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

AFP journalist pepper sprayed while documenting Besigye’s arrest in Uganda

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda Isaac Kasamani of AFP – an international news agency – was pepper sprayed by police while taking pictures of police arresting former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Presidential Candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye at his residence in Wakiso District. Another journalist, Abubaker Lubowa, survived narrowly, while other journalists were blocked from accessing the news scene. Since 20 February 2016, police under the command of the Division Police Commander (DPC) of Kasangati Police Station James Kawalya have barred journalists from accessing Kizza Besigye's home and taking pictures of…Read more

Patricia Scotland elected new Commonwealth Secretary-General

Baroness Patricia Scotland was today elected as the 6th  Commonwealth Secretary-General at the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta and will take office on 1 April 2016.  She is the first woman to hold this post. Patricia Scotland was born in Dominica as the tenth child of twelve born to Antiguan and Barbudan parents. Her family moved to Walthamstow when she was two years old.  She pursued a London University (LLB) law degree in 1976 (in association with University College London) and was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1977, specialising in…Read more