Singapore High Court rules that The Online Citizen bloggers defamed prime minister

The Committee to Protect Journalists today expressed alarm at the Singapore High Court’s ruling awarding Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong more than US$156,500 in damages in defamation suits against bloggers Terry Xu and Rubaashini Shunmuganathan. The High Court on September 1 ruled that Xu, chief editor of The Online Citizen news blog, “acted recklessly, with indifference to the truth and with ill-will” in publishing Shunmuganathan’s August 2019 article about tensions among Prime Minister Lee’s siblings that caused “serious harm” to the premier’s reputation, according to news reports.  According to Xu, who spoke with CPJ via email, and…Read more

UK: Sun, Mail and Rusbridger align as industry unites against Official Secrets Act reforms

Press Gazette: Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has argued reforms to the Official Secrets Act would mean a future Edward Snowden-style whistleblower would be forced to avoid mainstream UK publications to spill secrets. Instead they would avoid fears of stricter sentences for publication in the public interest by sharing information with a foreign title or website or putting it online themselves, he said in his submission to Government. His stance puts him in rare agreement with the likes of the The Sun as the industry unites against the proposed reforms in fear they…Read more

UK journalists could be jailed like spies under proposed Official Secrets Act changes

Press Gazette: Journalists could be treated like spies for reporting on matters of public interest under planned reforms to the UK’s Official Secrets Act. The move has caused alarm at a time when press freedom is seen as being under attack in the UK following the raid by the Information Commissioner to find The Sun’s Matt Hancock-scoop source. Yesterday, it was revealed that foreign governments are targeting UK journalists with mobile phone spyware. The Government said the reform was needed as the existing acts, with the last update in 1989, are no longer enough to…Read more

Ugandan authorities detain 2 journalists on criminal libel charges

Ugandan authorities should drop the criminal libel charges against journalists Pidson Kareire and Darious Magara, and reform the country’s laws to decriminalize speech, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On May 27, the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Court in Kampala, the capital, charged Kareire and Magara with criminal defamation and ordered them to be detained until a bail hearing on June 17, according to a copy of the charge sheet, which CPJ reviewed, and a statement by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-U), a local press rights group. The charge sheet alleges…Read more

Pakistani TV anchor censored after denouncing violence against journalists

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled that Hamid Mir, the well-known host of one of Pakistan’s most prestigious TV programmes, has been taken off the air by his TV channel after saying at a protest that those responsible for recent physical attacks on journalists should be identified. An autocratic climate is steadily taking hold in Pakistan, RSF said. The host of Capital Talk, a current affairs programme broadcast every weeknight on Geo News, Hamid Mir was suspended summarily, without any form of proceedings. He told RSF that his channel’s management notified him that he would…Read more

Ugandan police summon Daily Monitor employees in libel and false news investigation

Ugandan police should immediately drop their criminal investigation into the Daily Monitor newspaper and guarantee that the media can cover security forces’ alleged misconduct without retaliation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On May 31, the police Criminal Investigations Department summoned Tony Glencross, the managing director of the Daily Monitor’s parent company, Nation Media Group-Uganda, and Tabu Butagira, the group’s managing editor, to record statements as part of a police investigation into allegations of criminal libel, incitement to violence, and false news publication, according to reports by the newspaper and the BBC. The investigation focuses on a May 31 report by…Read more

Journalist Asad Ali Toor summoned for alleged defamation of Pakistan government

Pakistan should authorities stop harassing journalist Asad Ali Toor and let him work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Yesterday, the Cyber Crime Reporting Center of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency in Rawalpindi issued a summons addressed to Toor’s home, ordering him to appear for questioning on June 4, according to the Dawn newspaper and a copy of the summons, which CPJ reviewed. Authorities seek to question Toor in response to a complaint that he defamed an “institution of Government of Pakistan” on “social media,” according to the summons, which does not specify the…Read more

Zambian columnist Sishuwa Sishuwa could face sedition charge for opinion piece on election

Zambian authorities should drop an investigation into newspaper columnist and academic Sishuwa Sishuwa, who is accused of sedition, and should reaffirm the right to media freedom ahead of the August 12 general elections, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Sishuwa, a lecturer at the University of Zambia, wrote an opinion article published on March 19 in the independent local newspaper News Diggers and republished three days later in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper on the potential for unrest in Zambia after the elections, titled, “Zambia may burn after the August election.” Sishuwa often contributes political commentary to Zambian and…Read more

Sierra Leone journalist Mahmud Tim Kargbo charged over police reporting

Sierra Leone authorities should immediately drop all charges against journalist Mahmud Tim Kargbo and allow him to work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists have said. On December 4, a magistrate court in the capital, Freetown, charged Kargbo with sharing “insulting” and “scurrilous” information via Facebook and WhatsApp about the country’s assistant inspector-general of police, which allegedly caused the official’s “annoyance,” according to Kargbo, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview, and a copy of the charge sheet, which CPJ reviewed. Authorities held Kargbo in the Pademba Road Prison for about two…Read more

RSF calls for independent media group owner’s release in Pakistan

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Pakistan’s supreme court to order the immediate release of Jang media group owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, also known as MSR, who has been held on a spurious charge since March and whose release on bail has been refused twice by a court in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. The supreme court is due to hear his appeal against denial of bail next week. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman will complete his 240th day in a Lahore prison tomorrow because of a claim by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that a piece of…Read more