat to journalist safety grows (INSI)

The eyes of the world are once again on Egypt - nine months after violent protests brought down the government of Hosni Mubarak. In the run-up to parliamentary elections next week, violence between protesters and security forces has spiralled, particularly in Cairo. And now, as in February, journalists are faced with a changing and challenging
safety situation.
The International News Safety Institute is particularly concerned at the apparent extent of the targeting of journalists, with reports of dozens injured, beaten, sexually assaulted and arrested. INSI is also worried that news teams are not able to protect themselves adequately as the Egyptian authorities are impounding equipment such as flak jackets and
helmets.
INSI has made a formal request on behalf of its members to the Egyptian authorities, asking that news teams are allowed to bring flak jackets and helmets with them to protect themselves, as the situation constantly changes.
As in February, Cairo's Tahrir Square has seen some of the most intense violence, with the capital's Mohammad Mahmoud Street the site of vicious protests too.
Ahram Online, Egypt's largest news organisation, has reported that security forces are ignoring journalists' credentials and are attacking them with what it calls excessive force.
There are individual tales of serious injury too. Ahmed Fiqqy, a journalist from independent media organisation Hoqook.com, was shot in the eye with a live bullet on Monday night and is in urgent need of medical attention.
And on Thursday, US-based Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy tweeted that she was sexually and physically assaulted while being detained for 12 hours in the interior ministry in Cairo.
There have been many more reports of journalists being shot with rubber bullets, beaten, arrested, detained and having their equipment seized or destroyed by security forces.
Several journalists have lost their eyes, while others have been shot with live ammunition. A journalist in Alexandria was stripped naked and tortured for five hours by police officers.
Almost thirty media workers have reportedly been attacked or harassed in the past week.
Many more have suffered the effects of tear gas - severely burning eyes and skin, temporary blindness, choking, dizziness, nausea and disorientation. INSI has specific advice regarding working in such conditions at the link below. In addition to this journalists should never touch discarded tear gas canisters, as this can be extremely painful.

SAFETY ADVICE: INSI urges any journalists attempting to cover the clashes to follow its safety advice on civil unrest, here
http://www.newssafety.org/page.php?page=5925&Itemid=100505
Because of the levels of uncertainty and confusion, we are advising journalists to establish a ‘buddy' system with colleagues. INSI wants to hear from operational journalists and news teams on the ground in Egypt or news desks and security managers with more information about the changing threats there.

***23.11.2011. THE PRESS EMBLEM CAMPAIGN JOINS INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST IMPUNITY. End of Impunity Is Only Deterrence against Violence Targeting Journalists, Says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said that the International Day against Impunity which is celebrated for the first time today is a wake- up call for governments around the world to prevent and
punish violence against journalists, thus help making journalism safer.
The IFJ and its affiliates are taking part in the global event which is celebrated today to mark the second anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines of 23 November 2009 which claimed 32 lives of journalists and many other civilians.
“From Somalia to Sri Lanka, Mexico to The Philippines and Pakistan through Iraq and Eritrea, journalists continue to be put to sword in total impunity,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “The overwhelming majority of victims are local and national journalists who are denied both the protection and justice by their own governments. Today, we are honouring
their memory but also making a determined statement of intent to make the end of impunity the lasting legacy of their sacrifice.”
The IFJ said in a letter to embassies of the most dangerous countries for journalists, including Iraq, Mexico, the Philippines, Pakistan and Somalia that the culture of impunity is the single biggest factor at the root of violence targeting media.
“Such crimes carry no risk of serious investigations and prosecutions, exposing in many cases the absence of the rule of law, whether due to police corruption, judicial incompetence or political indifference,” said the IFJ letter.
The Federation’s affiliates around the world echoed the message and have urged governments in their countries and regions to take urgent remedial action, pointing to cases of journalists’ murders which remain unresolved
in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Arab world and Latin America.
The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) highlighted the way the civil war has wrecked Somalia and continues to cost journalists’ lives while their colleagues in countries such as Gambia and Eritrea fare no better.
The affiliates in Asia Pacific focused on the need to achieve justice for killed journalists such as the victims and the Maguindanao massacre and Lasantha Wickeramatunga in Sri Lanka. In the Middle East and Arab world, where at least 30 journalists have died in 2011 most of them while covering the events of the Arab Spring, IFJ affiliates are calling for
killings of journalists in Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt and Lebanon to stop and their perpetrators to face justice. The IFJ regional organisation in Latin America, FEPALC, is also demanding justice for killed journalists, focusing on Mexico and Honduras. The Colombian affiliate, FECOLPER, has arranged for a minute of silence in memory of killed journalists to be observed on Colombian broadcast media throughout the day.
Their European colleagues are also taking part in the activities to end impunity and to show solidarity with killed journalists and those forced into exile to save their lives. The main European event is taking place in
London, co-sponsored by the IFJ, the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland (NUJ) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. The focus of the event will be on the horror of the Maguindanao massacre in particular, and on the prevailing culture of impunity in the country, in general.
In the meantime, the Norwegian Union of Journalists is organising a debate in Oslo with exiled journalists to share experiences of their forced exile and their ongoing struggle to speak out for their less fortunate
colleagues who were silenced for good.
On their part, IFJ affiliates in Russia and CSI countries are calling for successful prosecutions of killers of their colleagues, including Anna Politkovskaya in Russia, Georgy Gongadze in Ukraine and Elmar Huseynov in Azerbaijan.
“It is time to lift the shadow of impunity which has prevented these journalists’ families and colleagues to get justice for their loved ones,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “Today’s message is that the
status quo is not an option in the face of the tragedy which continues to befall our colleagues.”

PHILIPPINES. A TURNING POINT AND A TEST. Statement of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility on the second anniversary of the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre

The international press freedom and media advocacy groups may have designated November 23rd as the International Day to End Impunity. But there in the Philippines, on this, the second anniversary of the foul deed now known as the Ampatuan Massacre, the glacial progress of the trial of those accused of planning and carrying it out has become so much a cause for distress because the possibility that it may drag on for years bodes ill for press freedom, human rights and the quest for justice in Philippine society.

A year ago the pace of the judicial proceedings had already set off alarm bells among journalists’ and media advocacy groups, the kin of those killed, and anyone else who still cared about the future of the free press and democracy in this country.

The Massacre was after all a brutal attack on the free press as an institution necessary in any country with any pretense at democracy, and on the people’s right to choose their leaders. By murdering 58 men and women, among whom were the lawyers, relatives and allies of a candidate for provincial governor, and 32 journalists and media workers, the killers set
back press freedom and free elections by so many years, and earned for the country the dubious distinction of being the site, not only of the worst attack on the press in history, but also of a fraudulent democracy.

Both political and media killings have a long and brutal history in this country. Politicians, their allies and their campaign workers are killed so routinely in the Philippines that every election is always declared peaceful, no matter the casualties. On the other hand, the Massacre was a crime waiting to happen. The persistence of warlordism, the antipathy of
local tyrants towards the press, and the many weaknesses of the justice system made it inevitable.

The Massacre, however, was also a turning point, and a test of the will and capacity of the Philippine State not only to assure the safety of its citizens, but also of its ability to provide them justice.

The journalists and media advocacy groups knew a year ago, and know it even more now, that unless the Massacre trial is credibly concluded, with the killers and masterminds convicted and sentenced to the prison terms they so
richly deserve, not only will the killing of journalists and those of human rights workers, political activists, environmental advocates, judges, lawyers, students, farmers and workers continue; the killings will even escalate.

That distinct possibility makes the Massacre trial so crucial to the life and future of this country. And yet, judging by its laid-back response to, among others, the suggestions for reforms in the rules of court media groups and the Free Legal Assistance Group of lawyers have proposed, the Philippine government does not seem to be in any hurry to address the
urgent concerns—for press freedom, democracy, and the country as a whole—the Massacre has triggered.

This simply won’t do. The Aquino government must not only take the steps necessary to speed up this trial; it must also demonstrate, when journalists are killed, that it has put in place the means to punish the killers and masterminds. To do nothing or little can only lead to more deaths, adding to the six already killed in the line of duty since Mr.
Benigno Aquino III took office.

FEPALC DEMANDA ACCIÓN DE LOS ESTADOS TRAS DENUNCIAR 32 ASESINATOS DE PERIODISTAS EN LATINOAMÉRICA

FEPALC demanda acción de los Estados tras denunciar 32 asesinatos de periodistas en Latinoamérica

Un enérgico reclamo de justicia en los casos de los 32 periodistas y trabajadores de los medios asesinados en la región demandó la Federación de Periodistas de América Latina y el Caribe (FEPALC). Dicho listado lo hizo público en ocasión del 23 de noviembre, Día Mundial contra la Impunidad, en recuerdo a los 34 periodistas masacrados en
Filipinas, en el 2009, en lo que se recuerda como la mayor masacre contra periodistas sucedido en la historia reciente.

La FEPALC exigió, de manera particular a los Estados de México (11), Brasil (6) y Honduras (5) garantizar justicia a las familias de los colegas. Ello porque son estos tres países los que concentran casi el 70 por ciento de los crímenes.

LA FEPALC recordó que América Latina es la región más peligrosa para el ejercicio periodístico. A la fulminante violencia contra quienes ejercen la labor de informar, le sigue la inacción de las autoridades de los Estados que intentan, prioritariamente, deslegitimar la causa de los asesinatos argumentando con frecuencia que responden a la delincuencia
común o razones de "índole pasional", descartando cualquier conexión con el trabajo periodístico.

Para la FEPALC la impunidad en la que se mantienen los crímenes está institucionalizando una cultura de la autocensura y el silencio, propia de aquellas sociedades en las que no hay garantías a la vida, integridad física ni condiciones de trabajo dignas para las y los trabajadores del sector.

Por ello, la FEPALC recordó a la opinión pública mundial, en fechas como esta, que los periodistas no nos hemos olvidado de nuestros colegas. La deuda que la justicia tiene en el continente con las familias de los 32 periodistas asesinados tiene que saldarse. En esta tarea la FEPALC respalda y acompaña la acción de sus 14 sindicatos de periodistas afiliados en el continente que no cesan en su búsqueda incesante de justicia.

23 de noviembre 2011
Celso Schroder
Presidente FEPALC
Zuliana Lainez
Secretaria Derechos Humanos FEPALC

Periodistas asesinados en Latinoamérica-Caribe 2011 (32)

México (11)
Brasil (6)
Honduras (5)
Perú (3)
Colombia (1)
El Salvador (1)
Guatemala (1)
Haití (1)
Panamá (1)
Paraguay (1)
República Dominicana (1)

MEXICO (11)
Rodolfo Ochoa - (Técnico de TV Canal 9) - 9 de febrero Luis Emanuel Ruiz Carrillo (La Prensa) - 24 de marzo
José Luis Cerda Meléndez (Televisa) - 30 de marzo Noel Lopez Olguín, (Noticias de Acayucan/DiarioLa Verdad) - 31 de mayo Pablo Ruelas Barraza, (El Diario del Yaqui-El Regional de Sonora) - 13 de junio
Miguel Angel López Velasco, (Notiver) - 20 de junio Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz (Notiver) - 26 de julio
Humberto Millán Salazar (Radio Fórmula Diario digital A-Discusión) - 24 de agosto Marcela Yarce Víveros (Revista Contralínea) - 1 de setiembre Rocío González Trápaga (Ex reportera Televisa) - 1 de setiembre
María Elizabeth Macías Castro (Primera Hora y Nuevo Laredo en vivo) - 24 de setiembre

BRASIL (6)
Luciano Leitao Pedrosa (TV Vitoria-Radio Metropolitana) - 9 de abril Valério Nascimento (Panorama Geral) - 3 de mayo
Edinaldo Filgueira (Jornal da Serra) - 15 de junio Auro Ida (Olhar Direto) - 22 de julio Valderlei Canuto Leandro (Programa Señal Verde - Radio Frontera) - 1 de setiembre Gelson Domingos (TV Bandeirantes) - 6 de noviembre

HONDURAS (5)
Héctor Francisco Medina Polanco (TV Omega Visión) - 10 de mayo Luis Ernesto Mendoza Cerrato (Canal 24) - 19 de mayo
Adán Benitez (Canal 45) - 4 de julio Nery Jeremías Orellana (Radio Comunitaria Jocondera) - 14 de julio
Medardo Flores (Radio Uno) - 8 de setiembre PERÚ (3) Julio César Castillo Narváez (Radio Ollantay) - 3 de mayo
Pedro Alfonso Flores Silva (Canal 6) - 8 de setiembre José Oquendo Reyes (BTV Canal 45) - 14 de setiembre

COLOMBIA (1)
Luis Eduardo Gómez (El Heraldo de Urabá) - 30 de junio

EL SALVADOR (1)
Alfredo Hurtado (TV Canal 33) - 25 de abril

GUATEMALA (1)
Yansi Roberto Ordoñez Galdámez (Canal 14 - TV Municipal) - 19 de mayo

HAITÍ (1)
Louis-Charles Jean-Richard (Radio Kiskeya) - 9 de febrero

PANAMÁ (1)
Darío Fernández (Radio Mi Favorita) - 6 de noviembre

PARAGUAY (1)
Merardo Alejandro Romero Chávez (Radio La Voz de Itakyry) - 3 de marzo

REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA (1)
José Agustín Silvestre de los Santos (Revista y programa TV La Voz de la
Verdad) - 2 de agosto

***15.11.2011. SYRIA. RSF urges foreign media to protect their Syrian sources

Reporters Without Borders calls on the foreign media to take greater care to protect the Syrian journalists who work for them and to protect their other sources in Syria. Fixers, interpreters, drivers, interviewees and all others in Syria who provide them with information take great risks to do so. This should be kept in mind.
"We know of dozens of Syrians who have been arrested and tortured after giving interviews to foreign media about the repression in their country," Reporters Without Borders said. "Others have been arrested for working for foreign journalists in Syria or abroad. The Syrian security agencies are making unprecedented efforts to identify those who help foreign reporters or talk to them. International media must use the utmost prudence in their contacts with Syrians. Whenever Syrians give an interview about the situation in their country, they and their families are exposed to serious
reprisals.
"While the media must continue to provide coverage of the situation in Syria that is as detailed and complete as possible, it is also crucial to carefully evaluate the risks taken by those who supply this information. The duty to provide coverage should not be satisfied at the expense of the sources' safety."
A Syrian fixer recently complained to Reporters Without Borders about reckless foreign reporters who "seek their 15 minutes of fame by getting themselves arrested" without weighing the consequences for the people who
have helped them or accompanied them.
If a foreign reporter is arrested in Syria, he faces a few days in detention and then deportation. But Syrians pay a much higher price for their involvement. Reporters Without Borders is aware of dozens of cases of people whose current whereabouts is unknown after they worked for a foreign journalist or just answered a foreign media's questions.
Representatives of the exile Syrian National Council and local journalists asked Reporters Without Borders to make it clear to foreign journalists that they should stop visiting Syria until the situation has evolved.
"They should leave the country ASAP and stay out," one local journalist said.
"This is not our message," Reporters Without Borders added. "But we do urge all journalists to take the utmost care, especially as many of them do not know the country and are unaware of the methods used by the
mukhabarat (intelligence services) to identify those who cooperate with foreign media."

***09.11.2011. BRAZIL. IFJ Urges Greater Protection for Media on Perilous Assignments in Brazil after Cameraman Dies in Crossfire

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the shooting in which cameraman Gelson Domingos da Silva was killed on Sunday 6 November 2011. Gelson, who worked for several TV stations, including Andeirantes TV, was shot in the chest while covering the police operation against drug dealers in Antares, a slum area of the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
“We mourn the tragic death of Gelson, a consummate professional, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the job he loved and convey our sympathy to his family and colleagues,” said Beth, Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “But we
also urge media owners in Brazil to review all measures taken to provide the safety and security of journalists who are sent to dangerous assignments in order to prevent the repeat of such tragedy.”
Media reports say that the fatal shooting came when elements of the Special Operations Battalion of the federal police in City of Rio were pursuing armed groups involved in drug dealings deep inside the slum of Antares. A fire fight broke up and Gelson was hit in the chest by a bullet which pierced his flak jacket as he stood filming behind the police.
The Death of Gelson, an award winning cameraman, has sparked a debate in Brazil about the working conditions of journalists, including their safety following reports that many media had voiced concerns over the risks of
embedding journalists with police to report on their operations.
In a statement, the Federaçao Nacional do Jornalistas (FENAJ), an IFJ affiliate, paid tribute to Gelson who last year with his team won the Vladimir Herzog and Human Rights Prize for their report on killings in northeastern region of Brazil. The Federation called on the government to hunt down Gelson’s killers and bring them to justice while ensuring that
journalists are provided with adequate protection.
FENAJ says that Gelson’s killing should serve as a wake-up call for all media companies to review their existing protocol for the safety of journalists and work with the Federation to agree on the credible measures to provide media with a safer environment and better working conditions.
The IFJ supports FENAJ which has also asked the authorities to investigate the circumstances of the cameraman’s death after TV companies in Brazil were accused of resorting to pooling in news gathering and sharing of material on dangerous activities which allows them to deploy fewer journalists and pay them less. It was reported that Gelson was also
driving his TV van, something FENAJ considers to be a breach of safety standards in high risks situations while a colleague is quoted as saying that the flak jackets available to Brazilian journalists are of inferior quality.
“The loss of Gelson is made much worse by claims of lack of adequate preparation for dangerous reporting,” added Costa. “We support FENAJ’s call for a thorough examination of all the facts of this tragic death in full transparency to provide answers which should serve as a lesson for the future.”

***04.11.2011. News organisations demand global action to stop killing of journalists

Cascais, Portugal, 4 November - More than 400 representatives of global news organisations today issued a call for global action to halt the killing of journalists.
Gathered at the News Xchange 2011 convention in the Portuguese resort, they backed a resolution demanding the killers of journalists be brought to justice and committed themselves to "create maximum exposure" for each
and every death.
The motion, proposed by the International News Safety Institute and supported by the European Broadcasting Union which runs News Xchange, noted that more than 1,100 news media staff have been killed in the past
10 years. Over 100 have died this year alone, with Libya being the worst killing ground.
Nine out of 10 killers of journalists are never held to account, "fueling a culture of impunity that helps encourage more deaths," the resolution said.
Backed by more than 90 percent of the 440 news executives from major world news organisations at the conference, it stated: "We, the News Xchange community, call on the authorities and governments whose jurisdictions are
involved in any unresolved cases to bring the killers of journalists to justice.
"We are also committed to reaearching these suspicious deaths through journalistic endeavour, wherever possible, and creating the maximum exposure for each death. Any developments will be reported back to News
Xchange 2012."
INSI said it will put the resolution before the United Nations and other concerned governments and world bodies.

Resolution:
"In the past 10 years more than 1,100 news media workers have been killed. Most were murdered or died in suspicious circumstances.
"Nine out of 10 killers of journalists around the world escape justice, creating a culture of impunity that helps encourage more deaths.
"We the News Xchange community call on the authorities and governments whose jurisdictions are involved in any unresolved cases to bring the killers of journalists to justice.
"We are also committed to researching these suspicious deaths through journalistic endeavour, wherever possible, and creating the maximum exposure for each death.
"Any developments will be reported back to News Xchange 2012."

***31.10.2011. LIBYA. Reporting conflict: competition, pressure and risks (Frontline Club)

By Helena Williams

In a year where 100 journalists have been killed so far while trying to tell the story, and as the media’s coverage of events rocking the Middle East have been brought into sharp relief, it seems high time to examine the delicate relationship between ensuring the safety of journalists and being able to break the story first.

“Libya has been a very traumatic year for journalists, especially for freelance journalists. We lost three good friends,” muses Inigo Gilmore, an award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in conflict zones across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

“No one even imagined Libya would turn to this. How could we [journalists] predict what would happen on the frontline?”

Last night’s talk at The Frontline Club, ‘Reporting Conflict: Competition, pressure and risks’ highlighted the risks that journalists out in the field and news editors back in London face while attempting to break news to an increasingly demanding audience.

Chaired by former BBC executive Vin Ray, and with international editor for ITV news Bill Neely, head of international news at Sky News Sarah Whitehead, and BBC’s world news editor Jon Williams sitting on the panel alongside Gilmore, the debate was able to focus on the difficulties of conflict reporting from opposing sides of the industry – both those commissioning journalists to go to the frontline, and the journalists themselves.

Neely, who previously worked as a journalist in conflict zones, was adamant that the first and constant pressure of covering war did not come from newsrooms in London, but rather from the competitive nature of journalists who want to go and get the story.

As international editor for ITV, Neely said that old pressures from the newsroom no longer exist, and journalists must travel to hotspots on a voluntary basis.

But he says that although journalists have to be savvy while out in the field (“don’t stay anywhere for longer than 20 minutes in a warzone”), it is also up to the editors to monitor the situation.

“Over the past 10 years editors in London understand that it’s people on the ground who have to make the decision not to go those 100 metres up the road.”

Whitehead, whose Sky news teams were hailed for their incredible coverage of Green Square in Libya earlier this year, agreed.

“You’re not there and you have to make sure they [the journalists] can make the decision. This year has been one of the most extreme and dangerous that I’ve known.

“This year I have taken people off air who have been in the middle [of reporting]. One afternoon, when a team was watching a fire fight in Tripoli, snipers opened up behind them and I pulled them off air and asked what their exit route was.

“You have to be there to be the stops if they are taken over by the story.”

While some news agencies were criticised for their less dramatic coverage of the events unfolding in Libya, Whitehead was adamant that a lot of her team’s reporting was down to luck.

“They [Sky News] were at the right place at the right time, and in the right frame of mind. They didn’t know where they were going to end up. A lot of people made other decisions and it was the right decisions for them.”

Williams, who has also had his fair share of managing journalists in hostile environments, said “risk must outweigh return, but it is a very fine balance. It’s a difficult call to go forward, and it’s just as difficult to go back. If you have the balls to go back because you don’t think it’s safe I take my hat off to you.”

“It’s risk and reward. You have to ask yourself, ‘is it really worth that extra shot?’” added Neely.

“War reporting is a mixture of judgement and luck – but you can be unlucky. For those 100 journalists this year, for one reason or another, their luck ran out.” 

***07.10.2011. RUSSIA: FIVE YEARS AFTER POLITKOVSKAYA'S ASSASSINATION, IMPUNITY STILL REIGNS

With the five-year anniversary of the murder of investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya on 7 October, the recent arrest of the alleged gunmen and conspirator bring little hope to numerous IFEX members, including Russian members the Glasnost Defence Foundation (GDF) and the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES).

"We again hear that the case has almost entirely been solved," GDF said. "We hear that new conspirators gave testimony and will be charged, but these 'new' conspirators were mentioned in the previous trial."

Indeed, alleged gunman Gustam Makhmudov's two brothers were acquitted of murder charges after the last flawed trial in 2009. The other conspirator facing trial, Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, Moscow's former police head of surveillance, was called as a witness in the previous trial.

Makhmudov fled the country with the help of high-up accomplices and was a fugitive for many years before his arrest in May of this year, reports RSF, while Pavlyuchenkov was arrested this August.

IFEX members report that Payvlyuchenkov is alleged to have ordered members of his staff to track Politkovskaya's movements. He's said to have named other individuals involved, and called Lom Ali Gaitukayev, the ringleader of an organised crime group that performed the contract killing.

The individuals who ordered the crime still remain free, however, covered by a "veil of secrecy," as CJES puts it. CJES says it is unconvinced by the theory of the prosecutor - that the killing was perpetrated by exiled oligarch and Putin enemy, Boris Berezovsky, in an attempt to discredit the then-President and now Prime Minister of Russia.

Five years ago, Politkovskaya was gunned down in broad daylight in the stairwell of her apartment building by an individual wearing a baseball cap, who was captured on security cameras.

Politkovskaya authored three books and wrote for the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta". Her in-depth investigations into Russian violence in the North Caucasus, including Chechnya, exposed the human rights violations there for the world to know, says the International Press Institute (IPI). She was critical of both Putin and current president of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.

In the past decade, 17 journalists have been murdered with impunity in Russia, reports CPJ. On 23 November, IFEX members will be commemorating the inaugural International Day to End Impunity to raise public awareness of how prevalent impunity is in the free expression field, as well as to showcase the important work IFEX members have been doing to fight against it. Find out more at: http://www.daytoendimpunity.org

Related stories on ifex.org:
- Five years on, writers continue to call for justice for Anna Politkovskaya:
http://www.ifex.org/russia/2011/10/11/appeal_for_justice/

More on the web:
- Dangerous Profession Weekly (CJES):
http://www.cjes.ru/bulletins/?bid=4455&lang=eng

- Call for more effort, more vigilance five years after Politkovskaya murder (RSF):
http://en.rsf.org/russie-call-for-more-effort-more-06-10-2011,41143.html

- A former police officer detained for murdering Anna Politkovskaya (Index on Censorship):
http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2011/08/a-former-police-officer-detained-for-murder-of-journalist-anna-politkovskaya/

***07.10.2011. YEMEN. IFJ Welcomes Nobel Peace Prize Award to Yemeni Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomes the news of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize which was awarded to Yemeni journalist Tawakkul Karman. She shares the prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” 

“This is excellent news and we warmly congratulate Karman whose tenacity, courage and humanity have been deservedly rewarded,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “This is also the recognition of her remarkable campaign for press freedom in Yemen which the IFJ and our Yemeni affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate of which she is a member, have always supported.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the prize to Karman, noting that “In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the “Arab spring”, Tawakkul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen."

Karman leads the Yemeni organisation of Women Journalists without Chains which campaigns for press freedom and she supports anti-government protests for democratic change in the country. She was arrested and detained on many occasions as a result of the outspoken criticism of the President Saleh’s rule.

The IFJ says her award shows that the Yemeni journalists don’t stand alone and that their call for a tolerant and open society in Yemen has strong international support.

“This is an outstanding personal achievement for Kamar as the first Arab woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “But her goal to secure peace and fundamental rights to her fellow citizens is an inspiration to journalists and peace loving people across the world.”

***05.10.2011. RUSSIA. Crimes against journalists must not go unpunished, says OSCE media
freedom representative on fifth anniversary of Politkovskaya murder 

STRASBOURG, France, 5 October 2011 – Commemorating the fifth anniversary of the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today presented her latest assessment of threats and responses to attacks against journalists in the OSCE region.

“The right of journalists to carry out their work in safety, without fear of being harassed, attacked, beaten or killed is fundamental to the protection of all other human rights,” said Mijatović at an event organized by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, on protection of journalists from violence. “As long as
journalists are afraid for their lives and the lives of their families while doing their job, we do not live in a free society.”

She highlighted the fact that in the last five years only three out of almost 30 murders of journalists in the OSCE region have been sucessfully prosecuted. "This casts serious doubts on the effectiveness of law-enforcement bodies and the judiciary in dealing with such crimes."

“Governments and political leaders can help by publicly defending journalists’ rights and resisting any attempts to silence journalists. They can also demand that there is no impunity for the perpetrators and instigators of these murders,” said Mijatović.

The Representative’s report, in English and Russian, can be accessed at www.osce.org/fom/83569

For PDF attachments or links to sources of further information, please visit: http://www.osce.org/fom/83564

***30.09.2011. MEXICO. UN deeply concerned about the recent killings of, and other brutal attacks against, journalists in Mexico - Statement by Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville

"We are deeply concerned about the recent killings of, and other brutal attacks against, journalists in Mexico, illustrating increasing insecurity in general and the exceptionally vulnerable situation of journalists in particular, as well as the deteriorating situation of freedom of expression in the country.
The most recent journalist to be killed was María Elizabeth MACÍAS, an employee of the Nuevo Laredo newspaper Primera Hora, whose decapitated and mutilated body was found last Saturday (24 Sept). Her postings on internet-based social networks were often critical of violent groups. Alongside her body was a handwritten message allegedly signed by the Zetas drug cartel saying that she had been killed in retaliation for her postings. Eleven days earlier (13 Sept), a man and a woman were found dead, hanging from an overpass in Nuevo Laredo with a handwritten message saying "this is what will happen to internet users.” It is clear that such killings are designed to send a chilling message to silence reports on
drug gang violence and to challenge campaigns led by the authorities to promote anonymous reporting of criminal activities.
In September alone, in addition to the above, the UN human rights office in Mexico has publicly condemned three other murders of journalists. Other gruesome killings have also continued to take place in Mexico. On 27 September, five severed heads were found inside a bag alongside boards with messages on them in Acapulco, Guerrero. On 20 September, two trucks containing the bodies of 23 men and 12 women, who had been tortured and murdered, were abandoned in a busy street in Veracruz City. The UN human rights office in Mexico is monitoring this case and checking into reports that journalists were threatened at gunpoint at the Veracruz morgue.
We understand the challenge the Mexican Government is facing in its fight against rising violence. However, we are also extremely concerned at the prevalent impunity regarding these killings, and the many other similar crimes committed in recent years. We are particularly concerned that some of these crimes appear to have been committed with the cooperation or acquiescence of state agents.
We urge the Mexican authorities to launch immediate full and impartial investigations into these events. We also remind them of their obligation to protect all people in Mexico from the threats to the enjoyment of their fundamental rights, particularly their right to life, to security and integrity of the person, and to freedom of expression."

***29.09.2011. RUSSIA. Safety of journalists remains top priority, OSCE media freedom representative tells Russian journalists 

SOCHI, Russia, 29 September 2011 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, said today that urging governments to ensure the safety of journalists, which is threatened by a climate of impunity,
will continue to be her top priority. Mijatović spoke on a panel discussion on journalists’ safety and impunity
in the OSCE region at the 15th annual convention of the Russian Union of Journalists "All Russia" in Sochi.
The panel included, among others, Russian Presidential Adviser Mikail Fedotov, Glasnost defence foundation president Alexei Simonov and Gazeta Wyborcza editor-in-chief Adam Michnik.
“This impunity from prosecution is caused by a system where government and legal authorities are unwilling or unable to condemn, let alone successfully investigate, these criminal acts,” she said. “This, of course, causes further violence.”
“The wave of violence ripples across many OSCE countries,” she said.
Mijatović estimated that in the OSCE region alone more than 30 journalists had been killed in the past five years, with many more beaten or threatened with their lives.
Citing recent progress in the Anna Politkovskaya and other murder cases achieved by Russia’s Investigative Committee, led by Alexander Bastrykin, Mijatović noted that the situation is improving in Russia, but much more needs to be done.
“Here, in Russia, where many problems have festered over the past 20 years, it is especially encouraging to see that authorities at the top of government are beginning to take a proactive role in solving murder cases against journalists, but much more needs to be done, ” she said.
While attending the conference, Mijatović discussed possible areas of further co-operation with Fedotov, who is the chair of Russia’s Presidential Council for the Advancement of Civil Society and Human Rights.

***27.09.2011. YEMEN – Third journalist killed since start of protests (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders has learned that that Al-Hurra TV cameraman Hassan Al-Wadhaf died a few days after being hospitalized in a critical condition on 18 September as a result of a serious injury to the left eye.

He received the injury while covering attacks by security forces and baltajiyas (militiamen) on demonstrators in Sanaa, in which 26 people were killed. Journalists who were with Wadhaf on 18 September said men in civilian dress deliberately fired rocket-propelled grenades at the crowd.

Wadhaf is the third journalist to be killed since the start of the protests in Yemen. The first two were Jamal Al-Sharabi of Al-Masdar and Mohamed Yahia Al-Malayia of Al-Salam, who were killed on 18 March.

Reporters Without Borders, which offers its sincere condolences to Wadhaf’s family, friend colleagues, urges the United Nations Human Rights Council to appoint a special rapporteur to investigate all the violations against the civilian population, including journalists, since the start of the protests.

Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the surge in violence against journalists in Yemen since President Ali Abdallah Saleh’s return from Saudi Arabia on 23 September. The atrocities against the civilian population are on the increase.

Security forces fired on the Sanaa homes of two journalists on 23 September – Rashida Al-Qiyali, who is also a writer, and Mujib Al-Hamidi, who works for the newspaper Al-Sahwa. As Abdul Salam Mohamed, a journalist with the Saba news agency, left his home on 23 September, he was fired on by a sniper who fortunately missed his target.

The headquarters of the Union of Journalists came under fire on the evening of 23 September as government forces and pro-government militiamen (baltajiyas) tried to take control of Change Square. TV journalist Abdel Majid Al-Samawi was injured by sniper fire on the afternoon of the same day as he was leaving 60th Street, where government opponents had gathered. He was admitted to a hospital where doctors said his injury was not life-threatening.

Access to the independent news website Yemen Nation was blocked on 25 September for the second time since the start of the protests.

***18.09.2011. PARIS FORUM ADOPTS DRAFT UN ACTION PLAN TO IMPROVE SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS

New York, Sep 18 2011  7:10PM
Participants at a United Nations forum that met in Paris have drafted an action plan to improve the safety of journalists and ensure that crimes committed against them do not go unpunished.

More than 500 media professionals have been killed in the course of their duties over the past decade, according to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which hosted last week's forum.

It points out that many more have been assaulted, abducted, sexually violated, intimidated, harassed, arrested or illegally detained.

In addition, the vast majority of these crimes did not concern international war correspondents but journalists working in their home countries, often in times of peace, and covering local stories. The instigators for the most part, remain unpunished.

The draft plan adopted by the forum, which brought together representatives of UN agencies, progra
mmes and funds, envisions the establishment of a coordinated inter-agency mechanism to handle issues connected to the safety of journalists and impunity.

Safety and impunity are also to be incorporated into UN contributions to national strategies, notably development assistance programmes and the possible inclusion of media stakeholders in some of the preparatory processes of the UN's development projects.

The draft also foresees the extension of work already conducted by UNESCO to prevent crimes against media workers, including assisting countries to develop legislation and mechanisms favourable to freedom of expression and information.

Awareness-raising campaigns will also be conducted with Member States, civil society, non - governmental organizations and concerned bodies about issues of freedom of expression, journalists' safety and the danger of impunity to democracy, UNESCO stated.

The draft plan will be presented to UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of C
ommunication (IPDC) at its next session in March 2012 and will then be submitted to the bodies in charge of UN-wide coordination.

Sep 18 2011  7:10PM

***14.09.2011. UN conference on journalist safety hears concerns of news community - action promised (INSI) 

Paris, 14 September - A UN conference on news safety and impunity heard the concerns of major journalist support organisations on Tuesday as the world body sought to draw up a coordinated plan to tackle the issue.

    The inter-agency conference, involving relevant UN agencies and attended by Under-Secretary-General for Communications Kiyotaka Akasaka, was organised by UNESCO following a decision by its International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in 2010.

    It sought an inter-agency meeting to formulate "a comprehensive, coherent and action-oriented approach to the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity."

    The action emphasises growing concern at the rising number of attacks on journalists around the world. INSI counts more than 1,000 deaths over the past 10 years with many more physical attacks. Fewer than 2 out of 10 killers of journalists around the globe are brought to justice, fuelling a climate of impunity that produces more of the same.

    Leading journalist support groups and other concerned organisations were invited to submit views and proposals.

    INSI and others urged measures to give teeth to UN Security Council Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists in conflict and on the end to impunity.
  
    Director Rodney Pinder also called for UN media development to provide for safety training and said donor nations should  consider a nation's record on impunity when considering whether to grant development aid.

     INSI also submitted a detailed analysis of worldwide casualties in 2010 contained in its annual Killing The Messenger report

    The all-party conference on Tuesday was followed by a UN agency meeting on Wednesday charged with drafting a concrete plan of action.

    Other journalist support groups participating in the conference included the International Press Institute (IPI), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Article 19, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), the Media Foundation of West Africa, the Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA), the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM), the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

    International organisations included the UNDP, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the International Red Cross (ICRC).

    Other speakers included Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and Pansy Tlakula, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression for the African Union.

    More details of the conference and related documents are on the UNESCO website.

***13.09.2011. UN FORUM HEARS CALLS FOR GREATER PROTECTION OF JOURNALISTS

New York, Sep 13 2011 2:10PM
Top United Nations officials today urged better protection of journalists and greater efforts to ensure that those who kill or intimidate them are brought to justice, stressing that freedom of the press is a basic
foundation of peace and democracy.

An inter-agency forum on the safety of journalists, hosted by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, heard calls for UN offices and entities to work more closely together to protect
media professionals and fight impunity for their killers.

“Let us do our utmost to ensure that the media can do its indispensable work on behalf of humankind,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a <"http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=5508">message to the forum,
delivered behalf by Kiyo Akasaka, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.

He noted that cyber-surveillance, digital harassment and censorship of the Internet had emerged as new barriers to media freedom.

“The press can never be free if journalists and media workers are under attack. Those who murder, kidnap, harass, arrest or intimidate journalists not only stop the free flow of information, they stifle the ability of millions of people to have their stories told.

“Quite apart from the violence and the suffering such crimes bring, I am also dismayed when they are not thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. Only by putting an end to impunity can we break this vicious cycle,” said
the Secretary-General.

Mr. Akasaka, for his part, highlighted the role the UN has played to uphold the freedoms of information, expression and association, which he described as fundamental principles in democratic societies.

The UN Department of Public Information (DPI), he said, uses mass communication tools – such as the Internet, television, photography, radio, print and social media – to uphold the principle of freedom of the
press and to raise awareness on the issue.

The meeting was also addressed by the Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Irina Bokova, the UNESCO Director-General.

Separately, Ms. Bokova issued statements condemning the recent killings of journalists in Peru and Honduras and demanding that the culprits brought to justice.

Peruvian journalist Pedro Alfonso Flores Silva <"http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/director_general_condemns_murder_of_peruvian_journalist_pedro_alfonso_flores_silva/
">died last Thursday from injuries sustained when he was shot by masked gunmen in the city of Casma the previous day. As the programme director of the local Canal 6 television, Flores Silva, 36, had been the target of
repeated threats, according to the press freedom advocacy Reporters without Borders.

In Honduras, radio journalist Medardo Flores was <"http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/director_general_condemns_assassination_of_honduran_journalist_medardo_flores_and_calls_for_investigation/ ">gunned down near his home overnight on Thursday, bringing to 15 the number of media professionals murdered in that country over the past 18 months.

***11.09.2011. Declaration Adopted by IFJ/EFJ Conference on ‘Journalism in the Shadow of Terror Laws’

The international conference organised by the International Federation (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on ‘ Journalism in the Shadow of Anti-Terror Laws’ has concluded today in Brussels by calling for a review of anti –terror legislation which undermines journalists’
independence .
The following is the Declaration which was adopted after two days of debates on the impact of anti-terror legislation on journalism following the 9/11 attacks in America:
We, the participants at the IFJ/EFJ Conference “10 years after 9/11, Journalism in the Shadow of Terror Laws”, held in Brussels on 10th-11th September,
Noting that since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, the response by governments to the threat of terrorism had been massively disproportionate, resulting in
· fundamental rights being routinely violated and undermined,
· a raft of mass surveillance measures targeting journalists and media organisations being introduced,
· laws and regulations that undermine almost half of the minimum standards set out in the 1948 UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights being enacted by governments, often in the absence of scrutiny and debate, and
· media and independent journalism suffering in a “pervasive atmosphere of paranoia” which is leading to dangerous levels of self-censorship,

Recognising that these laws, when adopted in democratic states, are used by authoritarian regimes to reinforce their oppressive systems, and in most instances have served to restrict dissent inside and outside media and to curtail free speech,
Believing that all forms of indiscriminate violence and terrorism are unacceptable and threaten journalism and press freedom,
Concerned that the majority of counter-terrorism measures adopted by states over the past decade have helped usher in a ‘surveillance society’ with new high-tech forms of ‘dataveillance’ been used to monitor journalists’ activities, with spies and undercover agents been active in
newsrooms, and with phones and computers been tapped and movements recorded,
Rejecting the message that fundamental rights can be sacrificed to fight terrorism and further concerned that ‘national security’ interest continues to enable governments to withhold information or override the constitutional and legal protections that should be afforded to citizens,
journalists and whisteblowers alike,
DECLARE
1. That governments must not sacrifice civil liberties under the pretext of security;
2. That all counter-terrorism and national security laws, among them those hastily enacted immediately after September 11, should be reviewed to ensure compliance with international human rights and freedom of expression norms and prevent the misuse of anti-terror laws against
journalists;
3. That mandatory data retention regimes must be repealed, and that restrictions and controls on the use of surveillance powers and new security technologies, as well as robust new mechanisms to protect personal privacy be established;
4. That journalists and editors must maintain editorial independence and guard against self-censorship, and that media need more than ever to be active in the scrutiny of the actions of government;
5. That independent journalism’s vital role in investigating and exposing the impact of changes in national and global security policy on society at large is crucial to the future of democratic society;
6. That independent organisation of journalists in unions and associations is an essential safeguard for press freedom, self-regulation and editorial independence;
7. That all forms of violence against media and targeting of media workers are completely unacceptable;
8. That all restrictions on journalists’ freedom of movement, pressure on them to reveal sources of information, and manipulation of media by political leaders on security issues are unacceptable,
9. That the IFJ/EFJ should a) strengthen their campaign among journalists’ unions everywhere to
raise awareness of security policies and their impact on the right to report,
b) reiterate IFJ policy on the importance of pluralism, diversity, press freedom and open government at national and international level, and the need for tolerance in journalism, as adopted at the Bilbao international conference in 1997, and reiterated in 2005,
c) build the wider coalition with other trades unions, human rights campaigners, employers, whenever appropriate, other media organisations and relevant civil society groups against further attacks on civil liberties and democratic rights,
d) advocate for the introduction of freedom of information laws that guarantee citizens the right of access to public information and restrict the application of national secrecy provisions and for the
elimination of all laws that criminalise journalism, or restrict the protection of sources,
e) promote debates at national and international level on the need for professional vigilance, ethical conduct and improvement of journalists’ capacity to work and investigate without undue pressure from whatever source, and the need for tolerance in journalism.
Adopted in Brussels on 11 September 2011
For more information, please contact Ernest Sagaga (ernest.sagaga@ifj.org
) on + 32 2 235 2207) or Yuk Lan Wong (yuklan.wong@ifj.org) on + 32 2 235
2226)

***08.09.2011. AFGHANISTAN. IFJ Mourns BBC Journalist Killed by Nato Forces in Afghanistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said that the killing of BBC reporter Ahmed Omed Khpulwak, who was shot dead by a member of Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, is a reminder of the risks to journalists who are working in conflict
zones. Isaf has admitted that the journalist was killed in July by a US soldier who mistook him for an insurgent during a firefight at the Afghan Radio Television (RTA).
“We note Isaf’s admission but urge all sides to the conflict to ensure that media facilities are not turned into combat zones,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “This tragic incident must be properly assessed to serve a lesson for future interventions on premises where journalists and media staff work.”
In a statement, Isaf said Omed of the BBC Pashto service was shot by a soldier who feared he was an insurgent about to set off a device. The shooting occurred as soldiers were clearing the RTA building of militants, two of whom had detonated bombs injuring soldiers. According to some
reports, the journalist was attempting to produce his press card when he was killed.
The BBC reacted to the admission, recognising that “Isaf had provided clarification, ending a period of uncertainty, but it would study the details of the findings on receiving the full report.”
The IFJ says that this latest deadly incident shows the urgency in finding ways to provide journalists with adequate protection. The Federation plans to push for concrete measures and governments’ commitment to protecting media during the forthcoming United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity which will take place next
week in Paris.
“The death of Omed in such violent circumstances is one too many and we must resolve to act in the defence of journalists’ safety with more vigour and purpose than ever before,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary.

***04.09.2011. SOMALIA. Malaysian journalist killed, another wounded in Mogadishu Shoot Out

The National Union of Somali Journalists condemns the shooting incident that left a Malaysian cameraman dead and another wounded in Mogadishu's KM4 area on late Friday afternoon.

Noramfaizul Mohd Nor, 41, a cameraman for the Malaysian National News Agency was shot to death and Aji Saregar Mazlan, A TV3 journalist was wounded after shooting incident took place in KM4 area on late Friday afternoon, journalists and witnesses reported.

"This tragedy took place when the convoy of cars carrying the Malaysian aid workers met a convoy from the Ugandan contingent of AMISOM ( The AU peace-keeping force in Somalia ), which then opened fire." The Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication said
in a statement.

The death of Noramfaizul Mohd Nor was confirmed by Malaysian National News Agency, where he was working for. The Journalists were accompanying Putera 1 Malaysia Club, a 2 month humanitarian mission to Somalia.

Noramfaizul leaves behind a wife Norazrina Jaafar, 37, and two sons, Mohd Irfan, 8, and Mohd Naufal, 3.

"There was a Somali technical vehicle and African Union convoy following behind the car in which the journalists were traveling with." said a journalist who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "

An eyewitnesses interviewed said the African Union Mission in Somalia fired at the journalists.

The African Union mission in Somalia has not commented the shooting incident yet.

"We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Noramfaizul Mohd and ask Allah to reward him paradise." Mohammed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, "We Condemn the shooting incident while we call for the African Union Mission and the Transitional Federal Government to investigate the shooting incident immediately and bring the killers to justice." said
Mohammed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General

Foreign journalists and Aid workers have been pouring into the Somali capital Mogadishu in recent months in response the severe droughts that hit the country.

Last month, Radio SIMBA staffer, Farah Hassan Sahal, was killed by sniper fires at the radio compound in Mogadishu's Bakara market, apparently from the African Union Mission in Somalia or the Government forces.

For further information, contact:
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Human Rights House, Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District,
Mogadishu, Somalia, Tel: +252 1 859 944,
e-mail: nusoj@nusoj.org.so / newsletter@nusoj.org.so
Internet: http://www.nusoj.org.so

***01.09.2011. SYRIA: SENIOR UN OFFICIAL VOICES ALARM AT ONGOING ABUSES AGAINST
JOURNALISTS

New York, Sep 1 2011 10:10AM
The head of the United Nations agency defending press freedom has voiced her alarm at continuing abuses committed against journalists in Syria and called on authorities to respect basic human rights, including the right to freedom of expression.

The concern expressed by Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), comes amid a number of “disturbing” reports, the Paris-based agency said in a <"http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/director_general_voices_alarm_at_continuing_abuse_against_journalists_in_syria/
">news release.

These include news that Syrian caricaturist Ali Ferzat had been beaten by armed men on 25 August, and concern for freelance journalist Hanadi Zahlout, who has been in jail since her arrest on 25 July.

“I am alarmed at continuing reports of detention and physical abuse against journalists,” said Ms. Bokova. “Torture and detention will never convince the people of Syria that might is right.

“It is essential for the future of the country and its people that the authorities respect freedom of expression and listen to what their critics have to say,” she stated.

As many as 2,000 Syrians have been killed in the past five months since the start of the pro-democracy protests, which are part of a broader uprising across North Africa and the Middle East that has led to the toppling of long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and conflict in Libya.

A recent UN report found that the Syrian Government’s “widespread and systematic” attacks against its own people may amount to crimes against humanity and possibly warrant an investigation by the International Criminal Court.

***26.08.2011. LIBYA. Six Libyan journalists still missing (CPJ)

New York, August 25, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of four Italian journalists kidnapped Wednesday, but remains concerned about the safety of at least six Libyan journalists who have been missing since the start of the uprising in February. The whereabouts of the six Libyan journalists who have been missing for the past six months are still unknown. Two of them were detained in late February, but are still unaccounted for.

"The events of the past week show how dangerous Libya remains for all journalists," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "We hope that as the hostilities subside, the whereabouts of the Libyan journalists who are still missing become clear."

Atef al-Atrash, a contributor to local news outlets in Benghazi, disappeared on February 17 after speaking on air on Al-Jazeera. Mohamed al-Sahim, a blogger and critical political writer, Mohamed al-Amin, a cartoonist, and Idris al-Mismar, a writer and the former editor-in-chief of Arajin, a monthly culture magazine, have also been reported missing. Two Tripoli-based journalists--Salma al-Shaab, head of the Libyan Journalists Syndicate, and Suad al-Turabouls, a correspondent for the pro-government Al-Jamahiriya--were detained in late February, but have not been heard from since. All six journalists' whereabouts are still unknown.

Four Italian journalists kidnapped on Wednesday were released after a raid on the apartment in which they were being held captive, the BBC reported. Their driver, however, was killed during their abduction, news reports said. The journalists had been captured by forces loyal to Col. Muammar Qaddafi, Italy's Corriere della Sera reported.

Matthew VanDyke, a U.S. journalist who had been missing in Libya since March 13, was freed from Abu Salim prison in Tripoli with several inmates on Wednesday after the prison was seized by rebel forces. His mother told CPJ that he had been held in solitary confinement for most of his imprisonment.

On August 11, Tracey Shelton, a freelance Australian journalist, was brutally attacked by two armed men in her Benghazi hotel room and escaped by jumping to a nearby balcony. She is recovering in another Benghazi hotel with rebels protecting her. 

On Wednesday, two French journalists were shot and wounded in Tripoli while covering the fighting around Muammar Qaddafi's Bab al-Azizya compound, Agence France-Presse reported. A French cameraman for France 2 network, Bruno Girodon, was hit by a bullet, and Paris Match photographer Alvaro Canovas was shot in the thigh by an assault rifle. They were both taken to a hospital on Wednesday and are recovering from their wounds.

***25.08.2011. LIBYA. INSI Safety Advisory 1700 GMT August 25

Four Italian journalists kidnapped in Libya on Wednesday have been released unharmed, although their driver was killed. The four are reported to have been freed after a raid on a house in Tripoli were they were being held.

The situation for news crews in the country remains extremely precarious. The International News Safety Institute is coordinating an email forum, for the exchange of confidential and sensitive information between journalists on the ground and news desks. Those interested in participating should contact Hannah Storm at hannah.storm@newssafety.org

INSI is issuing this safety advisory for news crews at 1700 GMT on August 25, but advises journalists that because the situation is constantly changing, teams and desks should be constantly assessing the situation and, where possible, have exit plans in place.

Large parts of Tripoli now appear to be under opposition control, however there are still pockets of fighting between the two sides. Across the capital and the remainder of the country, frontlines are extremely fluid and changing rapidly.

News teams have come under fire moving across Tripoli and live positions are also reported to have been fired upon. Snipers and rocket explosions also pose a threat and journalists should be aware of the possible danger of celebratory gunfire.

Earlier on Thursday, there was a firefight in the vicinity of the Corinthia Hotel, where a number of journalists had been based. There are reports that journalists were evacuated from the hotel by rebels. Some journalists are believed to have returned after the fighting stopped. At least one road nearby that was being used by news teams was temporarily inaccessible because of the fighting.

The route from Tunisia via the border at Dehiba remains the entry point for the majority of journalists from the west and those making the transit should be aware of the possibility of the security situation deteriorating without notice, with routes -- previously regarded as safe -- possibly becoming dangerous. News crews have been using the main road between Zawiya and Tripoli, but INSI urges them to exercise extreme caution.
 
Journalists should also be aware of uncomfirmed reports that Gaddafi has called on his supporters to use the opportunity to seize foreigners, including journalists. Armed gangs and small pockets of those still loyal to Gaddafi continue to operate.

Communication and supplies remain precarious, and INSI advises all news teams to take fuel, food and water with them.

Rebel forces have been moving towards Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, and there are reports that they have been exchanging heavy gunfire with loyalists on the  road into the city. In the town of Bin Jawad, they are also facing stiff resistance from Gaddafi supporters.

***24.08.2011. LIBYA. Libya: ICRC evacuates journalists from Rixos Hotel

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helped journalists leave the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli today and led them to safety. The reporters had been unable to leave the hotel for several days.

"We have taken 33 journalists and two other foreign nationals from the Rixos Hotel to a safe place," said Georges Comninos, the head of the ICRC delegation in Libya. "Our recognized role as a neutral intermediary enabled us to carry out this operation. We are glad that everything went
smoothly, but we remain concerned about other civilians and journalists who may find themselves in danger."

At around 4.30 p.m. local time, six ICRC staff arrived at the hotel with four vehicles and helped transfer the journalists and the two other foreign nationals to a safe location in Tripoli. They expressed joy and relief at having left the hotel.

Journalists are protected under international humanitarian law. "Media professionals are entitled to the same protection as civilians. They must be protected and respected," said Mr Comninos.

The ICRC, which operates a hotline for journalists on dangerous assignments, had been contacted by several news organizations concerned about the safety and well-being of their staff. Since the beginning of the year, the organization has received around 50 requests for help from media
organizations and families of journalists.

***17.08.2011 Egypt: Military Intensifies Clampdown on Free Expression
Youth Leader, Protesters Charged With ‘Insulting the Military’ (Human Rights Watch) 

(Cairo, August 17, 2011) – The military prosecutor’s decision to prosecute the youth leader Asamaa Mahfouz for “insulting the military” is a serious escalation of efforts by military leaders to silence critical voices, Human Rights Watch said today.

The prosecutor has this week alone summoned both Mahfouz and Maha Abu Bakr, a lawyer, on charges related to speech protected by the right to freedom of expression. They are among a large number of protesters and other civilians facing trials in Egypt’s military courts. Civilians should not be prosecuted before Egypt’s military courts, which do not meet basic due process standards, Human Rights Watch said.

“The decision to try Asmaa Mahfouz is a major attack on free expression and fair trials, using the same abusive laws the Mubarak government used against its critics,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The military is using her to silence
potential critics, sending the message that criticizing the current military government will land them in jail.”

The Mahfouz case is the latest in a series of moves prosecuting critical expression by the military, which is increasingly setting narrower and narrower limits on what it permits, Human Rights Watch said.

Mahfouz, a former leading member of the April 6 Youth Movement, received a summons at her home on August 13, 2011, to appear before the military prosecutor the next day for questioning. The military prosecutor questioned her for over three hours about her comments on Twitter and
media interviews during protests on July 23 in which she criticized the military for failing to intervene to protect protesters.

He then charged her with “calling for threats to social peace,” “spreading false information,” and “insulting the military,” but allowed her release on 20,000 Egyptian pounds ($US3,400) bail, an extremely high sum for most Egyptians. On August 16 Egypt’s official news agency MENA quoted a
military justice official saying the prosecutor had decided to refer Mahfouz’s case to court on charges of insulting the military, dropping the other charges.

On August 14 the head of the military justice system, Gen. Adel Morsi, in a news release, started by affirming the important role of expression in society and then invited the public to look at Mahfouz’s Facebook profile to see for themselves “whether [her comments were] an opinion or an
inappropriate violation of the law and incitement.” The comment in question, which Mahfouz posted on Twitter and Facebook, was: “If the judiciary doesn’t restore our rights then nobody should be surprised if we then see armed groups and assassinations taking place... if there is no law and no justice system, no one should be surprised.”

“Asmaa Mahfouz’s comments reflect her concerns about the need for justice and are fully protected by freedom of expression,” Stork said. “Yet the military is prosecuting her under a blatantly abusive law. This charge should be dropped immediately.”

Abu Bakr, a lawyer representing victims in the Mubarak trial and a Kifaya activist, received her summons to appear before the military prosecutor on charges of “insulting the military” on August 16. During the questioning, the prosecutor showed her video footage from the July 23 demonstration in Abbasiya, Cairo, of a protester who, the prosecutor told her, was “insulting” the military. The prosecutor dropped the charges against her when he realized the footage was not of her. Lawyer Ahmed Ragheb told Human Rights Watch that this footage was not filmed by the media, which would suggest that the military is filming protesters during demonstrations.

Military courts are currently trying numerous protesters. In an August 15 case, six protesters faced charges of “insulting the military” before a military tribunal for chanting “antagonistic” slogans about Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the de facto ruler of the country, in addition to
charges of assaulting a police officer. The military court sentenced Hassan Bahgat to six months in prison in another case, 3779/2011, for insulting the military in Tahrir square on August 6.

Military courts are also currently trying groups of protesters arrested in Cairo in late June and early August around Tahrir Square and in Alexandria on July 22. These include a group of 43 protesters arrested during a June 28 and 29 protest outside the Interior Ministry in downtown Cairo. One of
them is the activist Loai Nagaty, whom military police arbitrarily arrested on June 29 on Falaky Street, near the Interior Ministry. They detained him for eight days in the military prison but then released him on health grounds. He faces charges of “assaulting a public officer” and "causing disturbance.” The next session of his trial is scheduled for August 23.

Military courts have sentenced at least 10,000 civilians since January 2011 after unfair proceedings, Human Rights Watch said. All of them should be retried before regular civilian courts.

The Military’s Red Lines The Mubarak government frequently used overly broad provisions in the
penal code to crack down on legitimate criticism of the government’s human rights record or criticism of the political situation, trying editors, opposition leaders, and activists on charges of “insulting the president” or “insulting public institutions.” The military government and courts are
using the same provisions.

On April 11 a military court sentenced a blogger, Maikel Nabil, to three years in prison for “insulting the military establishment,” under article 184 of the penal code, and “spreading false information,” under article 102. The evidence presented against him consisted solely of a CD with details of Nabil's blog postings and commentary on Facebook over the previous months. Nabil’s lawyers have appealed his sentence but the court has not scheduled a date to hear his appeal.

Military prosecutors have summoned at least seven activists and journalists, including Mahfouz, to question them on charges of criminal defamation after they publicly criticized the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military leadership, or alleged abuses by the army. The
labor activist and blogger Hossam al-Hamalawy was summoned after he said on television that he held the head of the military police, Gen. Hamdy Badeen, personally responsible for acts of torture by the military police.

A member of the military leadership told Human Rights Watch in June that military prosecutors “offered [Hamalawy and the others] American coffee and discussed the different issues with them. This did not take longer than one hour.” On another occasion, on June 19, the military prosecutor
summoned a journalist, Rasha Azab, and an editor, Adel Hammouda, for questioning about an article Azab had written about alleged human rights abuses by the military.

A Human Rights Watch delegation met with a member of the SCAF on June 6 and voiced concern about the chilling effect that summoning people on criminal charges has on freedom of expression generally. One of the SCAF officers at the meeting responded:

We do not question everyone for criticizing the military, we only ask those who accuse, who defame the military or those who spread inaccurate information in order to spread suspicion about the armed forces to present their evidence. We summoned four journalists only to question them about their information and their sources since [what they said/wrote] involved the behavior of the armed forces and has serious implications for the perception of the armed forces.

In his August 14 news release Morsi said that there were “many who abused freedom of expression in the media in order to promote armed militias' plans for assassinations,” referring to Mahfouz’s tweet, and to “cross the limits of freedom of expression to insult and defame the armed forces and the SCAF.” He added that the SCAF does not limit freedom of expression but only investigates what Egypt’s penal code prohibits and that the military justice system was conducting the investigation based on the jurisdiction granted by the Code of Military Justice.

The broad jurisdictional basis of the Code of Military Justice is incompatible with international human rights standards because it allows for military trials of civilians without any subject-jurisdiction limitations, Human Rights Watch said.

Penal Code Is Incompatible With International Law The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the expert body that provides authoritative interpretations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party, states categorically in its recently-issued General Comment No. 34, on Article 19 on Freedom of Expression, that, “States parties should not prohibit criticism of institutions, such as the army or the administration.” By this standard, article 184 of the Egyptian penal code, which criminalizes “insulting the People’s Assembly, the Shura Council or any State Authority, or the Army or the Courts,” is incompatible with international law and should be amended accordingly, Human Rights Watch said.

Egypt’s penal code includes numerous provisions that violate international law by providing criminal penalties of imprisonment for “insulting” public officials and institutions, including the president (article 179), public officials (article 185), “foreign kings or heads of state” (article 180),
or foreign diplomats (article 182). The Human Rights Committee further elaborated in General Comment 34: “The mere fact that forms of expression are considered to be insulting to a public figure is not sufficient to justify the imposition of penalties, albeit public figures may also
benefit from the provisions of the Covenant. Moreover, all public figures, including those exercising the highest political authority such as heads of state and government, are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition.”

“Egypt needs to urgently review the legal framework which Mubarak used for years to silence his critics,” Stork said. “It is unacceptable for the military to be using these laws to clamp down on speech, especially as elections near.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Egypt, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/egypt

***01.08.2011. LIBYA: NATO LAUNCHES AIRSTRIKES AT MEDIA OUTLET

Three unidentified journalists were killed and 21 others injured in Tripoli after North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) warplanes bombed three transmission towers on 30 July in an effort to take Libyan state television off the air. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have condemned the attack.

According to NATO, "TV was being used as an integral component of the regime apparatus designed to systematically oppress and threaten civilians and to incite attacks against them. [Libyan leader Muammar] Qaddafi's increasing practice of inflammatory broadcasts illustrates his regime's policy to instill hatred amongst Libyans, to mobilise its supporters against civilians, and to trigger bloodshed."

In a letter to NATO, CPJ has asked for a more detailed explanation for the motivation behind the attack, saying "we are concerned any time a media facility is the target of a military attack. Such attacks can only be justified under International Humanitarian Law if the media facility is being used for military purposes or to incite violence against the civilian population."

CPJ is asking for evidence of specific broadcasts intended to incite violence. The letter also asks if more airstrikes are being planned since the initial strike failed to halt state television.

IFJ says the bombing is in contravention of UN Security Council resolution 1738, which condemns attacks against journalists, clearly establishing media equipment and installations as civilian locations that should not be considered a target for military reprisals.

"Our concern is that when one side decides to take out a media organisation because they regard its message as propaganda, then all media are at risk," said IFJ. "In conflict situations, international law is clear that unarmed journalists cannot be treated as combatants, irrespective of their political affiliations."

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has also spoken out against the strike on Al-Jamahiriya and its installations: "The NATO strike is also contrary to the principles of the Geneva Conventions that establish the civilian status of journalists in times of war even when they engage in propaganda."

More on the web:
- Request to NATO for clarification on Libya TV attack (CPJ):
http://cpj.org/blog/2011/08/request-to-nato-for-clarification-on-libya-tv-atta.php

- IFJ condemns NATO bombing at Libyan television (IFJ):
http://www.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-condemns-nato-bombing-at-libyan-television

- Director-General deplores NATO strike on Libyan state television facilities (UNESCO):
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/director_general_deplores_nato_strike_on_libyan_state_television_facilities/back/18256/

- NATO airstrikes target Libyan state TV transmitters (AP):
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/africa-mideast/nato-airstrikes-target-libyan-state-tv-transmitters/article2115328/



***28.07.2011. Freedom of opinion and expression – how far the protections go: the UN Human Rights Committee

GENEVA – Blasphemy laws, “memory” laws, laws on such matters as treason,
counter-terrorism, lese majeste, desacato, defamation of the head of state, the protection of honour of public officials…the UN Human Rights Committee today share with the media its new General Comment on the rights to freedom of opinion and expression which sets out just how far such restrictions on these fundamental human rights can go.

“This constitutes the most authoritative interpretation of one of the most
challenged and sensitive topics in international human rights law,” said committee member Michael O'Flaherty, who guided the General Comment through the Committee.

“It is a comprehensive response to numerous requests from lawmakers,
judges, prosecutors, lawyers, rights defenders and even journalists asking
for clarification on many of the issues covered by the rights to freedom
of expression and opinion.”

Among other issues, the Human Rights Committee states in its General
Comment that freedom of expression protections extend to new media and
information platforms. It also offers the most comprehensive analysis yet
in international human rights law of a right of access to information held
by public bodies.

Download the Committee’s General Comments on freedom of expression:
www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/GC34.pdf or
www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/comments.htm

***25.07.2011. OPT. The Palestinian Center for Development & Media Freedom (MADA): 113 attacks on the freedom of the press in the first half of this year in oPt

Ramallah - Attacks on journalists continue to hinder their work and endanger their lives. In the first 6 months of 2011 MADA has monitored 113 violations on press freedom in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), including 68 committed by the security services of the West Bank and Gaza and 45 committed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continue to defy international standards of human rights law by supressing the work of Palestinian journalists in addition to causing frequent bodily harm. Despite however the brutality of IOF attacks, for the first time in over three years Palestinian Security Service attacks have surpassed their numbers.

Total The Palestinian side Israeli
occupation The
violator Year
122 35 87 2008
87 33 54 2009
98 19 79 2010

Analysis has shown that the increase in Palestinian Security Service violations is proportionate to the increased number of youth rallies, demanding an end to the internal Palestinian political divisions, and their coverage by journalists, which began and have continued since 15 March 2011. 30 violations committed by Palestinian Security Services against journalists were committed in March alone, with the majority occurring in the Gaza Strip.

The Murder of Vittorio Arrigoni - A Crime that Shocked the Palestinian Community

The most serious and heinous violation of the past year came with the brutal murder of freelance Italian journalist and activist Vittorio Arrigoni by an armed militant group in the Gaza Strip.

"The body of Arrigoni was found on the morning of Friday 16/4/2011, in an abandoned house north of the Gaza Strip. The armed group had announced kidnapping him the day before his death, and demanded in a video the release of detainees from the" Salafist jihadi group "of the security services of the Hamas Government in two days, but they had to kill him before the end of the announcement deadline."

Despite the passing of more than three months the circumstances and motive of the crime are still unknown. The Hamas government of Gaza has not released the official report of its investigation following a raid that ended with the suspect Abdel-Rahman Mohammad Breizat throwing grenades at his two accomplices before turning a gun on himself.

Arrigoni - who was granted Palestinian citizenship in honour of his solidarity activities - was one of the most active individuals in the Palestinian solidarity movement. Arrigoni lived in Gaza and aided its people for 3 years before his death and through his writings and participation in numerous international solidarity and advocacy events shed light on the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli siege and blockade. Arrigoni was a loved member of both the
solidarity and Palestinian communities with which he was unwaveringly
involved.

Israeli forces committed serious violations against journalists

Despite the increased number of violations committed by Palestinian Security Services since the beginning of the year, Israeli occupation forces remain a real threat to the lives of journalists. Since January 2011, MADA has monitored a total of 49 incidences of physical attacks against journalists, including 24 IOF perpetrated attacks and 25 committed by the security services of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Below is a summary of the most brutal attacks monitored since the start of the year:


• Pal Media and German television photographer Abdul Ghani Natshe was severely injured after being struck on the hand by a rubber coated bullet then targeted with tear gas projectiles fired by Israeli forces while he was covering the weekly march in Hebron, on 25/02/2011. The injuries sustained by Natshe necessitated immediate evacuation from the scene and emergency medical treatment.
• WAFA news agency correspondent Tha’er Fakousa was beaten by IOF soldiers while covering the weekly Beit Omar march in Hebron city on Saturday 5 March 2011. The beating caused contusions and also caused his camera to break, Fakousa then required hospitalization after he lost consciousness when soldiers fired tear gas projectiles at him.
• Freelance photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk was attacked by the IOF whilst covering clashes between the IOF and Palestinians in Silwan on 25 March 2011. Abu Turk required treatment at Almaqased hospital after a gas projectile thrown by IOF solders struck his left eye causing abrasions and burns.
• al-Bayader al-Siyas magazine correspondent Muhammad al-Madhoun sustained severe head injuries following an Israeli military strike in the Gaza Strip. In a statement to MADA, al-Madhoun said that on the night of the 7th he was in his cousin’s home when Israeli’s shelling began. Because of the severity of his head wounds al-Madhoun had to be taken for immediate treatment to Shifa’ Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
• Israeli Occupation Forces opened indiscriminate fire on the participants of a peaceful demonstration in commemoration of al-Nakba. Dozens of unarmed civilians suffered moderate to severe injuries, including freelance photographer Mohammad Othman (25 years). Othman was covering the March of Return, proceeding towards the Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza Strip when Israeli Occupation Forces began firing live bullets at demonstrators. Osman was hit with live rounds to his chest and right hand and had to be evacuated to Kamal Adwan hospital
for emergency treatment before being transferred to Shifa Hospital for surgery. Othman is currently suffering from paraplegia and is receiving physiotherapy in preparation for his transfer to a specialist medical center in Jordan. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stated that the Palestinian National Authority will cover all the costs of his treatment.
• Israeli Occupation Forces attacked APA Agency photographer Najih
Al-Hashlamoun while covering clashes between Israeli occupation forces and residents of the Shalalah neighbourhood in the city of Hebron.
Al-Hashlamoun reported that he was filming Israeli soldiers firing tear gas at demonstrators from the gate of one of the houses, and was standing away from demonstrators when he was struck by a rubber-coated steel bullet, wounding his left foot. Al-Hashlamoun went to the Hebron public hospital, where staff found he was suffering from severe contusions and swelling.

Decline in the number of violations in the past three months

An improvement in freedom of expression has been seen in the last three months (April-June) in comparison with earlier in the year. This decline can be attributed in part to the signing of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement on 4 May 2011, which has allowed for the return of Palestine TV broadcast from the Gaza Strip, and and Al-Aqsa TV from Ramallah.

Despite this welcome improvement, more steps need to be taken to ensure
the safety and respect of journalist’s rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. The journalists in region had previously paid a high price for the political division, where the number of violations increased dramatically and self-censorship was enhanced, that’s had very negative impact on the level of Palestinian media.

Conclusion and recommendations:

Freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Palestinian basic law, however because of the political situation journalists still struggle to operate freely and safely within the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Since the beginning of the year journalists have faced numerous incidences of harassment, humiliation and abuse while trying to perform their work by both Israeli occupation forces - who never miss an opportunity to suppress journalists and prevent them from documenting current events and violations against the Palestinian people - and the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The unrest and calls for unity which escalated in March caused a steep increase in the violations against journalists by Palestinian Security Services,
particularly in the Gaza Strip, during that period.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) reiterates its condemnation of all violations committed against journalists regardless of type or perpetrator, and calls once again upon the international community to apply serious pressure on Israeli occupation authorities to end their aggression against journalists, which both limit their ability to perform their professional duty and
cause a very real threat to their physical and psychological wellbeing.

In regards to the Palestinian Authorities, MADA calls upon the security services of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to end their attacks against journalists, and in particular, end their campaigns of harassment through repeated summons for investigation. Since the beginning of this year 14 journalists have been interrogated. MADA additionally urges the Hamas government to fully disclose all of the evidence obtained regarding the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni so his family and friends may finally have closure on his tragic death and begin the process of
healing.

The Center also wishes to reiterate the necessity for those responsible for violations to be held accountable, and suitable mechanisms to be employed by which journalists can receive compensation and justice for the violations they suffer.
-----------------------
For more information:
Riham Abu Eita
Coordinator of Public Relations
riham@madacenter.org
www.madacenter.org
00970 2 2976519

***15.07.2011. SYRIA. Silencing global coverage, Syria detains, expels reporters (CPJ)

The Syrian government has detained a local journalist who contributes to pan-Arab news outlets and expelled an international reporter, according to news reports, continuing a crackdown designed to silence global news coverage of the nation's political crisis.Omar al-Assad, a Syrian online journalist and blogger who works for multiple news organizations, was detained on July 3, according to local and regional news outlets. His condition and whereabouts are unknown. Al-Assad contributes to the Lebanese daily As-Safir, the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, and the broadcaster Al-Jazeera, news reports said.  

Maarten Zeegers, a Dutch national who writes for the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad and the Belgian Flemish-language daily De Standaard, was detained on Monday in Damascus when he went to renew his residence permit, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported. Zeegers was informed his name was on a list of "undesired foreigners," he told the radio station. He said he was held for about five hours before being expelled to Turkey.

Zeegers, who had been living in Syria for two and a half years, had been studying Islamic jurisprudence at Damascus University and anonymously writing news reports for the two newspapers. Zeegers' articles were labeled as having been written by a "staff writer" in an effort to obscure his identity and prevent authorities from harassing him. Since mid-March, when civil unrest erupted throughout the country, the government has expelled more than a dozen international journalists, leaving a void in global news coverage, CPJ research shows.    

 "The Syrian authorities are systematically detaining local journalists and expelling foreign reporters in a ruthless attempt to stifle coverage of political protests," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. "We are concerned for the wellbeing of Omar al-Assad who has disappeared into the black hole of the Syrian security apparatus. We call on the government to release him immediately."

***30.06.2011. GAZA - IFJ Welcomes Israel U-turn on Warning to Media over Gaza Aid Flotilla

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the decision of the Israeli Government to reconsider the warning to slap a ten year ban on foreign reporters who plan to board the new aid flotilla bound for Gaza ,in defiance of the blockaded imposed by Israel. The decision also threatened to seize journalists’ equipment.
The government announced on Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
had ordered a review of the measure after widespread criticism in media circles and representation from the Journalists’ Association in Jerusalem (JAJ), a branch of the IFJ affiliate in the country, the National Federation of Israeli Journalists (NFIJ). “We welcome the review of the measure and urge the government to restrain
from any action against media covering the event,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “We should not have the repeat of last year’s heavy handed intervention of Israeli navy who failed to distinguish between journalists
and activists. Our members in Israel are to be commended for their staunch
defence of the rights and safety of journalists now just as they acted with speed to assist colleagues caught in violent clashes aboard the first Gaza aid flotilla.”
According to media reports, the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon
said that senior government officials were unaware of the warning which was issued on Sunday by the head of the Government’s press office, Oren Helman, to media organisations. The Deputy Prime Minister reportedly told media that the government is anxious to avoid clashes with media.
The warning provoked an outcry among journalists’ organisations led by the
Foreign Press Association in Israel which described it as "a chilling message that raised questions about Israel's commitment to freedom of the press.”
In a statement, the Journalists’ Association in Jerusalem called on the
Government of Israel to cancel the decision to punish journalists who will
be on board the second Gaza flotilla. The JAJ also requested Prime Minister Netanyahu to order the Israel Defence Forces to enable free coverage of the event.
Last year, the IFJ condemned the brutal attacks on civilians, including
journalists, by Israeli forces in the assault on a flotilla that tried to breach the military blockade of the Gaza coastline in Palestine. One media staff was among the nine people killed by Israeli soldiers during the raid and many journalists were detained and had their equipment confiscated by Israeli authorities. The JAJ coordinated the IFJ efforts to recover the equipment.

***22.06.2011. YEMEN. IFJ Warns Official Media Management in Yemen over Plans to Sack Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined its affiliated organisation in Yemen, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) in warning the management of Yemeni State Television that massive sackings of journalists who defied orders to censor reporting on recent anti-government protests will not go unchallenged.

The warning follows the revelation of a memo sent by the Yemeni Television board to the managing director, Abdallah El Harazi, including a list of some 30 journalists who should be fired on the grounds that they allegedly supported the uprising.

“The Yemeni Television management is trying to make our colleagues scapegoats because they refused to compromise their professional ethics,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “We stand by their side and support our affiliate’s defence of journalists’ freedom from undue interference from politicians of all sides.”

According to the JYS, the Yemeni TV board instructed the director to take disciplinary measures, including dismissals, against media personnel suspected of supporting the protests. The memo also called for denying these employees access to the television premises as well as withholding their wages and benefits entitlements.

The JYS has condemned the action against journalists at Yemeni Television and other official media, vowing to protect their rights and interests.

The news of the campaign against journalists working for state controlled media coincides with reports of a vigilante group in Yemen which has threatened attacks on media that do not support Yemeni President Saleh.

The so-called ‘Revenge Brigades to protect Yemen and President Saleh’ warned that they will assassinate President Saleh’ opponents and attack newspapers, online website and media connected to members of the political coalition in Yemen, the Al Liqa al Mushtarak.

The group claimed the responsibility for breaking into the weekly “Al Adwa al Mustaqilah” newspaper and beating its staff last Tuesday. It said this was a warning from the ‘Brigades’ to all newspapers and websites supporting the revolution and threatened to assassinate and bomb all opposition newspapers and reporters of foreign Television stations.

“We condemn this vigilante attacks on media and hold Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi and his government responsible for the safety of journalists in Yemen,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “They have to shoulder their responsibility, reign in and disband these violent groups.”

***14.06.2011. PAKISTAN. Two journalists among 36 killed in Peshawar blast (see update and safety tips below)
 
PESHAWAR: Khyber Union of Journalists has strongly condemned the suicide attack in Peshawar that killed two journalists among 36 other people and injured over hundred including five media persons.
A minor blast took place at a local restaurant in the Khyber Super Market in the military cantonment area at 11.45 pm on the night between Saturday and Sunday. Hearing the bang, the people, media persons and police rushed to the spot, when a suicide bomber on a motorbike struck causing huge losses.
Located just next to the Army Flats, the area is dominated by newspaper offices. Office of The News, Geo television, Daily Times, Pakistan Today, Khyber News, Akhbar-e-Khyber, Kawish television network, Independent News Pakistan, Online news agency, NNI news agency, Frontier Star, Afra Tafreeh magazine and others. The journalists, who work in the nearby offices and reside there as well, rushed to the spot and two among them lost their lives, while five others injured.
The deceased included Asfandyar Khan, who worked with different media organizations and had recently joint Akhbar-e-Khyber, and Shafiullah, a young graduate, who had recently joint The News, International as a trainee reporter.
The injured were Safiullah Mehsud, bureau chief Dunya News, Barakatullah Marwat, sub-editor, The News International, Mohammad Tufail of The News, Hashim Ali of Khyber News and Sheheryar and Riaz of Akhbar-e-Khyber. The injured were, however, in stable condition after receiving first aid.
In a press statement President Khyber Union of Journalists Arshad Aziz Malik and Yousaf Ali strongly condemned the incident and urged the government to take steps for protection of the media people.
They said that this was the second incident in the past one month exactly at the same area where journalists were targeted. On May 10, they said, Nasrullah Afridi was attacked in his own car at the same location.
They informed that some of the newspaper and television offices had received threats of attack and the employees working there have been asking their management repeatedly to shift the offices from the area but to no avail.
 
Yousaf Ali
General Secretary
Khyber Union of Journalists

15.06 UPDATE PAKISTAN

The young Shafiullah is still in critical condition. He has got 70 percent of his body burnt. He has been shifted to a burn center near pindi as unfortunately we don't have any burn unit here in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Let's pray for his recovery.
Also let me inform you that yesterday Khyber Union of Journalists convened a meeting of all the bureau chiefs of the broadcast media here in Peshawar to adopt some SOPs for the media staff that works in field. below are the points, which we finalized. we would send them to all our colleagues and media owners and editors with the strong urge to strictly follow them as the situation has gone the worst here...

Khyber Union of Journalists convened a meeting of the bureau chiefs of all the television channels to finalize standard operation procedures (SOPs) for the field staff to minimize risk. Chaired by Arshad Aziz Malik, president KhUJ, the meeting was attended by president Peshawar Press Club Saiful Islam Saifi, Abdullah Jan of Geo TV, Jamshed Baghwan of Express TV, Zahir Shah Sherazi of Dawn TV, Waqas of AVT Khyber, Iqbal Khattak of Daily Times and Yousaf Ali, general secretary Khyber Union of Journalists. Safiullah of Dunya News could not attend the meeting because of the injuries he had sustained in the June 11 blast. Shokat Khattak of Samaa, Ziaul Haq of ARY and Fakhar of Aaj were out of the town, they however committed to follow strictly whatever decided by the meeting. The meeting thoroughly discussed the threats faced by journalists and finalized safety tips. The safety tips are as follow:

 Do go closer to the spot - Use zoom cameras - Check the distance from where your camera can zoom and cover an incident from that distance - Check the surrounding buildings - If there is any tall, but safe building in the nearby location, go to its rooftop to cover have a better footage - Use of safety equipment should be made compulsory - The organizations must provide safety equipment - Take precautionary measures as soon as you come to know about a happening - Take bullet proof jacket, helmet, etc. - The bullet proof jackets and helmets should be there in vehicle. Locally manufactured safety jackets can also be used - Do have first aid box in your vehicle - First aid training should be made compulsory for the entire field staff - At the spot avoid going near a crowd - Media people themselves should avoid standing in group - DSNGs and other vehicles should be parked at the maximum possible distance from the spot - DSNG guards/drivers should keep an eye on their vehicles and surroundings - Minimum distance from spot for covering an incident should be determined in consultation with the bomb disposal unit - Never go beyond that distance - Be cooperative and polite at the spot with the security personnel as well as common people - Never violate security forces’ guidelines - Field staff should not be forced by their bosses for covering a specific incident that may cause some risk to them - Willingness of the field staff should be sought before sending them for coverage - Avoid going out of the city jurisdiction after 10 in night - Life insurance of the field staff should be ensured - The organizations must arrange life insurance of the staff - Efforts should be made at individual and union level to press the organizations to ensure insurance of the journalists and other media workers - Trainees should never be allowed to go to conflict zones, risky areas, as they are neither registered with their organizations nor properly trained for the situation - DSNGs and other vehicles should be plain-colored instead of having prominent colors and logos - Prominence as media people should be avoided - Identification signs and boards should be used only at the time of the need - Apart from news collection somebody from the office should remain in constant touch with the field staff - Avoid rumors mongering

How to implement These tips should be emailed repeatedly to the staff and management with attractive messages - Informal awareness sessions should be held with the field staff - Alert messages should be sent to the field staff - Give proper space to the safety tips on the union’s web-page

***30.05.2011. GEORGIA. Independent Association of Georgian Journalists deeply concerned over the violence against journalists in Tbilisi 

Independent Association of Georgian Journalists, member of IFJ, is deeply concerned over the violence against journalists in Tbilisi. On May 26, during the opposition rally, journalists were beaten by police, many of them were detained. 

Journalists representing different media channels were covering anti-government protests that have started on May 21. The police fired tear-gas and rubber bullets and used batons to disperse the protesters. Journalists were verbally and physically attacked. Cameras and video cameras were seized or destroyed. And some reporters were arrested without justification.
 
Violence against journalists was recorded from on May 22-26 in Tbilisi and Batumi. Reporters were threatened from both sides: Anti-governmental protesters and Georgia’s Special Forces. 
 
Netgazeti journalist Nino Kakhishvili was detained by policemen in the Tbilisi Main Police Department. After the May 26 raid the riot policemen took Kakhishvili out of an ambulance vehicle and took her with other detained to the Main Police Department.

Camera was seized by riot policemen from Netgazeti editor Nestan Tsetskhladze also. According to Tsetskhladze her camera was damaged during the police raid.
 
According to the Internet television Palitra TV, early morning May 26, during the raid of the protest rally in Rustaveli Avenue the riot policemen broke one camera and seized another from the Palitra TV cameraman Avtandil Surmava. Flip-cameras have also been seized from Mediapalitra journalists.
 
A RIA Novosti said, it’s correspondent Andrei Malyshkin was beaten and detained by Georgian riot police on Thursday while covering mass opposition protests.
 
Journalists of the Asaval-Dasavali newspaper have been severely injured during the last night riot police raid. Beka Sivsivadze has been shot several times with rubber bullets in the back.  Giorgi Mamatsashvili was beaten with rubber truncheons; he has trouble moving himself. Pictures of insured bodies were published on front pages of newspapers next day.

According to the journalists later they were released by help from a journalist of one of the "governmental TV-channels."
 
Journalist of Guria News newspaper Nato Gogelia was physically and verbally abused during the dispersal of protest rally on Rustaveli Avenue in the early morning of May 26.

Several police officers held the journalist, removed the memory card from the photo camera and broke it, they also damaged the camera. 
 
News agency Expressnews said that on May 26 during raid at the protest rally at Rustaveli Avenue a correspondent of the agency Ana Gabulia was detained; she was released in the morning.

On May 22 late night incident that took place in the Kostava Street, when the protesters insulted physically and verbally the itv.ge journalist Nino Kekelia and cameraman Irakli Khizanishvili and damaged the video camera.
 
May 22 Netgazeti journalist Tamaz Kupreishvili was hit in the stomach with a flag-stick by Anzor Bitsadze, son of the former chairman of Georgian parliament Nino Burjanadze when he was trying to get a comment from Burjanadze on the incident taken place in front of the public broadcaster building.
 
News agency Interpressnews reported May 22 that an unidentified person in civil clothing took away the video-recording of the clash that took place at the Kostava Avenue in front of the public broadcaster building from their correspondent.  
 
In Batumi, Eter Turadze said in a telephone interview that up to 20 policemen did not allow her to leave the Ajara TV-Station territory, claiming the reason for her own safety.
 
Amnesty International says that during a May 26 demonstration Georgian police clubbed unarmed and peaceful demonstrators and fired rubber bullets and tear gas at bystanders and journalists. Some 90 people have been detained.
 
An OSCE statement says at least 10 reporters were verbally and physically abused by police officers. Some were detained for questioning; others had their press cards taken away, and their equipment damaged or confiscated.
 
In a letter to Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, said: "The fact that the police would abuse, detain and question reporters engaged in their professional duties is worrisome."
 
Independent Association of Georgian Journalists is demanding unbiased and urgent investigation of violence against journalists. Association believes that people who prevented professional activity of media representatives must be adequately punished. Freedom of media must be guaranteed and respected. At the same time, IAGJ is concerned over polarization of Georgian media. Unfortunately majority of TV channels are divided into anti-governmental and pro-governmental groups. This is damaging the main principles of media – to be independent and unbiased.
 
Contact:
Zviad Pochkhua
editor@finchannel.com
+995 99 96 52 52  

***26.05.2011. BAHRAIN. IFJ Condemns Brutal Assault of Journalist by Police in Bahrain

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined its affiliate in Bahrain, the Bahrain association of Journalists (BJA) in condemning the savage beating and inhuman treatment of reporter Nazeeha Saeed who was arrested on 22 May over the story she had filed about the repression of anti-government protesters.
The female reporter, who was covering the uprising for France24 and Radio
Monte Carlo in the of Douar el loulou area , suffered severe injuries at the Rafa police station where she was badly beaten by her interrogators. She also bore torture marks, according to the reports.
“We are appalled by this senseless and cruel treatment of a working journalist and we urge the Bahraini authorities to hold accountable the officers involved,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “The brutal behaviour of security forces towards Saeed shows there is no end to media repression in Bahrain and the world must make it clear that these gross violations of peaceful protesters’, women’s and journalists’ rights will not go unpunished.”
Media reports say that Saeed was summoned to the Rafa police for questioning over her report on the death of Ali Abdelhassan who was allegedly killed by security forces during the anti-government protests of 17 February 2011. She was detained for 12 hours during which she reportedly was savagely beaten up and tortured. After her release, the French consulate arranged for the journalist to receive medical treatment in France due to the gravity of her condition.
The BJA has also called for a full investigation into the allegations of torture and requested from the authorities a copy of the complaint made by the reporter, stressing the need for transparency and independence in the investigation in this case.
The IFJ has accused the Bahraini government of widespread intimidation and
systematic harassment against journalists which have already led to the arrests and sackings of at least 68 media personnel in the country since the start of the protests for political reforms.
The Federation is taking part in a protest visit to the embassy of Bahrain in Brussels today. The protest, jointly organised by the IFJ, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Education International (EI) and the Belgian trade unions ACV/CSV, ABCC/FGTB and ACLVB/CGSLB. The organisers will deliver a letter calling, among other measures, for the immediate release of all detained trade unionists, teachers, journalists and workers as well an end to all harassment against trade unions leaders and activists and respect for press freedom.

***19.05.2011. BAHRAIN. IFJ Calls for End to Intimidation Campaign against Journalists in Bahrain

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the widespread intimidation campaign targeting journalists who work for newspapers which are critical of the Bahraini government. The IFJ accuses the authorities of systematic harassment of media in the wake of recent anti-government protests and says that at least 68 journalists working for two leading Bahraini newspapers, Al Wasat and Al Bilad, have been singled out for sacking, arrests and charges for treason. Others were forced into exile to escape arrest in the on-going clampdown.
“There is an appalling campaign to silence dissent in Bahrain and journalists have become the prime targets,” said Jim Boumelha. “The authorities are resorting to interference in media affairs and blatant intimidation to control information and stifle independent reporting. This must be exposed and resisted.”
Reports say that the Bahraini authorities have embarked on a hunt of the
government’s critics and arrested several journalists, on allegations of betraying the country. One report on the media crackdown in Bahrain entitled ‘ Journalists in Bahrain: The murder of Free Speech and the Siege of Freedom’ says that those arrested include the Al Wasat reporter Haidar Mohammad and blogger Zakariya Al Oushayri who is reported to be one of the two journalists who died while in detention.
More journalists were sacked from their jobs after management of public and private media in Bahrain, particularly Al Wasat and Al Bilad newspapers, came under severe political pressure, including banning advertising in Al Wasat, to get rid of staff members who opposed political interference. Senior journalist Mansour Al Jamry, editor –in-chief of Al Wasat and his colleagues Walid Nuwayhid, the paper’s editing manager and Akil Mirza, member of the Bahraini Journalists Association (BJA), an IFJ affiliate, lost their jobs in this campaign which affected at least 68
media staff, according to the report.
Mansour will go on trial this week along with three other senior staff charged with publishing false information about the police crackdown, a charge which carries a one-year prison sentence, media reports say.
The IFJ is deeply concerned by the situation of the Bahraini journalists who have been caught up in this crackdown, whether they are in detention, awaiting trial or on the run in exile and calls on the government to rescind all measures which violate the rights and the independence of media.
“We urge the authorities to re-establish the climate of respect for press freedom which the right of the public to accurate information requires, “added Boumelha.
“This won’t happen unless and until all detained journalists are set free,
outstanding warrants of arrest and charges cancelled, the ban on advertising in Al Wasat lifted, journalists who have been unfairly dismissed reinstated and an independent commission of inquiry set up to investigate reports of journalists’ deaths in detention.”
In the meantime, the massive dismissals of workers suspected of involvement in the anti-government protests have prompted the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to warn the Bahraini government that these measures threaten to tarnish the country’s record of “progressive policies towards labour in the Gulf region”. The organisation has, however, welcomed the decision to establish a joint committee to review all dismissals.
“Bahrain stands out as a country with an independent trade union movement,” ILO Deputy Director General Guy Ryder told Al-Jazeera. “The ILO is doing whatever it can with the government and other social partners to find a way forward so that people can return to their jobs.”

***14.05.2011. BAHRAIN. IFEX MEMBERS APPEAL TO WORLD LEADERS TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST RIGHTS ABUSES

Even as the King of Bahrain promises to end the state of emergency he imposed in mid-March to quell anti-government demonstrations, journalists, rights activists and opposition leaders continue to be arrested, with dozens of them hastily tried. Forty-two IFEX members and 15 partners are appealing to the international community to end their silence and demand that the Bahraini government take action against the rights abuses.

In a letter addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama, EU Vice-President Baroness Catherine Ashton and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, the members point to cases of journalists, bloggers and rights activists being arrested, tried in military courts and tortured, with some even dying in custody. The joint action was led by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), which has been engaged in campaigning and trial monitoring in Bahrain.

Founding member of "Al Wasat" newspaper, Karim Fakhrawy was declared dead on 12 April under suspicious circumstances - two days after he was arrested. On 18 May, three of the paper's senior editors are to be tried for "publishing fabricated news and made up stories . . . that may harm public safety and national interests," reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Zakariya al-Aushayri, an online activist, founder and manager of the online forum Al Dair, died on 9 April under mysterious circumstances while in government custody.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) notes that four people have recently died in police custody, and 35 have been killed in the protests so far - in a country whose population is only 570,000.

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, former president of BCHR, was beaten unconscious when 15 masked men raided his daughter's home on 9 April. Human Rights Watch and BCHR report that while in detention, Al-Khawaja has been beaten to the point of being unrecognisable. He and blogger Abduljalil Al-Singace, along with 13 other detainees, were suddenly brought to trial on a dozen charges, including attempting to "overthrow and change the country's constitution and Royal rule by force" and organising rallies without permission. Seven others were tried in absentia. The trial has been adjourned until 12 May. BCHR is appealing for international observers to attend.

Current president of BCHR, Nabeel Rajab, is being prosecuted for alerting readers through Twitter about pictures of the tortured body of a man who died in custody, which the government alleges are "fabricated." He recently found out he is still banned from leaving the country.

Meanwhile, dozens of journalists have been subjected to lay-offs, arrests and threats because of their work. According to ANHRI, 30 journalists from "Al Watan", "Al Ayam" and "Al Bilad" newspapers have been laid off, while numerous reporters have been arrested or gone into hiding for fear of arrest.

Foreign reporters have had restrictions placed on their movements. This week, the authorities decided to expel German journalist Frederik Richter, the Reuters correspondent in Manama since 2008, for alleged bias in his coverage of the protests, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He has been given a week to leave.

"We are dismayed at the silence of governments across the world in the face of ongoing violations, which seem particularly difficult to comprehend given the widespread condemnation of human rights abuses in Libya, in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations," the members said in the letter.

The members are asking the world leaders to urge Bahraini authorities to investigate the deaths in custody; unconditionally release political prisoners; drop the politically-motivated charges against "Al Wasat"; and allow journalists and rights workers, whether local or international, to freely carry out their work.

According to "The New York Times", the King's announcement that the state of emergency will end on 1 June is a sign that Bahrain is seeking to assure banks and foreign governments that the chaos is over and that the kingdom, which depends heavily on financial business, is trying to return to normal.

"It is also a sign that the numerous arrests and rushed trials of opposition figures in military courts could be running their course. Some leading opposition figures went on trial as the announcement was being made," the "Times" said.

"This is a cosmetic step trying to show the international community that everything is back to normal when it is not," Rajab told the "Times". "I don't see it as a real initiative that will solve problems. Otherwise they would release political prisoners. The dispute is wider now than it was one month ago between the ruling elite and the people."

Related stories on ifex.org:
- BCHR statement: "Journalists in Bahrain - the murder of free speech and the siege of freedom":
www.ifex.org/bahrain/2011/05/04/murder_of_free_speech/

- IFEX defends member BCHR in light of free expression abuses:
www.ifex.org/bahrain/2011/04/13/ifex_defends_bchr/

More on the web:
- Bahrain says it will end state of emergency (The New York Times):
www.nytimes.com/2011/05/09/world/middleeast/09bahrain.html

***13.05.2011. AFGHANISTAN. Journalistes otages en Afghanistan : 500 jours sont autant de jours de trop, selon la FIJ

La Fédération internationale des journalistes (FIJ) et son groupe européen la Fédération européenne des journalistes (FEJ) s’associent aujourd’hui aux manifestations marquant les 500 jours de captivité des journalistes français Hervé Guesquières et Stéphane Taponier détenus avec leurs accompagnateurs en Afghanistan.

« Cinq cents jours de captivité sont autant de jours de trop », a déclaré le président de la FIJ Jim Boumelha. « Nous sommes préoccupés par l’état de santé, physique et mentale, de nos collègues après tout ce temps passé. Malgré les appels de la famille, des collègues et des organisations de journalistes, rien ne filtre de la part des autorités françaises ou afghanes. Nous appelons solennellement à ce que les choses changent, vite ».

Hervé Ghesquière et Stéphane Taponier, ainsi que leurs trois accompagnateurs afghans (Mohamed Reza, Ghulam et Satar) ont été enlevés le 29 décembre 2009 dans la vallée de la Kapisa, au nord-est de Kaboul, alors qu’ils réalisaient un reportage pour France 3.

La FIJ et la FEJ redoutent la radicalisation des groupes alliés au mouvement terroriste d’Al Qaeda en Afghanistan après la mort d’Oussama Ben Laden il y a quelques jours. De concert avec leurs  membres en France, le Syndicat National des Journalistes (SNJ), le Syndicat National des Journalistes-CGT (SNJ-CGT) et la section journalistes de la CFDT, les deux organisations  appellent les autorités françaises et afghanes à redoubler leurs efforts de négociations pour la libération des otages et à mettre fin au silence qui règne à ce sujet.

La FIJ rappelle aussi qu’en vertu de la résolution 1738(2006) du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies, les gouvernements sont tenus de garantir la sécurité des journalistes en zones de conflit.

Elle a réitéré l’obligation des employeurs des journalistes de s’assurer que leurs journalistes soient  bien préparés, formés et bénéficient de la protection nécessaire pour travailler dans les zones de conflit.

***11.05.2011. MEXICO. Violence and Press Freedom in Mexico: Still in the Line of Fire (Article 19)

ARTICLE 19’s latest report on violations of press freedom in Mexico in 2010 highlights yet again an appalling level of violence and attack perpetrated against journalists and media workers over the year, along with a marked increase in self-censorship on the part of journalists and editors.
In a report released in Mexico City on the occasion of World Press Freedom day on May 3rd, ARTICLE 19 and its partner Cencos document a total of 155 attacks against journalists, media facilities and media workers. This is the third year in a row that ARTICLE 19 undertakes such an exercise, allowing it to monitor trends in Mexico and to identify key patterns and changes.

“A disturbing level of violence against journalists in Mexico has continued throughout 2010. 8 journalists were killed in 2010 simply in the exercise of their profession. It makes for a total of 44 journalists killed and 8 still missing during the period of the administration of President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa,” says Dr. Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.

However, ARTICLE 19 found a decline in the overall number of attacks against journalists. There were 155 attacks in 2010 down from 244 in 2009. This does not reflect significant improvement in the situation for media workers in Mexico. Instead, ARTICLE 19’s and CENCOS’ research finds that this decline was linked primarily to a marked increase in self-censorship by journalists and editors, taken as a protective measure against possible future attack.

Statistical analysis undertaken by ARTICLE 19 and Cencos demonstrates that the majority of the attacks against journalists were carried out by government agents. In 49.03% of the assaults, the evidence pointed directly to government agents whereas 26.45% of the assaults could be attributed to organized criminal groups. Nevertheless, since 2009 there has been a drop in the proportion of these assaults committed by government authorities, down from 65% to 49.03%.

The research also found that there had been 6 cases of kidnapping of journalists in 2010, up from just one in the previous year. Five of these victims in 2010 worked for national media companies, including Televisa and Multimedios, and were covering local issues of national interest.

The report on the state of freedom of the press in 2010 also includes for the first time an index of the most dangerous states for journalists in the country which are found to be Guerrero, Michoacan, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Sinaloa. Attacks in these states represented 41.9% (65) of all attacks nationwide and included 8 homicides, and 13 violent attacks against media workers. 

• For more information please contact: Mona Samari, at mona@article19.org
or at +44 20 7324 2500. For interviews in Spanish, please contact Ricardo
Gonzales Bernal, at +52 55 1054 6500.
• For a copy of the executive summary of the report in Spanish, please click on the following link:
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/reports/mexico-resumen-ejecutivo-2011.pdf
• For a full copy of the report in Spanish, please click on the following link:
http://www.articulo19.org/articulo/sites/default/files/documentos/ARTICLE19%20Informe%202010(1).pdf

***04.05.2011. WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2011: 21ST CENTURY MEDIA - NEW FRONTIERS, NEW BARRIERS (IFEX)

Last month, Egyptian blogger and activist Maikel Nabil Sanad was sentenced to three years in jail for insulting and publishing false news about the military. His crime was writing a recent blog post that criticised the lack of transparency in the military.

This month, more than 800 participants from around the world are converging in Washington, D.C., to explore the idea that just as new media is being used to promote freedom, regimes are creating ways to suppress online voices. The occasion is UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day, held annually on 3 May, and the theme this year is "21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers". Many IFEX members are in attendance.

"We enjoy unprecedented opportunities for expression thanks to new technologies and media. More and more people are able to share information and exchange views, within and across national borders. This is a blessing for creativity, for healthy societies, for including everyone in new forms of dialogue," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, in a joint statement.

In a new report for 3 May, ARTICLE 19 runs with UNESCO's theme and gives us stories of how barriers have crumbled when it comes to free speech and information flow.

For example, 2010 was the year of WikiLeaks, which "revolutionised transnational whistleblowing," said ARTICLE 19. Yes, Twitter was used to organise protests in Tunisia and Egypt, but ARTICLE 19 also points to a group of journalism students in a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who used Twitter to tell the world that 42 people died in a recent drug raid. @vozdacomunidade provided the only reporting from within the favela.

Thanks to new media, "outrage and embarrassment spread in equal measure, corruption is magnified, people-power amplified, and governments fall," said ARTICLE 19.

But at the same time, "many governments, fearful of this lack of control, are trying hard to restore or fortify barriers to trace, block, target and censor those who champion the truth," said ARTICLE 19. Its report also highlights cases of governments fighting back, from the authorities banning YouTube in Turkey to controlling mobile phone ownership in North Korea.

In a special World Press Freedom Day report, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) assessed the 10 prevailing strategies for online oppression and named which countries lead the way. The techniques go well beyond web censorship. There's state-supported email designed to take over journalists' personal computers in China, the shutting down of anti-censorship technology in Iran, monopolistic control of the Internet in Ethiopia, and carefully timed cyber-attacks on news websites in Belarus.

CPJ says what is most surprising about the 10 online oppressors is not who they are - they are all nations with long records of repression - but how swiftly they adapted old strategies to the online world, like Syria jailing online writers, and violence against bloggers in Russia. As of 1 December, 69 journalists whose work appeared primarily online are in jail, constituting nearly half of all journalists in prison, reports CPJ.

According to Human Rights Watch, Nabil's three-year sentence may be the worst strike against free expression in Egypt since the Mubarak government jailed its first blogger, Kareem Amer, for four years in 2007. The sentence is not only severe, but it was imposed by a military tribunal after an unfair trial.

A new coalition of rights groups in Egypt, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), hopes the transitional government will break with these kinds of military trials and other repressive practices of the past. The National Coalition of Media Freedom is using the occasion of World Press Freedom Day to unveil a "Declaration of Media Freedom" - its vision on how to develop and liberate the Egyptian media.

Preparing a defence is the right thing to do, according to Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, especially as we savour recent advances. "For the moment, the forces of freedom have the upper hand. But vigilance is essential before the inevitable reaction," he said.

Roth is urging Facebook and Twitter to join the Global Network Initiative, a voluntary code of conduct developed by Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft in conjunction with Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental organisations, including IFEX members CPJ, Index on Censorship and the World Press Freedom Committee. The initiative makes it easier for companies to resist demands from governments to reveal the identities of anonymous users or to block discussion of certain topics.

Sympathetic governments also have a role. "Social media companies could better resist repressive demands if acquiescence were prohibited by law," said Roth."These governments should also fund a broad range of technologies and initiatives for circumventing censorship."

"Governments might also look for creative ways to fight censorship, such as including Internet freedom in trade agreements, much as labour rights are now," he added.

On this World Press Freedom Day, "the media revolution is triggering new debates about freedom of expression, about the nature of regulation, about the balance between expression and responsibility," said the UN."We must not shy away from exploring all angles of these questions. We must all rise to the occasion and accept the responsibility of change."

Find out on IFEX's special 3 May website how IFEX members accepted the responsibility and commemorated World Press Freedom Day.

Related stories on ifex.org:
- Human rights defenders, journalists come together to form National Coalition for Media Freedom:
www.ifex.org/egypt/2011/04/13/national_coalition/

- Blogger sentenced to three years in military prison:
www.ifex.org/egypt/2011/04/13/blogger_sentenced/

More on the web:
- IFEX World Press Freedom Day site:
www.ifex.org/wpfd/

- World Press Freedom Day: No Frontiers, New Barriers (ARTICLE 19):
www.article19.org/pdfs/press/world-press-freedom-day-no-frontiers-new-barriers.pdf

- The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors (CPJ):
www.cpj.org/reports/2011/05/the-10-tools-of-online-oppressors.php

- New laws needed to protect social media (Human Rights Watch):
www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/04/15/new-laws-needed-protect-social-media

- Global Network Initiative:
www.globalnetworkinitiative.org/

***03.05.2011. WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY. US Ambassador Donahoe Hails Importance of New Media on World Press Freedom Day, Announces Internet Freedom Fellows Program

Statement by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe - U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
May 3, 2011
The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day – “21st Century Media – New Frontiers, New Barriers” - could not be more appropriate to the transformative crossroads in history at which we stand today. Social media users are playing a major role in the demand for democracy unfolding across the countries of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. Around the world, the Internet is a vital medium through which journalists, activists and citizens connect with each other and share stories in ways that are changing their societies. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has put it, the Internet is “the public space of the 21st Century.”

This World Press Freedom Day highlights the role of new media at a moment of great challenges but also of much hope and promise. That is why I am particularly proud to announce today the creation of a new program to highlight the innovative use of the Internet in promoting and defending human rights. In June this year, the United States Mission will invite a group of Internet Freedom Fellows to visit Geneva and Washington. The Internet Freedom Fellows will meet with key government, United Nations, and civil society representatives and participate in public discussions to demonstrate at the global level the importance of internet freedom.
The Internet Freedom Fellows program follows up on Secretary Clinton’s pledge to find innovative ways to promote the use of the Internet in support of human rights. It is funded by the Department of State and managed by the U.S. Mission in Geneva in cooperation with the Institute for Media Global and Governance (IMGG), a Geneva-based NGO.
Around the world people are using new media in the call for freedom, transparency and greater self determination. We must always remember that it is not the tools, but the courageous people who use them - journalists and reporters and individual citizens – who are the human voice of freedom. In recent weeks we have seen the detention of prominent activists around the world who have made bold and creative use of new media to expose problems in their own societies.
On World Press Freedom, and every day, the United States stands with those
exercising their universal rights and calling for democracy and greater respect for human rights.
(end text)

***02.05.2011. "At this historic juncture, Governments must choose reform over repression”, state UN expert on World Press Freedom Day

The following statement was released by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Frank La Rue, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day (3 May 2011).

We commemorate the World Press Freedom Day* this year against the backdrop of extraordinary events in the Middle East and North Africa. People from all walks of life, in particular the youth, have peacefully and collectively stood up against decades of oppression and denial of basic human rights.

I commend and stand in solidarity with these courageous individuals, including journalists, bloggers, and activists, who have risen above fear to express their legitimate grievances and to demand reforms, democracy and transparency, using at great risk their freedom of expression and new information communication technologies.

At the same time, I am deeply shocked and saddened that thousands of individuals have lost their lives, and journalists, human rights defenders and opposition leaders in particular continue to be targeted in countries such as Libya, Syria, and Yemen. I extend my condolences to the families of the victims and urge authorities to immediately stop any further bloodshed. I call on the international community to respond urgently and effectively to these human rights and humanitarian crises.

I believe that we are currently in a historic moment. Never in the history of humankind have individuals been so interconnected across the globe. Social networking platforms have given individuals the means to share and disseminate information in “real-time”, and have played a key role in the recent demonstrations. As one activist tweeted during the protests in Egypt, “we use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.”

Indeed, the Internet has become an essential tool to exercise the right to freedom of expression, a topic which is discussed further in my next report to the United Nations Human Rights Council to be presented on 3 June 2011.

At the same time, the power of the Internet to awaken individuals to question and challenge the status quo and to expose corruption and wrongdoing has generated fear among the powerful. As a result, Governments are increasingly censoring information in cyberspace and, in some cases, disconnecting users from Internet access entirely.

Such censorship measures are often combined with age-old tactics of harassment and intimidation, arbitrary arrests, torture and other cruel or inhuman treatment, enforced disappearances and even killings – not only to directly silence dissent, but also to generate a climate of fear within society. I remain deeply concerned about such practices around the world, and in particular the continuing persecution of journalists, bloggers and activists covering the ongoing demonstrations.

On this World Press Freedom Day, I would like to remind all States that the strongest governments are those that allow democratic participation of citizens, and diverse views to be expressed openly. The events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown that it is never a viable long-term option to suppress the voices of the people. They have also served as a reminder that the role of the Government is to serve the people, not those in power.

I therefore call upon all Governments to choose reform over repression, to embrace diverging views, to listen to the people, and to build a strong society based on the consent of the governed, whose freedom of opinion and expression must be upheld.

(*) 3 May was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. It is a day to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.
For further information on the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, please visit:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/opinion/index.htm
For press inquiries and additional information regarding the visit, please
contact Ms. Momoko Nomura (Tel: +41 22 917 9304 / email: Mnomura@ohchr.org

***02.05.2011. PHILIPPINES. Statement of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day

AS IN THE PAST, WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2011 is being commemorated
after a year (May 2010-May 2011) of global and national turmoil.

Iraq and Afghanistan continued to occupy media attention and to subject journalists to the usual perils of covering conflict areas. Five journalists were killed in Iraq in 2010, and two in Afghanistan.  And while the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa was among the unique characteristics of 2010-2011, the political crises in Egypt, Tunisia. Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Libya did subject journalists to the same perils of being killed, threatened, harassed or abducted while doing their jobs. Four journalists were killed in Libya, two in Egypt, and several others abducted.

The Philippine media situation has resisted change despite the change of administration in July, 2010.  The Ampatuan Massacre trial  is continuing, but in terms of results has virtually come to a standstill, bogged down in the tedious processes involved in resolving technical issues, even as the killing of journalists has continued, with  eight cases of journalists killed, of which five were work related.

The same ethical and professional shortcomings that have made the media the subject of citizen skepticism and even scorn still haunt media practice, with the performance of the media, whether print, broadcast or online, being uniformly problematic.  Plagiarism was a nagging problem, together with sensationalism, lack of fairness and balance, biased reporting, and corruption.  Problems related to job security, as well as the usual issues of low salaries and limited or non-existent
benefits were also prominent during the May 2010 to May 2011 period.

Attempts to legislate a freedom of information act are continuing even as the 15th Congress pursues efforts to pass a right of reply law initiated by the 14th Congress despite media and press opposition.

While the Aquino administration had pledged to respect press freedom and to stop the killing of journalists, Mr. Aquino has not taken the concrete steps needed to create the conditions necessary to end the culture of impunity. Neither has he been reticent in criticizing the media, at one point accusing them of criminal behavior, later of sensationalism, focusing on his love life,  and  ignoring the
achievements of his administration, while at the same time urging advertisers to advertise only in “responsible media organizations”.

In these circumstances, the tasks of the media advocacy and journalists’ organizations remain as urgent as ever: it is to defend press freedom in difficult circumstances through self-examination, self -regulation and reform.  The process has been difficult and as glacial in pace as everything else has been in the Philippine setting, but it is essential that the effort at self criticism and self regulation for the sake of better media and the defense of press freedom are pursued with renewed vigor and commitment.

***13.04.2011. SYRIA. IFJ Raises Concerns over Arrest of Journalist amid Media Clampdown in Syria

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Syrian authorities to release journalist Mohamad Zaid Mastou, who was arrested on 6 April in Damascus by security agents and taken to an undisclosed location.

“The manner of his arrest and the lack of information about his whereabouts raise concerns for his safety and wellbeing,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “The Syrian regime must be in no doubt that the world is watching and this latest case of repression of press freedom will not go unnoticed.”

The IFJ has learned that Mastou, a Norwegian national of Syrian Kurdish origin, was in Syria covering the anti-government protests for the Arabic TV Al Arabiya’s website, Arabiya.net when he was arrested last Wednesday. The government agents reportedly used violence to arrest the journalist who was sitting in a cyber café in Damascus before bundling him in a car and driving away. Attempts by his family to find out where he is detained have been in vain as the authorities are refusing to provide any information thereabout.

The IFJ says the arrest of Mastou comes in the wake of a major crackdown on media in Syria as the government attempts to stifle reporting on the widespread protest movement in several cities which have led to clashes between security forces and protesters.

Media freedom organisations reported cases of threats, disappearances and arrests targeting journalists and bloggers who were covering the protests. These include Reuters producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji who went missing on 26 March while journalists Doha Hassan, Zaher Omareen and Mohamed Dibo were arrested over the protests and remain in detention.

The IFJ calls on the international community to monitor violence against media by the Syrian authorities in a desperate attempt to resist the popular uprising demanding political changes in the region and which has already toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

“The world needs to challenge the Syrian leadership over its brutal repression of democratic debate and press freedom,” added Boumelha. “Journalists must not be scapegoats for the government’s brinkmanship.”

***12.04.2011. SYRIA. The HIGH COMMISSIONER DEEPLY CONCERNED 

We are deeply concerned about reports of the intensification of killings of protestors by security forces in Syria, as well as mass arrests of human rights defenders and the harassment of journalists. A number of journalists, international and Syrian, as well as Syrian bloggers have reportedly been arrested and TV signals suspended of at least one private TV station. Syrian authorities must immediately release journalists detained for doing their jobs and to respect the right to freedom of expression.

The High Commissioner has emphasized to the Syrian authorities that the use of force against peaceful protestors has not quelled discontent anywhere in the region. We urge the authorities to take immediate action to stop the excessive use of force, particularly the use of live ammunition against peaceful protestors.

***31.03.2011. SYRIA UPDATE. The situation for journalists working in Syria continues to be extremely precarious (INSI).

Two Reuters journalists are missing in the country.

Correspondent Suleiman al-Khalidi, a Jordanian national based in Amman, is believed to have been detained by the Syrian authorities in Damascus on Tuesday.
 
Photographer Khaled al-Hariri, a Syrian based in Damascus, has not been in contact with colleagues since Monday. A Syrian official said authorities were working to establish what had happened to the two men.

Their disappearance follows the detention in Syria of two other Reuters journalists, television producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji.

The two, who are both Lebanese, were released and expelled to Lebanon on Monday after being held by Syrian authorities for two days. 

***26.03.2011. SYRIA - Authorities impose news blackout on crackdown in Deraa (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns the censorship that the Syrian authorities have imposed on national and foreign news media seeking to cover events in the southern city of Deraa. The security forces have blocked access to the city so that there is no one to witness their ruthless crackdown on the protests that have been taking place there during the past few days.

Ahmed Hadifa, a 28-year old blogger better known by the blog name of Ahmad Abu Al-Kheir, was arrested again by the security services in Damascus yesterday “because of his activities on Facebook in support of the protests in Deraa.” He was previously held for several days in February without being formally charged.

Maan Aqil, journalist, was detained yesterday after being constantly harassed during the preceding days. Mazen Darwish, the head of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, was released last night after after being summoned for questioning on 23 March for making statements about the crackdown in Deraa and the recent wave of arrests.

Darwish had already been held for several hours on 16 March after being arrested while attending a peaceful sit-in outside the interior ministry headquarters in Damascus as an observer.

Writer and political activist Louay Hussein was also released last night after being arrested at his home on 22 March because of his online activities in support of the demonstrations and calls for reform.

The authorities blocked distribution of the leading pro-government daily Al-Watan yesterday without giving explanation although it is owned by Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of the president. Media sources blamed the move on an article headlined “The Syrian media are lying to us.” The ban was issued at 6 a.m., just after yesterday’s issue had been printed. The information ministry lifted the ban later in the day, again without any explanation.

The same newspaper had itself been criticising the international media’s coverage of the events in Deraa, accusing them of lying and insisting that everything was calm in Syria. An article in the 24 March issue questioned the peaceful nature of the protest movement and voiced support for the crackdown on the demonstrators.

Reporters Without Borders has learned that a photographer and a freelance video reporter working for Agence France-Presse and an Associated Press photographer were briefly held and roughed up while covering the demonstrations in Deraa on 22 March. Their equipment was seized and was handed back a few hours later. When the AFP journalists tried to return to Deraa the next day, their equipment was again seized. They have not yet been able to recover it.

***23.03.2011. YEMEN. IFJ Blames State Violence over Killing of Journalist in Yemen

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the use of violence which led to the killing of freelance journalist Jamal Shar’abi who was killed on Friday in Taghier Square when gunmen fired on the protesters in the capital Sana’a.
“This killing is the inevitable and tragic end to a terrible seven days for media in Yemen,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “The Government bears a heavy responsibility because of its heavy handed tactics in dealing with protesters that has increased the risks for journalists.”
The news of the journalist’ death followed the expulsions last week of six foreign reporters amid escalating anti-governments protest. Italian photojournalist Marco Di Lauro and his American colleague Patrick Symmes who writes for US travel magazine Outside were detained at the airport in Sana’a as they returned from visiting historic sites and the Socotra Island before being expelled from the country.
In a targeted sweep on foreign reporters, four other journalists were ordered to leave -- Oliver Holmes, a stringer for the Wall Street Journal and Time, Portia Walker, a correspondent of the Washington Post, Haley Sweetland Edwards, of the Los Angeles Times and AOL News and Joshua Maricich, a contributor to various newspapers. According to the international broadcaster Aljazeera, two of its reporters were also deported on Sunday and its office in Sana’a was ransacked by attackers with police looking on.
The IFJ says the attacks on media are also directed at Yemeni journalists
following an attack on the offices of its affiliated organisation in the country, the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS) by a group of thugs who threatened to burn it down. The Federation wrote on 14 March to President Ali Abdallah Saleh of Yemen to request his urgent intervention to end systematic attacks on journalists.
“The Government has declared war on media and their attacks on journalists
during the unrest signals signal that they are aiming to shut down media and stifle dissent in all its forms,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Journalists are targets and government scapegoats to cover their own failure to contain the wave of popular protest in favour of political reform. This is a dangerous and ultimately futile policy which will only lead to yet more tragedy unless it is ended now.”

***20.03.2011. IFJ Appoints Female Union Rights Campaigner from Brazil as New General Secretary (see PEC statement on PEC NEWS)

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) this weekend formally endorsed the appointment of Brazilian journalist and union activist Elizabeth Costa as the new General Secretary to replace Aidan White who is standing down at the end of this month after 24 years in the post.
Elizabeth Costa is a veteran campaigner for union rights and press freedom in Latin America and has been a leading force for international solidarity in the Brazilian Federation of Journalists’ Associations (FENAJ). She emerged as the unanimous choice from a strong field of candidates who were interviewed in Brussels last month.
“I welcome the appointment of Beth Costa as the new General Secretary,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “This is the first time in the history of the IFJ that its General Secretary comes from outside Europe. It is also the first time that the IFJ secretariat is led by a woman. This is indeed proof of the impact of the change and recognition of the IFJ as a truly global federation of unions.”
Beth Costa has a strong background in trade unionism and journalism. She worked as a Television journalist in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo for over twenty years. She also held senior positions in the FENAJ where she served as President from 1998 to 2004, becoming the first woman President of the Federation since its inception in 1946. She was also a member of the IFJ Executive Committee from 2001 to 2004.
“The IFJ is in a transition to a more inclusive organisation which empowers its regions in its projects work and representation,” said Elisabeth Costa, the new IFJ General Secretary. “ I look forward to implementing the resolutions from the World Congress in Cadiz and to further strengthening the reach of the IFJ as a global voice of journalists.”
The outgoing General Secretary, Aidan White, said the challenges for journalists across the globe have intensified, especially in the Middle East and called for renewed solidarity in addressing them.
“The period we are now entering is a challenging endeavor but, with a new
dynamic General Secretary, staff and the Executive working hand in hand, I hope very much that the IFJ will respond to show that our leadership of the global journalism is in good hands.”
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries

***16.03.2011. BAHRAIN. IFJ Concerned over New Media Crisis in Bahrain

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the
escalation of violence against media in Bahrain after photographer Mohammed Almoukhraq was assaulted by security forces while covering anti-government protests in the capital, Manama on Sunday. Last night, the Al–Wasat newspaper headquarters were also attacked.
“These incidents illustrate a crisis for media and democracy in Bahrain,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “The government must give guarantees that journalists will be able to operate freely and safely despite the Declaration of a State of Emergency.”
According to Bahrain Journalists Association (BJA), an IFJ affiliate, photographer Almoukhraq was set upon on Sunday by security forces and plainclothes officers who beat him up and broke his camera and mobile phone.
In a separate incident, the headquarters of the Al-Wasat newspaper in Manama came under attack last night by unknown assailants.
The BJA condemned the assault on Almoukhraq and the attack on offices of
Al –Wasat newspaper and demanded a thorough investigation into these incidents to hold perpetrators accountable. In a statement, the BJA leadership called on “all stakeholders to allow the press to perform its mission.”
The IFJ backs the BJA demands and says the Government of Bahrain has the
primary responsibility to protect journalists who are covering an increasingly violent situation.
“We call on the authorities to order security forces to stop attacking journalists and to protect all media professionals from violent groups,” added Boumelha. “Journalists must not be targeted and media must not be made scapegoats for this political crisis.”

***15.03.2011. TURKEY. UN RIGHTS OFFICE CALLS ON TURKEY TO ENSURE PRESS FREEDOM AFTER JOURNALISTS’ ARREST
New York, Mar 15 2011 10:10AM
The United Nations human rights arm today called on Turkey to guarantee
freedom of opinion and expression, voicing serious concerns at the recent imprisonment of journalists on charges of involvement in a conspiracy allegedly designed to overthrow the Government.

“If there are genuine reasons to suppose that any journalists have committed crimes outside the scope of their journalistic work, then those reasons should be transparent to the journalists themselves, to their defence lawyers and to the rest of us,” UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) spokesperson Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva, noting the secrecy order surrounding the investigation.

“Otherwise, inevitably, suspicions will continue to mount that these arrests are politically motivated,” he said, calling on the Government to comply with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and ensure that journalists are not prosecuted and imprisoned because of their journalistic work and critical reporting.

On 3 March, nine Turkish journalists and writers were detained by the police on accusations of involvement in a conspiracy and detained under an order from an Istanbul court authorizing their police detention for questioning “on suspicion of being members of the Ergenekon terrorist organization and of spreading hatred and enmity among the population.”

Those detained included Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, two prominent journalists known for critical reporting on the Turkish criminal justice system and police. Mr. Sener works for the daily newspaper <em>Milliyet<./em>, and Mr. Sik is the co-author of a book about the Ergenekon investigation and trials.

The others detained were Professor Yalçin Küçük, a writer and a prominent
critic of the governing party, who is already on trial for alleged connections with Ergenekon, and six employees of odaTV.com which is an opposition news website – Sait Çakir, Dogan Yurdakul, Mumtaz Idil, Coskun Musluk, Müyesser Yildiz and Iklim Bayraktar.

After being brought before prosecutors and formally charged with being members of the Ergenekon organisation, Mr. Sik and Mr. Sener were imprisoned on 6 March, to await trial. Mr. Küçük and four more journalists were imprisoned on the following day.

“The investigation is subject to a secrecy order, so the full details of the alleged evidence justifying the investigation and detention of the journalists is not publicly available,” Mr. Colville said. “It is not yet clear whether those detained are under investigation for their legitimate activities relating to their professional duties as journalists and broadcasters, or whether there is other evidence against them unrelated to their work as journalists.”

***14.03.2011. LIBYA. IFJ Warns over Safety as Journalist is Killed in Libya

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today warned that journalists working in Libya are facing acute dangers after an Al Jazeera cameraman was killed in what appears to have been an ambush near Benghazi, the country’s second city which is held by rebels opposed to the Government.
The death was reported as a Brazilian reporter who was freed from detention in Libya urged Mohammar Gaddafi's government to release a colleague from a British newspaper who is still held. Andrei Netto, a correspondent for Brazil's Estado de S. Paulo, fears for the fate of his colleague Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi national working for The Guardian who was detained with him.
The IFJ and its Iraqi affiliate are calling for the Gaddafi government to release the journalist who has been missing since March 6.
The first media death reported in Libya is that of Ali Hassan Al Jaber who was shot while returning to Benghazi from a nearby town after filing a report for Aljazeera from an opposition protest. Unknown fighters opened fire on a car he and his colleagues were travelling in.
“The crisis in Libya is intensifying and the risks to journalists are increasing by the hour,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “As government forces turn their fire on Benghazi we can expect that journalists reporting from the city will face extraordinary threats. It’s important that media act to protect their staff.”
The IFJ says that media must heed warnings being issued by the International News Safety Institute which yesterday warned that journalists need to be increasingly aware of the risks to them particularly as there is antipathy towards foreign news crews.
“We see hostility to journalists from all sides in this volatile situation,” said White. “All reporters are at risk, but foreign media staff face particular problems.”
Last week the IFJ condemned government attacks on media which may be contributing to a hostile atmosphere.
“We mourn the loss of our colleague in Benghazi and we do not want more casualties,” said White. “All sides must respect the rights of unarmed media staff that is why we urge the government to release the detained Guardian journalist and to allow all media to report freely.”

****02.03.2011. CHINA. More Crackdown Incidents; Authorities Use Force to Prevent Reporting of Jasmine Rallies (HRIC)

In an effort to stamp out any possible Jasmine Rally activities, the Chinese authorities continue to crack down on Chinese rights activists and lawyers, and resorted to violence against foreign journalists that marks an escalation of media censorship in China.

Since our February 23 press release, Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received information on 19 additional incidents of detention, house arrest, and other forms of harassment in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou. Many continue to be detained without any formal notification to their families of their detention.

In an episode that took place in Beijing last Sunday, February 27, which shook the foreign press community in China and the international community, police in the Wangfujing Street shopping district – a designated Jasmine Rallies location – roughed up, beat, kicked, and detained the reporters and camera crew members of at least 16 foreign media outlets, including Bloomberg, BBC, CNN, and Voice of America, and erased their photos and videos. 
 
On Tuesday, March 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) defended the police actions on Sunday. At a press conference, MFA spokesperson Jiang Yu (姜瑜) said that the journalists gathering in a busy business district “affected social order” and that “the police of Beijing properly handled the incident in Wangfujing.” 
 
The police brutality was accompanied by a series of official actions that undermine the relaxation of restrictions on foreign journalists begun at the end of 2008. In the press conference, Jiang pointed to a rule requiring that journalists seek approval from the local district authorities before reporting in the Wangfujing Street shopping district. The cited rule raises concerns about effectiveness of the 2008 regulations, which ended the requirement of official approval before foreign journalists could conduct interviews as long as they have the consent of the individuals interviewed. 
 
On Wednesday, March 2, the BBC Chinese language service reported that more than a dozen foreign journalists in Beijing were summoned to the Public Security Bureau earlier in the day. They were told that if they attempt to cover the Jasmine Rally this upcoming Sunday, March 6, they will have problems renewing their visas. They were also told that going forward they must seek approval before reporting in certain Beijing areas, including Wangfujing, so that the streets can be kept clear of congestion. 
 
Last week, Boxun, a major U.S.-based Chinese news website that had posted several notices about the Jasmine Rallies, announced that it had been attacked and that, “under tremendous pressure,” it would no longer post information relating to the Jasmine Rallies because “the dissemination of information about the Jasmine Rallies has brought harm to countless innocent Chinese activists and netizens.” 
 
“The police attack on journalists who were simply doing their jobs shows that the Chinese authorities are so fearful of losing control that they are willing to pay the price of exposing themselves as thugs and bullies in photos and videos that are going around the world,” said Sharon Hom, HRIC Executive Director. 
 
HRIC urges the international community to firmly support independence of the media in China. HRIC also urges the Chinese government to investigate the incidents of violence against foreign journalists, stop the intimidation of journalists, and release all persons taken into custody or detained as part of the efforts to prevent them from participating in the Jasmine Rallies.

For more information on the Jasmine Rallies, see: 

Videos of Reporters Being Beaten and Harassed

·         Damian Grammaticas, “Calls for Protests in China Met with Brutality,” British Broadcasting Corporation, February 27, 2011

·         Peter Simpson, “Heavy Police Presence Thwarts Call for Protests in China,” Voice of America, February 27, 2011

·         Eunice Yoon, “Getting Harassed by the Chinese Police,” Business 360 (Cable News Network), February 28, 2011
 
HRIC Press Releases

·         “Heavy Charges for Chinese Activists; HRIC Urges Support from International Community,” February 25, 2011

·         “Lawyers and Activists Detained, Summoned, and Harassed in ‘Jasmine Rallies’ Crackdown,” February 23, 2011

·         “Jasmine Organizers Call for Rallies Every Sunday,” February 22, 2011
 
HRIC Video Commentary

·         HRIC Guest Commentary: Wan Yanhai on Jasmine Rallies and 1989, March 1, 2011

·         HRIC Commentary: Gao Wenqian on "Subversion" Charges in Advance of February 27 Jasmine Rallies, February 27, 2011

·         HRIC Guest Commentary: Jerome A. Cohen on the Jasmine Revolution, February 24, 2011

·         HRIC Commentary: Gao Wenqian on the Jasmine Revolution, February 22, 2011
 

***01.03.2011. YEMEN. Yemen: UN human rights chief warns against use of force

GENEVA – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday warned Yemeni authorities against violent repression of planned mass peaceful protests, and called on the Government to protect the rights of demonstrators and journalists under international law.

Noting reports that opposition protestors have called for a “Day of Anger” today, the High Commissioner urged all parties to exercise restraint and to respect the right to life and the freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

“People have the legitimate right to express their grievances and demands to their Government,” she said, denouncing previous violence against protestors in Yemen which is reported to have resulted in a number of deaths and injuries.

“We have seen over and over again in the past few weeks that violent responses, in breach of international law, do not make the protestors go away and only serve to exacerbate their frustration and anger,” Pillay added.

The High Commissioner also cited reports of attacks, intimidation and harassment against local and international journalists covering the protests, as well as the arrest and detention of journalists and human rights defenders. She was particularly concerned about reports of enforced disappearances of political activists and called for immediate clarification on the whereabouts of individuals recently transferred to Sanaa from Aden.

“The authorities must release all individuals arrested for demonstrating peacefully, and human rights defenders and journalists must be protected as they carry out their important work,” she said.

“Those who are responsible for public security must understand that their actions are governed by international law and they can be held personally accountable for breaches. As a general rule, army units with no training or equipment to deal with street protests should not be deployed in cities. If there is no alternative, they should be under the tight control of qualified officers.”

Pillay also called on the opposition protestors not to resort to violence. She further expressed concern that medical personnel were allegedly denied access to treat injured protestors during earlier protests.

She called for a meaningful, broad and inclusive dialogue in Yemen to chart a way forward that respects the human rights aspirations of the people.

“Across the Middle East and North Africa, people have been taking their
governments to task. The only way forward is to listen to them and grant them their due rights to participate in the decisions that deeply affect their lives,” she said.

***01.03.2011. IRAQ. Action call after “black day” for media freedom (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders urged the Iraqi government today to allow journalists to do their job freely and to make every effort to ensure their physical safety after what it called “one of the blackest days for media freedom” in the country since US combat troops left last August.

Journalists were “attacked and illegally and summarily arrested” by police and soldiers who were “supposed to protect them” during demonstrations to mark the 25 February “day of rage” in many cities, including Baghdad, Karbala, Mosul and Basra, the organisation’s secretary-general, Jean-François Julliard, said.

He urged the government to investigate all the abuses and punish those responsible as a matter of course.

The army had two days earlier banned the live televising of the Baghdad protest. (http://en.rsf.org/iraq-authorities-prohibit-live-24-02-2011,39626.html)

Police sealed off Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where the city’s demonstration took place, and helicopters were used to help block access.
 Cameramen from Al-Baghdadiya and d’Al-Sharqiya were arrested while filming security forces firing assault weapons and using tear gas to disperse protesters.
 A cameraman from the satellite TV station Faiha injured his hand when he was attacked by security forces.
 Journalist Seif Al-Khayat was run over by a police car.
 Police raided and searched the premises of the TV station Al-Diyar, which was covering the demonstrations from the roof of its building. Reporter Ali Al-’Ainbaki and nine technicians were arrested and the station went off the air.
 Two journalists from the satellite TV station Al-Sumariya, Idris Jawad and Sanan Adnan, along with cameramen Satar Muhammed Abdul and Safa Hatem, were arrested after reporting on the protest. They were accused of participating in and helping to organise it and were held for several hours at the Al-Rusafa operations centre (eastern Baghdad).
 Thaier Al-Sudani, a Reuters photographer, and Ahmad Al-Rubaie, of Agence France-Presse, were also arrested.
 Cameraman Imed Hamed, of satellite TV station Al-Hurra, and his assistant Mustafa Kazem were arrested by riot police in Baghdad and their cameras and recordings seized.
 After the demonstration, agents of the 11th intelligence police division burst into the Al-Taraf restaurant in central Baghdad and arrested four journalists – Hussam Serail (a reporter with Al-Sabah), Ali Abdul Sada (Al-Mada), Hadi Al-Mahdi (a presenter with Radio Demozy) and Ali Sumerian (of Al-Sabah). They were insulted and punched and then taken to division headquarters at the former defence ministry building. They were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened for several hours before being released.

In Karbala, Reuters correspondent Mushtaq Muhammad was hospitalised with serious head injuries after a policeman clubbed him while he filmed the protests. His camera was destroyed. The provincial chief minister apologised to him and the news agency after investigating the incident. The journalist called for an example to be made of the policeman to ensure such an incident did not happen again.

Riot police in Karbala also beat and insulted crews from TV stations Afaq TV and Al-Salam TV and seized their recordings.   Reporter Ahmed Hiyali, of Radio Sawa, was badly beaten by a special police unit in Mosul and prevented from covering the protests there. A colleague, Adel Sayegh, of the TV station Al-Salah A-Din, said Hiyali was repeatedly hit before being taken to the provincial assembly building.

Soldiers confiscated cameras and recordings from several journalists covering the protests in Basra. Radio Dijla reporter Mohammed Al-Jabri was insulted and also beaten with a rifle butt.

The journalist Muntazer Al-Zaidi, famous for throwing a shoe at US President George Bush in 2008, was arrested on 24 February while trying to hold a press conference in front of the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah neighbourhood. He was subsequently released.

A total of 23 journalists jointly announced on 27 February they would boycott the offices of prime minister Nuri-Al-Maliki and the Baghdad military commander in protest against the violence against journalists by the security forces and their arbitrary attempts to prevent coverage of the demonstrations. In an open letter, they demanded official apologies and an immediate halt to attacks on the media.

Gen. Qassem Atta, spokesman for the Baghdad military chief, duly apologised and said the attacks on freedom of expression were “unintentional.” In response to a question from a cameraman with the satellite TV station Turkmen Illy during a news conference yesterday, Prime Minister Maliki apologized to journalists for the violence used by the security forces and promised both sanctions and reforms.

Mohammed Al-Hamdani, a correspondent for the satellite TV station Al-Itijah, was meanwhile killed in a suicide bombing in Ramadi, the capital of Al-Anbar province (110 km west of Baghdad) on 24 February. Ahmed Abdul Salam, a journalist working for the satellite TV station Al-Aan, was wounded by the same explosion. The bombing was at the House of Culture in the neighbourhood known as 17 Tammuz, where a religious festivity was being held. The overall toll was 14 dead and 23 wounded, including the journalists covering the event.

***26.02.2011. Iraq cracks down on media; violations in Yemen, Libya Military forces rounded up journalists in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.

(AP/Karim Kadim)New York, February 25, 2011--The Committee to protect Journalists documented additional attacks today in Iraq, Yemen, and Libya as journalists tried to cover anti-government protests.

Iraqi authorities cracked down on media: Security forces stormed a satellite TV office, detained dozens of journalists, and confiscated equipment, according to local journalists and news reports. In Yemen, at least four journalists were detained today, according to local journalists, and Al-Jazeera reported that its crew was prevented from covering demonstrations in Sana'a. Libyan border patrols confiscated cameras and SIM cards of journalists entering Libya from Tunisia, according to news reports. "The media in the Middle East have long been under pressure from authoritarian governments but what we are witnessing now is a marked escalation in repression," said Robert Mahoney, CPJ's deputy director. "We are particularly disturbed that a democratically elected government such as that of Iraq would attempt to quash coverage of political protests. We call on Baghdad to honor its commitments to respect media freedom."

Security forces prohibited cameras from entering Baghdad's Tahrir Square, where there were thousands of people protesting, according to news reports and local journalists. Police confiscated tapes that reporters managed to shoot in the square, according to Al-Jazeera.

Al-Jazeera reported that dozens of journalists were detained in central Baghdad today. Four journalists for Iraqi news outlets, Husam Serail, a reporter for Al-Sabah newspaper, Ali Abdul Sada, a reporter for Al-Mada newspaper, Hadi al-Mahdi, an anchor for Radio Demozy, and Ali Sumerian, an editor for Al-Sabah, were arrested, according to news reports. They were taken to an unknown location, local journalists told Al-Sumaria News website. The journalists said "a military force raided Al-Taraf restaurant in downtown Baghdad and arrested the four journalists after beating them."

Military and security forces detained Al-Sumaria News photographers Ali Jasem and Safa Hatim, and correspondents Sinan Adan and Idriss Jawad while they were covering demonstrations in Baghdad, according to Al-Sumaria News. Anti-riot forces also raided the offices of Al-Diyar satellite TV station in Baghdad and detained 10 of its staff members for three hours, according to Al-Diyar's website. In the afternoon, anti-riot police stormed the office for a second time, prohibited the staff from entering the building, and detained at least three more employees.

Niyaz Abdulla, a correspondent for Radio Nawa and a volunteer for Metro Center, a local press freedom group, was assaulted today while covering demonstrations in Erbil. "I was on the air when a plainclothes security officer came and started threatening me," she told CPJ. The officer threatened to call over men to attack her, alluding to a potential sexual assault. "I stayed calm but it was very disturbing," Abdulla said. She added that two of her colleagues had their cameras confiscated while they were covering the demonstration.

In Karbala, anti-riot forces attacked Afaq and Al-Salam satellite channels crews, according to news reports. "They were beaten and cursed at while they were covering the march in Karbala," Jihad Jaafar, a correspondent for Afaq channel told Noun. He added that the tapes of the crews were confiscated.

In Yemen, security forces attacked an unidentified cameraman for Suhail opposition TV channel and detained at least four journalists while they were covering demonstrations in Al-Mansoura in Aden Governorate, local journalists told CPJ. Security forces detained freelance journalists Marzouq Yasin, Abdel Rahman Anis, Bassim al-Shaabi, and Fares al-Jalal, while they were covering protests in Mansoura for various websites. Security forces also prevented an Al-Jazeera crew from reaching the demonstrations near Sana'a University, the Qatar-based station reported.

In Libya, foreign journalists entering the country from Tunisia tweeted that their cameras, hard drives, and SIM cards were confiscated by border patrol guards. Paul Danahar, a BBC journalist reporting from Tunisia-Libya border, said that Suresh Kothia, "an Indian who just arrived from Libya," told him that "at the last checkpoint the Libyan army took everyone's phone SIM cards and computer hard drives to stop images of the uprising getting out." Kothia told Danahar that equipment was broken and thrown to the ground. 

***15.02.2011. IRAN. IFJ Condemns New Wave of Journalists' Arrests in Iran

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused Iranian authorities of targeting media amid signs of solidarity in the country with protests which toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia. At least four journalists working for reformist newspaper were arrested last week ahead of demonstrations called by the opposition to support recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

"The Iranian regime is attempting to intimidate journalists out of fear for the publicity anti governments protests have had in the Middle East," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Gagging media is further proof that the authorities are failing to heed calls for democratic change in the region."

According to the Association of Iranian Journalists (AoIJ), an IFJ affiliate, security forces arrested on Friday two journalists, Nazhat Amirabadian and Maziar Khosravi , working for Shargh, the only remaining reformist newspaper in Iran. On Sunday night, the authorities arrested Abodalah Naseri, former head of Iranian news agency(IRNA) under President Khatami's rule. Four more journalists, Omid Mohaddes, Taghi Rahmani, Meysam Mohammadi and Sadredin Beheshti Shirazi were detained early last week for questioning.

These arrests followed the call by Iranian political opposition for demonstration yesterday 14 February in solidarity with people in Tunisia and Egypt who have forced former presidents Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak to step down. Media reports say the authorities have blocked access to internet sites and started jamming satellite news channels.

The AoIJ says that at least 34 journalists remain in prison, including two women Nazanin Khosravani and Hengameh Shahidi. Khosravani faces charges of "acting against national security, propaganda against the Islamic Republic and disturbing public opinion", says the AoIJ.

The IFJ accuses the Iranian authorities of seeking to blame the media for the public opinion which has largely been critical of the leadership since the disputed presidential poll of June 2009.

"The authorities must respect journalists' independence and stop making them scape goats," added White. "It is time to release all our colleagues."

***14.02.2011. AFGHANISTAN - IFJ Praises Courage of Photojournalist Severely Wounded While Reporting Afghanistan War

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), its European group the
European Federation of Journalists( EFJ) and its affiliate the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) are shocked and saddened to learn that a British photojournalist was severely injured after stepping on a makeshift bomb in southern Afghanistan.
Giles Duley, a freelance photographer associated with the Camera Press Agency in London, was on a foot patrol with Afghan and American soldiers on February 7 near the village of Sangsar, in rural Kandahar Province, when he stepped on a pressure-plate that detonated a hidden explosive charge, The New York Times reported today.
Duley, 39, suffered multiple amputations as a result of the blast, losing one leg below the knee, one leg above the knee and his left arm was severed above the elbow, the report said. He also suffered a range of superficial wounds and a finger on his right hand was fractured.
The photojournalist was working alongside soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 75th Cavalry Regiment who were clearing a compound at the time of the incident. It was the first time Duley had covered military operations, having arrived in Afghanistan only two weeks earlier.
“The IFJ applauds the courage of Giles Duley and many others like him who
expose themselves to extreme personal risk in order to report the grim realities of war,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said.
“The IFJ sends its best wishes to our colleague for as speedy a recovery as is possible, given the extent of his injuries.”
Duley spent a decade as an editorial photographer in the fashion and music
industries, with his exhibited and published around the world in publications such as Vogue, GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Sunday Times and New Statesman. In recent years he has concentrated on humanitarian projects, working with charities such as Médecins sans Frontiers.
New York Times photographer Joao Silva stepped on an anti-personnel landmine in October in southern Afghanistan, losing both legs and sustaining other injuries in the blast.

***14.02.2011. 17 Palestinian NGOs announced yesterday that they are forming a coalition to defend freedom of expression in oPt

17 Palestinian human rights, women, media and youth organizations announced yesterday that they will be joining forces to form a coalition focused on defending freedom of expression in the occupied Palestinian territories, with press freedoms at the top of the agenda.

Initiated by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA), participating organizations agreed to form a coalition after holding a number of preliminary meetings in Ramallah and Gaza in the start of 2011.

All of the involved organizations believe in the importance of a joint effort lead by civil society institutions to develop respect for freedom of expression in the oPt, as guaranteed by article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Palestinian Basic Law, in harmony with their role in enhancing democracy and human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and preserving freedom of expression, especially in the continual violation against Palestinian rights and freedom of expression from the Israeli occupation forces and Israeli settlers who
committed the most of violations, in addition to the violations committed by several Palestinian parts in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The coalition will implement numerous initiatives to achieve its goals in cooperating with all concerned parties to advance freedom of expression in oPt. The coalition membership will be open to civil society organizations and active persons in this field.

Participating institutions in the Freedom of expression coalition:

1- Al- Haq-Law in the Service of Man
2- Aldameer Association for Human Rights
3- Creative Women Forum
4- Center for the Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights (hurryyat)
5- Media Development Center /Birzeit University
6- Observatory of the Arab World to Democracy and Elections(MARSAD)
7- Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA)
8- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
9- Palestine News Network (PNN)
10- Pen Media
11- Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development
12- Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS)
13- Women journalists South Forum
14- Sharek Youth Forum
15- Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC)
16- Women’s Affairs Technical Committee
17- Hureya Media Center

***11.02.2011. Extraordinary Historical Moment and Opportunity for Egypt

London, 11.02.2011: As Hosni Mubarak’s resignation is announced, ARTICLE 19 calls on the transitional government to abide by the will of the Egyptian people and instigate swift democratic reforms, including an immediate end to censorship of the media and the release of political prisoners.

“Tunisia and Egypt have shown the way toward liberty in the Middle East. The people have spoken out – women, young people, men, overcoming fears, denouncing oppression, human rights violations and corruption, and demanding democratic reforms. This is an extraordinary moment for Egypt – it should quickly and swiftly be translated into an opportunity for real and in-depth reforms and changes. A pathway paved with full protection for human rights, including freedom of expression, is the only way forward for a stable, confident and just Egypt.” says Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.

18 days of mostly non-violent protests have brought to an end the 30 year
dictatorship of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak who has finally step down as president of Egypt today. The Military Council is said to have provisionally taken power.

Triggered by protests in Tunisia, which resulted in the toppling of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, protesters across much of Egypt over the last 18 days have called for reform and for Mubarak to leave. Demonstrations have also taken place across the Middle East and North Africa.

There have been widespread allegations of human rights violations and disappearances during the protests, and many journalists and human rights
defenders have been detained. Accusations of torture of protesters are beginning to emerge, as more and more people feel safer to come forward to tell their stories.

ARTICLE 19 calls for the process of democratic and human rights reform to begin immediately. All imprisoned peaceful protesters and political prisoners, including journalists, should be released. The authorities should immediately investigate and disclose the fate and whereabouts all those who are missing, and immediately inform their families.

The transition and reform processes require, and should be based on, freedom of expression and freedom of the press, transparency, and the ability of all Egyptians, men and women, religious and other minorities and vulnerable groups, to speak out and participate equally and without fear in the reform process and the democratic running of their country.

ARTICLE 19 also urges Egypt’s neighbours to take heed of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and immediately begin a process of real democratisation. In the words of Polish Nobel peace prize winner Lech Wałęsa, “You have no chance to win. The only choice you have is between defeat with bloodshed and defeat without".

***09.02.2011. IFJ Condemns Internet Censorship in Jordan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused the Jordanian government of stifling calls for democratic change after the country’s intelligence service disabled a news website and removed a letter to the King demanding political reforms.
The IFJ backed protests by journalists’ leaders and others who joined a protest after the country’s biggest news website http://www.ammonnews.net/
was hacked into and a report over the letter was taken down. Leaders of
the IFJ affiliate, the Jordanian Press Association(JPA), joined the demonstration which was held outside the union offices in central Amman.
“This is a sinister development that shows how vulnerable free speech on the internet has become to spooks and censors from inside government,” said Aidan White IFJ General Secretary. “We support the rights of journalists across all sectors of the media to publish freely. This incident is shocking evidence of political interference in the democratic process.”
The IFJ says that it will support the Jordan Press Association and its members who demand that journalists are allowed to work without restraint, particularly when voices calling for political change are being heard across the Arab world and in Jordan itself.
“This is a momentous time when the people have a right to know and a right
to participate in debates about the future,” said White. “It is not for government and their security people to try to censor legitimate comment.”

***04.02.2011. The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) joigned the call of around 60 organisations worldwide on Egypt to protect freedom of expression and the right to information

Civil society organisations around the world are calling on Egyptian and international bodies to respect freedom of expression and the right to information.

We, the undersigned civil society organisations working to promote freedom of expression around the world, condemn the serious violations of human rights taking place at this critical moment in Egypt. Since pro-democracy activists first began popular protest across Egypt on 25 January, there have been at least three hundred deaths, incidents of physical attacks and brutality, often involving live fire, and arbitrary arrests and detentions of protestors and journalists. The government has also restricted access to the internet, withdrawn mobile phone services and placed restrictions on independent media.

These measures have had the effect of silencing and suppressing the speech of legitimate protestors and presented significant obstacles to many others, both inside and outside the country, who wish to access or share information about the demonstrations and the human rights abuses that have occurred during this period. Egypt's total censorship of the internet and mobile communications also stands to encourage other governments in the region and beyond to take similar action.

In our opinion, the Egyptian authorities are in violation of the state's
international human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights with respect to the right to freedom of expression and the right to information as well as the right to freedom of assembly and association, the right to liberty, the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

As massive rallies take place across Egypt, we call upon the Egyptian state authorities, including the national government, police, security and armed forces to:

• Remove any remaining limitations on access to the internet and mobile
communications and refrain from imposing any such restrictions • Remove all restrictions on independent media and release all journalists and lawful protestors who have been detained • Respect Egypt's international legal obligations in policing the protests and only use force that is reasonable, proportionate and genuinely aimed at preventing crimes • Ensure that there are independent and effective investigations into allegations of killings, attacks or threats by state agents • Immediately repeal state emergency laws.

We further call upon influential states, intergovernmental and regional organisations, including the United Nations, African Union and the European Union to:

• Condemn all violations of human rights by Egyptian state authorities
during this period of popular unrest in Egypt • Exert pressure on Egypt to remove any remaining limitations on access to the internet and mobile communications and refrain from imposing any such restrictions • Exert pressure on the Egyptian state authorities to respect human rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression and the right to information • Support a smooth transition in Egypt to a system that embraces democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

We will continue to closely monitor the events in Egypt as they unfold.
Signed,

Adil Soz - International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech
Andean Foundation for Media Observation & Study
Arab Archives Institute
ARTICLE 19
Association of Caribbean Media Workers
Association of Independent Electronic Media
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
Centre for Independent Journalism
Democracy Coalition Project (DCP)
Fojo Media Institute
Foundation for Press Freedom
freeDimensional and the Creative Resistance Fund
Freedom Forum
Freedom House
Free Media Movement
Globe International
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Human Rights Network for Journalists
Independent Journalism Center
Index on Censorship
Initiative for Freedom of Expression
Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information
Institute of Mass Information
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
International Federation of Journalists
International Media Support (IMS)
International Press Institute
International Publishers Association
Maharat Foundation (Skills Foundation)
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Media Foundation for West Africa
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Mizzima News
National Press Association
National Union of Somali Journalists
Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d'édition et de création
Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Libertad de Expresión
Pacific Freedom Forum
Pacific Islands News Association
Pakistan Press Foundation
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms
PEN Canada
Privacy International
Public Association "Journalists"
Reporters Without Borders
SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom (Samir Kassir Eyes)
Southeast Asian Press Alliance
Thai Journalists Association
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
Writers in Prison Committee, PEN International

***02.02.2011. EGYPT - INSI Advisory - News crews in Egypt facing increasing threats to their safety

News crews covering the violent clashes in Egypt are facing increased threats to their safety, amid reports that a growing number are being targeted by protesters loyal to President Hosni Mubarak, angry at the foreign media's coverage of the situation in the country.

Al Jazeera has had its offices in the country closed, while Al Arabiya reported that one of its correspondents, Ahmed Bagatu, was injured.
But, even though some government supporters are said to have been carrying
placards saying 'Down with Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, other non-Arab news
organisations have been attacked.
The Associated Press said two of its correspondents had been "roughed up"
by the crowd.
A Belgian reporter on Wednesday was arrested, beaten and accused of being
a spy by men in plain clothes in the central Cairo neighborhood of Choubra.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that four Israeli reporters had
also been arrested.
CNN reported that an Egyptian reporter for Al-Arabiya went missing. He was beaten and handed over to Egyptian military. It said that journalists from the BBC, ABC News and CNN were also attacked. Among them were CNN's Hala Gorani and Anderson Cooper, who said he was hit on the head by a protester.
Hala Gorani was quoted as saying, "I got slammed against the gates and was
threatened by one of the pro-Mubarak protesters who was ... telling me to
'get out, get out!' and saying it very close to my face. The pro-Mubaraks,
whoever they are, whoever sent them, are being threatening toward camera
crews, journalists, anybody who looks like they may be onlookers. Some of
the elements there are rather thuggish and they seem to be intent on
causing trouble."
NBC News' Richard Engel said, in a message on Twitter, that journalists in
Cairo had been "mobbed on the streets" by people angry with foreign press
coverage.
A spokesman for the US State Department PJ Crowley also took to Twitter to
say it was "concerned about detentions and attacks" on the media, saying
that "the civil society that Egypt wants to build includes a free press"

INSI advises all journalists covering civil disturbances to plan accordingly and take appropriate precautions. The following information may help:
CIVIL DISTURBANCE CHECKLIST
• Plan in advance
• Establish pre-arranged contact points with the rest of your team
(photographer, camera operator, producer, etc.) if you are separating
• Always carry press identification but conceal it if it attracts unwarranted attention
• Bring a cellular phone with emergency numbers pre-set for speed dialling
• Position yourself upwind if there is a possibility that tear gas will be used
• Bring eye protection such as swimming goggles or industrial eye protection
• Carry first aid kits and know how to use them
• Wear loose natural fabric clothing as this will not burn as readily as
synthetic ones; remember there is always the possibility of gasoline bombs
being exploded
• Carry a small backpack with enough food and water to last for a day in
case you are unable to get out of the area
• If you are a reporter you don’t have to be in the crowd as long as you
can see what’s happening
• If you are a photographer or camera operator, try to shoot from a higher
vantage point
The use of flats and buildings to report is common-place, but ensure exit
is possible and does not become obstructed.
• Work with the team and keep a mental map of your escape route if things
turn bad
• Have an immediate newsroom debriefing after the coverage to extract
lessons from the coverage
RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT
1. Baseball Bump cap (Head Protection in style of Baseball Cap)
2. Standard Eyeshields
3. Goggles (Protection against Tear Gas)
4. Footwear -- boots with non-stick sole and ankle protection
5. Personal First Aid Kit
6. Knee Pads
7. Ear Plugs

Also consider:
1. Stab Resistant Vest
2. Flame Retardant Spray
3. Flame retardant Underwear
4. Steel Toe Cap Footwear
5. Hi-Visibility Vest
6. Hand Protection

***31.01.2011. IFJ Condemns “Desperate Tactics” as Egypt Targets Media

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Egypt to end the crackdown on journalism and media which has led to numerous beatings of media staff and censorship of television and communications networks. As the political crisis has intensified with renewed protests in the streets the regime of President Hosni Mubarak has become ever-more desperate to stop media coverage of the uprising.
Media reports say that the Government last week blocked websites and the
Qatari- based international broadcaster, Al-Jazeera has been taken off the air. Its office in Cairo has been shut down and staff were arrested, their film confiscated. The studios of the French public broadcaster, France 2 have also been shut.
“This targeting of media is desperation on the part of a regime that is in the brink of collapse,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It makes a mockery of the Government’s talk of dialogue to restore calm.”
According to a statement from Al-Jazeera, five Cairo-based staff were arrested following the Government’s decision over the weekend to withdraw the broadcaster’s licence and its journalists’ accreditation in the country. They were released today.
The move against Al-Jazeera comes days after access to websites in Egypt was blocked ahead of the major streets protests of last Friday. Reports also say the studios of French TV, France 2, have been closed and one camera damaged, according to the SNJ-CGT, an IFJ affiliate in France.
The IFJ, which last week denounced police violence against journalists and
warned the authorities over their responsibility for media safety, says the latest measures cast doubt over the Government’s willingness to change.
“Shutting down media as a public space for dialogue is no way for showing
genuine commitment to tolerant debate on the country’s future,” added White. “The authorities are failing the basic test of open democracy by stifling free press.”

***28.01.2011. EGYPT - UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS URGES GOVERNMENT RESTRAINT AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN EGYPT

GENEVA – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday urged the Government of Egypt to exercise restraint and protect the rights of its citizens to freedom of expression, information and assembly in line with the country’s legislation and international human rights law.

“It has been brought to my attention that since the street protests erupted, police have confronted protestors with rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, water cannons and batons, and arrested more than 1,000 people, including political opponents,” she said.

“While maintaining rule and order are important, the responsibility of the Government to protect the rights to life, liberty and security is paramount.”

Ms. Pillay also noted reports of blocked Internet access and mobile service interruptions, as well as harassment of journalists and photographers.

“I call on the Government to take concrete measures to guarantee the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, including by restoring free use of mobile phones and social networks,” she said.

The High Commissioner called on the Government to initiate investigations into reports of the use of excessive force, particularly the killing of at least five and possibly more civilians, and to ensure justice, truth and reparations for victims and their relatives.

Drawing attention to the fact that Egypt’s emergency law has been in force for almost 30 years, she called for it to be lifted, stressing the importance of accountability and the rule of law in creating a stable society.

“I believe the lifting of the emergency law is long overdue and it lies at the root of much of the frustration and anger that has now boiled over into the streets,” she said.

She welcomed calls by the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights for an open dialogue including all political parties and social groups to formulate steps to end poverty and fight corruption.

“People must be entitled to express their grievances against violations of their civil and political rights as well as their frustrations at lack of realisation of their economic rights, the right to work and the right to an adequate standard of living,” the High Commissioner added.

“And governments in the region and around the world must take heed. Suppressing citizens’ voices, silencing dissent and stifling criticism will not make the problems go away. Recent events in the region highlight the fact that tackling serious problems by resorting primarily to high-handed security measures only causes them to fester and eventually erupt on a large scale.”

For further information and media requests, please contact OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9310)

***28.01.2011. IFJ Calls for End to Violence against Journalists in Egypt

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused security forces in Egypt of indiscriminate violence after scores of journalists were forcibly detained and beaten during recent protests in the capital, Cairo, calling for political change in the country. At least ten Egyptian journalists were detained during a protest held outside the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate (EJS) office in Cairo and foreign reporters were arrested and beaten while covering the protests.
“Journalists, the world over, are appalled by the thuggery of Egypt’s state security officers and riot police, beating and arresting protesters as well as journalists and photographers in Cairo,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President.” We hold the government primarily responsible for directing the police charge and call on them to order an immediate halt to these attacks.”
According to the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, the journalists who were arrested on Wednesday have been released along with around 200 students after they insisted on the release of all detained protesters, especially university students who were due to sit their exams on Thursday.
The EJS says that journalists were demonstrating outside their offices when the security forces forcibly intervened to break up the protest and made several arrests among journalists and other protesters. The journalists who were detained included Karem Mahmmoud, former head of press freedom committee of the EJS and Abd Al-Qudus, both of whom were badly beaten by police.
The Guardian’s reporter in Cairo, Jack Shenker, was attacked by plain cloth officers while covering the protest in downtown Cairo who bundled him in a van with many other protesters. He managed to provide a live account of officers’ brutality against all detainees who managed to escape after overpowering the van’s guard outside Cairo, according to the Guardian’s website. Other foreign reporters were also targeted, including Associated Press TV News cameraman Haridi Hussein Haridi and his assistant Haitham Badry who were arrested but have now been released .
The IFJ defends the journalists’ rights to express their views in a peaceful way and warns that the authorities’ violent response is likely to escalate the protests and endanger the safety of media.
“Journalists have a job to do and they have the right to be able to report
safely on these demonstrations without being punched, kicked or arrested,”
added Boumelha. “The Egyptian government must be responsible for their safety.”

***27.01.2011. EGYPT. Journalists targeted by police violence, arrests (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders roundly condemns police use violence against journalists covering Egypt’s street protests. It is hard to establish exactly how many journalists have been arrested or physically attacked by police officers in the past 48 hours. According to the latest information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, more than a dozen journalists have been arrested.

We urge the Egyptian authorities to allow journalists to work without fear of being arrested or attacked by those who are supposed to protect them. We also call for the immediate release of all the media workers still being held and an end to the blocking of communications. It is essential for the Egyptian people to have access to reliable information about the events of the past few days.

Reporters Without Borders reminds the Egyptian authorities that the United States has urged them not to disrupt online social networks. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton also voiced concern about the arrests of journalists. France has called on Egypt to respect civil liberties including freedom of expression.

Here are details of some of the cases of arrests or attacks on journalists:

 Daily News reporter Mohamed Effat was arrested at around 6 p.m. yesterday and was taken to the Qasr el-Nil police station. He was then transferred to the Nasr City police station.

 Despite having press cards issued by the Egyptian authorities, Associated Press Television News cameraman Haridi Hussein and his assistant, Haitham Badry, were arrested at about 1 a.m. yesterday while filming clashes between protesters and police. They were released this morning.

 AP photographer Nasser Gamal Nasser was covering protests on the evening of 25 January when he struck in the face by a stone thrown by a policeman. His right cheekbone was fractured and his camera was broken.

 Guardian reporter Jack Shenker was detained after being beaten by plain-clothes policemen while covering demonstrations on the evening of 25 January (read his account: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/27/egypt-riot-security-force-action?&).

 Three journalists with the daily Ash-ShourouqAhmed Bihnassawi, Ahmed Abdel Latif and Imen Hilal – were roughed up by police officers on the evening of 25 January. Bihnassawi was hit on the head by a policeman who confiscated his camera. Hilal was attacked by a police officer while covering the protests outside the headquarters of the company Sidnawi. The policeman hit him in the face and smashed his photographic equipment.

  Amru Salaheddin, a photographer with the opposition daily Al-Wafd, was arrested today. So too were Ibrahim Mamdouh Siam of Radio Horytna, Samuel Al-Ashy of Reuters and Abdel Rahman Izz ad-Din Imam of Al-Doustour. The police today also arrested Sami Al-Belchy, the deputy editor of the magazine Al-Idhaa wa Al-Tilfaza, Sherif Arif, the deputy editor of Al-Ahrar, and two members of the Journalists’ Syndicate, Mohamed Abdul Quddus and Karim Mahmoud.

Facebook and Twitter are reportedly being blocked intermittently. Telephone communications were blocked today in Suez and the surrounding area because of the many protests being organized in response to the death of three demonstrators in yesterday’s clashes in this port city.

***26.01.2011. SRI LANKA. Press marks cruel anniversary

A year ago last January, Sri Lankan cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda mysteriously disappeared. Two years ago this month, independent TV station Sirasa was bombed with military precision - a couple of days before well-known editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was critical of his government's war against the Tamil Tigers, was killed.

Today, none of the cases have been solved, and no one has been brought to justice. Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement (FMM) and other IFEX members have launched a series of campaigns and actions to commemorate one of Sri Lanka's "cruellest months for journalists."

FMM joined an alliance of journalists and press freedom advocates on 18 January outside the Fort Railway Station in the capital, Colombo, demanding that the government expedite investigations into the series of attacks.

One of the protesters was Sandhya Eknelygoda, Prageeth's wife. Prageeth, the political cartoonist and columnist who supported the now-jailed opposition leader Sareth Fonseka, has not been seen by his family or colleagues since he left for work at the pro-opposition news website Lanka eNews on 24 January 2010.

Sandhya issued a public letter in December that pleaded for information about her husband's disappearance. Then, along with FMM and other press groups, she reiterated her demands to the UN country representative on 24 January 2011 - the first anniversary of Eknelygoda's disappearance. To date, she has not had any formal response or update from the police, the attorney general's office, the Sri Lankan government or even the UN.

CPJ has also put out a public appeal to help Eknelygoda's family and other journalists caught in similar straits around the world.

At the same time, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has teamed up with Cartooning for Peace and launched an international support campaign, using 12 cartoons by cartoonists throughout the world to symbolise each month that Eknelygoda has been missing.

Wickrematunge's case has fared no better. According to CPJ, on 13 January, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Sri Lankan media his government had no evidence to continue an investigation into Wickrematunge.

"In the two years since Lasantha's murder on 8 January 2009, the government has stonewalled the investigation while it has been passed around like a hot potato from one investigating body to another," said Sonali Samarasinghe, Wickrematunge's widow.

FMM is holding a Wickrematunge memorial lecture in February.

Meanwhile, writers from Asia and all over the world are planning to gather in the southern city of Galle for a literary festival from 26 to 30 January, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka's leading tourism promotion agencies.

"We believe this is not the right time for prominent international writers… to give legitimacy to the Sri Lankan government's suppression of free speech by attending a conference that does not in any way push for greater freedom of expression inside that country," say Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), a network of exiled Sri Lankan journalists, and RSF in an appeal asking for writers and intellectuals to endorse their campaign for more free expression in Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka, RSF and JDS have come under fire for calling for a boycott, which critics say suppresses free speech. RSF and JDS refute the claim, saying that the appeal urges festival organisers and writers who are planning to attend to give some thought to the situation of dissident writers, journalists and cartoonists in Sri Lanka, like Eknelygoda and Wickrematunge.

***25.01.2011. NEPAL. UNITED NATIONS: International Community Urge Nepal to Address Impunity and Protect Journalists

Geneva. At the tenth session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group today, countries from around the world recommended the Nepali government immediately address the growing impunity in the country, and protect journalists and human rights defenders from attacks.

“The international community has come together during today’s review to
highlight the growing concern about impunity in the country and call for the government to address the worrying situation,” said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.

ARTICLE 19 attended the UPR of Nepal, during which impunity was by far the
most repeated issue by the delegates, with reference to the continuous attacks against media workers and human rights defenders in Nepal.

The Czech Republic, Canada, France and the United States of America recommended the government of Nepal safeguard the security of journalists and implement adequate measures for the protection and investigation of crimes against journalists and human rights defenders.

The Czech Republic specifically called for thorough investigation and prosecution into the case of the murder of female reporter Uma Singh in 2009. Norway also recommended the government to investigate attacks against female journalists and prosecute the perpetrators. France urged the government to address the lack of enforcement of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and information.

Impunity was also addressed by Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland and the UK.

In response, the government of Nepal pledged to tackle impunity and address the human rights concerns of the delegates. But the government was unwilling to accept the role of the Nepali Army in the continuation of widespread impunity, arguing that: “the Nepali Army are fully supportive of human rights and any issues are not supported by policy … The Nepali Army is the source of Nepali democracy.”
The recommendations made by the international community at the UPR of Nepal, were in line with those made by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stakeholders’ report, to which ARTICLE 19 and Freedom Forum jointly contributed.

In their joint submission in August 2010, ARTICLE 19 and Freedom Forum
highlighted five areas of concern, including (1) killing of and violent attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, (2) impunity for attacks and political protection, (3) freedom of expression in the Interim Constitution and overall legal framework fail to meet international standards, (4) regulation of the media fails to promote independence and transparency, (5) the government has failed to give a full effect to the right to freedom of information.

***21.01.2011. PAKISTAN. Reports of a journalist "hit-list" in Pakistan - INSI demands government action

London, January 20 - A "hit-list" of journalists targeted for murder is reportedly being circulated in Pakistan, currently the deadliest country in the world for the news media, informed sources have told the International News Safety Institute (INSI).
Sixteen journalists were murdered in Pakistan last year, and that pattern of violence seems to be continuing in 2011 with two journalists killed in the past two weeks.
Twenty-nine year-old Wali Khan Babar, shot dead in Karachi on 13 January, was one of 16 names on the hit-list, the sources said.
INSI called on the Pakistani government and police to intervene and stop the killing.
"The Pakistani authorities have a duty to protect all citizens, journalists included," said INSI Director Rodney Pinder. "Pakistan already is number one in the world for journalist murder - it is beyond time now for real action.
"This list apparently identifies people lined up for murder. The government must act swiftly to protect them and arrest those responsible for this shocking state of affairs."
The shooting of Babar has spooked the media community in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. The journalist, who worked for the private television channel Geo News, was stuck in a traffic jam on his way home when a man stopped outside his car, pulled out his pistol and shot him several times in the head, according to police. They say they are treating the killing as premeditated murder.
Fifteen other names are reported to be on the hit-list, which is said to be comprised of mainly ethnic Pashtun journalists and is being attributed by many Karachi journalists to the militant wing of MQM, Pakistan’s third largest and most liberal political party.
INSI has not seen the list, but it is believed to be in possession of the authorities. INSI sources understand that one correspondent has gone into hiding after being told by Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik that he was number two on the list behind the dead man, Wali Khan Babar.
In recent months, ethnic violence has spiralled in Karachi, with shootings and targeted killings increasing in frequency. And as the violence intensifies, so too does the political vitriol, with the MQM party remaining at loggerheads with the mainly Pashtun ANP, both of whom blame each other for undermining law and order in the city.
In Karachi, INSI’s sources say the military has been deployed – so far with limited result – but that is unlikely to be of much comfort to the city’s journalists.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) warned last week that the assassination of Salmaan Taseer, governor of the Punjab province in Pakistan, may open the door to a new wave of political intolerance and pressure on journalists across the country. It said that unless media and journalists isolate extremists and challenge incitement to violence the killing will lead to fresh attacks and the targeting of journalists who defend the right to free expression.
Any questions about this news release should be address to Hannah Storm
email hannah.storm@newssafety.org +44 7766814274

***07.01.2011. SOMALIA. NUSOJ releases Annual Report on State of Freedom of the Press in Somalia

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) today releases the union’s annual report on state of freedom of the press in Somalia in 2010 summarising major press freedom violations and challenges in southern and central regions of Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland.

The yearly report, which describes cases of killings, arrests, injury, expulsion, death threats, imprisonment, looting of media houses, media houses taken over, court cases against journalists and journalists fleeing, arranges unequivocally the violations in the order of their occurrences.

The report, entitled “Mouth-murder” and Media Hijacking: A Year of Heartache and Fear for Somali Journalists, states that “the most attacks against journalists have been attributed to Islamist armed forces, followed by the Puntland administration and their security forces and the transitional federal government”.

“Killings of journalists have been a source of terrible pain in the hearts of journalists especially in the conflict-ravaged city of Mogadishu, which is still where most journalists were murdered in our beloved country,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

NUSOJ cited that since killing journalists has not been entirely effective in silencing independent journalism, the armed Islamist groups, al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, have resorted to seizing private media houses from their legitimate owners, taking over a total of seven media houses to use them for war propaganda and hate campaigns against those who fail to promote their ideology.

“Independent reporting is no longer possible from places such as Baidoa, Jowhar, Beledweyne, Bardhere and Kismayo” declared Omar Faruk. “People in these towns are therefore suffering a total blackout of independent news. In defiance of atrocities, Radio Shabelle continues to brave the deadly al-Shabaab and has moved to a new location to broadcast independently in the capital city”.

With Islamists now in control of the majority of southern and central regions, including most of the capital, “the suffering of the media is unmistakable”. The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has failed to safeguard human rights, including the right to free expression and freedom of the press, NUSOJ stated.

“Young and unknown adults are increasingly appearing, claiming to be journalists but widely suspected to have another hidden and illicit agenda. This is another emerging threat to press freedom that reduces the space for professional and genuine journalists to operate”, said Omar Faruk Osman.

The National Union of Somali Journalists notes that Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in the northeast, has been experiencing a worsening press freedom climate. “The Puntland administration has increased suppression and attacks against journalists and the independent media in the last six months,” said Burhan Ahmed, NUSOJ Puntland Coordinator. A special section was first time dedicated in the annual report for the situation in Puntland.

The impunity with which journalists are attacked fuels further terrible crimes against journalists while in Puntland the judiciary has been hugely compromised, NUSOJ states. Lack of the rule of law in the southern regions continues to put the lives of journalists in danger. There are similar problems in Puntland where police and security agents operate at will with no respect for the work of journalists.

NUSOJ’s concern is that as the period of the transitional government ends in August 2011 without a viable political and security solution for the country, armed power struggles may increase and politicians as well as armed groups will turn their guns on journalists who refuse to be cowed by their intimidation and manipulation.
--
For further information, contact:
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District,
Mogadishu, Somalia, tel/fax: +252 1 859 944,
e-mail: newsletter@nusoj.org
Internet: www.nusoj.org

***03.01.2011. BELARUS: THE PRESS EMBLEM CAMPAIGN (PEC) CONDEMNS THE POST-ELECTION CRACKDOWN AGAINST JOURNALISTS 

Dozens of journalists arrested in a police crackdown on demonstrations that followed the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko last month remain in jail, some of whom could face 15 years in jail for organising public disorder, report IFEX members and the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ). Since the election, security forces have also raided the homes and offices of critical Belarusian journalists and confiscated equipment.

According to BAJ, an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 24 journalists were arrested in the crackdown, and 21 were physically assaulted. A number were sentenced to up to two weeks' detention and others remained "under investigation".

Irina Khalip, correspondent for the Moscow newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" and winner of last year's Central European Initiative (CEI) and the South East Europe Media Organisation (CEI SEEMO) Investigative Journalism Award, and Natalya Radina, editor of the pro-opposition news website Charter 97, have been charged with organising and participating in mass disorder, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). They have been held at a KGB detention centre since 20 December and face up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

Radina suffered head and ear injuries when police violently dispersed a post-election demonstration that she was covering, but she has not received medical attention in custody, says CPJ. BAJ confirmed that Belarusian authorities are trying to place Khalip's three-year-old son in a foster home against the wishes of his grandparents.

Khalip's husband, opposition presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, is also being held by the KGB, reports CPJ. Sannikov was tortured while in custody - his legs appear to be broken, and his speech and behaviour indicate head injuries, his lawyer told Amnesty International.

Meanwhile, KGB agents continued to raid the homes and offices of independent and pro-opposition journalists and seized equipment, apparently searching for photographs and video footage of the election protests.

On 28 December security agents raided the offices shared by "Nasha Niva" and the Belarusian PEN Center on suspicion of organising public disorder and desecrating national symbols, says BAJ. KGB agents confiscated a dozen computers and numerous digital storage devices. On the same day, security agents searched the home of "Nasha Niva" editor-in-chief Andrei Skurko, forced Skurko to sign a gag order and took his computer, says CPJ.

Similarly, government agents confiscated computers and other equipment on a 25 December raid at the Minsk offices of European Radio for Belarus (Evroradio), reports CPJ, halting news broadcasts from Minsk. Evroradio continued broadcasting from its headquarters in Warsaw. Local press reports said the raid might have been in retaliation for Evroradio interviews with Russian political analysts who were sharply critical of Lukashenko.

Agents also raided the premises of Belsat but weren't able to seize property; apparently apprehensive journalists had dismantled station equipment and taken it home for the holiday, says CPJ.

Several journalists working for these independent media outlets continue to have their homes searched and equipment confiscated, report BAJ, CPJ and Index on Censorship.

In a rare joint statement issued on 23 December, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton condemned the post-election violence and called for the immediate release of more than 600 political detainees rounded up after the election. "Respect for democracy and human rights remain central to improving Belarus's relations with the United States and the European Union. Without substantial progress in these areas, relations will not improve," said the statement.

Freedom House is calling on the EU to renew full sanctions against Belarus if Lukashenko fails to take restorative action. "The current situation is much worse than that in 2006, when the EU and U.S. together imposed sanctions against the regime."

According to CPJ, the Central Election Commission reported that Lukashenko won a fourth term in office with just under 80 percent of the vote. Observers with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) criticised the lack of transparency in the vote count and the suppression of the news media.

A defiant Lukashenko told a news conference on 20 December that post-election detainees were "pogromists and bandits." In an explicit threat against the press, he pledged to make journalists "answer for every word they write," reports CPJ.

***31.12.2010. IFJ Reports Heavy Media Loss to Violence after 97 Journalists Died in 2010

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today warned that journalists and media personnel remain prime targets for political extremists, gangsters and terrorists as it announced that at least 94 journalists and media personnel who were killed in 2010, victims of targeted killings, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents. Three other journalists lost their lives in accidents this year.

The IFJ list was issued just two days after police in Sweden and Denmark revealed they had foiled a potentially deadly bomb plot against Jyllens Posten, the Danish newspaper that in 2005 set off protests around the world when it published cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed.

Elsewhere the IFJ list puts Pakistan top of the list of the most dangerous zones for journalists in 2010, ahead of Mexico, Honduras and Iraq.

"Nearly 100 journalists killed is a heavy loss which ought to stir the world governments into action to offer better protection to journalists," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "The sheer number of murders and conflict related incidents which claimed the lives of journalists and media personnel around the globe this year has brought into sharp focus the high risks associated with the practice journalism today."

The IFJ list of work related media killings is coordinated with the International News Safety Institute (INSI) and contains 94 journalists and media personnel who died during 2010, down from the 139 killings recorded in 2009. There were also three accidental deaths of journalists.

The IFJ says the majority were victims of violence connected to the insurgency war in Pakistan, the drug war in Mexico as well as the political unrest in Honduras. In these countries and others such as Somalia, The Philippines and Iraq, the rule of men of violence and the failure of governments to protect journalists are creating a climate of siege and despair.

"The threats to journalists are everywhere and once again the shadow of impunity falls across the world of journalism," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Governments must act now to hunt down the killers and make journalism safe, not just for the people who work in the industry but for democracy itself."

As of 31 December, the IFJ recorded the following information on killings
of journalists and media staff in 2010:

Targeted killings and homicides incidents : 94

Accidental deaths : 3

Total Deaths : 97

The deadliest region, for the third year running, was Asia Pacific with 38 journalists and media personnel killed. Pakistan had the region's highest death toll with 15 dead.

Every region was affected including Europe where on Wednesday the head of
the Danish Security Service said five suspects had been arrested over plans for a "Mumbai-style" attack on the Danish newspaper, referring to the 2008 assault by multiple gunmen around the Indian city that left 163 people dead.

Among countries with high numbers of media fatalities are:

Mexico : 10
Honduras: : 10
Iraq: : 6
The Philippines: : 5

In 2009, The Philippines, Mexico, Pakistan and Russia were the most dangerous countries in the world. The full IFJ report on journalists and media staff killed in 2010 will be published mid- January 2011.

***20.12.2010. WIKILEAKS: CPJ urges US not to prosecute Julian Assange, says historic principles & US image at risk

December 17, 2010
Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Via facsimile: +1 202-456-2461

Eric H. Holder Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
Via facsimile: +1 202-616-7290

Dear President Obama and Attorney General Holder:

We write because of deep concern about reports that you are considering the prosecution of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange for publishing classified cables and other documents. Based on everything we know about these events, we urge you to avoid such action. Our concern flows not from an embrace of Assange's motives and objectives.
Indeed, we wish that he would fully disclose his sources of financing and support. But the Constitution protects the right to publish information of important interest to the public. That right has been upheld through decades of American jurisprudence and has served the people well.

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the implications of prosecuting Assange under the 1917 Espionage Act. We believe that such a prosecution could encourage the government to assert legal theories applying equally to all news media, which would be highly dangerous to the public interest. History shows that Congress didn't intend the law to apply to news reporting. Over
nearly a century, the government has refrained from using the act against the media. To reverse these long-standing positions would threaten grave damage to the First Amendment's protections of free speech and the press.

As CPJ seeks to defend freedom of expression and the safety and rights of journalists around the world, we find that by far the largest share of imprisoned journalists are jailed on antistate charges, including publishing information that governments deem secret. In the past, we have been proud to point to the United States as a place where journalists may not be jailed because they published something that offends government officials. It would be an incalculable loss to
freedom everywhere if America lost its role as a shining example, and authoritarian governments abroad could say they were only doing what the United States was doing in jailing reporters or editors for what they published.

CPJ urges the Justice Department to protect freedom of speech and the press, along with the country's global reputation as a beacon of those values, by standing back from any prosecution of WikiLeaks or Assange for publishing classified documents.

Sincerely,
Paul E. Steiger - Chairman
Joel Simon - Executive Director

***15.12.2010. PAKISTAN. Worst month for journalist's killing in 10 years

Senior journalist and President of Kuzdar Press Club, Mohammad Khan Sasoli, was shot dead by unknown assailants near his house. He is the second journalists killed in Baluchistan and fourth in a country in a month, raising the death toll of journalists to 14, this year amid reports that more journalists are on the hit list in the troubled province. According to details, Sasoli, who was associated with daily Baluchistan Times, was attacked by armed men, who were on motor-cycle fired the deceased from close range and remain there for sometime and then fledaway.

Early this month journalist Lala Hameed Baluch was killed in Gawadar while President of Mirpurkhas Press Club, Sultan Chandio was killed in Sindh province and two were killed during the sucide blast in the tribal area, bordering Afghanistan. Police have arrested one suspect in Chandio's case whereas no clue could be found in other cases while panic gripped in Baluchistan province.
Some 60 journalists had been killed in Pakistan since year 2000, but situation is getting deteriorated in the two most troubled province Baluchistan and Kyber Pakhtoonkhawan and in FATA.
Journalists working in Baluchistan, have been subjected to most serious threats allegedly from the intelligence agencies as well as from Baluch militant groups. Some of the journalists working in different Media groups revealed that not only reporter or correspondents faced threats but also those working in the newsroom including Editors, News Editors and even Sub-editors.
"There is no concept of freedom of the Press exist in these areas and we can't sent report with our free will or without keeping the possible consequences of the news particularly if relate to any operation in Baluchistan or forces action. We have to publish the Press Release sent by extremist groups or security forces and the desk left with no option but to print it or air it," said a senior journalist, who don't want to be named.
In the last three years five journalists had been killed in Baluchistan including three in Kuzdar and two in Gwadar. There have also been incidents in which journalists were detained, mainly by the intelligence agencies.
Baluchistan issue considered as most "sensitive" for the media for the past several years. Journalists, who covered the burring issue of the Province often faced harrassment at the hands of agencies and its not confined to the province. A young journalist of DAWN TV, was detained for several hours after he interviewed Baluch nationalist leader, last year.
During the period of General Pervez Musharraf, many talk shows on Baluchistan could not be aired and media owners were told to avoid discussion on the sensitive issues of the province. Even if any private channel record any show on the said issues they need to sent one copy to the "intelligence quarters."
Its not easy for organisations like Baluchistan Union of Journalists (BUJ) or Quetta Press Club, to organise protest rallies against these killings but the journalists held regular protest and condemned violence against journalists.
The recent wave of terror against journalists in Pakistan particularly in Baluchistan province is alarming and journalists all over the country must come forward in solidarity with their colleagues in Baluchistan.

Mazhar Abbas - Ex-Secretary General, pfuj

***DEC.2010. WIKILEAKS, the US Embassy Cables and the right to know (UN, IFJ, Article 19, RSF)

- NAVI PILLAY, UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER A journalist asked at a press conference in Geneva Dec. 9, if the High Commissioner believed that Wikileaks deserved the same whistle blower protection as journalists enjoyed?

The High Commissioner : “Of course, you asked me about Wikileaks, I think that, what is happening here, this is truly what the media would call a cyber war. It is just astonishing what is happening. Let me say that the Wikileaks case raises complex human rights questions about balancing freedom of information, the right of people to know, and the need to protect national security or public order. This balancing act is a difficult one. Let me say article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides for the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds. Well the right to seek, receive and impart information may be restricted; restriction clauses must be a. necessary and b. proportional, and must be provided by law and should be justified strictly on the need to protect national security or public order. So who is best to judge or strike at the balance but courts of law. Courts
of law are equipped to address the delicate issue of balancing competing rights and values. If Mr. Assange has committed any recognized offense, then the judicial system following fair procedures should be able to address how these rights can be balanced. It is important to note that the current charges against him do not relate to leaked information. I am concerned about the reports of pressure exerted on private companies, including banks, credit card companies and internet service providers, to close down credit lines for donations to Wikileaks, as well as to stop hosting the website or its other sites. While it is unclear whether the individual measures taken by private actors directly infringe on States’ human rights obligations to ensure respect of the right to freedom of expression, taken as a whole, that could be interpreted as an attempt to censure the publication of information. That is potentially violating Wikileaks right to freedom of expression. If Wikileaks has committed any recognizable illegal act, then this should be handled through the legal system, and not through pressure and intimidation, including on third parties.”

- IFJ Condemns United States “Desperate and Dangerous” Backlash over
WikiLeaks
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the political backlash being mounted against the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks and accused the United States of attacking free speech after it put pressure on the website’s host server to shut down the site yesterday.
The website’s host Amazon.com blocked access to WikiLeaks after United States officials condemned the torrent of revelations about political, business and diplomatic affairs that has given people around the world unprecedented access to detailed information from United States sources, much of it embarrassing to leading public figures.
“It is unacceptable to try to deny people the right to know,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “These revelations may be embarrassing in their detail, but they also expose corruption and double-dealing in public life that is worthy of public scrutiny. The response of the United States is desperate and dangerous because it goes against fundamental principles of free speech and democracy.”
The IFJ has taken no position on the justification for the release of hundreds of thousands of internal documents which have made headlines around the world in the last few days, but it has welcomed the decision of WikiLeaks to use respected channels of journalism including Der Spiegel, The Guardian, the New York Times and El Pais to filter the information.
“This information is being processed by serious, professional journalists who are well aware of their responsibilities both to the public and to people implicated in these revelations,” said White. “It is simply untenable to allege as some people have that lives are being put at risk here. The only casualty here is the culture of secrecy that has for too long drawn a curtain around the unsavory side of public life.”
The IFJ is also concerned about the welfare and well-being of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and Bradley Manning, the United States soldier in Iraq who is under arrest and suspected of leaking the information. Both men are the target of a growing political campaign mounted by government officials and right-wing politicians.
Assange has been forced into hiding and is the subject of an international police investigation over allegations concerning sexual offences in Sweden. The IFJ says that calls by right wing commentators for Manning to be executed and that Assange be hunted down as a spy, as demanded by former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, show a mood of intolerance and persecution that is dangerous not just for the two men but for all journalists engaged in investigating public affairs.
“The IFJ and its members support the rights of whistle-blowers and the responsible reporting of information in the public interest,” said White. “This over-reaction by politicians and their allies illustrates that they have not understood the historical significance of these events. The people’s right to know is not something that can any longer be willfully ignored. They have to adjust to the fact journalists have a duty to report, fairly and accurately and with due respect for the rights of all
parties in the public interest.”

ARTICLE 19 - WikiLeaks and Internet companies

ARTICLE 19 is extremely concerned by the political pressure governments and elected officials are exerting on internet companies, to force them to deny provision of services to WikiLeaks without prior authorisation from a court. Recent actions by a number of internet companies against WikiLeaks raise several issues about the rights of free expression on the internet, which is largely controlled by private companies but still subject to state threats.
Intermediaries, such as internet companies, facilitate connections between the providers of information and the users of that information.
Increasingly, they are the subject of legal and other actions whose actual end targets are their service-users. Where these companies can do so lawfully, they should resist such interference.

Any removal of information on internet, or blocking of internet access to information should be authorized only by a court. Actions that seek to limit freedom to donate to their service-users should only be allowed after a finding by a court that a service-user has violated the law. Internet companies in turn should be transparent in actions affecting users of their services.
1. Denial of Services and Arbitrary and Non-Transparent Actions by
Intermediaries

To date and without any legal justification, a number of companies have stopped providing services to WikiLeaks because of pressure from governments and elected officials. This has made it more difficult for individuals to access the site, which in turn restricts their right to freedom of information. ARTICLE 19 believes that in the absence of any legal authority or court ruling finding WikiLeaks’ activities to be
illegal, this pressure is unlawful and is in violation of national constitutions and international laws protecting freedom of expression.

ARTICLE 19 believes that blocking or removing information from sites, restricting domain names, limiting donations and other restrictions on access to information should be based only on a court order approved by a judge taking into account domestic and international laws on freedom of expression. Such action should not be based on extra-legal government pressure. The actions of government officials in placing such pressure on companies and companies’ compliance by removing access or information without legal authority are characteristic of life under authoritarian regimes. Companies based in the United States, with its long and proudly claimed history of freedom of expression and in Western Europe, with the
protections afforded by the European Convention on Human Rights, have no need to submit to such pressure in the absence of a court ruling.

ARTICLE 19 is also concerned that many of the companies have acted non-transparently. Instead they have offered contradictory, shifting and non-credible excuses for their conduct. For example, Amazon dropped WikiLeaks after communications from a US Senator. Amazon has since claimed that WikiLeaks had violated their terms of service because it "doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content." However, at the same time, Amazon continues to sell numerous books containing classified information including an e-book with excerpts from the cables themselves. Other books with similar material include those containing the text of the Pentagon Papers (released this year in Kindle edition) which have never been declassified, and unauthorised memoirs from former spies including Phillip Agee’s Inside the Company: CIA Diary, Spy Catcher by
former British spy Peter Wright, and The Mitrokhin Archive by former KGB agent Vasili Mitrokhin, all ! of whom were strongly criticised if not threatened by their governments.

Amazon also sells many books that US government officials have claimed reveal sensitive classified information, including Bob Woodward’s series of books on the Iraq war under the Bush and Obama administrations, James Risen’s book on the CIA, and James Bamford’s book on the National Security Agency. Amazon also continues to partner with the New York Times, which is one of the primary publishers of the cables.

ARTICLE 19 calls on Amazon to issue a public explanation regarding their
contradictory stance on the publication of classified materials.

Equally concerning has been the refusal by financial intermediaries and banks, including Paypal, PostFinance, Visa and Mastercard, to process donations for WikiLeaks. ARTICLE 19 notes that WikiLeaks has not been formally charged in any country with any crime and there is no legal authority for these companies to refuse lawful payments.

Paypal, initially claimed that they were asked to drop the processing of donations by the US Government. This was later denied by the later and Paypal now says that it based its decision on a public letter sent to WikiLeaks from a US State Department legal advisor. In no way does this satisfy the requirement that restrictions on speech are based on the rule of law. Paypal's owner Ebay facilitates the selling of many of the same books that Amazon does. Mastercard and Visa’s decision-making is similarly unclear.
2. Lack of Legal Authority

As ARTICLE 19 commented earlier, we do not believe that recent releases of
documents by WikiLeaks violate US national law or the law of any other nation. We recall that it is an obligation of governments - not of media and private individuals - to protect the confidentiality of official information, if necessary under legitimate interests. Furthermore, the US Espionage Act has never been used against a media organisation since its inception in 1917. At the time it was written, the Congress rejected amendments that would have expanded its scope in areas that were
considered unconstitutional restrictions on the press. In this respect, ARTICLE 19 calls against the adoption of legislation, such as the recent bill introduced by Senator Lieberman and others, to criminalise further disclosures as these would violate international and American freedom of expression standards.

In the absence of legal authority, governments and other elected officials
must cease the unlawful harassment of the companies with which WikiLeaks
does business.

Under US law, internet intermediaries are not liable for WikiLeaks activities. The Communications Decency Act, §230 states that “No provider … of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Thus, they are protected from liability for the speech of their clients as a means for encouraging more speech and commerce.

This approach is also widely supported in international law. The special rapporteurs on freedom of expression for the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of American States stated in 2005: “No one should be liable for content on the Internet of which they are not the author, unless they have either adopted that content as their own or refused to obey a court order to remove that content.”

Intermediaries’ unfortunate caving in to the WikiLeaks-related pressure is in direct contradiction to the protections internet intermediaries should enjoy.
3. Blocking by Governments

ARTICLE 19 opposes various attempts by the US authorities to restrict access to WikiLeaks, in violation of their legal obligations to protect free expression. The prohibition of access to the WikiLeaks websites by US government branches, including by the Library of Congress, is foolish and irrational given how widely available the information is. Furthermore, the prohibition of access significantly weakens the role of Congress and its respected research arm, the Congressional Research Service, which, as an independent body, is responsible to oversee the actions of the executive.
The unofficial warnings made to students that their future potential government careers may be imperilled if they discussed or linked to the WikiLeaks documents amount to intimidation. They are also counterproductive since a review of the documents will give students a far more accurate picture and understanding of their potential future roles than many other reference materials available.

ARTICLE 19 is also concerned that websites and discussion forums about the
WikiLeaks documents were subsequently blocked in many countries including
China, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, we believe that the statements made by French Industry Minister Eric Besson calling for the blocking of the sites in France to be in full violation of free expression as guaranteed by the French Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and international law. ARTICLE 19 welcomes the refusal by French ISP hosting company OVN to drop WikiLeaks and their referral of the question of legality to a court to determine. So far, the Court has refused to make a judgment, citing the need to adequately
consider the issues. US officials should take this under advisement.

The attempt to takedown or block the entire WikiLeaks website is also overbroad and violates international human rights law. The website includes many documents on a variety of issues. To block an entire domain removes access to a considerable amount of lawful materials and is not justifiable. It would not be attempted in an offline environment.
Bookstores and libraries are not closed and burned to the ground based on the publication of a single or multiple books. Internet speech deserves the same respect.

ARTICLE 19 notes that these efforts to take the site offline have been
ultimately counterproductive, with over 1,000 sites now mirroring the
WikiLeaks cables.
4. Whistleblower Protection

ARTICLE 19 would also like to reiterate our call for governments to adopt adequate protections for whistleblowers in this case and others. The UN Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights have stated that under international human rights law, Official Secrets Acts cannot be used to suppress secret information that is of public interest. States should adopt and implement a legal and policy framework that protects whistleblowers from prosecution, and allow for public interest exemptions to secrets laws for revealing information such as corruption or human rights abuses.

Having reviewed a selection of the current releases of the US Embassy cables, ARTICLE 19 maintains that the documents reveal information of great public interest to citizens around the world, including on issues such as corruption in Afghanistan, Kenya, Tunisia, and Nigeria, and censorship in China and Russia. Other issues covered include efforts by the US government to pressure the Spanish government to limit prosecutions of the American military officials who killed a Spanish journalist in Iraq, and pressure on French parliamentarians to adopt a controversial intellectual property law cutting people off of the internet. We note that a number of public figures including US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard have said that in their opinion no significant long-term damage would be done from the release of the cables.
5. Denial of Service (or DDOS) Attacks

ARTICLE 19 does not condone the denial of service attacks on Mastercard, Visa and other companies. However, we also note that there seems to be little effort made by authorities to identify and prosecute those who have conducted the attacks against WikiLeaks resulting in the website being taken offline, which also constitutes a violation of criminal law and a violation of freedom of expression.

FURTHER INFORMATION:
• For more information please contact: David Banisar, Senior Legal Counsel, ARTICLE 19, banisar@article19.org +44 20 7324 2500
• ARTICLE 19’s previous statement on WikiLeaks are available at:
www.article19.org/pdfs/press/wikileaks-and-internet-disclosures.pdf

- Reporters Without Borders condemns the blocking, cyber-attacks and political pressure being directed at cablegate.wikileaks.org, the website dedicated to the US diplomatic cables. The organization is also concerned by some of the extreme comments made by American authorities concerning WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

Earlier this week, after the publishing several hundred of the 250.000 cables it says it has in its possession, WikiLeaks had to move its site from its servers in Sweden to servers in the United States controlled by online retailer Amazon. Amazon quickly came under pressure to stop hosting WikiLeaks from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and its chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman, in particular.

After being ousted from Amazon, WikiLeaks found a refuge for part of its content with the French Internet company OVH. But French digital economy minister Eric Besson today said the French government was looking at ways to ban hosting of the site. WikiLeaks was also recently dropped by its domain name provider EveryDNS. Meanwhile, several countries well known for for their disregard of freedom of expression and information, including Thailand and China, have blocked access to cablegate.wikileaks.org.

This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency. We are shocked to find countries such as France and the United States suddenly bringing their policies on freedom of expression into line with those of China. We point out that in France and the United States, it is up to the courts, not politicians, to decide whether or not a website should be closed.

Meanwhile, two Republican senators, John Ensign and Scott Brown, and an independent Lieberman, have introduced a bill that would make it illegal to publish the names of U.S. military and intelligence agency informants. This could facilitate future prosecutions against WikiLeaks and its founder. But a criminal investigation is already under way and many U.S. politicians are calling vociferously for Assange’s arrest.

Reporters Without Borders can only condemn this determination to hound Assange and reiterates its conviction that WikiLeaks has a right under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment to publish these documents and is even playing a useful role by making them available to journalists and the greater public.

We stress that any restriction on the freedom to disseminate this body of documents will affect the entire press, which has given detailed coverage to the information made available by WikiLeaks, with five leading international newspapers actively cooperating in preparing it for publication.

Reporters Without Borders would also like to stress that it has always defended online freedom and the principle of “Net neutrality,” according to which Internet Service Providers and hosting companies should play no role in choosing the content that is placed online.

***11.11.2010. RUSSIA. EBU shocked by attacks on Russian journalists

Geneva, 11 November 2010 – The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) expressed
shock and alarm at recent attacks on Russian journalists. The EBU urged the Russian authorities to ensure that all journalists working in Russia are allowed to carry out their professional duties without risk of violence.

Oleg Kashin of the Kommersant newspaper was attacked outside his home in
Moscow on Saturday. Anatoly Adamchuk a reporter for the Zhukovskie Vesti was attacked by two men as he was leaving his newspaper's offices on Monday.

The EBU’s News Assembly* welcomed President Medvedev's condemnation of the
attack on Mr Kashin. However, it noted with concern that 19 journalists have been killed in Russia since 2000 and 18 of these cases remain unsolved.

“[The EBU ...] condemns violence against journalists and calls upon governments everywhere to investigate all instances of violence against journalists and bring to justice those responsible”. 

The annual EBU News Assembly meeting brings together all major European
public service broadcasters.

***08.11.2010. MEXICO. Government Launches Protection Mechanism for Journalists

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the Mexican Federal Government’s long awaited decision to create a mechanism for the protection of journalists. However we are concerned that the mechanism as planned will not protect journalists at risk.
“Whilst the belated mechanism is sorely needed, this version has limitations that will severely curtail trust between the government and media workers,” says Dario Ramírez, Director for Mexico and Central America of ARTICLE 19. “Despite the expertise of civil society and journalists, they are excluded from effectively taking part in the mechanism, and this means the mechanism may fail to take account of the environment of violence against journalists and not properly address it.”

In August 2008, ARTICLE 19 called for the Mexican government to establish a mechanism that would protect journalists from increasingly targeted violence. Despite the clear pattern of attacks, it has taken until now for the Mexican government to accept the need.

The National Commission on Human Rights and the Ministry of Interior, along with other governmental institutions will now agree the mechanism, and draft the operational guidelines. Journalists and civil society will not be invited to participate.

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the mechanism, which will assess journalists at risk and define prevention and protection measures on a case-by-case basis, but it is concerned by serious limitations:

1. Lack of resources. The decision does not allocate resources for the mechanism’s implementation, relying on the resources and political will of the authorities involved. ARTICLE 19 has found that political will is lacking so far, and the lack of resources will restrain the mechanism’s capacity to protect

2. Lack of coordination between federal and local levels. The decision relies on local authorities for the implementation of protection measures. ARTICLE 19 has found that local authorities are often involved in violence against journalists, and lack of trust in the local authorities will undermine local protection

3. Lack of civil society participation. The decision excludes civil society organisations from participating in the development of the mechanism and the Risk Evaluation Committee, despite their years of experience in the protection of journalists. ARTICLE 19 believes that this will result in an inadequate analysis of the causes and protection of journalists, poor transparency in the mechanism, and the absence of proper evaluation from a technical and human rights perspective

4. Restricted participation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The decision does not allow for the participation of the OHCHR as a full member in the Committee. It is only foreseen as an occasional guest. ARTICLE 19 believes that the OHCHR’s participation is vital in the assessment and decision-making process to ensure a human rights and gender perspective and build trust within the journalism community.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Mexican Federal Government to take account of the observations made by civil society and journalists, and to ensure their participation in the formulation of the Operational Guidelines of the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists.

ARTICLE 19 further urges the government to comply with its international human rights obligations and commitments, including the recommendations formulated by the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council and the UN and OAS Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression related to the creation of a mechanism for the protection of journalists.
• For more information please contact: Carla Aguirre, carla@article19.org; +52 55 1054 6500

***08.11.2010. RUSSIA. IFJ Calls for Swift Action in Russia after Murderous Attack on Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned a brutal attack on a leading Russian journalist and has urged the Russian authorities to act quickly to find the attackers and bring them to justice.
Moscow journalist Oleg Kashin, an investigative journalist with Kommersant, one of Russia’s best-known national dailies, was set upon on the night of 5-6 November. His attackers, waiting outside his apartment block, beat him so severely that his jaw was broken and both legs fractured. After emergency hospital treatment doctors put him in an induced coma for the next few days.
“Regrettably, this is not an isolated incident,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Our research shows that over 100 journalists in Russia have been targeted in exactly the same way since 2005.”
The IFJ says that there is a pattern to these warning attacks – often the use of iron bars by the attackers. In very few cases have investigations, for the most part led by the police, led to any prosecutions. The killings of high-profile journalists such as Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 remain unsolved and suggest a lack of political will to respond to violence against reporters.
However, in this latest incident the IFJ welcomes the decision by the authorities to treat the attack seriously. The assault on Kashin has been classified as attempted murder and the inquiry is being led by Moscow city investigative committee, a newly-independent body.
“This is good news, but it is only a start,” said White. “If the high level of impunity for such assaults is to be tackled, the investigation must be sustained and far more determined than the failed previous efforts to establish who is behind this sustained campaign of violence against journalists.”
The IFJ is also joining Kommersant’s chief editor Mikhail Mikhailin and the Russian Union of Journalists in calling for the authorities to recognise that there is a link between the attack and the investigations conducted by Kashin and his reporting over recent months.
“This is the key element in the inquiry and only in that way can the people who ordered the attack and those who carried it out be identified and brought to justice,” said White.
The IFJ has also called for the international community to call on Russia to act more effectively to find those responsible for attacks on journalists. “So far the response of many governments, including the European Union, appears feeble and suggests that they are holding back because of strategic self-interest to do with protecting access to Russian energy supplies,” said White. “If this is so, it’s a shameful betrayal of fundamental rights they claim to defend at home and abroad.”

***29.10.2010. UN EXPERT DESCRIBES PRISON SENTENCES FOR PANAMANIAN JOURNALISTS AS A “WORRYING PRECEDENT”

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of
opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, expressed his concern regarding the sentencing to prison of two Panamanian journalists, who had been absolved
in the first instance, for slander and libel. According to the information received, they were also prohibited from carrying out activities related to their profession for a year.

“This judicial decision represents a worrying precedent for the efforts being made to decriminalize such incidents, especially in cases such as this, wherein the act which led to the punishment relates to information about the actions of public officials,” Mr. La Rue stressed.

Although the sentence was commuted to a fine, and faced with the possibility of a pardon being granted to the journalists for the same crime, the UN independent expert reiterated his position concerning the importance of the right of citizens to be fully informed about the activities of public officials.

“Despite the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” said Mr. La Rue, “States frequently limit or restrict freedom of expression arbitrarily, even resorting to criminal laws or civil actions, in order to silence dissent or criticism.”

The Special Rapporteur urged the State to take account of international
instruments related to the exercise of this right, particularly the International Covenant.

***25.10.2010. CUBA: CUBAN DISSIDENT WINS EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S SAKHAROV PRIZE

The European Parliament has awarded its Sakharov human rights prize to Guillermo Fariñas Hernandez, the Cuban dissident whose four-month hunger strike ultimately led to the release of numerous political prisoners in Cuba.

Fariñas, a psychologist, journalist and former soldier, ended a hunger strike in July after the Cuban government agreed to release 52 political prisoners.

"Fariñas's hunger strike made it impossible for the world to ignore the dissidents imprisoned in Cuba," said Human Rights Watch. "The Sakharov prize highlights Cuba's responsibility to free every last political prisoner and dismantle the laws that punish dissent."

During his campaign for human rights he has staged more than 20 hunger strikes and spent more than 11 years in prison.

Speaking to the BBC, Fariñas said he thought the honour could make his campaign for greater freedom in Cuba more difficult. "Anyone who is familiar with the Cuban regime understands that as a dissident becomes more well known the attacks against him become more sophisticated, more bloody and more inhuman," he said.

The IFEX members are calling on the Cuban government to allow Fariñas to receive the award in person in December and to release all remaining political prisoners, estimated to be around 100.

Named after former Russian physicist and human rights advocate Andrei Sakharov, the 50,000 Euro (US$68,800) award is given each year to an exceptional individual or organisation fighting "to protect freedom of thought and expression against intolerance, fanaticism and hatred." This marks the third time that the award has been made to Cuban dissidents since it was first presented in 1988.

Related stories on ifex.org:
- Cuban dissident wins human rights prize:
www.ifex.org/international/2010/10/22/sakharov_prize/

More on the web:
- Cuba dissident Farinas awarded Sakharov Prize by EU (BBC): www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11594804

- Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought (European Parliament):
www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/public/staticDisplay.do?language=EN&id=42

***29.09.2010. SOMALIA. Crucial Call for Dedicated Collective Action to End the Violations of Freedom of Expression and the Culture of Impunity in Somalia

UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
15th Session 

Statement by Mr. Omar Faruk Osman
Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) on 
Stand Alone Interactive Dialogue for Somalia

Geneva, 29 September 2010

"Mr. President

Honourable Abdirahman Aden Ibrahim, Deputy Prime Minister of Republic of
Somalia
Madame Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Excellencies
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great honour for me to speak to you here today for this stand-alone interactive dialogue for Somalia during which I seek to put under the spotlight, the deteriorating human rights situation in Somalia, particularly the right to freedom of expression. This state of affair has been occasioned by the unremitting deadly and deliberate violence that has led to the total collapse of respect for civilians’ rights as enshrined in international humanitarian law.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the relevant conventions call upon member States of the United Nations to protect and promote universal and indivisible human rights. The members of this Council must, therefore, not turn away their eyes from Human Rights situation in Somalia.

The scope of the term legitimate targets as well as the rule of the proportionality has been widened to suit the interests of the warring parties in Somalia. This has resulted in unacceptably high numbers of civilian victims of the conflict and the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure, including journalists and their media houses. The actions targeting media in this bloody conflict seek to entrench and enforce a culture of silence, as one way of sapping the social energy of
Somali society.

Excellencies,

Somali journalists, who risk life and limb in their work, continue to pay a heavy price for playing their role as the public’s messengers. The violence directed at them undermines their capacity to fulfil this duty. Dozens of journalists have been assassinated while many other dozens daily face threats, intimidation, physical harassment and dislodgement from their workstations.

Twenty-two journalists were murdered since 2007, making them the most
victimised group among the foremost defenders of human rights. 3 journalists were killed so far this year. Abdifatah Jama Mire, Director of Horseed Radio in Puntland, is currently serving 6 years jail sentence. This sentence is the most outrageous and the harshest punishment given to a journalist in recent times in this semi-autonomous region of Somalia.

The private media houses were hit hard after Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam seized control of 5 radio stations in South-Central regions in the last 6 months. The Islamists have since banned the broadcast of music and songs. All sides in the conflict wanted journalists to favour them in their reporting. These forces also confiscated equipment from journalists. Reporting the truth has become a dangerous business in Somalia, and as a result Journalists have started practicing self-censorship.

Private media is on the verge of total collapse and there is a fear that there could be a total reversal of whatever progress has been made over the past few years. The economic and social consequences of sophisticated restrictions on media have been heavy and have resulted into loss of business and gradually, the media industry is also becoming as sick as the country.

It is of particular concern that media professionals continue to be targets of deadly violence in the southern and central regions of Somalia, and in particular in the capital city. The top priority of the world community must be to end the vicious cycle of violence and impunity directed against journalists and the news media organizations that are being targeted because of their legitimate role of facilitating exchange of news and opinion.

Human rights could not be guaranteed in Somalia in the absence of press freedom and freedom of expression, while freedom of expression could not exist when journalists were not protected and suffered death or violence for telling the truth.

Mr President,

The degree to which human rights are respected and protected serves as a
benchmark for a Country’s stability and sustainable development. To secure peace and protect human rights in Somalia, we need a strong and efficient government that lives up to its human rights obligations.

The world community must quickly come to the aid of the survivors of these
gruesome violations, and ensure punishment for the perpetrators of human rights violations as a deterrent to future acts of impunity. For the journalists who continue to endure this hell that defies precedent, justice delayed is more than justice denied – it is terror sustained.

Failure to address these violations of human rights against journalists, if left to continue, gives an incentive to the perpetrators to continue their macabre trade.

The UN HRC must impose targeted measures against persistent violators of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press by setting up a mechanism for prevention, deterrence and rapid response to the widespread and systematic violence against the right to free expression. We see this as an important step on the road to providing incentives for the protection of civilians.

I thank you Mr. President"

***27.09.2010. MEXICO: Newspaper’s Call for Truce Sign of Government Failing to Protect

Due to the recent assassination of Luis Carlos Santiago Orozco, photographer of El Diario, in Ciudad Juarez, ARTICLE 19 undertook an emergency mission to assess the situation and to express solidarity with journalists working in the city.

Ciudad Juarez is one of the largest cities on Mexico’s northern border with the United States. Since 2006, organised crime groups have been fighting for control of the city due to its strategic location for smuggling goods and migrants. The conflict has resulted in an exponential increase in violent deaths: according to official figures, more than 500 murders have taken place so far in 2010, the majority of which were of women and young people. The majority of people killed are women and adolescent, and journalists and human rights defenders also targeted due to their work.

Over the last three years, ARTICLE 19 has documented the deterioration of
freedom of expression in Ciudad Juarez, highlighting violence against the media in the city, and in the wider state of Chihuahua, in its 2009 report on attacks against freedom of expression, Attacks on Freedom of Expression in Mexico.

Josefina Reyes, a human rights defender working on the disappearance of women in Ciudad Juarez, was shot dead in January 2010. In November 2008, Armando Rodriguez, a veteran crime reporter from El Diario, was shot in front of his daughter. In both cases, the criminals remain unpunished, without attackers remain without any significant development in the investigations. In September, two photographers working as interns for El Diario, Luis Carlos Santiago Orozco and "Carlos" were shot in a shopping centre car park just 200 metres from the newspaper headquarters, and Orozco died. During ARTICLE 19’s visit, a small device exploded outside the offices of the newspaper Norte. Fortunately no one was injured.

The local authorities are responsible for investigating all the above ases. In 2010, the state government of Chihuahua adopted a series of actions to protect journalists, such as the creation of an emergency protection system and legal reform to better tackle attacks against the media. However, such achievements are being consistently undermined by local members of the local authorities spreading misinformation, delaying investigations and denying that journalists and human rights defenders are targeted because of their work.

President Felipe Calderon’s policy to combat organised crime includes the
deployment of the army and latterly the federal police in Ciudad Juarez and other cities in Chihuahua. However, without a code of conduct for the treatment of the media during operations, deployment of the army and police have resulted in more threats, physical attacks, destruction of equipment and illegal detentions.

“I am more afraid of the federal police than the organized crime, at least you know exactly where you stand ”, explained a reporter during an interview.

On 1 July, federal police broke into the office of the Journalists and Communicators Association without a warrant, claiming they had information that the building was a secure house for kidnappers and the storage of weapons. The illegal entry has not been investigated by the authorities.

The absence of proper legal remedies to investigate cases of attacks on journalists and human rights defenders sends the wrong message to future perpetrators, including those involved in organised crime.

After repeated attacks against its staff, El Diario published a front-page editorial on 19 September asking for a truce with organised crime groups. The government accused the newspaper of negotiating with the groups but the editorial sent a clear sign that the newspaper feels the government is failing in its duty to protect the media.

ARTICLE 19 reiterates its strong appeal to the Mexican authorities to guarantee the safety security of those who are exercising their right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Mexico’s international obligations. In particular, ARTICLE 19 appeals to Chihuahua state authorities and federal authorities to undertake prompt and effective investigations into the crimes and make information about the investigations available. ARTICLE 19 expresses its solidarity with the relatives, friends and colleagues of Luis Carlos Santiago Orozco, Armando
Rodriguez and Josefina Reyes. 
• For more information please contact: Ricardo Gonzalez Freedom of Expression Programme Officer ricardo@article19.org, +52 55 1054 65 ext 102.

***08.09.2010. The Iraq War: The Heaviest Death Toll for the Media Since World War II, March 2003 – August 2010 (RSF)

Riyad Assariyeh, a 35-year-old journalist working for state-run Al Iraqiya TV, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen as he was leaving his home in Baghdad this morning (Sept 7). This clearly targeted murder brings to 15 the number of Al Iraqiya journalists who have been killed since Saddam Hussein’s removal.

Reporters Without Borders calls for a proper investigation capable of identifying and arresting both the perpetrators and instigators of this murder and bringing them to justice. It would be deplorable it this killing were to go unpunished, which unfortunately has been the case in 99 per cent of the 230 murders of journalists and media workers since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Two weeks after the U.S. Army’s last combat brigade withdrew from Iraq, Reporters Without Borders surveyed the country’s seven years of occupation by the coalition forces and their impact on press freedom. The aim of this report is to pay homage to all of the media professionals who gave their lives in order to keep the public informed, despite the risks they were taking.

Although the U.S. intervention in Iraq put an end to Saddam Hussein’s regime and paved the way for a major expansion of the Iraqi media, the human toll of the war, and the years of political and ethnic violence which followed, were nothing short of disastrous – too many people died.

The second U.S. war with Iraq was the most lethal for journalists since World War II. Reporters Without Borders tallied 230 cases of journalists and media staff killed in the country since the conflict broke out on 20 March 2003. That is more than those killed during 20 years of the Vietnam War or the civil war in Algeria.

In this report intitled “The Iraq War: A Heavy Death Toll for the Media,” Reporters Without Borders focuses on those journalists who were killed during the conflict simply because they wanted to do their jobs. Who were they? Which media outlets did they work for? Under what circumstances were they killed? Were they deliberately attacked? This is the third time that Reporters Without Borders has conducted such a study. The last one was released on 20 March 2006, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq.

In this study, Reporters Without Borders also re-examines the issue of journalist abductions during the war: Iraq, with its more than 93 abducted media professionals, was for several years the biggest market for hostages in the world.

Suspected of collaborating with insurgent groups, Iraqi journalists were also frequently arrested during the war, either by the newly established Iraki administration, or by the U.S. Army. Some 30 journalists were arrested by the U.S. Army between March 2003 and August 2010, mainly in 2008. By early January 2006, Camp Bucca, the American detention centre in southern Iraq between the cities of Basra and Uum Qasr, had become the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East.

To obtain a better grasp of the factors which contributed to this death toll, Reporters Without Borders produced several graphs showing diverse trends with regard to attacks on the media in Iraq since 2003 (Read the report on: www.rsf.org)

***02.09.2010. Palestinian Media in Gaza Strip was able to continue performing his duties despite the Israeli blockade

Ramallah- A study issued by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) showed that despite the serious consequences of the continuing Israeli blockade effects on all aspects of the Palestinian life, including the media; however the media outlets were able to continue performing its duties.

The goals of the study which is entitled “The impact of the Israeli siege on media outlets in Gaza Strip”, prepared by Dr. Ahmad Hammad are to identifies the impact of the Israeli blockade on the performance of the Palestinian media, and the methods used by the occupation forces to prevent journalists and media institutions covering the events.

The study included the legal status of journalists and media institutions working in the Palestinian territories, and their right to be protected during the war.

The study stated that the media institutions in Gaza Strip suffer from the lack of press equipment by the non-entry of the necessary equipment for broadcasting, and other requirements for the journalistic work, as the embargo affects the printing and publishing as because of the shortage in inks and papers needed for printing, after the Israeli occupation forces prevented its entry into Gaza Strip.

The Israeli occupation forces also prevent the entry of the Palestinian newspapers issued in Ramallah and occupied Jerusalem for long periods; in addition, the prevention of fuel has affected the ability of journalists and media workers in mobility and movement.
------------------------------
Contact: Riham Abu Aita
Public Relation Officer
Ramallah
riham@madacenter.org
www.madacenter.org

***27.08.2010. THREATS AGAINST JOURNALISTS IN EASTERN NEPAL ALARM UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIALS

United Nations human rights officials in Nepal are voicing concern over continued reports that journalists operating in the country’s eastern Terai districts are facing serious threats and intimidation.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/WelcomePage.aspx) in Nepal issued a
press statement yesterday from Biratnagar in which it said it had received at least nine reports of threats against journalists in that region since the start of May.

Many journalists have also told OHCHR that they increasingly feel insecure in Nepal, where a decade-long civil war that killed an estimated 13,000 people ended in 2006 with a peace accord. Political tensions still persist in the South Asian country.

“The situation jeopardizes the right to freedom of expression and the right to liberty and security of journalists, who are at the forefront in defending the rights of other peoples,” according to the press statement.

“Freedom of expression is fundamental in a society that respects human rights and is a core element of a democratic society.”

The office stressed the need for State authorities in Nepal to build an environment in which media professionals can feel they can carry out their work free of threat or intimidation. 

***13.08.10. Mexico: Special Mandates Make Landmark Visit to Mexico

Following rigorous campaigning by ARTICLE 19, two Special Mandates on freedom of expression are currently in Mexico on a joint official visit. Catalina Botero, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression for the Inter American Commission of Human Rights, and Frank la Rue, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression, are the first Special Mandates ever to visit Mexico. This unprecedented envoy is a severe indictment of the rapidly deteriorating freedom of expression situation in Mexico, which has witnessed increasing impunity to the
violence being perpetrated against its media outlets. In the light of this
international attention, ARTICLE 19 calls on the Mexican government to protect media workers throughout the country and ensure freedom of expression can be exercised by journalists.

The visit, petitioned for by ARTICLE 19 alongside a collective of national and international organisations, follows months of delays by Mexico’s government in effectively tackling the worsening situation. In spite of numerous statements and assurances, attacks against journalists have continued to increase and impunity has become the standard response.

August has been mired by several violent attacks on the media. At the beginning of the month, four journalists were kidnapped following their exposé of a corrupt penitentiary. Two were later liberated following an intense public outcry and the others rescued by federal police. Last week saw yet another brutal attack against a media outlet and there is no sign of a government response.

“The joint visit of the Special Mandates comes at a crucial time for Mexico” explained Dario Ramirez, Director of the Mexico and Central merica Office of ARTICLE 19. “We hope their visit will induce the State to provide the answers that have been constantly denied to victims and their relatives.”

ARTICLE 19 recommends that the Special Mandates address the following
specific issues, pertaining to the protection of freedom of expression,
during their mission:

• Protection: The urgent need to implement a policy to prevent aggressions
against journalists, including the creation of a Protection Committee to
provide emergency measures in a timely and diligent manner to journalists
at risk.

• Impunity: All cases of aggression should be investigated fully; currently the majority of incidents fail to reach a Court of Law.

• Legal Reforms: Pending reforms, requesting all cases of aggressions against journalists are investigated at the federal level, should be passed immediately. In addition the Especial Prosecutor Office responsible for investigating aggressions must be strengthened.

• New Media Law: Crucially, a new media law is needed to effectively promote and protect diversity in all its forms and ensure a pluralism of voices.

• Defamation: A total of 16 local legal frameworks, out of 32, still punish defamation with jail. The full decriminalisation of defamation in Mexico must be made a priority.

ARTICLE 19 hopes that the Special Mandates will engage with these critical
issues and that the Mexican government will respond quickly, and effectively, to the deteriorating situation.

***06.08.10. FIRST JOINT MISSION BY EXPERTS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES TO VISIT MEXICO

GENEVA – The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue,
will undertake an official visit to Mexico from 9 to 24 August 2010 in what will be the first joint mission with the Organization of American States’ Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Catalina Botero.

“We will carry out a wide-ranging assessment of the situation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in Mexico, in particular issues related to the protection of journalists,” said Mr. La Rue, noting that no UN independent expert on freedom of expression has officially visited the country to date.

The main purpose of the mission is to “engage constructively with the
Government to identify ways to ensure that all individuals can exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression without fearing for their safety,” he added.

During their 16-day visit, the experts will visit Mexico City and the states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Guerrero. They will meet with representatives of the Government, both at Federal and local levels, and with members of the legislature and the judiciary, as well as with non-governmental organizations, journalists, and other organizations and individuals working in areas related to their mandates.

The Special Rapporteur’s findings and recommendations will be reflected in his final report, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2011.

A press conference will be held at 4 p.m. on 24 August 2010, at Centro de
Cultura Casa Lamm (Álvaro Obregón 99, Colonia Roma, Mexico City).

***04.08.10. IFJ Mourns Loss of Journalist Killed in Lebanon Border Clash

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said that the killing of a journalist in clashes between Israeli and the Lebanese troops has highlighted the continuing dangers facing journalists trying to cover the world’s longest-running conflict.
Assaf Abu Rahhal, working for Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, was reportedly killed today in the fighting which erupted along the Israel-Lebanon border. He was killed when a shell landed next to him.
A journalist working for the Lebanese TV outlet Al-Manar was wounded in the exchange of fire which left three Lebanese soldiers dead.
“After years of relative calm, this outbreak of violence illustrates just how dangerous covering any corner of Arab-Israeli conflict can be,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Journalists and media can never be safe as long as governments fail to respect their rights to report freely.”
The media casualty is the first since freelance photographer Layal Najib was killed in the war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006.
“This killing is another tragic moment for media in a conflict that has provided many examples of the sacrifice that journalists make to cover this story,” said White. “It is ever-more important that all sides take note of the need to respect international law and the rights of non-combatants, including journalists.”

***27.07.2010. ICRC. How does international humanitarian law protect journalists in armed-conflict situations? Media professionals are increasingly at risk of being wounded, killed, detained or kidnapped while reporting in armed-conflict situations. Robin Geiss, an ICRC legal expert, talks about the protection to which they, as civilians not taking part in the fighting, are entitled under international humanitarian law.

Please go to the following link for the interview:

 www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/protection-journalists-interview-270710?opendocument

***26.07.2010. IRAQ. IFJ Condemns Impunity as Iraq Suicide Strike on Al-Arabiya Kills Six

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned a suicide bomb attack in Baghdad on the Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya in which four employees and two members of the public were killed.
The Federation says journalists remain prime targets for terrorists in Iraq and the government must act now to counter impunity in the killings of journalists.
The suicide bomber blew up a vehicle at around 9.30am local time in front
of the station's bureau in Baghdad's city centre, leaving a massive crater. Iraqi military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said three guards and a cleaning woman were killed in the blast that left another 10 injured.
"This attack comes after clear threats from terrorists that they intend to target media," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It is a shocking incident that reinforces the concern over the dangers faced by journalists and media. More must be done to ensure the safety of all media personnel."
The attack occurred a month after officials warned that insurgents opposed to the channel, which is funded from Saudi Arabia, planned to strike against the network.
"This attack is a further challenge to the authorities," said White.
"Previous killings of journalists have not been investigated or have been dealt with casually, creating an intolerable regime of impunity. The government must change its approach and ensure that the killers of journalists and media staff will be brought to justice."
This is the latest in a series of attacks on Al-Arabiya. In September 2008, its Baghdad bureau chief, Jawad Hattab, escaped unharmed after spotting a bomb, which would-be assassins had attached to his car, before it was detonated by remote control.
In October 2006, a car bomb targeting the channel's then bureau killed seven people and wounded 20. And in February 2006, Al-Arabiya presenter Atwar Bahjat and two colleagues were kidnapped and murdered in Samarra north of Baghdad over coverage of the bombing of a Shiite shrine, an attack by al-Qaeda that sparked a new round of sectarian bloodshed.
"This attack puts a media perspective on the recent falling levels of violence against civilians," said Aidan White. "For all journalists and media staff, the dangers in reporting Iraq's tense political situation remain as great as ever."

***22.07.2010. SOMALIA: AMNESTY REPORT. Journalists under attack in Somalia as government steps up media crackdown

Amnesty International has called on Somali authorities and armed opposition groups in the country to respect freedom of expression amid a growing government crackdown on independent journalism.

A campaign of harassment and intimidation has seen a spate of arrests and
interrogations of journalists since June. Media workers already face serious threats from armed groups, with 10 reporters killed in the last 18 months.

Amnesty International's new briefing paper, Hard News: Journalists' lives in danger in Somalia, launched on Somali Human Rights Day (22 July), documents the targeting of journalists in the country.

"Somali journalists are being prevented from informing the local population about daily violence that affects their lives - a service that is particularly vital in a conflict too dangerous for consistent international media reporting," said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International's Africa deputy director.

"Somalia's authorities must investigate the attacks and harassment of journalists, both by armed groups and members of their own government, and ensure that freedom of expression is respected."

Somalia's internationally backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) controls only a small part of the capital Mogadishu, while the rest of southern and central Somalia is under the control of armed groups.

The two largest are al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam, which are allied against the TFG but have also engaged in fighting against each other. While the armed groups are the most deadly threat to journalists in the country, media workers have come under increased pressure from the TFG in a recent clampdown on independent journalism.

On 26 June, New York Times correspondent Mohammed Ibrahim fled Somalia
after threats from government security forces, following the publication of an article alleging that government forces included child soldiers.

On 29 June, several journalists were wounded when missiles were fired on a press conference being held by Al-Shabab in Mogadishu. Local journalists at the scene believe they were indirectly targeted by the TFG, who did not want the press conference to go ahead.

On 1 July, police detained journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur and freelance cameraman Yusuf Jama Abdullahi for taking pictures of their colleague, photojournalist Farah Abdi Warsame, who had been hit in the crossfire during fighting in Mogadishu.

The journalists were interrogated and forced to delete their photographs.
Warsame was only able to get medical treatment after being interrogated.

"Rather than protecting journalists from feared armed groups such as al-Shabab, the Somali authorities are increasing the problems for media workers by adding to the harassment they face," said Michelle Kagari.

Armed groups opposed to the Somali government now control many towns in the country. They have killed, harassed and intimidated journalists, shut down radio stations, restricted what local media can report on and frequently prevent journalists from publishing information which they believe is unfavourable towards them. This makes it almost impossible to disseminate vital information on the situation in Somalia.

On 5 May - the most recent journalist killing - three gunmen shot dead
broadcast journalist Sheik Nur Mohamed Abkey as he was returning home from
the state-run Radio Mogadishu.

He was abducted by the gunmen near his home in southern Mogadishu and then
shot repeatedly in the head. Members of al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the killing.

In 2009, nine journalists were killed, the highest total in any one year since 1991, when armed conflict broke out after the collapse of ex-President Siad Barre’s government.

In the first five months of 2010, in addition to the killing of one journalist, many more were abducted and harassed by armed groups.

The TFG was backed militarily by Ethiopian troops who remained in Somalia until early 2009. TFG officials and institutions are now protected by the African Union Mission in Somalia, AMISOM.

The TFG is opposed by a number of armed Islamist groups. Groups on both sides of the conflict often overlap, forge or shift alliances, or divide into separate groups.

***18.07.2010. ISRAEL. MADA condemns the Israeli attacks against journalists, and the security services raid of WATAN TV

The Israeli occupation forces continued their attacks on Palestinian journalists, whom covering the peaceful marches, where they threw tear gas and sound bombs at a group of journalists, on Friday, 16 July 2010, they include: Associated Press photographer Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoun, France Press Agency photographer Mousa Alshaér, Pal Media cameraman Samer Hamad, Maan News Agency photographer Luay Sababa, and Al-Quds TV cameraman Akram Natshe; while they were covering a peaceful march in the village of Alma’sara near Bethlehem city. Yesterday, 17 July 2010 The Israeli occupation forces attacked the photographers of: Agency France Press Hazem Bader, Reuters Agency Abdul Rahim Al-Aqusini, and Associated Press Abdul Hafiz Hashlamoun, as they also detained Associated Press photographer Iyad Hamad, while they were covering a peaceful march in the town of Beit Omar Near Hebron.

Hashlamoun said he went on Friday with a group of journalists to cover the
weekly march of Alma’sara near the city of Bethlehem, where the Israeli army started throwing sound and gas bombs between the legs of journalists, causing them not to focus in photography and a serious bottleneck from gas smell. Hashlamoun added: "There were a group of Israeli soldiers their mission was to impede the journalist’s work and to evacuate them from the area."

"Yesterday was the fiercest against journalists", Al-Aqusini said - who is still lying in Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron – who also said that he was standing with a group of photographers to cover the march of Beit Omar, during that time one of the Israeli soldiers throw a sound bomb from a close distance at him, so it hit him under his left ear, which caused him the loss of consciousness and a hole in his left eardrum and his main auditory nerve. Al-Aqusini added: "I’m still hearing a sensation in my ears and sometimes I feel the inability to focus".

Bader said: "Yesterday was very bad for journalists; we were targeted irectly by the officer and soldiers. Personally the officer threatened me then he beat me with a stick on my face and legs, causing me a wound in my nose and cheek and bruises on my left leg, and I wasn’t able to stand, the harder thing was when the officer prevented my colleagues from helping me. The officer also struck my colleague Hashlamoun with iron sound bomb on his back causing him bruises in the back. "

Form his part, Hamad said that the Israeli soldiers arrested him because he protested about the beating of his colleague Bader, where the soldiers took him and made him sit on the ground for two hours under the sun. During that the Israeli settlers who were in the area insulted and provoked him. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns the Israeli continued targeting of Palestinian journalists, especially during their coverage of the weekly marches in the West Bank. Since the violations have become a major threat to the lives of journalists and their safety. MADA also demands the international community and human rights organizations to intervene immediately to stop these attacks.

On the other hand MADA strongly condemns the raid of WATAN TV headquarters
by members of the Palestinian security forces yesterday in Ramallah, after the television broadcast images of Hizb Al-Tahrir political party march, which was yesterday in Ramallah. WATAN director Muammar Orabi said that armed individuals in civilian clothes who identified themselves as security and intelligence members raided WATAN headquarters yesterday around 5:00 PM, demanding the arrest of the journalists who covered the march of Hizb Al-Tahrir, they also wanted to confiscate the tape that they have recorded. Orabi added: "After a verbal argument and some calls they have gone back and evacuated the building."

Contact: Riham Abu Aita - Public Relation Officer - Ramallah
riham@madacenter.org www.madacenter.org

***29.06.2010. SOMALIA. NUSOJ Condemns bomb attack on 8 Journalists in Mogadishu 

At least 8 journalists have been critically wounded in a bomb attack today
Tuesday, 29 June 2010, which occurred at a police school in Abdiasis district of northern Mogadishu. The journalists were wounded after a bombardment in the police training facility where an Al-Shabaab spokesman was holding a press conference after they took over the base yesterday. The wounded journalists were covering the press conference.

Four of the wounded journalists have been identified as: Muse Mohamoud Jisow, Ilyas Ahmed Abukar, Abdinasir Idle, and Abdirisak Elmi Jama. One of the wounded journalists told the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) that the people who bombed the scene knew that a press conference was taking place and that journalists were in attendance.

NUSOJ has condemned the attack as wasteful and cowardly act that only targets the harmless journalists who are only armed with pens and cameras and notebooks. NUSOJ promised to soon distribute the complete list of names of the journalists injured in the blast and their respective media houses.

NUSOJ called on all parties in the conflict in Mogadishu to cease hostilities and to desist from taking their bloody conflict to the journalists and un-armed civilians.

“Warring sides have made it their habit to bombard or attack places with a
congregation of journalists ostensibly to eliminate their enemy’s claims of political gains. But we must remind them of their responsibility to protect journalists and civilians. Once they commit such otherwise avoidable atrocities they then take their war to the people,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary-General.

***29.06.2010. Rwanda: Pre-Election Violence and Intimidation Must Stop

ARTICLE 19 calls upon the Government of President Kagame to investigate all incidents of violence against activists, journalists and human rights defenders, in the lead up to Rwanda’s August elections, and ensure they are able to carry out their legitimate activities in safety.

Following the killing of Leonard Rugambage, deputy editor of “Umuvugizi”
newspaper, on 24 June 2010, ARTICLE 19 is greatly concerned by increasing
threats to activists and media workers in Rwanda, particularly those perceived to be critical of the Government. On the morning he was killed Rugambage published an online article alleging that the Rwandan Government was behind the attempted murder of one of their most outspoken critics, former General Faustin Kayumba, who is now lying critically injured inside a South African hospital. Shortly after 10 pm Rugambage was shot dead in his car.

“We condemn the killing of the late Leonard Rugambage and call upon the  
Government to ensure that those who committed this heinous act face justice. At the same time we wish to remind the authorities of their primary responsibility to provide security for the people of Rwanda” says Dr. Agnes Callamard, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19.

“The loss of life, under whatever circumstances, is deplorable and particularly troubling during what should be a democratic election. The continued intimidation of dissenting voices in Rwanda shows the extent of the current regime’s intolerance and prevents political commentary, directly limiting the ability of opposition parties to participate” adds Dr. Callamard.

ARTICLE 19 calls on Rwanda’s Government to bring those responsible for
Rugambage’s death to justice without delay. In addition ARTICLE 19 appeals to the authorities to ensure that opposition voices are not excluded from Rwanda’s political process, compromising freedom of expression during a pivotal period in the country’s development.

***27.06.2010. RWANDA. JED demande aux autorités de lancer une enquête impartiale suite à l'assassinat de son correspondant. 

Journaliste en danger (JED) condamne l'assassinat de Jean Léonard Rugambage, rédacteur en chef adjoint de "Umuvugizi", un journal paraissant à Kigali, capitale de la République du Rwanda et correspondant de JED au Rwanda. JED demande instamment aux autorités rwandaises de diligenter une enquête impartiale et crédible afin de faire toute la lumière autour de ce crime. En effet, JED craint que ceux qui auraient commis le forfait soient justement ceux-là qui conduisent les enquêtes.

JED estime que ce meurtre d'un journaliste courageux et respectable qui a refusé maintes fois de partir en exil en dépit de menaces sérieuses est un signal négatif de trop à l'approche des prochaines élections présidentielles.

Selon les informations recueillies par JED, Jean Léonard Rugambage a été tué, dans la nuit du jeudi 24 juin 2010, par des inconnus qui lui ont tirés quatre balles à bout portant devant son domicile dans le quartier populaire Nyamirambo à Kigali alors qu'il revenait, au volant de sa voiture, d'une visite familiale en province. Le 25 juin au matin, selon un journaliste local contacté par JED, la police aurait ramassé sur le lieu du crime quatre douilles.

Correspondant de JED au Rwanda depuis plusieurs années, Rugambage avait, dans son humour légendaire, le courage de ses idées et n'avait pas sa langue en poche au sujet des dérives totalitaires du pouvoir à Kigali. À la veille de sa mort tragique, il a publié sur le site du journal "Umuvugizi" un article dans lequel il a cité un haut responsable des services de sécurité rwandais qui aurait demandé à son chauffeur d'achever, en échange de récompense, le général Kayumba Nyamwasa (en exil en Afrique du Sud), hospitalisé après une tentative d’assassinat.

JED note également que Rugambage et son journal était depuis plusieurs mois la cible des autorités rwandaises. Le Haut conseil des médias (HCM), instance de régulation des médias au Rwanda, avait suspendu, le 13 mars 2010, "Umuvugizi" et "Umuseso", deux principaux journaux indépendants paraissant à Kigali pour une durée de six mois pour "incitation de l'armée et de la police à l'insubordination aux ordres de leurs chefs, publication d'informations portant atteinte à l'ordre public, diffusion de rumeurs ainsi que pour diffamation et immixtion dans la vie privée des gens".

***20.06.2010. Journalists in Exile 2010 - At least 85 journalists fled their home countries in the past year in the face of attacks, threats, and possible imprisonment. High exile rates are seen in Iran and in the East African nations of Somalia and Ethiopia (CPJ)

At least 29 Iranian editors, reporters, and photographers fled into exile over the past 12 months, the highest annual tally from a single country in a decade, a new survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. CPJ also found a significant spike in the number of journalists fleeing violence