Indian journalist, magazine face criminal complaint for investigative report

 Indian authorities should shelve a criminal complaint against the weekly Indian magazine Outlook, its leadership, and freelance journalist Neha Dixit, and ensure the safety of the journalist and Outlook's staff, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on August 11th. On August 4, SC Koyal, an assistant solicitor general of the government of India at the Gauhati High Court, and Bijon Mahajan, a spokesman for the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), filed a criminal complaint against the English-language magazine Outlook, its publisher, Indranil Roy, its editor, Krishna Prasad, and Dixit. The complaint alleged that a July…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

At least two journalists killed in Pakistan blast

At least two journalists were among at least 70 people killed in a massive bomb blast at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, on August 8th, according to press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the attack. Mehmood Khan, a cameraman for DawnNews, and Aaj TV cameraman Shehzad Ahmed were at Quetta Civil Hospital reporting on a gathering of mourners grieving the murder of Bilal Kasi, president of the Baluchistan Bar Association, the reports said. Ahmed died at the scene of the blast, according to the Pakistani advocacy group Freedom Network, which promotes freedom of expression.…Read more

St. Vincent and the Grenadines draft law would allow prison for defamation online

Lawmakers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines should amend or scrap a draft cybercrime law that would allow for prison sentences of up to two years for defamation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Legislators are expected to consider the draft on Thursday, an opposition politician told CPJ. The most recent draft of the law provides for prison sentences of up to two years for "a person who uses a computer system to unlawfully publish any defamatory matter concerning another person, whether negligently or with intent to defame that other person," Anesia…Read more

Proposed law on contempt of court threatens press freedom in Singapore

  Singaporean lawmakers should scrap proposed legislation on what constitutes contempt of court in news reporting and public commentary, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The draft law's penalties for violations, including possible prison terms for criticizing the judiciary, threaten to entrench more self-censorship in Singapore's constrained media environment. The Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill would consolidate existing laws and judicial precedent into a statute on what may be published about court proceedings, judges, and the justice system, and, according to news reports, would allow the attorney general, rather than judges, to accuse writers of contempt,…Read more

The Queen inspires new hub for Commonwealth organisations

The atmosphere was full of comradery and optimism today as The Queen shook hands with athletes, young people, High Commissioners and staff at the launch of a new Commonwealth Hub. The ceremony took place at Marlborough House, the Commonwealth’s headquarters in London. The Commonwealth Hub will be located directly across from Marlborough House in a building to be renamed Commonwealth House. It will become the home of a network of Commonwealth accredited organisations. Today, the Commonwealth Games Federation, the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum agreed to move their main offices…Read more

Commonwealth to tackle corruption with kitemark and office for justice reform

Commonwealth Secretariat Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC today announced plans to launch a new Commonwealth ‘kitemark’ against corruption, alongside a new Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform to help countries enhance policy-making and legislation. Addressing a conference of High Commissioners and judges in London on Monday 18 April, the Secretary-General made clear her determination to help governments and national bodies across the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries to confront corruption in all its forms. “I want to make it clear that I have heard the high priority given by all member states…Read more

Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma steps down

Today is Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma's last day in office after 8 years.  He will be succeeded by Patricia Scotland who takes up office tomorrow. Yesterday, Secretary-General Sharma's portrait was unveiled and it will hang in Marlborough House alongside that of his predecessors.Read more

Commonwealth Day 2016

HM The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, sends her message to the citizens of the Commonwealth. HM The Queen Commonwealth Message The theme for 2016 is "An Inclusive Commonwealth"Read more