Journalist detained over criminal defamation complaint in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi journalist Siddiqur Rahman Khan has been detained since September 1 after a criminal defamation complaint was filed against him under Article 57 of the 2006 Information and Communication Technology Act, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for Khan's immediate release and an end to the use of criminal charges to harass and stifle online media in Bangladesh. Khan, the editor-in-chief of news portal Dainikshiksha, was detained by cybercrime unit police in the Shikkha Bhaban district of Dhaka, the capital, according to reports. Police spokesman Masudur Rahman told reporters that Khan…Read more

New Maldives criminal defamation law threatens press freedom

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom should veto a criminal defamation law the parliament passed yesterday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The legislation threatens to stifle criticism and investigative reporting. According to press reports, the government had promised to put a draft of the law before a multiparty committee for amendments before putting it to a vote. But lawmakers yesterday approved the legislation in a 47-31 vote and referred it to Yameen for ratification. Under the law, individuals convicted of defamation face a fine of up to 2 million rufiya (US$130,000), and…Read more

Maldives government proposes law to criminalise defamation

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) in strongly criticising the proposed 'Defamation and Freedom of Expression Act' in the Maldives. The IFJ demands immediate withdrawal of the bill and urges the Maldivian government to review it with all stakeholders, including the media and journalists, to ensure it meets international standards. On March 22, 2016, the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives Parliamentary Group leader MP Ahmed Nihan presented the defamation and freedom of expression bill to the Maldives parliament. The draft law prescribes hefty fines of…Read more

Increase in cases of Internet censorship is cause for concern in Malaysia

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is greatly alarmed that certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have restricted access to online news outlet The Malaysian Insider since today. The outlet is the second news provider to be blocked this year following regional news site Asia Sentinel in January. This is clearly an assault on media freedom, freedom of information and Malaysia's promise for a free Internet. In January the government also blocked access to blog hosting site, Medium, as reported by local media. This is apparently due to one article published by Sarawak Report, although Medium's lawyers have been reported as saying the government…Read more

BBC correspondent arrested, interrogated for filming hospital in Uganda

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda On 6 February 2016, Catherine Byaruhanga – a BBC news correspondent in Uganda – was arrested by the police in the Abim district for allegedly filming Abim hospital without permission from the district security agents, and wanting to report "bad news all the time with bad intentions." She was arrested along with her cameraman – Kelvin Brown – and Sam Lawino, a news correspondent for NTV, based in the Gulu district. The trio was interrogated and detained for about four hours at the Abim central police…Read more

Malaysia ponders stricter punishments for whistleblowers, journalists

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is appalled at the most recent assault against the right to freedom of expression and information and its critical role in upholding democracy in Malaysia. We refer to the proposal by Attorney-General Mohamad Apandi Ali to increase the punishment under the already heavy-handed Official Secrets Act to include life imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan to target journalists. This is an indicator of a government who is intolerant of criticism and fearful of accountability, and a case of shooting the messenger to distract from the real issue at…Read more

Mohamed Fahmy proposes Protection Charter for Canadian citizens and journalists

Last week in Ottawa, journalist and activist Mohamed Fahmy proposed a new Protection Charter to the Canadian government that would increase Canada's intervention and support for its citizens and journalists detained or imprisoned abroad. Developed in collaboration with Amnesty International and the Fahmy Foundation, this Charter lays out 12 practical steps for the government to reform and strengthen its mechanisms to protect Canadian citizens, permanent residents and individuals with close Canadian connections from serious human rights violations in other countries. Mohamed Fahmy is a Canadian citizen who worked for Al Jazeera in Egypt when he…Read more

Uganda’s elections body bans civil society campaign messages

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda On 30 November 2015, Uganda's elections body – the Independent Electoral Commission – suspended media houses from airing elections-voter mobilization campaign messages, saying that some of their content were anti-ruling party, but favored the opposition. The Commission contends that the messages mobilize Ugandans to vote for change at the expense of the ruling party. “Some of the material we have been hearing in Luganda (Local language) and English, some of us are complaining about them… what are the interpretations of the wider implications of your messages?”…Read more