Journalist handed jail term over “criminal trespass” at Ugandan parliament

Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda A City Hall Court in Kampala has sentenced a freelance journalist, William Ntege (aka Buganda Kyumakyayesu) to two months in prison on charges of criminal trespass and being a common nuisance at the parliament of Uganda. Ntege had gone to parliament to petition the speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, over police brutality on journalists and other Ugandans. A Senior Grade one magistrate, Elias Kakooza, convicted Ntege to jail over criminal trespass, and cautioned him on the second count of common nuisance. Prosecution led by State Attorney Miriam Njuki…Read more

Independent radio station shut down in The Gambia

In response to Gambia shutting down of the independent Teranga radio station after a failed coup last week against President Yahya Jammeh, Freedom House issued the following statement: "The Jammeh government should end its crackdown on freedom of expression in the Gambia," said Jenai Cox, program manager for Africa programs. "The failed coup of December 23 does not justify an attempt to stifle dissent and limit access to information. The government should immediately allow the Teranga radio station to resume operations." Gambia is rated Not Free in "Freedom in the World 2014", and Not…Read more

Owner of news channel arrested in Bangladesh

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrest of the owner of a Bangladeshi TV channel, which was unavailable in several parts of the country a day after airing a speech by an exiled opposition leader. Police today [January 6] entered the Dhaka offices of Ekushey TV, a privately owned channel that covers local and national news, and arrested Abdus Salam, the owner of the channel, according to local news reports. The officers drove Salam in his own car to a local police station, according to Ekushey staffers and Salam's driver, who were cited…Read more

Geo TV, target of Pakistan spy agency

Reporters Without Borders is sounding the alarm over a resurgence of violent attacks on media belonging to the Jang-Geo group – attacks reflecting a slander and harassment campaign stage-managed by the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] and run by its political allies. Attacks on press freedom by a party in power and by political factions have been on the increase in 2014, even as violence committed by non-state actors has remained essentially at its previous level. As Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the opposition party led by former cricket champion Imran Khan, has grown more powerful, the media…Read more

Media teams attacked while covering protest demonstrations in Pakistan

Pakistan Press Foundation On December 15, 2014, in the city of Lahore, the capital of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, activists of the opposition political party, Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI), attacked and harassed a media team of the private television channel Geo News as it was covering their protest demonstration, and prevented them from reporting. Earlier, PTI workers had harassed reporters from the same news channel in the cities of Faisalabad and Karachi. The ARY News channel also complained that workers of the ruling political party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), hurled rotten eggs at…Read more

Huge libel damages aim to throttle Swaziland’s only independent daily

Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders condemns the exorbitant libel damages that the high court awarded last week against the Times of Swaziland. The record sum of 550,000 lilangeni (41,000 euros) is tantamount to a death sentence for the country's only privately-owned daily. The court awarded the damages on 3 December to senate president Gelane Simelane-Zwane in connection with a May 2009 article reflecting debates about whether she was a Simelane family member by birth. “This damages award, the largest ever made against a Swazi publication in a libel case, is out of all proportion to…Read more

Television news channel illegally suspended in Karachi

Pakistan Press Foundation A private television news channel, Saama TV, was forced to go off the air in several areas of Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, for unknown reasons on Wednesday December 10, 2014. Earlier on October 25, 2014, several television news channels had gone off the air for about six hours in Karachi and other parts of Sindh province after threats were issued by unidentified men over the telephone to some cable operators. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) General Secretary Amin Yousuf strongly condemned the suspension of Saama TV transmission and demanded its immediate restoration. G.M. Jamali,…Read more

Low powered explosives hurled at TV channels’ vans, staff injured in Islamabad

Pakistan Press Foundation Unidentified motorcycle riders hurled low powered explosive devices, commonly known as crackers, at digital satellite news gathering (DSNG) vans of the private TV channels Dawn News, Dunya News and Abb Tak News in Islamabad. The incident, which occurred on Sunday, November 30, 2014, resulted in injuries to five media professionals. The attack took place after a political rally organized by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), when two men on a motorcycle hurled crackers at the parked television vans. DSNG engineer Ziaul Haq and cameraman Mohsin Ali of Dawn News, Nadir Hussain…Read more

Malaysia urged to repeal Sedition Act, not implement registration of Internet users

Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) views with incredulity the suggestion mentioned by the Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek for all social media users to register with the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). Aside from such registration creating huge bureaucratic, administrative and technological challenges, it will also constitute an infringement on freedom of expression. CIJ reiterates that curbs on freedom of expression cannot be imposed willy-nilly but only when a clear threat to national security, public order or public morality can be demonstrated, and the…Read more