April 2017

days since last accident 181
April 2017

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.

Belarus: ‘Freedom Day’ Crackdown
April 3, 2017 – Human Rights Watch
Authorities across Belarus arbitrarily detained at least 700 people in March 2017 in connection with peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. The majority, including more than 100 journalists and 60 human rights activists, were detained in connection with peaceful protests marking Belarus’ annual Freedom Day on March 25. Police punched, kicked, clubbed, and otherwise abused many of the detainees. On March 27, courts in Minsk and other cities swiftly sentenced 177 people, including journalists and human rights activists, to fines or detention on fabricated misdemeanor charges. Hours before the March 25 rally in Minsk, riot police raided the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, one of the country’s leading human rights groups, detaining 58 people. “Belarusian authorities led a shocking, all-out assault on peaceful assembly around the Freedom Day protests,” said Yulia Gorbunova, Belarus researcher at Human Rights Watch. “They should immediately release everyone who was detained in connection with the protests and investigate allegations of police mistreatment.” A Human Rights Watch researcher interviewed 19 journalists, human rights activists, lawyers, and released detainees and attended court hearings in Minsk.
To read the entire article, click here.

Journalists Attacked During Anti-Government Protests in Venezuela
April 3, 2017 – Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
The protests and the crises that generated the decision of the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) to suspend the powers of the National Assembly on Wednesday, March 29, have once again left the press in its most vulnerable position: security forces have assaulted reporters covering the protests, according to reports. The case with the most repercussions was the attack against Elyangélica González, correspondent of Caracol Radio of Colombia, who was transmitting live for the Colombian outlet during a student protest on the outskirts of the TSJ.
Gonzalez was live for Caracol Radio, narrating an earlier eviction attempt of the place by pro-government groups who had threatened journalists and demonstrators, she said. Suddenly, and in the midst of the retelling of previous events, González raises her voice and says "I'm not leaving, I'm a journalist, I'm not going to leave. I have the credentials to cover the Chancellor of the Republic, do not take away my phone [...]!" From there the communication begins to cut and the sounds transmitted are what appears to be a forced struggle.
In addition to this live broadcast, the incident was recorded in a video that circulated through media and social networks. In the video at least 10 men of the National Bolivarian Guard of the country surround Gonzalez who was sitting on the floor. Later some of the soldiers drag and take her it by the arms and legs towards a location outside the range of the video.
To read the entire article, click here.

Unchecked Violence Prompts a Mexican Paper to Shutter after Another Reporter Is Slain
April 3, 2017 – The Huffington Post
A Mexican newspaper that last month lost a reporter to an alleged retaliatory murder has ceased publication after 27 years, citing ongoing, unpunished violence against journalists. The presses for Norte de Ciudad Juarez, a paper in the border city across from El Paso with a circulation of roughly 30,000, rolled for the final time Sunday. “I’m writing to inform you, dear reader, that I’ve decided to close this morning because neither the guarantees, nor the security to do critical journalism that acts as a counterweight, exist,” Oscar Cantu, El Norte’s publisher, explained in a final editorial note. Cantu’s decision comes just 10 days after reporter Miroslava Breach was shot dead in Chihuahua, the state capital. 
Breach’s body was left with a note that read “For being a loudmouth” and was signed by “El 80,” a name associated with a high-ranking member of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Breach covered government and organized crime for El Norte. Breach was the third journalist to be killed in Mexico in March alone, according to Reporters Without Borders, the global journalism advocacy group. 
Carlos Lauría, senior program coordinator for the Americas at the globally focused Committee to Protect Journalists, called Breach’s murder “shocking” in a statement shortly after her death. “This wave of violence threatens citizens’ right to access vital information, and harms Mexico’s democracy by limiting public debate,” Lauría said. “We urge the Mexican federal government to put an end to this violence by bringing the perpetrators of this crime to justice.”
To read the entire article, click here.

German Officials Meet with Journalist Imprisoned in Turkey
April 4, 2017 – Winnipeg Free Press
German officials met Tuesday with a German-Turkish journalist imprisoned in Istanbul for the first time since his incarceration, saying he is doing well but voicing concerns that he is being kept in jail for political purposes and calling for his release. German Foreign Ministry official Michael Roth, a deputy foreign minister, told reporters that Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yucel met with Consul General Georg Birgelen and a German consulate attorney in prison. "He's doing well overall given the circumstances, but is finding the solitary confinement a great strain," Roth said.
It was the first consular contact Yucel has been allowed since he was arrested on charges of producing terrorist propaganda and incitement to hatred — accusations he denies. He was taken into custody in mid-February after reporting on a hacker attack on the email account of the country's energy minister, who is also Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law. Yucel was formally arrested later in the month. Roth thanked Turkey for providing access to Yucel, and said Germany expects to be able to continue to send consular officials to meet with him and is working to have him freed.
To read the entire article, click here.

Journalist on Hunger Strike Now in Critical Condition
April 4, 2017 – Refworld (The UN Refugee Agency)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the irresponsibility of Iran's most senior officials in refusing to release Henghameh Shahidi, a journalist who has been on hunger strike since her arrest on 9 March. In a short phone call to her mother a few days ago, Shahidi said she was not eating anything at all and was no longer able to walk as a result of the hunger strike. In a letter published shortly after her arrest, she announced that she would continue the hunger strike "until my release or my death." She is currently in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison. "We hold judicial authority chief Sadegh Amoli Larijani, Tehran prosecutor Abass Jafari Dolatabadi, justice minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi and intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi responsible for the survival of Henghameh Shahidi, who is now in a critical condition and could die as a result of this hunger strike," said Reza Moini, the head of RSF's Iran/Afghanistan desk.
To read the entire article, click here.

Widow, Friends of Murdered Journalist Urge for Progress in Case
April 4, 2017 – The Irrawaddy
Friends and relatives of a murdered local reporter are voicing their frustration at a lack of progress in the nearly four-month old investigation. The bruised body of Eleven Media Group’s (EMG) Ko Soe Moe Tun, 36, was found at about 1 a.m. on Dec. 13 on the Union Highway in Monywa Township, Sagaing Division. An autopsy revealed that he died of a skull fracture resulting from having been beaten.
“It’s already been four months and no one has been put on trial for the murder,” said the journalist’s widow, Ma Khin Cho Latt. “I’m afraid the case will end like this, without justice. I want to know who killed my husband and why did they did it.” The personal belongings of Monywa-based Ko Soe Moe Tun, including money, a gold ring, and his national ID card, were not stolen. He had been reporting on the controversial Chinese-backed Letpadaung copper mining project, illegal logging and farmland confiscation, although police have not found any definite motives behind the crime. Authorities said they questioned about 30 people, many of whom were staff members from karaoke establishment Blue Sky KTV in Monywa, where Ko Soe Moe Tun went the night he was murdered. He was killed soon after he left.
To read the entire article, click here.

Widow, Friends of Murdered Journalist Urge for Progress in Case
April 4, 2017 – The Irrawaddy
Friends and relatives of a murdered local reporter are voicing their frustration at a lack of progress in the nearly four-month old investigation. The bruised body of Eleven Media Group’s (EMG) Ko Soe Moe Tun, 36, was found at about 1 a.m. on Dec. 13 on the Union Highway in Monywa Township, Sagaing Division. An autopsy revealed that he died of a skull fracture resulting from having been beaten.
“It’s already been four months and no one has been put on trial for the murder,” said the journalist’s widow, Ma Khin Cho Latt. “I’m afraid the case will end like this, without justice. I want to know who killed my husband and why did they did it.” The personal belongings of Monywa-based Ko Soe Moe Tun, including money, a gold ring, and his national ID card, were not stolen. He had been reporting on the controversial Chinese-backed Letpadaung copper mining project, illegal logging and farmland confiscation, although police have not found any definite motives behind the crime. Authorities said they questioned about 30 people, many of whom were staff members from karaoke establishment Blue Sky KTV in Monywa, where Ko Soe Moe Tun went the night he was murdered. He was killed soon after he left.
To read the entire article, click here.

Coalition Calls for Release of Mexican Journalist Seeking Political Asylum in U.S.
April 6, 2017 – Cronkite News (Arizona PBS)
As attacks against reporters in Mexico increase, a coalition of immigration lawyers and organizations that defend journalists are calling for the release of a Mexican reporter detained at the border after asking for political asylum in the United States. Paris-based Reporters without Borders is urging the U.S. government to release Martin Mendez Piñeda, a reporter fleeing Acapulco, Guerrero in southern Mexico.
“This journalist, who has been persecuted and threatened with death in his country, must be allowed to present his case for political asylum freely and with dignity before an immigration judge,” Emmanuel Colombié, the head of Reporters without Borders’ Latin America bureau, said in a statement issued by the organization.
Martin Mendez Pineda is being held in an Immigration Customs Enforcement detention center in El Paso. He was taken into custody February 5th after requesting political asylum at an international bridge.
Mendez worked for Novedades Acapulco, where he said he faced death threats and federal police officers beat him for coverage of what he described as violent arrests carried out by police at the scene of a road accident last year.
To read the entire article, click here.

Bill Seeking to Prevent Attacks on Journos Passed in Assembly
April 7, 2017 – Deccan Herald (India)
The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly today passed a bill that seeks to prevent attacks on journalists and media houses. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis introduced the bill of Maharashtra Mediapersons and Media Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to property) Act, 2017, in the lower house, which was passed without discussion in the absence of opposition members. The bill provides for prevention of violence against journalists while carrying out their duties as media persons, and prevention of damage or loss of property of media persons or media houses in the state.
As per the provisions of the Act, anyone who commits or attempts to commit/ abets/ instigates or provokes the commission of any act of violence, shall be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to three years, or with fine, which may extend to Rs 50,000 or with both. The offence shall be cognisable and non bailable and triable by the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class. A police officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police shall investigate any offence under this Act. The offender shall be liable to pay compensation for damage or loss caused to the property of the media person or media house, as determined by the court and also be liable to reimburse the medical expenditure incurred by the media person, the Act says.
If the compensation and medical expenditure is not paid, it will be recovered as [if] it were arrears of land revenue. A media institution has been defined as any registered newspaper establishment, news channel establishment, news based electronic media establishment or news station establishment.
To read the entire article, click here.

Iran: Fears Grow for Health of Jailed Journalist on Hunger Strike
April 7, 2017 – Amnesty International
Fears are growing for a jailed journalist and political activist whose health has deteriorated sharply after 30 days on hunger strike, said Amnesty International. Hengameh Shahidi, 41, who has a pre-existing heart condition, went on hunger strike on 9 March in protest at her arbitrary arrest that day. She is in a critical condition in Tehran’s Evin prison where she is being held in solitary confinement. She has also stopped taking her medication and is refusing intravenous fluids.
“Hengameh Shahidi’s arbitrary arrest and detention shows again the Iranian authorities’ utter contempt for human rights. They must release her immediately and unconditionally as she appears to be held solely for exercising her rights to freedom of expression and association,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. “One month into Hengameh Shahidi’s detention, the authorities have still not provided her access to a specialist heart doctor. Instead of prolonging her suffering, the authorities must immediately give her the specialized medical treatment she needs.”
To read the rest of the article, click here.

University Chancellor Called for Reporter’s Firing from WUTC
April 7, 2017 – Current
Emails obtained by Chattanooga Times Free Press reveal that the chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga pressed for the firing of Jacqui Helbert, the former WUTC reporter who is suing over her recent dismissal. According to the emails, Chancellor Steve Angle “argues Helbert should be fired, not suspended, for failing to announce herself as a reporter when recording lawmakers,” the paper reported. He was concerned that state lawmakers would cut the university’s funding after Helbert reported for WUTC on a meeting between high school students and legislators. The university holds WUTC’s license and subsidizes the station’s operations.
Helbert produced a story about the students’ conversation with lawmakers about a proposed transgender bathroom bill. The story aired on WUTC but the version posted on WUTC’s website was later removed. Helbert was criticized, and later dismissed, for not announcing herself as a journalist during the meetings, despite reports that she was carrying large radio recording equipment and a WUTC lanyard.
To read the entire article, click here.

University Chancellor Called for Reporter’s Firing from WUTC
April 7, 2017 – Current
Emails obtained by Chattanooga Times Free Press reveal that the chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga pressed for the firing of Jacqui Helbert, the former WUTC reporter who is suing over her recent dismissal. According to the emails, Chancellor Steve Angle “argues Helbert should be fired, not suspended, for failing to announce herself as a reporter when recording lawmakers,” the paper reported. He was concerned that state lawmakers would cut the university’s funding after Helbert reported for WUTC on a meeting between high school students and legislators. The university holds WUTC’s license and subsidizes the station’s operations.
Helbert produced a story about the students’ conversation with lawmakers about a proposed transgender bathroom bill. The story aired on WUTC but the version posted on WUTC’s website was later removed. Helbert was criticized, and later dismissed, for not announcing herself as a journalist during the meetings, despite reports that she was carrying large radio recording equipment and a WUTC lanyard.
To read the entire article, click here.

Somalia's Breakaway Somaliland Sentences Journalist to Two Years in Jail
April 8, 2017 – Reuters
A court in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland has sentenced a reporter to two years in jail for what it said was endangering peace and security, a journalists' rights group said on Saturday. The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said that Abdimalik Muse Oldon was detained in February upon his return from the Somali capital and charged with "anti-national activity and violating the sovereignty and succession of Somaliland." The union said the ruling was a threat to independent media and relied on unclear laws to restrict journalists' ability to carry out their work. Somaliland government officials were not immediately available for comment.
Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but is not internationally recognized. It has largely been spared the unrest and insurgency driven by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab in the rest of Somalia. In addition to being targeted by violence, journalists in Somalia are often targeted by officials and by al Shabaab for the content of their work. In 2013, a court in Somaliland sentenced two journalists for what it said was the publication of false news.
To read the entire article, click here.

Iraqi Journalists Face Threats from ISIS, Armed Militias and the State
April 10, 2017 – Global Voices Online
On 26 February, Shifa Gardi, a journalist and presenter with the Iraqi Kurdish TV station Rudaw, lost her life in a bomb explosion while covering Iraqi forces’ operations to reclaim Mosul from ISIS. The journalist was killed while she was interviewing the commander of a militia group near an ISIS mass grave, when a bomb believed to be planted by the militant group exploded, killing Gardi, the commander and four other fighters. The explosion also injured Rudaw TV's cameraman Younis Mustafa. Mustafa was released from hospital, tweeted Rudaw on 20 March, and he is recovering.
Gardi's story is not unique in Iraq, and rights groups are concerned that she may not be the last one to lose her life while doing her job as a journalist in a country where at least 178 journalists were killed since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO), a non-profit organization promoting press freedom in the country, puts the number of journalists, media support workers and technicians killed since 2003 at 299. The discrepancy between these numbers reflects different methodologies — CPJ only counts confirmed cases of journalists killed in direct reprisal for their work, or those killed while covering clashes and conflicts. The JFO, on the other hand, appears to include numbers of unconfirmed cases.
To read the entire article, click here.

Where Are Journalists under Attack?
April 8, 2017 - Al Jazeera
On January 12, 2016, Saif Talal, a correspondent for the independent Iraqi television channel Al Sharqiya, was returning to Baquba after a reporting trip when gunmen stopped the car he was travelling in. Talal had been covering the aftermath of twin bombings that killed 20 people. The gunmen forced Talal and his cameraman, Hassan al-Anbaki, from the car and shot them dead. Talal and al-Anbaki were among the first journalists that year to be killed on the job.
Below is a series of data that maps journalist killings over the past decade.
Over the year, according to figures gathered by UNESCO, at least 100 journalists were killed in 2016 - making it one of the bloodiest years in recent memory.
As World Press Freedom Day approaches on May 3, media workers will remember their fallen colleagues. 
More often than not, these murders go unsolved because of high rates of impunity.
Al Jazeera, in consultation with UNESCO, is launching Journalism Matters - a space which seeks to address the targeting of journalists and impunity.
To read the entire article, click here.

Police Spying Inquiry Hears of Another Quebec Journalist Targeted
April 10, 2017 – The Toronto Star
The head of Quebec’s largest police department declared himself a defender of journalistic sources who was aghast to learn his force had obtained reporters’ phone records while probing a leak of confidential information. But while Sûreté du Québec director general Martin Prud’homme talked up his actions after the scandal began last fall, he waited until the end of a long day of testimony at an inquiry into the confidentiality and protection of journalists’ sources to mention that it wasn’t the only case.
The revelation was a rough start for a process that began in earnest Monday with the aim of restoring public trust in the police following a series of problems that have spilled out into the open. In addition to the SQ, the Montreal Police force has also admitted to monitoring journalists’ telephone communications while probing one of its own officers — a practice that has been denounced as an attack on press freedoms.
To read the entire article, click here.

Mexican Journalist’s Nightmarish Case Suggests Troubling Changes to Asylum Process under Trump
April 11, 2017 – Raw Story
When Martin Mendez Pineda fled the Mexican state of Guerrero in February, he escaped a living hell where being a reporter meant he had a constant target on his back. Yet he walked into a new nightmare after seeking asylum in El Paso, according to his attorney. Mendez Pineda, 26, has been in a detention facility in the Texas border city even after American authorities agreed the reporter had a credible fear of returning to his country. His attorney, Carlos Spector, said it’s symbolic of a change under the Trump Administration where prolonged detention — even for people with no criminal history — is the latest tool in the White House’s effort to discourage people fleeing violence from seeking help in the United States.
Spector’s immediate concern isn’t the asylum process that could lay ahead but instead the continued detention of someone who would normally be released while his case is meandering through the long and complicated series of hearings and interviews. He fears the detention will become a pattern and be used against other foreigners seeking safe harbor after Trump issued his Jan. 25 executive order on immigration.
“This process of incarcerating immigrants seeking refuge in the United States has been a policy that has existed that has just gotten worse under Trump,” he said. “We’re here to demand his freedom and to denounce the criminalization of the political asylum process as a political tool.”
To read the entire article, click here.

Mexico Reporters Defy Threats, Murders to Keep Writing
April 12, 2017 – Yahoo News
Mexican reporter Noe Zavaleta has mourned murdered colleagues and received death threats himself, but he refuses to stop working despite the fear. His is the deadliest country for journalists outside of war zones — but with all the corruption and violence, there is just too much news for him to quit. "I have had to bury colleagues and see other companions leave the country. But you still panic when it happens to you," he says, in his home town of Xalapa in the eastern state of Veracruz.
Like hundreds of other journalists in Mexico, the 36-year-old has been threatened for writing about organised crime. But he keeps cranking out the stories for investigative magazine Proceso: about links between politicians and organised crime, corruption, disappearances and mass graves. "You're constantly discovering more subjects, more injustices, more material."
To read the entire article, click here.

CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering Protests in Venezuela
April 12, 2017 – Committee to Protect Journalists
Venezuelan opposition supporters have been protesting against the government of President Nicolás Maduro since the Supreme Court ruled to strip the National Assembly of its lawmaking powers at the end of March. This is the longest sustained wave of anti-government demonstrations since 2014.
Local and international journalists covering the protests have been attacked, beaten, arrested and sprayed with tear gas, and have had their equipment confiscated and stolen. The Emergencies Response Team (ERT) at the Committee to Protect Journalists has issued the following safety advisory for journalists covering or planning to cover the protests throughout Venezuela.
Venezuelan authorities have been using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds, reportedly firing from helicopters above the crowds. Hundreds have been injured and arrested, and so far three deaths have been reported. Journalists covering the story told the CPJ that the authorities have been firing tear gas into the crowds at close range. One photographer who was hit by a canister suffered significant injury to his leg. At the same time the protesters have been throwing rocks and projectiles at security personnel.
Local and international media have found it increasingly difficult to operate in Venezuela due to government obstruction. Police and armed pro-government gangs have detained, harassed and attacked journalists. Assaults have taken place in broad daylight, and pro-government gangs have stolen media equipment, a journalist who spoke to CPJ said.
To read the entire article, click here.

 

South Dakota Journalists Seek Real Answers for Combating Fake News
April 12, 2017 – Watertown Public Opinion
To fight the notion that they offer “fake news,” media outlets need to do a better job of telling the public how they gather their facts. That was one topic journalists agreed on during a panel discussion — “Fake News: Cutting Through the Noise” — Monday night at the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings. “Our profession needs to do a better job of telling people what good journalism is about,” said David Bordewyk, executive director of the South Dakota Newspaper Association.
Beth Jensen, news director at KELOLand TV, agreed, noting more transparency is needed to teach the public about the news gathering process. “I do think transparency has to become a bigger part of our vocabulary.”
Moderator Jack Marsh, a retired journalist and former executive editor of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, asked panel members to discuss fake news — stories that are published even though they are false — and the propensity of people to label stories they don’t agree with as “fake.”
Fake news has a long history, according to Teri Finneman, assistant professor of journalism at South Dakota State University. The first known fake news story was written by Jonathan Swift in which he predicted the death of an astrologer. Over time, fake news stories were written by Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain. “They were trying to point out to the public — you are gullible,” Finneman said. “You have to stop believing everything you hear.”
To read the entire article, click here.

Veteran Journalist Sentenced to Death in Rebel-Held Sana'a by Al Houthis
April 13, 2017 – Gulfnews.com
A Yemeni court in the rebel-held capital has sentenced a veteran journalist to death on charges of spying for neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the press union and rebel media said on Thursday. Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab coalition in fighting against the Iran-backed rebels and their allies in Yemen.
The Yemeni press union condemned the “arbitrary” sentence of 61-year-old Yahya Al Jubaihi, accusing the rebels of “targeting the freedom of the press.” It said Al Jubaihi was a “veteran journalist with a long record of professional work across Yemen.” He was seized from his home on September 6, it added.
The rebels and their allies — renegade troops loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh — have controlled all government institutions in Sana’a since they overran the capital in September 2014. Rival bodies loyal to internationally-recognised president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi operate out of second city Aden or from exile in Saudi Arabia.
To read the entire article, click here.

Journalist Who Broke News of Chechnya’s Gay Purge Forced into Hiding after ‘Jihad’ Death Threats
April 13, 2017 – Pink News
The Russian journalist who broke the news of Chechnya’s homophobic purge has been forced into hiding after the region’s largest mosque declared jihad. Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke the news earlier this month that more than 100 gay men have been detained in Chechnya “in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation”. The disturbing reports, since corroborated by human rights groups, also alleged that the men are being held in secret concentration camp-style prisons where they face torture and abuse. Chechnya is part of Russia but has substantial autonomy.
Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire, Novaya Gazeta journalist Elena Milashina, who authored the reports, revealed that she has been forced into hiding in the wake of the story. Ms. Milashina, who is usually based in Moscow, is currently in an undisclosed location. She said: “They reacted [to the story] in a terrifying manner… on April 3, in the biggest mosque in Grozny, 15,000 people came together and declared a Jihad on us… not just me personally, but all journalists at Novaya Gazeta. “They said the people at the newspaper who raised this question have damaged the honour of Chechen nation and should be prosecuted.”
To read the entire article, click here.

‘Blasphemy’: Journalism Student Killed in Pakistan for Facebook Posts
April 13, 2017 – Al Arabiya
A journalism student was shot dead and another seriously injured by a large vigilante mob comprising fellow students at the Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU) in Pakistan’s Mardan town on Thursday after accusations of blasphemy. The deceased was identified as Mashal Khan. According to Dawn newspaper report quoting local police, the mob attack at the university premises was for “allegedly publishing blasphemous content online.”
Alam Shinwari, Mardan Deputy Inspector General of Police, said the dead student was accused of running Facebook pages which allegedly published blasphemous content. He was assaulted by a mob of students and appears to have succumbed to a gunshot wound, he said.
An eyewitness said Mashal and Abdullah, the two Mass Communication students, were attacked because they were believed to be “promoting the Ahmadi faith on Facebook”. The police reached the site of the attack and rescued Abdullah, but Mashal, who was in the hostel at the time, was beaten and shot by the mob and succumbed to the injuries he received. Video footage showed men kicking his lifeless body and beating it with sticks.
To read the entire article, click here.

Police Colonel Attacks Three Reporters in Goma
April 14, 2017 – ReliefWeb
By Reporters without Borders
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is shocked to learn that a senior Congolese police officer, Col. Van Kasongo, and other policemen physically attacked three journalists while they were covering a peaceful demonstration in Goma, the capital of the eastern province of Nord-Kivu, on 12 April. Rozen Kalafulo of Pole FM, Freddy Bikumbi of Radio Okapi and Picture Tank photographer Willian Dupuy were attacked and beaten by the police after being told to move away from the demonstration by members of the grass-roots movement Struggle for Change (LUCHA). The police also seized their equipment.
“I was doing my report when Col. Van Kasongo grabbed me by the hair,” Kalafulo said. “He throttled me in front of everyone, punched me in the chest and head, and then confiscated my equipment.” The equipment was returned to the journalists thanks to the intervention of Tuver Ghundi, a representative of Journalist in Danger (JED), who called Gen. Vital Umiya Awashango, the provincial police commander. Gen. Awashango, who is Col. Kasongo’s immediate superior, has asked to meet with the journalists. “We firmly condemn this attack by Col. Kasongo, who has a history of violence against journalists, and we call for him to be brought to justice before the relevant military tribunal,” RSF editor-in-chief Virginie Dangles said.
To read the entire article, click here.

Rights Group Slams Yemen Journalist’s Death Sentence
April 15, 2017 – The New Arab
Reporters Without Borders says it is "appalled" at a death sentence handed to a veteran journalist by a court in Yemen's rebel-held capital. The court in Sanaa, which is controlled by the Houthi insurgents, found Yahya al-Jubaihi guilty of spying for neighbouring Saudi Arabia on Thursday. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it was the first death sentence issued against a journalist in Yemen.
"This Houthi-imposed death sentence sets a dangerous precedent for journalists in Yemen," said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF's Middle East desk. "Issued at the end of an unfair trial, it constitutes a grave violation of international law. We urge Houthi leaders to free this journalist at once," she said.
Since March 2015, oil-rich Saudi Arabia has been leading a deadly military intervention against the Houthis and their allies in the kingdom's impoverished neighbour. The Houthis, supported by renegade troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have controlled all government institutions in Sanaa since they overran the capital in September 2014. Rival bodies loyal to internationally recognised president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi operate out of second city Aden or from exile in Saudi Arabia.
To read the entire article, click here.

Russian Journalist Who Reported on Chechnya’s Anti-Gay Purge Receives Death Threats
April 16, 2017 – thestar.com
Chechen state television promised over the weekend to produce a tell-all investigation into reports on the torture of gay men in that Russian republic—not into the question of torture itself, but into how the story saw the light of day. It said that the existence of gays in Chechnya was “invented by opposition media.”
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Sunday blamed “so-called human rights organizations” that, he wrote in a social media post, were “using the most unworthy methods, distorting reality, trying to blacken our society, lifestyle, traditions and customs.” Chechnya has called on the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which first reported on the abuse and killings of gay men there, to recant its article.
“To finish this dangerous conflict between us once and for all, you have to fulfil just three conditions,” wrote Djambulat Umarov, the minister for social politics in the Chechen Republic. “First, you must apologize to the Chechen people for the disgusting nonsense that you spread.” He also demanded that reporters abandon using anonymous sources and stop complaining of threats received from Chechnya.
To read the entire article, click here.

Another Journalist is Shot Dead in Mexico
April 16, 2017 – PressReader
Another journalist has been killed in Mexico — the fourth in just six weeks. Authorities said reporter Maximino Rodriguez Palacios was shot dead outside of a shopping center Friday in La Paz, a coastal city in the state of Baja California Sur. Rodriguez, 72, wrote about politics and crime for a news organization called the Pericu Collective. He had previously worked as a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office.
Friday’s shooting is the latest in a string of violent attacks on journalists in Mexico that has claimed four lives since March 2 and has left several others wounded. The attacks have drawn condemnation from human rights advocates, with the Committee to Protect Journalists calling the situation in Mexico a “crisis” of freedom of expression. Mexico’s human rights commission, which on Saturday said it was sending investigators to La Paz to monitor the police investigation into the killing, has convened emergency talks with law enforcement officials from around the country to discuss how to better protect journalists.
To read the entire article, click here.

Keeping Safe and Secure
April 17, 2017 – The Express Tribune (Pakistan)
As a profession, journalism in Pakistan is one of the most dangerous ones to be in. The number of journalists killed over the past decade puts Pakistan at the top of countries where it is almost impossible to work freely and fairly as a media person. Despite the challenges, we continue to strive and struggle in a bid to keep our society informed.
It is not just the killing of journalists that is worrisome but the fact that a culture of impunity exists under which the murderers of journalists are not tracked down or arrested. In most instances, the government has been unable or unwilling to catch the culprits – this emboldens others to use the same tactics to silence the press. And in some way they have succeeded in doing so.
None of the killers of the journalists, barring possibly one or two, have been arrested, tried or convicted.  Impunity is the failure to guarantee justice and — when it prevails — an invitation for more crime to occur. Timely and thorough investigations of crimes against journalists are important measures to be taken by states in order to set a precedent for other cases.
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Venezuelan Journalist Arrested while Covering Protest against the Government Remains in Jail and Will  Be Tried
April 17, 2017 – Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
Young Venezuelan journalist Yonathan Guédez (22), arrested on April 10 along with 30 protesters in one of the Venezuelan social demonstrations against the recent measures adopted by the Supreme Court, remains in prison, according to various local and national media outlets. Since March 28, Venezuela has experienced a wave of social protests that started when the Supreme Court announced its decision to delegitimize the legislative functions of the National Assembly, whose members are mostly from the opposition party. Marco Ruiz, secretary general of the National Union of Press Workers (SNTP), said on his twitter account that Guédez’s trial would be scheduled for April 17.
Guédez was to be tried on April 14, without knowing which crimes he is charged with. However, it transpired that he and the other detainees would be brought before a military court for affronts to a guard and damage to military installations, El Pitazo reported. Subsequently, El Pitazo reported that the trial was not conducted because the case of Guédez and the others detained on April 10 was referred to the Court of Appeals of the Judicial Circuit, after the court declared itself incompetent to proceed. Meanwhile, Guédez and the other detainees will remain in the command of the First National Guard.

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SAS Recording Investigation Launched; Man Charged for Assaulting Journalist During Elections
April 20, 2017 – The Armenian Weekly
On April 19, Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) launched a criminal investigation into the 40-minute recording of what is believed to be a staff meeting held by businessman Artak Sargsyan’s senior aides. In the recording that was published by Yerevan-based news outlet Hayastan24 on April 13, an unknown man can be heard threatening to fire employees of Sargsyan’s SAS supermarket chain who fail to guarantee in writing that their friends and families will vote for Sargsyan—a Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) candidate—in Armenia’s 2017 Parliamentary Elections. Sargsyan, who kept his seat in Parliament following the election, has not commented on the matter. Sargsyan has held his seat since 2004 and has not made any public statements on the Parliament floor for at least five years. The SIS has not yet mentioned who will be charged or questioned in the investigation.
Sargsyan and other RPA candidates had already faced allegations of bullying their employees and bribing voters for electoral purposes. The SIS has also formally charged a man with assaulting a correspondent of RFE/RL’s Armenian service during the Parliamentary Elections. The incident took place when journalist Sisak Gabrielyan noticed that many voters from Yerevan’s Kond neighborhood were visiting the local campaign office of the RPA prior to going to their polling stations and casting their ballots. Some of them even had cash in their hands as they left the office, according to RFE/RL Armenian service.
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Mexican LGBT Activist and Journalist Found Murdered
April 20, 2017 – Pink News
LGBT rights activist and freelance reporter, Juan Jose Roldan, was found dead on Sunday in a town 120km east of Mexico City. Advocates from the local LGBT community in Talaxcala are calling on authorities to investigate Roldan’s death as a hate crime. Media and neighbours reported that his body “showed signs of torture.”
Regional paper Sintesis told AFP that the journalist started focusing on fighting for LGBT rights five years ago when he stopped working for local TV and print outlets. Roldan helped the LGBT community advocate for better HIV testing in Mexico. He was also involved in the protection of animal rights.
According to Sintesis, the 38-year-old reported on his Facebook page that he was the victim of harassment.
He appears to have been killed in Calaoulalpan, the south-central region of Talaxcala. The neighbourhood is notorious for human trafficking.
Local human rights and press freedom organisations including the region’s Union of Journalists have called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. Roldan is the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico in under two months.
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Another Prominent Russian Journalist Dies after Brutal Attack
April 21, 2017 – Melville House
A Russian journalist who had long been critical of Vladimir Putin’s government died on Wednesday of injuries he sustained from a severe beating by unknown attackers six weeks ago. CNN’s Laura Smith-Spark reports that the seventy-three-year-old founder of the privately-owned St. Petersburg newspaper Noviy Peterburg (New Petersburg), Nikolai Andrushchenko, had been in a coma since he was found unconscious in the street after being brutally beaten on March 9. According to the paper’s editor, Denis Usov, the attack followed an earlier incident in which Andrushchenko had been jumped near his house by anonymous persons who “demanded some documents related to his professional work as a journalist, connected with his recent publications.” In a separate interview, Usov told Radio Free Europe that he believed the last attack was linked to Andrushchenko’s reporting on “connections between St. Petersburg city officials and organized crime syndicates.”
Andrushchenko had a long history of reporting on human rights issues and corruption in Russia, and, according to RFE, had been critical of Putin “since he came to power in 2000.” In 2007, he was imprisoned on defamation and obstruction of justice charges stemming from his coverage of a murder trial two years earlier. At the time, St. Petersburg police raided the offices of Noviy Peterburg and seized files unrelated to the pending charges, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Andrushchenko “later claimed that he was tortured in custody.”
In a 2015 interview with Current Time TV, Andrushchenko was blunt about what he saw as Putin’s motivations, saying “his understanding of politics is all about making money, in my view.” One St. Petersburg lawmaker, Boris Vishnevsky, told Smith-Spark that Andrushchenko was “not one of Putin’s more prominent or current critics,” but given that Andrushchenko’s colleagues reportedly believe the beating that killed him was retribution for his coverage of local officials, the point is needlessly evasive.
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Journalist Faces Death Penalty in Cameroon
April 21, 2017 – News24.com
Radio France International (RFI) journalist Ahmed Abba is reportedly at risk of being sentenced to death after being convicted by a military court in Cameroon. According to Aljazeera.com, the RFI journalist was set to be sentenced on Monday, April 24, on charges of "non-denunciation of terrorism" and "laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts". According to his lawyer, Clement Nakong, and the RFI, Abba was convicted for his reports on the Nigerian insurgent group Boko Haram.
The RFI, as well as his lawyer, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that Abba has been in custody since July 2015 and was, however, set to appeal the conviction. The RFI has since called on Cameroonian authorities to free their journalist, adding that military court had acquitted the journalist of a lesser charge of "apologising for acts of terrorism". Meanwhile, CPJ deputy direct Robert Mahoney has described the conviction as an "outrage", adding that journalism should not be "equated with committing acts of terror". "The military court's conviction of Cameroonian radio journalist Ahmed Abba on terrorism charges that could carry the death penalty is an outrage. "Covering terrorism as a reporter must not be equated with committing acts of terror. Each day Abba spends behind bars is a travesty of justice," he said in a press release on the CPJ's website.
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Meet the Journalist Who Exposed Chechnya's Anti-Gay Purge
April 21, 2017 – Dazed
When Elena Milashina wrote her piece for Russia’s leading independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, she didn’t expect it would become a global story. Thanks to her investigation, the world learned how gay men in Chechnya were being detained, tortured and killed by the authorities. She believed not reporting the story would be a crime, but after it was published, she received death threats and had to flee Russia to protect her life.
Last week, over 15,000 people gathered in a central mosque in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, calling for revenge on the newspaper. This week, the editorial office of Novaya received packages containing white powder, while their website was put down after an online attack. Speaking to Dazed from an undisclosed location from where she continues her work, Elena shared more details of the investigation, as well as the current situation with the ongoing crisis in Chechnya.
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Somalia: Reuters Photojournalist Narrowly Escapes Bomb Explosion on His Car
April 23, 2017 – Somali Update
A photojournalist working for the Reuters news agency survived unhurt after a bomb attached to his car exploded just minutes after he disembarked, Somaliupdate reports. Feisal Omar, an award winning photographer and stringer was returning from downtown Mogadishu as he was driving toward home when he stopped to buy medicine at a nearby chemist when his car exploded at Banadir Junction in the south of Mogadishu on Saturday night. The bomb was attached under the driver’s seat. According to colleagues, the photo journalist was safe. No group claimed the responsibility of the explosion and it is not yet clear what the motive was.
Usually the militant group Al-Shabab takes credit of the attacks against journalists in Somalia. "It was an attempt on the journalist’s life” said one colleague who spoke to Somaliupdate anonymously for safety reasons.
The attack came following another attack in March which left Universal TV cameraman Adihamid Karzay seriously injured. Currently he is being treated in Turkey.
Car bombings and suicide attacks have become recurring incidents in Mogadishu and other parts of the country. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranks the country as the most dangerous place for journalists to operate. More than 60 journalists, local and international were murdered in Somalia since 1992 making the country as the most dangerous on earth.
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Cameroon Journalist Jailed for 10 Years Under Anti-Terrorism Law
April 24, 2017 – U.S. News & World Report
A Cameroonian military tribunal on Monday sentenced a journalist to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges, including for failing to report acts of terrorism to authorities, in a trial that has drawn sharp criticism from rights groups. The court had been told that evidence was found in Ahmed Abba's computer showing he had been in contact with Boko Haram Islamist militants and that they had communicated information to him about future attacks. Abba, a Cameroonian journalist for Radio France International, could have faced the death penalty on the charges.
Since his arrest in July 2015 Abba has denied the charges, brought against him under an anti-terrorism law passed the year before. Judge Edou Mewoutou also ordered him to pay a fine of 55 million CFA Francs ($90,000) and barred him from speaking to the media about the trial.
"Ahmed Abba's conviction, after torture and an unfair trial, is clear evidence that Cameroon's military courts are not competent to try civilians and should not have jurisdiction in these cases," said Amnesty International's Ilaria Allegrozzi. A lawyer for Abba said he would appeal the sentence.
The central African country's veteran ruler Paul Biya has faced international censure for alleged human rights violations in recent months, including during the suppression of protests in Cameroon's two western English-speaking regions. Organizers of those protests are currently on trial charged under the same anti-terrorism law used against Abba.
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Indonesia: Journalists Under Assault
April 25, 2017 – Human Rights Watch
The Indonesian government should adopt measures to ensure that state security forces who physically attack journalists are suspended and appropriately prosecuted, Human Rights Watch said today. New data and case research shows a disturbing increase in assaults on journalists in the past two years.
Irina Bokova, the director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which chose Jakarta as global host for its annual World Press Freedom Day commemoration on May 3, 2017, should use the occasion to publicly address the increase in assaults on journalists and urge President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to take more decisive action in response.
“World Press Freedom Day should be a time to celebrate the role journalists play in society, but in Indonesia the focus too often is on reporters’ fears,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Indonesian government should reverse the dangerous deterioration of press freedom in the country and prosecute security force personnel who physically assault journalists.”
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), a nongovernmental union, reported that there were 78 incidents in 2016 of violent attacks on journalists, including by security forces, compared with 42 in 2015, and 40 in 2014. AJI found that the attackers have been brought to justice in only a very few of those 78 incidents. Indonesia’s 1999 Press Law provides explicit protection for journalists, including up to two years in prison and fines of 500 million rupiah (US$44,000) for anyone who physically attacks a journalist.
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Project Exile: Ethiopia Editor Leaves after Beatings
April 26, 2017 – Global Journalist
Yetneberk Tadele almost left his home country of Ethiopia too late. Until late 2013 Yetneberk had been working as a reporter and then editor at Addis Fortune, Ethiopia’s largest English-language weekly newspaper. Working as a journalist is dangerous in Ethiopia, which the Committee to Protect Journalists ranks as one of the top five countries in the world for journalists in jail. 
Still, Yetneberk had reported on infrastructure problems and water shortages in the capital Addis Ababa. But what likely made him a target of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front was a 2012 interview Yetneberk did with opposition leader Asrat Tasse, in which Tasse was quoted as saying: “We are living under a dictatorial regime.” That kind of dissent is not tolerated in Ethiopia.
“This didn’t make the government happy,” Yetneberk says. “They don’t want the opposition to be heard. They don’t want their opinions to be voiced.” Yetnerberk received written and verbal warnings from authorities to stop reporting on such issues. Then he got caught in a crackdown on independent journalists ahead of the country’s 2015 national elections that sent as many as 30 journalists into exile in 2014 alone, according to CPJ. 
While traveling home one night in August 2013, he was stopped by two men on the street in front of his house. One grabbed him and held him by the neck, while another repeatedly hit him in the head. They took his laptop, cell phone and audio recorder, and left him in front of his house. 
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Press Freedom Never So Threatened, Says Reporters Without Borders
April 26, 2017 – The New Indian Express
Press freedom has never been as threatened as it is now, in the "new post-truth era of fake news" after the election of US President Donald Trump, Reporters Without Borders warned Wednesday. Its annual World Press Freedom Index warned of the "highly toxic" media-bashing of Trump's election campaign and Britain's Brexit referendum. The situation is at "a tipping point," it said bluntly.
Media freedom is being undermined by the rise in surveillance and of authoritarian strongmen across the globe, the watchdog said. The US and Britain both slipped two places in the index to 43rd and 40th, according to the Paris-based monitoring group, known by its French initials RSF. "Nothing seems to be checking" the erosion of liberty of the press in leading democracies, it said. "Media freedom has never been so threatened."
Liberty of the press is in peril or in a "very serious situation" in 72 countries including Russia, India and China, it found. "Attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms -- especially in democracies," the report said.
"Donald Trump's rise to power... and the Brexit campaign were marked by high-profile media-bashing, a highly toxic anti-media discourse that drove the world into a new era of post-truth, disinformation and fake news," it added. Poland and Hungary came in for withering criticism in the report.
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IPS Journalists Who Perished in the Line of Duty
April 26, 2017 – Inter Press Service
In the politically-risky world of professional journalism, news reporters are fast becoming an endangered species. The numbers are staggering: some 1,236 journalists have been killed since 1992, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In 2016 alone, 48 journalists were killed worldwide – and in the first few months in 2017 there have been 8 deaths. The “deadliest countries” for journalists include Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya and Mexico, where international news organizations took the heaviest toll. But Inter Press Service (IPS) was not spared the agony either.
The news agency, which has relentlessly covered the developing world for over 53 years, has suffered both under repressive authoritative regimes and also in war-ravaged countries where IPS journalists have either been detained, tortured or beaten to death in the line of duty in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. But for most surviving families, the tragedy has been doubly devastating because the killer or killers have never been apprehended, prosecuted or convicted in any court of law in their respective home countries—or in some cases their bodies never recovered.
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An Investigative Journalist and a Blogger Attacked in Russia
April 27, 2017 – Committee to Protect Journalists
Russian authorities should thoroughly investigate two attacks against journalists yesterday and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
An unknown assailant threw a green antiseptic--zelyonka, which contains a dye that can take more than a month to remove--at investigative journalist Galina Sidorova, who was in the city of Yoshkar-Ola, roughly 770 kilometers (480 miles) east of Moscow, to train local reporters on behalf of the Russian School of Investigative Journalism. A few hours later, the window of the building where she and her colleagues were planning to hold the training was smashed, and a dead rat was left on the floor, media reported. Sidorova reported the incident to local police, the reports said.
In a separate incident yesterday, unknown assailants also threw zelyonka, eggs, and flour at Ilya Varlamov, a well-known blogger and contributor to the independent radio station Ekho Moskvy, as he arrived at the airport of the North Caucasian city of Stavropol. When he stepped out of a car in central Stavropol, a group of men again threw zelyonka at him, Varlamov wrote. Varlamov writes about cities and infrastructure, and often criticizes local authorities for alleged negligence and corruption. Varlamov wrote on his blog that he had also filed a report with local police.
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Family of Jailed Eritrean Journalist Renews Calls for His Release
April 27, 2017 – Voice of America
When people from across the globe gather on May 3 to recognize World Press Freedom Day in Jakarta, Indonesia, the recipient of the top prize won’t be there. He will be spending his 16th year in a secret prison in Eritrea. The awardee, Dawit Isaak, is an Eritrean-born Swedish journalist and author who worked at Setit, one of Eritrea’s now-defunct independent newspapers. He was arrested during a government crackdown in September 2001 that shut down newspapers and jailed journalists. Isaak has not been seen or heard from for at least a decade, despite repeated requests from his family and the Swedish government.
“I am happy that he is nominated for this award, but I also feel sad because it would be good if he received this award himself,” said his daughter Betlehem Isaak, who will be accepting the prize on his behalf. His brother, Esayas Isaak, will accompany her to accept the award. He said that their aim is to make sure that Dawit Isaak is given the award himself sometime soon. Esayas says he and his niece worry about Dawit's condition. “We are concerned that we are not aware of his whereabouts and his situation,” he said, speaking to VOA Tigrigna Service.
Isaak was selected unanimously by an international jury of media professionals to receive the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The award is named for a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of his offices in 1986. The award includes a prize of $25,000. “He [Isaak] represents determination, courage. He is also a figure of democracy and freedom of expression and I think he is really someone who has given his life for his values, universal values, that are freedom of expression and democracy,” said Sylvie Coudray of UNESCO. Isaak and other arrested journalists have never been formally tried or charged. Eritrean President Isayas Afwerki has been asked about Isaak’s status multiple times and has referred to him obliquely as an agent of foreign powers and the CIA.
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Petition Filed with UN Group for Release of Al Jazeera Journalist
April 29, 2017 – Gulf Times
The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organisation has filed a petition with the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for the immediate release of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein, who has been detained by the Egyptian authorities since December 22, 2016. In a statement, Al Jazeera Media Network said the Petition for Relief cites the details of “Hussein’s arbitrary detention by the Egyptian authorities, violations of his basic rights and challenges the unsubstantiated preliminary charges levied against Hussain by the Egyptian judiciary that have allowed for the continued renewal of his detention”.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, based in Geneva, is a UN-mandated body staffed by independent human rights experts tasked with investigating cases of arbitrary arrest or detention that may be in violation of international humanitarian law. By working with verified sources, including non-government organisations, inter-government organisations and victims’ families, the Working Group issues opinions on the compliance with international law and sends urgent appeals to governments to ascertain the whereabouts of conditions of those allegedly detained.
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Journalists on the Front Lines of Global Assault
April 30, 2017 – News24
With reporters under attack the world over, it is imperative that citizens rally to protect press freedom. We live in a time when hard-won human rights protections are at risk of being swept aside by a rising tide of authoritarianism, fear mongering and xenophobia. The resulting global assault on fundamental civic freedoms is, in turn, devastating press freedom and exposing an increasing number of journalists to the threat of censure, the loss of livelihood and physical attack.
The latest research by global civil society alliance Civicus shows that attacks on journalists are now a strikingly common feature of attempts by states, private companies and others to curtail criticism or reporting that exposes uncomfortable truths. These findings also help us to understand why journalists are being attacked.
Currently, 23% of attacks on journalists reported on the Civicus Monitor – a web platform that provides updated information on citizen activism worldwide – are connected to reporting on politics. This is a troubling finding because without a free media to report on this subject, we cannot know if our elected leaders are acting in the best interests of the public. Reporting on protests (18% of reports), exposing corruption (15%) and covering conflict (15%) are also high-risk endeavours for journalists.
The case involving Sunday Times investigative reporter Mzilikazi wa Afrika is indicative of these trends and the challenges faced by journalists in South Africa and on the African continent. He and his family are under 24-hour security protection after he received death threats for an investigative article he wrote about corruption at power utility Eskom.

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