Vietnam arrests two leading members of independent journalists group

first_img News Pham Chi Thanh (left) was arrested on 21 may in Hanoi. Two days later, Nguyen Tuong Thuy was arrested and transferred to Ho-Chi-Minh-City (photos: Facebook Pham Thanh – Dien Dan Dan Chu). Receive email alerts News to go further Vietnam sentences journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu to eight years in prison Reporters Without Borders (RSF) demands the immediate release of two leading members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN), who were arrested two days apart in Hanoi last week, and calls on Vietnam’s commercial partners to put pressure on the authorities to end this latest crackdown on independent commentators. Nguyen Tuong Thuy, a 68-year-old blogger and IJAVN vice-president, was arrested on 23 May in Hanoi, where he lives, and was immediately transported 1,700 km south of the capital to Ho Chi Minh City, where he continues to be held. A former Vietnamese Communist Party combatant, Thuy became a reporter for Radio Free Asia, which is funded by the US Congress. Pham Chi Thanh, a journalist and prominent IJAVN member who uses the pseudonym of Pham Thanh, was arrested when police arrived at his Hanoi home at 8 a.m. on 21 May and immediately took him away. His is currently being held in a Hanoi prison under article 117 of the criminal code, which penalizes “opposing the state of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.” April 22, 2021 Find out more “The almost simultaneous arrests of Pham Chi Thanh and Nguyen Tuong Thuy send an extremely chilling message to all those trying to maintain a public debate in Vietnam,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. Vietnam has long been near the bottom of RSF’s World Press Freedom Index and is ranked 175th out of 180 countries in the 2020 Index. Also aged 68 and an old Communist Party member, Thanh used to work with the state-owned Voice of Vietnam radio station before becoming a pro-democracy activist and critic of the one-party state. He edited a blog, Ba Dam Xoe, and had just published a book about the Communist party’s general secretary entitled “Nguyen Phu Trong: holder of the mandate of heaven or great immoral traitor.” VietnamAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independence ImprisonedJudicial harassmentRSF Prize “The fact that the government has detained these two journalists, both respected former Communist Party members who have become scathing critics of the party’s ossification, speaks volumes about the feverishness at the head of the party as it prepares for its 21st five-yearly congress in six months’ time. We urge Vietnam’s commercial partners, including the European Union and the United States, to press for an end to this latest crackdown.” Last week’s two arrests were preceded on 8 May by the arrest of Phung Thuy, a bookseller who helped to sell books produced by the Progressive Publishing House (NXBTD), including Thanh’s books. Intelligence agents tortured him in an unsuccessful attempt to get him to reveal the current address of Pham Doan Trang, a journalist and author who was awarded RSF’s Prize for Impact in 2019.center_img RSF_en Help by sharing this information Feverish leadership The IJAVN, which also tries to promote a public debate in Vietnam, was created in 2014. Its president, Pham Chi Dung, who was included in RSF’s list of “information heroes” five years ago, was arrested last November. Three more independent reporters arrested in Vietnam News VietnamAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsMedia independence ImprisonedJudicial harassmentRSF Prize News Organisation RSF laureates support jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang April 27, 2021 Find out more May 26, 2020 – Updated on June 26, 2020 Vietnam arrests two leading members of independent journalists group Follow the news on Vietnam April 7, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Harassment of two journalists is test for international community

first_imgZhukouski was not allowed to have a defence lawyer during yesterday’shearing. In protest, he wore a gag when he appeared before the judgesand refused to answer their questions.“It was a farce, not a trial,” he told RSF. “[The court] hasbeen given the order to stifle journalists. Today the police areafter us two. Tomorrow they will hunt down others if we surrender.” Shchyrakova also filmed the visit but accidentally deleted herfootage. This did not stop the court from convicting her as if shehad sent the footage to Belsat TV. “The judge did not evenbother to ask for proof of my contribution to the Belsat TVreport,” she said. (c) Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ) Receive email alerts Europe – Central AsiaBelarus Judicial harassmentExiled media News News Europe – Central AsiaBelarus Judicial harassmentExiled media There were no fewer than 28 convictions on this charge last year, inthe run-up to the latest presidential elections. This year theharassment seems to be concentrating on Homyel. RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” 7finesin three months and a halfBoth have been repeatedly fined this year. In all, Zhukouski has beenfined seven times and Shchyrakova three times. Each of the finesimposed on Zhukouski has exceeded the average monthly wage inBelarus, which is 274 euros. If the two journalists fail to pay thefines, their homes and possessions could be seized. Reporters Without Borders condemns the way judicial authorities in the southeastern city of Homyel are hounding freelance journalists Kastus Zhukouski and Larysa Shchyrakova and urges the European Union to condition its rapprochement with Belarus on specific progress in respect for media freedom. “Reducing journalists to destitution is a way to destroy them,”said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asiadesk. “The level of harassment of journalists in Homyel is suchthat it seems to be a test. If the international community does notreact, President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime will assume it has afree hand to persecute journalists as it sees fit.” “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says Is Homyel being used a laboratory to try out persecution ofjournalists in Belarus? Yesterday a local court ordered Zhukouski andShchyrakova to pay fines of 7.5 million rubles (330 euros) forworking for an independent media outlet based in a foreign country. RSF_en June 2, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Belarus News Zhukouski works mainly for Belsat TV, a TV station based inPoland. The report that was the subject of yesterday’s hearing wasabout Ukrainian refugees in Homyel and a visit by a representative ofUNHCR, the UN refugee agency. Zhukouski and Shchyrakova are the latest victims of the government’shypocritical censorship. One the one hand, it bans the mainindependent broadcasters, forcing them to broadcast from outside thecountry. On other, it systematically denies accreditation to thejournalists who work for them, so that they can be prosecuted for“illegally producing and disseminating media content.” I appeal to the international community to defend the principles they proclaim and to stop living by double standards. I do not call for sanctions, but conditions must be set for any dealings.Kastus Zhukouski In a bid to overcome a slump in the country’s economy, theBelarusian government is trying to improve relations with theEuropean Union and to woo international donors. The EU settled forthe release of the leading political prisoners in 2015 in return forlifting the targeted sanctions imposed on leading Belarusianofficials four years earlier. April 16, 2016 Harassment of two journalists is test for international community May 28, 2021 Find out more Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown Organisation to go further News Help by sharing this information May 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Witness of photographer’s killing offered bribe for false testimony

first_img May 13, 2021 Find out more RSF_en MexicoAmericas Organisation 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies Reporter murdered in northwestern Mexico’s Sonora state Reports May 5, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Mexico News Juan Ramón Ochoa Hernández, an eye witness of the November 2004 murder of photographer Gregorio Rodríguez Hernández, has alleged that he was offered 5,000 pesos (about 400 euros) by municipal police director Abel Enríquez Zavala and María Isela Machado Vélez to accuse two brothers, Ulises and Abraham Ernesto Sedano Ornelas, of carrying out the murder. Enríquez Zavala was arrested on the night of 3 July on suspicion of ordering the killing.Other disturbing facts have emerged, including Enríquez Zavala’s belated arrival at the murder scene and the fact that all of the city’s police officers were assigned to tasks outside of the city on the night of the murder. All in all, there is now a degree of confusion about the suspected roles played by Enríquez Zavala and Antonio Frausto Ocampo, a drug cartel hit man with whom he has been linked.________________________________________________________05.07.05 – Former police chief arrested for murder of Gregorio Rodríguez HernándezAbel Enríquez Zavala, the former head of municipal police in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, was arrested on the night of 3 July on suspicion of ordering the 28 November murder of photographer Gregorio Rodríguez Hernández of the daily newspaper El Debate.Enríquez Zavala was public security director for the city of Escuinapa at the time of the murder, having been suspended from his previous position four months before. He has been linked to Antonio Frausto Ocampo, a hit man working for the Sinaloa drug cartel who allegedly carried out the Rodríguez killing._____________________________________________________16.12.04 – Gregorio Rodríguez Hernández’s killer identifiedA report in the daily La Crónica de Hoy on 3 December said the police have identified the presumed killer of El Debate photographer Gregorio Rodríguez Hernández, who was gunned down on 28 November in Escuinapa, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa. The killer is said to be Antonio Frausto Ocampo, an alleged hit man for the Sinaloa cartel, which is led by Ismael El Mayo Zambada. The police are also reportedly looking for two brothers, Doroteo and Manuel Ulises Cedano Ornelas, who are suspected of participating in the killing. A third brother, Abraham Cedano Ornelas, 20, has already been arrested.The police found the jeep allegedly used by the killers in a place owned by Frausto Ocampo. The murder weapons has also reportedly been identified. Initial findings suggest that Rodríguez was killed because of his work as press photographer. In an article published on 3 December, journalist Jesús Blancornelas said Rodríguez is believed to have taken photos that show former police chief Abel Enrique Zavala in the company of Frausto Ocampo at a party on 20 November.————————————————————-03.12.2004 – News photographer gunned down in front of family in restaurantReporters Without Borders today condemned the slaying of Gregorio Rodríguez Hernández, a photographer with the daily El Debate in Escuinapa, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, who was gunned down on 28 November while dining in a restaurant with his wife and two children.”In view of the increasing violence in Mexico, especially against the press, all aspects of this murder must be investigated thoroughly including the possibility that it was linked to the victim’s work as a journalist,” the organisation said in a letter to Sinaloa governor Juan S. Millán, asking to be kept informed of the investigation’s progress.Some witnesses said the killers arrived on foot and shot Rodríguez at point-blank range before making off. Hit in the head, neck and chest, he died immediately. Other accounts referred to two individuals using a pickup. The newspaper said one of the presumed killers had already been identified.Rodríguez had various local beats, including sport, society and crime. El Debate news editor Juan Carlos Ramírez said the killing might have been linked to a brief published on 24 November about a physical attack by two suspected drug traffickers on a doctor who refused to treat an injured person they brought to his surgery. But Ramírez stressed that he did not want to speculate, and that the gunmen could have killed the wrong man.Editor Laura Bejar added that Rodríguez was often asked to take photos of violence linked to drug trafficking.None of El Debate’s reporters had received threats, but the newspaper had requested police protection for two journalists working in Escuinapa. With 25 murders in the past four months, Sinaloa is one of Mexico’s most violent states. center_img News July 8, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Witness of photographer’s killing offered bribe for false testimony News Receive email alerts to go further MexicoAmericas Help by sharing this information April 28, 2021 Find out more NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs saylast_img read more

Belarus

first_imgIncreased pressure on the media during the run-up to the presidential electionIntimidation campaigns against journalists and dissidents intensified during the run-up to the 2010 presidential election.Website blockings and harassment follow the entry into force of Decree No. 60On 6 July 2010, the Vitebsky Kuryer newspaper’s website was blocked by the Beltelecom national telecommunications operator, which controls bandwidth. The website, not registered with the authorities for ideological reasons, has now been blocked under Decree No. 60, and has had to migrate to another platform.A news website based in the town of Vileika, vilejka.org, was blocked for several days as the result of a police investigation into comments posted by cybernauts. On 1 July, the police questioned one of the site’s users, Mikalai Susla, and confiscated his computer because they suspected him to be the site’s director. The latter said that the site had been blocked because of unfavourable comments about local and national policies, and that the crackdown was related to the fact that Decree No. 60 had just come into effect.Natalia Radzina, chief editor of the opposition website charter97.org was again interrogated by police in Minsk on 1 July 2010 in connection with litigation over a comment made on her website. This was her fourth interrogation in four months.On 23 June 2010, nine activist members of the Nazbol (National Bolshevik Party) staged an unauthorised demonstration on Freedom Square in Minsk, waving placards and wearing T-shirts with the words “Internet Freedom.” They were arrested and found guilty of “violating procedure for holding demonstrations.” Their leader, Yawhen Kontush, was fined 875,000 Belarus roubles (about USD 324). The other participants were each sentenced to pay a fine of 175,000 roubles (about USD 65).Journalists’ personal data in jeopardyIn April 2010, a senior police officer authorised police computer experts to access the e-mail accounts and Skype instant messages of several independent journalists whose computers had been seized during raids of their media offices and homes on 16 March. This happened as a result of defamation suits which a former KGB official, Ivan Korzh, brought against relatives of police officers arrested in connection with a case involving allegedly illegal hunting practices.Natalia Radzina, Svyatlana Kalinkina and Maryna Koktysh of the opposition newspaper Narodnaya Volya, as well as Iryna Khalip of the independent Russian daily Novaïa Gazeta are also concerned.The authorities’ decision to access journalists’ e-mails and instant messaging constitutes a serious violation of both these media professionals’ communication methods and their privacy. Such practices place the reporters’ sources in jeopardy. Belarus authorities are particularly interested in identifying and monitoring contributors to Charter 97’s website. Police investigator Alyaksandr Puseu told Natallya Radzina that they had discovered no documents related to the defamation suit in the seized computers, but had found over 3,000 articles containing the keyword diktatura (dictatorship). The journalist was questioned in detail about how the website operates. In 2009, Ivan Korzh had lodged a complaint in the aim of having an article posted on Charter97.org removed, entitled: “Relatives of arrested policemen complain about dictatorship.”Impunity promotes self-censorship On 3 September 2010, Oleg Bebenine, a Charter 97 journalist known for his criticisms of Belarus’ leadership, was found hanged in his country house near Minsk, the capital. The official finding of suicide is denied by his close relatives and associates, who believe that it was a politically motivated crime. Journalists covering this case have received death threats.The Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) – a Reporters Without Borders’ partner organisation and a 2004 Sakharov Prize recipient – sent letters to the Minister of Interior and to the public prosecutor calling for an objective and transparent investigation. To date, impunity reigns over this matter, adding to the oppressive climate of intimidation against media professionals and motivating them to resort to self-censorship.Demonstrations against Lukashenko’s re-election : Attempts to block information The president of Belarus, who has been in power for 16 years, was officially re-elected as a result of the December 2010 elections, which international observers have labelled “undemocratic.”On 19 December 2010, protest demonstrations were held in Minsk after the announcement of the outgoing President’s victory with nearly 80% of the votes. Large gatherings were violently dispersed and over 600 people were arrested, including some 30 journalists. Pressures also intensified online and on communications via cell phone. Calls made on 19 December around 8:00 p.m. could not get through anywhere in Belarus. A number of opposition and independent news sites were the victims of DdoS attacks which either made them inaccessible or caused them to display pseudo or “counterfeit” websites disseminating false information to which visitors were redirected. Thus, some sites with similar names, but registered with the suffix “.in,” appeared in place of charter97.org, as well as Belaruspartisan and Gazetaby, and even the newspaper Nasha Niva.Blog platforms such as the highly popular LiveJournal experienced operating problems as of 19 December. In the early morning of 20 December, security agents entered the offices of the website charter97.org and several of their members were arrested by the KGB. Editor Natalia Radzina was struck in the head by police on 19 December. Released in late January 2011, she is still under house arrest and is being prosecuted for “participation in mass riots.” She may face a prison term of up to 15 years.Continued reprisals and international solidarity for voices critical of the regimeRepression continued to plague Belarus’ society in the weeks following the election protests.Several unprecedented cases of house arrests, coupled with the posting of security officers at opposition members’ homes and strict isolation measures, have been observed. Some of the latter have been barred from Internet access and from watching TV news.In view of the extent of the protests, the well-known Polish dissident and politician Lech Walesa predicted that Belarusians would use new technologies to follow in the footsteps of Tunisia and relieve President Alexander Lukashenko of his duties.In the meantime, the international community has been expressing increased solidarity with Belarusian civil society. Since 2011, the European Union and the United States have imposed new sanctions against Minsk which include asset freezes and refusals to grant visas to the Belarus president and 150 of his close associates.Estonia, a Balta state renowned for its expertise in the technology sector, stated in January 2011 that it was ready to put its cyber-expertise to work on behalf of the Belarusian opposition to teach them “how to manage their Internet websites and protect them against cyberattacks.” The NATO Cyber Security Centre is based in Estonia. The United States is said to have offered to join Estonians in their efforts to aid Belarus. Human rights activists, who have already demonstrated how innovative they are by their successful online mobilisation efforts, are often skilled users of certain techniques for circumventing censorship and protecting personal data. However, in confronting a regime resolved not to loosen its grip, international assistance may prove to be a valuable asset to Belarusian netizens. May 28, 2021 Find out more to go further “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says News News Follow the news on Belarus Until now Belarus’ sole space for freedom, the Internet, has just been put under a regulatory microscope by the government in the wake of a repressive order which entered into effect in July 2010. The suspicious death of an online journalist has traumatised the profession. In the run-up to the elections, and during the demonstrations following the disputed re-election of Alexander Lukashenko, “Europe’s last dictator” civil society has witnessed crackdowns both offline, against demonstrators and journalists, and online, via blockings, cyberattacks and tampering. BelarusEurope – Central Asia Help by sharing this information BelarusEurope – Central Asia Receive email alertscenter_img Organisation News RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” June 2, 2021 Find out more RSF_en News Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown Setting up an Internet filtering systemDecree No. 60 issued in February 2010, entitled “On measures for improving use of the national Internet network,” entered into effect on 1 July 2010. It establishes extensive control over Internet content and provides a framework for network access. It requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to register with the Ministry of Communications and Information and to provide it with technical details on the country’s online networks, systems and information resources.This decree also obliges ISPs to identify all the devices (including computers and mobile phones) which are being used to connect to the Internet. Similarly, all users going online in a cybercafé or using a shared connection (for example, in a condominium) now have to identify themselves, and a record of all online connections must be kept for one year. The aim of this measure is to dissuade citizens from continuing to inform themselves on independent and opposition websites.The decree also provides for the creation of a Centre of Operations and Analysis (COA) attached to the president’s office, whose task it will be to monitor all content before it is put online. This measure clearly institutes censorship at the highest level of government. Any request by this Centre for a website closure will have to be carried out by the ISP concerned within 24 hours. Any protest against a website’s closing will need to be referred to a court. The Ministry of Communications and Information has formulated a new regulation, effective as of 1 July, setting up a filtering system for controlling access to websites considered dangerous, including “extremist” sites, those linked with trafficking in arms, drugs, or human beings, and those which are pornographic or incite violence. Sites deemed as such will be banned by order of the Ministry of Communications and Information, the Committee for State Control, or the COA and will be rendered inaccessible from government organisations, state-owned companies and cybercafés. They could also be blocked from other Internet users by ISPs, which had until 1 September to procure the equipment needed to carry out the regulations. March 11, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Belarus May 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

New threat against The Shift News in Malta highlights growing international abuse of defamation laws

first_img RSF_en Help by sharing this information News March 2, 2018 Find out more On 6 March 2019, The Shift News received a letter from London law firm Simons Muirhead & Burton, on behalf of Russian banker Ruben Vardanyan, demanding the removal of an article published on 4 March under the headline “Troika laundromat: How the Russians moved their money into the west”.The article published by The Shift News reported on the ‘Troika Laundromat’ revelations made by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), exposing a complex money-laundering scheme centred around Russian private investment bank Troika Dialog, once led by Vardanyan. The letter from Simons Muirhead & Burton claimed the article had “potentially very serious adverse implications” for Vardanyan, and the firm stated: “We require the immediate removal of the article”.The Shift News has emerged as one of the only outlets in Malta that continues to pursue in-depth investigative journalism into risky topics such as corruption in the aftermath of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017. It has faced a number of previous threats of defamation suits, including from London-based global citizenship and residency advisory firm Henley & Partners, and has refused to comply with all requests to remove content. The Shift News has stated it will also not comply with Vardanyan’s demand.“We condemn this new threat as the latest in a long series of attempts to pressure The Shift News, which courageously continues to pursue risky investigative reporting that others don’t dare touch in Malta. It also highlights the growing international abuse of defamation laws to silence public interest investigative reporting – far too often with involvement from London-based firms in what amounts to attempts to censor independent media”, said RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.Defamation law has been extensively abused in Malta, where a total of 27 defamation cases continue to be pursued posthumously against Daphne Caruana Galizia more than 16 months after her assassination. These include a case filed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat – who is also pursuing a defamation suit against her son Matthew Caruana Galizia – as well as two cases filed by Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, and one case brought by Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi, who today dropped two other cases against Caruana Galizia linked to her Panama Papers reporting.On 4 March, RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent took part in a workshop at the University of Aberdeen School of Law, where international experts examined the increasing use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), with the cases against The Shift News and Daphne Caruana Galizia highlighted as case studies. RSF and other participants committed to exploring further possible collaboration to address the growing threats posed to journalism and to broader press freedom by the abuse of defamation laws.Malta is ranked 65th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index. Follow the news on Europe – Central Asia Receive email alerts Organisation March 7, 2019 New threat against The Shift News in Malta highlights growing international abuse of defamation laws News MaltaUnited KingdomEurope – Central Asia CorruptionWomenImpunityFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment November 29, 2018 Find out more Malta: one year after arrests of murder suspects, international NGOs condemn continued lack of justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia Ten years after launch of blog, murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia faces posthumous barrage of libel lawsuits MaltaUnited KingdomEurope – Central Asia CorruptionWomenImpunityFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment News Malta’s Speaker of Parliament tries to censor news site A new threat of possible legal action against Malta-based investigative outlet The Shift News has highlighted the growing international abuse of defamation laws to silence public interest investigative reporting. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this latest attempt to pressure The Shift News and underscores the need to address the threats posed to journalism and broader press freedom by vexatious defamation lawsuits. to go further December 3, 2018 Find out more Newslast_img read more

Four-year jail term for newspaper editor who investigated corruption

first_img Help by sharing this information March 17, 2016 – Updated on March 21, 2016 Four-year jail term for newspaper editor who investigated corruption Receive email alerts Follow the news on Venezuela RSF_en News Organisation to go further Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela VenezuelaAmericas January 13, 2021 Find out morecenter_img News VenezuelaAmericas New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets News News August 25, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the four-year jail sentence that a court in the southeastern state of Bolívar has imposed on David Natera Febres, the editor of the independent Correo del Caroní newspaper, in connection with its coverage of alleged corruption involving a state-owned company.In RSF’s view, this iniquitous sentence, passed on 11 March, is designed to gag investigative journalism and reinforce the climate of censorship in Venezuela.As well as giving Natera a four-year jail term on a defamation charge, the court fined him more than 200,000 bolívares (20,000 dollars) and banned the newspaper from publishing any information about the case.Natera and his newspaper were convicted in connection with their coverage in 2013 of a case of alleged corruption and extortion involving army officers and the Ferrominera Orinoco company, which mines iron ore. The newspaper’s reporting led to the arrest of several of the company’s managers, but they were later released.“We question the real motives of the court’s decision and suspect another attempt by the authorities to censor and intimidate the independent press,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk. “Venezuela’s independent media are the victims of institutional persecution. The authorities must respect the fundamental principle of a right to information.”One of the few independent newspapers in Venezuela, the Correo del Caroní has been subjected to many different forms of harassment by the authorities in Bolívar state in recent years. It has been denied state advertising, pressure has been put on private-sector companies not to place advertising with the newspaper, newsstand owners have been bribed not to sell it, and it has been threatened with seizure of its headquarters.This defamation case is not the first of its kind in Venezuela. In May 2015, RSF issued a press release condemning a judge’s decision to ban 22 editors and executives of three independent media outlets from leaving the country when a suit was brought against them accusing them of “aggravated and continuing defamation.” Journalists who cover corruption involving government officials or cases of violence by state agents are often the targets of harassment or physical violence, especially during elections.Venezuela is ranked 137th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2015 World Press Freedom Index. Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives June 15, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Will President Correa’s pardon erase a year of controversy and polarization?

News Follow the news on Ecuador President Rafael Correa’s legal battle with the daily El Universo and its representatives ended today with a presidential pardon. In a televised address Correa said he was “pardoning the defendants and cancelling a sentence they had deserved.” He also announced that he was dropping his libel case against the two authors of a book about his brother, entitled “El Gran Hermano” (The Big Brother), who were already ordered by a court to pay him two million dollars in damages.“President Correa has acted wisely in these two cases by deciding to dispense with sanctions that would have had terrible consequences for freedom of expression,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We would like to think that, as he said today, he never wanted to send anyone to prison. Was it nonetheless necessary, in the El Universo case, to await such a dramatic judicial conclusion before opting for leniency?“A year of legal proceedings unfortunately fuelled the controversy and polarization. We hope that the climate will improve as a result of the presidential pardon and that media offences will soon be decriminalized. This outcome will hopefully also encourage certain media to measure their words before publishing or broadcasting. They were partly to blame and we have said so from the start. Such charged words as ‘dictator’ and ‘crime against humanity’ cannot be uttered lightly. Real critical debate should prevail over insults, abuse and intransigence.”______________16.02.12 – El Universo verdict a devastating setback for freedom of expressionEcuador’s National Court of Justice in Quito yesterday upheld the sentences imposed by lower courts against the newspaper El Universo and three of its representatives in a libel case brought by President Rafael Correa.No further legal avenues are available to prevent Carlos, César and Nicolás Pérez, respectively director and deputy directors of the newspaper, from serving three-year prison sentences and its publishing company from having to pay 40 million dollars in compensation to President Correa. News Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives Organisation Lawyers for El Universo said they would apply to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “The consequences of this decision have implications far beyond the El Universo case. The National Court of Justice has rubber-stamped a licence for self-censorship which could well have repercussions on other media organizations in the future, whatever their politics and whatever kind of government is in place,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Although Rafael Correa brought a case as a private individual and not as head of state, it is difficult not to see such an excessive penalty as a return to ‘lèse-majesté’, which does not tally with the principles of the rule of law, which require a democratically elected government to accept criticism, however scathing and unjust. “Polarisation can only get worse, to the point where it might undermine the debate on the new communication law, some of whose provisions we find laudable.“It’s a mess.”While the El Universo representatives, or at least one of them – César et Nicolás Pérez are currently in Miami – is in detention, the press freedom organization is unable to accept the invitation from the Ecuadorean government to take part in a forum on freedom of information. The violent scenes outside the court while the hearing was taking place, during which El Universo photographer Diógenes Baldeón and cameraman Romel Iza of the RTU television were attacked, illustrate the extent to which opinion is polarised among Ecuadorean society. We condemn these assaults, for which activists of the ruling Alianza País party were believed to be responsible.These incidents show that the conditions for the proceedings to take place in a calm atmosphere did not exist. ______________15.02.12 – Supreme court hearing expected to close final chapter in El Universo case The National Court of Justice is due to rule today on the possible reversal of an appeal ruling in the criminal libel case brought against the newspaper El Universo by President Rafael Correa. Reporters Without Borders believes this to be a defining moment for editorial freedom. Ecuador’s highest court was asked to rule on the conduct of the case, but not the basis of the original judgment, and it will also have the final say on the validity of the three-year prison sentences imposed on the newspaper’s director Carlos Pérez, and his two brothers and deputy publishers, César and Nicolás Pérez. They were also ordered to pay 40 million dollars in libel damages to Correa.Columnist Emilio Palacio, whose comments prompted the president’s original libel suit, challenged the verdict but his application had already been rejected. His case therefore will not be included in the new hearing “Should opinions, even the most defamatory in nature, be punished so harshly?” asked Reporters Without Borders.“The decision of the National Court of Justice will finally provide a response to the only question that matters, in our view. While acknowledging from the outset the comments made against President Rafael Correa in the columns of El Universo were extreme in character, we fear that the final chapter in this long legal battle will play havoc with the right to self-expression and threaten the survival of a media organization, in contravention of the American Convention on Human Rights, to which Ecuador is a signatory.“Once again we call for press offences to be decriminalized, supported by precedent elsewhere in South America. We believe that, should El Universo be found guilty in this way, it would endanger the creation of a desirable consensus around the new communication law. Such a consensus has also been weakened by the “El Gran Hermano” case.” Besides raising such concerns, the National Court of Justice hearing has been gripped by a new controversy at its very core. After a fruitless attempt to have three of the nine judges removed, the El Universo defence team cast doubt on the competence of the prosecution counsel, Gutemberg Vera. On the basis of written testimony by a judge, Mónica Encalada, published yesterday in the newspaper El Comercio, a lawyer for the newspaper, Joffre Campaña, maintained that the judgment against El Universo and its representatives was in fact drawn up by the president’s counsel himself. “Reporters Without Borders observes the necessary caution in the face of allegations which, although belated, could cast doubt on the independence and authority of the court.“This new development must nonetheless be taken into account at the hearing so that its authenticity and reliability may be examined,” the organization said. News EcuadorAmericas February 27, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Will President Correa’s pardon erase a year of controversy and polarization? Newscenter_img Two months before Assange’s extradition hearing, RSF calls for his release on humanitarian grounds and for US Espionage Act charges to be dropped Receive email alerts RSF_en June 15, 2020 Find out more Coronavirus: State measures must not allow surveillance of journalists and their sources Help by sharing this information EcuadorAmericas to go further April 10, 2020 Find out more December 24, 2019 Find out more read more

Two presenters injured in armed attack on evangelical radio station

first_imgNews to go further April 6, 2020 Find out more Organisation Follow the news on Sierra Leone Sierra LeoneAfrica News Reports Reporters Without Borders today condemned an attack by gunmen on Believers Broadcasting Network (BBN), a protestant-run radio station in Freetown, in the early hours of 4 August in which two radio presenters were shot and seriously injured.“Coming just a few days before general elections on 11 August, this armed attack should be taken seriously,” the press freedom organisation said. “We urge the police to quickly establish the motives, so that BBN is able to cover the elections without its staff feeling in any danger.”An employee said about 10 gunmen burst into BBN’s studios at about 4 a.m., pointed their guns at presenters Mohamed Kamara and Patrick Thomas, demanded money, and disarmed a security guard who tried to intervene. The intruders then ordered them to lie down and fired at them, hitting Kamara and Thomas. They took two computers and other equipment as they left.Kamara and Thomas were rushed to hospital for treatment to their injuries, which were not considered life-threatening.The police are investigating and so far they have no reason to think the attack was politically motivated. Coronavirus infects press freedom in Africa November 27, 2020 Find out morecenter_img August 9, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Two presenters injured in armed attack on evangelical radio station The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa Covid-19 in Africa: RSF joins a coalition of civil society organizations to demand the release of imprisoned journalists on the continent Help by sharing this information Sierra LeoneAfrica RSF_en Receive email alerts News March 29, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Press freedom group becomes party to French investigation into journalist’s death in Almaty

first_img October 30, 2020 Find out more to go further Follow the news on Kazakhstan Regional newspaper editor harassed after investigating real estate scandal RSF_en News Reporters Without Borders was granted civil party status on 20 November in an investigation into the death of French journalist Grégoire de Bourgues that is to be conducted by French examining magistrate Olivier Deparis at his family’s request. De Bourgues was murdered in August in the Kazakh capital of Almaty.“We will follow this case until the end, alongside the De Bourgues family,” the press freedom organisation said. “The killers’ motives are unclear and no hypothesis can be ruled out for the time being. We therefore call on Judge Deparis to got to Kazakhstan to conduct all the enquiries and interviews and obtain all the expert evidence necessary to establish the facts.”De Bourgues, 24, had gone to Kazakhstan for three months to help prepare an advertising feature which the Kazakh government had commissioned from SML Strategic Media. The Almaty police say he had the misfortune to be killed by three burglars who broke into his apartment and stole between 4,000 and 5,000 euros, a laptop and a mobile phone.The police arrested two suspects at the end of August. A third is on the run.Reporters Without Borders visited Almaty from September 20 to 24 to investigate the case. During the visit, the deputy interior ministry undertook to let the De Bourgues family and their representatives have access to the case file and to attend any trial that takes place. The family filed its request in Paris for a French judicial investigation on 8 September. News Organisation November 27, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Press freedom group becomes party to French investigation into journalist’s death in Almaty Receive email alerts Reporters prevented from covering Kazakh parliamentary elections News News Help by sharing this information KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia February 5, 2021 Find out more January 15, 2021 Find out more “We will follow this case until the end, alongside the Gregoire De Bourgues family. The killers’ motives are unclear and no hypothesis can be ruled out for the time being,” Reporters Without Borders declared. The French journalist was murdered in August in the Kazakh capital of Almaty. KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia Kazakh reporter accuses police of attacking herlast_img read more

Reporters Without Borders welcomes a supreme court ruling on newspaper law

first_img RSF calls for the release of South Korean journalist jailed for defamation June 30, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Reporters Without Borders welcomes a supreme court ruling on newspaper law RSF_en News November 19, 2020 Find out more News On eve of the G20 Riyadh summit, RSF calls for public support to secure the release of jailed journalists in Saudi Arabia November 11, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders welcomed a South Korean supreme court decision which ruled as unconstitutional some articles of the law on the press and on media arbitration.”We expressed our fears after the adoption of this controversial law. We are reassured by the supreme court decision which is based on the crucial and absolute protection of press freedom,” the international press freedom organisation said.“We call on the deputies of the ruling party and the government to definitively withdraw the draconian articles in the law,” it added.On 29 June 2006, the constitutional court blocked the application of some measures in the Act Governing the Guarantee of Freedom and Functions of Newspapers which had been adopted by parliament on 1st January 2005. This verdict follows an appeal lodged by the leading conservative South Korean newspapers. The government announced on the same day that it would respect the verdict.The judges voted by seven to two that the law sought by the ruling Uri party was contrary to press freedom and business freedom, guaranteed by the constitution, in that they limited the market share a newspaper could obtain. “We don’t see any particular danger, because readers can freely decide which newspaper they want to read,” said the judges. Currently, the three conservative dailies, Chosun Ilbo, Dong-a Ilbo and JoongAng Ilbo account for more than 70 % of the written press market. Chosun Ilbo alone has 30 % of the readership.In the same way, parliament will have to amend an article of the law which banned newspaper owners from holding more than 50% of the shares in another print or electronic media.On the other hand, the supreme court confirmed the validity of the articles which oblige media to provide more transparent information about their financial activities and particularly on their revenue from advertising. The right of individuals to demand corrections in the press was also confirmed. In July 2005, Reporters Without Borders had said it was closely watching how the law on newspapers would be applied. The organisation particularly expressed reservations on the vague concept of the “social responsibility” of the media, included in Articles 4 and 5. Follow the news on South Korea Receive email alertscenter_img Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” to go further News Organisation South KoreaAsia – Pacific South KoreaAsia – Pacific August 18, 2020 Find out more News Help by sharing this information last_img read more