press freedom – The Backwaters Press http://thebackwaterspress.org/ Sat, 26 Mar 2022 06:38:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://thebackwaterspress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-34.png press freedom – The Backwaters Press http://thebackwaterspress.org/ 32 32 Official refutes press freedom report https://thebackwaterspress.org/official-refutes-press-freedom-report/ Mon, 14 Mar 2022 15:00:02 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/official-refutes-press-freedom-report/ A senior Information Ministry official has refuted a report by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) that claimed press freedom in Cambodia in 2021 was worse than in 2020. Ministry spokesman Meas Sophorn said such a report misleads local and international opinion about the professionalism of the media in Cambodia. He told the Post […]]]>

A senior Information Ministry official has refuted a report by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) that claimed press freedom in Cambodia in 2021 was worse than in 2020.

Ministry spokesman Meas Sophorn said such a report misleads local and international opinion about the professionalism of the media in Cambodia. He told the Post on March 13 that the report did not consider or reflect all aspects of journalism practice and media professionalism in Cambodia.

“The role of professional journalists and the practice of professional media and broadcasting companies in Cambodia are protected by specific laws consistent with the Constitution. In terms of compliance with these laws, the media – published and broadcast – has been improving day by day,” he said.

Sophorn’s remarks came in response to a new report published by CCIM and CamboJA on March 10 titled “Investigation Report 2021: Challenges for Independent Media in Cambodia”.

An excerpt from the report states: “Regarding the challenges of the independent journalist in 2021, we determined that there was less press freedom in Cambodia than in 2020.”

He said that from January to December 2021, the CCIM and CamboJA registered 51 cases of harassment against 93 journalists, including 32 arrested, 24 facing legal proceedings and 18 victims of violence or harassment.

“Reporting on sensitive topics remains a major concern for journalists in Cambodia. Self-censorship of journalists resulting from the laws, regulations and political environment in Cambodia is also a threat to independent media in 2021,” the report states.

The report also highlighted the important role of citizen journalists, who face similar challenges.

He also listed numerous recommendations that the media or civil society organizations and the government could implement to improve the situation.

CamboJA Executive Director Nop Vy said the report shows the challenges faced by journalists in Cambodia, both from a legal perspective and in terms of direct threats. He said the Criminal Code is still used against journalists. He was also of the view that some other legal tools – such as the national internet gateway – also restrict press freedom.

He noted other threats, such as reporting during the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw some journalists arrested and some media licenses revoked for reporting on the pandemic.

“These challenges require all of us to be mindful – and to respond to and address them – in order to improve the media climate in the Kingdom,” Vy said.

Sophorn disagreed, saying the media and broadcasting sector in Cambodia is remarkably improving day by day. Traditional media and new media provide quality local and international information.

“The CCIM and CamboJA report on press freedom in Cambodia clearly intends to mislead local and international opinion about the professionalism of the media in Cambodia as well as the role of journalists in Cambodia”, did he declare.

He said the alleged threats could not be generalized as a press freedom issue because they occurred on a case-by-case basis – verbal or physical threats could just as easily be linked to a tense situation a journalist was covering.

“As we all know, journalists should have complete freedom to do their job, but when dealing with sensitive topics they sometimes get nervous, especially when dealing with corruption. This nervousness can make a journalist feel threatened,” he said.

He noted that at the end of 2021, there were 787 digital media outlets, an increase of 118 from 2020. Traditional media sectors like radio and television also grew. There were around 6,000 local and international journalists in Cambodia.

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RSF opens press freedom center in Lviv, delivery of first bulletproof vests https://thebackwaterspress.org/rsf-opens-press-freedom-center-in-lviv-delivery-of-first-bulletproof-vests/ Sun, 13 Mar 2022 12:54:01 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/rsf-opens-press-freedom-center-in-lviv-delivery-of-first-bulletproof-vests/ “We came here to express our solidarity with Ukrainian journalists and provide them with the best possible assistance in covering the war,” said RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire. Accompanied by Oksana Romaniuk, director of the Ukrainian Institute of Mass Information (IMI), and Alexandre Query, coordinator of the center, Deloire described the activities of this now […]]]>

“We came here to express our solidarity with Ukrainian journalists and provide them with the best possible assistance in covering the war,” said RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire.

Accompanied by Oksana Romaniuk, director of the Ukrainian Institute of Mass Information (IMI), and Alexandre Query, coordinator of the center, Deloire described the activities of this now operational hub in western Ukraine.

The first personal protective equipment for journalists has been distributed in recent days with the help of the Berlin network for reporting on Eastern Europe (n-ost) and the Swedish press group Bonnier.

Bonnier collected 30 bulletproof vests and helmets from its various media outlets (Dagens Nyheter, Dagens industri and To express), with the help of the Schibsted Group and the Swedish national broadcaster, Swedish television.

“We will distribute body armor in the hottest spots in the country,” Romaniuk said, referring to violence against journalists covering the war in Ukraine in recent days. Since the beginning of the Russian offensive, at least 12 journalists have been deliberately targeted by armed fighters and four – two reporters from the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet and two crew members UK reports Sky News TV – were shot and wounded.

RSF called on the Polish and Ukrainian authorities to facilitate the supply of bulletproof vests to the centre. The circulation of equipment requires specific authorizations which delay their rapid delivery to Ukraine. Deloire also urged democratic countries to issue visas to journalists and called on Russia to respect UN Security Council Resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists.

“We salute the courage of the journalists,” said Query, the center’s coordinator. “With this center we fight for media independence in Ukraine and beyond.” This week, the center will begin providing physical safety and first aid training to journalists attending in person or via videoconference.

RSF thanks the city of Lviv for its hospitality, as well as the Limelight Foundation and the Adessium Foundation in the Netherlands, the Schöpflin Foundation in Germany, the King Baudouin Foundation in Belgium, the Oak Foundation in the United Kingdom, the Fritt Ord Foundation in Norway and Open Society Foundations.

Ukraine is ranked 97th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index, while Russia is ranked 150th.

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Zimbabwe: Chamisa, predator of press freedom https://thebackwaterspress.org/zimbabwe-chamisa-predator-of-press-freedom/ Fri, 11 Mar 2022 13:28:45 +0000 https://thebackwaterspress.org/zimbabwe-chamisa-predator-of-press-freedom/ When Nelson Chamisa formed a new political party which he called the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), many people expected there to be a paradigm shift from the MDC, in which the first was rooted. Chamisa marketed the new formation as a clean break from Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, hence its slogan – “Here comes the […]]]>

When Nelson Chamisa formed a new political party which he called the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), many people expected there to be a paradigm shift from the MDC, in which the first was rooted.

Chamisa marketed the new formation as a clean break from Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, hence its slogan – “Here comes the new one”.

Alas, hopes continue to be dampened as the newcomer gradually takes on the shape of his old self. This cemented the argument of some critics that the CCC was just old wine in new wineskins.

Some of Chamisa’s opponents and lieutenants now fear that the young leader and his CCC are worse dictators than those they accuse.

Chamisa’s declaration of war on public media last week will be enough to convince everyone that the CCC was even more dangerous than the Nazi Party.

“Those associated with Zanu PF may not be able to access our gatherings. Our laxity, magnanimity and generosity are abused. We will limit access to our sites to journalists who work for Zanu PF and we know We won’t allow you to,” Chamisa told a news conference.

This statement sparked negative comments and condemnation, even from allied media organizations such as the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF), the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) and the Young Journalists Association (YOJA) , among others.

Surprisingly, the usual self-proclaimed media freedom watchdog, the US Embassy in Zimbabwe, remained silent on the issue. Had the same statements been made by Zanu PF, the outcry would have been of seismic proportions.

This calls on the US Embassy to mask its agenda by at least shedding crocodile tears under such circumstances. Selective law enforcement has no place in a democracy.

Mr. Chamisa prides himself on being a fighter for democracy, but his manner continues to contradict the principles of a democratic movement. He must be up to it and practice the democracy he generously prescribes to others.

There is a tendency to think that he transformed the democratic movement of Tsvangirai into a simple coalition of citizens, perhaps to escape the responsibility of his autocratic leadership. It would have been a great misnomer to have a despotic leader leading a so-called movement for democratic change.

Mr. Chamisa is not even ashamed of it. Announcing his party’s new name, he revealed that he had kept the name to himself for some time as he feared his lieutenants would leak it to Zanu PF.

This only shows that the name of the new party is not the result of a consultation.

He runs this party like his personal shop. No one is allowed to speak at his gatherings. They only have a few minutes to confirm his inconceivable statements.

You must see how the lieutenants run to the dais when they are discourteously ordered to do so.

No one has a job except him. This created discontent within the interim leadership. Professor Welshman Ncube had to pretend to be ill to avoid attending the Harare election campaign launch.

According to unimpeachable sources, Professor Ncube even refused to follow Chamisa’s orders to go and beg from local embassies arguing that he needed to know in what capacity he would perform the task since he was stripped of his vice-presidency.

He begins to realize to members of his new party and allied organizations that they have a tyrant at their head, no wonder they nicknamed him “Tin Dictator”.

Welcome to the world of reality citizens! That’s exactly what we’ve been saying from the start. The young man is a real enemy of democracy and media freedom.

This is not the first time that media freedom has been threatened by opposition leaders who, ironically, pose as paragons of democracy and defenders of media freedom.

Robert Tapfumaneyi, a journalist who works for Sly Media was in January 2020 harassed and assaulted by MDC Alliance security personnel who accused him of working for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

Overzealous security also grabbed Tapfumaneyi’s camera and threw it to the ground and prevented him from covering the event.

Chamisa never showed remorse for the savage attack on a journalist in the line of duty. The party’s deputy spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, had to offer a half-hearted apology.

The yellow baby was anchored in the MDC, as such, he inherited the culture of violence that was in the DNA of the latter.

Reporters Without Borders rightly notes that “the ruling Zanu-PF party is not alone in showing hostility towards the media and opposing freedom of the press… Members of the opposition are also responsible for a climate of intimidation”.

Under the leadership of Tsvangirai who is Chamisa’s mentor, each gathering will bear the scars of violence, with several journalists being harassed and intimidated for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression.

On 7 June 2013, journalist Herbert Moyo of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent was nearly killed by MDC members while covering a protest in Sunningdale, Harare.

Moyo was taking pictures of demonstrators protesting the imposition of candidates when a group of thugs surrounded him and beat him. MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora then intervened to end the attack. What a peacemaker! So far, his party has no trace of hostility towards the media.

The day before Moyo’s attack, Tsvangirai’s bodyguards manhandled Mashudu Netsianda, a reporter for the Chronicle in Bulawayo, before seizing his notebook and deleting the recordings he had made on his mobile phone.

It is regrettable that journalists were attacked either under the nose of the opposition leadership or that it was the leadership itself that carried out the attack. In May of the same year, Tsvangirai himself threatened the media.

“You can’t have a newspaper with six articles saying Tsvangirai this and Tsvangirai that,” he said.

“Everyday! Regai vakadaro. Mais musi umwe gava richadambura musungo (Leave them like that, but one day the roles will be reversed). I want to tell you this, muchadya izvozvo (you will face the music)”, a- he bellowed threats.

CCC Acting Co-Vice President Tendai Biti once threatened ZiFM radio journalist Garikai Fadzai. The reporter was reporting on the use of the US$50,000 constituency development fund that Biti received as a member of the House of Assembly for Harare East.

“Ende mukaita zvemangamanga ndinokusuwai au m**** (unprinted word). Wazvinzwa here mukomana,” Biti thundered.

State media journalists have been the main targets of opposition attacks.

They now avoid opposition rallies and events. When they avoid, the same people complain about media blocking.

Herald reporter Joseph Madzimure was barred from a press conference addressed by Fadzai Mahere at the Media Center in Harare last year. In 2019, security for Mr. Chamisa attacked a ZBC journalist during a rally at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru. The ZBC crew had to leave the event in a hurry.

During a press conference at Harvest House in March 2019, to confirm Mr Chamisa as leader of this party, Zvamaida Murwira of the Herald and freelance journalist Anna Chibamu were also attacked. The marauding youths also roughed up then-Herald photographer Tawanda Mudimu, who was covering a demonstration by activists protesting the imposition of candidates.