Posts Tagged ‘Journalist’

Human Rights Defender “v.” Freedom of Expression

April 19, 2017

On 4 April 2017 the European Court of Human Rights rendered a judgment1 in the case of Milisavljević v. Serbia (application no. 50123/06) in which it unanimously held that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. What makes the case particularly interesting is that it concerns Natasa Kandic a well-known human rights defender who has won several awards including the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) in 1999. [see also : https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2013/04/07/serbian-natasa-kandic-receives-first-civil-rights-defender-of-the-year-awar/] Nothing is simple when it comes to human rights……

A journalist, Ms Milisavljević, had published in September 2003 an article in Politika about Kandic in which this journalist quoted another journalist who said that Kandic had been called a witch and a prostitute. Natasha Kandic sued for libel and the Serbian courts held that by failing to put one particular sentence – “Ms Kandić [had] been called a witch and a prostitute” – in quotation marks the journalist had tacitly endorsed the words as her own.

The European Court found that it was evident, even without the quotation marks, that that sentence, written by another journalist and previously published in a different magazine, had not been Ms Milisavljević’s personal opinion of Ms Kandić, but that she had merely been transmitting how Ms Kandić was perceived by others. Moreover, the domestic courts, limiting their reasoning to the lack of quotation marks, had completely failed to balance Ms Kandić’s right to reputation against Ms Milisavljević’s freedom of expression and duty, as a journalist, to impart information of general interest.

 CASE OF MILISAVLJEVIĆ v. SERBIA – Application no. 50123/06)

Nigeria: “Human rights activists of today are cowards, they are afraid to die for the course they are pursuing”

February 20, 2017

This rather shocking statement comes from Nigeria. Two newspapers sources (Vanguard.com and The Anchor on Line) report on events held to mark ’50 years activism’ by the Agbaakin Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oloye Rasheed Olalekan Alabi, where such hyperbolic language was employed. One was held on 21 January 2017 at the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ Press Centre, Ibadan. The other on 20 February in the Excellence Hotel, Lagos State. Other strong language was used there to make Nigerian youth more aware and committed…read of yourself…:

Agbaakin Olubadan, Oloye ‘Lekan Alabi Marks 50 Years of Human Rights Activism

Read the rest of this entry »

Journalist of the month Sara Cincurova in Slovakia

December 23, 2016

Sam Berkhead of IJnet did on 21 December an interview with the Slovakian journalist and filmmaker Sara Cincurova to discusses her work to bring human rights to the forefront. She was chosen as Journalist of the month. In this context I draw attention to the “Speak Up, Speak Out: A Toolkit for Journalists Reporting on Gender and Human Rights Issues” which seeks to help journalists  learn the basics of reporting on women’s and other human rights issues. It combines background information on international human rights mechanisms; guidelines on producing nuanced, objective reporting on rights issues; and practical exercises that walk users step-by-step through the production of a solid human rights story. The toolkit also helps journalists understand how international human rights mechanisms, laws and treaties work. Global in scope and written in an easy-to-understand language, the toolkit is intended to be used as a training aid in targeted journalism trainings around the world. It is available in English online as a free PDF download, with French, Arabic and Spanish language translations planned for the future. The toolkit is based on a series of trainings in human rights reporting that Internews conducted in several countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East between 2009 and 2011. It was developed and produced by Internews’ Global Human Rights Program.

 image courtesy of Sara Cincurova.

At age 26, the Slovakian journalist’s byline has appeared on sites like The Huffington PostVoxEuropWomen’s WorldWide Web and openDemocracy. Her work has brought her to countries like the UK, France, Ukraine, Georgia, Burkina Faso and Indonesia, interviewing everyone from refugees at the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, France, to a Holocaust survivor. We spoke with her about her most noteworthy projects, finding the intersection between journalism and human rights and more:

IJNet: How did you get started as a journalist?

Cincurova: I have always been interested in human rights. I spent a year in Africa and in Asia, then I worked for a charity supporting women and children victims of domestic violence. I first started blogging in my home country, Slovakia. I remember that my first blog post about domestic violence had more than 10,000 entries within the first two days, and I also received a lot of emails from readers. So I started writing regularly for different media outlets, and that’s how it all started for me.

How has your work in advocating for victims of gender-based violence influenced the way you work as a journalist?

I think that trauma and abuse are always very difficult and intricate topics to report on. I have interviewed many experts on violence, and I try to use the skills that I have acquired whenever I’m interviewing victims of abuse, conflict, displacement, etc. I try to cover their stories as accurately and sensitively as possible. I also think that empathy is very important. Another thing is that I also try to focus on resistance and resilience, not just violence and victimhood.

What’s your favorite story you’ve worked on so far? What was challenging about it? How did you overcome those challenges?

Right now, I am working on an incredibly interesting article about Slovakians that hid Jewish families in their homes during World War II. I think it’s very important to share their stories today; they are a great inspiration for human rights defenders worldwide. Also, it’s very interesting to ask where their courage, kindness and motivation came from; many of them have risked their lives just to save another human being. To me, this project has been life-changing and changed the way I see human rights and resistance. I also think it’s important to share these stories today, in the current context.

Source: Journalist of the month: Sara Cincurova | IJNet

Malaysian cartoonist Zunar says he will challenge the travel ban

October 18, 2016

immigration
Picture of me at the immigration counter at the airport – political Cartoonist Zunar

Zunar, an award-winning cartoonist whose cartoons are directed towards fighting the tyranny and corruption of the government of Malaysia, was turned back at the airport on 17 October 2016. [see https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/cartoonists-gado-kenya-and-zunar-malaysia-get-2016-cartooning-for-peace-prize/ and https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/urgent-award-winning-cartoonist-zunar-threats-malaysia-support/]. He is as talented with the written word as with drawings, so I let him speak for himself: Read the rest of this entry »

Iran: shameful sentences for Narges Mohammadi, Issa Saharkhiz, Arash Sadeghi – no detente in human rights

September 30, 2016

© International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

There was some hope that with the ‘nuclear agreement’ Iran would relent in its persecution of human rights defenders. [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/human-rights-defenders-squeezed-by-geo-politics-the-cases-of-colombia-iran-and-cuba/#more-6957] It now seems clear that this is not the case:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Amnesty International, OMCT and FIDH and many others condemned a decision by an Iranian appeals court to uphold a 16-year jail sentence against journalist and human rights activist Narges Mohammadi. Under a law passed last year, she will ‘only’ serve the sentence linked to the most important charge – in this case 10 years for “forming and managing an illegal group” which pressed for an end to capital punishment. Mohammadi, 44, was the spokesperson of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders and campaigned for an end to the death penalty in Iran. 2003 Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi who founded the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, said:  “I condemn this sentence imposed by the Iranian judicial system as Narges’s only crime is to be a human rights defender in a country that flouts these rights“.

Mohammadi went on hunger strike in June after being denied phone contact with her children, who live with their father in France. The authorities relented after 20 days of the hunger strike. [see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/retaliation-against-iranian-human-rights-defender-for-meeting-with-ashton/]

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Two of three Turkish human rights defenders released awaiting trial

July 3, 2016

A Turkish court on Thursday 30 June 2016 released a prominent press freedom advocate and leading human rights defender, two of three activists put under pre-trial arrest on June 20 for participating in a solidarity campaign with a pro-Kurdish daily newspaper. [see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/turkey-outcry-over-detention-of-human-rights-defenders-is-even-russia-too-much/]

Sebnem Korur Fincanci, president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and Erol Onderoglu, Turkey’s representative to Reporters Without Borders, are to remain free pending trial on charges of “propaganda for terror organization PKK,” or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. The first hearing is scheduled for November 8. A different court is handling the case against writer and journalist Ahmet Nesin and there has been no decision yet on the possibility of his release pending trial, according to Anadolu.

The three had participated in a solidarity campaign taking turns as co-editors in support of Ozgur Gundem, a pro-Kurdish publication subject to multiple investigations and lawsuits.

Source: Human rights and media activist released in Turkey – Watertown Public Opinion: Europe

DW Freedom of Speech Award goes to Turkish ′Hürriyet′ journalist Sedat Ergin

June 10, 2016

The Deutsche Welle (DW) Freedom of Speech Award 2016 goes to Turkish ‘Hürriyet’ journalist Sedat Ergin. The DW prize is awarded annually to journalists who stand out in their fight for human rights and free speech. The award ceremony will on 13 June 2016 at the Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

Thailand’s Supreme Court confirms sentence against human rights defender Chiranuch Premchaiporn

January 11, 2016

 

Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

reports that on 23 December 2015, the Supreme Court confirmed the 2012 sentencing of human rights defender Ms Chiranuch Premchaiporn to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for one year, and a fine of 20,000 baht, for failing to delete allegedly offensive comments about the Thai monarchy, which had been posted on the now-defunct Prachatai web forum.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn [https://frontlinedefenders.org/ChiranuchPremchaiporn] is executive director of Prachatai, an independent news website that reports on human rights, social and political issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia. She was the webmaster of the now defunct Prachatai web board which was set up to promote the exchange of information and opinion on Thai political and social issues. Chiranuch Premchaiporn was the recipient of the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award in May 2011 and the Human Rights Watch Hellman/Hammet Award in September 2011.

The Supreme Court ruling confirmed the verdicts of the Court of Appeals and the Court of First Instance, which were made against the human rights defender in November 2013 and May 2012 respectively. Chiranuch Premchaiporn was convicted under Article 15 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA) for allowing the alleged offensive comments to remain on the Prachatai web forum for 20 days. Article 15 of the CCA states that any service provider intentionally supporting or consenting to the importation of illegal computer content, as provided for in Article 14 of the CCA, shall be subjected to the same penalty as that imposed upon a person committing an offence under Article 14.

Front Line Defenders expresses concern at the decision of the Supreme Court to confirm the sentence against Chiranuch Premchaiporn, and thus to continue the use of the Computer Crime Act to silence and intimidate human rights defenders in Thailand. Front Line Defenders fears for the potential chilling effect of the decision on the exercise of freedom of expression in Thailand, and the restrictive effect of this on the work of human rights defenders.

 

 

Israeli journalist and Palestinian pastor win Olof Palme award 2015

January 8, 2016

On 7 January 2016 it was announced that Israeli journalist Gideon Levy and Palestinian pastor Mitri Raheb have won the 2015 Olof Palme human rights prize. Levy, a journalist at the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz, and Raheb, a preacher and pastor in the Lutheran church in Bethlehem, were honoured for their “courageous and indefatigable fight against occupation and violence, and for a future Middle East characterised by peaceful coexistence and equality for all,” the Olof Palme Memorial Fund said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Azerbaijan: Khadija Ismayilova remains in jail but Council of Europe takes exceptional step

December 18, 2015

While there has been a small let up in the incarceration of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan [see e.g. https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/leyla-yunus/], it remains the worst place in Europe for human rights defenders. On 25 November the appeal lodged by investigative journalist and human rights defender Khadija Ismayilova was dismissed. She has to remain in jail for 7.5 years!

[Ms. Ismayilova was arrested on December 5, 2014 on charges of “inciting” her ex-partner “to commit suicide”. Although in April 2015 the alleged victim retreated his accusations, claiming his testimony was given under pressure, blackmail and torture, the prosecution did not take it into account and maintained the charges. In February 2015, Ms. Ismayilova was further accused of embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office. During the hearings in first instance, no evidence of these accusations was presented.On September 1, 2015, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes had sentenced Ms. Khadija Ismayilova to 7,5 years imprisonment on charges of “embezzlement”, “illegal entrepreneurship”, “tax evasion”, and “abuse of office].

As an independent reporter and journalist of the Azerbaijani radio Azadliq (“Radio Freedom”) she has shown great courage (see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/khadija-ismayilova-azerbaijan-is-not-deterred/), and received several international prizes, such as the 2015 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism (HRW), the 2015 Freedom to Write Award, the 2012 Fritt Ord/Zeit Press Prize, and the 2012 Courage of Journalism Award by the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation.  Read the rest of this entry »