Press freedom – The Backwaters Press http://thebackwaterspress.org/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 10:58:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://thebackwaterspress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-34.png Press freedom – The Backwaters Press http://thebackwaterspress.org/ 32 32 RSF and CPJ announce press freedom award recipients – Journal https://thebackwaterspress.org/rsf-and-cpj-announce-press-freedom-award-recipients-journal/ Sun, 21 Nov 2021 01:34:28 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/rsf-and-cpj-announce-press-freedom-award-recipients-journal/ KARACHI: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the well-known media’s Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have announced this year’s winners of their respective press freedom awards. In a statement, RSF said it awarded its press freedom awards to Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan in the courage category, Palestinian journalist Majdoleen Hassona in the independence category and the […]]]>

KARACHI: Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the well-known media’s Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have announced this year’s winners of their respective press freedom awards.

In a statement, RSF said it awarded its press freedom awards to Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan in the courage category, Palestinian journalist Majdoleen Hassona in the independence category and the Pegasus Project in the impact category.

According to the RSF press release, six journalists and six media outlets from 11 countries were nominated for the awards.

CPJ, meanwhile, paid tribute to courageous journalists from Guatemala, Mozambique and Myanmar by presenting the 2021 CPJ International Press Freedom Awards in New York. CPJ also honored Hong Kong media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai with its 2021 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.

A CPJ statement said the recipients of its awards included Mozambican investigative journalist Matías Guente, Guatemalan radio journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz and Burma journalist and Democratic Voice of Burma founder Aye Chan Naing.

Matías Guente received her award from CNN correspondent Nima Elbagir, Aye Chan Naing from Ed Yong from The Atlantic and Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz from New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Jailed Hong Kong media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai received this year’s Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for his sustained commitment to a free press as a cornerstone of democracy. Journalist Amanda Bennett, former director of Voice of America, interviewed Lai’s son Sebastien Lai, who told the story of his father’s courage in the face of the authorities’ crackdown, the CPJ statement added.

Posted in Dawn, le 21 November 2021


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Press freedom advocates worry that Project Veritas just muzzled the ‘New York Times’ https://thebackwaterspress.org/press-freedom-advocates-worry-that-project-veritas-just-muzzled-the-new-york-times/ Fri, 19 Nov 2021 20:01:39 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/press-freedom-advocates-worry-that-project-veritas-just-muzzled-the-new-york-times/ In an unusual and frightening decision on Thursday, a New York judge ordered the New York Times refrain from “disseminating or publishing further” information about Project Veritas, the activist group led by a far-right provocateur James o’keefe, and “further efforts to solicit or acquire” material, a blatant First Amendment violation that was immediately criticized by […]]]>

In an unusual and frightening decision on Thursday, a New York judge ordered the New York Times refrain from “disseminating or publishing further” information about Project Veritas, the activist group led by a far-right provocateur James o’keefe, and “further efforts to solicit or acquire” material, a blatant First Amendment violation that was immediately criticized by journalists and free speech activists. “Prior restrictions – which are orders not to publish – are among the most serious threats to press freedom”, Bruce brown, executive director of the Journalists’ Committee for Press Freedom, said in a statement Thursday. “The court of first instance should never have made this order. If he does not immediately override the prior restriction, ”Brown continued,“ an appellate court must step in and do it ”.

Temporary stay, requested by Project Veritas and granted by the Westchester County Judge Charles D. Wood, came a week after the Times reports internal memos in which a lawyer from the organization, Benjamin barr, describes how he can conduct his undercover operations without breaking federal laws. Project Veritas, which made its name with spy stunts against Democrats and liberal-aligned groups, is under investigation by the Justice Department; last week, federal agents raided O’Keefe and former agents in an investigation into how the organization obtained the president’s diary Joe bidenthe daughter of, Ashley. The Times said he had the documents before this raid, but Project Veritas argued to Wood that their publication violated attorney-client privilege and was an attempt on the part of the Times to embarrass the group in a 2020 libel lawsuit he filed against the newspaper.

The judge’s order is temporary, barring the newspaper from reporting on Project Veritas until a hearing next week. But a court banning a media outlet from doing its job is nonetheless a flagrant affront to press freedom, and the Times promised to fight the decision. “This decision is unconstitutional and sets a dangerous precedent”, Dean Baquet, editor-in-chief of Times, said in a statement. “When a court silences journalism, it is betraying its citizens and infringing on their right to know. ” Elizabeth locke, the lawyer representing Project Veritas in the libel suit, refuse that the order amounted to a prior withholding. But as First Amendment supporters and others have pointed out in the press, this argument is simply absurd.

What is particularly infuriating about Project Veritas’ position is that, as Washington post‘s Erik Wemple O’Keefe and his agents pointed out on Friday as First Amendment absolutists. O’Keefe’s group may be more of a right-wing activist group posing as an outlet, but it’s fair to be concerned about the precedent it sets when the government decides what is or isn’t not journalism. It is also true that there are legitimate questions as to whether the government got “a heavy hand” in attacking Project Veritas, as Locke argued in court. But in his case against the Times, the hypocrisy of the group goes without saying. “Project Veritas leaders see themselves as First Amendment purists,” Wemple wrote, “but the actions they are now asking the courts to authorize would leave this doctrine in tatters. “

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2021 Press Freedom Prize Winners Unveiled | World | Latest news and insights from around the world | DW https://thebackwaterspress.org/2021-press-freedom-prize-winners-unveiled-world-latest-news-and-insights-from-around-the-world-dw/ Thu, 18 Nov 2021 05:35:57 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/2021-press-freedom-prize-winners-unveiled-world-latest-news-and-insights-from-around-the-world-dw/ In December 2019, a mysterious new lung disease spread in the city of Wuhan, in central China. At the time, no one imagined it would soon become a global pandemic. Chinese authorities have played down the incident as infections have escalated. On January 23, 2020, the city entered full containment – with estimates that thousands […]]]>

In December 2019, a mysterious new lung disease spread in the city of Wuhan, in central China. At the time, no one imagined it would soon become a global pandemic. Chinese authorities have played down the incident as infections have escalated. On January 23, 2020, the city entered full containment – with estimates that thousands of residents were already infected.

Dangerous virus, dangerous report

In early February 2020, freelance journalist Zhang Zhan traveled from Shanghai to Wuhan to report firsthand on the dire situation. For her intrepid reporting, this year she received the Press Freedom Award from Reporters Without Borders, in the “Journalistic Courage” category.

Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan, before her arrest

His reports, broadcast via social media, highlighted overcrowded hospitals, overcrowded crematoriums and intimidated citizens throughout the city. Add to that the run-ins with the Chinese authorities, which were by no means his first. Earlier, in September 2019, the former lawyer was arrested and jailed for participating in a solidarity rally for Hong Kong. She was detained, went on a hunger strike, and was released after 65 days in prison.

But she wouldn’t be intimidated. She continued to report to Wuhan until her disappearance on May 14, 2020. It wasn’t until soon after someone found out that she had been arrested, brought back to Shanghai, and jailed without charge.

In December 2020, the 38-year-old was sentenced to four years in prison for “investigating quarrels and provoking unrest,” a common phrase authorities use to quell dissent.

She went on another hunger strike, which continues today, and is said to weigh only 40 kilograms (88 lbs). She is force-fed with a gastric tube and tied around the clock to prevent her from being removed. She remains in detention despite appeals from numerous international human rights organizations.

With this award, Reporters Without Borders hopes to draw attention to his plight. Since 1992, the prize has recognized the work of journalists and the media who have made outstanding contributions to the defense and promotion of press freedom.

Who monitors the monitors?

The “Pegasus Project” is an international consortium of more than 80 journalists from 11 countries that effectively monitors monitors. They take their name from “Pegasus” surveillance software, which is owned by Israeli technology company NSO Group, and aims to aid states and their security agencies in the fight against terrorism.

Its software has been sold to numerous governments since 2011 and, according to the Pegasus Project, is also used by at least 11 governments – both autocratic and democratic – to spy on journalists, human rights activists and public figures. opposition. These countries include Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and Hungary.

DW reported in 2017 that the then Mexican government was using this software to monitor journalists.

Pegasus project logo on smartphone

Pegasus Project Reveals Journalists Targeted With Spyware

For uncovering the full extent of the scandal, Project Pegasus is this year’s award recipient in the “Impact” category.

Based on a leak of more than 50,000 phone numbers targeted by the spy software, journalists revealed that around 200 media professionals were being spied on around the world. The mobile numbers of French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador may also have been spied on.

Project research has shed light on the extent to which media professionals, opposition figures and government critics are under scrutiny in many countries. Reporters Without Borders and numerous media outlets around the world have since filed a complaint against these practices.

“We need a global sanctions regime that basically prohibits and sanctions the export of such technologies to authoritarian countries,” said Reporters Without Borders Germany director general Christian Mihr. “Because such surveillance technology is hostile to press freedom and, in the worst case, endangers human lives.”

A journalist caught in the middle

Critical Palestinian journalist Majdoleen Hassona is no stranger to public scrutiny and has seen her work hampered and accusations leveled against her by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

“I criticize Israel’s human rights violations and the crimes that the IDF is committing against journalists,” she told DW, “and I criticize the Palestinian Authority for corruption and restriction of liberty. opinion and expression – and this has hurt me on both sides. . “

Portrait of Majdoleen Hassona by the beach

Palestinian journalist Majdoleen Hassona wins Freedom Prize

At the end of 2015, she took a job with Turkish TV channel TRT and moved to Istanbul. Previously, she worked for various Palestinian news outlets, including 11 months as the senior editor of Dooz News, a news portal run by the DW Academy, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the University. of Nablus.

She visited her homeland in August 2019, but was prevented from leaving the territory at an Israeli checkpoint “for security reasons”. The Israeli intelligence service imposed the ban. Since then she has been stuck in the West Bank – but she continued to do what she always did, work as a journalist.

In June 2021, well-known Palestinian critic Nizar Banat died while in Palestinian custody. His relatives say he was beaten to death by Palestinian security forces.

Nizar Banat sign during a demonstration

Mass protests followed death of Nizar Banat, a vocal critic of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

When Majdoleen Hassona covered the story and reported on the protests that followed her death, Palestinian forces also beat her.

This year, she received the Freedom of the Press Prize in the “Independence” category. In an opening statement, she said she was thrilled to receive the award.

“The Freedom Award means a lot to me,” she told DW, “because this award is not given to any journalist, but to every journalist who has been subject to restrictions on press freedom, and they deserve to exercise their work and their life freely. “

This article was originally written in German.


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DW Launches NFT Press Freedom Auction | Business | Economic and financial news from a German point of view | DW https://thebackwaterspress.org/dw-launches-nft-press-freedom-auction-business-economic-and-financial-news-from-a-german-point-of-view-dw/ Tue, 16 Nov 2021 05:17:31 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/dw-launches-nft-press-freedom-auction-business-economic-and-financial-news-from-a-german-point-of-view-dw/ Freedom of the press is threatened in many parts of the world. In a likely nod to this, Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. Investigative journalists were honored for their commitment to free speech as precondition for democracy and lasting peace. Currently, 339 […]]]>

Freedom of the press is threatened in many parts of the world. In a likely nod to this, Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from Russia were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. Investigative journalists were honored for their commitment to free speech as precondition for democracy and lasting peace.

Currently, 339 journalists around the world are behind bars, along with around 100 bloggers, citizen journalists and media workers, according to the organization Reporters Without Borders (RWB). That’s a big increase from 2020, a record year in itself. In addition to those imprisoned, more than 30 journalists have been killed in 2021 to date.

Being a journalist can be dangerous, as Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov have experienced many times

Auction for freedom of the press

To show our respect to our colleagues around the world, DW has produced a video featuring “freedom of the press” written in 30 languages ​​in which our organization works. We are launching an auction of this video, the profits of which will be donated to Reporters Without Borders.

Our initiative was motivated by a desire to learn more about a promising phenomenon: the video we are auctioning is backed by a so-called non-fungible token (NFT).

NFTs could be described as a digital certificate of authenticity. Technology confirms that digital data, which can usually be freely copied, is an original work, which distinguishes it from copies. The whole concept works on the basis of blockchain technology, the same technology that hosts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Millions of pixels

NFTs have created a huge hype lately, with some digital originals changing hands for incredible sums of money. In March of this year, a collage of digital images by American artist Beeple was auctioned off for some $ 69 million (60 million euros), making the little-known Beeple the third most expensive living artist behind. Jeff Koons and David Hockney. It was the first time that Christie’s, the famous auction house, had agreed to auction a non-fungible token.

But most NFTs are auctioned on specialized Internet platforms. There is also a lot of money there. You can buy, for example, a self-portrait of whistleblower Edward Snowden, video clips from sporting events, or internet memes such as videos featuring cats. But there is also real art. Even the New York Times one-page NFT with a text on the digital art phenomenon that raked in record revenue.

DW NFT auction platform

Nothing goes without this digital platform for DW’s NFT auction

PressFreedomX30

In future articles, we’ll explain how the technology behind NFTs works and what experiences we’ve had with it. We’ll also look at why some people place high hopes in NFTs while others see them as Ponzi schemes and climate killers.

DW’s NFT is called PressFreedomX30 and is intended to provide us with an overview of the NFT phenomenon. We hope it will be an exciting experience, just like the first eBay sale in 1995 or a test drive in the first Tesla car in 2008.

If you want to participate in the auction, you will need a digital wallet that accepts Ether. And here is the link to the auction:

foundation.app/@DW.com

Our auction will start on November 16, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. (CET). The auction ends 24 hours after the first auction.

The proceeds (minus the costs for the auction platform) go to Reporters Without Borders (RWB Germany). The non-governmental organization documents press freedom violations around the world and supports persecuted journalists.

This article was adapted from German.


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Freedom of the press is no joke in the Philippines https://thebackwaterspress.org/freedom-of-the-press-is-no-joke-in-the-philippines/ https://thebackwaterspress.org/freedom-of-the-press-is-no-joke-in-the-philippines/#respond Sun, 07 Nov 2021 11:00:57 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/freedom-of-the-press-is-no-joke-in-the-philippines/ Author: Danilo Araña Arao, University of the Philippines Diliman By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov on October 8, 2021, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has shed light on the state of press freedom in the Philippines and Russia, and rightly so. The Philippines are ranked 130th and Russia 152nd […]]]>

Author: Danilo Araña Arao, University of the Philippines Diliman

By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov on October 8, 2021, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has shed light on the state of press freedom in the Philippines and Russia, and rightly so.

The Philippines are ranked 130th and Russia 152nd in the Reporters Without Borders 2021 Global Press Freedom Index. The Philippines and Russia also ranked 7th and 10th respectively in the 2021 Global Impunity Index of the Committee for protection of journalists.

While the media situation in both countries deserves close scrutiny, the Philippines is a particularly interesting case. The Philippine press is widely regarded as one of the freest in Asia, but it remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to practice journalism. Press freedom and human rights advocates continue to speak out against the dominant culture of impunity that the government says ended under the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Cases filed against a leading online media organization Rapper and its CEO Maria Ressa made world headlines. Duterte criticized Rapper for peddling “fake news” and his license was revoked in 2018 – ironic given Ressa’s investigative work exposing disinformation on social media. In June 2020, Ressa and former Rapper reporter Reynaldo Santos, Jr. were convicted of cyber defamation.

Like the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who ordered the shutdown of the ABS-CBN broadcast network in 1972, Duterte said in 2019 that ABS-CBN would be “released” when its franchise expired in 2020. In a vote in the House of Representatives in July 2020, the broadcast network was closed.

Under the Duterte administration, news organizations and journalists were punished or accused of being Communist sympathizers, and at least two journalists were arrested and detained. Cyber ​​attacks have also been launched against news organizations’ websites in an attempt to prevent them from doing their jobs. While distributed denial of service attacks – which overwhelm servers with too many data requests to shut them down – have been occurring since 2018, the most recent attack on two news outlets was carried out by the Philippine military.

At least 190 journalists have been killed since 1986, including 21 during the Duterte administration. The prevailing climate of media repression sends a frightening message to journalists and media professionals across the country that they must follow the administrative line.

National and local elections in the Philippines will be held in May 2022. It is unclear to what extent the state of press freedom will be raised as an electoral issue.

Candidates are expected to articulate the usual rhetoric about preserving democracy, including the importance of a vibrant press. Not surprisingly, Duterte and his supporters have denied the media crackdown. They claimed that the closure of ABS-CBN and RapperThe legal problems of s are isolated cases which do not affect other media outlets in the country.

While some government officials continue to engage in the red marking of journalists and news organizations, government agencies contend that their officials are simply expressing their personal views and not official policy. The Philippine National Police denies the existence of a culture of impunity that violates the rights of journalists and other sectors of society.

Journalists, media professionals and other affected groups must lobby for press freedom to be an electoral issue. Candidates in the 2022 polls should make it clear where they stand, beyond the usual rhetoric of defending democracy and fundamental freedoms.

For a president known to joke on serious matters, Duterte now finds it embarrassing to congratulate Ressa. Its spokesperson belatedly admitted Ressa was the first Filipino Nobel Peace Prize winner while trying to play down the idea that the prize was a “slap in the face” of the government. It is not credible for Duterte to sincerely congratulate Ressa, whose journalistic feat stems from the fight against the repression he perpetuates.

In the Philippines, threats to press freedom are real. It should not be reduced to a simple joke, especially for those who claim to defend it while engaging in repression.

Danilo Araña Arao is Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism, University of the Philippines Diliman, Special Lecturer in the Department of Journalism, Polytechnic University of the Philippines Santa Mesa, Associate Editor at Bulatlat Multimedia and editor at Media Asia.


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Nigerian journalists worry about press freedom over missing colleague and further attacks https://thebackwaterspress.org/nigerian-journalists-worry-about-press-freedom-over-missing-colleague-and-further-attacks/ https://thebackwaterspress.org/nigerian-journalists-worry-about-press-freedom-over-missing-colleague-and-further-attacks/#respond Fri, 05 Nov 2021 16:58:44 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/nigerian-journalists-worry-about-press-freedom-over-missing-colleague-and-further-attacks/ ABUJA, NIGERIA – Nigerian journalists are expressing new concerns for their safety after a journalist from Abuja went missing last month, and journalists were manhandled as they tried to cover two major events. Torkwase Kuraun, sister of missing journalist Twisted Salem, looks at photos of him in the family photo album at her home in […]]]>

Nigerian journalists are expressing new concerns for their safety after a journalist from Abuja went missing last month, and journalists were manhandled as they tried to cover two major events.

Torkwase Kuraun, sister of missing journalist Twisted Salem, looks at photos of him in the family photo album at her home in Abuja on November 4, 2021. (T. Obiezu / VOA)

“He’s always here with me watching TV, he loves the news,” Torkwase Kuraun says of her missing brother, Twisted Salem, as she looks at a photo of him in the family photo book in Abuja.

Salem, who has been gone for 23 days now, is a parliamentary reporter for Vanguard News – an independent Nigerian newspaper. Kuraun says she last saw her younger brother on the morning of October 13.

“He was in front of the gate when I was leaving, so I just waved [at him], then two hours later, he left for work. I haven’t seen him since. “

The cause of Salem’s disappearance is still unclear. Nigerian law enforcement officials said they interviewed six people he last contacted that day, but no arrests were made and no one claimed responsibility for his disappearance.

The issue has raised concerns among fellow journalists. Nigerian journalists have on occasion been assaulted or even detained for their reporting. No one could prove that Salem’s case was work-related.

But this week, as the Union of Nigerian Journalists marked the World Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, it urged authorities to take urgent action on the matter.

Soni Daniel is a regional editor at Vanguard News. “We are all human and we feel sad. We recognize the horror, the suspense, the anxiety. It could have happened to anyone,” Daniel said.

This year Nigeria ranked 120th in the World Press Freedom Rankings, dropping five places from last year.

Last month, journalists covering the procession commemorating the end of SARS were manhandled by security officers.

Another group of journalists were also harassed and prevented from entering a courtroom in Abuja where the trial of separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu was being held.

Adefemi Akinsanya, an Arise News correspondent, said she was upset during the SARS procession at the Lekki toll booth in Lagos state. “I was just thinking, if they had discharged their gun[s], even accidentally, would it have been worth it? Freedom of the press is so important, and I say that is the mark of a free and just society and that is what we want from Nigeria, a free and just place, ”she noted.

Nigerian journalists say that without better treatment from the authorities, the country will become too risky for them to do their jobs.


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Freedom of information threatened: press freedom groups call for end to secrecy https://thebackwaterspress.org/freedom-of-information-threatened-press-freedom-groups-call-for-end-to-secrecy/ https://thebackwaterspress.org/freedom-of-information-threatened-press-freedom-groups-call-for-end-to-secrecy/#respond Thu, 04 Nov 2021 00:10:00 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/freedom-of-information-threatened-press-freedom-groups-call-for-end-to-secrecy/ The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) might give you the answer. Even if you don’t use it yourself, you will probably have seen what reporters have discovered while using it. The FOI disclosures have shed light on the lack of pandemic preparedness, the Covid contracts that have gone to ministerial contacts, the dangers of smart […]]]>

The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) might give you the answer. Even if you don’t use it yourself, you will probably have seen what reporters have discovered while using it.

The FOI disclosures have shed light on the lack of pandemic preparedness, the Covid contracts that have gone to ministerial contacts, the dangers of smart highways, the discharge of untreated sewage into our waterways and the numbers of police showing that half of all illegal sexual contact with children involves apps owned by Facebook.

JTF has shed light on countless local issues, from potholes and parking to shopping, planning and utilities. Some will likely be highlighted this week in the News Media Association’s “Journalism Matters” campaign.

The FOI law has been attacked several times by the government, which finds the opening uncomfortable. Multiple attempts at sabotage have been repelled, including measures to charge people who make requests, exempt MPs’ expenses and block access to Whitehall political discussions. It would have prevented us from seeing whether the government had addressed the problems of a proposed policy or simply decided to ignore them.

Threats to freedom of information continue. A bill currently under consideration in Parliament will create a body to fund high-risk research, but will exempt it completely from freedom of information, supposedly to spare it the “bureaucracy” of responding to requests. The Advanced Research and Invention Agency will spend £ 800million in public money over 4 years, but the public will have better information rights from parish councils which, like most public bodies, are subject to freedom of information. The US body on which the UK agency is based is covered by US FOI law and on average only receives one FOI request per week, hardly a debilitating burden.

Another current bill will establish the health services safety investigative body to investigate incidents that put patients at risk. He will report on his findings, but any information he chooses not to publish will be blocked under JTF. Incredibly, a whistleblower who reveals that the new agency has failed to contact key witnesses to a medical accident will commit a criminal offense.

The government is proposing to toughen the official secrets law to make it easier to convict whistleblowers and journalists who publish what they reveal. Currently, the maximum penalty for conviction is two years’ imprisonment. Surprisingly, the Home Office says the maximum for leaks should be the same as for espionage – fourteen years in prison.

The Law Commission recommended that anyone charged under this law could argue that the disclosure was in the public interest. The government seems prepared to reject this. Threatening those who expose government misconduct with oppressive sanctions will ensure that inappropriate behavior continues.

The Freedom of Information Act is an easier way to get information. It is far from perfect. There may be long delays in obtaining information. But it is one of the essential tools to keep the public informed and official bodies honest. Keep this in mind – you may have to use it yourself!

Maurice Frankel is director of the Freedom of Information Campaign.

The campaign played a key role in the passage of the Freedom of Information Act in 2000 and helped thousands of people exercise their rights under it. For more information and to support the campaign (which urgently needs it) visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/fight-secrecy


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Attacks on journalists in the spotlight at Press Freedom Tribunal in The Hague https://thebackwaterspress.org/attacks-on-journalists-in-the-spotlight-at-press-freedom-tribunal-in-the-hague/ https://thebackwaterspress.org/attacks-on-journalists-in-the-spotlight-at-press-freedom-tribunal-in-the-hague/#respond Tue, 02 Nov 2021 10:35:05 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/attacks-on-journalists-in-the-spotlight-at-press-freedom-tribunal-in-the-hague/ Photo: Depositphotos.com Three major press freedom groups have established a tribunal in The Hague to hold governments accountable for the deaths of journalists. The tribunal, which has no formal legal powers, is a “form of mob justice” and will operate for six months, until May 3 next year, which is World Press Freedom Day. It […]]]>

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Three major press freedom groups have established a tribunal in The Hague to hold governments accountable for the deaths of journalists.

The tribunal, which has no formal legal powers, is a “form of mob justice” and will operate for six months, until May 3 next year, which is World Press Freedom Day. It was edited by the Netherlands-based Free Press Unlimited, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders.

The tribunal will focus on three specific cases against the governments of Sri Lanka, Mexico and Syria, which are accused of failing to deliver justice for the respective murders of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Miguel Ángel López Velasco and Nabil Al-Sharbaji.

The aim, according to the organizers, is “to illustrate the ways in which these states fail to meet their obligations under international human rights law, as well as the impact of impunity on victims, journalistic communities and companies “.

Since 1992, more than 1,400 journalists have been killed, and in more than 80% of cases where a journalist is murdered, the killers are released, according to organizers.

“Freedom of expression is an essential human right. And yet, the frequency of serious violations committed against journalists coupled with the prevailing high levels of impunity is alarming, ”said human rights lawyer Almudena Bernabeu, chief prosecutor of the tribunal. “It is time for states to be held to account.

The launch coincides with the UN International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, a date chosen in memory of two French journalists killed in Mali on November 2, 2013.

Murder

The dangers facing journalists were brought to light earlier this year by the murder of criminal television reporter Peter R de Vries. The growth of organized crime, far-right anti-media rhetoric, and threats from hooligans have all had an impact on press security.

And news site Nu.nl reported on Monday that an increasing number of media organizations in the Netherlands were purchasing special clothing and body cameras for their staff to protect them while covering risky events such as demonstrations.

“Many media organizations bought the body armor as a precaution,” Peter ter Velde, project manager at the secure media organization PersVilig, told Nu.nl.

In the recent riots in Eindhoven, people were walking around with knives and some threw them at both police and journalists, he said.

Attacks

In March, police arrested a man in the staunchly Protestant village of Urk who attempted to drive his car towards a journalist reporting on a local church’s decision to take in hundreds of worshipers despite the coronavirus.

Then, in April, police opened an investigation after an official press photographer was attacked by several men at the scene of a campaign car fire.

In May, an Associated Press photographer was assaulted while taking photos of Ajax’s league title celebrations and filed a formal complaint with Amsterdam police.

More recently, fighting between Vitesse and NEC football hooligans led local broadcaster Omroep Gelderland to prevent staff from covering risky matches and protests.

Many broadcast organizations have also stopped using their own logos on trucks and satellite dishes as a precaution.

PersVilig was established two years ago by the Dutch Journalists Union NVJ, the Editors’ Society, the police and the prosecution with the aim of improving the safety of journalists through counseling and training.

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Government commits to press freedom: Gandaki province CM Pokharel – myRepublica https://thebackwaterspress.org/government-commits-to-press-freedom-gandaki-province-cm-pokharel-myrepublica/ https://thebackwaterspress.org/government-commits-to-press-freedom-gandaki-province-cm-pokharel-myrepublica/#respond Mon, 01 Nov 2021 07:18:45 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/government-commits-to-press-freedom-gandaki-province-cm-pokharel-myrepublica/ GANDAKI, November 1: The Chief Minister of Gandaki Province, Krishna Chandra Nepali Pokharel, today declared that the provincial government is committed to guaranteeing press freedom. Declaring that the constitution guarantees full freedom of the press, Chief Minister Pokharel said the government cannot restrict press freedom under any pretext and that no act or law would […]]]>

GANDAKI, November 1: The Chief Minister of Gandaki Province, Krishna Chandra Nepali Pokharel, today declared that the provincial government is committed to guaranteeing press freedom.

Declaring that the constitution guarantees full freedom of the press, Chief Minister Pokharel said the government cannot restrict press freedom under any pretext and that no act or law would be formulated to infringe the freedom of the press. the press. He was addressing an event organized in Pokhara by the Federation of Nepalese Kaski Journalists to exchange greetings on the occasion of festivals including Tihar and Chhath.

Chief Minister Pokharel said he was waiting for factual and authentic information regarding the work and activities of the government. Also speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Ramji Baral Jiban said the country’s festivals will help bring people together.

Education, Culture, Science and Technology Minister Mekh Lal Shrestha said the government was active in rescuing and helping people affected by floods and landslides, as well as in the management of COVID-19 vaccines for the citizens of the province.

FNJ Kaski President Bimala Bhandari complained that although journalism is considered the nation’s fourth estate, journalists are still threatened and intimidated for writing news. She also stressed the need to create a safe environment for journalists to carry out their professional activities and that journalists should also write information based on fact and truth.

Krishna Thapa, Provincial Assembly Member and Chairman Kaski of CPN (UML), Krishna KC, Chairman of Nepalese Congress Kaski, Ram Prasad Timilsina, Deputy Chairman of JNF and Secretary Madhav Baral, among other speakers, were expressed their best wishes on the occasion of the Tihar and Chhath festivals.

(With RSS entries)


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Iranian journalist tops ’10 most urgent cases’ list for press freedom https://thebackwaterspress.org/iranian-journalist-tops-10-most-urgent-cases-list-for-press-freedom/ https://thebackwaterspress.org/iranian-journalist-tops-10-most-urgent-cases-list-for-press-freedom/#respond Mon, 01 Nov 2021 06:30:52 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/iranian-journalist-tops-10-most-urgent-cases-list-for-press-freedom/ Iranian authorities executed journalist Zam by hanging in December 2020 after sentencing him to death on anti-state charges for his coverage of the 2017 protests. Intelligence agents from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reported lured Zam out of his exile in Iraq, where he was kidnapped in 2019 and taken to Iran. 2. Tara […]]]>

Iranian authorities executed journalist Zam by hanging in December 2020 after sentencing him to death on anti-state charges for his coverage of the 2017 protests. Intelligence agents from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reported lured Zam out of his exile in Iraq, where he was kidnapped in 2019 and taken to Iran.

2. Tara Singh Hayer (Canada)

Hayer, editor of the Indo-Canadian Times, Canada’s largest and longest-running Punjabi weekly, was shot dead in his garage in Vancouver in 1998. Ten years earlier he had been partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair afterward. an assassination attempt. Over the past few months, Hayer has let police know that he has received several threats.

3. Valério Luiz de Oliveira (Brazil)

Sports journalist and Radio Jornal commentator was killed in July 2012 after being shot four times by an unidentified gunman on a motorcycle. The trials of the alleged perpetrators have been repeatedly delayed and were suspended in 2020, with no hearing date set.

4. Regina Martínez Pérez (Mexico)

Martínez, a veteran journalist for the national magazine Proceso, known for her in-depth reporting on drug cartels and the links between organized crime and government officials, was killed in 2012 after covering several high-profile arrests. A 2021 report from A Safer World For The Truth found strong indications of obstruction of justice by local authorities in his case.

5. Nikolai Andrushchenko (Russia)

Veteran journalist Andrushchenko died in 2017 from injuries sustained during a beating of unknown assailants, and the investigation has made little progress. He was known for his criticism of President Vladimir Putin and his investigative reports alleging corruption and human rights abuses. He had suffered similar attacks in the past.

6. Sardasht osman (Iraq)

Osman, a contributor to several independent news sites, was found shot dead in 2010. Prior to his assassination, he had received telephone threats telling him to stop writing about the Kurdistan regional government. Authorities claim he was killed by a member of the extremist group Ansar al-Islam; however, CPJ and other news groups said the report lacked credibility.

7. Ahmed Hussein Suale Divela (Ghana)

Divela, a member of the investigative newspaper Tiger Eye Private Investigations, where he covered topics such as sport, corruption and human rights, was shot dead by two unidentified men on a motorcycle in 2019. Divela had told CPJ in 2018 that people tried to attack him and he feared for his life after a politician made comments about him on television.

8. Sisay Fida (Ethiopia)

Sisay, coordinator and reporter for the Oromia Broadcasting Network, was on his way home from a wedding when he was shot and killed in May this year. There has been little progress in his case, and his colleagues believe he was murdered in retaliation for his reporting.

9. Gauri Lankesh (India)

Unidentified assailants shot dead Lankesh outside her home in Bangalore in 2017, as she returned from work. Lankesh published and edited Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a weekly Kannada-language tabloid known for its critiques of right-wing and establishment extremism. Although people suspected of being linked to his murder have been arrested, impunity remains.

ten. Sagal Osman salad (Somalia)

A college student and producer of a children’s program on public radio station Mogadishu, Osman was killed in 2016. She was leaving campus when three gunmen shot her in the head. Somalia ranks worst among countries for impunity for killings of journalists.


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