Pakistan authorities block distribution of oldest newspaper

Distribution of the English-language daily Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest newspaper, is being disrupted in much of the country since it published an interview with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this latest attack on media freedom. The interview, which reportedly displeased the Pakistani military, appeared in the 12 May (Saturday) issue and the blocking began on 15 May. According to RSF’s information, distribution is being disrupted in most of Baluchistan province, in many cities in Sindh province and in all military cantonments. The Press Council of Pakistan has notified Dawn’s…Read more

UK Commons defeat of Lords amendments ‘common sense’

The UK Society of Editors has welcomed the decision by the House ofCommons to vote down a Lords amendment to carry out part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. The amendment, which was passed by the House of Lords on Monday, was voted down by 301 votes to 289. Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society of Editors welcomed the decision which comes a week after the House voted down similar amendments tabled by Ed Miliband MP. He said: “It’s unfortunate that it’s taken so long for common sense to prevail. Too many of…Read more

Kenya cuts TV transmissions over coverage of Raila Odinga’s “swearing in”

Authorities in Kenya should immediately allow four privately owned television stations to resume broadcasting, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Officials from the broadcast regulator the Communications Authority, accompanied by police, switched off transmitters today while the stations were broadcasting live coverage of an opposition party event in the capital, Nairobi, according to news reports. The order affects four national stations: Citizen TV and Inooro TV, owned by the Royal Media Services, Nation Media Group's NTV, and the Standard Group's KTN News, according to reports and three senior managers from the stations…Read more

Pakistan Interior Ministry shuts down Pashto-language channel Radio Mashaal

Pakistan Press Foundation The government of Pakistan on January 19, 2018 shut down the Pakistan operations of the Pushto-language radio channel of US Government funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The notification issued by the Ministry of Interior said Radio Mashaal was 'found against the interests of Pakistan and in line with [a] hostile intelligence agency's agenda'. The notification issued in the report of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) said that Radio Mashaal was involved in 'portraying Pakistan as a hub of terrorism and a safe haven for different militant groups'; 'propagating Pakistan as a…Read more

UK: Rudd’s plans to criminalise viewing of extremist content another threat to journalists

Reporters Without Borders  is deeply concerned by UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd's announcement on 2 October 2017 of plans to criminalise the viewing of extremist content. The new laws would reportedly see anyone "repeatedly" viewing extremist content online jailed for up to 15 years. Rudd's announcement was delivered during her keynote speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester. "This will close an important gap in legislation", she stated. In responding to a question from a member of the audience, she said "I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how…Read more

Anti-terror law used to silence critical media in Cameroon

Cameroon's broadly worded anti-terror law is being used by authorities to arrest and threaten local journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in a report released today. The report, Journalists Not Terrorists: In Cameroon, anti-terror legislation is used to silence critics and suppress dissent, finds that despite a presidential decree ending legal proceedings against at least four journalists, the law that was used against them is still in place as next year's elections approach. The anti-terror law, enacted to counter the extremist group Boko Haram, has been used to silence journalists who report…Read more

Publications could be shut down under Zambia’s “state of threatened public emergency”

The International Press Institute (IPI) has expressed concern over the imposition of emergency powers in Zambia and recent comments made by the inspector-general of police that some publications could be closed while the 90-day state of emergency was in place. On July 5, 2017 Zambian President Edgar Lungu initiated a "state of threatened public emergency" and indicated that he might declare a full state of emergency if the "existing situation" in the country is "allowed to continue", a procedure set out in the country's Constitution. The move came amid a string of apparent…Read more

Kenya seeks to restrict political commentary on social media ahead of elections

Kenyan authorities should ensure that proposed social media guidelines do not prevent journalists from reporting critically or close the space for public debate ahead of general elections due to take place August 8, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Two government bodies--the Communications Authority, which has regulatory oversight in broadcasting and telecommunications, and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, which promotes national unity--are reviewing the results of a public consultation on draft guidelines that they proposed to prevent the spread of inflammatory content and hate speech on messaging and social media platforms.…Read more

Tanzania imposes two-year publishing ban on newspaper

Tanzania should immediately revoke a publishing ban on Mawio, a privately owned weekly newspaper, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Tanzania's Information, Sports and Culture minister Harrison Mwakyembe imposed a 24-month ban on Mawio's print editions and any articles posted online yesterday over articles that mentioned two retired presidents, Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete, in reports on a government investigation into allegations of misconduct in the mining sector, according to a statement released by the director of Information Services, Hassan Abbasi. The statement, viewed by CPJ, accused Mawio of contravening a state…Read more

Indian journalist charged under Official Secrets Act

Authorities in India should immediately drop all charges against Poonam Agrawal, a journalist for the English-language news website The Quint, the Committee to Protect journalists said today. Police in Nashik, roughly 170 kilometres (105 miles) northeast of Mumbai, on March 28 opened a criminal case against Agrawal on charges of spying and criminal trespass under the Official Secrets Act, a 1923 anti-espionage law. They also charged her with criminal defamation and abetment of a suicide under the Penal Code, according to the journalist and media reports. If convicted of all charges, she faces…Read more