Friday, July 11, 2008

Reporter assaulted

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Reporter assaulted in PERU
PERU 10 July 2008
Reporter assaulted, television station's vehicle damaged during demonstration in Lima; journalist threatened in San Francisco for criticising illegal coca farming
SOURCE: Institute for Press and Society (IPYS), Lima

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 9 July 2008, a group of demonstrators vandalised a Canal N television station van after the leader of the Peruvian General Workers' Confederation (Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú, CGTP), Domingo Cabrera, incited them to action by stating that the station was misinforming the public about the national strike organised by the union. The incident occurred in the center of Lima.
The demonstrators let the air out of the vehicle's tires and tried to break the broadcasting antenna. They also threw rocks at the van. Technician Carlos Olmedo was inside the van at the time, waiting for the reporters' instructions to broadcast information.

América Televisión reporter Karina Novoa tried to cover the incident but she was assaulted by the protestors. Both television stations condemned the attack during their coverage of the strike.
In a separate case, on the morning of 9 July, journalist Dante Espeza of the Inforegión press agency received a threatening phone call while he was on air hosting the "Tribuna Libre" programme. The programme is broadcast on La Pegajosa radio station, based in San Francisco, in the Apurímac River and Ene River Valley (VRAE).
The caller questioned his opposition to illegal coca leaf plantations and to drug trafficking in the region. Espeza believes that coca growers' associations or drug traffickers from the Vizcatán region may be behind the call.
Practicing journalism in the VRAE is risky, due to the presence of drug traffickers, terrorists and organised crime. IPYS calls on the authorities to be on the alert in case of a possible attack on the journalist.


VENEZUELA 10 July 2008
Journalist assaulted by angered mayor for reporting on alleged irregularities
SOURCE: Institute for Press and Society (IPYS), Lima

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 6 July 2008, Mayor Orlando Gómez, of the city of Libertad
in Barinas state, burst into the broadcasting booth of radio station Llanera 100.1 to insult and harass journalist Raúl Chirinos, host of the "Tertulia Vecinal" programme.
The incident occurred while the journalist was on the air, reporting live on alleged irregularities in a financial report submitted by the mayor regarding the repairs in a local music school.
According to the journalist, the mayor went to the station to demand his right to present his version of events which, according to Chirinos, he was granted immediately. However, apparently unsatisfied with this, the official struck the journalist and damaged the sound console and other equipment.
Chirinos said he was planning to file a complaint with the Barinas Prosecutor's Office.

On 7 July, Gómez went to the offices of the "Diario de los Llanos" newspaper and said that Chirinos's accusation is false. The mayor claimed that "there was only some pushing around and a few things fell", according to Víctor Faneite, a journalist for the newspaper who interviewed Gómez and later discussed the matter with IPYS.


For further information, contact Adriana León or Carlos Bracamonte at IPYS,
Calle Sucre no 317, Barranco, Lima, Peru, tel: +511 247 3308, +511 247 0406, fax: +511 2 473194, e-mail: postmaster@ipys.org , Internet: http://www.ipys.org/

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of IPYS.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IPYS.
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PAKISTAN , Journalists Freed from Abduction ,10 July 2008
Journalists released by alleged Taliban group following abduction in Tribal Areas
SOURCE: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 7 July 2008 IFJ media release:
Journalists Freed from Abduction in Pakistan's Tribal Areas The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the July 5 release of two Pakistan journalists who were abducted from Mohmand Agency by an alleged Taliban group in the notorious Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the country's north west on July 3.

According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, freelance reporter Pir Zubair Shah and freelance photojournalist Akhtar Soomoro were reportedly working in Taliban-controlled areas when they were abducted at gunpoint.
In a statement issued on July 6, the PFUJ thanked all journalists and television channels, particularly those working in North-West Frontier Provinces and FATA, for joining forces to pressure for the journalists' early release.
Both journalists are now in contact with their families and were treated well during the days of their captivity, the PFUJ reports. "All journalists and channels showed unity for a common cause, which is a healthy sign," the PFUJ said.
The IFJ calls on all media owners, including foreign media agencies who employ local stringers and fixers, to adopt extra safety measures and sufficient training before sending journalists to these highly volatile conflict zones.
This incident follows death threats made by suspected Taliban militants against three tribal journalists working for foreign media on June 30. The threats were reportedly distributed on pamphlets in Wana bazaar in South Waziristan in front of two mosques.

"All political and religious groups must understand that journalists are not to be targeted with violence or intimidation," said IFJ Asia-Pacific. "Thankfully, this latest abduction was resolved quickly. However, it is clear that the deterioration of safety and law and order in the FATA and NWFP is now cause for serious consideration for all members of the media community," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
"All media owners must ensure journalists' safety and protection is the absolute priority when sending them into such dangerous regions." The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries worldwide.
Updates the Shah and Soomoro case:
http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95075

For further information, contact Anna Noonan, IFJ Asia-Pacific, tel: +61 2
9333 0919, e-mail: anna.noonan@ifj-asia.org, 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 update is the sole responsibility of IFJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IFJ.

JAPAN, Two environmentalists arrested, 10 July 2008
Two environmentalists arrested for exposing alleged embezzlement in government-sponsored whaling programme
SOURCE: ARTICLE 19, London

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is an ARTICLE 19 press release:
ARTICLE 19 condemns the arrest and prolonged detention without charge and without bail of two Greenpeace campaigners who exposed alleged embezzlement in the Japanese government-sponsored whaling programme in the Southern Ocean.

"The disproportionate actions of the authorities are clearly intended to stifle criticism of Japan's controversial whaling programme," said Dr. Agnès Callamard, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19. "These arrests can only discourage others from investigating and reporting on suspected irregularities in the use of public funds."

Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were arrested sixteen days ago after Greenpeace published a dossier alleging that staff involved in the government-funded whaling programme were deriving personal gain from the embezzlement of valuable prime cuts of whale meat. Acting on information from a whistleblower, Greenpeace conducted an investigation over a number of months into activities onboard a factory ship used for what the government describes as scientific whaling. According to Greenpeace, after the ship returned to port, Sato and Suzuki removed a box of personal baggage addressed to the home address of one of its crew members from a depot, and discovered it contained 23,5 kg of whale meat worth up to US $3,000. After displaying the box at a press conference, it was presented to
the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office on May 15 along with a criminal complaint.

On June 20, Sato and Suzuki were arrested on suspicion of trespass and theft of a box of personal belongings, the Greenpeace Japan offices were raided by some 40 policemen who confiscated the office server, and the homes of five staff members were searched too. On the same day, the Public Prosecutor dropped his investigation into Greenpeace's allegations.

ARTICLE 19 considers the disproportionate police action and ongoing detention without charge of the two campaigners is clearly intended to intimidate critics of Japan's whaling programme and calls for the immediate release of Sato and Suzuki and return of all confiscated property.



YEMEN, Yemen: Freedom of Expression in Peril, 10 July 2008
Artist sentenced to 18 months in prison, fined; verdict in critic's case amended, prohibiting appeal; protestors harassed
SOURCE: ARTICLE 19, London
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 YR 500,000 (about US$2,500). In another development, the verdict in the case of Abdel 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 protestors 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 6:30am on 9 July, 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 the 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 Organisation 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 protestors and activists demonstrating peacefully outside the Supreme Court and later the headquarters of the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate. Cameras were seized from protestors 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 9 June, Mr. Al-Khaiwani was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for alleged ties with the "Houthi" rebels fighting government forces in Sa'ada province, North West 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.
ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works globally to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.

Updates the Al-Qarni case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/92579
Updates the Al-Khaiwani case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94351

For further information, contact Sarah Richani, MENA Programme Office,
ARTICLE 19, 6-8 Amwell Street, London, EC1R 1UQ, U.K., tel: +44 20 7278
9292, fax: +44 20 7278 7660, e-mail: sarah@article19.org,
info@article19.org , Internet: http://www.article19.org/

The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of ARTICLE 19. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit ARTICLE 19.
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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO , 10 July 2008
Documentary filmmaker, his assistant summoned and interrogated by national
security agents
SOURCE: Journaliste en danger (JED), Kinshasa

(JED/IFEX) - On 7 July 2008, Danish documentary film producer and director Franck Polsein Piesecki and his Congolese assistant Sekombi Katontolo were summoned and held in Goma for 5 hours by agents of the National Intelligence Agency (Agence nationale des renseignements, ANR). Piesecki was working on a documentary called "Blood Mobile" about the country's mining industry.

According to information received by JED, ANR agents came to the filmmaker's hotel and searched his room before taking him and his assistant to the provincial ANR office. Once there, they both had to make a statement. The intelligence agents interrogated the filmmaker, in a threatening manner about every person he had filmed, then they viewed his recorded tapes. Piesecki's cellular phone was also scrutinised in order to verify all emitted and received communications.
JED inquired about the motives for the interrogation and brief detention of the two men, noting that they had an accreditation letter from the Communications and Media Ministry that grants them the authorisation to shoot throughout the DR Congo. The ANR provincial director stated that there was a misunderstanding and that he had been alerted to the presence of "suspicious tourists" in the hotel.

For further information, contact D. M'Baya Tshimanga, President, JED, B.P. 633 Kinshasa 1, Democratic Republic of Congo, tel: +243 819 929 323, +243 999 996 353, +243 819 898 076, fax: +44 207 504 3544, e-mail: direction@jed-afrique.org , Internet: http://www.jed-afrique.org/

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



ECUADOR 10 July 2008
Two TV stations seized, radio station raided, "insult" proceedings against editor reopened
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders regrets the seizure of three privately-owned broadcast media outlets on 8 July 2008 - two Quito-based TV stations (Gamavisión and TC Televisión) and a radio station based in the western city of Guayaquil (Radio Sucre) - which resulted in a few changes to their programming but not in any interruption in their broadcasts.
Regardless of the grounds for the state's intervention, which were different in the case of the radio station from that of the two TV stations, Reporters Without Borders feels the seizures of the three news media outlets were both inopportune and unfair to the staff. Economy minister Fausto Ortiz resigned on 8 July in disagreement with the measures.

"The owners of Gamavisión and TC Televisión may well be suspected of bankruptcy and embezzlement and subject to judicial proceedings, but was it really necessary to send in the police and to disrupt their programming?" the press freedom organisation asked.

"The situation with Radio Sucre was very different, as it allegedly failed to respect certain frequency standards," Reporters Without Borders continued. "But in the run-up to the approval and vote of a new constitution that would change broadcast regulations, and amid tensions between the president and the press, such developments do not encourage an atmosphere of calm debate. On the contrary, we fear they could lead to a polarisation that hurts the news media, as it already has in neighbouring countries."

The 8 July police raids in Quito on Gamavisión and TC Televisión were carried out at the behest of the state Agency for the Guarantee of Deposits (AGD). The two stations were able to continue all their usual programming except their news bulletins. In a protest, Gamavisión's staff broadcast the word "Censored" for a few seconds when the morning news programme was cut short.

The TV stations were included in a total of 200 companies allegedly owned by bankers William and Roberto Isaías that were seized in the same operation. Fugitives from Ecuadorean justice, the two Isaías brothers are currently in the United States. They are being prosecuted in Ecuador in connection with the collapse of Filanbanco, which was put into liquidation in 1999 after accumulating 600 million dollars in debts.

The Isaías family reacted to the seizures by denying ownership of either of the two stations. Gamavisión, for its part, insisted that it had no link with the Isaías brothers, while TC Televisión said it belonged to a third brother, Estéfano Isaías.

The new constitution - which President Correa hopes to have approved on 18 July and then endorsed in a September referendum - would forbid any banking group to own a news media outlet. The management of the two TV stations called the seizures "a violation of free expression."
The police closed the premises of Radio Sucre during the Guayaquil raid but the station was able to continue broadcasting on another frequency and on its website. The raid was carried out on the orders of the Telecommunications Authority chief Paul Rojas, who said it was guilty of misuse of frequencies. He said 14 other radio stations risked being seized
for the same reason.
The press freedom situation is on the whole satisfactory in Ecuador although it has been affected by tensions between President Correa and some news media outlets. Correa sometimes finds it hard to accept criticism and on 23 June he requested the reopening of "insult" proceedings against Francisco Vivanco, the editor of the Quito-based daily "La Hora", who published an editorial in 2007 that upset him.
The courts had closed the case, but now Vivanco is again facing the possibility of six months to two years in prison. The Correa-backed new constitution, which is currently being finalised, would nonetheless guarantee that the government would not intervene in media content.

Updates the Vivanco case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/83340

For further information, contact Benoît Hervieu, RSF, 47, rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 68, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: americas@rsf.org , Internet: http://www.rsf.org/

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


AFGHANISTAN, journalist under death sentence. 10 July 2008
Hundreds of journalists and writers demonstrate in support of journalist under death sentence as his appeal bogs down
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris

(RSF/IFEX) - Hundreds of Afghan journalists and writers took part in demonstrations on 8 July 2008 in 15 provinces to call for the release of Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, a young journalist under sentence of death. This exemplary show of solidarity came as Kambakhsh's appeal against his conviction has ground to a halt in Kabul and no date has been set for the next hearing.
"The appeal court should have quashed Kambakhsh's death sentence when a forensic doctor confirmed he was tortured by the security forces," Reporters Without Borders said. "But it was not done, and the authorities refuse to release him. A show of support from Afghans is now the key to preventing fundamentalists and certain government sectors from pressing ahead with their persecution of this journalist."
The demonstrations in support of Kambakhsh took place in 15 provinces. Intellectuals and journalists signed petitions entitled: "we want justice and the immediate resolution of Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh's case." The petitions were addressed to the provincial governors with the request that they be passed on to the Supreme Court.
Kambakhsh's brother, fellow-journalist Yaqub Ibrahimi, said the biggest protests took place in the provinces of Bamyan, Herat, Balkh, Jalalabad and Kunduz.

Despite the government's assurances, the appeal process has made very little progress. The Kabul appeal court is supposed to hear testimony from university students and teachers from the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where Kambakhsh, himself a student of journalism, was sentenced to death on a charge of blasphemy. But they have not yet been invited to Kabul.
The judges want to interrogate them about the questions which Kambakhsh reportedly asked during a course on the role of women in Islam. "How is it a crime to ask such questions?" Reporters Without Borders wonders.
A forensic doctor's report presented at the appeal court's hearing on 15 June confirmed that Kambakhsh was tortured by the security forces after his arrest.

In an interview for the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera", Kambakhsh said: "I am a political prisoner. The allegations against me are absurd, artificial (. . .) There are no murderers in my cell, just thieves who do not bother me. But I never go out into the corridors for fear that a pro-Taliban inmate will attack me with the aim of killing me, as already happened in Mazar-i-Sharif prison."

A student and reporter for "Jahan-e Naw" (New World), Kambakhsh was arrested in Mazar-i-Sharif on 22 October 2007 in an apparent reprisal against his brother, an investigative journalist.
A local court sentenced him to death on 22 January at the end of a trial held behind closed doors in which he was not defended by a lawyer. His family had contacted about 10 lawyers, but they refused to represent him for fear of reprisals.

Updates the Kambakhsh case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94193

For further information, contact Vincent Brossel, RSF, 47, rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 70, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: asia@rsf.org , Internet: http://www.rsf.org/

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

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