Category Archives: Africa/Asia

Journalist ‘died after taking anxiety drug


Maxwell Bates-Spiers inquest: Journalist ‘died after taking anxiety drug’

  • 7 January 2019
Max Spiers
Image captionMr Bates-Spiers had asked a friend to buy an anxiety drug for him while on holiday in Cyprus, the inquest heard

A journalist who dealt in conspiracy theories died after taking an over-the-counter anxiety drug during a stay in Poland, an inquest has heard.

Maxwell Bates-Spiers, 39, from Kent, died in July 2016 at the Warsaw home of a woman he had earlier met at an environmental conference in the city.

Monika Duval told the inquest that Mr Bates-Spiers had taken the Turkish form of Xanax on the day he died.

Polish prosecutors viewed the death as being “from natural causes”.

A report from the Polish prosecutor’s office (PPO) “excluded the participation of further persons”.

But it also said Ms Duval had “fulfilled” Mr Bates-Spiers’ request to buy a surgery’s “entire stock” of the anxiety drug during a holiday in Cyprus.

The hearing, in Sandwich, was told the PPO report described Mr Bates-Spiers, from Canterbury, as a journalist “dealing with the topics of conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomena”.

Max SpiersImage copyrightREX FEATURES
Image captionPolish prosecutors said Mr Bates-Spiers was a journalist who dealt with conspiracy theories

She had bought up to 10 boxes – about £315 worth – of the drug, which did not require a prescription, at a doctor’s surgery before they returned to her home at the end of their holiday.

The PPO said Mr Bates-Spiers “probably took 10 tablets of Turkish Xanax, at the same time explaining to Ms Duval that it was an adequate dose because its Turkish equivalent has a different dosage”.

Ms Duval said in a statement read to the inquest that he had fallen asleep on her sofa after taking the tablets, but later stopped breathing.

Ms Duval, her daughter and ambulance crews all tried to revive Mr Bates-Spiers, but he died at the scene.

The inquest continues.


REPORT: LEBANON EXPELS BBC JOURNALIST FOR REPORTING FROM ISRAEL After the BBC’s Mehrdad Farahmand interviewed Avichay Adraee, the head of the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Lebanon expelled him from the country.


After the BBC’s Mehrdad Farahmand interviewed Avichay Adraee, the head of the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Lebanon expelled him from the country.

mehrdad monfared

After the BBC’s Mehrdad Farahmand interviewed Avichay Adraee, the head of the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Lebanon expelled him from the country.
BY SAMUEL THROPE MAY 21, 2018 11:57

Mehrdad Farahmand in Israel, Instagram, May 16, 2018. (photo credit: INSTAGRAM/MEHRDAD FARAHMAND)

Lebanon’s General Security Directorate expelled Iranian-born BBC journalist Mehrdad Farahmand from the country Sunday night for visiting and reporting from Israel, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Monday.

Farahmand, who has been based in Beirut as a correspondent for the BBC’s Persian Service for 12 years, has been reporting from Israel in recent days.
The Lebanese decision came in response to a video Farahmand posted to Facebook Saturday, Al-Akhbar reported.

In the video, Farahmand interviews Avichay Adraee, the head of the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. Farahmand translated into Persian Adraee’s message to Iranians that the IDF has no ill will towards Iran’s population and inviting Iranians to visit Israel.

Radio journalist jailed by Cameroon military court


Radio journalist jailed by Cameroon military court: CPJ
AFRICATuesday 8 May 2018 – 8:00am

Cameroon radio journalist Akumbom Elvis McCarthy, who a military court ordered must be held for at least six months. Photo: ANA / credit withheld

JOHANNESBURG – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Tuesday demanded his immediate release of radio journalist Akumbom Elvis McCarthy after the Cameroon military court ordered that he must be held for at least six months.

Last month, on 10 April, a military tribunal ordered that McCarthy, a news broadcaster for privately owned Abakwa FM Radio based in Cameroon’s Bamenda region, be remanded in custody for a renewable six-month period while police investigate claims that the journalist aired secessionist propaganda.

READ: Ex-Cameroon minister arrested in Nigeria, extradited home

“Akumbom Elvis McCarthy should not have been arrested in the first place and should be immediately released without charge,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal.

“We condemn Cameroon’s use of a military tribunal to prosecute a civilian, which is in violation of international law.”

Ghana’s ruling party forced to condemn activist for slapping journalist


Ghana’s ruling party forced to condemn activist for slapping journalist

Ghana’s ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) was on Tuesday forced to apologize for an attack on a female journalist at its headquarters in the capital, Accra.

A party sympathizer, one Hajia Fati, is reported to have slapped a female journalist who was covering a story at the NPP headquarters. The attacker admitted the incident but explained that the journalist did not look like a media person.

She is said to have likened the journalist to an onion seller who she mistook for an ally of an embattled party official who had been barred from contesting in internal elections.

The Multimedia group, Ghana’s biggest media outfit, along with other channels threatened the party with coverage boycott over the incident. It is said that the threat forced the NPP’s apology issued on Tuesday.

It read in part: “The NPP has noted with concern an alleged attack by one of its supporters, Hajia Fati. We distance ourselves from the act and condemn it unreservedly.

“The party wishes to assure Ghanaian journalists that, it cherishes the role of the media as partners in development and does not condone any action intended to suppress press freedom.

“No journalist should feel intimidated and must continue to discharge his/her duties without fear. Though the New Patriotic Party has already began an internal inquiry into the alleged incident, we will also cooperate with other agencies investigating same,” the statement signed by acting General Secretary John Boadu read.

Ghana was Africa’s best performing nation in the area of press freedom according to the latest report of media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Incidents of assault on journalists is however not uncommon.

Media pluralism but not enough independence – RSF report on Ghana
General elections were held in December 2016 without major incidents or media freedom violations. Ghana is regarded as one of the most democratic countries in Africa and Chapter 12 of its 1992 constitution guarantees media pluralism and independence.

But only a very small number of media outlets provide good news coverage. A third of the media are owned by the state or by businessmen linked to the government.

Mozambican journalist critical of gov’t kidnapped, beaten unconscious Ericino de Salema

mozambic journalist

Mozambican journalist critical of gov’t kidnapped, beaten unconscious

Association of North American ( CANADA_USA) call on Police to arrest those responsible for vicious attack of Ericino de Salema
March 28-2018

assailants on Tuesday kidnapped and assaulted a prominent Mozambican journalist and human rights activist who has been critical of President Filipe Nyusi and his government.

Ericino de Salema was snatched in the center of the capital Maputo, beaten and left unconscious on the capital’s ring road, state news agency AIM reported.

Salema is now being treated in hospital, AIM said.

He was abducted by two men and we are currently investigating the incident in order to find who did this

He was abducted by two men and we are currently investigating the incident in order to find who did this,” police spokesman Orlando Mudumane told reporters.

Salema, a veteran journalist and lawyer, criticised alleged corruption and largesse among Nyusi and his family in his regular appearances on independent television station STV.

Nyusi denies allegations his family have benefited unduly from state funds and has pledged to crackdown on corruption that has blighted Mozambique in the past.

Salema had received threatening phone calls the previous day, AIM reported.

In May 2016, another political commentator, Jose Jaime Macuane was also kidnapped and later found on the same Maputo ring road, having been shot in both legs.

No one has faced charges for this abduction and shooting and very few people in Maputo believe in the police’s capability to resolve such crimes.

Three Indian journalists run down deliberately and killed by vehicles

3 indian journalists

Three Indian journalists run down and killed by vehicles
Sandeep Sharma, Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh claimed to be victims of deliberate attacks

#Association of North American( CANADA _USA ) Ethnic Journalists and writers condolences to family , friends and colleagues of Sandeep Sharma, Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh in India

March 28 -2018
Three Indian journalists have been struck by vehicles and killed in recent days in what their families and rights groups claim were deliberate attacks.

The deaths of the reporters Sandeep Sharma in Madhya Pradesh state, and Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh in Bihar state, have underlined India’s status as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, particularly in languages other than English and outside large cities.

Sharma, 36, had recently conducted an undercover “sting” that claimed to have produced footage of a senior police official in his area agreeing to accept a 25,000-rupee (£272) bribe each month in exchange for allowing sand mining in a protected crocodile sanctuary.

“After that he was getting lots of threats from people,” said Rizwan Ahmad Siddiqui, editor-in-chief of News World, the local television news channel where Sharma worked.

“He was denied police protection and the police asked for the camera he had used to conduct the sting,” he said. “They took the original recording and never gave it back.”

CCTV footage has been released showing Sharma’s motorcycle disappearing under an accelerating truck on Monday morning on a road in Bhind district, about 310 miles from the state capital, Bhopal.

Police in the district formed a special investigative team and arrested the driver, Ranbir Yadav, on Monday. The Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Shivraj Singh, on Tuesday ordered India’s elite Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate Sharma’s death.

News World has been airing segments on Sharma’s death and tributes to the journalist since Monday morning and Siddiqui called for the CBI to also investigate his claims about the illegal sand mining.

Sand is a key ingredient in modern construction and as India rapidly urbanises, the pursuit of the material has been linked to increasing reports of corruption and violence.

The amount of sand used for construction in India has tripled since 2000 by some estimates and supplies around major cities have been depleted. Developers have been travelling to more remote regions to source the material, often bringing them into conflict with communities that complain the dredging process severely damages rivers and coasts.

Villagers pay tragic price as Indian building boom drives demand for sand
Read more
Organised sand mafias, often alleged to have close ties to authorities, are believed to be involved in most of the illegal extraction, and Reporters Without Borders has noted that journalists “who cover India’s sand mafia are often the victims of violent reprisals”.

“The shocking manner in which Sandeep Sharma was murdered is a terrible warning to journalists who investigate the sand mining mafia phenomenon,” the group said in a statement.

The day before Sharma was killed, Nishchal and Singh were also run down by a vehicle allegedly driven by an ex-village chief, Mohammad Harsu.

Police said on Monday they had arrested Harsu and were investigating the circumstances of the incident.

The pair had finished reporting on a Hindu festival for their publications when they got into an argument with Harsu at a tobacco stand, said Rakesh Kumar Singh, bureau chief of the newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, where Nishchal worked.


“As they were leaving the tobacco stand they were rammed by a car driven by the ex-village head,” Singh said. “[Harsu] used to pressure local journalists to write in his favour and had lots of grudges against these two journalists.”

Singh said journalists in small Indian cities and villages were frequently threatened by local authorities. “These local dons are the big figures,” he said. “If you don’t greet them with a smile you get four slaps. They want you to fear them. They put a lot of pressure on us journalists.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a report last year that 27 journalists had been killed “with complete impunity” in India since 1992. It listed another 25 murders it was investigating to ascertain a connection to the journalists’ work. At least another six journalists have been killed in the time since the report was published.

The CPJ ranks India 13th in its global impunity index, highlighting countries where the murders of journalists are least likely to be punished. The organisation claims not a single journalist’s murder in the country has been solved in the past 10 years.

In September the journalist and editor Gauri Lankesh was gunned down on her doorstep in Bengaluru. Earlier this month police arrested a man with close ties to Hindu nationalist groups.

Since you’re here …

No Journalsit is Safe in Kashmir/Kashmir journalist Kamran Yusuf released after six months in jail

Kashmir journalist Kamran Yusuf released after six months in jail

Kamran Yusuf, accused of ‘waging war against India’ and ‘stone throwing’, gets bail after more than six months in jail.


Kamran Yusuf returned to his hometown Pulwama on Thursday [Shuaib Bashir/Al Jazeera]
Kamran Yusuf returned to his hometown Pulwama on Thursday [Shuaib Bashir/Al Jazeera]

Pulwama, Indian-administered Kashmir – A photojournalist in Indian-administered Kashmirhas been released on bail after spending more than six months in jail on charges of “waging war against India” and “stone throwing”.

Kamran Yusuf returned to his hometown on Thursday after a court in the Indian capital, New Delhi, found the state’s case against the 22-year-old freelancer lacked facts.

Rubeen Thahseen, Yusuf’s mother, told Al Jazeera she was jubilant about her son’s return.

“He is innocent … I haven’t slept a single night during all these months,” she said from Tahab village in Pulwama district.

Yusuf was arrested last September by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after he left for work in Pulwana in southern Kashmir, where a new wave of protests against Indian rule has erupted following the Indian army’s 2016 killing of a young separatist leader.

Both India and Pakistan claim the Muslim majority state in full but rule it in part. An estimated 70,000 people have been killed since an armed revolt in 1989. That figure includes 21 journalists.

The International Federation of Journalists said journalists covering Kashmir have “walked the razor’s edge”, working under threats and intimidation from various actors in the conflict.


Kashmir: Civilian killings threaten new anti-India protests

Yusuf’s arrest marked the first time a Kashmiri journalist was held by the NIA, a body formed to combat “terrorism” in 2009, months after attacks on Mumbai, the Indian financial capital.

The NIA contended Yusuf was not a “real journalist” as he had never covered “any developmental activity of the government” including inaugurations of hospitals, school buildings, roads and bridges.

Justifying his arrest before the court, NIA told judges Yusuf’s mobile number was “persistently located at places where counter-terrorist operations were in progress”.

But the court, in a ruling on Tuesday, said the NIA “has not placed on record a single photo/video showing that the accused was indulging in stone pelting activities at any site”.

Kamran’s work as a photojournalist makes his presence at sites of stone throwing “intrinsic”, the ruling said.

Warisha Farasat, Yusuf’s defence lawyer, said the order was “very welcome and reasoned”.

Human rights groups have previously condemned Yusuf’s arrest, with Amnesty International branding the charges against him “fabricated” and “politically motivated to stifle journalism in Kashmir”.

Yusuf has contributed to several newspapers in Kashmir, including the Srinagar-based newspaper Greater Kashmir.

“He was always first to reach the spot and cover the stories, we have saved all the papers where his pictures have been published,” said Irshad Ahmed, Yusuf’s uncle.


The children of Kashmir’s decades-long conflict

Showkat Nanda, a freelance journalist in the region, told Al Jazeera that journalists have become “easy targets” for the Indian state in Kashmir.

“The situation here is such that anyone can be framed like Kamran. When the narrative goes against the state, they go to any extreme to suppress the voice,” he said.

“No journalist is safe in Kashmir.”

Man arrested in connection to Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh murder

Gauri Lankesh

Man arrested in connection to  Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh murder in sep 2017

 March 9 -2018
Picture of Gauri LankeshImage copyrightFACEBOOK/GAURI LANKESH
Image captionShe was shot in the head and chest by gunmen who arrived by motorcycle

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of prominent Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh.

KT Naveen Kumar was earlier arrested in an arms trafficking case, but he had revealed his role in the murder during interrogation, police say.

Ms Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in the southern city of Bangalore in September last year.

She was the most high-profile journalist murdered in years. Her death sparked off protests across India.

Police say however, that Mr Kumar is not the main accused in the case.

As a journalist, Ms Lankesh often made statements that were constructed as dissent against the establishment.

She was shot in the head and chest by gunmen who arrived by motorcycle. The motive for the crime was not clear.

A week after her death, there were protests against her killing in several Indian cities, including the capital, Delhi.

She was known for her left-leaning views. As a journalist, she edited a weekly newspaper and cast a critical eye on Hindu fundamentalism in politics and fiercely opposed the caste system.

Indian reporters are being increasingly targeted by radical Hindu nationalists, activists say.

In the last few years, journalists seen to be critical of Hindu nationalists have been berated on social media, while many women reporters have been threatened with rape and assault.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-governmental organisation, has ranked India as a country with a poor record in safeguarding journalists. Their research shows that at least 27 journalists have been murdered because of their work in India since 1992.

good news on release of Uzbekistan Longest Imprisoned Journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64

Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64

Amazing Moment’: Uzbekistan Frees World’s Longest Imprisoned Journalist  Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64

 Association of North American ( Canada and USA )  Ethnic Journalists and writers welcome release of Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64 after serving 19 years in Uzbekistan prison for journalism . 
Published 5 March 2018
Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64, remained in the prison for 19 years for working at an independent newspaper, Erk, or Freedom.

The Uzbekistan government has freed one of the world’s longest imprisoned journalists, after 19 years.


Yusuf Ruzimuradov, 64, was in prison for working at an independent newspaper, Erk, or Freedom. The Eurasia division of the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, tweeted, “Glad to hear that #journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov was released from #Uzbekistan prison.” The group also added that he had been held “longer than anybody else in the world — after being convicted on politicized charges in a quick sham trial.”

Considered as a threat for his critical stance on the government, Ruzimuradov was convicted with his editor, Muhammad Bekjanov, on charges of publishing and distributing a banned newspaper, which was perceived to have played a role in overthrowing the government.

The two were sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1999 – and both had their sentences arbitrarily extended for allegedly violating prison rules. Both of the media people were in exile before being abducted in 1999 in Ukraine and smuggled to Uzbekistan while being tortured repeatedly as they were brought back to the Central Asian country.

Ruzimuradov’s daughter, Aygul Bekjan, who lives in the United States, wrote on her Facebook page, “I’m so happy to tell everyone that my father is out of prison, but at the same time I’m so mad for the fact that he lost 18 years of his life for nothing!”

Steve Swerdlow, the Central Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement, “Today, I got a Skype message I will treasure: the government of Uzbekistan has finally released journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov after 19 long years in jail.”

“So today for his family, for him and for us it’s an amazing moment,” Swerdlow added. “There’s no doubt that on political prisoners, these steps were inconceivable when the former president Karimov was alive.”

In February, nearly 12 human rights groups called on Uzbeki authorities to release media people, especially, Bobomurod Abdullaev who was detained in September for merely exercising his right to freedom of expression.

“At a time when the Uzbek government appears to be taking steps to reform the country’s feared security services, reports of a journalist’s torture in their custody should prompt an immediate investigation and decisive, public condemnation,” Swerdlow said.

Several groups petitioned for the release of the media workers prisoners including Amnesty International, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Civil Rights Defenders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Reporters Without Borders, Freedom Now, ARTICLE 19, and the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights.

good News on Rerelase of German Turk Journalist from Prison in Turkey

free  deniz turk

Association of North American ( Canada )  Ethnic journalists welcome the release of Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel  from Turkish jail


Turkey Releases of Deniz Yucel, Journalist for German Newspaper


deniz journalist

BERLIN — A German-Turkish journalist whose detention had proven an irritant in relations between Berlin and Ankara was released on Friday from the Turkish prison where he had been detained for the past year, just hours after he was formally charged with spreading terrorism-related propaganda.

At the same time, the state-run Anadolu news agency said that three prominent Turkish journalists were among six people who were sentenced to life in prison. All had been accused of involvement in the failed 2016 coup and of having links to Fethullah Gulen, a cleric in the United States who Turkey says organized the effort to overthrow the government.

The release of Deniz Yucel, a reporter for Die Welt, came a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim of Turkey to press for his freedom.

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