Bangladesh drafts draconian Digital Security Act

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) express serious concerns over the provisions curtailing freedom of expression in the draft of the Digital Security Act 2018. The IFJ demands that the Bangladesh government revise the draft act in accordance with international standards. Bangladesh's Council of Ministers met on January 29, 2018 and approved the draft of Digital Security Act 2018, designed to combat 'growing cybercrimes that are affecting many public and private organisations'. The draft will be now presented to the Jatiya Sangsad - the unicameral parliament…Read more

Kenya cuts TV transmissions over coverage of Raila Odinga’s “swearing in”

Authorities in Kenya should immediately allow four privately owned television stations to resume broadcasting, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Officials from the broadcast regulator the Communications Authority, accompanied by police, switched off transmitters today while the stations were broadcasting live coverage of an opposition party event in the capital, Nairobi, according to news reports. The order affects four national stations: Citizen TV and Inooro TV, owned by the Royal Media Services, Nation Media Group's NTV, and the Standard Group's KTN News, according to reports and three senior managers from the stations…Read more

Ghana’s ruling political party urged to redress attack on journalists by its security guards

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has petitioned the National Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, over the brutal assault by the party's security officers on journalists which occurred at the party's National Headquarters in Accra, Ghana. On December 21, 2017, four journalists who were covering a protest at the premises of the NPP headquarters were brutalized by heavily-built security officials. Despite several appeals by the media and press freedoms organisations to the leadership of the NPP, the party has failed to take any action 33 days after…Read more

Pakistan Interior Ministry shuts down Pashto-language channel Radio Mashaal

Pakistan Press Foundation The government of Pakistan on January 19, 2018 shut down the Pakistan operations of the Pushto-language radio channel of US Government funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The notification issued by the Ministry of Interior said Radio Mashaal was 'found against the interests of Pakistan and in line with [a] hostile intelligence agency's agenda'. The notification issued in the report of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) said that Radio Mashaal was involved in 'portraying Pakistan as a hub of terrorism and a safe haven for different militant groups'; 'propagating Pakistan as a…Read more

India: Police file complaint against journalist and newspaper following data breach exposé

Indian authorities on January 5, 2018 filed a criminal complaint against the English-language daily The Tribune and its reporter Rachna Khaira, a day after the paper published Khaira's report exposing a possible vulnerability in the country's vast national identity system, according to news reports. For the article, The Tribune said it paid hackers 500 Indian Rupees (US$8) to buy access to the Aadhar national identity database, which contains personal information of approximately a billion people, and an additional 300 Indian Rupees (US$4.70) for software that would allow the newspaper to receive an identity…Read more

Peter Preston, Pioneering Editor and Press Freedom Champion Dies Aged 79

This weekend, we learnt with sadness of the death of Peter Preston, former pioneering editor of The Guardian and great champion of press freedom.  Many Commonwealth colleagues will remember Peter from his attendance at CPU Conferences over the years and from his long standing involvement with the International Press Institute and the cause of press freedom His obituary appeared across the media but  The Guardian, inevitably, published the most perceptive. It can be read here.Read more

UK Editors’ Code of Practice revised

The Editors’ Code of Practice, under which the vast majority of Britain’s newspaper, magazine and news website journalists work, has been revised. The revised Code, came into effect on 1 January 2018, and  includes a change that offers increased protection to children accused of crime. In a move that goes further than the law requires, the Code will now state that editors should generally avoid naming children after arrest for a criminal offence but before they appear in court. The Society of Editors, which will look to republish and distribute its pocket-sized version…Read more

“Red Pepper” staff arrested in Uganda

UPDATE: On 27 November 2017, the Buganda Road Court charged the Red Pepper editors and directors with seven counts including libel and offensive communication (HRNJ-Uganda). Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of eight senior employees of the Kampala-based Red Pepper tabloid, arrested on 21 November, and for the reopening of the newspaper, which was closed the same day. The eight employees arrested during an anti-terrorist police raid on Red Pepper'sheadquarters were directors Patrick Mugumya, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, James Mujuni and Johnson Musinguzi Byarabaha, financial manager Richard Tusiime and editors Ben Byarabaha,…Read more

Nigerian journalist Ikechukwu Onubogu killed by gunmen

Media Foundation for West Africa In the third of such a tragic incident in Nigeria since the beginning of 2017, unknown gunmen shot and killed a journalist working with the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS). Ikechukwu Onubogu, a cameraman with ABS based in the state capital Awka, was found dead, four days after he was reported missing by his family. According to the Premium Times newspaper, Onubogu on November 12, 2017 picked up his camera and left home in response to a phone call from an unknown person.  After failing to return home or…Read more

Distinguished UK Journalist Robin Esser Dies

It is with the greatest regret and sadness that we record the death of CPU Trustee Robin Esser. As well as being a distinguished journalist, Robin was a tireless campaigner for press freedom not just in the UK but throughout the Commonwealth. We will greatly miss his wisdom, his energy and his passionate support for free media. The greatest tribute we can pay him is to continue our work to protect and promote press freedom wherever it is under challenge.Read more