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

Police raid newspaper after critical documentary airs in Maldives

Authorities in the Maldives should cease harassing the Maldives Independent, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police raided the daily newspaper's office hours after the Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera aired a documentary produced by the paper's former editor alleging high-level corruption in the Maldives. Six police officers arrived at the independent, English-language daily's office in the capital Male the afternoon of September 7 with a warrant authorizing them to search the premises on suspicion that the newspaper and its employees had participated in an alleged conspiracy "to overthrow the elected government, getting external help to…Read more

Journalist detained over criminal defamation complaint in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi journalist Siddiqur Rahman Khan has been detained since September 1 after a criminal defamation complaint was filed against him under Article 57 of the 2006 Information and Communication Technology Act, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for Khan's immediate release and an end to the use of criminal charges to harass and stifle online media in Bangladesh. Khan, the editor-in-chief of news portal Dainikshiksha, was detained by cybercrime unit police in the Shikkha Bhaban district of Dhaka, the capital, according to reports. Police spokesman Masudur Rahman told reporters that Khan…Read more

Zambia suspends licenses of three broadcasters

Zambian regulators should immediately reinstate the broadcasting licenses of three media outlets it revoked, and police should drop all charges against four media workers arrested when police sealed the offices of the country's largest privately owned television station, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Zambia's Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) on August 22 suspended the licenses of Muvi TV, the country's largest privately owned television station, as well as Komboni Radio and Radio Itezhi Tezhi, which are also privately owned. It alleged in a statement that the three were guilty of professional misconduct and "posed…Read more

Indian journalist, magazine face criminal complaint for investigative report

 Indian authorities should shelve a criminal complaint against the weekly Indian magazine Outlook, its leadership, and freelance journalist Neha Dixit, and ensure the safety of the journalist and Outlook's staff, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on August 11th. On August 4, SC Koyal, an assistant solicitor general of the government of India at the Gauhati High Court, and Bijon Mahajan, a spokesman for the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), filed a criminal complaint against the English-language magazine Outlook, its publisher, Indranil Roy, its editor, Krishna Prasad, and Dixit. The complaint alleged that a July…Read more

St. Vincent and the Grenadines draft law would allow prison for defamation online

Lawmakers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines should amend or scrap a draft cybercrime law that would allow for prison sentences of up to two years for defamation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Legislators are expected to consider the draft on Thursday, an opposition politician told CPJ. The most recent draft of the law provides for prison sentences of up to two years for "a person who uses a computer system to unlawfully publish any defamatory matter concerning another person, whether negligently or with intent to defame that other person," Anesia…Read more

Proposed law on contempt of court threatens press freedom in Singapore

  Singaporean lawmakers should scrap proposed legislation on what constitutes contempt of court in news reporting and public commentary, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The draft law's penalties for violations, including possible prison terms for criticizing the judiciary, threaten to entrench more self-censorship in Singapore's constrained media environment. The Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill would consolidate existing laws and judicial precedent into a statute on what may be published about court proceedings, judges, and the justice system, and, according to news reports, would allow the attorney general, rather than judges, to accuse writers of contempt,…Read more

Zambian editors arrested trying to enter newspaper’s offices amid tax dispute

Committee to Protect Journalists The editor-in-chief of independent Zambian newspaper The Post was arrested trying to enter his newspaper's offices today, after authorities closed it in a dispute over allegedly unpaid taxes. Fred M'membe, his wife Mutinta, and his deputy managing editor Joseph Mwenda, were released on bail, but face charges of breaking into a building, according to reports. The charges come after the Revenue Appeals Tribunal overturned an order for The Post's property to be seized by the Zambia Revenue Authority, according to reports. M'membe and his co-accused were arrested at around 1 a.m. today when…Read more