Sunday, February 8, 2009

A reporter who wrote extensively on crime and corruption was gunned down

A reporter who wrote extensively on crime and corruption was gunned down last week in northern India, the third journalist to be killed in eight days, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
Vikas Ranjan, a part-time correspondent for the daily paper "Hindustan", was shot dead by armed men on motorbikes as he left his office on 25 November in the Samastipur district of the state of Bihar.
The murder of Ranjan may have been connected to his work, says CPJ. He had been receiving threats for some time. Three of his recent reports on counterfeit merchandise and stolen goods trafficking had sparked official inquiries. RSF reports that he had been investigating local drug trafficking during the past few weeks.
According to RSF, police said that three suspects had been identified and would probably be arrested in the next few days.
Ranjan's relatives and fellow journalists gathered outside the hospital where he was taken and staged a spontaneous protest against the failure of the local police to take action.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has meanwhile asked the authorities of Assam and Manipur, the two other northeastern states where journalists have been murdered in the past two weeks, to carry out effective investigations and to protect journalists.
The spate of murders comes at a time when India is reeling from the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Sabina Sehgal Saikia, a cultural commentator for "The Times of India", India's largest English-language newspaper, was one of the casualties, reports IFJ.
"We mourn all the lives that have been lost and note in particular that the killing of Sabina Sehgal Saikia within hours of the terrorists commandeering the historic Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai has left Indian journalism the poorer," IFJ said.
"The Times of India" and other members of India's media community have played a major role in relaying the horrors of the Mumbai attacks to millions of households in the country.


Visit these links:- RSF: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98859/- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/67be6r- IFJ: http://tinyurl.com/6atdb2- IFJ on terrorist attacks: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98986/

Call for comprehensive freedom of expression reform

Call for comprehensive freedom of expression reform

ARTICLE 19, Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and Freedom Forum hosted a major conference yesterday in Kathmandu launching their joint publication, An Agenda for Change: The Right to Freedom of Expression in Nepal. The document was launched at a conference bringing together leading figures from all of the main political parties, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, ambassadors, members of the International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission to Nepal, which coincides with the conference, and a wide range of local stakeholders and international groups.

“The Agenda for Change Report represents the culmination of a year of intensive activity by the three lead organisations, ARTICLE 19, FNJ and Freedom Forum, working with a group of expert local stakeholders,” said Toby Mendel, Senior Legal Counsel, ARTICLE 19. “It sets out comprehensive recommendations for freedom of expression in Nepal, which should serve as a authoritative framework for reform in this area.”

The Agenda for Change addresses all of the key challenges facing freedom of expression in Nepal, providing in-depth analysis and over 60 concrete recommendations for reform. Some of the key recommendations are:
_ The guarantee of freedom of expression in the new constitution should conform to
international human rights standards, including by applying to everyone and by setting
out a clear and narrow test for restrictions.
_ The authorities should take immediate and robust action to protect journalists, a
particularly pressing need in the current environment in Nepal.
_ Steps should be taken to implement the Right to Information Act in an effective manner
which ensures public transparency and accountability.
_ Comprehensive reforms should be introduced to establish public service broadcasting and an independent broadcast regulator, promoting pluralism and the public interest in the airwaves.

ARTICLE 19, FNJ and FF call on the Nepalese authorities to take steps to honour the
commitments they have made to implement the Agenda for Change. Specifically, we call on them to put in place mechanisms to this end, among others a dedicated parliamentary committee on freedom of expression reform.

NOTES TO EDITORS:
_ The Report is available in English at: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/nepal-agendafor-change.pdf
_ _________ ________________ _________________________:
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/nepal-agenda-for-change-nepali.pdf

For more information, please contact
Toby Mendel, Senior Legal Counsel, ARTICLE 19,
a19law@hfx.eastlink.ca, +977 98039 68987, Dharmendra Jha, President, Federation of Nepali Journalists, djanakpur@hotmail.com, +977 98510 71459, or Taranath Dahal, Freedom Forum, tndahal@yahoo.com, +977 98510 87891.

Kenya and Somalia : continued risks for Media

Kenya and Somalia : Death of two Journalists show continued risks for Media
It’s just a few short weeks into the year and two journalists have lost their lives, simply for doing their jobs. In Kenya, freelance journalist Francis Nyaruri was abducted and killed, and in Somalia, radio journalist Said Tahlil Ahmed was shot dead in a market. These killings are a reminder of the continued danger that so many media workers currently face in the East and Horn of Africa.
Francis Nyaruri, who wrote under the pen name Mong’are Mokua, was a reporter for the Kenyan private paper, Weekly Citizen in Nyamira, Nyanza district. His family had reported him missing on 15 January and his body was discovered on 30 January.
Nyaruri had previously published articles exposing corruption, brutality and other malpractice by the local police. The Kenyan police are reportedly one of the least trusted institutions in the country, with a recent Steadman Group opinion poll showing that only 18 per cent of the
public trust the police, largely because of corruption and bribe taking.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Kenyan authorities to ensure that the killers of Francis Nyaruri are brought to justice.
ARTICLE 19 also mourns the loss of HornAfrik radio station’s director, Said Tahlil Ahmed. A highly respected journalist who had remained in Somalia in spite of the country’s ongoing violent conflict, he was shot dead in Bakara market in Mogadishu on 4 February.

The media is frequently targeted by armed factions in Somalia, forcing many Somali journalists to flee. The former director of HornAfrik, Ali Imam Sharmake, was killed in August 2007, whilst two other journalists have been killed in the past year. HornAfrik radio has done much to promote freedom of expression, press freedom and media development in the country, including its contribution to the development of a Code of Ethical Conduct for the Somali media.

ARTICLE 19 Executive Director, Dr. Agn├Ęs Callamard, stated: “Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, as enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.” She continued: “Media practitioners must be able to exercise this right in safety, without fear of attack or danger to their lives.”
ARTICLE 19, 6-8 Amwell Street, London EC1R 1UQ
Tel: (+44) 20 7278 9292 / Fax: (+44) 20 7278 7660

Web: www.article19.org / Email: info@article19.org

NOTES TO EDITORS:
· For more information: please contact Roxanne Abdulali, roxanne@article19.org .
Tel: +254 20 386 2230/2.
· ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.