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 World News Censorship

 2013: Oct-Dec

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 Update: Muslim Brotherhood paper banned...


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Link Here 28th December 2013  full story: Press Freedom in Egypt...Press under duress in Egypt
freedom and justice logo 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 .

The statement 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.

 

 Update: Challenging the Red Lines...

Government Steps Up Efforts to Silence Saudis Empowered by New Media


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Link Here 18th December 2013  full story: Blogging in Saudi...Saudi bloggers arrested and imprisoned

saudi challenging the red lines 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.

 

  Mali forces website to take down article investigating military killings...


Link Here 12th December 2013
maliactu logo 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.

The 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.

 

 Offsite Article: A complete guide to who controls the Russian news media...


Link Here 10th December 2013  full story: News Censorship in Russia...Reporters murdered, media silenced
index logo By Olga Khvostunova

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

  Suffocating Control...

Chinese TV producer leaves his job after criticising increased state censorship


Link Here 9th December 2013

cctv logo 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.

 

  Vietnam's bloggers launch a network for free expression...


Link Here 6th December 2013
Vietnam flag 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 ground".

 

  Togo shuts down Radio Legende...


Link Here 30th November 2013
Togo flag 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 .

 

  Tanzania suspends two leading newspapers...


Link Here 28th November 2013
mwananchi 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 respectively.

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.

 

 Update: Without Protest...

Al-Intibaha newspaper closed after reporting in Sudanese poverty protests


Link Here 27th November 2013  full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored
al-intibaha logo 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.

Update: And what's not closed is bought out

27th November 2013. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org

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.

 

 Update: Extreme Response...

News agency closed as Russia's internet censors get easily offended by Pussy Riot video


Link Here 3rd November 2013  full story: News Censorship in Russia...Reporters murdered, media silenced

rosbalt logo 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.

The 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 .

 

  Grossly Excessive...

Kenyan parliament passes bill giving the government extreme powers to censor news media


Link Here 3rd November 2013
Kenya flag 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.

The 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.

 

 Update: Repression in Print...

Malaysian court rejects government request to ban a critical website from starting a print edition


Link Here 3rd November 2013  full story: Press Censorship in Malaysia...Newspapers forced to toe the government line
malaysiakini logo 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.

 

 Update: Abusing Democratic Freedoms...

Vietnam jails for blogger who called for the release of his brother


Link Here 30th October 2013  full story: Blogging in Vietnam...Bloggers under duress in Vietnam
Vietnam flag 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.

 

 Update: Iran's newspaper censor bans Bahar...


Link Here 29th October 2013  full story: Press Freedom in Iran...As if there were any

bahar iran The Iranian newspaper censors, the Iranian Press Supervisory Board, has ordered the closure of reformist Bahar Newspaper, Fars news agency reported.

The decision was made due to the Imam a political leader or a religious model article published in the newspaper on Oct. 23.

According to the report, the Bahar's case will be investigated by court.

The newspaper have been banned and reopened several times during last years.

 

 Offsite Article: Press freedom award winners announced...


Link Here 1st October 2013
CPJ logo 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