Monday, July 21, 2008

Lawsuit against a columnist for the Islamic newspaper

TURKEY 14 July 2008
Islamic newspaper's columnist charged with "denigrating the armed forces"

SOURCE: IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET), Istanbul

(BIANET/IFEX) - Authorities have filed a lawsuit against Abdurrahman Dilipak, a columnist for the Islamic newspaper "Anadolu'da Vakit", for his article titled "Cübbe Sarik" ("Religious cloak and turban"), which was published on 13 February 2008. He is accused of "denigrating the armed forces through media."
The case was filed following the complaint made by the General Staff to the Ministry of Interior on 18 February, in which they asked that the journalist be punished according to article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
The complaint claims that the article exceeded the limits imposed by "the reality, the public good and the criteria of intellectual connection between the subject and its expression", and "directly targeted the Turkish Armed Forces." However, BIANET notes that in his article Dilipak seemed to be talking about how people change their beliefs, sometimes overnight, and become what they previously opposed. In this respect, he claimed that that those who are so fervently secular, including soldiers, may change their ways so radically that they may be no different than those they were against previously. To make his point clearer, he said: "They might place a white turban wrapped over a green fez instead of their officer's hat somewhere visible in their houses . . . Let us remember how the Red Army disappeared overnight . . . Turkish society is scared and controlled through briefings, unsolved murders and files on people . . . There has been covert action to stir the country, in the east through JITEM and in the west through non-governmental organizations . . . The leader of the patriots is accused of his expression, 'We had four thousand soldiers walk in their civilian clothes and nobody realized it.'" (The JITEM refers to the national Gendarmerie's intelligence branch.)

On 17 September, Dilipak will face the judge at the Bakirköy Court of First Instance. In the meantime, the court is waiting for the interior minister's permission to try the case.

Publisher Ragip Zarakolu, the owner of Belge Publishing, is the person most recently convicted of violating article 310. The other article 301 cases have been sent to the Ministry of Interior in accordance with the latest revision in article 301, on offences "denigrating the Turkish Nation, the State of the Turkish Republic and its institutions and organs," which went into effect on 7 May.

According to BIANET's Media Monitoring Report, published on 1 May, there were 42 people on trial in the period January-March 2008 for violations of article 301; 12 of these cases were new. In 2007, the number of those on trial for article 301 violations was 55.
For further information on the Zarakolu case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94742
For further information on the recent amendments to Article 301, see:
http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/93212
For further information contact Nadire Mater at BIANET, Faikpasa Yokusu, No. 41, Antikhane, Kat: 3, D.8-9, Cukurcuma, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey, tel: +90 212 251 1503, fax: +90 212 251 1609, e-mail: bia@bianet.org, Internet: http://www.bianet.org
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of BIANET. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit BIANET.
DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1 tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879 alerts email:
alerts@ifex.org general e-mail: ifex@ifex.org Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/

This web log(blog) is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, as a means/measure/ manoeuvre of social service, all news and information posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news. The source party/ or the name who has the credit of the news shoulders all responsibility of the concerned news have been mentioned along with the posted/published news at bottom of every news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘Human Rights’.If you find any news/information is incorrect/wrong then please bring it to our knowledge for immediate correction, we express our unwilling ignorance and ready to make information correct. email : rawfoundation@ymail.com Please visit us

Vigilance to Protect Journalists' Safety in Pakistan

PAKISTAN, 9 July 2008
IFJ Calls for Vigilance to Protect Journalists' Safety in Pakistan


The International Federation of Journalists has called for vigilance to protect journalists' safety in Pakistan after the latest alarming spike in abductions of journalists which has ended with the release of Wiqar Kiyani, a journalist working for the Guardian newspaper of the United Kingdom, after his mysterious disappearance on July 6 from his home in Islamabad.
Kiyani's case represents the third in a sequence, which also involved the abduction of the journalists Pir Zubair Shah and Akhtar Soomoro, in the Mohmand agency area of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan.

The IFJ urges the state agencies and insurgent groups to respond positively to the appeals made by the PFUJ and other professional organisations, and to honour the valuable precedent established in these cases, that journalists are non-combatants entitled to equal protection from all sides in a conflict.

"We are worried though, that the culture of hostility and physical violence against media workers is an entrenched fact in Pakistan's more troubled areas", said the IFJ Asia Pacific.

"We call upon the federal and provincial governments in Pakistan to heed the call made by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) that immediate safety measures be instituted for journalists, especially those working in the tribal areas, allowing them to work without fear or intimidation from state agents or non-state actors."

For further information on the Shah and Soomoro case, see:
http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95243
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of IFJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IFJ.

14 July 2008
"Guardian" journalist goes missing following raid on home in Islamabad, later released SOURCE: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned over the reported disappearance of Wiqar Kiyani, a journalist working for the Guardian newspaper of the United Kingdom, shortly after he returned to Islamabad from a reporting assignment in Karachi.
According to reports received from the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, Kiyani's home was raided in his absence by unidentified persons. Soon after he returned home, his newspaper informed the PFUJ that he was not responding to telephone calls.
The IFJ learns that the PFUJ has been in contact with Pakistan's Federal Information Minister, Sherry Rahman, who has assured them of assistance in tracing the missing journalist.

"We are deeply distressed at this incident, which has occurred literally within hours of the release of the journalists Pir Zubair Shah and Akhtar Soomoro, after their abduction in the Mohmand agency area of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan", said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.
The IFJ urges the state agencies and insurgent groups to respond positively to the appeals made by the PFUJ and other professional organisations, and to honour the valuable precedent established by the release of the journalists in the FATA.

"We urge that the principle of journalists as non-combatants be respected by all sides in the conflict zones of Pakistan", said the IFJ Asia Pacific.

"At the same time, the safety situation for journalists in the FATA and the frontier provinces of Pakistan remains tenuous and we urge media owners and editors to be mindful of the special needs of journalists assigned in theseareas".

15 July 2008
"Aaj Kal" newspaper, staff threatened by Lal Masjid activists over cartoon of cleric's wife, editorial criticising religious militancy
SOURCE: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Karachi

(PPF/IFEX) - "Aaj Kal", an Urdu-language daily published from Lahore, has been threatened by Islamic activists angered by the publication of a cartoon about Umme Hassaan, wife of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, and also an editorial criticizing the religious militancy.
The Lal Masjid, located in Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, was the centre of a stand-off between the mosque administration and students of the affiliated seminary, who barricaded themselves inside the mosque, and the government. The crisis culminated in a bloody military operation on 7 July 2007, in which scores of people, including male and female students of the seminary and paramilitary personnel, were killed and over one hundred others were injured. The Musharraf government has been widely criticized for highhandedness and scores of students are still missing after the government attack on the mosque.
Umme Hassaan organized the Lal Mosque Martyred Women's Conference in Islamabad on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 in memory of the women killed in the military operation.

According to "Aaj Kal" management, speeches were also made against the newspaper by protestors who had gathered outside Lal Masjid on 11 July.According to Najam Sethi, Editor-in-Chief of "Aaj Kal", protestors raised banners with slogans against the daily, its editor-in-chief and publisher.They accused the newspaper of being anti-jihad and threatened to "teach them a lesson", he added. The newspaper's staff also received threatening telephone calls in Lahore and Islamabad.
The newspaper had recently published a cartoon depicting Umme Hassaan instructing female students on how to nab "immoral women". The newspaper had also published an editorial against religious terrorism and militancy in Pakistan.
The threats against "Aaj Kal" have been widely condemned by media organizations. The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) condemned the attempts by non-state elements to take the law into their own hands and issue threats designed to silence the daily for its outspoken views on rising extremism in the country. Arif Nizami, President of the CPNE, said, "We see this as an attack on the freedom of the press and condemn it
strongly."
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), in a statement issued on 12 July, termed the threats to "Aaj Kal" an attempt to silence dissent and expressed concern over the rising trend of violence from non-state actors against media personnel.

The PFUJ reminded clerics of Lal Mosque that one photojournalist, Javed Khan, died while covering the military operation, while another journalist was still under treatment and fighting for his life.
The PFUJ said that the media gave full coverage to the events last year and again on its first anniversary. "We expect them to behave honourably if any newspaper or channel criticizes their politics in its editorials. They also have a right to protest if 'Aaj Kal' or any other newspaper or channel does not give them due coverage. But they should respect the dissenting voice," the statement said.

In a statement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also expressed concerns over the threats to the newspaper. The statement said: "The HRCP believes that it is the obligation of the government to protect its citizens and particularly the media from being browbeaten." Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman also condemned the threatening phone calls and messages. Ms. Rehman assured the publication that the government would provide complete protection to "Aaj Kal" offices.
For further information on the Khan case, see:
http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/84584

For further information, contact Owais Aslam Ali at PPF, Press Centre, Shahrah Kamal Ataturk, Karachi 74200, Pakistan, tel: +92 21 263 3215, fax: +92 21 263 1275, e-mail: foe@pakistanpressfoundation.org , Internet: http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org
For further information, contact IFJ Asia-Pacific, tel: +612 9333 0919, or 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: rachel.cohen@ifj.org, Internet: http://www.ifj.org /
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of PPF.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit PPF.
http://www.groundreport.com/World/Pakistan-s-only-moderate-Urdu-newspaper-faces-thre

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1 tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879 alerts email:
alerts@ifex.org general e-mail: ifex@ifex.org Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/

This web log(blog) is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, as a means/measure/ manoeuvre of social service, all news and information posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news. The source party/ or the name who has the credit of the news shoulders all responsibility of the concerned news have been mentioned along with the posted/published news at bottom of every news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘Human Rights’.If you find any news/information is incorrect/wrong then please bring it to our knowledge for immediate correction, we express our unwilling ignorance and ready to make information correct. email : rawfoundation@ymail.com Please visit us

Immigration authorities search Joy Radio station, threaten to deport manager

MALAWI, 15 July 2008
Immigration authorities search Joy Radio station, threaten to deport manager over critical coverage

SOURCE: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Windhoek

(MISA/IFEX) - On 10 July 2008 immigration authorities raided Joy Radio premises, searching for foreigners allegedly employed by the station. The incident happened barely a day after State House Press Officer Chikumbutso Mtumodzi warned the station against what he termed "embarking on a disinformation crusade, airing libellous and slanderous programmes and playing derogatory songs" against President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Mtumodzi, a former journalist, has also alleged that the station's manager Peter Chisale is a Zambian national and threatened to deport him. However, Chisale has refuted the State House's claims, arguing his station abides by the code of conduct as stipulated in the Communications Act and that he is a bonafide Malawian citizen who only stayed in Zambia in exile, just like other Malawians, including President Mutharika and some of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's senior officials. Chisale said he holds a Malawian passport number MW233354 issued in Blantyre, and challenged Mtumodzi to cross check with immigration.

Chisale confirmed that immigration authorities went to the station looking for foreigners. He further said the authorities had also said they wanted to verify his (Chisale's) citizenship.
According to Chisale, the authorities also went to his home village on their verification exercise. When contacted, immigration Public Relations Officer Prudensia Makalamba asked to be called later.
In a 9 July press statement, Mtumodzi also accused the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), its chairperson, former president Bakili Muluzi, and Chisale of being architects of the alleged disinformation campaign against the president and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Mtumodzi alleged in the statement that Chisale is not Malawian but Zambian. "We wish to inform Malawians and the international community that President Mutharika has always been a firm defender of press freedom and the right to freedom of speech and association. However, the President likewise firmly believes, as Mr. Muluzi and the UDF may be aware, that freedoms go with responsibilities. Suffice to put it on record today that the station manager at Joy Radio - one Peter Chisale - is behind the chaotic, savage
and politically offensive material aired on Joy Radio. We are warning Chisale and a number of Zambian nationals employed by Joy against meddling in politics because they risk being deported at the stroke of a minute," read the statement in part.

Joy Radio Vice Chairperson Tony Mita has issued a statement condemning Mtumodzi, arguing his station handles issues in a balanced and professional manner.

"By threatening the radio station, State House wants to intimidate, and deny it the freedom of expression which Malawians fought for and got through the democratic change in 1994, which ushered into Malawi multiparty politics. (. . . ) Finally, with due respect again, we would like to request State House to honourably desist from muzzling the independent radio and interfering with other arms of government - that is what
democracy demands," reads Joy Radio's statement in part.

MISA Malawi chairperson Martines Namingha also condemned State House for
intimidating Joy Radio, explaining that Mtumodzi is aware of institutions such Media Council and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), which are mandated to handle complaints against the media. He said State House should have complained to such institutions instead of issuing threats.

BACKGROUND:
Joy Radio, which is linked to former President Bakili Muluzi, has on several occasions clashed with the government and operates under constant threat of closure by the government. Recently, at the signing of the media code of conduct for the forthcoming
presidential and parliamentary elections, Information and Civic Education Minister Patricia Kaliati ordered MACRA to revoke the station's licence, arguing the Communications Act does not allow politicians to own radio stations. She also accused the station of being anti-government.
Updates the Joy Radio case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94402

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: director@misa.org , research@misa.org , rashweat@misa.org , chilombo@misa.org ,Internet: http://www.misa.org/
The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of MISA. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit MISA.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1 tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879 alerts email:
alerts@ifex.org general e-mail: ifex@ifex.org Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/

This web log(blog) is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, as a means/measure/ manoeuvre of social service, all news and information posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news. The source party/ or the name who has the credit of the news shoulders all responsibility of the concerned news have been mentioned along with the posted/published news at bottom of every news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘Human Rights’.If you find any news/information is incorrect/wrong then please bring it to our knowledge for immediate correction, we express our unwilling ignorance and ready to make information correct. email : rawfoundation@ymail.com Please visit us

journalist released from forced psychiatric internment:TURKMENISTAN

TURKMENISTAN, 15 July 2008
RFE/RL journalist released from forced psychiatric internment, his telephone disabled to silence him

TURKMENISTAN: RFE/RL unable to reach reporter .
New York, July 11, 2008 - A contributing reporter for the Turkmen Service of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) who was forcibly held for two weeks in two different psychiatric facilities has now had his phone disabled, according to RFE/RL.
Bowing to international pressure, authorities freed Sazak Durdymuradov, 59, on July 3. A security officer warned him to "go and tell the truth" about his treatment in detention, and not to "slander" in his broadcasts, he said. Reports of Durdymuradov's unlawful detention and alleged torture had outraged the international community, which called for his immediate release.
Durdymuradov was due to participate today in an RFE/RL broadcast on human rights in Turkmenistan along with three other local contributors. But shortly after the Prague-based Turkmen service made contact with them, all the participants' telephone lines were simultaneously disabled. "We had to record our program with a different panel of participants," RFE/RL Turkmen Service Director Oguljamal Yazliyeva told CPJ.
"We are concerned that we and others are unable to contact our colleague Sazak Durdymuradov and by reports that his phone has been disabled," said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. "We ask that authorities ensure that Durdymuradov is able to communicate with the outside world."

Durdymuradov, returned to his home in the Western city of Bakharden on July 4,. On July 7, in his first interview since being released, Durdymuradov told the broadcaster that Turkmen security officials said they set him free on the condition that he does not commit what they call slander. Durdymuradov said he was "thrown in there," along with
at least 30 mental patients, and left without supervision at the Bezmein psychiatric clinic near the capital, Ashgabat,. "I did not sleep. If I'd fallen asleep, anything could have happened to me," Durdymuradov told RFE/RL.

The day of his arrest, on June 20, school officials fired Durdymuradov from his full-time job as a high school history teacher, Yazliyeva told CPJ. As part of their efforts to stifle independent reporting, Turkmen authorities often put pressure on journalists and their family members, often by depriving them of their sources of income, CPJ research shows. Durdymuradov's family of five now has to survive on the meager monthly
salary of his younger daughter - 330,000 Turkmen manat (about US$65), RFE/RL reported.

In his July 7 interview, Durdymuradov told he would continue his work despite his ordeal. He confirmed that the Turkmen security service coerced him to sign a statement of commitment to stop his collaboration with the radio when he was detained, but he refused. Upon his release, he said, a security officer told him: "You can collaborate (with RFE/RL) without problems. But don't slander. Don't give false information to
people. There won't be problems if you give correct information."
SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York
CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information visit http://www.cpj.org
Updates the Durdymuradov case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94881
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: europe@cpj.org, nognianova@cpj.org , msuleymanov@cpj.org, Internet: http://www.cpj.org/

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

DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1 tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879 alerts email:
alerts@ifex.org general e-mail: ifex@ifex.org Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/

---------------------------------------------------------------

This web log(blog) is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, as a means/measure/ manoeuvre of social service, all news and information posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news. The source party/ or the name who has the credit of the news shoulders all responsibility of the concerned news have been mentioned along with the posted/published news at bottom of every news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘Human Rights’.If you find any news/information is incorrect/wrong then please bring it to our knowledge for immediate correction, we express our unwilling ignorance and ready to make information correct. email : rawfoundation@ymail.com Please visit us

GHANA :Newspaper receives more death threats

GHANA, 18 July 2008
Newspaper receives more death threats; chief justice announces creation of new human rights court
SOURCE: Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Accra

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 15 July 2008, Western Publications Limited, publishers of the "Daily Guide", an Accra-based, privately-owned daily newspaper, filed a complaint with the head of the Ghana Police Service's Criminal Investigations Department (CID) regarding threats to the lives and security of its staff and property. The threats were received via anonymous telephone calls. This followed frequent death threats that three of the newspaper's senior staff members have recently received.

A letter to the CID's director general stated, "We take these threats seriously and therefore ask your good office for the necessary intervention, because the only offense we know to have committed is doing our legitimate duty of informing the public through our newspaper".
The letter, signed by "Daily Guide" editor Fortune Alimi and copied to MFWA, called for timely intervention to save the newspaper's property and the lives of its employees.

On 5 July, "Daily Guide" publisher and chief executive officer Gina Ama Blay received a death threat for the second time on her cell phone while she was in Japan covering the recent G8 Summit.
One of the messages, sent by an individual identified as "Ahuuuuuya" via SMS read, "So Gina Blay is going to waste our money in Japan. Tell her on arrival that bad news will greet her, da (the) burning down of her press hse (house) n (and) da (the) death of her informant. Dis (This) is not an empty threat, tell her she will be the next to pay her life. Da (The) N (National) Security cannot protect her. Ahuuuuuya".
On her return from Japan on 8 July, Blay received another threat from "Ahuuuuuya". This time the threat was extended to include her son.
Alimi told MFWA in a telephone interview that two other senior staff members, news editor Abdul Rahman Gomda and deputy editor Bennett Akuaku, have also received similar threatening text messages.
The recent threats come barely two weeks after Blay allegedly received death threats from a caller who identified himself as "Gajekpo" and claimed to be a soldier in the Ghana Armed Forces. "Gajekpo" was reported to have been upset about the "Daily Guide"'s 2 July front page. The headline "JJ Goes Mad" referred to a news conference held by former Ghanaian President Jerry John (J.J) Rawlings in which he criticised the ruling government.
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has stated that, "The GJA condemns the issuing of such death threats and rejects attempts by some people to convert the mobile phone into a weapon of intimidation."
MFWA urges the CID to speed up their investigations into the threats and encourages other rights organisations to condemn these cowardly acts of intolerance.
In a separate development, MFWA welcomes the announcement by Ghana's chief justice, Georgina Wood, of the establishment of a national human rights court.
On 14 July, the state-owned "Daily Graphic" newspaper reported Justice Wood as saying that the court, which will start operating in October, will serve as a division of the High Court and is intended to deal exclusively with human rights cases.

Wood, who was addressing police prosecutors in Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city, said the creation of the special court was an initiative by the judiciary aimed at promoting the rule of law and reducing the frustrations that Ghanaians experience daily when their rights are abused.
MFWA could not agree more with the chief justice as the setting up of the court will increase awareness and human rights protection in the country. The organisation is hopeful that the new court will ease the burden of the under-resourced Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

MFWA welcomes the establishment of the new Human Rights Court and hopes for
its speedy expansion into all regions of the country. The organization would also like to urge the government of Ghana to allocate enough resources toward ensuring that the Human Rights Court will become a well established, respected and functioning department within the Ghanaian judicial system. Furthermore, MFWA encourages Ghanaian citizens and civil society to support and make full use of the proposed court to advance human rights promotion and culture in Ghana.
Updates the Blay case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95055

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: events@mediafound.org , Internet: http://www.mediafound.org
The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of MFWA. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit MFWA.


DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1
tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879 alerts e-mail: alerts@ifex.org
general e-mail: ifex@ifex.org Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/


This web log(blog) is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, as a means/measure/ manoeuvre of social service, all news and information posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news. The source party/ or the name who has the credit of the news shoulders all responsibility of the concerned news have been mentioned along with the posted/published news at bottom of every news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘Human Rights’.
If you find any news/information is incorrect/wrong then please bring it to our knowledge for immediate correction, we express our unwilling ignorance and ready to make information correct. email :
rawfoundation@ymail.com Please visit us

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Assault on Journalists in India : Malkangiri and Ahmedabad

Assault on Journalists in India : Malkangiri and Ahmedabad
NBA condemns attack on journalists : New Delhi, July 19, 2008

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) on Saturday, strongly condemned the attack on journalists by unidentified persons in Ahmedabad and demanded immediate arrest of those responsible behind it.
A group of journalists and cameramen were attacked by unidentified persons when they were covering 'Ahmedabad bandh' following the mysterious death of two children in the ashram of a religious guru. More than 15 journalists were injured during the incident.
"Preventing journalists from performing their duties were violations of the freedom enshrined in and guaranteed by the Constitution," NBA President G Krishnan said in a statement.
He also urged the Gujarat government to ensure a congenial atmosphere for allowing journalists to perform their duties in a free and fearless manner.

The media 100 journalists rally to protest the attack on journalists by supporters of religious guru Asaram Bapu was today stopped by police and several among them were detained.
The journalists were carrying placards condemning the attack on media persons
"Supporters of the Bapu came out with sticks and attacked the media persons. I was also hurt in the attack," Gopi Ghangar, a correspondent of Hindi news channel ‘Aaj Tak', had said
The bodies of the two cousins, Abhishek (11) and Dipesh Vaghela (10), were found on July 5 on the banks of Sabarmati river near Sardar Patel stadium about 2.5 km from Asharam Bapu Gurukul in Motera. Their family members have alleged that the two were murdered. Police have not been able to make any headway in the investigation, causing anger among the locals.

Mob torched vehicles and pelted stones at several places, resenting the tardy pace of police probe into the deaths as almost 18 days had passed since the decomposed bodies of the cousins . The police fired in air, lobbed teargas shells and cane-charged protestors in areas like Nirnaynagar, Naranpura, Ranip, Sabarmati and Motera to control the crowds.

The Gujarat government Saturday ordered a probe into Friday’s attack on scribes who were covering clashes following the mysterious death of two boys at religious leader Asaram Bapu’s ashram, as the state’s Home Minister Amit Shah said the culprits would be punished. “The attack on media persons is intolerable and we are trying to trace those behind it,” Shah said. “We have ordered an inquiry and if the attackers were from the Asaram Ashram, they will not be spared and all necessary legal steps will be taken. Such attacks can never be justified.”
Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner O.P. Mathur said the people who attacked journalists during the Ahmedabad shutodwn would be be identified from various photographs published in the print media and coverage in the electronic media. The culprits would be punished, he added.
Journalists in Ahmedabad gave a memorandum to District Collector Hareet Shukla demanding strict action against the attackers. Several organisations of journalists in different districts of the state also submitted memoranda to respective collectors.

Various religious leaders also came out in support of the journalists. “If a gurukul cannot protect its children, then it should be closed. Asaram is giving a bad name to other saints. He should now immediately come forward to help police in the matter,” Bharat Sadhu Samaj vice president Ramvilasdasji said.
Source: Press Trust Of India
http://www.thehindu.com/2008/07/19/stories/2008071950110100.htm
http://www.surfindia.com/news/fullstory.php?ref=1202638
http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/probe-ordered-into-attack-on-ahmedabad-journalists_10073566.html http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14719349&cid=14459920

Reporters risk their life in naxalite regions
Journalists attacked, injured in Malkangiri district while covering police event

IFJ Condemns Police Assault on Journalists in India. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed to learn of an attack on journalists by police personnel in Malkangiri district in the Indian state of Orissa, site of the most recent incident of violence involving a long-running Maoist insurgency.
On July 17, according to information received from IFJ affiliates in India, police personnel conducting a guard of honour for colleagues killed the previous day in a Maoist landmine attack, began an unprovoked attack on journalists gathered to cover the event.
The General Secretary of the Indian Journalists' Union (IJU), K. Sreenivas Reddy, informed the IFJ that the police seemed to target journalists from other states. Cameras were snatched and damaged while vehicles were ransacked.
It is customary for news organisations to assign journalists from neighbouring states to cover events in Malkangiri, both because the district is near a three-way junction of state boundaries and because the Maoist insurgency is a problem common to all three states.
Prasanna Mohanty, Vice President of the National Union of Journalists of India (NUJI), said that Anil Reddy, a reporter with the news channel TV9, based in Bhadrachalam in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh, was seriously injured in the incident. Shaikh Maqbool, a reporter with the Hindi daily Nai Duniya, based in Dantewada in Chattisgarh state, was also hurt, as was M.V. Chari, a reporter with the Telugu language daily,
Vishal Andhra. The three journalists are receiving treatment at a hospital in the district headquarters town of Malkangiri.
The IFJ strongly endorses its affiliates' letters of protest which have been lodged with the chief minister of Orissa.

For further information, contact IFJ Asia-Pacific, tel: +612 9333 0919; or 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:
rachel.cohen@ifj.org , Internet: http://www.ifj.org/

http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95552/
http://us.uclue.de/7295378.html
several journalists attacked by police after Maoist violence
http://www.rsf.org/fil_en.php3?id_rubrique=682&mois=07
The information contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of IFJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IFJ.

--------------------------------------
This web log(blog) is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, as a means/measure/ manoeuvre of social service, all news and information posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news. The source party/ or the name who has the credit of the news shoulders all responsibility of the concerned news have been mentioned along with the posted/published news at bottom of every news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘Human Rights’.
If you find any news/information is incorrect/wrong then please bring it to our knowledge for immediate correction, we express our unwilling ignorance and ready to make information correct. email :
rawfoundation@ymail.com Please visit us

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Defamation: Legal Definitions and Context


Defamation: Legal Definitions and Context
Summary:
The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN is marking Writers in Prison Day
2006 (November 15) with a campaign in defence of nearly a hundred writers and
journalists around the world who are in prison or facing custodial sentences for
alleged defamation or ‘insult’. It calls for the repeal of laws that treat defamation as a
criminal, rather than a civil, offence, and argues that the term ‘insult’ is too vague to
have any legal standing as a charge and should thus be scrapped from penal codes
entirely. In order to demonstrate how such laws are being employed to curtail freedom of
expression, the Writers in Prison Committee highlights five cases of writers currently in
prison or being prosecuted in China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico and Turkey and calls for the charges against these five, and all writers similarly threatened, to be quashed.
Defamation and ‘Insult’ : Years of Living Dangerously
At the sixth International Writers in Prison Committee conference held in Istanbul in March 2006, PEN member participants recognised the grave threat to freedom of expression posed by defamation and ‘insult’ laws. The conference delegates agreed to mount a special campaign on this issue. This report comprises a first step of this initiative, to be launched on International Writers in Prison Day, November 15th, 2006. The campaign will continue through April 2007 and consist of a variety of actions calling for the abolition of all criminal defamation and ‘insult’ laws.
In a recent count of all those imprisoned or threatened writers known to PEN, it emerged that about a quarter (25%) of such cases fell under the category of having been targeted under criminal defamation and ‘insult’ laws. Cases of this kind were found in all regions of the world, although conditions of writers adversely affected varied from long prison-terms to threats of prosecution or physical intimidation. As Sara Whyatt, Programme Director of the Writers in Prison Committee, commented, the use of such laws ‘remains an intransigent and in some cases a growing problem’. Since the Writers in Prison Committee’s inception in 1960, cases of writers who have been nebulously accused of damaging the reputation, either of a nation or of an individual, have arisen frequently. In previous decades, writers from the former Soviet Union were often accused of ‘anti- Soviet propaganda’. Turkish writers have found themselves indicted for such acts as ‘insulting the memory of Ataturk’ (and continue to do so). African and Asian writers have similarly been targeted for ‘insulting’ or ‘defaming’ powerful people or institutions in their various countries. In practice, this has meant that any criticism of the President, of the ruling political party, or of leading Government figures has not been tolerated. Those investigating corruption or other abuses of power have proven especially liable to prosecution. There have also been cases of writers accused of ‘insult’ when their portraits were in fact fictional: parallels to real people were a matter of interpretation, but this did not stop the writer in question from being targeted by the authorities.
Growing International Awareness of the Problem
On the positive side, international human rights organisations have become increasingly aware of the danger posed by such laws. As Abid Hussein, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, reported to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights at its 56th Session in 2000: Criminal defamation laws represent a potentially serious threat to freedom of expression because of the very sanctions that often accompany conviction. It will be recalled that a number of international bodies have condemned the threat of custodial sanctions, both specifically for defamatory statements and more generally for the peaceful expression of views. (E/CN.4/2000/63, page 17)
He went on to cite the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s concern, expressed for the first time in 1994, over custodial sanctions on defamation in a number of countries, and its call for the total abolition of the offence of ‘defamation of the State’. The Special Rapporteur also quoted the Declaration of Sana’a, adopted in 1996 by the United Nations/UNESCO Seminar on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Arab Media, which recommends that ‘disputes involving the media and/or the media professionals in the exercise of their profession … should be tried under civil and not criminal codes and procedures.’ As well as these important statements from Inter-governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, such as PEN, Article 19, Reporters Sans Frontieres and others have increasingly identified criminal defamation and ‘insult’laws as a barrier to freedom of expression in their many reports and actions.


A report from International PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee
“Criminal defamation laws and laws proscribing ‘insult’ are providing heavy-duty ammunition togovernments wishing to deny citizens their right to freedom of expression.Today over a quarter of all PEN’s cases of imprisoned and prosecuted writers around the world have been charged under such repressive legislation. We urgently call for an end to thispernicious form of censorship.”Harold Pinter Nobel Laureate and Vice-President of English PEN
Defamation: Legal Definitions and Context
In law-books around the world, defamation is usually an offence that accords the person defamed (an individual) the right to take legal action to redress the harm done to his or her reputation by the defamatory statement. In most legal systems - but unfortunately not all - the defamatory statement must be proved to be false, and to have been made maliciously, or at least with reckless disregard for whether the statement was true or false in order for a prosecution to succeed. If the statement is proved true, then, however damaging a statement is to a person’s reputation, there should be no case for the originator to answer. Statements of opinion, which cannot be proven true or false, are not usually defined as being defamatory. However, ‘insult’ laws often allow for successful prosecutions of these kinds of statements.
The opinion expressed may by its very nature be unverifiable, and thus the act of judging
whether or not such a statement was ‘defamatory’ is necessarily one of arbitrary interpretation. It is on these grounds that statements of opinion should, in PEN’s view, be excluded from definitions of what constitutes defamation. Unfortunately, in many courts around the world, practice falls far short of this standard. Many individuals have found themselves penalised for statements of opinion that could be proved neither true or false; they have often been prosecuted under faulty defamation laws, or ‘insult’ laws so broad and vaguely phrased that free debate on public affairs is utterly stifled.
In many early law systems in Europe, defamatory statements were treated as criminal offences and could be punished severely, even with death. However, in, for example, English law, civil action for damages sustained by defamation can be traced back to the middle ages and gradually, over the centuries, became the main route for redress. As the negative impact of harsh, criminal penalties on free, unfettered debate within a society came to be appreciated, many human rights organizations called for an end to all criminal defamation laws so that the right to freedom of expression could go unmolested. However, as Abid Hussein correctly noted in his report, in many countries of the world, defamation carries extremely high penalties, including long-term imprisonment.
Burden of proof is another important issue. The English laws on libel, for example, have often been criticised by civil libertarians for favouring the plaintiff rather than the defendant, who must prove his or her statement either to be true or at least fair comment. In the United States, where the First Amendment to the constitution affords strong protection to freedom of expression, defamation law is more defendant-friendly. It is for the plaintiff to prove that the statement made was false and made with malice, or with reckless disregard for truth.
The Need to Limit the Scope of Defamation Laws
In 2000, Article 19, the freedom of expression advocacy group, published Defining Defamation: Principles on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Reputation. This ground-breaking report was a result of an international workshop on the issue with legal and human rights experts from around the globe. In a legal analysis of the overall international situation, the report called for an ‘appropriate balance between the human right for freedom of expression… and the need to protect individual reputations’. While acknowledging that defamation laws were necessary to protect individuals whose reputation, and therefore livelihood, was deliberately damaged by a false assertion, the report found many instances where defamation charges are not justified.
Thus, defamation law should exclude:
• Legitimate criticism of officials
• Statements affecting the ‘reputation’ of objects as opposed to people, such as the State or nation, or national or religious symbols or emblems
• Statements affecting the reputation of those who have died.
The Need to Limit How Defamation Laws are Applied
The report, as well as calling on all nation-states to work towards the abolition of all criminal defamation laws, stressed that public authorities, including police and public prosecutors, should ‘take no part in the initiation or prosecution’ of such cases. It also stated that sanctions should notinclude prison sentences, suspended sentences or banning orders preventing the accused from further expressions of his or her opinion. The report also identified the need for cases of defamation to be dealt with promptly ‘in order to limit the negative impact of delay on freedom of expression’. It is alarming to note that in many countries, the reverse of these conditions exists. Prosecutions are commonly initiated by public officials, sentences are harsh, and cases often take months, and even years, to be resolved one way or another. (Examples of these trends appear in the ‘Regional Overview’ below.)
Another principle recommended by the report was that public officials should not receive special protection from defamation law. Public officials should receive no aid from the state in bringing a defamation suit, nor should the penalties against convicted defendants be any greater than for private individuals. Again, in many countries, the reverse is true. This concurs with other international human rights instruments, which state that politicians and public figures should be prepared to tolerate more scrutiny, and thus criticism, of their conduct than private individuals. As set out by the Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, laws limiting freedom of expression, such as defamation laws, ‘shall not be used to protect the state and its officials from public opinion or criticism.’ Nor, in the report’s view, should defamation law adversely affect a journalist’s right not to disclose his or her sources, when it is in the public interest to disseminate that information. ‘Public interest’ should at all times be an important consideration in any defamation suits involving public officials, and, to further this, there should be a principle of ‘reasonable publication’ in defence of those accused.
Reasonable publication would be established where it was found to be reasonable for a person in the position of the defendant ‘to have disseminated the material in the manner and form in which he or she did’. (for more on Article 19’s work on criminal defamation go to http://www.article19.org/) By inserting all these above principles into defamation law, PEN believes that the latter’s scope to trammel legitimate public debate would be eliminated. Thus, it would be possible to achieve the ‘appropriate balance’ between freedom of expression and the legitimate protection of individuals from libel or slander. Above all, laws and legal practice should recognise that it is in the public interest for people to be able to speak freely without fear of concern that they may have to answer in court for what they have said. How the laws are worded and how promulgated should at all times adhere to this key principle.
Criminal Defamation and ‘Insult’ as Tools of Censorship Regional Overview
The following regional overview is taken from the Writers in Prison Committee’s Case List - January - June 2006. Some of the cases cited have been resolved, but in others, prosecution or imprisonment is ongoing. An examination of the 96 defamation and ‘insult’ cases in that period provides ample evidence of the repressiveness caused by such laws. However, what the cases cited cannot demonstrate is the overall ‘chilling effect’ the legislation has on whole societies. In some countries, there may be no current cases of writers in prison or in the dock for criminal defamation. However, the scope to imprison them, through a vast array of inappropriate legislation, remains. The fact that nobody is detained is not as positive as might first appear, but due entirely to a climate of severe self-censorship. Another trend in many regions (in Africa, for example) is that criminal defamation and insult laws often have their roots in a colonial history. The current, overbroad legislation are direct descendants from the statute books in existence when colonial powers were running a given country. The multitude of cases cited below show how far below internationally-agreed standards the legislation in a number of countries falls. Below is ample evidence of overbroad defamation and ‘insult’ laws that:
• apply extremely harsh sanctions, such as longterm imprisonment
• give special protection to public officials
• punish statements made against objects, such as states and emblems of state
• punish statements made against dead people
• punish alleged ‘insult’ with no delineation of what this might mean and no requirement that the truth or falsity of such statements be established
• punish statements made in fictional contexts by fictional characters. Finally, many of the cases below have taken months, even years to resolve. The net result of such protracted proceedings is that the chilling effect on the local community of writers and
journalists is maximised. In some countries, legal action has also been accompanied by extra judicial attacks on writers and journalists, ranging from threats to abductions.
----------------------------------------------------


Lydia Cacho Ribeiro is on trial in Mexico on charges of defamation ( detail is given below)


Hrant Dink has had several trials against him in Turkey for ‘insult to Turkishness’.
( Detail is given below)

(Detail is given below)
Arash Sigarchi is serving a three year sentence in Iran for ‘insulting’ the president.
----------------------------------------------
AFRICA
Number of cases recorded in region: 26 Number of countries with criminal defamation/insult cases: 10
In May 2005, a workshop of human rights experts was held in Zambia under the sponsorship of the Media Institute of Southern Africa on defamation/insult. It noted that ‘insult’ laws were ‘mostly a legacy of the colonial era’ and though ‘ostensibly to protect the dignity and official status of kings, presidents, prime ministers’ and other officials, were in fact often used ‘to prevent the publication of criticism of government’. It noted that over the last decade at least 125 media outlets and journalists had been charged under such laws in 35 countries in Africa. Some human rights experts said they had observed an increase in this kind of judicial harassment in the region. A legal overview found that 48 countries — in other words, the vast proportion of all African countries — had such laws on their statute books. One positive development was that Ghana and Kenya had recently scrapped criminal defamation and ‘insult’ laws.
Countries in which PEN has recorded cases of recent official harassment are Algeria, Congo- Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. One of the longest custodial sentences handed down in the region in 2006 was to two journalists from Niger who each received 18- month prison terms. Mamane Abou and Oumarou Keita, editors of the weekly Le Republicain newspaper were found guilty of ‘publishing false information’ and ‘defaming the state of Niger’ even though the very legality of the trial was contested by their lawyers. Their lengthy term was matched by that handed down to Mohammed Abbou in Tunisia. Abbou was, among other charges, indicted for ‘insulting the judiciary’ and ‘publishing false reports’ in his on-line postings. The articles in question had drawn comparisons between the Tunisian President and the Israeli Prime Minister, while another compared torture in Tunisian prisons to that carried out by US soldiers in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. Abbou was given an 18- month term on the above charges, plus two years
for other alleged offences.
In Algeria, three journalists were detained for ‘offending the head of state’, while in Congo Brazzaville, Fortune Bemba, editor of the weekly Thalassa, was arrested for defamation for an alleged ‘attack on the honour of the head of state’ and ‘propagation of false news’. In Morocco, Driss Chahtane, editor of the weekly Al Michaâl received a one-year suspended sentence and a fine for alleged libel in a satirical article and accompanying cartoon published in his newspaper about the private life of the Algerian president. Senegalese journalist Moustapha Sow was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for a series of articles in the daily L’Office alleging that an influential local businessman was implicated in an embezzlement trial.
One of the most bizarre criminal defamation cases occurred in Zimbabwe. Iden Wetherell, Vincent Kahiya, Dumisani Muleya and Itai Dzamara were tried for allegedly defaming President Robert Mugabe. The charges stemmed from an article in the Zimbabwe Independent reporting that the president had commandeered an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767 in order to take his family and other members of his retinue on holiday, an action that left many regular passengers stranded. In a remarkable twist to the case, the then Minister of Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo declared that the article in question was ‘not fictitious’ but in fact ‘blasphemous’.
During the first half of 2006, perhaps the most alarming place to be a writer and journalist in the region was Ethiopia. Throughout 2006, the courts have been systematically used to gag journalists, and legal processes have tended to be protracted, even where the accused are eventually merely fined or acquitted. In the first half of the year, five journalists were detained under defamation/insult laws and many more faced charges and possible imprisonment if convicted. Wesenseged Gebrekidan, for example, had to serve an eight-month prison term for his role as the editor responsible for an article published in the former Ethiop magazine that appeared as long ago as 2002. The article was critical of a former diplomat Habtemariam Seyoum. Gebrekidan was not the author of the article himself, but was held legally accountable as the magazine’s then editor.
-----------------------------
THE AMERICAS
Number of cases recorded in region: 22 Number of countries with criminal defamation/insult cases: 8
Defamation and ‘insult’ laws are known as ‘desacato’ laws in much of the region.. While PEN recorded cases in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, there were worrying legal developments elsewhere. For instance, in Panama, a draft bill was introduced reforming the Penal Code. The bill, instead of dispensing with criminal defamation laws or reducing their scope, actually stiffened penalties for convicted journalists. If the bill becomes law, defamation in a news outlet would be punishable by two to three years’ imprisonment, while libel or slander elsewhere would be punishable by one to two years’ imprisonment. The bill was a surprise to many observers in light of President Martin Torrijos’ assertion that press freedoms should be enhanced, not curtailed.
In Bolivia, the international human rights community has called on the Constituent Assembly, as it is in the process of drafting a new constitution, to amend current legislation which punishes defamation with up to three years’ imprisonment. Meanwhile, Argentinean journalist Angel Ruiz faced criminal charges of ‘libel’ and ‘insult’ for an article in El Este Rionegrino, alleging provincial officials were involved in a smuggling venture. Angel Ruiz refused to reveal his sources for his article and apparently received threats that, if he did not comply with the authorities’ demand, his paper would be closed down. In Brazil, four journalists were accused of defaming a local businessman and press baron for saying that working conditions at the latter’s newspaper were poor. If convicted they face one year’s imprisonment, although local commentators say they are more likely to be fined, as this would be their first offence. In Colombia, a worrying trend of death threats often either replaced or accompanied official accusations of defamation. For example, three journalists were reportedly sent fake parcel bombs at their homes in June 2006, soon after their paper had published a series of articles on corruption, criminality and vote rigging in the local area. In Cuba, charges of insulting President Castro were partially responsible for the imprisonment of Léster Téllez Castro who was also accused of ‘disorderly and disrespectful’ behaviour. Similarly, Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, director of the news agency Havana Press, was given a one-year sentence for showing ‘disrespect’ towards the local chief of police. The charge is thought to be linked with one of his journalistic reports but, since the trial was not open to the public, this is not certain.
Defamation laws put no fewer than five journalists in the dock in Venezuela during the first half of 2006. However, some of the most disturbing cases of defamation laws being applied to writers occurred in Mexico. Sergio Witz was accused of ‘insulting national symbols’ for a poem in which he imagines using the Mexican fla* as toilet paper.
Meanwhile, Lydia Cacho Ribeiro faced criminal charges of defamation and calumny. Cacho’s book convincingly implicated a local businessman in a child pornography ring, and she now faces between six months and four years in prison if convicted.
Mexican criminal defamation law is such that proving that the alleged defamatory statement is actually true is not necessarily sufficient to secure an acquittal.
----------------------
ASIA
Number of cases recorded in region: 5 Number of countries with criminal defamation/insult cases: 3
Cases of criminal defamation and ‘insult’ were comparatively rare in Asia, where the use of national security laws and strictly enforced self-censorship are more often used to silence writers and journalists. However, in the Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia and Thailand, East Timor and Indonesia, lawsuits mounted under defamation laws against writers and journalists, human rights activists and government critics are fairly common and across the region there has been mounting pressure from civil society groups to reform these laws.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has reported ‘progressive developments’ in recent months in the countries of East Timor, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia.
In Cambodia, the National Assembly approved Prime Minister Hun Sen’s decision to decriminalize defamation on 26 May 2006. However, although journalists can no longer be imprisoned for defamation, on 15 September 2006 an editor was successfully
prosecuted for defamation under Article 62 of the United Nations Transitional Authority of Cambodia (UNTAC) law instead of the more liberalCambodian Press Law. Dam Sith, editor in chief and publisher of the newspaper Khmer Conscience, was sentenced in absentia to pay a fine of 8 million riel (USD 2,000) for disinformation and 10 million riel (USD 2,500) for defamation of the Cambodian government. In July 2006, another Cambodian editor, You Saravuth, was forced to leave the country after receiving death threats for an article that implicated Okhna (Lord) Hun Tho, a nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen, in land grabbing.
In Thailand, media activist Supinya Klangnarong was acquitted of criminal defamation
charges on 16 March 2006 in a case brought by Shin Corporation, Thailand’s largest telecommunication and mobile company. She was accused of alleging in a July 2003 interview with the ‘Thai Post’ that Shin Corp, formerly owned by the family of Thailand’s prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, benefited financially from the prime minister’s policies. However, since the recent removal from power of Prime Minister Shinawatra by the military it is soon to say how the new political climate will impact on press freedom in the country.
In East Timor, President Xanana Gusmao has sent a draft law back to the Ministry of Justice for reconsideration due to concerns over its criminal defamation provisions. The draft law seeks to amend the penal code to allow jail terms of up to three years and unlimited fines for defaming public officials.
Meanwhile, on 9 February 2006, Indonesia’s Supreme Court quashed a lower court ruling
against editor Bambang Harymurti, who had been convicted of criminal defamation and
sentenced to one year in prison in September 2004. Harymurti’s publication, ‘Tempo’, had published an article in its 3 March 2003 issued alleging that businessman Tomy Winata stood to benefit from a suspicious fire in Tanah Abang textile market.
In China, writers and journalists found themselves behind bars for long periods for such
nebulous charges as ‘inciting subversion of state power’. These harshly punished cases did not properly fall under the rubric of defamation or ‘insult’, but nonetheless the catch-all laws were an extremely effective weapon of the government in silencing all criticism of the political status quo.
However, one writer was accused more overtly of defamation. Yang Xiaoqing, a reporter with Zhongguo Chanjing Xinwenbao (China Industrial Economy News), was sentenced to a year in prison after being convicted for posting allegedly defamatory articles on the Internet in which he accused local officials of corruption.
--------------------
EUROPE
Number of cases recorded in region: 26 Number of countries with criminal defamation/insult cases: 5
Countries in Europe with defamation and ‘insult’ cases were Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Poland, Russia and Turkey. Samir Adygozalov, editor in chief of Boyuk Millat in Azerbaijan, was sentenced to a year in prison on criminal libel and insult charges in
February 2006. The accusation was based on article published the previous September accusing a parliamentarian and university rector of being an ethnic Armenian and improperly using university funds to support the Armenian Diaspora. From its investigation of the case, PEN acknowledges that in this case there may have been legitimate grounds for a case of civil defamation to have been initiated.
However, PEN believes that the one-year custodial sentence is an inappropriately harsh sanction for the alleged offence.
In Macedonia, Zoran Bozinovski, co-owner and deputy editor-in-chief of the daily Trokja, was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for criminal defamation and briefly detained.
Bozinovski, a well-known investigative journalist, is no stranger to prosecution. He is reported to face a further 82 charges for his articles, most of them being pressed by public officials. The Polish journalist Andrzej Marek also spent a brief time in prison - two days - after being sentenced to three months for criminal defamation. His offending article had been published back in 2001 and accused a police official of having obtained his post through blackmail and used his position to promote his private advertising business. The police official involved called on the Polish president to release Marek, claiming ‘It has never been my intention to jail a journalist. I only wanted him to apologise.’

In Russia three journalists for the newspaper Novye Kolyosa (New Wheels) based in the Russian enclave, Kaliningrad, between Poland and Lithuania, were charged in September 2006 for defaming two judges in articles published between September and December 2005, claiming that a local sauna was also a brothel. An owner of the building where the sauna is housed is also the husband of a judge who subsequently claimed that she the articles defamed her. The second judge quickly followed suit, also claiming defamation.
Novye Kolyosa founder, Igor Rudnikov and Dina Yakshina, one of its journalists, face up to three years in prison under Article 129 of the Russian Penal Code. A third journalist working for the newspaper has a separate defamation suit against him Oleg Berezovsky’s article published in November 2004 questioned the reasoning behind the acquittal of person convicted of drug offences. This led to three judges accusing him of defamation. His trial opened in August 2006.
Two other writers faced prosecution in Russia for alleged defamation. Arseny Makhlov, publisher of the weekly Dvornik, was charged with having committed criminal libel in three articles published in 2004 and 2005 that alleged a local official had accepted a bribe. Andrei Skovorodnikov received six months of ‘corrective labour’ for creating an internet site that carried material ‘defaming’ President Putin.
Turkey, with 18 recorded cases of ‘insult’ prosecutions in the first half of 2006, was the country in the world where actions under such laws were most numerous. Journalists and writers found themselves targeted by an array of ‘insult’ laws, such as ‘insulting the republic’, ‘insulting the judiciary, judges and prosecutors’, ‘insulting the government’, ‘insulting Turkish identity’, ‘insulting the President’, ‘insulting the security forces’ and even ‘insulting the memory of Atatürk,’ the Turkish leader who died in 1938.

The case of internationally- famed writer, Elif Shafak, although recently acquitted, gave a flavour of the repressiveness of these laws. Shafak, along with her publisher and translator, was tried for ‘insulting Turkishness’ under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. The charge was based on her recent novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, in which an Armenian character uses the word ‘genocide’ to describe what happened there in the early part of the twentieth century. Although nearly a century has gone by, it is forbidden in Turkish law to mention the word ‘genocide’ in this context. The government’s official version of events is that Turkish forces quelled a violent and bloody uprising and were forced to organise mass deportations of Armenians, where as many international historians believe that a widespread, brutal killing of unarmed civilians occurred that was genocidal in intent. Shafak’s prosecution tested whether or not the ongoing prohibition applies to what a fictional person says in a novel. There was much relief when she was acquitted in September 2006 and it is hoped that this legal decision will set a precedent for what is allowable in other works of fiction.

Another remarkable case is that of Ipek Çalislar and Necdet Tatlican, the author and
editor-in-chief of the newspaper Hürryet. They are accused of insulting the memory of Atatürk in Çalislar’s best-selling biographical book Latife Hanim (Lady Latife), about Ataürk’s first wife in an interview about the book published in Hürryet. The book refers to a story about Atatürk told by Latife’s sister, which, whether true or not, has been recounted by other historical sources. In the story, Atatürk once found himself trapped in a house, with an enemy outside. In order to escape, he donned a woman’s headscarf and other clothes, while Latife remained within, and, wearing his hat, stood in the window so that her profile would be taken for that of Atatürk’s. In response to the charges against her, Çalislar commented ‘historians can argue about it, but I don’t see anything that bothers the justice system.’ The law concerning insult to Atatürk was brought in in 1951 and carries a maximum custodial sentence of four-anda- half years.
Alongside this case is that of Hrant Dink, editor of the Armenian-Turkish language weekly Agos, found himself convicted in September 2006 to a six-month suspended sentence. He was accused of ‘insult to the Turkish state’ for an article about the Armenian Diaspora published in his paper. The proceedings against him had begun some 17 months earlier. Hrant Dink has faced other, similar ‘insult’ charges, based on his comments about Armenian history and identity. Yet another court case was initiated against him in September 2006 on charges of ‘insulting Turkish identity’ in an interview he gave to the Reuters newsagency on 14 July in which he again referred to the Armenian genocide. He is said to have told interviewers Daren Butler and Osman Senkul that he had no doubt that an Armenian genocide had taken place, that he would not remain silent on this issue, and had no plans to leave Turkey.
---------------------
MIDDLE EAST
Number of cases recorded in region: 19 Number of countries with criminal defamation/insult cases: 7
Defamation and insult laws across the Middle East continue to muzzle free speech. Writers are often accused of insulting the country’s leadership, the judiciary, or the reputation of the state. Custodial sentences range from very severe (for instance, in Iran) to fines and suspended sentences. Countries in which PEN recorded defamation and insult laws in the first half of 2006 were Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
In Lebanon, Tawfiz Khattab and Fares Khashan faced up to two years in prison if convicted of ‘insulting and defaming the president’ in an article appearing in the daily Al-Mustaqbal, while Jordanian website editor Jamil Abu Bakr found himself accused of ‘belittling the dignity of the Jordanian state’ for posting articles by members of the Islamic Action Front., the country’s main opposition party. The articles had been penned as long ago as 2004. Meanwhile, Syrian novelist and website editor Mohammed Ghanem was jailed for six months between March and September 2006 for ‘insulting the Syrian President, discrediting the Syrian government and fomenting sectarian unrest’. The charges were based on his many articles advocating political and cultural rights for Syria’s Kurdish minority. In Yemen, meanwhile, an especially chilling climate persisted, no doubt caused by the regular reports of death threats, attacks and torture of writers and journalists there.
Abdullah al Sabri, editor-in-chief of the weekly Sawt al-Shoura was charged with defaming Deputy Interior Minister Mohamed al-Qawsi for reporting that the Minister had ordered prison officials to intimidate a jailed journalist. If convicted he could face a year in prison and a ban on practicing journalism in the future.
Defamation charges in Iraq carry especially severe penalties, and again abductions of journalists result in an atmosphere of self-censorship. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported in September on an especially grave case. Ahmed Mutair Abbas, managing editor of the now defunct daily Sada Wasi, and Ayad Mahmoud al-Tamini, the paper’s chief editor, are currently on trial for defaming local police and judicial officials in three articles they published in 2005. If convicted under article 226 of the Iraqi penal code, they could face more than ten years’ in prison. Worryingly, Abbas went missing in early September while traveling from Kut to Baghdad to attend a trial hearing. Two other Iraqi journalists were charged with defamation and briefly arrested in early 2006.
The Iranian statute books contain a number of provisions prohibiting and punishing alleged ‘insult’. ‘Insulting the leader’, ‘insulting officials and institutions of the Islamic Republic of Iran’ and the even more nebulous ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ were some of the many charge facing writers in journalists in Iran. The harshest sentence currently being served in the country in this category is that handed down to Arash Sigarchi. Initially sentenced to fourteen years’ imprisonment, this was reduced on appeal to three years, which he is now serving. He was accused of ‘insulting the President’ and ‘propaganda against the regime’ in 2005 because of articles in his weblog and interviews he gave to the BBC World Service and Radio Farda.
There were six cases of defamation in Egypt during 2006. This was disappointing in that in February 2004, President Mubarek promised to amend the 1996 press law and abolish prison sentences for press offences. He repeated this promise at the end of 2004, but today no such reform has been initiated. To date, article 197 in the Penal Code still penalises ‘insulting the president’ and article 102 allows for the detention of anyone who ‘deliberately diffuses news, information/data, or false or tendentious rumours, or propagates exciting publicity, if this is like to disturb public security, spread horror among the people, or cause damage to the public interest’. Thus, on June 26, a court in a village near Cairo sentenced Ibrahim Issa and Sahar Zaki, an editor and journalist respectively to a year in prison for ‘insulting the president’ and ‘spreading false or tendentious rumours’.

Contacts:
International PEN,
Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn,
London WC1V 6ER UK
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7405 0338
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7405 0339
e-mail: wipc@internationalpen.org.uk
web-site http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/
Posted by Albert Ashok on behalf of All-India PEN Center, West bengal
All matters are posted with permission of International PEN.org.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Abdul Kareem Al-Khaiwani and Yemen



Increasing harassment of journalists and deteriorating state of free expression in Yemen
ARTICLE 19 criticizes sentence against al-Qarni
12/07/2008 LONDON, NewsYemen
ARTICLE 19 is deeply concerned by the deteriorating state of free expression in Yemen after a Yemeni court sentenced artist Fahd al-Qarni to 18 months in prison and imposed a fine of YR500,000 (about US$2,500).
In another development, the verdict in the case of Abdul Kareem Al-Khaiwani was amended, thus prohibiting appeal. Security forces have also harassed activists protesting against this decision.
"The sentence against Mr. al-Qarni, the change in the case of Mr Al-Khaiwani and the manhandling of protesters are all indicators of an alarming trend in Yemen of increasing harassment of journalists and public figures in the opposition," said Dr. Agnès Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.
Al-Qarni was sentenced at 6.30a.m. on July 9, two hours before the start of official working hours, to 18 months in prison and a fine of 500,000 Yemeni Riyals to be paid to the General People's Congress and the Culture Office in Ta'az. According to a local journalist, al-Qarni called on Yemenis to congratulate him for this sentence. Supporters present in the vicinity of the court were also allegedly harassed.
Al-Qarni was arrested in April this year by security agents as he was heading to Aden to participate in a festival. The arrest is perceived to be politically motivated and in response to Al-Qarni's position against corruption in Yemen. In July 2006, members of the Criminal Investigations Bureau arrested shopkeepers in an effort to prohibit the circulation of a cassette by the popular artist. The cassette combines traditional folk compositions with humour and criticism of the government's policies.
On a different front, the verdict in the case of Mr. Al-Khaiwani was suddenly amended earlier this week to include the phrase "expedited implementation," which according to local reports prohibits appeal and release pending appeal.
ARTICLE 19 joins the Sisters' Arab Forum, the Dialogue Forum, the Change Organization for Human Rights, the Media Women Forum, and the Democratic Social Forum in their appeal to Mr. Esam al-Samawi, the chairman of the High Judiciary Council, for clarification regarding the change in verdict.

ARTICLE 19 also condemns the harassment of protesters and activists demonstrating peacefully outside the Supreme Court and later the headquarters of the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate. Cameras were seized from protesters and Al-Jazeera was allegedly barred from covering the protest.

Abdel Karim Al-Khaiwani has been regularly targeted by the authorities and was arrested and charged in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008. ARTICLE 19 has recently expressed deep concern over the sentence of Al-Khaiwani in what is believed to be a politically motivated ruling. On June 9, Mr. Al-Khaiwani was sentenced to six years imprisonment for alleged ties with the Houthi rebels fighting government forces in Sa'ada province in the northwest of the country. Mr Al-Khaiwani is an outspoken critic of the government.

ARTICLE 19 urges the Yemeni government to reaffirm its commitment to the protection of human rights. This commitment was set out clearly in the National Reform Agenda, adopted by the government in 2006. Yemen has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and is therefore obliged as a matter of international law to respect the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the ICCPR. Yemen has also acceded to the Arab Charter on Human Rights which, under Article 32, guarantees the right to information and free expression.

Critical singer al-Qarni sentenced to jail, fined $2500
TAIZ, NewsYemen A primary court, Poli, in Taiz, south of Yemen, on Wednesday sentenced the popular singer Fahah al-Qarni to one year and a half term in prison and fined him Yr300,000 ($1500) to be paid for the ruling party, the General People's Congress, and Yr 200,000 ($1000) to be paid for the Culture Office in Taiz. The verdict session was the first to be held at 06:00 am, two hours before usual work time.
The verdict session was the first to be held at 06:00 am, two hours before usual work time.

Police fired to air to disperse people, MPs, representatives of the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms and a group of journalists who rallied outside the courtroom in solidarity with al-Qarni and condemned the sentence. Police also offended some journalists and human rights advocates who condemned the sentence.

The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) condemned the sentence that they described as "presidential order against the brave Fahad al-Qarni. JMP said in a statement that the sentence was "unfair and deviant"

"The session was held out of the court's official work time to prove that the judiciary is still in hand of the executive authority and being used as a means to repress people for their political views," said the statement.
It called on the authorities to release al-Qarni and all political prisoners "in prisons across the country."
The courts should be set up for those corrupt and outlaws who control the country's resources and wealth of all Yemeni people from Mahra to Sa'ada, not for honest and credible voices that fight corruption, injustice and oppression," it said.
Al-Qarni is a famous Yemeni popular singer for his critical songs against occupation and wrong behaviors of the government officials and ministries. He was put in prison many times for his critical tapes which are widely spread in the country, especially among ordinary citizens.

IFJ Renews Call for Justice for Yemeni Journalist Abdelkarim Al Khaiwani
28/06/2008 , SANA’A, NewsYemen
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) congratulated Yemeni journalist Abdelkarim Al Khaiwani winner of Amnesty International's "Sepcial Award for Human Rights Journalism Under Threat" and renewed its call for journalist organisations around the world to support Al Khaiwani as he challenges a six-year jail sentence handed down by the state security court.
"Abdul Karim is one our members and a very special member too," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha "He is one of those rare breed of journalists, some of the bravest and the most determined - those who are prepared to sacrifice their personal and professional lives for the public good. Abdul Karim is convinced that standing up to bullies and having to face up torture and imprisonment can make the difference."

The award was presented by BBC Journalist Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped in Gaza last year. Boumelha accepted the award on Al Khaiwani's behalf in London on Tuesday at the 17th Amnesty International Media Awards attended by 400 journalists, writers, photographers, broadcasters and other media executives.

"The independent opposition press, one of the most important instruments for peaceful change and democratic reform, is operating in a tough and precarious environment, especially in the absence of an independent judiciary, lack of respect for the rule of law, widespread corruption and the government control/monopoly over TV and radio," Al Khaiwani wrote in a speech that Boumelha read at the awards ceremony.

"The IFJ and the international community of journalists are grateful that Amnesty is recognising the contribution made by Abdul Karim," Boumelha said. "But this should go further that supporting the steadfastness and courage of one journalist battling against his tormentors. It should also be a recognition through him of all the struggles and all the sacrifices made by many journalists and others to advance freedom, justice, democracy and human rights in Yemen and the rest of the Arab World."

The IFJ says that the punitive sentence handed down against Al Khaiwani is not justified by the meagre evidence laid against him and is a sign that the authorities are trying to intimidate journalists over reporting of sensitive security issues. The IFJ says Al Khaiwani's case must be reviewed and allegations against him should be substantiated by evidence that can be tested in open court. Meanwhile, he should be released from jail immediately pending an appeal and review of the proceedings.

The IFJ has also fears over the physical condition of Al Khaiwani. "An additional concern for us is Mr Al Khaiwani's poor health and we urge the President also on humanitarian grounds to secure his release so that he can receive the medical care he needs," IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said in a recent letter to Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh.

The IFJ has launched a campaign calling on its member unions to send letters of protest over Al Kaiwani's unfair conviction to President Saleh.
Source:
News Yemen Tel No. : + 967 1 402 513 Fax : + 967 1 469 467 Email: econtact@newsyemen.net ARTICLE 19, IFJ,
http://www.ifj.org/en
http://www.newsyemen.net/en/view_news.asp?sub_no=3_2008_07_12_7329 ------------------------------------------


This web log(blog) is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, as a measure/ manoeuvre of social service all news and information, posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news, the source party/ or the name who has the credit of the news shoulders all responsibility of the concerned news have been mentioned along with the original news at bottom of every news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘Human Rights’.If you find any news/information is incorrect/wrong then please bring it to our knowledge for immediate correction, we express our unwilling ignorance and ready to make information correct. . email : rawfoundation@ymail.com Please visit us

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in United States



PEN American Center and other leading human rights organisations
INTERNATIONAL/UNITED STATES, 11 July 2008
PEN American Center and other leading human rights organisations file lawsuit challenging constitutionality of new surveillance law
SOURCE: PEN American Center, New York City
(PEN/IFEX) - On 10 July 2008, PEN American Center joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other leading international human rights organisations, journalists and attorneys in filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the newly-enacted FISA Amendments Act, a law that grants the Administration the power to carry out and expand the illegal eavesdropping activities it has engaged in secretly since 2001.

PEN, which believes its routine communications with writers and human rights activists overseas are vulnerable to monitoring under the programme, called the law "an unnecessary abandonment of constitutional protections prohibiting 'general warrants' and unreasonable searches." The writers' organisation insisted that the kind of dragnet surveillance the law allows not only threatens the ability of American writers, journalists and human rights advocates to carry out their international work, but also undermines
the right of all American citizens to engage in private telephone and Internet conversations without fearing that the government is listening.
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 overhauls and significantly weakens the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted in 1978 after revelations that the government had been spying on innocent Americans, including leading writers and cultural figures. FISA required the government to seek the approval of a secret court to conduct surveillance programmes in the United States.
In December 2005, "The New York Times" reported that the Bush administration had authorized a massive new surveillance program in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks that simply ignored FISA. Dramatic congressional testimony last year by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey revealed that the Administration repeatedly reauthorized the programme despite the fact that its own Justice Department
had concluded that key aspects of the programme were illegal. More than 40 lawsuits have been filed by customers against telecommunications companies that participated in the programme.
By granting immunity to the telecommunications companies, the FISA Amendments Act effectively short-circuits these lawsuits, which many believed were the best means available to bring the scope of the illegal surveillance to light. The new law also authorizes major - and still secret - aspects of the programme, and will allow the government to conduct sweeping surveillance of communications, including the international communications of U.S. citizens and residents, without identifying specific targets and with limited FISA court review.
"Like all international human rights organizations, PEN conducts daily exchanges with a network of writers, journalists and human rights organisations and activists around the world," said Larry Siems, Director of Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center.
"This includes regular exchanges with the families of writers and journalists in authoritarian countries whose free expression rights are being violated, often in the name of protecting national security. The knowledge that these exchanges could be monitored by the United States government undermines the trust and confidence necessary for us to gather crucial information and serve as credible and effective advocates on their behalf."

Siems stressed that PEN is concerned not only about its ability to carry out its work as a human rights organisation, but also about the impact the surveillance programme will have on its membership of professional writers, on American citizens and residents as a whole, and on the climate for freedom of expression in the United States. "What the FISA Amendments Act has done is take a secret government programme that was conceived and implemented outside the law and declare that the law doesn't matter; that those whose most basic rights have been violated under the programme don't matter; and that the American people, who have lost the security of knowing that their communications can only be monitored if the government secures a FISA court order, may never learn the extent of the programme and how it is being used."

"It is a terrible precedent for lawmaking, and it is sure to breed the kind of uncertainties about government conduct that can chill speech. The fact is, law-abiding Americans have no way of knowing whether their international communications are being monitored," Siems concluded.

"We are extremely proud to stand with the ACLU and our co-plaintiffs in challenging this badly-flawed law and this unconstitutional programme," said Francine Prose, president of PEN American Center. "PEN is an organisation that strives to defend writers and freedom of expression around the world, and one that has proudly counted among its international membership many writers who have been the target of illegal and abusive government surveillance programmes, including abusive programmes in the United States that the 1978 FISA law was meant to address. Those programmes, too, were justified in the name of national security. What we learned then, and must relearn now, is that it is possible to craft surveillance programs that do not trample the First and Fourth Amendments."

PEN American Center is the largest of the 145 centers of International PEN, the world's oldest human rights organisation and the oldest international literary organisation. The Freedom to Write Program of PEN American Center works to protect the freedom of the written word wherever it is imperiled. It defends writers and journalists from all over the world who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted or attacked in the course of carrying
out their profession.
For more information on PEN's work, please visit
http://www.pen.org/freedom .

For further information, contact Larry Siems, Freedom-To-Write Program Director, PEN American Center at 588 Broadway, Suite 303, New York, NY 10012 U.S.A., tel: +1 212 334 1660, fax: +1 212 334 2181, e-mail: ftw@pen.org , Internet: http://www.pen.org/ /

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


This web log(blog) is dedicated for ‘Freedom of Expression’, as a measure/ manoeuvre of social service all news and information, posted herein, are collected from mostly electronic media/ online (published) news, the source party/ or the name who has the credit of the news shoulders all responsibility of the concerned news have been mentioned along with the original news at bottom of every news, maintained and updated by Albert Ashok on behalf of http://rainbowartistsandwritersfoundation.blogspot.com/ a non-profit artists’ and writers’ organization defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and ‘Human Rights’.If you find any news/information is incorrect/wrong then please bring it to our knowledge for immediate correction, we express our unwilling ignorance and ready to make information correct. . email : rawfoundation@ymail.com Please visit us