MEPs trigger Article 7 to defend democracy and press freedom in Hungary

first_img“There was an urgent need for the European Union to decide to act and to clearly show the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, that he must stop riding roughshod over the separation of powers, judicial independence and press freedom and stop attacking organizations that defend human rights.” It was yet another example of a well-established methodin which Orbán allies buy up media companies and reorient their editorial policies by means of censorship, dismissals and closures. As a result, it is getting harder and harder for Hungary’s journalists to play the role that is essential in any properly-functioning democracy and for its citizens to get access to accurately reported news and information. RSF’s Majerczak added: “We urge European Union leaders to do their duty to make Viktor Orbán understand that the EU is not just a distributor of subsidies and that European values are not negotiable. If nothing is done, Hungary’s increasing authoritarianism will continue and will allow other countries to take the same road.” HungaryEurope – Central Asia Media independenceInternational bodies Freedom of expression Follow the news on Hungary Reporters Without Borders (RSF) welcomes today’s vote by the European Parliament to trigger Article 7 of the European Union treaty in a bid to curb the Hungarian prime minister’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies and ensure respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and press freedom. It was the first time in EU history that the required two-thirds of MEPs voted in favour of using this exceptional mechanism, under which a member state can, after a long and complicated procedure, be stripped of its vote in the European Council for posing a grave threat to the EU’s fundamental common values. Hungary is ranked 73rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index. News Help by sharing this information Violations of press freedom and media pluralism were among the 12 major concerns cited in the resolution approved by the European Parliament. The situation in Hungary is really critical and press freedom is increasingly under threat. February 10, 2021 Find out more News September 12, 2018 MEPs trigger Article 7 to defend democracy and press freedom in Hungary It now falls to the European Council, which consists of the heads of state or government of the EU’s 28 member countries, to press ahead with the Article 7 procedure. Organisation center_img RSF_en A dozen pro-government oligarchs now have dominant positions in most of the Hungarian media, including local dailies, national commercial TV channels, tabloids, news websites and political weeklies, while state radio and TV were turned into Orbán propaganda outlets long ago. Receive email alerts Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban looks on during a debate concerning Hungary’s situation as part of a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France on September 11, 2018/ AFP to go further “We welcome this unprecedented vote by the European Parliament, which shows that MEPs are determined to defend the European democratic model,” said Julie Majerczak, RSF’s representative in Brussels. News Recent actions by Orbán associates with the aim of gagging the press have continued the dangerous decline in media pluralism. A businessman close to the prime minister seized control of the TV news channel Hir TV at the start of August, just weeks after the weekly Heti Valaszaand the daily Magayar Nemzet were closed. Swedish Reporters Without Borders awards press freedom prize to a Hungarian news site June 2, 2021 Find out more May 4, 2021 Find out more Use the Digital Services Act to make democracy prevail over platform interests, RSF tells EU HungaryEurope – Central Asia Media independenceInternational bodies Freedom of expression Hungary’s leading independent radio station taken off the air Newslast_img read more

Alarm about coverage bans, bias and verbal violence in run-up to elections

first_img Organisation April 21, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Alarm about coverage bans, bias and verbal violence in run-up to elections TogoAfrica Togolese authorities urged to lift newspaper’s four-month suspension News Voicing “great concern” about the climate of tension in Togo in the final days before the 24 April presidential election, Reporters Without Borders today appealed to the news media and the authorities for calm and said the chief victim was the Togolese public, which is not getting the objective and unbiased reporting it needs. Follow the news on Togo Togo court upholds “baseless and disproportionate” newspaper closures to go further Convicting “petrolgate” journalist of defamation would be disastrous, RSF says Receive email alerts Voicing “great concern” about the climate of tension in Togo in the final days before the 24 April presidential election, Reporters Without Borders today appealed to the news media and the authorities for calm and said the chief victim was the Togolese public, which is not getting the objective and unbiased reporting it needs.The press freedom organization urged the authorities to use dialogue to settle disputes, and urged the privately-owned news media to respect the rules of fairness in their election coverage. It also called on the High Council for Broadcasting and Communication (HAAC), which regulates the media, to rescind its ban on the privately-owned media covering the elections and to reach an agreement with press and journalists’ organizations on a fair and professional way to work.”We are particularly worried by the fact that political violence, whatever its source, has clearly infiltrated the press in Togo,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We were already obliged to express our concern when the privately-owned press was turned into a political weapon. But it is absurd and counter-productive to ban the privately-owned media outright from covering the election campaign, at a time when antagonism is at its peak.”The organization continued: “In general, we advise the HAAC to respond on a case by case basis to avoid being unfair. And for the sake of a swift compromise that will allow a return to a situation where fairness prevails, we totally support the mediation efforts undertaken above all by the Union of Free Radio and TV Stations of Togo (URATEL), which the authorities and the HAAC should take seriously.”Reporters Without Borders added: “Regardless of who they support, those at the head of the privately-owned news media must ensure that their journalists do not become political campaigners or spokespersons. We stress that it is the Togolese public that is paying the price for this climate of tension because it is being deprived of balanced and objective reporting.”On 19 April, the HAAC banned privately-owned radio and TV stations from “providing media coverage of election campaigning by all candidates.” It also demanded that the broadcast media “scrupulously” respect provisions regarding the organization of the election campaign, in particular, those banning “special broadcasts or debates by candidates or their representatives.”In the rules established by the HAAC at the start of the election campaign, the privately-owned media were banned from any coverage of the campaign except rallies held by candidates. Coverage of all other aspects of the campaign was restricted to the state-owned media, on the basis of fairness to the candidates taking part.Dadja Pouwi, an adviser to communication minister Pitang Tchalla, complained to Reporters Without Borders on 15 April that, “some radio stations, in defiance of the law, are continuing to exacerbate the situation in the country by organizing live broadcasts in which listeners phone in using false names and indulge in insults and provocations.”Pouwi also criticised the “lack of balance” in the privately-owned media’s coverage and their bias in favour of the opposition. Some radio stations have broadcast virulent political editorials attacking the son of the late President Gnassingbé Eyadema, who is the candidate of the ruling Rally of the Togolese People (RPT), and attacking France, which is believed to support the regime. RSF_en News Help by sharing this information News March 8, 2021 Find out more September 15, 2020 Find out more March 11, 2021 Find out more News TogoAfrica last_img read more

Authorities must stop use of excessive force by Istanbul police

first_img Organisation May 31, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Authorities must stop use of excessive force by Istanbul police TurkeyEurope – Central Asia April 28, 2021 Find out more to go further Help by sharing this information News Receive email alerts Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit April 2, 2021 Find out more Read in Turkish / TürkçeReporters Without Borders firmly condemns police violence against journalists covering the “Occupy Gezi Park” protests in Istanbul during the past few days. Reporters have been the victim of both targeted attacks and the indiscriminate violence used by police to disperse demonstrators.“The Istanbul police must be called to order because their repeated use of excessive force is unacceptable,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Thorough and impartial investigations should also be carried out to identify and punish the police officers who deliberately targeted journalists.”Reporters Without Borders added: “The police are required to maintain law and order, but they also have a duty to protect journalists while they are doing their job as reporters.”Well-known freelance journalist Ahmet Sik was hit on the head by a tear gas canister this morning while photographing clashes between police and protesters from a position near a group of parliamentary representatives of the opposition CHP party. Onlookers said the canister was deliberately thrown at Sik from a distance of about 10 metres.Sik was hospitalized with injuries to the back of the head and right side of his face. Reporters Without Borders representative Erol Önderoglu said Sik was conscious but medical staff wanted to keep him under observation and conduct additional tests.The disproportionate force repeatedly used by the police affected many other journalists. Hüseyin Özdemir, a photographer with the daily Milliyet, reported having breathing problems after Gezi Park was constantly enveloped in a thick cloud of tear gas. Hürriyet Daily News photographer Emrah Gürel sustained a leg injury in as yet unclear circumstances.Located close to central Istanbul’s Taksim Square, Gezi Park is to be demolished as part of the square’s ongoing pedestrianization. The park’s defenders have been occupying it since 26 May, holding up work. The police have repeatedly tried to evict them, using more violence each time.The police staged dawn raids yesterday and today on the demonstrators’ camp inside the park, using armoured vehicles, water canon and lots of tear gas, and setting fire to their tents. According to some accounts, the police chased the demonstrators as they fled into nearby streets this morning.The Istanbul police already used excessive force in earlier incidents this month. Watch Hürriyet Daily News photo galleryFollow the events on Twitter: #occupygezi, #geziparkı, #direngeziparki Photo : Hürriyet center_img News News News Related documents polis_gezi_parki_nda_siddete_son_vermeli-2.docMSWORD – 32.5 KB RSF_en TurkeyEurope – Central Asia April 2, 2021 Find out more Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor Follow the news on Turkey Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism lawlast_img read more

Already reelected – censorship and harassment of news providers

first_img Organisation Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes News ChinaAsia – Pacific March 12, 2021 Find out more News June 2, 2021 Find out more ChinaAsia – Pacific The next generation of China’s leaders will be named during the 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that opens today in Beijing. They include the party’s general secretary, who will also be China’s president, the prime minister and the chairman of the National People’s Congress.Disturbed by the increased control of news and information in the past month, in which considerable resources have been used to gag the media and dissidents, Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to loosen online surveillance and controls so that Chinese citizens can exercise their rights to free speech and freedom of information.“It is very worrying that the five years since the last congress have seen no let-up in the government’s harsh treatment of dissent or its desire for absolute control over news and information,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Even if we do not yet know the names of the new members of the Politburo Standing Committee, we already know there is no intention of ending the policy of censoring news and cracking down on those who try to use their freedom of expression.“The arrests and imposition of jail sentences are continuing, while the censorship ‘soldiers’ are tireless in their surveillance of those who express political views and try to promote a democratic debate on the Internet.“We urge the future president and party general secretary to put an end to the arrests of journalists, bloggers and dissidents and the constant violations of freedom of information. Maintaining order and stability cannot be used to justify cracking down on those who defend human rights and freedom of expression.”Reporters Without Borders has compiled a partial summary of the many violations of freedom of information during the last weeks preceding the opening of the congress, as they show that the government plans to pursue its authoritarian policies. The media freedom organization will redouble its vigilance during the congress and will continue to log every new case of censorship on a specially-created webpageSee the news feed here Help by sharing this information China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison Receive email alertscenter_img Arrests and sentences, harassment of dissidents, their families and supportersIn the run-up to the congress, the authorities cracked down on human rights activists and dissidents who are permanently suspected of wanting to destabilize the state.Hu Jia, a well-known human rights activist who has been under house arrest since his release from prison in June 2011, was beaten and briefly detained after he began a hunger strike. His Internet connection was also temporarily cut after he posted comments on Twitter. The Internet is his only way of communicating with his wife, Zeng Jinyan, and his daughter, who are now based in Hong Kong.The families of dissidents are routinely the targets of government harassment and reprisals. Defending the detained Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo endangers his wife, the artist and photographer Liu Xia, who is under house arrest and permanently watched by the police.The restrictions imposed on her have been tightened in recent months. Reporters Without Borders posted a video of her on 13 October that showed her at a window of her apartment, completely isolated from the outside world.The human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng is now in the United States, but his relatives still in China are being harassed. At the end of October, the authorities carried out a violent search of the home of his brother, Chen Guangfu, and arrested Chen’s son. Chen tried to file a complaint with a court in Yina, in Shandong province, but the court refused to register it.More recently, the authorities in Jinan arrested the lawyer Shu Xiangxin on a charge of blackmail and extortion on the night of 5 November and seized his computer. His wife, who was interviewed by Radio Free Asia, was also interrogated for several hours by the police.Prior to his arrest, Shandong province officials had been harassing Shu for posting information online about the expropriation of land from villagers in the province and he recently received a beating from unidentified individuals.Censoring “sensitive” informationThe authorities applied themselves in October to tightening their grip on “sensitive” information that could affect the congress. The government’s censors also made every effort to get complete control of news coverage throughout the country.For example, reports about a demonstration in the village of Yingge, on the southern island of Hainan, were censored as soon as they appeared online. Several hundred thousand people reportedly took part in the demonstration against the proposed construction of a power plant.Messages posted on Weibo about demonstrations were removed and the accounts on which they were posted were blocked. The Sina Weibo, Wang Yi, Teng Xun and Tian Ya She Qu microblogging platforms also experienced similar censorship.The authorities searched the premises of a Beijing-based website called the “China justice and anti-corruption networks” and put its servers out of commission. The person in charge of the site, which covered human rights violations including land expropriation in various provinces, confirmed that the cyber-police had disconnected its servers and blocked several of its IP addresses.Social networks have been placed under close watch and QQ, the main Chinese instant messaging service, is getting close attention from the cyber-authorities. Owned by Tencent Holdings, the QQ software allows the authorities to monitor all exchanges and use keywords and expressions to search them. The author of any message can be identified by a software user number (see photo). News Follow the news on China China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures RSF_en April 27, 2021 Find out more November 8, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Already reelected – censorship and harassment of news providers News to go further QQ software surveillance interface Suppressing “bad news” in TibetInstead of restoring peace by abandoning its discriminatory policies against ethnic minorities, the regime persists in stifling the voices of dissidents who try to circulate information from within the Tibet enclave. All street demonstrations are banned and arrests are frequent. The increase in repression in Tibet is reflected in a wave of arbitrary arrests in Tibetan monasteries.The arbitrary nature of the arrests in the region is becoming more and more flagrant, while the increase in police raids is pushing monks to acts of despair. Around 60 self-immolations are estimated to have taken place since the start of 2009. The exact number is not known because they authorities try to hide them from the international community.In order to contain the information coming out of the region, the movements of the population are strictly regulated. Access to the city of Lhasa is getting harder and harder because its Tibetan inhabitants are required to have a specific identity card. The authorities have banned schoolchildren in Hezuo, the capital of Gannan, a Tibetan prefecture in the western province of Gansu, from taking holidays outside of the region, and have suppressed mobile phone communication in the Tibetan part of Sichuan province, permitting only fixed telephone use. Anonymous sources have reported that in Gannan virtually all communications have been blocked, the sale of SIM cards has been suspended and Internet cafés have been closed.The Chinese government is particularly concerned to suppress any information about the frequent self-immolations by Tibetan monks.Tibet Post International, a Reporters Without Borders-backed online newspaper based in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala, learned on 1 November that four monks identified as Lobsang Choephel, Tsundue, Losel and Topden had been arrested in Tsoe Gaden Choeling monastery on charges of “disseminating information and evidence abroad.” It is not known where they are currently being held.Similarly, a 38-year-old monk identified as Jinpa, who had already been detained in 2008 for circulating information abroad, was arrested again for no clear reason on 25 October. Two days before that, the 19-year-old Tibetan monk Tashi Norbu was arrested for making a call with a Smartphone, apparently because it can be used for connecting to the Internet. Smartphone owners have often been targeted during police raids on monasteries.It has meanwhile been confirmed that Golog Jigme Gyatso, a monk who helped Dhondup Wangchen secretly film the 2008 documentary “Leaving Fear Behind,” was arrested on 20 September when he returned to Gansu province.Keeping the foreign media in checkThe party also tries to control the foreign media, which play a key role in informing both the international community and the Chinese public, the victims of the increased censorship of the local media.After the website of Bloomberg, a news agency specializing in business and finance, was censored on 29 June for investigating the fortune amassed by the family of Vice-President Xi Jinping, Hu Jintao’s expected successor as president and party general secretary, the New York Times was censored and threatened with a lawsuit after it ran a story about the fortune acquired by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s family.The foreign media also made up for the gaps in the Chinese media’s coverage of the demonstrations in late October in the coastal city of Ningbo against the proposed expansion of a petrochemical plant. For the most part, the authorities restricted the Chinese media’s coverage to use of the official news agency stories, but foreign reporters were able to mingle with the protesters, who even helped them with their coverage.Aware of the foreign media’s steadily-growing influence, the authorities have reinforced the blocking of the Voice of America, BBC, Radio Free Asia and Deutsche Welle websites. A few weeks ago it was possible to circumvent the censorship by using proxies and VPNs, but some sources are reporting that such tools are now much less effective.The employees of foreign media are also being targeted. In October, two Sky News journalists and an AFP journalist were arrested.China is ranked 174th out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and is on the 2012 Reporters Without Borders list of “Enemies of the Internet.”last_img read more

Five journalists attacked during protests against Conga mining project

first_img News RSF_en February 10, 2017 Find out more News Five journalists were attacked and injured during violent protests against a proposed mine in the northern Cajamarca region yesterday, a day after the government declared a state of emergency in three of the region’s provinces in response to the protests.Much of the violence against the media was blamed on the special police units that intervened to disperse the demonstrations, but protesters unhappy with the media’s coverage were also responsible in some cases.“An administrative and criminal investigation into serious abuses by the police should begin at once, without awaiting a negotiated solution to the conflict,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The state of emergency, which bans demonstrations, does not justify the flagrant attacks on the journalists covering these events. Their coverage is necessary. The police must not limit the public’s ability to conduct an informed debate about their actions.”President Ollanta Humala’s government declared the state of emergency after a day of clashes in which three demonstrators were killed and 21 were wounded, but the violence has not let up since then.Ramiro Sánchez, the editor of the local newspaper El Mercurio, was clubbed by police yesterday in the city of Cajamarca. The Press and Society Institute (IPYS), a regional media freedom organization, reported that, shortly after this incident, a teargas grenade was fired at a group of journalists, injuring the photographer Frank Chávez Silva.The IPYS correspondent in Cajamarca, Luis Chillón, told Reporters Without Borders that covering the conflict entailed an “enormous risk” for the media. He said that in the nearby town of Celendín, the site of the proposed mine, some journalists had been forced to stay indoors because of the constant shooting.Special police units hit three journalists – ATV reporter Francisco Landauri Miranda, ATV cameraman Néstor Galazar Mandujano and Radio Programas del Perú reporter Yudith Cruzado Lobato – when they tried to cover the arrest of one of the leaders of the protests, Marco Arana.Environmental concerns, especially the impact on local water supplies, are fuelling the strong opposition to the construction of the proposed Conga gold mine by a company in which US-based Newmont Mining Corporation is the major shareholder. The project was suspended in 2011 after local demonstrations but last week’s decision to let it go ahead has sparked a renewed outcry in Peru and even internationally. Help by sharing this information December 4, 2019 Find out more Latin American media: under control of families, economic and political elites July 6, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Five journalists attacked during protests against Conga mining project Follow the news on Peru This is by no means the first time that Reporters Without Borders has seen journalists and other observers exposed to danger when they try to cover this kind of environmental or labour dispute. It has also been seen recently in various forms in Chile, Panama, Colombia and Bolivia. PeruAmericas PeruAmericas China’s diplomats must stop attacking media over coronavirus reporting Organisation News April 1, 2020 Find out more to go further News Receive email alerts Latin America’s community radio – a key service but vulnerablelast_img read more

Letter to prime minister requesting blogger Pham Minh Hoang’s release

first_imgNews RSF_en April 22, 2021 Find out more Organisation April 27, 2021 Find out more Three more independent reporters arrested in Vietnam Follow the news on Vietnam Vietnam sentences journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu to eight years in prison News News to go furthercenter_img RSF laureates support jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang Help by sharing this information Reporters Without Borders has written to Vietnamese Prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung requesting the release of Pham Minh Hoang, a blogger with French and Vietnamese dual citizenship who will complete a year in detention this weekend. Hoang’s trial is due to begin on 10 August.Paris, August 3, 2011Dear Prime Minister,Your government is about to try Pham Minh Hoang, a blogger with French and Vietnamese dual nationality.Mr. Hoang is well known as a socially committed blogger who uses the blog name of Phan Kien Quoc. His articles on education, the environment and sovereignty as regards China have been widely circulated online. He participated in a campaign against bauxite mining by Chinese companies in Vietnam’s central highlands. He has taken part in conferences on Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands, an issue that has prompted many of your fellow citizens to take to the streets in recent days.The Vietnamese justice system is going to try Mr. Hoang on a charge of trying to overthrow the people’s government because he wrote articles in his blog, gave extra-curricular training in leadership to his students and is a member of the Viet Tan pro-democracy party.These activities are nonetheless guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and articles 35, 50, 53 and 69 of your country’s Constitution. The only appropriate outcome to Mr. Hoang’s trial would therefore be his acquittal and unconditional release. Mr. Hoang must recover his complete freedom.Vietnam is increasingly the target of criticism for its human rights violations. As you begin your second term as Prime Minister, it falls to you to reverse this trend by putting a stop to the political arrests and trials.Sincerely,Jean-François JulliardSecretary-General VietnamAsia – Pacific August 8, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Letter to prime minister requesting blogger Pham Minh Hoang’s release VietnamAsia – Pacific News Receive email alerts April 7, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Tibet still closed to foreign press despite “unprecedented” post-quake openness in Sichuan

first_img China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures May 30, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Tibet still closed to foreign press despite “unprecedented” post-quake openness in Sichuan Reporters Without Borders welcomes the policy of transparency currently being applied to the foreign press in the areas hit by 12 May’s terrible earthquake and calls on the Chinese authorities to apply the same policy to the Tibetan regions. “And the Propaganda Department should stop telling the Chinese media what position they must take on the earthquake’s terrible toll,” Reporters Without Borders said. News Reporters Without Borders welcomes the policy of transparency currently being applied to the foreign press in the areas hit by 12 May’s terrible earthquake and calls on the Chinese authorities to apply the same policy to the Tibetan regions, where the security forces continue to prevent travel by foreign journalists.“The government is allowing the foreign media a remarkable and unprecedented level of freedom in Sichuan,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It should be extended to the Tibetan regions which the international press has not been able to visit freely since the Lhasa riots on 14 March. The government is clearly trying to prevent the foreign media from confirming the few reports emerging about arrests of Tibetans and reeducation campaigns being carried out since then.”The press freedom organisation has spoken recently to properly accredited foreign journalists who have been turned back when they tried to enter Tibetan areas. “I took one of the roads that goes from Chengdu towards the Tibetan plateau but police at a checkpoint told me to turn round,” said a European reporter who did not want to be named. The repression in Tibet is still taking place behind closed doors. The few reports coming out are being disseminated by Tibetan news media based abroad or by pro-Tibetan organisations. Radio Free Asia reported on 28 May that a Tibetan, Nyima Drakpa, was arrested in mid-April in Sichuan province for providing information to journalists based outside China.Reporters Without Borders also condemns the harassment of Chinese who adopt a pro-Tibetan stance. After the sanctions applied to columnist Chang Ping in early May, two lawyers, Teng Biao and Jiang Tianyong, have just had their licence renewals refused because they signed an open letter in April calling for detained Tibetans to be given the legal assistance prescribed by Chinese law.Tibetan writer and blogger Tsering Woeser has been the target of threats and hacker attacks because of her articles about the situation in Tibet. Her blog and Skype (Internet telephone) account were hacked on 27 May. “My password was changed and I can no longer connect to my account,” she told Reporters Without Borders, referring to her Skype account. “As far as I can tell, the hacker is already in communication with some of my contacts, which puts them in a situation as dangerous as mine.”Woeser, whose books have been banned and who lives in Beijing, has been placed under house arrest and has been prevented from travelling abroad. Her husband, fellow writer Wang Lixiong, has also been harassed by the authorities.“The Propaganda Department should stop telling the Chinese media what position they must take on the 12 May earthquake’s terrible toll of nearly 70,000 dead and 18,000 missing,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Chinese journalists should be as free as their foreign colleagues to write about the angry reactions of the parents of the thousands of children who were killed when their poorly-built schools collapsed.”In the first few days after the earthquake, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China received reports from journalists of altercations with the security forces.Finnish journalist Sami Silanpaa, the correspondent of the Helsingin Sanomat daily, said six foreign journalists were denied access to Beichuan, a city near the epicentre, two days after the earthquake although Chinese journalists were allowed into the area on the same day. Silanpaa was turned back at roadblocks five times in the days following the quake, including at the entrance to Dujiangyan and Mianyang.Katri Makkonen, a journalist working for the Finnish TV station YLE, was briefly detained by the police while trying to get to Beichuan but was pleasantly surprised by the favourable reception she found at other checkpoints.Jonathan Watts, a reporter for the London-based Guardian, was prevented from working freely in the Pingwu region in mid-may. In Niufei, he and his photographer were covering the departure of soldiers for a school buried under rubble when all the material they had shot and recorded was confiscated. Watts was also prevented by police from entering a refugee camp in Mianyang, unlike local journalists, who were allowed in. An Associated Press reporter and his photographer were briefly detained in Loushui on 15 May after seeing soldiers dig a mass grave. Officials interceded to obtain their release.Hundreds of journalists subsequently enjoyed a great deal of freedom in the field.The Chinese media, on the other hand, are not free to cover the protests by the parents of children killed by collapsing schools. The Propaganda Department is still urging the media to continue to focus on the efforts and heroism of the Chinese rescue workers, including the soldiers. Propaganda chief Li Changchun said on 17 May that “propaganda’s ideological front line” must be to deeply and widely publicise the decisions of the Party central committee and government on managing the earthquake’s aftermath.The Beijing headquarters of the Propaganda Department (or Publicity Department, as it is now officially called) initially went so far as to forbid the national media to send reporters to Sichuan, but a number of newspapers immediately ignored the order.The liberal press, including the business magazine Caijin, has covered the sensitive subjects despite the bans. And some government media, including the news agency Xinhua and the local television station Sichuan TV, have carried reports taking a very different line from the propaganda on the national station CCTV.Finally, many eye-witness accounts and photos from Sichuan have been posted on the Internet without being subject to any prior censorship and there have been comments on online discussion forums about the corruption and inefficiency of local politicians. On the other hand, a search of “Sichuan” and “school” on the search engine Baidu yields no articles about the protests by the parents of victims although they have been widely reported in the foreign media. China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison Organisation Follow the news on China March 12, 2021 Find out more ChinaAsia – Pacific Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes RSF_en April 27, 2021 Find out more to go further News ChinaAsia – Pacific News Help by sharing this information June 2, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts Newslast_img read more

24-year-old netizen arrested

first_img RSF_en Help by sharing this information Organisation Newscenter_img May 12, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 24-year-old netizen arrested Anmar Kamal Al-Dine, a 24-year-old netizen who blogs on the social network Twitter as @anmarek, was arrested and held for 24 hours. He had been posting photos of demonstrations, especially the funerals of demonstrators in March and April during which many arrests were made. His Twitter account became inaccessible after his arrest. last_img read more

New grounds for concern after court refuses to protect TV station director

first_imgNews Chile: RSF calls for exemplary investigation into Chilean photographer’s murder Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” November 26, 2019 Find out more A court in Coyhaique, the capital of the Patagonian region of Aysén, yesterday unanimously rejected a petition by a senator and a human rights lawyer to protect Canal 40 TV Aysén director Samuel Chong Rivera (photo) from police attempts to get him to surrender video of recent protests in the Aysén region.The petition was filed on 29 March after members of the Criminal Investigation Police (PDI) went to Chong’s home and asked him to hand over the video he filmed during the protests.Chong had told his defenders that the PDI officers did not identify themselves or the department they worked for when they went to his home. But PDI representatives denied this in their testimony to the court, insisting that everything was explained to Chong in a registered letter sent to him for “contravening the State Security Law (LSE).”What was the PDI’s objective? To use Chong’s video as evidence against the Aysén region protesters? Even assuming that the police were acting in a “legal” manner, Reporters Without Borders regards the court’s ruling as both dangerous and inopportune for at least three reasons.- Firstly, the protection of all journalists’ material and sources has been undermined by this ruling. Also, it is hard to understand the court’s decision to turn a journalist into a police auxiliary when a provision to this effect was withdrawn from interior minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter’s controversial bill for the preservation of public order. – Secondly, the court cited the LSE as grounds for ruling that the PDI acted legally. But on the same day the petition was filed, the authorities decided not, after all, to press charges under the LSE against the 22 people who were arrested during the protests, including the cameraman Victor Hugo Gómez. In that case, why are the authorities going out of their way to obtain evidence that has apparently become pointless?- Finally, citing the LSE – a never-amended hangover from the 1973-1990 military dictatorship – in a legal wrangle involving the constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of information does not bode well for the possibility of dialogue between the government, police and media representatives after the latest violence against journalists. We nonetheless hope such dialogue will take place.Is the social tension in Chile going to subside? Reporters Without Borders is concerned for the safety of journalists and others who provide news and information. Yesterday, the supreme court finally gave the go-ahead for the HydroAysén Project, the construction of five hydro-electric dams in the Aysén region. This highly controversial project has already prompted major protests, especially in the nearby Araucania region, which have been violently dispersed. Against this backdrop, compounded by the death of a policeman on 2 April in Mapuche territory, we caution against any attempt to criminalize journalists and local community media. Journalists face archaic sanction of capital punishment in some parts of the world ChileAmericas News April 5, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 New grounds for concern after court refuses to protect TV station director News Help by sharing this information center_img Organisation RSF_en News July 6, 2020 Find out more ChileAmericas November 11, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Chile Receive email alerts to go furtherlast_img read more

Parliamentarian fined for stealing recorders from two journalists

first_img June 29, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Parliamentarian fined for stealing recorders from two journalists Use the Digital Services Act to make democracy prevail over platform interests, RSF tells EU News Reporters Without Borders hails a Lisbon court’s 26 June decision fining Socialist Party parliamentarian Ricardo Rodrigues 4,950 euros for stealing the mini-recorders of two journalists, Maria Henrique Espada and Fernando Esteves of the magazine Sábado, during an April 2010 interview.“We are satisfied with this ruling which, for the time being at least, ends a bizarre but disturbing case,” Reporters Without Borders said. “In reaching this decision, the court has guaranteed media freedom and protected the rights of journalists in an exemplary manner.”Rodrigues reacted yesterday to the ruling, which found him guilty of violating freedom of the media and information, by resigning as vice-president of the Socialist Party group in the national assembly. His lawyer nonetheless said he intended to appeal.The theft took place during the interview that Rodrigues gave the two journalists on 20 April 2010 in the parliament’s library. When they began to question him about several embarrassing matters, he suddenly jumped up, surreptitiously took their tape-recorders and departed.Defending his action in court, Rodrigues described the journalists’ questions as being of an “unbearable psychological violence.”Portugal is ranked 33rd out of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.Watch a video of the incident: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_CylnffuTA————————————————————————————20.07.2011 – Court rejects parliamentarian’s claim about theft of tape-recordersReporters Without Borders hails a decision by a Lisbon court of investigation on 12 July to prosecute Ricardo Rodrigues, the vice-president of the Socialist Party’s parliamentary group, on a charge of “violating the freedom of the press.”The court ruled in favour of the magazine Sábado, which brought a complaint against Rodrigues because he took the tape-recorders of two Sábado journalists when he was interviewed on 30 April 2001 (see below). The court rejected his claim that he took them in order to “preserve the content of the interview,” and because he intended to hand them over to the judicial authorities in order to have the interview banned from being broadcast. The two tape-recorders were not returned to the magazine until 8 July 2010.——————————————————————————————-12.05.2010 – MP snatches recorders from two journalists during an interview News News PortugalEurope – Central Asia Ten RSF recommendations for the European Union Help by sharing this information November 23, 2020 Find out more Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders today expressed shock at an incident in which a Portuguese parliamentary deputy snatched audio recorders from two journalists to whom he had granted an interview in the parliamentary library.Ricardo Rodrigues, vice-president of the majority Socialist Party (PS) group in the parliament, seized the digital recorders from two journalists from the magazine Sábado, before storming out of the room, on 30 April 2010.The interview was however filmed on the camera of the magazine’s photographer and posted on Sábado’s website. In the footage, the deputy can clearly been seen taking the two recorders and putting them in his pocket before leaving, to the mute astonishment of the two journalists, Maria Henrique Espada and Fernando Esteves. (See the Sábado video) : Rodrigues on 5 May explained his “rash” behaviour by an “unbearable psychological violence” caused to him by the journalists’ questions. They had been questioning him about the resignation of the Azores regional government in 2003 on the basis of rumours that have never been the subject of a judicial investigation and about possible complicity in a case of fraud and forgery brought before the courts in 2008. “We are shocked by this surreal behaviour that one normally sees only in the most authoritarian countries”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “This theft of equipment and this attitude to the press are quite simply unworthy of a deputy who holds such a high position in the country’s parliament.”“Nobody forced Mr Rodrigues to give an interview or to be recorded. He could have put an end to the interview without stealing the recorders. Moreover, to view press questions as “unbearable psychological violence” appears to be a disgraceful exaggeration”, it added. Rodrigues on 3 May sought an injunction on the airing of the interview, attaching the two stolen recorders. The judge has still not ruled on his application and the recorders have not yet been returned to the magazine. “Not content with having illegally taken the Sábado crew’s equipment, the deputy is now planning nothing less than censorship of the magazine on World Press Freedom Day. It appears that in the haste of his “rash” behaviour, Mr Rodriguez forgot to take the two journalists’ video camera but recovered his presence of mind to get the law to ban broadcast of footage of the interview that he probably thought he could manage to delete”, the organisation continued. “We demand that the two recorders still held by the judge hearing the case should be immediately returned to the two Sabado journalists. There can be no justification for the court to keep the “evidence” which has been obtained by theft and which are anyway available on Sábado’s website. We also wish to draws the judge’s attention to the fact that the two journalists’ recorders contain interviews with people on subjects which have absolutely nothing to do with this case.”“In stealing them, Mr Rodriguez has dealt a serious blow to the protection of sources and could be held responsible for any consequences as a result of the breach of confidentiality of this information”, it added.“We also urge the judge to quickly close this case which does not constitute defamation in any way. The journalists only did their job in asking Mr Rodriguez simple questions which he was completely free to answer or not”. Sábado has laid a complaint for theft and press freedom violation, based on the 1999 law governing the status of journalists which says that journalists cannot have equipment seized or be forced to hand over information obtained during the course of their work, except under a legal order or in other cases laid down by law. President of the socialist parliamentary group, Francisco Assis, reaffirmed his confidence in Ricardo Rodriguez, saying that “nobody should be judged on the basis of a heated reaction”. The other parliamentary groups have not expressed any opinion. The media regulatory body (ERC) has said the case is not within its remit.“We are still astounded by the absence of reactions from the political class, starting with the Socialist Party to which Mr Rodriguez belongs. It is not possible to legitimately condemn press freedom violations in the world while allowing such behaviour on the part of one of a party’s most senior representatives. Likewise, without going in for political lynching one might expect stronger condemnation from the parliament over the actions of one of its deputies. This silence is unacceptable”, Reporters Without Borders concluded. Organisation Follow the news on Portugal June 2, 2021 Find out more to go further PortugalEurope – Central Asia December 2, 2020 Find out more News RSF and 60 other organisations call for an EU anti-SLAPP directive RSF_en last_img read more