Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nominate a woman for Courage in Journalism Awards

Nominate a woman for Courage in Journalism Awards



The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) is seeking nominations for its 2012 Courage in Journalism Awards, which honour women reporters around the world whose work puts them in danger. The deadline for nominations is 2 March 2012.

The Courage in Journalism Awards (of US$5,000 apiece) will honour three women working in the news media who have risked political persecution, physical injury and death in their efforts to expose corruption and champion human rights.

Plus, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognises a woman journalist who has a pioneering spirit and a strong commitment to press freedom, and whose determination has paved the way for future generations of women in the media.

Candidates for both awards can be full-time, part-time or freelance women journalists working in print, broadcast or online media in any country. Candidates for the Lifetime Achievement Award can be retired journalists.

Click here for more information or to fill out a nomination form.
Source : IFEX 

Have your say: What should the global standards for free expression be?

Have your say: What should the global standards for free expression be?

The Internet and mobile phones have opened up endless possibilities for free expression. But how best should we use this freedom? What limits should there be and what should be regulated by law? And who should decide? Oxford University has launched a multilingual platform, Free Speech Debate, to debate global norms for free expression - and wants you to join the conversation.

The conversation is organised around 10 draft principles for global free expression. Each comes with an explanation and case studies - all up for debate. Prominent individuals have been asked to comment on specific issues, including Indian novelist Arundhati Roy on the media and national security in India; Iranian cleric Mohsen Kadivar on Islam and free speech; Chinese academic Yan Xuetong on universal values; and former Formula One head Max Mosley on privacy. Hear their thoughts, and then have your say in any or all of the online discussions.

You can enter into conversation with users from other countries and cultures, propose new case studies and submit suggestions for the 11th principle, which has intentionally been left open.

The research project is headed by U.K. historian and journalist Timothy Garton Ash, with help from a team of graduate students who are native speakers of each of the website's 13 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.

Free Speech Debate estimates they can potentially reach more than 80 percent of Internet users - and work towards "a more genuinely universal universalism."

The debate will run for about six months. It will also be archived by Oxford University's Bodleian Library, so that future readers can see how it evolved and use it as an online resource.

Access it here:
Free Speech Debate

UNESCO supports prize backed by African dictator

UNESCO supports prize backed by African dictator

UNESCO has decided to support a prize backed by Teodoro Obiang Nguema (above), President of Equatorial Guinea and Africa’s
UNESCO has decided to support a prize backed by Teodoro Obiang Nguema (above), President of Equatorial Guinea and Africa’s "longest-serving dictator"
UN via Human Rights Watch
After nearly two years of debate, the executive board of UNESCO last week approved a life sciences prize sponsored by Africa's longest-serving dictator, despite intense lobbying by IFEX members and other international and African rights groups, as well as findings from UNESCO itself that the prize violates the organisation's own rules.

There was one significant change. While the prize originally was named after the sponsor, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979, the award was renamed the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the decision is "a blow to the credibility of the organisation."

"The purpose of this prize is to whitewash the image of one of Africa's most repressive leaders, and no one is fooled by the name change," CPJ Africa advocacy coordinator Mohamed Keita said. "The 33 states who voted in favour have chosen to promote the image of Obiang rather than uphold basic standards of human rights. They should be ashamed."

IFEX members have consistently voiced their opposition to the prize, saying that Equatorial Guinea's record on human rights, including press freedom, makes it incompatible with UNESCO's mission. Due to the international outcry, the prize has never been awarded since its launch four years ago.

CPJ, along with six other rights groups including Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that the vote "put the President's interests above UNESCO's basic principles of human rights and good governance."

Meanwhile, UNESCO found that the US$3 million prize would violate the organisation's own rules, reports Human Rights Watch. UNESCO's legal advisor concluded that the prize is "no longer implementable" due to a "material discrepancy" between its stated and actual funding source.

While the official statutes of the award say that the money came from a foundation bearing Obiang's name and dedicated to "the preservation of life," Equatorial Guinea informed UNESCO last month that the money had in fact been drawn from the country's public treasury, according to an internal UNESCO document provided to reporters.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said she would seek further legal counsel. Last year, Bokova asked Obiang to withdraw the prize and spare UNESCO a diplomatic nightmare that would damage its reputation. Right before the vote, she told the board's 58 members, "It is my responsibility to alert you to risks that might do harm to that reputation."

IFEX members have long accused Obiang of using state money to pay for his family's extravagant lifestyle. He and his family are being investigated for corruption and money laundering in France, Spain and the United States.

According to "The New York Times", as part of the France case, the police have twice raided the stately Paris residence of Obiang's son - a government minister and the recently appointed permanent assistant delegate to UNESCO - seizing assets reportedly worth several tens of millions of dollars, including a fleet of luxury sports cars.

The prize was approved by a vote of 33 to 18, with seven abstentions. African nations, joined by delegations from Arab states as well as China, India, Brazil, Russia and others, supported the award. Most Caribbean and European members opposed it, along with the United States, Afghanistan and Peru.

According to Human Rights Watch, Equatorial Guinea restricts and controls news so severely that journalists working inside the country are not able to freely report about the corruption allegations or the concerns raised about the prize.

Freedom House listed Equatorial Guinea as one of the "Worst of the Worst" countries in 2011 for its abysmal record of civil liberties and political rights.

State media outlets label journalists "traitors"

State media outlets label journalists "traitors"

Tense environment for journalists? Thousands of people in Sri Lanka took to the streets in February to protest against the proposed UN Human Rights Council resolution on alleged human rights abuses during the country's civil war

Tense environment for journalists? Thousands of people in Sri Lanka took to the streets in February to protest against the proposed UN Human Rights Council resolution on alleged human rights abuses during the country's civil war

Rohan Karunarathne/DEMOTIX


Sri Lankan authorities have openly threatened journalists who supported a UN resolution calling for an investigation into the country's abuse of international laws during its war with Tamil separatists, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Officials are calling these journalists "traitors" and one threatened to break their legs. 

The UN Human Rights Council resolution, passed on 22 March, called for an investigation into human rights violations carried out by the military in the last phase of the country's long civil war.

"In its failed efforts to block the council resolution, the Sri Lankan government saw fit to put its own citizens at risk through vicious personal attacks on rights advocates," said Human Rights Watch. "It's a credit to Human Rights Council members that they saw through the government's scare tactics to avoid accountability."

Human rights advocates and journalists attending the UN session in Geneva were labelled traitors and their photos were published in national media and blogs, reports Human Rights Watch. The BBC reports that although the activists and journalists were not specifically named, Sri Lankan state television repeatedly zoomed in on thinly disguised photographs of them, promising to give their names soon and to "expose more traitors."

"Things are quite tense here. We've had anti-U.S. and anti-resolution protests the past few days, and now we're waiting to see who they will hit out at next," one journalist in the country told CPJ.

Perhaps it was Sandhya Eknelygoda, the wife of disappeared journalist and cartoonist Prageeth. In the magistrate's court where Sandhya has been trying to gain any information about the whereabouts of her husband, who disappeared on 24 January 2010, she came under harsh questioning from government lawyers about her presence at the UN session, reports CPJ. Before she returned from Geneva, she too had been denounced in the government-controlled media.

In another instance, "Minister of Public Relations Mervyn Silva warned that he will break the limbs of some journalists, who have gone abroad and made various statements against the country, if they dare to set foot in the country," according to the pro-government "Daily Mirror". CPJ says that given Silva's history of violence against the media, his threats need to be taken seriously.

IFEX members have documented numerous examples of state media outlets that criticised advocates and journalists who supported the resolution or took up the campaign for human rights.

For instance, "Ceylon Daily News" attacked three leading rights advocates and a journalist who were advocating for the resolution, alleging that they were supporters of the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and were acting to "betray Sri Lanka," says Human Rights Watch.

According to IFJ, the attacks have become particularly harsh since the country's main media associations and journalists' unions commemorated "black January" this year, to protest against the continuing impunity for attacks on free expression that historically have occurred in the month of January.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government has a long and alarming record of denouncing its critics, say the IFEX members. Earlier this month, Sri Lanka's military authorities told all news and media organisations that they would have to get prior approval before releasing text or SMS news alerts containing any news about the military or police - a restriction that was purportedly lifted last August.

Those that write about them without permission "have to be prepared to abducted by a white van," a source told CPJ - referring to white Toyota Hi Ace vans with deeply tinted windows that have been used to abduct critics in the past - and have seemingly made a return.

More on the web

Eknelygoda's wife latest victim of Sri Lankan intolerance (CPJ)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

IFEX launches International Day to End Impunity poster contest

5 October 2011

IFEX launches International Day to End Impunity poster contest

Source : Ifex

im•pu•ni•ty \im-'pyü-nə-tē\ n. without punishment, without consequences

A poster about impunity. That's what IFEX wants from you as we prepare to launch the inaugural International Day to End Impunity on 23 November. Deadline for entries is 4 November 2011.

Journalists, media workers, writers and others who speak the truth against power continue to be murdered with impunity in countries from Mexico to Russia, Iraq to Somalia. In our free expression community, impunity consistently ranks among the top concerns and remains a global issue that has defied all borders and political structures.

Fact: More than 500 journalists have been killed and the murderers have gone free in 9 out of 10 cases.

Help draw the world's attention to impunity by designing a poster that depicts impunity in some way. Watch our International Day to End Impunity trailer for some inspiration!

Our favourites will be featured on the International Day to End Impunity website, and the top three winners will receive cash prizes.

The fine print

What can I win?
First prize: US$500
Second prize: US$250
Third prize: US$100

As well, your name and poster will be featured on the International Day to End Impunity website.

Who can participate?
The competition is open to everyone from any country, whether or not you're an established artist, an individual or an organisation. You can submit as many posters as you like.

How do I participate?
All posters must be submitted by email to contest (@) daytoendimpunity.org along with your name, address, email and phone number. (This information is for administrative purposes only - please note that entries will be judged blind.)

The file must be submitted in jpeg, in standard poster format (11" x 17"). Please hang on to the originals! We may ask for them later.

Designs may use any form of photography, illustration, collage or typography, provided no copyrights are violated in the design.

By entering, you have cleared any material submitted to the competition. IFEX assumes all entries are original and are the works and property of the entrant, with all rights granted therein. IFEX is not liable for any copyright infringement on the part of the entrant and will not become involved in copyright disputes.

When is the deadline?
The deadline for entries is midnight EST on 4 November 2011. Winners will be revealed on the International Day to End Impunity website on 23 November.

How will my poster be judged?
Your design will be posted on the International Day to End Impunity Facebook page. Members of the public will be invited to vote on the posters from 7-21 November. The public's top 10 posters (as determined by the number of "likes" the posters receive) will make up the shortlist, from which the IFEX Clearing House will select the three winners.

Anything else I should know?
Materials may be reproduced freely by IFEX and/or any of its 95 members. Any material used by IFEX or its members shall carry the designer's credit line.

More questions?
Send us an e-mail: contest (@) daytoendimpunity.org

About IFEX
The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) is the most extensive community of leaders defending and promoting freedom of expression around the world. We share content, analysis and tools on free expression cases and trends, campaign on critical issues, and support collaboration to increase our members' effectiveness.

More about the International Day to End Impunity
IFEX members chose the symbolic date of 23 November for the International Day to End Impunity because it's the anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre, the single deadliest day for journalists in recent history. The purpose of the day is to raise public awareness and showcase the work of organisations working for justice for those being persecuted for practising their right to freedom of expression. This is the campaign's first year.

"Mother of the Revolution" wins peace prize

12 October 2011

"Mother of the Revolution" wins peace prize; two journalists killed

Tawakul Karman congratulated by supporters in Sanaa after it was announced that she won the Nobel Peace Prize
Tawakul Karman congratulated by supporters in Sanaa after it was announced that she won the Nobel Peace Prize
Freedom of expression organisations around the world are cheering the news that Yemeni press freedom advocate Tawakkul Karman was among three women awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week. But the celebration is also marked with sadness and frustration due to the murders of two more Yemeni journalists, say IFEX members.

The International Press Institute (IPI), Human Rights Watch, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report the Nobel committee has this year recognised the tireless work of three women fighting for peace and democracy: Karman, a partner of several IFEX members, as well as Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Founder of Yemeni group Women Journalists Without Chains, Karman was instrumental in organising the protests against the human rights abuses of the 30-year regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh long before the "Arab Spring". She has been jailed numerous times since her organisation first launched non-violent protests in 2007, notes IPI, IFJ and ARTICLE 19.

While ARTICLE 19 reports that Karman has received many death threats, the mother of three is adored by Yemen's pro-democracy protesters, who refer to her as the "Mother of the Revolution". Thousands gathered in a peaceful sit-in to demand her release from jail after she was arrested in January, says RSF. She has been a tireless advocate for free expression, and held regular sit-ins to demand freedom for jailed journalists.

"I dedicate [this prize] to all the martyrs and wounded of the Arab Spring… in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria and to all the free people who are fighting for their rights and freedoms," Karman told the BBC Arabic Service.
Sadly, also last week Abdel Hakim Al-Nour, a cameraman with the Hayel Saeed Anam Association, and Abdel Majid al-Samawi, a reporter with Al-Yemeniya TV, died, according to RSF. Al-Nour was killed on 3 October while reporting on a military offensive in Taiz province. Al-Samawi died in hospital on 4 October, succumbing to a gunshot wound from the sniper fire that hit him a week earlier while covering an anti-government protest in Sanaa, RSF reports.
With IFEX organisations reporting numerous cases of assassination attempts on journalists in Yemen, it is not unlikely the journalists were specifically targeted by pro-Saleh forces.
Their deaths bring the number of journalists killed on duty to five since the start of Yemen's pro-democracy protests. RSF notes that killings of demonstrators have especially escalated since President Saleh returned to Yemen from Saudi Arabia on 3 October.

Recognising that it has been one year since Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiabo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, RSF is calling for this year's three female honourees to use their celebrity to draw attention to the fact that Xiabo remains in prison, where he is often held in solitary confinement and denied family visits.

Source : IFEX

Pakistani journalist tortured found lifeless

12 October 2011

Journalist tortured in "targeted killing 


"The lifeless body of Faisal Qureshi, a Pakistani journalist who wrote for British online publication "The London Post", was found in his Lahore home on 7 October, report the International Press Institute (IPI), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The 28-year-old's throat had been slit and his body bore signs of torture, the organisations report. Qureshi's brother, Zahid, says the journalist had received death threats from men who said they were from the Muttahida Quami Movement, Pakistan's third-largest political party. "The London Post" had published a series of articles investigating the MQM's links to terrorism and murder and calling into question the suspicious travel activities of its exiled London-based leader.

CPJ called Pakistan "the deadliest country in the world in 2010," and noted it "ranked 10th on CPJ's global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are regularly slain and authorities fail to solve the crimes."

Also pointing out the danger for journalists in Pakistan, RSF said, "This year, journalists have been threatened, attacked, kidnapped, tortured and murdered by religious extremists, Taliban, separatists, security agencies, soldiers, police and political movements."

In 2011, at least eight journalists have been killed in Pakistan in retribution for their reporting, RSF says.

Source : IFEX

Sunday, August 28, 2011

India : Another right to information activist shot dead

24 August 2011

Another right to information activist shot dead

Shehla Masood joins a dozen people killed in the last year for seeking information under India’s Right to Information Act
Shehla Masood joins a dozen people killed in the last year for seeking information under India’s Right to Information Act
A Tribute to Martyr Shehla Masood Facebook page

A woman activist who was a strong advocate of India's right to information law has been gunned down in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, making her the 13th right to information activist murdered in the past year, say Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and news reports.

Shehla Masood, who was also an environmental and anti-corruption activist, was shot dead on 16 August in front of her home as she prepared to go to a demonstration in support of jailed anti-corruption leader Anna Hazare. He has since been released from prison.

Over the past two years, Masood had been campaigning for the 2005 Right to Information (RTI) Act to be better implemented. Since her death, she too has attracted a lot of attention, with nearly 1,500 supporters on a Facebook tribute page already.

The act allows Indian citizens to file requests for information to most government bodies. Through RTI requests, activists have often uncovered illicit activities, making them targets of threats and violence.

In a January 2011 visit to India, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders said that "RTI activists, who may be ordinary citizens, have increasingly been targeted for, among others, exposing human rights violations and poor governance, including corruption of officials."

Masood joins a dozen people "apparently killed last year… for seeking information under the act," says RSF.

She had reported threats to the local police as early as January 2010 but nothing was done, RSF added.

"I think it is very risky and unsafe for activists to work for civil rights in India, especially in Madhya Pradesh," RTI activist Ajay Dubey, who is also based in Bhopal, said in an interview with "The Wall Street Journal".

According to the paper, Dubey is the founding member of Prayatna, an activist group of which Masood was a member. RTI requests have been their main weapon. Dubey says that he alone has filed more than 5,000 RTI applications, on issues ranging from industrial pollution to police reforms. One particularly successful RTI request led to the closure of illegal mines in his home state, Dubey said.

Dubey told the paper that he blamed Masood's murder on the lack of state protection. "There is no provision to protect activists; this puts RTI activists in particular danger since they often collect evidence that can cause problems for corrupt officials."

Dubey and Masood had both been pressing for the state government to implement a law aimed at protecting whistleblowers. In February 2010, Masood wrote about "the need for a Whistleblower (Protection) Act in India" on her blog.

According to "The Wall Street Journal", family members and fellow activists have filed a request to the Indian government demanding the Central Bureau of Investigation, the country's top investigative body, to probe Masood's death. The request is currently under consideration.

Source : IFEX , The wall Street Journal

Whistleblowers Demand Greater Protection After Masood’s Death

The murder of Shehla Masood last week stoked fresh fears among Right-to-Information activists, who renewed demands for greater state protection.

Prakash Singh/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Survivors of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy gathered outside the Prime Minister’s office to file a Right-to-Information petition in New Delhi in May 2010.

Ms. Masood, an environmental and anti-corruption activist, was shot dead outside her home in Bhopal, in India’s central state of Madhya Pradesh, on Tuesday. Ms. Masood joins a growing list of RTI activists who many say have been targeted because of the information they gathered under the law.

The 2005 Right-to-Information Act allows Indian citizens to file requests for information to most government bodies. Through RTI requests, activists have often uncovered illicit activities and this has made them targets of threats and violence. Many feel too little has been done to safeguard whistleblowers.

“I think it is very risky and unsafe for activists to work for civil rights in India, especially in Madhya Pradesh,” RTI activist Ajay Dubey, who is also based in Bhopal, said in an interview on Friday.

Mr. Dubey is the founding member of Prayatna, an activist group of which Ms. Masood was an active member. RTI requests have been their main weapon. Mr. Dubey says that he alone has filed “more than 5,000” RTI applications, on issues ranging from industrial pollution to police reforms. One particularly successful RTI request, Mr. Dubey said, led to the closure of illegal mines in his home state.

Mr. Dubey, who described Ms. Masood as “one of the leading activists in Madhya Pradesh,” is sure her death is linked to her activism, and suspects it may have to do with her campaign in support of tiger conservation. Others, including Manoor Sachdev, a friend of Ms. Masood, instead suggested her death may have to do with her anti-corruption work.

Police said it’s too early to say. “We are still investigating the case and we are not in a position to say what is the reason behind the attack,” superintendent of police Adarsh Katiyar said in a phone interview from Bhopal on Wednesday.

Mr. Dubey blamed Ms. Masood’s murder – the first of an RTI activist in Madhya Pradesh – on the lack of state protection. He is also concerned about what could happen to RTI activists like himself. “There is no provision to protect activists; this puts RTI activists in particular danger since they often collect evidence that can cause problems for corrupt officials.”

Mr. Dubey says he’s pressing the state government to implement a law aimed at protecting whistleblowers. This is something Ms. Masood herself had been campaigning for — in February last year, she wrote about “the need for a Whistle-blower (Protection) Act in India” on her blog.

Family members and fellow activists have filed a request to the Indian government demanding the Central Bureau of Investigation, the country’s top investigative body, to probe Ms. Masood’s death. The request is currently under consideration, a spokesman for the Madhya Pradesh government said Friday.

– Vibhuti Agarwal contributed to this post.

You can follow Ms. Stancati on Twitter @margheritamvs.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A prominent Pakistani journalist found dead

1 June 2011

Journalist found dead after reporting links between Pakistani officials and militants

Source : IFEX
A prominent Pakistani journalist considered to be an expert on Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants was found dead on 31 May about 150km outside the capital, Islamabad, where he had been abducted two days earlier, report the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Freedom House and other IFEX members.

Syed Saleem Shahzad, 40, was the Pakistan bureau chief of the "Asia Times" online website and South Asia correspondent for the Italian news agency Adnkronos International (AKI). On 29 May, he was on his way to participate in a talk show on Dunya Television to discuss his investigative work, describing links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani naval officials. But Shahzad never arrived at the TV station. Two days later his body was pulled from a canal, and showed signs of torture.

He recently reported in an "Asia Times" article published on 27 May that members of Al-Qaeda had carried out a 22 May attack on a naval air station in Karachi, in retribution for the arrest of several naval officers with ties to the militant group. It was the first of a two-part series. He was also the author of the recent book "Inside al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11".

Shahzad had told Human Rights Watch that he was afraid of being killed by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and had reported receiving threats from ISI members. There are concerns that the ISI may have been involved in his disappearance, IFEX members report.

"Shahzad was an experienced journalist who covered very sensitive subjects and it is highly likely that his reporting upset people within the government or armed forces," said Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

In a joint action sponsored by CPJ, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), 34 IFEX members urged the Government of Pakistan and its law-enforcement and security agencies to protect media personnel and to prosecute murderers of journalists in Pakistan.

In recent years, journalists have been murdered in North Waziristan, Wana, Quetta, Punjab and Swat, but authorities have failed to conduct proper investigations; only in the internationally high-profile case of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl have culprits been identified and prosecuted. The joint action supports the PFUJ in its recent request to Minister for Interior Rehman Malik to initiate and oversee a comprehensive inquiry and report into the killings of journalists in all of Pakistan's provinces.

"Previous enquiries into the murders of journalists have not been made public and it is not clear if the fate of the enquiry into Shahzad's death would be any different," said PPF.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

War correspondents invited to apply for Bayeux-Calvados Awards

3 April 2011
War correspondents invited to apply for Bayeux-Calvados Awards

War correspondents and photographers from all over the world are invited to apply for the Bayeux-Calvados Awards for War Correspondents, which honour journalists who risk their lives in the world's hot spots to cover the news. The deadline for applications is 6 June 2011.

The prize carries five cash awards of 7,000 Euros (US$10,100) each in the categories of television, radio, print, photography, and new this year: web journalism.

Four special awards, worth 3,000 to 3,800 Euros (US$4,300-$5,500) each, are also up for grabs, including a Young Reporter Prize for journalists 28 and under.

The entry should report on a conflict and its consequences for the civil population, or an event concerning the defence of press freedom and democracy.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Bayeux, France, in October.

For more information, see the
Bayeux-Calvados Awards website

Apply now for Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship

20 April 2011

Apply now for Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship

Elizabeth Neuffer
Elizabeth Neuffer

The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) is now accepting applications for the 2011-12 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship, which is open to women journalists working on human rights and social justice issues. The deadline for applications is 27 May 2011.

The fellowship allows one woman journalist to spend nine months in a customised academic programme in the U.S., with access to Boston-area universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as popular newspapers "The Boston Globe" and "The New York Times".

The fellowship is named for the 1998 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner and "The Boston Globe" correspondent who was killed in Iraq in May 2003.

Click here to apply.

Help Human Rights Watch win a Webby Award

20 April 2011
Take action!
Help Human Rights Watch win a Webby Award

You can help Human Rights Watch win a People's Voice Webby Award and amplify the voices of brave human rights defenders and survivors of abuses in Burma, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. You have until 28 April 2011 to cast your vote.

To vote, follow these three steps.

1. Register to vote via Facebook, Twitter or email: http://webby.aol.com/

2. Click each of the following links (one for each nomination):

Deadly Threats: Successors to the Paramilitaries in Colombia
Still images and audio document the strength and survival of ordinary people who stand up to armed groups that attack and kill civilians.

Dear Obama: A Message from Victims of the Lord's Resistance Army
A direct appeal from the children and adults who survived attacks by the rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring countries.

Exiled: Burma's Defenders
The stories of Burmese people fighting for change.
3. Vote for Human Rights Watch. Check the box below the Human Rights Watch logo and click "Cast My Vote".

Human Rights Watch also hopes you will spread the word. Donate your Facebook status to asking your friends to register and vote for all three nominations: http://bit.ly/hrw2011webbys

Tweet your votes from the polling page, or retweet the votes of your fellow supporters.

And comment on the videos. Tell the Webby community why you voted for Human Rights Watch. More comments increase the profile of Human Rights Watch's work.

The 15th Annual Webby Awards received more than 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries. Winners will be announced on 3 May, and honoured at a ceremony in New York City on 13 June.

Threatened journalist killed

20 April 2011
Threatened journalist killed

A journalist who had been threatened for his critical coverage of criminal groups and local authorities was shot dead in the northeastern city of Vitória de Santo Antão, Pernambuco, report the Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (ABRAJI) and other IFEX members.

Luciano Pedrosa, host of the TV show "Ação e Cidadania" (Action and Citizenship) on TV Vitória and contributor on Radio Metropolitana FM, was shot in the head at a restaurant on 9 April 2011. According to witnesses, Pedrosa was followed to the restaurant by two men on a motorcycle.

A police spokesperson said there was no indication it was a robbery.

According to the Knight Center, Pedrosa had received several threats, but he had never submitted a formal complaint about them. "On the threats, he had always spoken with me, because he was at the department all the time to ask the police to investigate issues he covered on his show. But he never submitted a police report, because he said he didn't fear anyone and thought it was all a joke," officer Maria Betânia Tavares, the lead investigator on the case, told Brazilian daily "O Globo".

Pedrosa's killing was the second shooting of a Brazilian journalist this year. Last month, critical blogger Ricardo Gama was seriously wounded when an unidentified gunman shot him in the head, neck, and chest as he walked in his Rio de Janeiro neighbourhood.

Italian journalist kidnapped and killed in Gaza

20 April 2011
Italian journalist kidnapped and killed in Gaza

Vittorio Arrigoni (left)

Hamas officials have found the body of an Italian journalist and activist who was kidnapped last week in Gaza, report the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) and the International Press Institute (IPI). Vittorio Arrigoni was affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a pro-Palestinian rights group, and reported on Palestinian issues for the Italian newspaper "Il Manifesto" and online paper Peacereporter, and also wrote a blog.

Arrigoni was kidnapped on 14 April by a militant Islamist group, Jihad Salafist, which released a YouTube video saying that they would kill Arrigoni unless Hamas released a number of political prisoners. But before the 15 April evening deadline had passed, Hamas announced that Arrigoni's body had been found.

The last foreigner kidnapped in Gaza was BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who was captured in March 2007 and held for four months. He was released without violence after negotiations between Hamas and his kidnappers, who belonged to a radical group calling itself the Army of Islam. Since then, there has been a "history of bad blood" between the rival Islamist groups, IPI reports.

But journalists working in Gaza and the West Bank have frequently complained of attacks and harassment by Palestinian security forces, from both Hamas and Fatah, the political group that dominates the Palestinian National Authority and has de facto control over the West Bank. A new report by Human Rights Watch, "No News is Good News", found that since Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the majority of abuses against journalists in both the West Bank and Gaza have been related to tensions between Hamas and Fatah.

Human Rights Watch documents scores of cases in which Palestinian security forces tortured, beat and arbitrarily detained journalists, confiscated their equipment and barred them from leaving the West Bank and Gaza.

Last month, Hamas violently dispersed protests in Gaza calling for an end to the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah. They also targeted the media: the offices of Reuters, Japan TV, CNN and other news agencies were attacked, and individual reporters received death threats, said MADA and Human Rights Watch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

UNESCO: WikiLeaks Newspapers Honoured For Their Contribution To Freedom Of Information‏

UNESCO: WikiLeaks Newspapers Honoured For Their Contribution To Freedom Of Information‏



For immediate release: 07 April 2011

UNESCO: WikiLeaks Newspapers Honoured For Their Contribution To Freedom Of Information
Malaga, Spain: 07.04.11: The UNESCO Chair of Communication 2011 Press Freedom Award of the University of Malaga, taking place today, recognises the valuable contribution made by five globally influential national newspapers in the dissemination of the WikiLeaks cables. ARTICLE 19 is thus particularly pleased to be associated with this Award, as a jury member at this year’s awards.
The five newspapers that we are honouring today – El Pais, Le Monde, the Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel - have played a central role in bringing to worldwide attention diplomatic cables released by the website WikeLeaks. By doing so, they have multiplied the effect of these leaks beyond what could have been expected originally,” said jury-panel member, Agnes Callamard, Executive Director ARTICLE 19, whilst presenting one of the awards today.

In a world dominated by talk of electronic media, the Internet, social media and cyber activism, one may be tempted to forget the fundamental role played by traditional and mainstream print media in strengthening the free flow of information around the world, and as a result in the movements for greater freedom. Their role remains particularly crucial in a world still characterised by uneven and unequal access to the means of electronic communication,” Callamard continued.

Following the release of the cables, the US Government and other countries have sought to prosecute a WikiLeaks representative for violating the Espionage Act or other national Officials Secrets Acts. Governments and elected officials have exerted much political pressure on internet companies, to force them to deny provision of services to WikiLeaks even though there had been no prior authorisation from a court. There have been calls for violence against Wikileaks staff and whistleblowers, including from public officials. There have been demands to maintain or expand secrecy legislation.

ARTICLE 19 believes that documents released by the newspapers have revealed 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.

The Award highlights the best kind of journalism possible: ethical, professional, investigative, in depth, contextual, analytical and supporting public‘s right to know.

• For more information or to arrange an interview with Dr Agnes Callamard, please contact Mona Samari on +44 (0) 7515 828 939 or email mona@article19.org.
• To access Dr Agnes Callamard’s speech, please click on the following link: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/conferences/press-freedom-award.pdf

Monday, April 4, 2011

Condemn Abduction and Beating of Journalist Seymur Khaziyev

29 March 2011

Azerbaijan: International Organisations Condemn Abduction and Beating of Journalist Seymur Khaziyev

London 29.03.11: The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan condemns the 26 March 2011 abduction and beating of journalist Seymur Khaziyev. The group is deeply concerned by the cycle of violence against journalists and impunity for those who commit such attacks in Azerbaijan, and calls on the authorities to immediately and impartially investigate all instances of violence against journalists and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“The latest attack against Khaziyev is another disturbing example of retaliation against journalists who express critical opinions in Azerbaijan. The authorities must take immediate steps to put an end to this alarming trend,” says ARTICLE 19 Executive Director, Agnès Callamard.

On 26 March 2011, Azadliq newspaper correspondent Seymur Khaziyev was abducted by six masked assailants who forced him into a bus, drove him to an unknown location and beat him, warning him to “be clever” and not mention Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in his articles. The abduction and beating of Khaziyev follows many similar attacks against journalists since the March 2005 murder of editor Elmar Huseynov, virtually all of which remain unsolved. The incident also follows a recent wave of arrests of bloggers and youth activists in connection with a series of pro-democracy protests in the country.

"Khaziyev is the latest victim of the poisonous climate that has developed over the past few weeks. Far from fulfilling their obligations to protect media professionals, the Azerbaijani authorities seem so scared by the prospect of a potential popular uprising that they have launched a campaign against oppositionists and free-thinkers, which is starting to produce violent results", said Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Jean-François Julliard.

Khaziyev was previously beaten in May 2010 by unidentified officials in a police detention facility after he was arrested during an unsanctioned opposition political protest. During the incident, Khaziyev’s attackers questioned him about his criticism of President Aliyev. The officials responsible have not been identified or prosecuted.

The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan condemns the use of violence to restrict freedom of expression and the climate of impunity for those who wish to silence critical voices in Azerbaijan. The group calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately and impartially investigate the attack against Khaziyev and all instances of violence against journalists and prosecute those responsible.



• For more information on the cycle of violence against journalists and impunity for their attackers in Azerbaijan, see the joint report Free Expression Under Attack: Azerbaijan’s Deteriorating Media Environment available at http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/free-expression-under-attack.pdf.
• The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan is a coalition of 20 international NGOs working to promote and protect freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. For more information about the Partnership, please contact Rebecca Vincent at ARTICLE 19 on +44 (0)207 324 2500 or rebecca@article19.org.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Journalists invited to apply for Samir Kassir awards

2 March 2011

Journalists invited to apply for Samir Kassir awards

The Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press 2011 competition is accepting entries from journalists until 30 March 2011.

Journalists will compete for two prizes of 10,000 Euros each (US$13,500) - for the best opinion piece and the best investigative report related to human rights or the rule of law - to be awarded on 2 June in Beirut.

Print and online journalists who are citizens of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, the Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates or Yemen are eligible to apply.

Samir Kassir was a Lebanese journalist who was assassinated on 2 June 2005 for criticising Syria's policy towards Lebanon. The award in his name is given each year by the European Union and the Samir Kassir Foundation.

Visit the Prix Samir Kassir website here.

Cartoonists wanted for World Press Freedom Day exhibition

2 March 2011

Cartoonists wanted for World Press Freedom Day exhibition

Calling all cartoonists! On World Press Freedom Day (3 May) this year, an international exposition organised by La Maison des journalists in Paris will exhibit the best editorial cartoons on the theme of "exile" by some of the most talented cartoonists in the world. Be one of them.

Posters, postcards and a catalogue gathering all of the artwork will be created and sold to support La Maison des journalistes, a safe house in Paris that helps exiled journalists who were forced to leave their country to escape persecution.

The travelling exhibit will start in the building of La Maison des journalistes and will then move to several cities in France and Europe.

Cartoonists can send their cartoons to Kianoush Ramezani before 31 March 2011 at: expo @ maisondesjournalistes.com

Sing for press freedom

2 March 2011

Sing for press freedom

Fancy yourself as a bit of a singer but need some inspiration? The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has launched a music contest to draw attention to and fight impunity involving crimes against journalists in the Americas. The "Lend Your Voice to the Voiceless" contest - wrapping up at the end of March - invites the public to participate by posting videos, songs or lyrics about crimes against journalists on their new website, Lend Your Voice, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Fledgling artists from Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and the U.S. kick off the campaign with some promotional videos available on the site, including the catchy tune by Latin Black "No podemos callar" ("We cannot be silent").
Not sure exactly what to sing about? IAPA makes it easy with an outline of some of the emblematic cases of journalists killed under the section "Find inspiration here".

For the musically challenged, use your voice by voting for your favourite video or signing IAPA's petition to end impunity - both available on the site.

IAPA say it will use Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube to encourage Internet users to join the anti-impunity cause. The winner will have their song professionally recorded.

While crimes against journalists have not decreased in the Americas - with at least 21 murders so far this year alone - in recent years there has been a notable increase in the prosecution and conviction of criminals, says IAPA.

Watch it here:

Friday, February 18, 2011

CPJ accuses UN of failing to protect journalists

16 February 2011

CPJ accuses UN of failing to protect journalists

While attacks on journalists caught up in the spreading Middle East unrest continue, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says the United Nations and other global and regional organisations responsible for defending press freedoms largely fail to protect them. Nor do they defend other journalists who are killed, threatened and harassed with impunity around the world, says CPJ in its annual report, "Attacks on the Press".

CPJ found that the UN, the Organization of American States and the Arab League are among groups that haven't consistently defended free expression, especially against government repression. "While international law guarantees the right to free expression, journalists cannot count on a robust defence of those rights," said CPJ executive director Joel Simon.

"The failure to take a consistent position suggests a willingness to speak out publicly in support of press freedom that is based more on political considerations than a deep commitment," Simon said at the launch of the report at the UN. "As events in Egypt make clear, the stakes are enormous."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was cited for his failure to congratulate Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo for winning the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

In another example, CPJ points out that journalism and human rights organisations were forced to launch an international campaign to stop UNESCO from presenting a prize honouring President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa's most notorious press freedom abusers.

According to "Attacks on the Press", at least 44 journalists were killed specifically for their work worldwide in 2010. Pakistan accounted for eight of those 44, making it the most dangerous country for the press last year.

CPJ also says the number of jailed journalists is the highest it has been in 14 years, with 145 reporters, editors and photojournalists behind bars in 2010. China and Iran tied for the lead in number of journalists jailed, at 34 each.

"Attacks on the Press" provides more than 50 country and regional analyses on press freedom violations in 2010. This edition also includes a special feature on the invisible nature of online attacks meant to curb journalists, such as online surveillance and malicious software.