Pakistan urged to free two journalists convicted of defamation

Committee to Protect Journalists Pakistan should immediately release Ikhlaque Ahmed Jokhio and Qurban Ali Gadehi, two reporters for the Sindhi-language weekly Saahiti Awaz who were sentenced to five years in prison for criminal defamation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. "Journalists should never be sent to jail because of their reporting," said Steven Butler, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "We call for the immediate release of Ikhlaque Ahmed Jokhio and Qurban Ali Gadehi and for Pakistani authorities to abolish criminal penalties for defamation." A court in Naoshehro Feroze, Sindh province, found Jokhio and Gadehi guilty…Read more

Seven journalists denied entry to Gambia ahead of contested inauguration

Seven international journalists planning to report on the inauguration of Gambia's president-elect Adama Barrow were denied entry to the country on January 16, according to reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the obstruction as a deliberate attempt to silence the press during a period of political unrest. "The legitimacy of the Gambian government strongly depends on the press being allowed to report on the country's political transition," said Peter Nkanga, CPJ's West Africa representative. "We call on authorities to allow all journalists to freely cover events in Gambia." Immigration officers denied entry…Read more

Cameroon suspends radio station, seals office

Cameroonian authorities should immediately reverse a decision to suspend independent broadcaster Radio Hot Cocoa 94 FM's permission to operate and allow the station to resume broadcasting immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Government officials in Bamenda, the capital of Cameroon's Northwest Region, yesterday sealed the station's office, its manager told CPJ. The regional governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique, ordered Radio Hot Cocoa to suspend all activities until further notice, accusing it of inciting civil disobedience in a call-in show discussing a teachers' strike in the region, station manager Gideon Taka told CPJ. Residents of…Read more

Gambia orders three radio stations to cease broadcasting

The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Gambian authorities to allow three independent radio stations to resume full broadcasting. Taranga FM, Hilltop Radio, and Afri Radio stopped broadcasting on January 1 on the orders of national security agents, who did not give any explanation for the measure, according to news reports. The closures come amid a political crisis in Gambia after President Yahya Jammeh refused to admit defeat in elections last month. Authorities may have targeted at least one of the stations after it announced details of President-elect Adama Barrow's inauguration, planned…Read more

UK Peers back call for Leveson part two

Society of Editors UK Peers have backed a move to force the Government to hold part two of the Leveson Inquiry. The House of Lords voted by 246 to 196, majority 50, to require an investigation into alleged corrupt relationships between the police and press. Last night's Government defeat follows the announcement by ministers at the start of November that they were holdlng a consultation into whether the second part of the Leveson Inquiry should go ahead. The Tory administration said there was a need to consider if part two of the phone…Read more

State regulator suspends two television stations on slander charges

Pakistan Press Foundation Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority (Pemra), the broadcast media regulatory body, has suspended and imposed fines on two television channels and fined another channel for slandering the superior judiciary of Pakistan. Pemra had issued show cause notices to Neo News, Din News and Sach TV on November 19, 2016 and asked to submit reply by November 26, 2016. All three TV channels submitted their responses, but Pemra found them to be unsatisfactory. Pemra suspended the license of Din News for 30 days, and Neo News for seven days. The…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

Seizure of Canadian reporter’s computer threatens journalist independence

Reporters Without Borders Condemning last week's raid on the Journal de Montréal newspaper and the seizure of a reporter's computer as disturbing media freedom violations, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Canadian authorities to refrain from inspecting the computer's contents and return it to its owner without further delay. The Quebec police seized Journal de Montréal reporter Michael Nguyen's computer during a search of the newspaper on September 21 in response to a complaint by Quebec's judicial council about a story in June describing a judge's aggressive behaviour after a Christmas party in December 2015. According…Read more

India court urged to let journalists cover proceedings

International Press Institute (IPI) Executive Director Barbara Trionfi this week sent a letter to the chief justice of the High Court of Kerala, India expressing concern over continued restrictions on journalists' right to cover court proceedings. In the letter, which was also directed to the chief minister of Kerala's government, Trionfi noted that journalists have been denied access to courts in the southern Indian state for months and must rely on information provided by public relations officers. "This, however, is not a substitute for independent reporting," she wrote. "A free and independent judiciary…Read more

2016 World Press Freedom Index published

RSF 2016 World Press Freedom Index The 2016 World Press Freedom Index has been published by Reporters sans Frontiers.  Established in 2002 it has become a useful tool for media freedom organisations across the globe. Finland, once again, tops the list as being the country with the highest level of media freedom and, inevitably, North Korea and Eritrea languish at the very bottom.  In between, Commonwealth countries are fairly broadly spread across the middle and lower middle ground.  At the top end, New Zealand lies 5th and Jamaica 10th with Britain in 38th place.…Read more