“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

Three Cameroonian journalists charged with criminal defamation

The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Cameroonian authorities to immediately halt the prosecution of three journalists after a judge on October 9 changed the charges against them mid-trial. Authorities on October 28, 2014, originally charged the journalists with "non-denunciation" for failing to disclose information and sources to the state that could harm national security under Article 107 of Cameroon's Criminal Code, according to CPJ research. During the October 9 military court hearing, the trial judge charged Félix Cyriaque Ebolé Bola, the sub-editor of the daily Mutations; Baba Wamé, a journalist and…Read more

Pakistani journalist faces terrorism and defamation charges for article critical of regional government

Authorities in Pakistan should drop charges against journalist Shabbir Siham, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan's northern Gilgit-Baltistan region summoned Siham for a hearing on October 7 on accusations of fabrication and extorting a regional minister in violation of Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Act, according to news reports and to Saeed Ahmed, the manager of the Islamabad-based Journalist Safety Hub, which provides support and training to at-risk journalists. He also faces charges of defamation under the Pakistan Penal Code, the reports said. According to the news site Dawn, Gilgit-Baltistan…Read more

“Daily Post” publishers ordered to pay US$180,000 in defamation suit

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) An Accra High Court has ordered the publishers of the Daily Post newspaper and its editor, Michael Dokosi, to pay an amount of GHC 800,000 (US$180,000) to a former Minister of State. The verdict follows an action for defamation brought by Hackman Owusu Agyemang, who is currently the Board Chairman of Ghana Cocoa Board, against the newspaper and one Mahama Haruna, an activist of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). Michael Dokosi was found guilty on July 25, 2017 of defaming the former minister and ordered to…Read more

India’s Supreme Court bans reporting judge’s statements

An Indian Supreme Court order banning news media from quoting a judge who accused other senior judges of corruption is a troubling blow to freedom of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar yesterday sentenced CS Karnan, a judge at the Kolkata High Court, to six months in prison on charges of contempt of court and ruled that "no further statements made by him should be reported hereafter." The court in February 2016 stripped Karnan of his powers…Read more

After two-year trial, Ugandan journalists acquitted of criminal defamation

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda The Chief Magistrates Court at Buganda Road has acquitted four journalists of criminal defamation and convicted the source of defamatory information. Madina Nalwanga and Patrick Tumwesigye of New Vision, and Benon Tugumiisirize and Ronald Nahabwe – formerly of Red Pepper – were found not “criminally liable” for what was published and had no intention to defame the complainants. However, the court found the provider of the information, Ssegawa Tamale, guilty. He will be sentenced on 17 March 2017 at 2:00 P.M “I am convinced by the evidence of A2…Read more

Fiji urged to abandon outdated sedition laws

Judicial partners should encourage the Fiji prosecution office to pull back from sedition charges against the country's leading newspaper, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum. "Fiji's judiciary is again out of step with the rest of the region", says PFF Chair Monica Miller, speaking from American Samoa. "Colleagues from around the region need to extend what they've learn from many millions in aid spent on improving judicial services." Incitement Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, was this week given 21 days leave by the Fiji High Court to consider whether or not existing charges of…Read more

Kenya’s High Court declares criminal defamation unconstitutional

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the decision today by Kenya's High Court declaring Section 194 of the Penal Code, which creates the offence of criminal defamation, unconstitutional. ARTICLE 19, alongside Jaqueline Okuta and Jackson Njeru, petitioned the High Court in Nairobi that the provision was a disproportionate and unjustifiable limitation of freedom of expression. Jaqueline and Jackson had been charged under the section for publishing posts about a prominent Kenyan lawyer on a consumer protection Facebook page called 'Buyer Beware'. Jackson is an administrator of the page. Justice JM Mativo declared that Section 194 of…Read more

Zambia moves forward with Access to Information bill

MISA MISA Zambia welcomes the pronouncement by Justice Minister Given Lubinda at the 2017 Universal Periodic Review that the Access to Information bill is ready and that the government is working on systems that will readily avail the information to the public. The enactment of the ATI bill is long overdue as it has stalled since 2002 when it was presented to parliament, with successive governments-including the PF government in 2011, making vain promises which have not come to fruition. The announcement made by the Justice Minister is a positive step and MISA…Read more

Investigatory Powers Bill passed by UK Parliament

Society of Editors (UK) The House of Lords has voted to pass the Investigatory Powers Bill (IP) meaning that the legislation is now likely to be implemented within weeks. The Bill, which was passed earlier this week by the House of Commons without proposed amendments relating to costs orders in phone hacking cases, replaces the widely discredited Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (RIPA). The Society of Editors, alongside other media organisations, had opposed the use of RIPA by police officers to access the communications data of journalists and their sources. Although the government…Read more
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