UK: Sun, Mail and Rusbridger align as industry unites against Official Secrets Act reforms

Press Gazette: Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has argued reforms to the Official Secrets Act would mean a future Edward Snowden-style whistleblower would be forced to avoid mainstream UK publications to spill secrets. Instead they would avoid fears of stricter sentences for publication in the public interest by sharing information with a foreign title or website or putting it online themselves, he said in his submission to Government. His stance puts him in rare agreement with the likes of the The Sun as the industry unites against the proposed reforms in fear they…Read more

UK journalists could be jailed like spies under proposed Official Secrets Act changes

Press Gazette: Journalists could be treated like spies for reporting on matters of public interest under planned reforms to the UK’s Official Secrets Act. The move has caused alarm at a time when press freedom is seen as being under attack in the UK following the raid by the Information Commissioner to find The Sun’s Matt Hancock-scoop source. Yesterday, it was revealed that foreign governments are targeting UK journalists with mobile phone spyware. The Government said the reform was needed as the existing acts, with the last update in 1989, are no longer enough to…Read more

Zambian columnist Sishuwa Sishuwa could face sedition charge for opinion piece on election

Zambian authorities should drop an investigation into newspaper columnist and academic Sishuwa Sishuwa, who is accused of sedition, and should reaffirm the right to media freedom ahead of the August 12 general elections, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Sishuwa, a lecturer at the University of Zambia, wrote an opinion article published on March 19 in the independent local newspaper News Diggers and republished three days later in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper on the potential for unrest in Zambia after the elections, titled, “Zambia may burn after the August election.” Sishuwa often contributes political commentary to Zambian and…Read more

WPFD 2021: Attacks on press freedom growing bolder amid rising authoritarianism

Authoritarian and illiberal-minded regimes are becoming increasingly emboldened in their efforts to stifle independent media, the International Press Institute (IPI) warned ahead of World Press Freedom Day 2021. Brutal crackdowns on the press are unfolding openly across the globe. After seizing power in a coup on February 1, Myanmar’s military junta has arrested more than 70 journalists, revoked licences of independent media outlets, and repeatedly blocked internet access. In Belarus, the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko launched a campaign to criminalize reporting on protests against last year’s fraudulent election. Local watchdogs have recorded over 550 attacks on journalists, including…Read more

Bangladesh journalist Abu Tayeb jailed under Digital Security Act

Bangladesh authorities should immediately and unconditionally release journalist Abu Tayeb, and reform the country’s draconian Digital Security Act, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At about 10 p.m. on April 20, police in the central city of Khulna arrested Tayeb, a correspondent for the broadcaster NTV and Khulna Gazette and Dainik Loksomaj newspapers, after the city’s mayor, Talukder Abdul Khalek, filed a Digital Security Act case against him, according to multiple news reports. Yesterday, a Khulna court denied Tayeb’s request for bail and sent him to jail pending an investigation into that complaint, those reports said. Several lawyers are…Read more

Professor Robert Pinker receives Astor Award for outstanding contribution to press freedom

The Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust (CPUMT) has presented the 2020 Astor Award to Professor Robert Pinker for his outstanding contribution to press freedom across the Commonwealth. The Astor Award is one of the most prestigious – and one of the oldest – press freedom awards in the world. First presented over 50 years ago in 1970, previous winners represent a remarkable and distinguished cross-section of individuals who have made an enormous contribution to the media in the Commonwealth, particularly in the field of press freedom.  Since 1970 winners have included figures such…Read more

Arsonists torch office of independent newspaper Canal de Moçambique in Mozambique

Authorities in Mozambique should conduct a quick and thorough investigation into the arson attack on Canal de Moçambique, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At about 8 p.m. yesterday, in the capital, Maputo, unidentified individuals broke into the office used by the independent weekly investigative newspaper and its daily digital publication CanalMoz, poured gasoline on the furniture and equipment, and set it ablaze, according to news reports. The fire destroyed the newsroom, furniture, and all the equipment used for content production, as well as the paper’s archive, according to a statement by the Mozambican chapter of the…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

RSF Publish 2020 World Press Freedom Index

The 2020 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), shows that the coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism, with the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting and amplifying the many crises that threaten the right to freely reported, independent, diverse and reliable information. This 2020 edition of the Index, which evaluates the situation for journalists each year in 180 countries and territories, suggests that the next ten years will be pivotal for press freedom because of converging crises affecting the future of journalism: a geopolitical crisis (due to the aggressiveness…Read more

Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo jailed since January on defamation charges

Authorities in Cameroon should immediately release journalist Martinez Zogo, drop all charges against him, and reform the country’s penal code to decriminalize defamation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On January 17, judicial police officers in Yaoundé, the capital, arrested Zogo at the offices of Radio Amplitude FM, a privately owned broadcaster where he works as editor-in-chief, Zogo’s lawyer, Joseph Kenmoe, told CPJ in a phone interview. Authorities charged him with criminal defamation following a complaint filed by Sylvie Biye Essono, the ex-wife of a government official, which alleged that Zogo had…Read more