15 January 2002
Volume 11 - 2002 Issue 02 (15 Jan. 2002)
Free expression and press freedom will be the focus of attention in Bolivia next week when a high-profile delegation arranged by Inter American Press Association (IAPA) travels to the South American country.
Amidst a "tense" situation which has seen over a dozen journalists flee in response to sustained threats, Reporters sans frontières (RSF) is urging the United States Congress and the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions on 24 Haitian officials, including President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The organisation is requesting that visas for traveling in and out of the EU and the United States be denied to the officials, and that their overseas bank accounts be frozen. The call comes in response to the government's moves to block "all inquiries aimed at shedding light on the murders of journalists Jean Dominique and Brignol Lindor", says RSF.
Argentina could become the first country in Latin America to decriminalise press-law violations if a bill before the parliament is approved, reports PERIODISTAS and Reporters sans frontières (RSF). If passed, the bill, originally proposed by PERIODISTAS, would protect journalists from criminal proceedings if an article they wrote or distributed was found to be inaccurate or false. Instead of being tried in criminal courts, cases of press law violations would be subject to civil proceedings, according to RSF.
Authorities in Peru have released Pedro Carranza Ugaz, a journalist who was jailed for over eight years for allegedly collaborating with terrorists, reports the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC). Carranza Ugaz, a journalist for Radio Oriental and "El Tarapotino" magazine, was pardoned after the Ministry of Justice's National Human Rights Council reviewed his case.
Amnesty International invites entries for the 2002 Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. The award is given to a journalist whose article raises awareness and understanding of human rights issues at a local, national or international level.
The Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES), a project of the Russian Union of Journalists, has released its survey of press freedom violations during 2000 in the former Soviet republics. "Dangerous Profession: Monitoring of Violations of Journalist' Rights in the CIS 2000" is a compilation of attacks reported against the press in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.
Radio B92 is urging the federal government in Yugoslavia to pass legislation that would regulate broadcasting, after its radio signal was recently jammed for several days by another unlicensed station, reports the Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM). Radio B92 broadcasts on 92.5 Mhz, which covers part of the city centre and a major portion of New Belgrade. According to ANEM, the interference is being caused by Radio Perper, a station which began broadcasting four months ago from New Belgrade. It broadcasts on a frequency of 92.8 Mhz, with its transmitters turned towards the city.
The International Press Institute (IPI) will hold its 2002 World Congress and 51st General Assembly in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 9-12 May, focusing attention on the threat of terrorism to global security, press freedom and the communications industry.
Russia's highest appeals court has ordered the country's only independent, nationwide television channel, TV-6, to close down, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). On 11 January, the Presidium of the Highest Arbitration Court upheld a lower court ruling ordering the television channel's parent, Moscow Independent Broadcasting Company (MNVK), to be declared bankrupt. In September 2001, a pension fund of LUKoil-Garant, a minority shareholder of TV-6, launched a suit to liquidate the television channel, claiming that the station had not posted a profit in two years. LUKoil-Garant is owned by LUKoil Corporation, a company with close ties to the Kremlin, says CPJ.
Press freedom groups around the world have unanimously condemned the government of Robert Mugabe following the introduction of new laws which would impose massive restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedoms. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Press Institute (IPI), Reporters sans frontières (RSF) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) are urging the government to repeal the recently approved Public Order and Security Act and reconsider the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill (Information Bill).