Friday, June 27, 2008


This paintings 'The killers' I painted in commemoration of Journalist Daniel Pearl.The painting had been exhibited in galleries (Kolkata,India) Acrylic colour on canvas, size : 6 x 4 feet

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Thursday, June 26, 2008 9:10 PM
THE GAMBIA: MFWA urges ECOWAS leaders to pressure President Jammeh to
respect court order to release journalist
SOURCE: Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Accra

(MFWA/IFEX) - The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is asking the heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), meeting for the 34th Ordinary Summit in Abuja, particularly its current chairman, President Blaisé Compoare, to ensure that the government of President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia releases detained Gambian journalist, Chief Ebrima Manneh, unconditionally.

Following a suit filed by MFWA to the ECOWAS court to compel the government of The Gambia to free Manneh, on 5 June 2008 the court ordered that Manneh be released and paid compensation for the violation of his human rights.

In its decision, the ECOWAS court dismissed claims from The Gambian side that Manneh was never in their custody.
The court also awarded damages in the sum of US$100,000 in favour of Manneh
from The Gambian government.
The ECOWAS court stated that it "has found that the applicant was arrested on July 11, 2006 by the Police Force of The Gambia and has since been detained incommunicado, and without being charged".
Characteristic of The Gambian authorities, three weeks after the court's pronouncement, they have fallen silent on the matter.

Manneh has been in detention since he was arrested on 7 July 2006 by agents of the notoriously feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in the presence of his colleagues on the premises of the pro-government "Daily Observer" newspaper. Manneh's detention is claimed to be related to information he allegedly leaked to a foreign journalist who wrote a feature article on the African Union summit held in Banjul.

Of great concern is the fact that, although the journalist has been sighted several times, the last time being on 27 July 2007, the government has consistently refused to acknowledge detaining him. It has also not made any official statement on the case; neither has it made any attempt at investigating the circumstances leading to Manneh's "disappearance".
On 9 January 2005, President Jammeh was among 15 heads of state who signed a supplementary protocol amending the 1991 Protocol on the Community Court of Justice to include trial of human rights violations of citizens.
The Gambian government also refused to appear before the court. Five state agents who were alleged to have played various roles in the arrest and subsequent detention of Manneh also refused to appear before the court.
The position of the government of The Gambia is likely to have far-reaching and potentially dangerous implications for human rights in West Africa. Therefore MFWA feels it is incumbent on the government of President Jammeh to honour the recommendations of the protocol and respect the orders of the regional court.

MFWA is appealing to free expression organisations to put pressure on President Jammeh to ensure the release of Manneh and improve on the human rights situation in The Gambia.

Updates the Manneh case:

For further information, contact Jeannette Quarcoopome, Media Foundation for West Africa, 30 Duade Street, Kokomlemle, P.O. Box LG 730, Legon, Ghana, tel: +233 21 2424 70, fax: +233 21 2210 84, e-mail: , Internet:

The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of MFWA. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit MFWA.
UKRAINE Bulletin 26 June 2008
European parliamentarians call for justice for slain journalist Georgiy Gongadze
SOURCE: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 24 June 2008 IFJ media release:
IFJ Welcomes European Parliamentarians' Call for Justice for Slain Ukrainian Journalist Gongadze The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed a renewed
call by European parliamentarians for Ukraine to bring to justice "those who instigated and organised the murder of Georgiy Gongadze."

The call was made by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg who today expressed "deep concern" that Ukraine had made "no progress" in holding to account the organisers of the murder, which was most likely committed by interior ministry general Aleksei Pukach on 16 September 2000.

"We welcome the stand taken by the Parliamentary Assembly," said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "Today's resolution in Strasbourg is a clear condemnation of Ukraine's failure to investigate and bring to justice those in the political establishment who stand behind this murder, which constitutes the most notorious assault on freedom of speech in Ukraine."
Gongadze's headless body was found in a town near Kiev in November 2000. Then audio tapes made covertly by Major Mykola Melnychenko, a bodyguard of the then president, Leonid Kuchma, were released. On the tapes Kuchma and other senior politicians could be heard discussing harming Gongadze.
Three of Pukach's subordinates were this year convicted and jailed for their part in helping the murder. But the involvement of politicians and senior interior ministry officials has never been investigated.
The legal affairs committee in Strasbourg heard a report by former German justice minister Sabine Leutheuser-Schnarrenberger, who has monitored the Gongadze case, and called on the Ukrainian authorities to take a series of measures including:

- To open a criminal investigation into those who failed to protect Gongadze - who before his death complained to the prosecutor's office about surveillance by interior ministry officers;
- To investigate the release of Pukach from custody in 2003 and his subsequent disappearance, and open criminal cases against those responsible;
- To authenticate "without further delay" the so-called "Melnychenko tapes" made in president Kuchma's office, to allow them to be used as evidence in court "without further delay";
- To investigate other related issues, including the organisation of the attack on journalist Olexiy Podolsky a few months before Gongadze's death, and the strokes suffered by senior interior ministry officials Fere and Dagaev in 2003.

A lengthy report by Leutheuser-Schnarrenberger detailed her efforts to convince Melnychenko, the Ukrainian prosecutor and the US justice department to work together to authenticate the tape recordings made in Kuchma's office. The prosecutor had "taken several years before making the required official request," she complained.

"The report by Mrs Leutheuser-Schnarrenberger makes depressing reading," White said. "She has done her best to compel the Ukrainian prosecutor to work effectively in this case, as the IFJ and campaigning organizations have also done. The international community must make clear to Ukraine that inaction will not be tolerated. This is the clearest case of an attack on freedom of speech being undertaken with impunity."

Updates the Gongadze case:

For further information, contact the IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 / 2207, fax: +322 235 2219, e-mail:, Internet:

The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of IFJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IFJ.


SOUTH KOREA 26 June 2008
Harassment campaign targets three main newspapers, seeks to influence editorial policies
SOURCE: International Press Institute (IPI), Vienna

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an IPI letter to South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak:

H.E. President Lee Myung-Bak President of the Republic of Korea
Office of the President
1 Cheongwadae-ro, Jongno-gu Seoul, Republic of Korea
Vienna, 26 June 2008

Your Excellency,

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, would like to express its deep concern about recent pressures exerted on the independent media in South Korea, including the three main newspapers, the Chosun Ilbo, the Dong-A Ilbo and the Joong-Ang Ilbo.

According to information before IPI, unidentified "netizens" in South Korea have attempted to influence the editorial policies of the three major newspapers by various means, including the distribution of leaflets and stickers containing insulting language, as well as telephone campaigns aimed at harassing advertisers into withdrawing their advertisements in these papers. In addition, hundreds of individuals have surrounded the
publications' buildings at night time, and painted the windows and walls with threatening slogans.
While IPI believes that lobbying is an important and legitimate part of functioning democracies, the pressure exerted on the three major newspapers in South Korea is disconcerting in a democratic society.
IPI is particularly concerned that advertisers, among others, have been pressured into withdrawing their advertising from the publications, and regards these actions as unacceptable attempts to interfere with their editorial independence.

IPI supports the statement of the Korean Newspaper Publishers Association, which said the attacks against the advertisers will pressure the management of the newspapers and their editorial policies, and infringe upon freedom of the press.

IPI therefore calls upon your Excellency to speak out against these organized campaigns designed to interfere with editorial independence and press freedom in South Korea.

Yours sincerely,

David Dadge


Similar appeals can be sent to:

H.E. President Lee Myung-Bak
President of the Republic of Korea
Office of the President
1 Cheongwadae-ro, Jongno-gu
Seoul, Republic of Korea

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

For further information, contact IPI at Spiegelgasse 2/29, A-1010 Vienna,
Austria, tel: +43 1 512 90 11, fax: +43 1 512 90 14, e-mail: Uta Melzer
(Africa) at ; Barbara Trionfi (Asia) at ; Michael Kudlak (Americas) at ;
Husam Madhoun (MENA) at ; Colin Peters (Europe) at ; Oliver Vujovic (SEEMO) at , Internet

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of IPI.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IPI.


BAHRAIN 26 June 2008
Activist arrested for writing political article, displaying banner
SOURCE: Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Manama

(BCHR/IFEX) - BCHR expresses its worry concerning the recent arrest of Abdullah Hassan Bu-Hassan, member of the Democratic National Action Society (WA'AD), after he expressed opinions concerning political decisions in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and also gave his opinion on a report issued by an ex-governmental consultant that revealed a reported government conspiracy to implement discriminatory policies. Bu-Hassan expressed his opinions in an article in "The Democrat", an official periodic publication of WA'AD. He had also recently displayed a political banner in his car.
Bu-Hassan was released on 21 June 2008, after three days in detention. Hafez Hafez, Bu-Hassan's lawyer, stated that "the prosecutor's office released Bu-Hassan on bail (. . .) after he was interrogated by the head of the prosecutor's office of the Moharaq governorate, Nayef Youssef, concerning the material published in 'The Democrat'."

Hafez clarified that the prosecutor's office charged Bu-Hassan with inciting hatred and insulting the ruling regime, both of which are offences under Article 165 of the Bahraini Penal Code.

BCHR notes that freedom of expression is one of the main pillars of any democratic system, with a government that respects human rights, and is guaranteed in conformity with international covenants that have been ratified by Bahrain, and with Article 23 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain, which stipulates that freedom of opinion and expression and scientific research is guaranteed, and that everyone has the right to
express themselves by speaking or writing or other means. It is not possible for freedom of expression to breathe and live without the authorities accepting criticism, even if at times that criticism is harsh.

BCHR vice-president Nabil Rajab commented: "We are frustrated that after we read in the press that the Cabinet is moving towards abolishing prison sentences for journalists, this incident proves that the legal system in Bahrain, and particularly the Penal Code, still contains provisions stipulating punishment through imprisonment for writing, publishing and distribution, even though the government said it had abolished the prison sentences in the press and publication law."

Rajab added that "the Penal Code of 1976 has been and remains a target of criticism by national and international organizations concerned with human rights, as the law makes criminals of people for exercising their civil and political rights, such as freedom of opinion and expression."

Rajab also added, "These consequences are incompatible with the country's reform promises and pledges made by the government of Bahrain at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations while discussing its report within the comprehensive review of human rights, as well as during its candidacy for membership of the Human Rights Council."

BCHR urges the authorities in Bahrain to reform the Penal Code and other laws restricting rights and fundamental freedoms. The legislative framework in Bahrain should be encouraging democratic reform and the development of an open atmosphere promoting and respecting press freedom and free expression. BCHR renews its demands for the Bahraini authorities to be transparent with regard to the circulation of the report published by Dr. Bandar and to investigate documents and details identified in it that
impair rights and freedoms.

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: , , Internet:

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of BCHR.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit BCHR.

EGYPT 26 June 2008
Journalist brutally assaulted by police, faces trumped-up charges
SOURCE: Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Cairo
(ANHRI/IFEX) - Three rights organisations - ANHRI, the Arab Council for the Support of a Fair Trial and the Hisham Mubarak Law Center - submitted a petition to a deputy minister on 21 June 2008, demanding an investigation into the brutal assault of journalist Kamal Murad of "Al-Fajr" newspaper by three police officers on 17 June. The police officers, who are from Rahmanya Centre in Buhaira Governate in the Delta region, badly beat Murad, verbally insulted him and seized his private notes and mobile memory card.
This assault and seizure followed Murad's exposure of an influence peddling case involving a local trader and his two police officer sons.

On Tuesday 17 June, Murad was arrested after interviewing peasants in Ezbat Mohram in Rahmanya Centre. Murad also took photos of police beating the peasants in order to force them to sign lease contracts with a landlord. The police officers conducted these beatings as a courtesy to their friends and police colleagues who are the sons of the landlord. The police officers beat Murad, insulted him and arrested him.

Three hours after his detention, Murad was shocked to be charged with attacking the police officers and inciting the peasants against the security forces.

This incident is believed to be revenge for Murad's role in a recent and famous torture case (known as Emad el-Kabir's case). Murad published a story about the torture of driver Emad el- Kabir by police officer Ismal Nabih. The officer was sentenced to three years in prison. Many of the police officers that attacked him while outside the Rahmanya Prosecutor's office told Murad, "You will see, you who sent the officer to jail for
three years."

Despite Murad's release by the Prosecutor's office, police officers still have his mobile memory card, which contains photos of the officers assaulting the peasants and the huge banquets given to the officers by the landlord for their help in quelling the farmers, as well as his private notes, which include a draft of the interviews he made with the peasants and their statements.

Abd al-Gawad Ahmed, advocate and director of the Arab Council for the Support of a Fair Trial, submitted a petition to the Deputy General, which included accusations made by Murad and the three rights organizations against each of the three officers: Mohamed Badrawy, Amr Allam and Mohamed Basiouni.

The assistant to the Deputy General has referred the case file to the concerned prosecutor in Damanhur city, capital of El-Buhaira Governorate, as required.

"The police brutality against Kamal Murad reaffirms their motivation to take revenge against a brave journalist, who revealed a major torture case in Egypt and succeeded in cooperating with Egyptian bloggers to bring the perpetrator, police officer Islam Nabih, to justice. The ball is in the Interior Minister's court now. He must turn his written declaration about ending torture into obligatory decisions to deter perpetrators from
crossing the line," said Gamal Eid, executive director of ANHRI.

The three rights organisations are working together to defend Kamal Murad and bring the officers to court, as a step towards eliminating impunity and limiting the torture and ill-treatment that has extended to journalists.

For further information contact Gamal Eid, Executive Director, ANHRI, Apartment 10, No. 5, Street 105, from Midan al Hurriya, Al Maadi, Cairo, Egypt, tel/fax: +202 2 524 9544, e-mail:,, Internet:

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of
ANHRI. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit ANHRI
UPDATE – KENYA 27 June 2008
Despite arrest of suspect in photojournalist's murder, questions about the killing remain unanswered
SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York
(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 26 June 2008 CPJ press release:
One suspect in custody for Trent Keegan's murder in Kenya New York, June 26, 2008 - Despite the arrest of a suspect in the murder of New Zealand photojournalist Trent Keegan, questions about the killing remain unanswered, CPJ said today.

Kenyan police are holding a suspect in Keegan's murder, a Kenyan police spokesman told CPJ. The police have not released details, but spokesman Eric Kiraithe told CPJ that police have not found any link between Keegan's reporting and the murder.

Kiraithe said Keegan was killed in a suspected robbery on May 27. The award-winning photographer was found dead in a trench with injuries to the back of the head on the morning of May 28 in a ditch alongside Nairobi's main thoroughfare. Keegan had left a friend at 9:30 p.m. the previous night, colleagues said.

"It has been three weeks since Trent Keegan's murder, and there are still many questions left unanswered regarding his investigation," said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. "We call on the Kenyan police to conduct a thorough investigation and pursue all possible leads."

Some evidence suggests the attack was not a simple robbery. Although Keegan's Mac laptop and cell phone were stolen, his wallet with 3,848 Kenyan shillings (US$62) was found on him. According to colleagues who visited the crime scene, Keegan's body was carefully dragged into a hidden area in a ditch, concealing him for almost 12 hours, suggesting that the murderer or murderers did not flee the scene immediately.

Colleagues and relatives told CPJ that an external hard drive and discs - equipment that Keegan typically used for his work - were not on the inventory of a police search at Keegan's apartment in Nairobi.

The attack took place in a relatively safe area of the Uhuru highway, just outside the parliament building, Kiraithe told CPJ. Colleagues who visited the crime scene said that while there were three closed-circuit cameras nearby, police have not divulged whether tape from them exists.

Kiraithe said the police are planning to release an update on the suspect in custody tomorrow.

Prior to his death, Keegan was investigating a land dispute in northern Tanzania between local Maasai and the Massachusetts-based Thomson Safaris Company, friends and colleagues told CPJ. Keegan had told colleagues via e-mail that employees of the safari company had visited him while he was reporting in Tanzania, questioning him about the report before he left for Nairobi. He said he was concerned for his safety.

A spokeswoman for Thomson Safaris told CPJ that the company was unaware that Keegan was working on a story about their operations and that they have not been contacted by the police involved in the investigation.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.
Updates the Keegan case:
For further information, contact Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes or Research Associate Mohamed Keita at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail: , , Internet: /

The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of CPJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CPJ.

SENEGAL 27 June 2008
Two sports journalists beaten by police
SOURCE: Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Accra
(MFWA/IFEX) - On 21 June 2008, two sports journalists were brutally beaten by Senegalese police at Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
The journalists, Kara Thioune of West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) and Babacar Kambel Diang, a reporter for the private radio station Radio Futurs Médias (RFM), were punched, kicked and beaten with electric batons.

MFWA's sources reported that the journalists were at the stadium to cover a post-match press briefing. Outraged by their presence, the policemen attacked, handcuffed and detained them for about half an hour before taking them away to the hospital for medical attention.
The sources said Thioune bled profusely.
Another journalist, Frank Sainworla, escaped the attack.The journalist union, Union of Information and Social Communication Professionals (SYNPICS), and RFM intend to take legal action against the police for these unjust attacks.

The MFWA supports the SYNPICS and RFM proposed actions. The organisation
condemns the arbitrary use of force and calls on the authorities to curtail the rising incidents of violence against journalists in Senegal.

For further information, contact Kwame Karikari, Executive Director, or Jeannette Quarcoopome, Media Foundation for West Africa, 30 Duade Street, Kokomlemle, P.O. Box LG 730, Legon, Ghana, tel: +233 21 2424 70, fax: +233 21 2210 84, e-mail: , ,
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of MFWA.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit MFWA.
NEPAL 27 June 2008
Kantipur television station journalist assaulted, injured, over footage taken in 2006
SOURCE: Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Kathmandu

(FNJ/IFEX) - Khagendra Bhandari, a reporter for Kantipur television station, was recently beaten by Deepak Karki, a local resident of Banepa, in Kavre, a district near Kathmandu.
According to FNJ Kavre chapter president Bhola Thapa, Bhandari was beaten while he was taking footage of the road area for a news story about frequent road accidents. Karki suddenly attacked him, asking about footage taken years ago.
Bhandari told FNJ that he had done a news story about drug addiction on Kantipur television two years ago. In that story, video footage of Karki was also included. Karki attacked him because of that news story.
Bhandari sustained injuries to his face and his camera was also damaged in the attack.
FNJ expresses deep concern about the incident and asks the local authorities to punish Karki and to order him to compensate Bhandari without delay for the damage to his equipment.

For further information contact Saru Subedi, Media Monitor, FNJ, Media Village, Tilganga, Kathmandu, Nepal, tel: +977 1 449 0063 / 3873, fax: +977 1 449 0085, e-mail: ,, Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of FNJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit FNJ.

SRI LANKA 27 June 2008
State-controlled newspaper publishes dangerous allegations against Sri Lanka Press Institute
SOURCE: Free Media Movement (FMM), Colombo
(FMM/IFEX) - The following is an FMM press release:
State media level dangerous allegation against Sri Lanka Press Institute Free Media Movement expresses serious concern that a state-controlled media outlet has levelled dangerous allegations against the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) without verifying the story with SLPI.
State-controlled Sinhala-language newspaper "Dinamina", which is considered as one of the mouth pieces of the government, said in a lead story that "police intelligence has received information saying that a group of members connected to LTTE were sent to Norway through Denmark under the journalist label by the Sri Lanka Press Institute. This foreign tour has taken place in the year 2007."

In a press release issued on 26 June, SLPI responded: "the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) strongly refutes the prominently displayed front page story of today's 'Dinamina' newspaper titled: 'Eight Tigers sent to Norway under journalist label' as baseless, misleading and factually incorrect."

According to SLPI there was no training program carried out by the SLPI in Denmark in 2007 as reported by the said newspaper. A call for applications was put out on 5 September 2007 for a training program in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, titled "Media and Democracy".

Approximately 100 journalists from television, radio and print media applied, out of which 20 were selected. The 20 journalists attended a training course from 1 April to 3 May 2008. All of them returned to the country on 4 May on board the same flight.

SLPI plays an important role in bringing members of media organizations together in press freedom advocacy in Sri Lanka today and, in this context, FMM views this cooked up story as another attempt to intimidate the media and media organisations.

Further this story implies that the Tamil journalists who took part in the training programme are LTTE supporters. This allegation coming from a state media outlet is equal to an unofficial death sentence passed on those journalists. FMM holds the government and the "Dinamina" newspaper responsible for the dangerous situation that has been created for these journalists by this story, regardless of who planted it.

FMM requests that the media minister make a formal apology to the SLPI and those journalists mentioned in the story without delay.

For further information, contact Sunanda Deshapriya, Free Media Movement,
237/22, Wijeya Kumaratunga Road, Colombo 05, Sri Lanka, tel: +94 777 312 457, +94 11 257 3439, fax: +94 11 471 4460, e-mail:, Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of FMM.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit FMM.

Constraints to freedom of expression highlighted in report of mission to Zimbabwe by team of African media experts
SOURCE: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Windhoek
(MISA/IFEX) - The following is an abridged report by AFMF, IFJ, MISA and other organisations:
Against the odds: Covering Zimbabwe in a climate of fear and physical danger
Report of a Mission to Zimbabwe, 9 - 13 June 2008
1. Background
A mission to examine close at hand the media in Zimbabwe was undertaken from 8 to 13 June 2008 by a team of African media experts. The mission was made up of representatives of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ Africa Office based in Senegal), Southern Africa Editors' Forum (SAEF), Southern Africa Journalists Association (SAJA), the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Regional Office and the Network of African Freedom of Expression Organisations (NAFEO) represented by Africa Free Media Foundation based in Kenya.

The purpose of the mission to Zimbabwe was to ascertain the conditions of media and freedom of expression in the country in the light of the arrests of journalists, both local and foreign, and the deteriorating freedom of expression environment. This mission took place in the context of the forthcoming Presidential election run off slated for 27 June 2008, and therefore also had the objective to assess the possibilities for the media to provide the citizens with relevant information and news in order to vote on an informed basis.

The mission met a number of Zimbabwean journalists, editors and media owners working in Bulawayo, Gweru, Harare, Masvingo and Mutare and a cross section of representatives of local civic organisations working countrywide.

2. Current Situation

2.1 Zimbabwe harmonised elections (. . .)
With respect to media coverage for the elections, local and foreign media was required to apply for accreditation to cover the elections, with applications being dealt with by ZEC for local journalists. Local journalists need to be accredited by the government appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC) to get election accreditation. Foreign journalists had to apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before being accredited by the ZEC. Despite the fact that the ZEC said it would accredit all local journalists who produce MIC accreditation cards, many were denied accreditation. Organisations such as MISA have it on good record that the Ministry of Information and Publicity as well as the MIC gave ZEC a list of local journalists who were not to be accredited.
Just like in the case of observers, the government insured that only those media considered friendly to the government received accreditation to cover the elections. The result was that international media groups like BBC and CNN and South African e-TV were denied accreditation. (. . .)
In the aftermath of the 29 March 2008 election, there has been an escalation in incidents of reported violence against opposition party activists as well as the continued arrests, intimidation and harassment of journalists. (. . .)
2.2. Media Environment
2.2.1. Media Law Reform
Prior to the holding of the harmonised elections on March 29, 2008, Zimbabwe had amended some sections of AIPPA and BSA , as part of the inter-party negotiations between ZANU PF and the two factions of the MDC. However, the amendments had been dismissed as inconsequential by Zimbabwe media freedom organisation, MISA-Zimbabwe.

The government had assured the ACHPR [African Commission on Human and People's Rights] that media would be consulted during the process leading to the enactment of the amendments, but MISA reported to the ACHPR that no such consultation had taken place. (. . .)

AIPPA was used to ban local and foreign journalists from covering the March elections and will likely be used to ban journalists from covering the June 27 Presidential election run-off. The Broadcasting law has been used to maintain a de facto state monopoly of the airwaves through the ZBC. POSA is still being used to ban civic society and opposition parties from assembling, marching or organising any form of open protest. At the time of
writing this report, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activists were in police custody after marching against state repression in Harare.

Civic society organisations' representatives talked to reported that they had virtually suspended work in outlining areas and meetings of civic groups are also restricted, and offices often raided and staff arrested. It is evident, therefore, that media law reform in Zimbabwe remains a critical issue but more importantly, a culture of appreciating the necessity, role and place of media in society. (. . .)

For further details about the mission and report, please contact:
Kaitira Kandjii, Regional Director, MISA, Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61 232 975, fax: +264 61 248 016, e-mail:, Internet: Gabriel Baglo, Africa Director, IFJ Africa Regional Office, e-mail:, Internet: ; Rob Jamieson, Chairperson, Southern Africa Editors Forum (SAEF),
e-mail: ; Saidou Arij, Coordinator, Network of African Freedom of Expression Organisations (NAFEO), e-mail: , Internet: ,
Sam Mbure, Programme Director, Africa Free Media Foundation (AFMF), e-mail: , Internet:

The information contained in this joint action is the sole responsibility of MISA. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit MISA.
ZIMBABWE 27 June 2008
Two freelance journalists arrested while covering presidential run-off elections
SOURCE: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Windhoek
(MISA/IFEX) - Freelance journalists Frank Chikowore and Edgar Mwandiambira were arrested the morning of 27 June 2008 while covering election proceedings at Mhofu Primary school in the Harare suburb of Highfield at the opening of the presidential election run-off voting. According to their lawyer, Aleck Muchadehama, the two are being held at Machipisa police station and have not yet been formerly charged.

Muchadehama said the two were arrested at around 9:30 a.m. (local time) on 27 June after making an enquiry to the presiding officer at the polling station as to whether they could cover proceedings at the polling station using their accreditation for the 29 March 2008 elections. The presiding officer is said to have professed ignorance and referred them to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The two were apparently stopped by a police official at the gate on their way out and taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Law and Order section. Mhofu Primary school is where Zanu PF presidential candidate, President Robert Mugabe, was expected to cast his vote.

For further information, contact Kaitira Kandjii, Regional Director, Rashweat Mukundu, Programme Specialist, or Chilombo Katukula, Media Freedom Monitoring and Research Officer, MISA, Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61 232 975, fax: +264 61 248 016, e-mail: , , , , Internet: The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of MISA.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit MISA.

MEXICO 27 June 2008
Journalist gunned down in Chihuahua state amid wave of violent crime
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris
(RSF/IFEX) - RSF is shocked by a wave of violence in the northern state of Chihuahua that has cost the life of Candelario Pérez Pérez, a 32-year-old journalist who worked as an editor on his father's crime magazine, "Sucesos". Pérez was gunned down in the border town of Ciudad Juárez on 23 June 2008. The motive for the murder is not yet known.
"So far there is no evidence of a link to his journalistic work, but Pérez's murder comes amid a wave of attacks and threats against journalists in recent months in regions adjoining the US border, especially Chihuahua state," RSF said. "The federal government's war on the drug cartels and the cartels' cruel reprisals are fuelling concern about the safety of journalists and the future of the entire profession."
RSF added: "We are aware that it will take time to contain organised crime, whose ascendancy in Mexico is considerable. The fight against impunity needs real cooperation between the federal authorities and state governments."
Pérez was on his way to visit relatives in a Chevrolet Silverado with Texas licence plates when he was shot and killed at about 7:30 p.m. (local time) by men armed with AK-47 assault rifles in a dark-coloured pickup. Investigators found marks from the impact of about 15 9-mm bullets at the scene.
The victim's father, "Sucesos" publisher Candelario Pérez Rodríguez, told journalists that his son got into an argument in a bar shortly before the shooting and that another car followed him when he left. He also said his son sold used cars as well as working as a journalist.
"Sucesos" is a local crime magazine that Pérez Rodríguez founded 30 years ago. It is published irregularly and has not appeared for the past two months because Pérez Rodríguez has been in poor health. His son had worked for it for 15 years as a reporter and editor.
Chihuahua state is rife with contraband and drug trafficking and is one of the most dangerous regions in Mexico, with more than 500 violent deaths since the start of the year.

For further information, contact Benoît Hervieu, RSF, 47, rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 68, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: , Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of RSF.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.


INDONESIA 27 June 2008
AJI denounces South Sulawesi police chief's harassment and intimidation of the local press
SOURCE: Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Jakarta
(AJI/IFEX) - The following is a 24 June 2008 AJI press release:
AJI responds to a statement by the South Sulawesi police chief During the 2nd South Sulawesi Regional Press Jamboree, held in Makassar on 30 May 2008, South Sulawesi Police Chief Insp. Gen. Sisno Adiwinoto said that people did not need to exercise their right to respond in their disputes with the press and could, instead, directly file complaints to the police.

This was not the first time the police chief had made this intimidating suggestion. On 19 May, Sisno Adiwinoto made a similar statement when delivering a speech before regents and mayors across South Sulawesi in the office of the South Sulawesi governor. The police chief said that sometimes journalists do as they like when publishing stories, so that the images of government officials become negative in the eyes of the people.
"Just file a report to the police if you have objections," the police chief said.
The press community has expressed concern over the police chief's statements, which they see as suggestions to the public to ignore the mechanisms of settlement of disputes or public dissatisfaction over media reports, in accordance with the Press Law. Law No. 40, Year 1999, stipulates a series of mechanisms for the resolution of such disputes via
the right to respond and the right to issue a correction.
On 31 May, South Sulawesi journalists, who form part of the Coalition against Press Criminalization, compiled signatures in opposition to the police chief's statement. In addition, the coalition staged a protest on 3 June in Makassar.
AJI has stated that it:
1. Regrets the statement of South Sulawesi Police Chief Insp. Gen. Sisno Adiwinoto, who suggested that the public directly report a journalist whose report is considered harmful to police. This statement has clearly ignored the mechanisms already provided for by Press Law No. 40, Year 1999.

2. Supports the efforts and acts committed by journalists in South Sulawesi, particularly those who have joined the Coalition against Press Criminalization, to fight against efforts to criminalize the actions of journalists who carry out their profession in line with the journalistic code of ethics.

3. Calls on the public to keep prioritizing press-related dispute settlements through the mechanisms provided by the Press law, namely through the right to respond and the right to issue a correction.

Jakarta, 24 June 2008
Heru Hendratmoko

Abdul Manan
Secretary General

For further information, contact the Alliance of Independent Journalists (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, AJI), Jl. Kembang Raya No. 6, Kwitang, Senen, Jakarta Pusat 10420, Indonesia, tel: +62 21 315 1214, fax: +62 21 315 1261, e-mail: (please cc ), Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of AJI.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit AJI.

MEXICO Flash Thursday, June 26, 2008 7:50 PM
(journalist threatened with murder after critical reporting on municipal programme official in Chiapas)
SOURCE: National Center for Social Communication (CENCOS), Mexico City and ARTICLE 19, Mexico City
(ARTICLE 19/CENCOS/IFEX) - Rafael Velasco Salas, deputy director of the bimonthly publication "Zona Norte" and correspondent in Chiapas for the Oaxaca-based newspaper "Noticias, Voz e Imagen", was assaulted and threatened with murder by Humberto Cernuda Hernández, brother of Josefa Cernuda - the president of the Family Services Unit (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, DIF) of the city of Pichucalco in the state of Chiapas, southeastern Mexico, on 22 June 2008.
The incident occurred at approximately 5:00 p.m. (local time), when the journalist, his wife and son were stopped while they were travelling in their car by Humberto Cernuda Hernández, who appeared to be inebriated at the time. Cernuda Hernández got out of a white pick-up truck without licence plates, and violently tried to force the journalist to get out of his car, demanding that he stop discussing Cernuda Hernández's sister.
Before getting back into his truck and leaving, Cernuda Hernández warned the journalist that he would not hesitate to kill him.
According to the journalist and Ciro Castillo - deputy director of "Noticias, Voz e Imagen" - the threats were likely in response to articles published in the newspaper implicating Josefa Cernuda Hernández, who is also the wife of the president of the Pichucalco municipal government, Santiago Herrera Tilch, in mismanagement of the DIF, the removal of support materials from the institution, and a physical assault on a female Pichucalco municipal employee.
Various media outlets have reported on Humberto Cernuda Hernández's alleged crimes, including the attempted murder of reporter Víctor Pacheco Rosado, which is still unpunished.
Velasco Salas said he will be filing formal complaints about the 22 June incident with the Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la República) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists (Fiscalía Especializada para la Atención de Delitos de

ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS respectfully call upon the state of Chiapas and the authorities in the city of Pichucalco to take the measures needed to guarantee Velasco's safety and that of his family. The two organizations also express their support for Chiapas journalists and their concern for the safety of journalists in Pichucalco, and will be carefully following the investigation into this case, and the authorities' response to the
request that they ensure Velasco can safely exercise his right to freedom of expression. They also reiterated their call to the Mexican state to implement an effective policy of prevention, investigation and punishment of violations of free expression, in accordance with their international human rights obligations.

For further information, contact Ricardo González, programme officer for ARTICLE 19, tel: +52 55 1054 6500, e-mail: ; Omar Rábago, research and education section of CENCOS, tel: +52 55 5533 6475, ext 108, e-mail: ; or Francisco Barrón Trejo, Communications coordinator, or Brisa Maya Solís Ventura, Executive Director, CENCOS, Medellín 33, Colonia Roma, 06700 México, D.F., México, tel: +52 55 55 336 475 / 55 336 476, fax: +52 55 52 082 062, e-mail: , Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS.
MEXICO 27 June 2008
Two journalists assaulted by military during operations in Oaxaca
SOURCE: National Center for Social Communication (CENCOS), Mexico City and
ARTICLE 19, Mexico City

(ARTICLE 19/CENCOS/IFEX) - At dawn on 21 June 2008, journalists Omar Gasga
and Antonio García were assaulted when they followed a military and police convoy to cover the convoys' information-gathering operations in Santa María Huatulco, Oaxaca state, southeast Mexico.
Gasga, a correspondent for Quadratin information and analysis agency, which is based in Oaxaca, as well as being a programme host for La Voz del Pacífico Sur radio station and a freelance journalist, told CENCOS by telephone that the incident began when the two journalists, at that time in a hotel area, noticed the presence of the military and police convoy.
Given that the area to which the convoy was heading had only two residential units, the journalists decided to follow it, deducing that the convoy was about to conduct a search. When they reached the site, they saw military and police deployed all over the area. When the soldiers noticed the journalists, they asked them to get out of their vehicle, and searched it and the journalists, even though Gasga and García explained that they were reporters. During the search, one of the soldiers struck García on the leg.
After asking the journalists for their identification, the military asked them to leave the area. The journalists were therefore no longer able to cover the military operations.
When the journalists left the site in their car, a new convoy, arriving to support the other one, also stopped them and asked them to identify themselves, throwing the pair on the ground and again searching their car and the journalists themselves. During the searches, García was again assaulted by the soldiers. The journalists were held while the soldiers
cleared out the area, then later released.
The journalists presented a formal complaint to the Commission to Defend Human Rights in Oaxaca (Comisión para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Oaxaca), which they hope will be turned over to the National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos) and the Programme for Offences against Journalists and Human Rights Defenders (Programa de Agravios a Periodistas y Defensores Civiles de Derechos Humanos). Gasga is considering the possibility of filing a lawsuit over the incidents.
On 23 June, the journalists were informed that there had in fact been a series of searches which had resulted in various complaints being filed with the local offices of the Public Ministry (Ministerio Público).
Gasga noted that he has to be able to count on being safe in order to exercise his profession.
ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS call on the municipality of Santa María de Huatulco to take the measures needed to ensure that the security forces protect and respect press freedom and freedom of expression, in accordance with international human rights agreements and standards. The two organisations strongly condemn these incidents, due to the chilling effect on free expression and press freedom they have. They note that the State's obligation to ensure public security cannot be used as a pretext to violate freedom of expression or press freedom.

For further information, contact Ricardo González, programme officer for ARTICLE 19, tel: +52 55 1054 6500, e-mail: ; Omar Rábago, research and education section of CENCOS, tel: +52 55 5533 6475, ext 108, e-mail: ; or Francisco Barrón Trejo, Communications coordinator, or Brisa Maya Solís Ventura, Executive Director, CENCOS, Medellín 33, Colonia Roma, 06700 México, D.F., México, tel: +52 55 55 336 475 / 55 336 476, fax: +52 55 52 082 062, e-mail: , Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS.
THE GAMBIA 27 June 2008
Former "Daily Observer" manager dismissed, imprisoned despite court's initial dismissal of sedition charges
SOURCE: Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Accra
(MFWA/IFEX) - On 23 June 2008, a Banjul Magistrate court presided over by Buba Jawo dismissed a case of sedition preferred against Dida Halake, former managing editor and managing director of the pro-government "Daily Observer" newspaper, who was recently detained.
MFWA's sources reported that the ruling followed a request by Halake's counsel, Lamin Jobarteh. The police prosecutor had earlier sought an adjournment to enable police to correct a drafted charge sheet that had been poorly written.
Despite the court's ruling, the police rearrested Halake and he is now in detention at a police station in Serrekunda, the Gambia's second largest city.
MFWA's sources said the former managing director was charged with sedition with two counts of seditious intention and passing on "false information" to a public servant, following information he allegedly sent via Short Message System (SMS) to President Yahya Jammeh. Details of that communication remain unknown.
According to MFWA's sources, Halake, a Kenyan-born journalist, had refused demotion from managing director to editor of the government-controlled privately-owned "Daily Observer". He has since been dismissed from the newspaper.
Before his appearance in court, Halake had been in detention for eleven days, far in excess of the 72-hour period that the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia stipulates. He was arrested on 12 June and made his first appearance on 23 June.
MFWA is dismayed by the ever increasing tendency of the Gambian authorities to suppress the free speech of journalists and media workers at the "Daily Observer".
MFWA calls for the repeal of the obnoxious seditious laws which are inimical to freedom of expression in general and press freedom in particular.
For further information, contact Kwame Karikari or Jeannette Quarcoopome, Media Foundation for West Africa, 30 Duade Street, Kokomlemle, P.O. Box LG 730, Legon, Ghana, tel: +233 21 2424 70, fax: +233 21 2210 84, e-mail: , , Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of MFWA.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit MFWA.
RFE/RL journalist tortured, forced into psychiatric hospital; another RFE/RL correspondent under house arrest
SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York
(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 26 June 2008 CPJ press release:
TURKMENISTAN: RFE/RL journalist tortured, forced into a psychiatric hospital
New York, June 26, 2008 - The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the
abduction, torture, and forcible psychiatric hospitalization of Sazak Durdymuradov, a contributing reporter for the Turkmen Service of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), in the Western city of Bakhaden.
According to RFE/RL, Durdymuradov was seized by agents of the secret police (MNB) from his Bakhaden home on June 20 and forcibly taken to a local psychiatric clinic, then shuttled to an MNB station where he was severely beaten, tortured with electroshock, and pressured to sign a letter that said he agreed to stop reporting for RFE/RL. Colleagues say they believe that Durdymuradov was then transferred to a psychiatric hospital in the
eastern Lebap region, notorious for "admitting" critics of the Turkmen regime, RFE/RL Turkmen Service Director Oguljamal Yazliyeva told CPJ.
However, Durdymuradov's whereabouts have yet to be confirmed. When RFE/RL
contacted MNB authorities to find out where Durdymuradov was, they told the outlet that they were unfamiliar with the case. "We are outraged by the brazen criminal actions of Turkmen authorities and call on them to immediately release our colleague Sazak Durdymuradov," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "The officers of the MNB responsible for abducting, torturing, and pressuring
him should be immediately dismissed and prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law."
On June 20, several MNB agents took Durdymuradov from his home in Bakhaden
and moved him to a psychiatric hospital located between the cities of Bakhaden and Ashgabat. At the hospital, Durdymuradov later told his wife, 10 doctors examined and diagnosed him with mental instability, Yazliyeva told CPJ. Durdymuradov, who was in good health, has never had a psychiatric illness, Yazliyeva said. MNB agents then took him to an MNB station in Bakhaden. There, they beat him with a pipe, tortured him with electroshock, and harassed him to sign the letter, Yazliyeva said.
His wife, Ogulnar Durdymuradova, received a tip that her husband was at the MNB station, and found him there on Tuesday, June 24. She later told RFE/RL that her husband was in such a terrible shape that he told her "he wanted to die" after the torture he said he suffered at the hands of the MNB.
The abduction, torture, and forced hospitalization of Durdymuradov took place against the backdrop of Tuesday's European Union-Turkmenistan talks on human rights. The summit, which took place in the capital, Ashgabat, was supposed to signal a reversal of Turkmenistan's international isolation. The summit, however, was closed to independent journalists; only the state-controlled domestic media were invited. There was practically no press coverage of the meeting, titled "Human Rights Dialogue."
"The gravity of this crime is exacerbated by its coinciding with Ashgabat's so-called 'human rights dialogue' with the European Union," Ognianova said. "The Turkmen regime is demonstrating nothing but scorn for human rights. The international community must, in turn, show that it would not tolerate such unabashed mockery of its fundamental principles, demand the immediate release of Durdymuradov, and the due punishment of all perpetrators of his abduction, torture, and forced hospitalization."
Durdymuradov has contributed to the Turkmen Service of RFE/RL for the past two months, commenting on the necessity for more rigorous constitutional and educational reform in the gas-rich Central Asian state. "He criticized the Turkmen media for not publishing public opinion on the constitution draft but praised the educational ministry for undertaking positive reforms in the curriculum," Yazliyeva told CPJ.
In one of his last reports for RFE/RL, Durdymuradov said on the air he felt comfortable using his real name - a sure sign, he said, that positive change is taking root in the country, Yazliyeva said.
Still, Turkmenistan remains one of the most isolated and repressive regimes in Central Asia. The 2006 death of tyrannical President Saparmurat Niyazov allowed for cautious hopes that his successor, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, would loosen government reins on the media and civil society. Indeed, Berdymukhammedov took some small but positive steps to mend the country's disastrous educational system, abandon the cult of personality created by Niyazov, and allow minimal public access to the Internet. However, the embattled broadcaster RFE/RL - the only alternative news outlet that
provides Turkmen citizens with information about their country in their own language - continues to pay a heavy toll. Its correspondents endure harassment at the hands of MNB agents: everything from 24-hour surveillance, pressure on family members and friends to sever ties with them, severed phone lines, and physical attacks.
In a separate case, Osman Halliyev - an RFE/RL correspondent in the Lebap region, has been kept under virtual house arrest since early last week, the broadcaster reported. Halliyev told RFE/RL that MNB agents have placed his home under round-the-clock surveillance and agents follow him wherever he goes. University authorities expelled Halliyev's son on June 20 in retaliation to his father's reporting.
Turkmenistan still refuses to allow an independent investigation into the September 2006 death in an Ashgabat prison of RFE/RL correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova. Muradova, 58, had spent three months in state custody on spurious charges of possessing ammunition before prison authorities handed her battered body to her family on September 14, 2006. Authorities claimed Muradova died of natural causes despite the bruises on her body, and refused to release her autopsy results.
CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.
For further information, contact Nina Ognianova (x106) or Muzaffar Suleymanov (x101) at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail:, ,, Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of CPJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CPJ.
Radio station director detained overnight by Puntland soldiers over interview with Somaliland commander
SOURCE: National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Mogadishu
(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The following is a 25 June 2008 NUSOJ press release:
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns today's arrest of
journalist Abdulkadir Mohammed Nunow, who is the Director of Horseed Radio
in Bossasso, a newly established private radio station.
Puntland soldiers, following the orders of Puntland Minister for Security Affairs Mr. Abdullahi Said Samatar, arrested Abdulkadir Nunow, who is also correspondent for the Voice of America Somali Section, at his office on the premises of the radio station around 2:10 p.m. (local time), Horseed journalists told NUSOJ.
According to Puntland officials, the journalist was arrested for a news report aired on the radio on Monday, 23 June, an interview that a Horseed reporter did with one of the Somaliland commanders on the situation of people who were kidnapped from Puntland but are being held in Las Qoray of Sanag region, which is controlled by the Somaliland army. Sanag is a disputed region that both Puntland and Somaliland claim as part of their territory.
"Puntland officials are accustomed to directly and indirectly intimidating journalists who want to report impartially and independently," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "We strongly denounce the arrest of Abdulkadir Nunow and demand that Puntland authorities respect journalists' professional rights and release Nunow immediately and unconditionally."
Journalists in Puntland have been receiving in the past weeks all sorts of threats from people who are eager to silence them. A number of journalists were threatened with death and some of them started to avoid seeking critical information in order to protect themselves.
Horseed Radio is a newly established radio station, which is privately-owned by Somali businessmen in the Diaspora. It has been operating for six months.
(IFEX note: Subsequent to this press release, IFEX received information indicating that Nunow, was released at 11 a.m. on 26 June after being held overnight without being charged.)
For further information, contact the NUSOJ Secretariat, 1st Floor, Human
Rights House, Taleex Street, KM4 Area, Hodan District, Mogadishu, Somalia,
tel/fax: +252 1 859 944, e-mail: , Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of NUSOJ. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit NUSOJ.

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Iraqi journalist Jumana al-Ubaidi decided she could no longer work in hercountry. The breaking point was her kidnapping last October by insurgentswho killed her driver and tortured her in captivity. Two weeks later shewas freed - but only after paying a ransom and vowing to stop working forthe "occupier". Al-Ubaidi is one of a record number of journalists forced into exile in thepast 12 months, says the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). CPJ and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) marked this year's World Refugee Day on 20June by paying tribute to journalists in exile. According to a new CPJ report, in the last year at least 82 journalists have left their native countries under threat or harassment - about double the average that CPJ has recorded since its annual survey began in 2001.More than half of the journalists came from just two countries, Iraq and Somalia, the deadliest countries for the press last year. Many refugee journalists lack professional opportunities, says CPJ; not even a third of those in exile since 2001 have found work in the media. When al-Ubaidi was released, she and her mother made their way to a neighboring country, and for $20,000 were smuggled into Western Europe. “We spent eight days driving in a big truck without enough food or water. The only time we were allowed to get out was when we needed to use the bathroom," she told CPJ. She now lives in a refugee camp awaiting a government decision on her asylum request. Of an estimated two million Iraqi refugees, only a small portion have been permanently resettled outside the region, says the U.S.-based group Human Rights First - and a tiny few in the United States, despite a government promise to process more refugee applications from Iraq. Sweden, though, has been a haven for more than 40,000 Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers. The exodus of reporters from Iraq and Somalia has thinned the reporting ranks in two important conflict zones. Kidnappings and death threats drove out at least 22 Iraqi journalists in the last 12 months, CPJ found. The 21 cases of Somali journalists in exile represent "a journalist community from an entire country on the run," Paul Salopek from "ChicagoTribune" told CPJ. The past two years have been especially bloody inSomalia as a transitional government backed by Ethiopian troops has clashed with Islamic insurgents. "When the media are driven out en masse as in Iraq and Somalia, a vital piece of those societies is being lost," says CPJ. RSF is calling on the European Union to adopt specific measures to protect refugee journalists who have defended freedom of expression. Journalists who have sought refuge in Europe were also invited to meet and talk to the media at RSF's headquarters in Paris on World Refugee Day. "The oppressors will have won if exile reduces these journalists to silence," says RSF. Read about RSF's World Refugee Day activities See "The Drum Beat" issue on communication for refugees at: For more resources for journalists in exile, see:


Alarmed by statements from Sri Lankan authorities threatening journalists, 31 IFEX members and partners signed a joint letter on 20 June asking forUnited Nations action. The letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,initiated by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), says the statements "put journalists in grave danger." Commentaries published on 5 June on the Defence Ministry website labeled journalists critical of Sri Lanka's war effort against Tamil rebels as"enemies of the state" and said the armed forces would take "all necessary measures to stop this journalistic treachery." The ministry singled out for criticism the Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFEX member. Signatories of the letter said these statements "risk encouraging those who have used extreme violence against journalists and other news professionals." It cited UN Security Council Resolution 1738 on journalism in conflict zones, which urges all parties in armed conflicts to respect the professional independence and rights of journalists and associated personnel. Last January, the letter adds, Army Commander Maj.-Gen. Sarath Fonseka"labelled some journalists as traitors." In November 2007, a strike by theSri Lankan Air Force against the radio station of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) killed at least three editorial staff. The letter asked the Secretary-General to urge all UN member states to respect Resolution 1738, and to help persuade the Sri Lankan government to withdraw these statements and stop all actions undermining the independence and safety of the news community. On 14 June, FMM reported a telephone death threat against investigative journalist Frederica Jansz, editor of the monthly "Montage" and South Asiaco-coordinator of the International News Safety Institute (INSI). As "appeals for redress from the government and law enforcement agencies on hundreds of threats to media during the last year have completely failed,"FMM stated, "we appeal to all local and international democratic actors to ensure that the safety of journalists and media freedom is protected in SriLanka."

Visit these links:- Joint action by IFEX members: FMM response to attacks: Threats against INSI co-ordinator:

"The continued repression in Burma is a stain on the world's conscience, "said Article 19 on the 63rd birthday of deposed democratic leader Aung SanSuu Kyi. The day, 19 June 2008, was her 4,618th under house arrest, and had to be celebrated alone, without a phone call, visit or letter. The military junta's repression that "has sullied us all," as ARTICLE 19 Executive Director Dr. Agnès Callamard put it, continues apace. Just a week earlier, 15 youth members of Suu Kyi's party were released after two weeks in detention for marching to her residence on the 18th anniversary of theNational League for Democracy (NLD)'s landslide election victory. Banners held by the arrested youths read: "Free ... Free ... Aung San SuuKyi" and "We need ... immediate aid," Mizzima News reported. But publicising the desperate situation of victims of Cyclone Nargis was itself dangerous. On 13 June, government authorities arrested a journalist in what is seen as a continuing effort to stifle news and information from Burma's cyclone-ravaged provinces, says Mizzima. Zaw Thet Htwe, former editor of "First Eleven Sports Journal", was arrested in central Burma and is being detained in Rangoon. Burmese officials have given no reason for his arrest, but colleagues and friends point to his participation in relief efforts for cyclone victims in the Irrawaddy delta.On 22 June, South Korean journalist Lee Yu Kyong was deported from Burma for visiting the NLD office, reports Mizzima, and CDs containing digital pictures of the devastation caused by the Cyclone were confiscated. In 2003, Mizzima notes, Zaw Thet Htwe was sentenced to life imprisonment for sending reports to the International Labour Organization. Under pressure from the ILO, the junta released him two years later. In a similar incident, prominent Burmese comedian, actor and directorZarganar was arrested on 4 June, according to family members. Zarganar was among the first Burmese celebrities to help cyclone survivors after CycloneNargis struck on 2-3 May. He played an active role in reaching people with aid, including rice and other commodities. Human Rights First says Zarganar's arrest came a few hours after he appeared in a BBC report on public anger over the junta's handling of humanitarian aid to cyclone victims. Zarganar has been frequently arrested for daring to speak frankly to the media, says Mizzima. Mizzima also reports that Rangoon shops selling satellite dish antennas are being raided by local authorities. Harassed shop owners "are being made to sign a pledge not to sell the equipment to unlicensed customers," it said. In cyclone-hit Kungyankone, just outside Rangoon, military authorities have seized at least 10 video and still cameras, Mizzima adds. Authorities have also reportedly been seizing video discs with documentaries and private footage of the cyclone's devastation. Despite assurances of free access by private donors to cyclone-devastated areas, the military government continues to arrest individuals taking aid to survivors, "The Irrawaddy" reports. It said 10 donors have been arrested so far in June, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

ZIMBABWE: "WORST TIME FOR JOURNALISTS IN COUNTRY'S HISTORY" Journalists trying to report on Zimbabwe's violent presidential run off election have faced the harshest press crackdown in memory, veteran reporters told the Committee to Protect Journalists in "Bad to Worse in Zimbabwe," a report released on 23 June 2008. A day earlier, opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) withdrew from the runoff, saying he could not ask supporters to cast a ballot when "that vote could cost them their lives." President Robert Mugabe and his administration have used obsolete laws, trumped-up charges and retaliatory measures to detain at least 15 journalists, intimidate sources and obstruct independent news coverage, the CPJ report said. CPJ coordinator Tom Rhodes reported that all types of media workers have been targeted, especially in rural areas wracked with violence by pro-government militants. "This is the worst time for journalists in Zimbabwe's history," exiled Zimbabwean reporter Geoff Hilltold Rhodes. Despite intimidation and threats facing the independent press, citizen journalists are helping gather news, and the South African-printed weekly"The Zimbabwean" recently sold a record 200,000 copies. However, the Mugabe government suppressed 60,000 copies of its June 19 issue, and banned distribution of Sunday newspapers from South Africa on 22 June. According to the African Press Network for the 21st Century (RAP 21), a new regulation could bankrupt such papers because "foreign newspapers, journals, magazines and periodicals are now ironically classed as luxury goods." On 24 May, 60,000 copies of "The Zimbabwean on Sunday" news paper were torched, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The government's "heavy censorship" spurred the World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) to urge the international community to ostracise Zimbabwe. United Nations and African regional organisations should suspend the country for openly violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said WPFC. A similar assessment was reached by a fact-finding mission of groups including the Africa office of the International Federation of Journalists(IFJ), the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and the Network of African Freedom of Expression Organisations (NAFEO) that visited Zimbabwe from 8 to 13 June. The mission "expresses its shock at the level of fear pervading the Zimbabwe media and society at large. The mission talked to journalists who had been arrested on flimsy charges, beaten and had their property confiscated and in some cases destroyed. Journalists operate under the constant fear of being abducted, arrested, detained or beaten up for doing their work." Laws including the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act are being used to narrow journalists' operating space, the statement added. Unlicensed journalists face a daily task of avoiding arrest, while licensed journalists dare not go outside city centres for fear of security agents and militias. "The combined effect is that Zimbabweans in general lack access to election-related information to empower them to make informed choices." Media coverage of the presidential run-off campaign slated for 27 June has been "skewed," MISA-Zimbabwe agreed. It especially cited state media and particularly the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). "Harassment of journalists at the state media is meant to inculcate fear and an unquestioning loyalty," the mission noted. While congratulating journalists and independent newspapers who continued to work and attempt to get both sides of the story, the mission concluded that, under the circumstances, no proper and professional media work can take place to allow for free and fair elections. "The state broadcaster has without any doubt blatantly and dismally failed to fulfil its obligations of granting equal and equitable access to radio and television to all the contesting parties," MISA-Zimbabwe said. The only coverage accorded the MDC opposition in state media was "vilification through news reports, documentaries and opinion pieces by columnists." Harassment, arrests and threats against human rights defenders including media and human rights lawyers has worsened the situation. Media lawyers have been arrested and others have fled Zimbabwe fearing for their lives. On 8 June, police in Matabelel and North province arrested and detained three employees of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ), accusing them of holding a public meeting without police clearance, MISA reported. They were released three days later. On 2 June, three South African media workers were sentenced to six months in prison, after being arrested ten days earlier at a police roadblock and found with equipment bearing logos of Britain's Sky News televisionstation. Sky News, a cable and satellite channel, is among the foreign news organisations banned from reporting in Zimbabwe. On 29 May, the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC) reported, cast and crew of the satirical play "The Crocodile of Zambezi"were attacked, and the play banned by police in Bulawayo.

Journalists and human rights activists working with the Samir Kassir Cultural Foundation in Lebanon launched the S K Eyes Centre for Freedom of the Media at a workshop in Beirut last week. On 16 and 17 June, about 70 journalists, cultural personalities and rights activists attended the event on "Media and Cultural Liberties in the Arab Mashreq." SKEyes has begun to research and monitor media freedom violations in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. The conference also covered issues affecting the region such as the impact of blogs, alternative media and satellite broadcasting, and freedom of cultural and artistic creation. IFEX members the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI),Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Maharat Foundation participated, as well as representatives of the IFEX Clearing House. Gamal Eid, Executive Director of ANHRI, noted an Internet explosion in theArab world, with 38 million users, producing opportunities to highlighthuman rights violations typically censored in the region's mainstream media. He said there are now up to 120,000 blogs in the region, more than tentimes the number in 2004. Yet this access also leads to more violations of free expression, with bloggers and Facebook users being jailed in Egypt and elsewhere. Several participants have been the subject of violations themselves. Mohammad Alabdallah, whose father Ali Al-Abdallah remains jailed in Syria, left Syria after a six-month jail term in 2006. He said the Syrian authorities have more control over the Internet now and have increased monitoring, so that more people are being jailed for what they post. Organiser Mohamad Ali Atassi, also a Syrian activist, said the SKEyescentre plans to help journalists who have been jailed by providing legal assistance and campaigning for their release. The conference closed with comments on the media's responsibility to remain neutral and objective in the face of conflict, something the Lebanese media struggled with during the violence in May. SKEyes has begun research into the four target countries, and is developing a library and database, which it plans to launch online. SKEyes is hosted in the offices of the Samir Kassir Cultural Foundation, set up by friends and family of Samir Kassir, a journalist, writer and media freedom activist who was murdered in 2005.

For more information, contact SKEyes at tel: + tel/fax: +961 1 397334 or email: samirkassirmedia (@) googlemail (dot) com.

Amnesty International UK recognised persecuted journalists around the worldat its annual media awards in London on 17 June. Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani, former editor of Yemen's political weekly newspaper"Al-Shora", won the 2008 Special Award for Human Rights Journalism under Threat. Just a week earlier Al-Khaiwani was sentenced to six years in jail for his coverage of armed clashes in the northern Yemeni province of Sa'da. Amnesty UK's media director, Mike Blakemore, said: "Our message is simple: no journalist anywhere in the world should be attacked or imprisoned simply for doing their job." Shortlisted for the award was Aqil Khalil (Xalil), a correspondent with the Azerbaijan newspaper "Azadliq", identified by Amnesty as at risk because of his journalism. In March 2008 Khalil was stabbed in the chest by four unknown assailants and was seriously injured. Other "Azadliq" journalists have also been assaulted and the paper has been the subject of government-backed actions seemingly designed to silence it. Amnesty's New Media Award was made posthumously to Iraqi journalist Saharal-Haideri, who was shot dead just weeks after the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) published her article "'Honour killing' sparks fears of new Iraqi conflict" on its website. Alan Johnston, who won Amnesty's radio award last year on the very day he was released from captivity in Gaza, Palestine, said Al-Khaiwani "is a man who has already endured the horrors of prison because of the stand that he's taken. Despite that, he is determined to continue his work and has of course just been jailed again. That is an act of courage." Reflecting on his own kidnap ordeal, Johnston said, "I benefited hugely from an extraordinary amount of public support when I was in captivity, and for that I will always be grateful. But of course there are so many journalists in countries like Iraq, Sri Lanka and the Philippines who go largely unnoticed by the outside world as they endure extraordinary pressures." Al-Khaiwani's articles in "Al-Shora" have criticised government policy in the north, where hundreds of people are believed to have been killed or forcibly displaced since 2004. The government has denied journalists and almost all independent observers access to the area, and maintained a high degree of censorship. Al-Khaiwani has endured years of harassment, Amnesty notes, including detention, beatings, intimidation and death threats. Speaking shortly before he was imprisoned, Al-Khaiwani said, 'The authorities in Yemen are trying to silence me and they even appear to be prepared to lock me up to keep me quiet. I definitely don't want to go to prison again just for doing my job as a journalist, but at the same time I'm not prepared to censor myself for an easy life." Other media award winners included Xan Rice of "The Guardian," Al Jazeera English, "The Times", IWPR, BBC Scotland (television), "Live" ("Mail on Sunday" magazine), "Newsweek", Radio 4 and ITV News. IFEX member Index on Censorship was honoured for its coverage of media freedom in Russia.


The New York-based political blog "Talking Points Memo" has won the 2008 Free Media Pioneer award of the International Press Institute (IPI).Managing editor David Kurtz received the prize at an award ceremony on 17June during IPI's world congress in Belgrade, Serbia. Created and run by U.S. journalist Joshua Micah Marshall, is the flagship blog of the TPM Media network.Started in November 2000 during the U.S. election recount in Florida,"Talking Points Memo" was instrumental in the reporting that led to U.S.Senator Trent Lott's resignation as Senate Minority Leader in 2002. In 2005, TPM launched "TPMCafe", featuring blogs about a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues. "TPMmuckracker", launched in 2006,investigates political corruption and exposed the firing of eight U.S.attorneys by President George W. Bush's administration. As a result,several high-level government officials resigned, followed in 2007 by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The annual IPI Free Media Pioneer Award was established in 1996 to honour organisations that have fought for freer and more independent media in their country or region. The award is co-sponsored by the U.S.-based Freedom Forum, a foundation dedicated to free press and free speech.
A new monument unveiled last week in the heart of London, U.K., paystribute to journalists and media workers killed in the course of their jobs. The 10-metre-high glass sculpture "Breathing" atop the BBC's headquarters in London was unveiled by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on16 June. The sculpture, commissioned by the BBC, is an inverted glass cone bearing the words of a poem by former war correspondent James Fenton. For half an hour each evening, it shines a light 900 metres into the sky as "a solemn reminder of those who have lost their lives giving voice to the voiceless,"Ban said at the unveiling. Two of the BBC's journalists, Abdul Samad Rohani in Afghanistan and Nasteh Dahir Farah in Somalia, were killed this month. The International News Safety Institute (INSI) estimates that two journalists have died every week in the past 10 years. The latest victim is Iraqi journalist Muhieddin Abdul-Hamid, a local anchor for the state-run television station al-Iraqiya. Abdul-Hamid, who had reportedly received death threats, was killed on 17 June in a drive-by shooting soon after he left his home in Mosul, reports Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Abdul-Hamid's death brings the number of media workers killed in Iraq to216 since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, says RSF.

The "IFEX Communiqué" is published weekly by the International Freedom ofExpression eXchange (IFEX). IFEX is managed by Canadian Journalists forFree Expression ( ) on behalf of the network's 81member organisations. The "IFEX Communiqué" is also available in French, Spanish, Russian ( ) and Arabic ( ). The views expressed in the "IFEX Communiqué" are the sole responsibility of the sources to which they are attributed. The "IFEX Communiqué" grants permission for its material to be reproduced or republished provided it is credited as the source. Contact IFEX Online Editor Natasha Grzincic at: communique (@) Mailing Address: 555 Richmond Street West, #1101, PO Box 407, Toronto,Ontario M5V 3B1 Canada, Tel: +1 416 515 9622; Fax: +1 416 515 7879;Website:

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