RSF calls for independent media group owner’s release in Pakistan

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Pakistan’s supreme court to order the immediate release of Jang media group owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, also known as MSR, who has been held on a spurious charge since March and whose release on bail has been refused twice by a court in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. The supreme court is due to hear his appeal against denial of bail next week. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman will complete his 240th day in a Lahore prison tomorrow because of a claim by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that a piece of…Read more

Two Indian journalists denied justice after saying Punjab lawyer wasn’t qualified

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by the denial of justice in the case of a TV reporter in the state of Punjab, in northwestern India, who was tortured and then jailed for a month after questioning a lawyer’s qualifications. Now he and his cameraman are facing up to 22 years in prison in case brought by lawyers and, to cap it all, they cannot find a lawyer to defend them. Khush Dil News TV reporter Sunil Kumar Sain’s account of what happened after he was arrested on 26 June and taken to the Fazilka…Read more

Nigerian journalist Kufre Carter detained for 1 month, charged with defamation and conspiracy

Nigerian authorities should drop all charges against journalist Kufre Carter and ensure that the press is not harassed by the country’s security forces, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On April 27, in the southern city of Uyo, officers with Nigeria’s Department of State Services arrested Carter, a presenter with the privately owned XL 106.9 FM radio station, when he responded to a summons issued the day before, according to Inibehe Effiong, Carter’s lawyer, who spoke to CPJ by phone and messaging app, and reports by the privately owned First Reports and Premium Times news websites.…Read more

Indian journalist Dhaval Patel arrested, charged with sedition

Following his arrest, authorities in Gujarat must immediately release journalist Dhaval Patel and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. On May 11, police in Ahmedabad, in western Gujarat state, detained Patel and yesterday charged him with sedition and spreading false news amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his lawyer Anand Yagnik, who spoke to CPJ over the phone, and news reports. The charges stem from a news article Patel, editor of the Face of Nation news website, published on May 7 alleging that Gujarat’s chief minister may be replaced after displeasure of his handling…Read more

Journalist missing in Bangladesh following defamation suit

Bangladesh authorities should spare no effort to locate missing journalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol, and should not allow a criminal defamation case to proceed against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Yesterday, the journalist’s family filed a report with the Chawkbazar Police Station in Dhaka, the capital, stating that Kajol, a photographer and editor of the biweekly Pakkhakal magazine, had not been since March 10, according to news reports. Kajol disappeared one day after he and 31 others were named in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Saifuzzaman Shikhor, a member of parliament from the ruling…Read more

British Virgin Islands law to impose fines, jail terms for online defamation

British Virgin Islands Governor Augustus Jaspert should reject cybercrime legislation recently approved by the territory’s legislature, or require revisions to the bill to protect press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On October 18, the islands’ House of Assembly approved the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime (Amendment) Act 2019, according to local media reports. CPJ reviewed a copy of the bill sent by Freeman Rogers, editor of the local weekly The BVI Beacon. Section 14B of the bill criminalizes “electronic defamation,” defined as using a computer to defame someone, with penalties of up to three…Read more

Pakistani journalist sentenced to five years in prison under anti-terrorism laws

Pakistani authorities should immediately release and drop all legal proceedings against journalist Nasrullah Chaudhry, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Chaudhry was convicted under anti-terrorism laws and sentenced to five years in prison on December 21 over the alleged possession of banned literature, according to news reports. “The anti-terrorism charges against Nasrullah Chaudhry were always implausible and his conviction is an absurd miscarriage of justice,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Chaudhry should be freed at once, and no journalist should go to prison over possession of magazines or pamphlets.” Chaudhry, a district…Read more

Nigerian journalists charged with criminal defamation, breach of peace

Authorities should drop all charges against journalists Joe Ogbodu and Prince Amour Udemude, and reform Nigeria’s penal code to ensure that journalism is not criminalized, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On October 24, a magistrate court in Asaba, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Delta State, arraigned Ogbodu, an editor with the privately owned news website Big Pen Nigeria, and Udemude, a reporter with the privately owned National Mirror newspaper, on four counts of criminal defamation and one count of disturbing the peace, according to the journalists and a report by Big Pen Nigeria. Defamation and disturbing the…Read more

Singapore’s premier hounds website editor again

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to abandon his latest absurd complaint against Terry Xu, the editor of the independent news website The Online Citizen (TOC), and to stop deploying his army of lawyers against anyone who publishes news reports he doesn’t like. In what resembles David going into battle against Goliath, Terry Xufiled a “memorandum of appearance” with Singapore’s high court today in response to the summons issued against him five days ago on Lee’s behalf over a 15 August article. Xu’s filing means that he intends to defend himself…Read more

CPJ concerned about Pakistan media court initiative

Pakistan’s federal cabinet has approved an initiative to establish specialized courts aimed at resolving media-related issues, the government announced yesterday, according to news reports. The proposal drew swift condemnation on social media from human rights and press freedom organizations. “The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned that Pakistani authorities are moving forward with this vague plan to establish specialized media courts, despite an outcry from local journalists,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Instead, Pakistan needs to strengthen the nation’s democracy by freeing newspapers and broadcasters from the intense official pressures they already face.” The courts would…Read more