Posts Tagged ‘Media and Human Rights’

Reporters Without Borders: 2018 World Press Freedom Index makes sobering reading

April 26, 2018

Reporters Without Borders  (better known under its French acronym RSF) published its WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX 2018. The rankings you can find by clicking here READ MORE. The regional chapters below give a quick overview of the main trends, including the disturbing downward turn in the USA, the further sinking in ex-sovjet states and China’s nefarious example in Asia.

RSF INDEX 2018: JOURNALISM SORELY TESTED IN NORTH AFRICA

North Africa’s performance in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index reflects the different pressures to which journalists are exposed. Restrictive laws, reporting problems (especially at protests), and subjects that are off limits all prevent journalists from being free to provide independently reported and pluralist news and information.

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RSF INDEX 2018: US FALLS AS CANADA RISES

Despite having strong constitutional protections to the contrary, the latest World Press Freedom Index findings on the US and Canada reveal two countries whose journalists and media workers face constant challenges to the very freedom to exercise their profession.

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RSF INDEX 2018: MIXED PERFORMANCE IN LATIN AMERICA

The 2018 Index shows a slight overall improvement in respect for press freedom in Latin America but this should not divert attention from the continuing problems of violence, impunity, and authoritarian policies towards journalists in many Latin American countries.

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RSF INDEX 2018: ASIA-PACIFIC DEMOCRACIES THREATENED BY CHINA’S MEDIA CONTROL MODEL

The Chinese model of state-controlled news and information is being copied in other Asian countries, especially Vietnam and Cambodia. North Asia’s democracies are struggling to establish themselves as alternative models. Violence against journalists is increasingly worrying in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.

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RSF INDEX 2018: THE DANGERS OF REPORTING IN AFRICA

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA HAS MAINTAINED ITS THIRD PLACE IN THE RANKING BY GEOGRAPHICAL REGION, WITH A SLIGHTLY BETTER OVERALL INDICATOR THAN IN 2017. BUT THERE IS A WIDE RANGE OF SITUATIONS WITHIN THE REGION, AND JOURNALISTS ARE OFTEN THE VICTIMS OF INTIMIDATION, PHYSICAL VIOLENCE, AND ARREST.

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RSF INDEX 2018: HISTORIC DECLINE IN PRESS FREEDOM IN EX-SOVIET STATES, TURKEY

THE FORMER SOVIET COUNTRIES AND TURKEY CONTINUE TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE WORLDWIDE DECLINE IN PRESS FREEDOM. ALMOST TWO-THIRDS OF THE REGION’S COUNTRIES ARE RANKED SOMEWHERE NEAR OR BELOW THE 150TH POSITION IN THE INDEX. THE REGION’S OVERALL INDICATOR HAS SUNK ALMOST AS LOW AS THAT OF MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA, THE REGION THAT IS LAST IN THE RANKING BY REGION.

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RSF INDEX 2018: JOURNALISTS ARE MURDERED IN EUROPE AS WELL

The European model’s erosion, a trend visible in RSF’s most recent Indexes, has continued in the 2018 Index. The region has been shaken by two murders, as well as by threats to investigative reporters and unprecedented verbal attacks on the media. Even the countries at the top of the Index are affected by this alarming climate.

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RSF INDEX 2018: MIDDLE EAST RIVEN BY CONFLICTS, POLITICAL CLASHES

The Middle East’s countries are yet again at the bottom of RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. Armed conflicts, terrorism charges against independent journalists and media, and growing online surveillance and censorship make reporting extremely dangerous for the region’s journalists.

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https://rsf.org/en/rsf-index-2018-hatred-journalism-threatens-democracies

3 May World Press Freedom Day: awards for journalists

April 20, 2018

Banner Webpage April

As part of the global Celebration of World Press Freedom Day, the winner of the  “UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize” will be announced on 3 May 2018.  for last year’s award: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/05/04/eritrean-born-journalist-dawit-isaak-awarded-2017-unescos-guillermo-cano-world-press-freedom-prize/

For more on this award and some 20 other international awards protecting freedom of speech and the media see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/unesco-guillermo-cano-world-press-freedom-prize.

The jury on Monday 23 April awarded the honor to Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, who has been in jail since he was arrested in Cairo in August 2013 for covering a demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry strongly warned UNESCO against the move Sunday, saying that Shawkan faces terror-related charges. The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions says Shawkan’s arrest is arbitrary and his continued detention infringes his human rights.

http://www.tampabay.com/jailed-egyptian-photographer-wins-unesco-press-freedom-prize-ap_worlda917dda4d8b3494b885425c516bbc1ce

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/The-UNESCO-Guillermo-Cano-World-Press-Freedom-prize-643081

How China extracts televised “confessions” from human rights defenders

April 12, 2018

Safeguard Defenders says these confessions violate both domestic and international law as they are often filmed before detainees have been allowed their right to a fair trial. In some cases, the confessions were extracted before formal arrest. “They deprive the suspect of due process; infringing on the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence, the right to remain silent, the right not to self-incriminate and the right to be protected against giving a forced confession and torture.

Many foreign nationals have been included in these confessions, which are aired on Chinese state television and, in some cases, by Hong Kong media. The monitoring group believes they are regularly used as “tools of propaganda” for both domestic audiences and as part of China’s foreign policy.

The report found that 60 percent of the confessions are from detainees who either worked in media – such as journalists, bloggers and publishers – or were human rights defenders, such as lawyers, NGO workers and activists. They are people whom the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) typically perceives as its enemies or critics and are usually charged with national security crimes or social order violations. The study also found that Chinese police regularly took charge of the so-called confessions. Routinely dictating and directing what the detainee should say and do, right down to the outfit they were to wear.

The interviewees described how the police took charge of the confession from dressing them in ‘costume;’ writing the confession ‘script’ and forcing the detainee to memorise it; giving directions on how to ‘deliver’ their lines – including in one case, being told to weep; to ordering retake after retake when not satisfied with the result,” the report said.

As a result of their research, Safeguard Defenders has called on the Chinese authorities to immediately stop the use of televised confessions and ensure all detainees receive the legal protections enshrined in domestic and international law. The group also called on foreign governments to stress to Beijing that there will be “consequences for ongoing violations of fundamental rights and freedoms.”

State news channel CCTV was identified as the primary broadcaster for televised confessions. Sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, should be imposed on key executives of the media network, the group recommends. The network, along with others responsible for airing such confessions, should also be registered as foreign agents in other countries. According to the report, “media organizations that film, collaborate with police in the staged and scripted process, and broadcast these confessions… are as culpable as the Chinese state in committing this deceptive, illegal and human rights violating practice.”

https://qz.com/1249842/swedish-human-rights-activist-peter-dahlins-first-hand-account-of-how-china-extracts-confessions-for-tv/

https://www.standardrepublic.com/world/world-news-chinese-language-state-tv-which-operates-in-uk-and-us-produces-chilling-compelled-confession-movies-for-brutal-regime/

https://asiancorrespondent.com/2018/04/threats-torture-fear-rights-group-calls-for-end-to-chinas-televised-confessions/#crKm6uQdL4vf7sJS.97

List of grantees for the inaugural ‘Reporting Right Livelihood’ made public

August 3, 2017

grantees

On 3 July 2017 the Right Livelihood Foundation made public the list of Grantees of its 2017 Reporting Right Livelihood journalism programme.  Journalists will receive grants to shine the light on ‘under-reported‘ stories linked to the work of ‘Alternative Nobel’ Laureates. The grantees of the inaugural Reporting Right Livelihood journalism programme were selected from among 93 applicants from 48 countries. The grants, ranging from €200 to €5,000, cover essential travel, subsistence and communication costs to enable reporting on the selected stories over the next six months. The decision was made by a committee comprised of journalists and media experts from Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK.

This year’s grantees are:

  • Ms Aissatou Barry (Guinea), to produce a multimedia report on fighting impunity in Chad, Senegal and Burkina Faso, linked to the work of Laureate Jacqueline Moudeina (€ 4,800)
  • Mr Bikash Bhattacharya (India), to report on Indonesia’s logging sector corruption, an issue constantly raised by late Laureate Munir Said Thalib (€4,500)
  • Ms Fabiola Ortiz (Brazil), to provide a multimedia report on how Brazilian martial art Capoeira became a powerful tool to promote peace among men, women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, linked to the work of Dr Denis Mukwege (€5,000).
  • Ms Mervis Elebe (Nigeria) and Mr Ray Mwareya (Zimbabwe) will share a grant to report on the current situation with maternal health in Nigeria and Zimbabwe, linked to Dr Catherine Hamlin’s work on eliminating obstetric fistula in Ethiopia (€ 2,500 each, €5,000 in total).
  • Mr Philipp Lichterbeck (Germany) to report on the ’slow genocide’ of a little known Guarani-Kaiowa indigenous group in Brazil, linked to Laureate Survival International‘s work (€ 1,500).
  • Mr Roger Anis (Egypt), to produce a photo report on Egypt’s current housing crisis, linked to the legacy of Right Livelihood Award’s inaugural Laureate Hassan Fathy (€4,000).
  • In addition, the selection committee made a discretionary allocation of €200 to Ms Zofeen Ebrahim (Pakistan) who applied for a grant of US $57 to cover fuel costs in order to report on Pakistan’s home-based workers rights, linked to the work of Laureate Asma Jahangir.

The announcement comes with quotes from grantees and selection committee members. Such as:

I was impressed by the variety, the creativity and relevance of proposals which made our decision so challenging and difficult. The projects we chose show a strong commitment to report on under-covered issues addressed by the Right Livelihood Award Laureates through their personal engagement. This shows how important it is to support journalistic coverage of these issues in order to improve the lives of people who suffer because of injustice, poverty, sickness or political pressure,” Adelheid Feilcke, Deutsche Welle, selection committee member

Partout dans le monde des femmes et des hommes courageux se battent contre les injustices. L’engagement des journalistes est indispensable, pour faire echo à ces combats. Ces bourses vont pouvoir faire avancer les causes défendues et honorer les lauréats du Prix Right Livelihood,” Romaine Jean, Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), selection committee member

Fo more information: Xenya Cherny-Scanlon, Director of Communications, mobile: +41 76 690 8798, xenya@rightlivelihood.org,  www.rightlivelihoodaward.org #RightLivelihood #AlternativeNobel

Source: Reporting Right Livelihood 2017 Grantees AnnouncedThe Right Livelihood Award

45 Human rights organizations call for charges against journalist Ali Anouzla in Morocco to be dropped

February 20, 2014

45 human rights organisations have launched a joint appeal to drop criminal charges against the journalist Ali Anouzla in Morocco. He appeared in court on February 18th, but his trial was postponed again to May 20th. Anouzla, journalist and editor of the Arabic edition of the news website Lakome, was arrested on 17 September 2013 in connection with a 13 September news article published on the Arabic edition of Lakome, which included a link to a video posted on the website of the leading Spanish daily El País. The video, embedded from YouTube, allegedly sharply criticized King Mohammed VI of Morocco, accusing him of despotism and corruption, and called on Moroccan youth to engage in “Jihad”. YouTube has since removed the video. Anouzla was released on bail on 25 October. Ali Anouzla was indicted for “glorifying terrorism” under Article 218-2 of the Moroccan Penal Code and “materially assisting” under Article 218-6.

With respect to the case the NGO statement recalls that: Read the rest of this entry »

Media can help uphold human rights, says meeting in Dhaka

December 22, 2013

Lawyers, former diplomats and rights activists at a dialogue on 16 November 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, stressed that media should use national and international mechanisms in reporting on human rights issues. They also pointed out that pressuring the government by international mechanism and pressure groups, such as diplomats and international media, could help improve the human rights situation in the country. Former ambassador Harun Ur Rashid, Dhaka Tribune editor Zafar Sobhan, Sayeed Ahmad of Forum Asia, Tahmina Rahman of Article 19, lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua, Nur Khan of Ain o Salish Kendra were the panelists at this dialogue entitled “Journalists as human rights defenders working together for the promotion and protection of human rights” organised by the human rights group Ain O Salish Kendra. Ambassador Harun ur Rashid said the media played an important role in creating awareness as well as acting as a pressure group to uphold human rights.“Individuals are now recognised not only in the national law but also in the international laws, so when his/her rights are violated, both state and the UN can intervene to protect the individual,” Harun ur Rashid added. Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan said the government had a tendency to act unresponsively on human rights violations until the issue was being picked up by international media or watchdogs. “Still, the media is playing a great role here. Ultimately the international watchdogs and media mostly gather information from news published in local media,” he said, adding that media persons also have the duty to respect victim’s privacy and rights. Sayeed Ahmad of Forum Asia observed that accountability was much more needed than creating awareness on human rights among the government institutions and law enforcement agencies such as Rapid Action Battalion, police and armed forces to ensure human rights. Echoing Sayeed, Tahmina of Article 19 said if such groups always enjoy exemption from the laws in the country, a culture of impunity is hard to eliminate.

via Media can help uphold human rights: Dialogue | Dhaka Tribune.

Human rights defenders describe lack of freedom of expression in Africa

November 2, 2013

A three-day Forum on the participation of African NGOs at the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights [ACHPR] and also the 28th African Human Rights Book Fair concluded on Sunday, 20th October, 2013 in Kololi. The forum brought together stakeholders dealing with various human rights issues from different parts of Africa. Various reports were presented that touched on media freedom and freedom of expression as well as on laws and principles governing media practice such as defamation, sedition and other draconian laws that prevail in many African countries. Kebba Jeffang reports in the Foroyaa newspaper of 21 October on the results:

Read the rest of this entry »

End of year reports differ but show sharp increase in journalists killed

December 21, 2012

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters without Borders (RSF) have just released their annual counts of killed journalists. Although their figures differ somewhat: 67 killed for CPJ and 88 for RSF, both organizations show a sharp increase in the number of killings.The main reason is Syrian where journalists are also directly targeted by the governemnt security services or jihadist fighters.

For more information:

CPJ report http://www.cpj.org/reports/2012/12/journalist-deaths-spike-in-2012-due-to-syria-somal.php

RSF report  http://en.rsf.org/2012-journalists-netizens-decimated-19-12-2012,43806.html

via Media and human rights: End of year: a sharp increase in the number of killed journalists.