Reporters Without Borders looks back at 30 years of defending freedom of information

Reporters without Borders RSF is marking its 30th anniversary by publishing a report that looks back on the three decades it has spent defending freedom of information. Screenshot from RSF report Entitled “Saving independent journalism - 30 years defending media,” the report examines what RSF has done on behalf of freedom of information for the past 30 years, what it is doing now, and the issues involved. It looks at RSF's biggest campaigns, its battles for the release of detained journalists, the demonstrations it has organized, its lobbying of international organizations, and its practical assistance…Read more

Kenyan police assault journalists investigating corruption

Committee to Protect Journalists Two journalists were beaten by officers from Kenya's paramilitary police wing, the General Service Unit (GSU), at a cattle ranch in southeastern Kenya on April 18, according to news reports. Nehemiah Okwembah, from the privately owned daily Nation, and Reuben Ogachi, a cameraman for the privately owned station Citizen TV, were covering a story in Bombi, a village on the outskirts of the Agricultural Development Cooperation Galana and Kulalu ranch, 576km (358 miles) east of the capital, Nairobi. Citizen TV cameraman Reuben Ogachi is taken to hospital after being…Read more

Journalists assaulted, chased covering protest in Nigeria

Committee to Protect Journalists The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks on journalists covering a government workers' strike in Nigeria and calls on Nigerian authorities to ensure police launch a thorough and efficient investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice. About a dozen journalists were at the government secretariat in the southern state of Osun on Tuesday to cover a three-day strike called by one branch of the Trade Union Congress in Osun State, a national union that advocates for workers' rights, according to local journalists and news reports. The branch had…Read more

Malaysia extends sedition law to allow online censorship

Committee to Protect Journalists Malaysia's parliament has approved amendments to the country's sedition law, giving the government broad new powers to censor online media, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the legislative amendments and calls on the government to stop using the law to threaten and persecute independent journalists. Malaysian lawmakers aligned with the ruling United Malays National Organisation voted to stiffen the penalties of the 1948 Sedition Act, according to news reports. The penalties now include mandatory three- to seven-year jail terms for convictions, denial of bail for accusations…Read more

Social media law could chill free speech in Papua New Guinea

Pacific Freedom Forum Punishing social media use could remove an essential check and balance on abuse of power in Papua New Guinea, warns the Pacific Freedom Forum. "Long talked about plans for a new social media law could have a chilling effect on freedoms of speech," says PFF Chair Titi Gabi. "Social media are an effective control on political systems including corruption." Facebook and Twitter are hugely popular in Papua New Guinea, with hundreds of thousands using pages, groups and profiles. That popularity has alarmed government and others concerned at free-flowing and often…Read more

UK Labour manifesto pledge to change media ownership rules and implement Leveson recommendations

UK Press Gazette The UK Labour Party has today pledged “implementation of the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry” in its 2015 election manifesto. (Labour leader Ed Miliband pictured, Reuters) The party has also promised to “take steps to protect the principle of media plurality, so that no media outlet can get too big”. The Conservative Party’s manifesto has not yet been released, but last month George Osborne said the government would launch a consultation on whether to introduce tax breaks for the English local newspaper industry in his Budget speech. The Liberal Democrat…Read more

Journalist faces charges after publishing report critical of Sri Lankan police

CPJ A freelance journalist for a Tamil-language daily in Sri Lanka has been charged in connection with a story he wrote that criticised the police, according to news reports and the paper's editor, who spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists. N. Logathayalan, a freelancer for Uthayan, was detained on Wednesday in connection with a story he wrote for the paper that alleged a girl had been assaulted by police in the Nelliyadi police station in Jaffna city, in the north of the country, according to news reports. Police denied the story, the…Read more

Malaysian cartoonist Zunar faces 43 years in prison over tweets

Cartoonist Rights Network International Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar has been charged in Kuala Lumpur with nine counts of sedition for tweets posted following a controversial court ruling. Zunar could be sentenced to 43 years in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty. His bail was set at 13,500 RM (US$6,207.00). Zunar (Zulkifi Anwar Ulhaque), known for cartoons lampooning the excesses and questionable practices of the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak, was previously charged with sedition in 2010. Over the years, his cartoon books have been periodically confiscated and bookstores banned from selling his…Read more

India’s free speech debate is alive and well

PEN International The Supreme Court of India's landmark decision on Tuesday [24 March 2015] signals a move towards greater protection of free expression in the world's largest democracy. But there is still much to do. India's highest court struck down section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 ("IT Act"), the vaguely worded and overbroad provision criminalizing the transmission over the internet of content that could be perceived as "grossly offensive" or has a "menacing character" or causes "annoyance," "inconvenience," or "insult"; the list goes on. The wording of the provision was…Read more

2015 Press Freedom Index Published By RSF

Reporters Without Borders have published the 2015 World Press Freedom Index, the annual analysis of media freedom throughout the world.  Unsurprisingly, the top three slots are filled by Scandinavian countries Finland, Norway and Denmark - with Finland in first place for the fifth consecutive year - while the bottom three countries Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea represent the worst places on earth to be a journalist. According to RSF, "The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state…Read more