Cameroonian journalist detained on criminal defamation and false news charges

Abidjan, June 20, 2019 -- Cameroonian authorities should immediately release journalist Paul Chouta and drop criminal defamation and false news charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On May 28, in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, five police officers arrested Chouta, who works as a reporter for the privately owned Cameroon Web news website, in response to a defamation complaint filed by French Cameroonian writer Calixthe Beyala, according to Cameroon Web editor-in-chief Emmanuel Vitus, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app, and a person with knowledge of the case who asked not to be…Read more

UK Home Secretary gives green light to extradite Julian Assange to the US

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is deeply concerned by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to sign a request by the US to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, giving the court the green light to consider the request. RSF reiterates its call on all relevant authorities to prioritise the protection of the role of journalism, including journalistic sources, in their treatment of Assange. On 13 June, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed a request by the United States to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been indicted in the US on 18 charges related to…Read more

Ugandan editor charged with criminal libel and ‘offensive communication’

Authorities in Uganda should end the criminal proceedings against Pidson Kareire, managing editor of privately owned news website The Drone Media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On June 12, police in the capital, Kampala, arrested Kareire on charges, filed on April 30, of four counts of criminal libel and four counts of "offensive communication," according to the journalist's lawyer, Daniel Walyemera, who spoke to CPJ, and a charge sheet seen by CPJ. The charges stem from The Drone Media's reporting on a local recruitment firm, Middle East Consultants Limited, according to Walyemera and…Read more

Lesotho Constitutional Court applauded for declaring criminal defamation unconstitutional

On 21 May the Lesotho High Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court, declared criminal defamation as unconstitutional. The decision has been lauded across the globe by advocates campaigning against criminal defamation, insult, false news and sedition laws across the African continent. Kicking off on home ground, MISA Lesotho applauded the landmark judgement for its "contribution to an enabling environment for media operations." “We commend the Lesotho Constitutional Court bench for its brave decision, which makes a significant contribution to freedom of expression jurisprudence in the region”, said Anneke Meerkotter, litigation director of the…Read more

Acquittal of “Fiji Times” sedition case hailed as victory for press freedom in Oceania

The Fiji Times, its three executives, and an opinion columnist were cleared of the sedition charges filed by the Fiji government after a High Court judge concurred with the 'not guilty' ruling of the court's three assessors. On April 27, 2016, weekly indigenous-language newspaper Nai Lalakai published a letter by Josaia Waqabaca which tackled the need for a national reconciliation between the country's indigenous population and Muslim minority groups. Nai Lalakai is part of Fiji Times Ltd. Two months later, charges of inciting communal hatred were filed by the Fiji government against Waqabaca,…Read more

Kenya’s journalists can now get ten years in prison for defamation

Online defamation and fake news are punishable by long jail terms under Kenya’s new Computer and Cybercrimes Act, which President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law on 16 May. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns its disproportionate penalties as a threat to press freedom. If journalists are convicted of online defamation under the new law, they could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and fined the equivalent of 42,000 euros, while the intentional publication of false information that “constitutes hate speech” or “negatively affect reputations of others” is punishable by up to…Read more

UK Society of Editors welcomes defeat of Lords data protection amendments

The  UK Society has Editors has welcomed the defeat in the House of Commons of ‘perverse’ amendments to the Data Protection Bill. The clauses, 168 and 169, would have seen publishers forced to pay both sides costs of legal actions brought against them in data protection cases regardless or not of whether they won an action in court. The amendments, previously added to the Data Protection Bill in the House of Lords, were removed during the Committee stage of the Bill’s passing in the House of Commons yesterday. Ian Murray, Executive Director of…Read more

Quebec court orders Radio-Canada reporter to reveal her sources

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned a Quebec Superior Court ruling that ordered a journalist to reveal her sources. The court ruled yesterday that Marie-Maude Denis, an investigative journalist for the French-language public broadcaster Radio-Canada, must reveal her sources in an ongoing court case in which two politicians from the ruling Liberal Party are charged with corruption, according to press reports. The ruling comes a few months after the Canadian parliament unanimously passed a shield law that allows journalists to protect their sources. In his March 22 ruling, Justice Jean-François Émond argued that…Read more

Bangladesh drafts draconian Digital Security Act

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) express serious concerns over the provisions curtailing freedom of expression in the draft of the Digital Security Act 2018. The IFJ demands that the Bangladesh government revise the draft act in accordance with international standards. Bangladesh's Council of Ministers met on January 29, 2018 and approved the draft of Digital Security Act 2018, designed to combat 'growing cybercrimes that are affecting many public and private organisations'. The draft will be now presented to the Jatiya Sangsad - the unicameral parliament…Read more

“Red Pepper” staff arrested in Uganda

UPDATE: On 27 November 2017, the Buganda Road Court charged the Red Pepper editors and directors with seven counts including libel and offensive communication (HRNJ-Uganda). Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of eight senior employees of the Kampala-based Red Pepper tabloid, arrested on 21 November, and for the reopening of the newspaper, which was closed the same day. The eight employees arrested during an anti-terrorist police raid on Red Pepper'sheadquarters were directors Patrick Mugumya, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, James Mujuni and Johnson Musinguzi Byarabaha, financial manager Richard Tusiime and editors Ben Byarabaha,…Read more
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