Maldives legislature considers bill that could force journalists to reveal sources

Maldives legislators must reject a provision of the proposed Evidence Bill that would allow courts to compel journalists and media outlets to reveal their sources, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The bill, which CPJ reviewed, includes a broad provision allowing courts to order outlets and journalists to reveal anonymous sources when a court decides that the “public interest of revealing a journalist’s source” outweighs “the negative impact on the source or others” as well as “the ability of journalists to continue to find factual sources of information and bring such information to…Read more

Tanzania suspends newspaper for one month

The Tanzanian government’s decision to suspend an independent weekly for 30 days is “arbitrary and excessive” and a complete contradiction of the new president’s declared intention to stop sanctioning the media, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says. One of Tanzania’s most popular Swahili-language newspapers, Raia Mwema has been missing from the country’s newsstands since 6 September, one day after government spokesman Gerson Msigwa announced that it was being suspended for 30 days, above all because it identified a man who killed three police officers and an embassy security guard on 25 August as a member of the ruling…Read more

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

Malta government bears responsibility for journalist’s murder, inquiry finds

An independent inquiry in Malta into the murder of the anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has found that the state had to bear responsibility after creating a “culture of impunity”. The 437-page report, conducted by a team of judges and released on Thursday, said the state “failed to recognise the real and immediate risks” to the investigative journalist’s life and “failed to take reasonable steps to avoid them”. Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb as she drove away from her home on 16 October 2017. Her death was met with outrage across Europe, and embroiled Malta’s…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

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

WPFD 2021: Attacks on press freedom growing bolder amid rising authoritarianism

Authoritarian and illiberal-minded regimes are becoming increasingly emboldened in their efforts to stifle independent media, the International Press Institute (IPI) warned ahead of World Press Freedom Day 2021. Brutal crackdowns on the press are unfolding openly across the globe. After seizing power in a coup on February 1, Myanmar’s military junta has arrested more than 70 journalists, revoked licences of independent media outlets, and repeatedly blocked internet access. In Belarus, the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko launched a campaign to criminalize reporting on protests against last year’s fraudulent election. Local watchdogs have recorded over 550 attacks on journalists, including…Read more

Bangladesh journalist Abu Tayeb jailed under Digital Security Act

Bangladesh authorities should immediately and unconditionally release journalist Abu Tayeb, and reform the country’s draconian Digital Security Act, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At about 10 p.m. on April 20, police in the central city of Khulna arrested Tayeb, a correspondent for the broadcaster NTV and Khulna Gazette and Dainik Loksomaj newspapers, after the city’s mayor, Talukder Abdul Khalek, filed a Digital Security Act case against him, according to multiple news reports. Yesterday, a Khulna court denied Tayeb’s request for bail and sent him to jail pending an investigation into that complaint, those reports said. Several lawyers are…Read more

Professor Robert Pinker receives Astor Award for outstanding contribution to press freedom

The Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust (CPUMT) has presented the 2020 Astor Award to Professor Robert Pinker for his outstanding contribution to press freedom across the Commonwealth. The Astor Award is one of the most prestigious – and one of the oldest – press freedom awards in the world. First presented over 50 years ago in 1970, previous winners represent a remarkable and distinguished cross-section of individuals who have made an enormous contribution to the media in the Commonwealth, particularly in the field of press freedom.  Since 1970 winners have included figures such…Read more