Journalists of the 'Freedom and Justice' Paper have protested the banning and confiscation of the paper, describing the decision as illegal.
According to the statement, the paper had been previously confiscated; the first time was on 4 July, the day
following what they call the coup . The statement added that the 200 journalists and staff had been working in extremely stressful conditions , as they have been suffering from incessant police harassments .
listed the names of a number of its journalists who had died, been injured and detained while covering clashes. The statement also announced a strike:
We call on the head and board of the Press Syndicate to make an
urgent statement about this ban, and we call on all the colleagues to support our justified case. We hereby announce that we will begin a strike in the Press Syndicate until we are capable of doing our job without any of the security's interference.
The Ministry of Interior gave a statement announcing the ban of the Freedom and Justice Paper, which is considered one of the media outlets of the Freedom and Justice Party, the the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Activists in Saudi Arabia face a repressive and intolerant government as they advocate popular political participation, judicial reform, and an end to discrimination against women and minorities, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
Authorities have responded by arresting, prosecuting, and attempting to silence rights defenders and to quash their calls for change.
The 48-page report, Challenging the Red Lines: Stories of Rights Activists in Saudi Arabia,
presents the stories of 11 prominent Saudi social and political rights activists and their struggles to resist government efforts to suppress them. The activists have used new media, including news websites and blogs, and social media tools such as
Twitter and Facebook, to build relationships with one another, discuss ideas and strategies for change, and develop public platforms to disseminate their reform message.
Saudi activists are using new media to take their
government to task for rampant rights abuses, said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. The Saudi authorities think they can use intimidation and prison terms to stop the criticism, but the activists are finding ways to
voice their concerns until they are heard.
The United States says it is concerned by reports the Malian government threatened to shut down a local website, after it published an article about an AP reporter's quest to find the bodies of civilians allegedly killed by Mali's military.
editor of Maliactu.net said he was forced to take down the article after getting threatening phone calls from the Malian military and its government.
Wang Qinglei, producer of the TV program Twenty-Four Hours at China Central Television (CCTV) was forced to resign, and announced it on his micro-blog. His leaving the network was triggered by Wang's blogging about his disdain for the CCTV's
propaganda attacking bloggers.
His farewell blog post, Leaving Some True Words for This Time in History, was blocked by the following morning, and any reposts or quotes shared online have been blocked as well.
His main concerns are
the suffocating control the Chinese authorities have over the media in general and his job personally. Wang wrote:
It's getting more and more painful to be a newsman. There are too many news stories that we can't
report, and when it comes to news that we can report, no one believes it anymore because there is an agenda in it.
As a journalist with conscience, the subjects I wanted to report, to voice, and the viewpoints that I wanted to
express were constantly rejected or cut off. In a single year, I received more than 1,000 pieces of prohibitions for curbing news, Wang wrote. China needs truth. People ought to have the right to criticize the government and the authorities. They should
have the right to criticize social injustice, systemic inadequacies, and interest groups.
Vietnamese bloggers have launched a new instrument for free expression: the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers (NVB).
The network aims to ensure that the Vietnamese government implements its obligations and commitments to the UNHRC through actions
rather than mere political statements. Stating that, as Vietnam's membership to the UNHRC means that all of its 90 million citizens are now members of the Council, the NVB will strive to uphold core values in the promoting and protection of human rights.
Chi Dang, Director of Overseas Support for the Free Journalist Network in Vietnam, stated that it was crucial that the launch of the network had international support as this has "proven to provide effective protection for our bloggers on the
Togolese authorities shut down the leading private Radio Legende FM on August 27, 2013, after suspending the station for one month in connection with its coverage of concluded parliamentary elections, according to news reports.
Togo's Broadcast and
Communications High Authority (HAAC) on July 25, 2013, suspended Radio Le'gende for one month after the station broadcasted live that electoral fraud was being perpetrated in the home of a local official. The allegations proved false, according to news
reports . Police shut down the station during the live broadcast without a warrant, news reports said .
On August 23, 2013, two days before the suspension expired, HAAC announced that it had refused to renew the station's authorization to operate,
according to news reports . The decision, which was published in the state-run daily Togo Press , cited the failure of Flavien Johnson, the station's managing director, to attend a meeting convened by HAAC to discuss the renewal of the station's expired
license, as well as other perceived offenses the station had committed in the past, according to news reports .
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a decision by Tanzanian authorities to suspend two leading private Swahili dailies on accusations of sedition. The government issued a statement on Friday suspending Mwananchi and MTanzania for 14 and 90 days
CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said:
The government could have taken their grievances against Mwananchi and MTanzania to the Media Council of Tanzania, an ombudsman, rather than summarily
suspending the publications. We call on authorities to allow the papers to resume publication and to reform the laws that allow these suspensions, which are not in line with international standards of press freedom.
The statement said
that Mwananchi s suspension was in connection with a story published on July 17, called New Government Salary Scheme 2013, which was allegedly based on a classified document. Mwananchi Managing Editor Tido Mhando said the paper had published the
article to inform the public, according to news reports .
Tanzanian authorities also banned MTanzania, part of the New Habari Publishers company, in connection with articles that alleged police involvement in attacks against citizens and suggested
government incompetency in contending with terrorist threats. The statement pointed out three articles: "The Bloody Presidency," published on March 20; "Revolution Cannot Be Avoided," published on June 12; and "The Government
Stinks of Blood," published on September 18.
Sudan's authorities have forced closure of country's largest daily newspaper
At the end of September, Al-Intibaha's official website said that authorities had ordered the halt indefinitely.
The paper, the country's largest in terms of
circulation, is owned and run by al-Tayab Mustafa, the president's uncle. The closure comes after a week of Sudan's most extensive demonstrations in years , which began as a protest against fuel price hikes.
The two most influential independent newspapers in Sudan, Al-Sahafa and Al-Kartoum, have recently been bought by the National Intelligence
Security Service (NISS).
The NISS now owns 90% of all the independent newspapers in the country, according to Alnoor Ahmed Alnoor, the ex-editor in chief of Al-Sahafa.
The NISS purchased 65% of Al-Sahafa's stock from a company called
Bayader and a further 25% from Sideeq Wadaa, a businessman and member of the ruling NCP Party (with the remainder retained by the paper's founder, Taha Ali Albashir). This follows the purchase of 80% of the stock of Al-Khartoum from its owner, Albagir
Abdellah, five months ago.
Ownership represents the final stage in the Sudanese government's campaign to silence independent voices in the media. Newspapers that refused to tow the NCP line or implement its agendas faced harassment, and fifteen
newspapers were forcibly closed following the independence of South Sudan in 2011. Punitive taxes were also imposed, as was the case with the Al-Sudani between 2006 to 2011, which eventually forced the paper's owner to sell it to a member of the NCP.
Reporters Without Borders is appalled by a Moscow court's decision to grant a request by the Federal Agency for the Supervision of Communications, Roskomnadzor, for the withdrawal of the news agency Rosbalt s licence.
This grave decision sets an extremely dangerous precedent for freedom of information in Russia and we urge the judicial system to overturn it on appeal.
Rosbalt has fallen victim not only to a repressive law with disproportionate penalties but also to absurd and unfair judicial proceedings. It has been punished for content it did not produce on the basis of inadmissible evidence,
and before any court examined its appeals against the warning previously issued in this matter.
Rosbalt s CEO Larisa Afonina told Reporters Without Borders that the news agency would appeal against the closure order.
apparent reasons for such drastic censorship seems trivial indeed. Two offending videos cited in the lawsuit were posted during the past summer. One, about the punk group Pussy Riot entitled The girls have sung a new song was posted on the Rosbalt
site on 16 July. The other, entitled Krasnodar guy , shows a man with an axe being arrested.
Rosbalt said it took both videos from YouTube. The swearwords are uttered by the protagonists of the videos, not the news agency's staff. Rosbalt
complied immediately when Roskomnadzor requested the removal of the videos on 27 July.
The news agency was therefore amazed to learn at the start of October that Roskomnadzor had brought two complaints against it (one for each video) and was
seeking nothing less than its closure .
On Thursday, Kenya's National Assembly passed the third reading of the Kenya Information and Communications Bill. It will allow government to censor the media with an iron hand. It is now up to President Uhuru Kenyatta to decide whether to sign this Bill
into law, or to return it to the National Assembly.
The key problem in the new Bill is the creation of a Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal which has been given sweeping powers to discipline the media. It can levy fines of up to Sh20
million on media houses and seize their property if they do not pay. This is a big enough fine to put most media houses out of business. It is grossly excessive. By comparison, the normal highest award for libel is Sh6 million.
The tribunal can
also impose fines of Sh1 million on individual journalists and remove their practicing certificates, which will effectively ban them from working. It is unconstitutional to ban journalists from writing. It infringes freedom of information.
tribunal does not have to follow any guidelines in deciding whether a journalist or media house has infringed the code of ethics. It is not bound by rules of evidence . It can decide whatever it wants. It can rule that a particular story was
insulting to the president of a neighbouring country, or a politician, or whoever, and fine the media house accordingly.
The tribunal can use its big stick any way it wants to, without justification and without rules.
To make matters worse,
this tribunal is directly appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Information. He appoints the selection panel and chooses the tribunal members based on their recommendations.
The only hope now is that President Uhuru Kenyatta has always insisted
that he is fully committed to maintaining a free media. Uhuru must send this Bill back to Parliament. Otherwise Kenya is doomed to censorship.
Reporters Without Borders welcomes a Kuala Lumpur appeal court decision rejecting an appeal by the government and interior ministry against a court ruling in favour of allowing the Malaysiakini news website to publish a print version:
Yesterday's ruling is encouraging for freedom of information in Malaysia.
The government's behaviour is clearly indicative of a desire to control the media, while the judicial system seems opposed to this. But
caution is needed. The government will probably challenge this latest decision and Malaysiakini has yet to obtain a licence to print, which only the interior ministry can issue.
As we pointed out in an open letter to the prime
minister in May 2012, real progress is still needed for freedom of information in Malaysia. We offer our full support for independent media and Malaysiakini in their efforts to resist government harassment.
A Vietnamese court today sentenced independent blogger Dinh Nhat Uy to a 15-month suspended prison term and one year of house arrest in connection with his posts on Facebook, according to news reports . The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the
verdict and calls on Vietnamese authorities to end their escalating campaign of harassment against independent bloggers.
In a one-day trial, a Long An province court ruled that Uy's use of Facebook to campaign for his brother's release from prison on
anti-state propaganda charges was in breach of Article 258 in the criminal code, a vague charge that bans abusing democratic freedoms. News reports said Uy's conviction was the first against a blogger or dissident specifically for using Facebook.
Uy had been calling for the release of his brother, Dinh Nguyen Kha, a computer technician, who was sentenced in June to eight years in prison--reduced to four years on appeal--for anti-government propaganda.
Four journalists, Janet Hinostroza (Ecuador), Bassem Youssef (Egypt), Nedim Sener (Turkey), and Nguyen Van Hai (Vietnam) will be honored by the Committee to Protect Journalists for courageous reporting See
article from cpj.org