Tonga wrongful dismissal case will clarify role of public broadcaster

A wrongful dismissal complaint being brought against the government of Tonga by the sacked General Manager of the national broadcaster will help to educate the public and politicians on the independent public-interest role of national broadcasters, says regional media watchdog the Pacific Freedom Forum, PFF. The online network of working Pacific journalists and media practitioners has expressed alarm and concern on increasing threats to media independence in Tonga especially the national broadcaster, the Tonga Broadcasting Corporation. Their fears are that 'inaccurate and highly personal views on the public-service mandate of public broadcasters' aired…Read more

Regional journalists call for job safety for PNG media

Pacific Freedom Forum Pacific journalists say Papua New Guinea media bosses should provide more security and insurance to protect colleagues increasingly under attack. "Journalism is obviously having an impact if attacks are anything to go by," says PFF Co-Chair Monica Miller. "Equally obvious, Papua New Guinea journalists need greater security to protect them against such attacks." STRONG CONCERNS As the regional Article 19 network, PFF is raising strong concerns over the safety conditions for their media colleagues in PNG. The concern comes after two journalists were wounded in a machete attack last week [September 15,…Read more

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

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

Thomson Foundation Launches Search for Best Young Journalist

London, Wednesday, July 20. Entries are invited for the 2016 ‘Young Journalist from the Developing World’ prize sponsored by the Thomson Foundation. Part of the UK Foreign Press Association Awards (FPA), the award  enables journalists aged 30 and under from countries with a Gross National Income (GNI)  per capita of less than $20,000 to enter their work for scrutiny by the Foundation – the world’s longest established international media development organisation – and then the FPA judges. The three finalists will be flown to London, spend two nights in the city and attend…Read more

Government minister punches journalist covering story on corruption

HRNJ-Uganda Engineer Abraham Byandala, a member of parliament for Katikamu North Constituency and currently a minister without portfolio in the Ugandan government, is under fire for assaulting journalist Judith Naluggwaa, who works for the government-owned Bukedde Television. Byandala punched Naluggwaa in the stomach as she covered a corruption-related story at the anti-corruption court in Kampala. Byandala is accused of misusing public funds amounting to 24 billion Uganda Shillings (approximately $7 million USD). The funds had been allocated for the construction of the Mukono-Kyetume-Katosi road when he was the Works and Transport Minister. Byandala appeared at…Read more

The Independent and The Independent on Sunday to Close

Society of Editors (UK) The Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers are to close, it has been confirmed today. ESI Media has confirmed The Independent will close its print edition on 26 March 2016 and focus on digital-only content while The Independent on Sunday's last edition will be on 20 March 2016. The i newspaper has been sold to Johnston Press it was also announced. In an email to staff Evgeny Lebedev, the proprieter of the titles said: "Today the Independent titles announce an historic transition. At a time when our journalism is read and…Read more

Third journalist shot while covering political events in Uganda

  HRNJ-Uganda    On 16 November 2015, Delta TV journalist  Kugonza, was shot in the head by police and rushed to Mulago National Referral hospital in critical condition. Blood was oozing from his head and mouth. Another unidentified woman was also reportedly shot in the scuffle, as police arrested the Capital City's Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago. Delta TV news editor, Prossy Margaret Kisitu told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda that Isaac' skull had been cracked, “A scan shows that his skull has cracked. He is in severe pain. He can't open his mouth,…Read more

Cook Islands urged to withdraw media injunction

Government in the Cook Islands must withdraw an injunction stopping media from publishing a constitutional opinion that criticises overspending, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum. "Using the courts to prevent publication of a public document discussing public issues around public spending is not democratic," says PFF Chair Titi Gabi. "Nor is this a good look for a country that was praised for introducing the region's first freedom of information laws in 2008", she says. The decision by the competing daily newspaper to initially kill a story on this issue for fear of legal…Read more