December 2016

days since last accident 165
December 2016

The following are links to articles related to media safety. The stories compiled here are from other sources and for informational purposes only. SAG-AFTRA does not verify their accuracy and posting them here does not imply an endorsement of the source.

Dutch Journalist Okke Ornstein Detained in Panama for Criminal Libel
Dec. 1, 2016 — The Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch
Dutch journalist Okke Ornstein has been arrested and imprisoned in Panama on a charge of criminal libel. International journalism groups are calling for his immediate release.
Ornstein was convicted of criminal defamation in December of 2012 and received the extraordinary sentence of 20 months in prison for publishing articles on his bananamarerepublic blog on the business doings of controversial businessman and Canadian national Monte Friesner. Until November 15, when he was imprisoned, Ornstein had been living freely in Panama.
To read the entire article, click here.

Bail denied for two Myanmar journalists facing defamation charges
Dec. 1, 2016 — International Federation of Journalists
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Myanmar Journalists Association (MJA) strongly criticize the rejection of the bail application of two staff from Eleven Media Group in Yangon on November 30, 2016. The IFJ calls on the Tamwe Township Court to immediately revise the decision and release the two journalists.
On November 30, the criminal defamation trial of Eleven Media Group (EMG) CEO, U Than Htut Aung and chief editor, U Wai Phyo continued at the Tamwe Township Court. Aung and Phyo were sued for criminal defamation, by the Rangoon chief minister in early November under Article 66(d) of Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law. The case relates to an editorial published by EMG on November 8, regarding the Rangoon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, written by Aung. The editorial claimed that the watch worn by the chief minister worth USD100, 000, which was gifted to him by a wealthy benefactor. The following day, the chief minister sued Phyo and Aung.
To read the entire article, click here.
No Justice as Mexican Journalist’s Death is Still Unsolved
Dec. 1, 2016 – SFGATE
By Associated Press
XALAPA, Mexico — The death of reporter Regina Martinez was almost too much for her colleagues to bear.
Four others already had been murdered in Veracruz state in the first two years of Gov. Javier Duarte’s term. But Martinez was an inspiration. The 48-year-old correspondent for the investigative weekly Proceso was famous for exposing abuse and corruption in an oil-rich state overrun by organized crime and a political system as opaque as its southern jungles.
To read the entire article, click here. 

Four Broadcast Media Closed Arbitrarily in Benin
Dec. 2, 2016 – RSF
By Reporters Without Borders
The first victim was Radio Soleil, which the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC) closed on 29 November on the grounds that it was transmitting from a place 20 km away from its original location. The station’s management insists that it notified the HAAC of the change of address by letter.
Radio Soleil is owned by Sébastien Adjavon, a wealthy businessman who was an unsuccessful candidate in the March presidential election. Since then he has been the target of an investigation for alleged drug trafficking.
To read the entire article, click here. 

Sudan: IFJ Condemns Media Crackdown
Dec. 2, 2016 — International Federation of Journalists
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) fiercely condemned the seizure of five newspapers and the closure of a television station by the Sudanese authorities, on Monday, 28 November, following coverage of a national strike by opposition groups against fuel subsidy cuts.
According to media reports, on 28 November the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) seized the Tuesday editions of newspapers Al- Ayam and Al –Jareeda, Al Tayyar and Al- Tali newspapers without giving any explanation. Similarly, on 30 November, copies of Al – Watan newspaper were also confiscated.
To read the entire article, click here.

RSF condemns Finnish premier’s harassment of state TV journalists
Dec. 3, 2016 – RSF
There is a crisis at the top in Finland, the country that has been ranked first for the past five years in the World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Prime Minister Juha Sipila has been forced to recognize that he pressured two journalists at public TV broadcaster YLE not to run stories accusing him of a conflict of interests.
The Finnish weekly Suomen Kuvalehti revealed on 25 November that Sipila sent around 20 emails to the two YLE journalists trying to dissuade them from publishing documents about government investment in a mining company in which his family has a 5% share.
To read the entire article, click here.

Azerbaijan - Renewed use of trumped-up charges censor journalists
Dec. 5, 2016 – RSF
By Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) again calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to stop curtailing media freedom after they arrested three journalists and blocked two leading news websites in the space of a few days and tightened the already draconian legal provisions regulating online free speech.
The first of the three independent journalists to be detained in recent days was Afgan Sadykhov, who was arrested on 22 November in the southeastern city of Jalilabad, where he edits a website ( specializing in public infrastructural issues in the region.
To read the entire article, click here.

Finland: Two journalists shot dead
Dec. 5, 2016 — International Federation of Journalists
The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) called on the authorities in Finland to conduct a swift investigation on the killings of two journalists and a local politician, who were shot dead by a rifle outside a restaurant in the small Finnish town of Imatra at around midnight on 3 December.
The chairwoman of Imatra Town Council and two local reporters were gunned down in a pedestrian area outside a restaurant in the town just before a police patrol car arrived to the scene at around midnight Saturday. A 23-year-old local man with a criminal record was detained at the scene, but the motive for the killings remain unclear, said the Southeastern Finland police department.
To read the entire article, click here.

RSF Launches UK Bureau, Announces Eve Pollard as Chair of the Board
Dec. 5, 2016 – RSF
By Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders – known internationally as Reporters sans frontières (RSF) – is pleased to announce that Eve Pollard will serve as the Chair of RSF’s UK board of advisors. RSF’s UK board will hold its first meeting on 5 December 2016, and the UK bureau will host a launch event that evening.
Often referred to as ‘The First Lady of Fleet Street’, Pollard became the second woman to edit a national newspaper in the UK, The Sunday Mirror, in 1987. She has also edited The Sunday Express, Elle Magazine in the US, the Sunday magazine for the News of the World, and You Magazine for the Mail on Sunday. Pollard is the Honorary President of the networking group Women in Journalism, which she set up in 1989, and Vice Chair for Wellbeing of Women. She was made an OBE in 2008, and is a regular commentator in the UK media.
To read the entire article, click here.

Free abducted journalist
Dec. 5, 2016 —From The Nation
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Benue State has called for the release of the abducted News Editor of Radio Benue, Mrs. Iyuadoo Toragbidye.
The NUJ accused the police of not doing enough to rescue her or find her vehicle, which her adductors escaped in.
They urged the police to track the hoodlums and secure her freedom.
A statement by NUJ’s Secretary, Agber Emmanuel, condemned Mrs. Toragbidye’s abduction, describing her as a harmless journalist and caring mother.
To read the entire article, click here.

High level of media concentration threatens freedom of information in Peru, says report from Ojo Público and RSF
Dec. 6, 2016 — Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
In Peru, there is a high level of media concentration that threatens freedom of information in the country, according to a report prepared by Peruvian digital investigative journalism site Ojo Público, in conjunction with the German chapter of the international organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF for its acronym in French).
The concentration of Peruvian media is not only high in terms of total revenues received by the most powerful media groups, but also in terms of ownership, audience in both print and digital, and circulation, the report found.
To read the entire article, click here.

Braulio Jatar completes 3 months in prison in Venezuela as international campaign for his release advances
Dec. 6, 2016 — Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
Ana Julia Jatar shared a photo of her brother Braulio 82 days after he was first imprisoned in Venezuela. His face is gaunt, his once full head of silver hair is shaven and he wears a sad expression on his face.
December 3 marked three months since journalist and lawyer Braulio Jatar Alonso was arrested and locked in a Venezuelan prison. During this time, his family and lawyers have denounced not only irregularities in his detention process, but inhumane treatment in prison that has “seriously” affected the journalist’s health.
To read the entire article, click here. 

Iraq journalist murdered in Kirkuk
Dec. 6, 2016 — Daily Mail
Gunmen killed the head of a local radio station in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, the latest in a string of such murders in the troubled country.
"Unidentified gunmen driving a white car assassinated Mohammed Thabet al-Obeidi," a Kirkuk police colonel told AFP, adding that the journalist was on his way to work in the city centre when he was shot.
The 38-year-old was in charge of a radio station called Baba Gurgur that broadcasts in Arabic, Kurdish and Turkmen, and also worked for the state-run Iraqi Media Network.
To read the entire article, click here.

Radio journalist arrested, beaten in Turkmenistan
Dec. 6, 2016 — Committee to Protect Journalists
New York, December 6, 2016--Turkmen authorities should release radio journalist Khudayberdy Allashov and cease retaliating against journalists with trumped-up charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police in the Dashoguz region of northern Turkmenistan on December 3 arrested Allashov, a contributor to the U.S.-government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Turkmen service, and charged him with possessing a banned substance. His employer learned about the incident yesterday.
To read the entire article, click here.

CPJ condemns South Sudan's expulsion of Associated Press reporter
Dec. 7, 2016 — Committee to Protect Journalists
Nairobi, December 7, 2016--South Sudanese authorities should immediately reverse the expulsion of Associated Press reporter Justin Lynch and should cease interfering with journalists' ability to work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Security officers yesterday arrested the journalist and put him on a flight to Uganda, the AP reported.
"The expulsion of Justin Lynch is yet another illustration of how much President Salva Kiir's government fears independent media coverage," said Murithi Mutiga, CPJ's East Africa representative. "South Sudan needs independent journalism now more than ever. The government should reverse this decision and allow journalists to do their job without harassment."
To read the entire article, click here.

More than physical violence: Experts warn that Mexican journalists also face trauma, mental health problems
Dec. 7, 2016 — Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
For Mexican journalists, covering la nota roja – or the crime beat – goes beyond being exposed to physical dangers. By living and working in high-risk areas, their constant and systematic contact with violence puts their mental health on the line.
The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas spoke with three experts about the potential traumatic effects and mental health issues for journalists who cover violence in Mexico.
To read the entire article, click here. 

Algeria: Journalist on Hunger Strike in Prison Dies
Dec. 12, 2016 — Human Rights Watch
Sentenced to 2 Years for Insulting President
(Beirut) – A journalist on hunger strike since July 2016, to protest his arrest in Algeria on charges on which he should not have been prosecuted, died on December 11, Human Rights Watch said today.  Police arrested Mohamed Tamalt, a freelance journalist with dual Algerian and British nationality, on June 28. The First Instance Court of Sidi M’Hamed in Algiers sentenced him to two years in prison, upheld on appeal, for “offending the president” and “defaming a public authority” under articles 144bis and 146 of the penal code.
To read the entire article, click here.

Radio Journalist Shot Dead Outside Home in Northern Mexico
Dec. 12, 2016 — ABC News Go
By The Associated Press
MEXICO CITY — A radio station in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua says one of its reporters has been shot dead outside his home.
Antena Radio in the state capital, also called Chihuahua, says Adrian Rodriguez was killed Saturday morning and prosecutors are investigating whether his work may have been a motive.
To read the entire article, click here. 

Which nations jail the most journalists?
Dec. 13, 2016 — PBS
In December 2013, journalist Mahir Zeynalov tweeted about government corruption in Turkey. After that, he was a marked man labeled as a terrorist.
For nearly two months, Zeynalov hid. On Feb. 7, 2014, he could safely go to Istanbul Ataturk Airport, where officials fined and deported him, issuing a standing ban against his return.
“They came hard down on me, so I had to leave,” said Zeynalov, working in exile in Washington, D.C.
To read the entire article, click here.

Myanmar Reporter Killed While Investigating Illegal Logging
Dec. 13, 2016 — ABC News Go
By The Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar — A Myanmar journalist was killed Tuesday while reporting on illegal logging in the northwest of the country, police said. "The journalist who was killed was working for the local newspaper the Daily Eleven. We found bruises and injuries on his face and head. We are still investigating the incident and for the culprit," said Thein Swe Myint, a local police officer.
The journalist, Soe Moe Tun, was a local-based journalist in Monywa in the Sagaing region where he was killed. He had worked for the Daily Eleven, part of Eleven Media Group, since early 2015.
To read the entire article, click here.

Polish government to restrict journalists’ access to Parliament
Dec. 19, 2016 — International Federation of Journalists
The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) have today strongly condemned the latest attack on media freedom by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) to restrict media access Parliament. Several thousand people have protested on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Warsaw over the government’s plans to impose restrictions on media coverage of parliament.
The rules proposed by the head office of the Sejm, the lower house of Parliament, will ban all recording of parliamentary sessions. Only five selected Polish TV stations will be allowed to record or broadcast parliamentary sessions. The new rules will also limit the number of journalists allowed in the building (maximum two accredited parliamentary reporters for each media outlet).
To read the entire article, click here.

Philippines: First journalist killed under President Duterte
Dec. 20, 2016 — International Federation of Journalists
Philippines: First journalist killed under President Duterte
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in deploring the brutal murder of Philippine journalist and columnist Larry Que on Monday December 19, 2016. The IFJ and NUJP demand the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media, to immediately investigate the murder.
On Monday, Larry Que, the new publisher of Catadunanes News Now was shot in the head as he was entering his offices, in Virac, Catadunanes, in central Philippinesß. He died from his injuries early on Tuesday morning in hospital. Que’s murder came after he published his column, which criticised local officials and their alleged negligence in allowing the setting up on the island-province of a recently raided shabu laboratory that authorities claimed was the “biggest” so far discovered in the country 
To read the entire article, click here.

Russia jails blogger over post criticizing military action in Syria
Dec. 20, 2016 —Committee to Protect Journalists
New York--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Russian authorities to release Aleksei Kungurov, a blogger from Siberia who was convicted of "calling for terrorism." A regional court in Tyumen today sentenced Kungurov to two years in a prison colony over a blog post that criticized Russia's actions in Syria, according to news reports and information posted to his LiveJournal blog.
To read the entire article, click here.

Director General condemns murder of broadcaster Mohammad Nasir Mudasir in Afghanistan
Dec. 20, 2016 — UNESCO
The Director-General of UNESCO today called for an investigation into the murder of radio station manager Mohammad Nasir Mudasir in Mohammad Agha District, south of the Afghan capital, Kabul.
“I condemn the murder of Mohammad Nasir Mudasir,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to trial. No society can afford to let violence silence the media and deprive people of information they need.”
Mohammad Nasir Mudasir, manager and editor-in-chief of the Paigham Meli Logar radio station, was shot by unidentified assailants on his way home from work on 15 December.
To read the entire article, click here.

Bolivian government releases documentary “The Cartel of Lies” with attacks on the press; journalists react
Dec. 20, 2016 — Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
The Bolivian government premiered the controversial 80-minute documentary, “The Cartel of Lies” (“El Cártel de la Mentira”), which generated profound rejection from journalist associations, activists and citizens of that South American country. The documentary was carried out by Juan Ramón Quintana, Bolivia’s minister of the presidency, and contains attacks against the country’s independent press.
“The Cartel of Lies” was shown for free on Dec. 14 in various movie theaters in the Bolivian capital and in the principal cities of the country. It was also distributed via the Ministry of the Presidency’s Youtube account.
To read the entire article, click here.

At Least 48 Journalists Killed on the Job in 2016
Dec. 21, 2016 — ABC News Go
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK—At least 48 journalists worldwide have been killed on the job in 2016 as the year winds down, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. That is down from 72 journalists in 2015.
The report released this week says 26 of the journalists killed this year died in combat or crossfire covering conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Eighteen of the journalists killed in 2016 were directly targeted for death in retaliation for their work, the lowest number since 2002, the committee says.
The decline in targeted killings may be attributable to factors including less risk-taking by the media and the use of other means to silence critical journalists, the report says.
To read the entire article, click here.

Journalists arrested over Redhack email leaks
Dec. 27, 2016 — Committee to Protect Journalists
Six journalists were detained in Turkey December 25 for allegedly being connected to Redhack, a group that claims to be behind leaked emails of Turkey's energy minister Berat Albayrak who is also the president's son-in-law, according to the pro-government daily Sabah. The BBC named the arrested journalists as Tunca Öğreten, a freelance journalist and former editor of the news website Diken in Istanbul; Ömer Çelik, news editor of Dihaber in Diyarbakır; Metin Yoksu, a reporter for Dihaber; Eray Sargın, a news editor for Yolculuk in Istanbul; and Derya Okatan, from the Etkin News Agency (ETHA) in Ankara. Mahir Kanaat, the accounting director for the daily Birgün was also detained. Sabah reported that police wanted to question nine people about the leaked emails. Police threatened Çelik and beat him, according to a report in his paper, Dihaber. The journalists detained in Diyarbakır and Ankara were brought to Istanbul yesterday, according to reports
To read the entire article, click here.

Egypt arrests Al-Jazeera producer on fake news charge
Dec. 27, 2016 — Committee to Protect Journalists
NEW YORK—Egyptian authorities must release Al-Jazeera news producer Mahmoud Hussein immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Officials initially questioned Hussein on December 20 when he arrived in Egypt on a family visit from Qatar, where he is based, according to reports. Hussein was arrested on December 23, Al-Jazeera said.
To read the entire article, click here.

Iran Gunmen Kidnap Campaigning Female Journalist
Dec. 27, 2016 — BBC News
Gunmen have kidnapped an Iraqi female journalist who has campaigned against widespread corruption in the country.
Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi was taken from her home in the Saidiya district of the capital, Baghdad, on Monday night by men claiming to be security personnel.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered security forces to "exert the utmost effort" to save her.
On Monday, Ms Qaisi wrote an article in which she expressed anger that armed groups could act with impunity.
The article, published by the Aklaam website, criticised an interior ministry officer who she said had assaulted the principal of a school in the southern city of Nasiriya for refusing to punish a pupil who had quarrelled with his daughter.
To read the entire article, click here. 

Egypt: Call to free Al-Jazeera producer
Dec. 28, 2016 — International Federation of Journalists
The International Federation of Journalists has called on the Egyptian authorities to immediately free Al Jazeera news producer Mahmoud Hussein.
The 600,000-strong IFJ has also called on UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon to act to “defend human rights and protect press freedom” by supporting calls for Mr Hussein's release.
Hussein was arrested on 23 December while on vacation with his family in Egypt and is being held in an unknown place, facing accusations of “disturbing public security and spreading false news”.
To read the entire article, click here.

Turkey: Another journalist arrested in media crackdown
Dec. 29, 2016 — International Federation of Journalists
The IFJ is calling for the immediate release of Turkish investigative journalist Ahmet Sik following his arrest today as part of the ongoing crackdown on media freedom in Turkey.
The arrest came after he allegedly published tweets which the authorities claim supported the banned PKK and because he wrote a piece for the opposition newspaper Cumhurryet.
Ahmet had previously been detained for having written that the Turkish state had been infiltrated by the Fethullah Gülen movement.
To read the entire article, click here.

Female journalist, 28, is shot dead in front of her six-year-old son 'by a member of Bahrain's royal family serving in the military'
Dec. 29, 2016 — Daily Mail
A young mother has been gunned down in the street as her six-year-old son watched from inside their car in Bahrain.
Eman Salehi, a 28-year-old Shiite woman, worked as a sports journalist for Bahrain's state-run television broadcaster.
She was known for her piercing blue eyes and friendly demeanor. It's unclear what sparked the December 23 shooting.
To read the entire article, click here.