11 June 2002
Volume 11 - 2002 Issue 23 (11 Jun. 2002)
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the University of Toronto's Massey College have awarded their first-ever Donner/CJFE Journalist-At-Risk Fellowship to Tajik journalist Konstantin Parshin. The fellowship is awarded to a mid-career journalist facing danger in the course of their journalistic work. Beginning in September, Parshin will spend an academic year at Massey College as one of seven journalists in the university's Journalism Fellowship Programme.
The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is conducting two seminars in June and July focusing on freedom of expression in the Americas. Funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the seminars are part of a three-year programme to raise awareness of free expression in the region. The sessions will be interactive and also introduce participants to the Inter American Press Association's Declaration of Chapultepec, a document that establishes 10 principles for press freedom in the Americas.
How accurately do media report on human-rights issues? How do deadline pressures and other constraints prevent journalists from providing the in-depth coverage most complex situations require? And what should media organisations do to improve the quality of their reporting? These are some of the questions the International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) examines in its recently released report "Journalism, Media and the Challenge of Human Rights Reporting."
The recent presidential elections in Colombia took place in a climate of fear and intimidation which prevented the press from reporting fully on the situation, concludes a report recently issued by the Foundation for Press Freedom (Fundacion para la Libertad de Prensa, FLIP), the Institute for Press and Society (Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, IPYS) and the Antonio Nariño Project (Proyecto Antonio Nariño).
The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights' (CIHRS) fear their membership in IFEX could be in jeopardy if a proposed bill severely restricting the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is approved by the Egyptian parliament.
The government of Kiribati has introduced a bill which would give it more powers to shut down newspapers, a move the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) says is intended to stifle freedom of expression. If passed, the draft law would amend the Newspaper Registration Act prohibiting media outlets and publishers from printing anything that "offends against good taste or decency or is likely to incite to crime or lead to disorder or be offensive to public feeling," reports PINA. The amendment also requires them to present content with "accuracy and impartiality."
Press-freedom groups are mourning the death of award-winning Brazilian investigative reporter Tim Lopes, tortured and murdered by a gang allegedly led by a Rio de Janeiro drug trafficker. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) say authorities confirmed Lopes' death on 9 June after police arrested two members of a gang who said the journalist was kidnapped, tortured and speared to death.
The effects of 11 September and the resulting "war on terrorism" on freedom of expression world-wide will be the major thematic focus of the IFEX annual conference this year. Held in Dakar, Senegal, from 8-13 September, the conference will fall on the anniversary of 11 September - an opportune time to reflect on how freedom of expression has been affected by the event a year later. In particular, panels will examine both Northern and Southern perspectives and anti-terrorism and national security laws post 11 September.
The international media should focus more attention on the state of press freedom in Uzbekistan, said journalists attending a conference last week sponsored by the World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) and Glasnost Defence Foundation (GDF).