Category Archives: Africa/Asia

Pakistan Closes US-Funded Radio Mashaal Office In Islamabad

mashal radio
 .Pakistan Closes US-Funded Radio Mashaal Office In Islamabad
Journalist watchdog CPJ said the office was closed after ISI accused the broadcaster of airing programs “against the interest of Pakistan”.
 
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The Committee to Protect Journalism has condemned Pakistan’s closure of RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal office in Islamabad, calling it a “direct threat to press freedom” in Pakistan.
 
According to the CPJ, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry ordered the closure on Friday after Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency accused the private, US-government-funded broadcaster of airing programs “against the interest of Pakistan” and “in line with [a] hostile intelligence agency’s agenda.”
 
“The order to close Radio Mashaal is a draconian move by Pakistani authorities and a direct threat to press freedom,” said Steven Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalism’s Asia program coordinator.
 
“Radio Mashaal is an important source of information and should be allowed to continue operating without delay,” he said.
 
Butler meanwhile told the Associated Press in an email that the move is part of a pattern of increasing pressure on journalists in Pakistan.
 
“It’s hard to know precisely what prompted the order,” he told AP.
 
“However, it is certainly only the latest move from the military that puts pressure on the media to stay away from sensitive issues, including criticism of the military itself.”
 
Butler told AP that the closure might also be retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet accusing Pakistan of “lies and deceit.”
 
“It also comes just after the Trump administration cut off military aid to Pakistan and could possibly be a kind of retaliation,” said Butler.
 
“It does not bode well for press freedom inside the country.”
 
On January 1, Trump accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit” and said the US would suspend up to $1.9 billion a year in military aid until Islamabad moves decisively against Afghan Taliban fighters and Haqqani network militants who he said have found safe haven within Pakistan’s borders.
 
CPJ reported that Pakistan’s order against Radio Mashaal accused the news outlet of “portraying Pakistan [as] a hub of terrorism and [a] safe haven for different militant groups.”
 
The order stated that Radio Mashaal programming presented Pakistan as a “failed state in terms of providing security to its people,” in particular minorities and ethnic Pashtuns.
 
It said Radio Mashaal showed ethnic Pashtuns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Balochistan Province, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan as “disenchanted with the state.”
 
It also accused the broadcaster of “distorting facts [to] incite the target population against the state and its institutions.”
 
 
RFE/RL said Pakistani Interior Ministry officers went to the broadcaster’s Islamabad bureau on Friday and met with the bureau chief and administrator to discuss the closure order.
 
RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said he was “extraordinarily concerned by the closure” and was “urgently seeking more information about the Pakistani authorities’ intentions.”
 
Kent said Radio Mashaal, which broadcasts from Prague and has both radio and digital operations, is a “private news organization supported by the US Congress with no connection to the intelligence agencies of any country.”
 
“Radio Mashaal is an essential source of reliable, balanced information for our Pakistani audience,” Kent said.
 
“We hope this situation will be resolved without delay.”
 
In emphasizing that “Radio Mashaal serves no intelligence agency or government,” Kent said “our reporters are Pakistani citizens who are dedicated to their country and live and raise families in the villages in which they report.”
 
“We demand that their safety be ensured, and that they be permitted to resume their work without fear or delay,” Kent said.
 
 
http://www.tolonews.com/world/pakistan-closes-us-funded-radio-mashaal-office-islamabad
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Newspapers seized, journalists arrested as Sudan protests boil over

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Newspapers seized, journalists arrested as Sudan protests boil over

File: The Sudanese Journalists Network said copies of newspapers were seized and journalists were arrested earlier this week while reporting on anti-inflation protests in Khartoum. Photo: Martin Bureau /AFP/Getty Images
JOHANNESBURG – Authorities in Sudan have seized copies of newspapers and arrested several reporters over articles on “anti-inflation protests” prompting calls from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) against the harassment.“Sudanese authorities should cease harassing and arresting journalists and confiscating newspapers, and should allow journalists to report on matters of public interest without fear of reprisal,” the CPJ said on Friday.

The Sudanese Journalists Network (SJN) said on Tuesday and Wednesday Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested seven journalists while they were reporting on anti-inflation protests in Khartoum.

 

Reporters from privately owned newspapers Magdi al-Ajib of al-Watan, Rishan Oushi (Mijhar al-Siyasi), Imtenan Al-Radi (al-Youm al-Tali), and freelance journalist Amal Habani were arrested on 16 January.

The next day, Shawky Abdelazim, al-Youm al-Tali editor, Khalid Abdelaziz, Reuters’ Sudan correspondent, and Abdelmunim Abudris, AFP’s correspondent, were arrested.

They all remain in custody.

 

A spokesperson for SJN, who does not want to be named said family members of the arrested journalists did not know their whereabouts or if they were facing any charges.

NISS agents also confiscated at least three newspapers multiple times this week over critical coverage of the protests, according to news reports.

“By arresting and intimidating journalists, confiscating newspapers and attempting to censor news dissemination, the Sudanese authorities keep trying to get journalists to stick to the official narrative or pay the price,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said.

“We call on the authorities to release the seven journalists immediately and allow the press to do its job.”

African News Agency

Charges sought against Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar

reuters journalsit burma

Charges sought against Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar

French journalist arrested on duty in India

Comiti Edward

French journalist arrested on duty in India

Indian police arrested a freelance French journalist in Kashmir for violating visa regulations, the city police chief said, after he was found filming for a documentary without permission. Comiti Edward was arrested late Sunday in the Kothibagh area of Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, Senior SP Imtiyaz Parray told Reuters.

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/12/french-journalist-arrested-duty-india/

Car bomb kills journalist in Somalia capital, says witness

Mohamed Ibrahim Gabow

Car bomb kills journalist in Somalia capital, says witness

Mohamed Ibrahim Gabow

 

Tajikistan: Khayrullo Mirsaidov Journalist Detained

tajikistan_mirsaidov

Tajikistan: Independent Journalist Detained

Politically Motivated Charges for Corruption Report

Commentary: Aung San Suu Kyi’s free press dilemma Alex Lazar 7 MIN READ

Aung San Suu Kyi

Commentary: Aung San Suu Kyi’s free press dilemma

Turkish journalist defends press freedom as grand trial begins

jumhurieat

Turkish journalist defends press freedom as grand trial begins

Hundreds of protesters gather at court as 17 employees of Cumhuriyet newspaper stand trial

A top Turkish correspondent delivered a powerful defence of press freedom as he took the stand in the largest trial of journalists in the country, saying he was being punished for doing his job and criticising Turkey’s slide into authoritarianism.

Kadri Gürsel, one of 17 journalists, lawyers and executives from Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest newspaper, who are standing trial on charges of aiding and abetting terrorist organisations, urged the presiding judge to drop the charges, saying the fact that he was standing trial on flimsy accusations was proof that his warnings of creeping authoritarianism were prescient.

“I am here because I am an independent, questioning and critical journalist, not because I knowingly and willingly helped a terrorist organisation,” he said. “Because I have not compromised in my journalism and I am persistent until the end. All these accusations directed to me are devoid of wisdom and reason, and are beyond the scope of any law or conscience,” he added.

Turkey has become one of the world’s largest jailers of journalists, with 178 behind bars. Since a traumatic coup attempt last July, 173 media outlets have been shut down and 800 journalists have had their passports and press credentials confiscated, according to opposition statistics.

The government crackdown on the press continued in the aftermath of the coup under the ongoing state of emergency. Much of Turkey’s media has been coopted by the government, and journalists accuse the ruling party of putting pressure on advertisers to abandon struggling opposition newspapers. They say the lawsuits and the imprisonments of journalists have created an environment of fear that promotes self-censorship. Few local newspapers reported on the start of the trial.

Cumhuriyet has borne the brunt of the government’s ire because of the newspaper’s harsh criticism of its policies. It condemned as a “witch hunt” a crackdown after the coup that has ensnared tens of thousands of civil servants, judges, military and police officers, academics as well as dissidents, and endorsed a peaceful resolution to the crisis with the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at a time when tensions with the group were spiralling.

Fethullah Gülen
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 Fethullah Gülen, whose movement has been accused of orchestrating last year’s coup. Photograph: Chris Post/AP

It also embarrassed the national intelligence service by revealing that it had transported weapons to rebels in Syria under the guise of humanitarian aid in 2014, a leak that the government says was orchestrated by Gülenists.

“Cumhuriyet shows the fascist side of the ruling party,” said Bariș Yarkadaș, an opposition MP who visited the imprisoned journalists and was attending the trial. “That is why they want to suffocate it. They are not just prosecuting a newspaper, but they want to prosecute republican values. They want monarchy, not republican rule.”

The Cumhuriyet trial has drawn broad condemnation from human rights and press freedom advocates, who say the allegations are unfounded and politically motivated, with the aim of muzzling the last major newspaper that is strongly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling party. They see the threat of closure for the staunchly secular newspaper, founded in 1924, as an assault on the founding values of the republic.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Çağlayan justice palace near downtown Istanbul to protest against the trial, which is taking place nine months after the journalists were first incarcerated. People outside the courtroom clapped for the journalists as they were marched into the crowded premises, which were filled with lawyers, family members and international observers.

The initial phase of the trial is expected to continue until Friday with defenc statements from the journalists, and the judge is expected to rule on whether to release them on bail while the case icontinues. On Monday, Gürsel testified, along with the head of the newspaper’s executive board, Akin Atalay.

The start of the trial coincided with the National Press festival in Turkey, celebrating the declaration of a constitutional monarchy by the Ottoman rulers and the abolition of censorship in 1908, an irony that was pointed out by observers of the case.

Many have also noted the apparent absurdity of the charges, whereby newspaper staff are accused of aiding and abetting terrorist organisations that they have long challenged publicly in their newspapers. The indictment accuses them of supporting the goals of the Fethullah Gülen movement – believed by many in Turkey to have orchestrated last year’s coup – and the PKK.

“The indictment charges them for aiding and abetting terrorist organisations, but what did they do in reality? Nothing but news,” said a statement by the journalists’ syndicate, whose members attended the trial. “The word ‘news’ appears 667 times in the indictment … A newspaper as old as the republic is being accused of supporting terrorism only based on the fact that its employees made news.”

“We will neither leave our friends and colleagues alone in those prisons nor resign ourselves to oppression, threats and thugs,” the statement added.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

on charges of aiding terrorists

Myanmar: Detained journalists to be charged under colonial-era law

Myanmar: Detained journalists to be charged under colonial-era law

Arrests have alarmed country’s media community, fuelling fears that freedom of speech has become increasingly restricted under Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has retained loosely-worded security laws that are decried by monitors as violating free speech.
 Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has retained loosely-worded security laws that are decried by monitors as violating free speech. Photograph: Reuters

Three Myanmar reporters detained at an undisclosed location by the army will be charged under a colonial-era statute against “unlawful association” and face up to three years in jail, government and army officials have said.

The military arrested the journalists in Myanmar’s northeastern Shan state on Monday after they covered a drug-burning event organised by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), an ethnic armed group designated as an “unlawful association” by the Yangon authorities.

The reporters are from two media outlets publishing both in Burmese and English, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and the Irrawaddy. They were among the few media organisations providing independent coverage of Myanmar when it was under military rule before a democratic transition began in 2011.

The arrests alarmed Myanmar’s media community, fuelling fears that freedom of speech has become increasingly restricted since the government of Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi took power in April last year.

“Everyone should be treated according to the law,” said Aung San Suu Kyi’s spokesman, Zaw Htay. He added that the military told him it planned to charge the reporters under the Unlawful Association Act. A military source confirmed this.

Citing information from the army, Zaw Htay said the three reporters and four other men arrested with them were “being treated very well” at a military guesthouse and would be handed over to the police “tomorrow or the day after tomorrow”.

Despite pressure from human rights bodies and the West, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has retained loosely-worded security laws dating to British colonial rule, which ended in 1948, and decried by monitors as violating free speech.

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The Unlawful Association Act has long been used by the authorities to arbitrarily arrest and detain people in Myanmar, in particular people in ethnic and religious minority areas, according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International, which has called on the government to release the journalists.

Western governments have also expressed their concern over the incident.

The US state department said it was “deeply concerned” about arrests of Thein Zaw from the Irrawaddy, and Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Naing from DVB, particularly in light of other recent arrests of journalists.

“We urge immediate action on this matter consistent with international standards of human rights and freedom of the press,” a spokeswoman, Katina Adams, said.

“A free press is vital to the success of peace and national reconciliation process,” she said.

The editors from the publications where the reporters work told Reuters they had tried obtaining explanations from the military and the government, but to no avail.

“We are all concerned about the situation, because we have lost connection with the detainees,” said Than Win Htut, a DVB editor. “Their families have the right to know what happened to them.”

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

Jailed Cameroon journalist named winner of top press freedom prize

cameron journalsit

Jailed Cameroon journalist named winner of top press freedom prize

Radio France International’s Hausa service journalist Ahmed Abba who was sentenced to 10 years in prison this year by a Cameroon military tribunal has been named the 2017 International Press Freedom Award recipient.

The annual prize is awarded by media rights body Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to honour journalists who show courage in defending press freedom despite facing attacks, threats, or imprisonment.

Ahmed Abba is the only African to be awarded the prize this year, which he jointly shares with Patricia Mayorga, a Mexican journalist; Pravit Rojanaphruk from Thailand; and Afrah Nasser, a Yemeni reporter and blogger.

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