18 June 2002
Volume 11 - 2002 Issue 24 (18 Jun. 2002)
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and Radio France International (RFI) have launched a new award to recognise and nurture talented radio journalists in Spanish-speaking countries. The "RFI-Reporters sin Fronteras" Prize will go to the journalist who produces the best radio feature concerning press freedom or human rights. The feature must have been broadcast between September 2001 and August 2002 and have a direct link to Latin America (a Latin American country or a Latin American overseas community).
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is still accepting entries for its annual US$20,000 ICIJ Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting. The award, the only one of its kind to honour cross-border investigative reporting, is open to journalists of all nationalities working in print, broadcast and online media. To be eligible, applicants must have published or broadcast their investigative work involving reporting in at least two countries between 1 June 2001 and 1 June 2002.
When journalists enter war and conflict situations as politically and culturally complex as Afghanistan and Bosnia, how should they report in a way that deepens understanding rather than reinforces prevailing stereotypes and biases? This is the subject of a seminar the European Journalism Centre (EJC) will be holding next month in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) has issued a report calling on the government of Jordan to repeal laws restricting press freedom and initiate a dialogue with human rights organisations on the role of the press. "Press Freedoms in Jordan" is a follow-up to EMHRN's 1998 report criticising the government's restrictive Press and Publications Law. ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) acted as consultants for the report.
Three French internet service providers (ISP) have agreed to back a Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) campaign to defy a new European-wide law giving member states powers to keep records of individuals' private communications. Earlier this month, RSF urged local and European ISPs to ignore the new directive, saying it threatened individuals' privacy and journalists' right to protect their sources. French ISPs Altern, Globenet and Zdnet support RSF's appeal and say they will not keep such data on their servers.
Chinese authorities have imposed a blanket ban on all of Beijing's Internet cafes after a fire in an unlicensed establishment killed 24 students in Lanjisu district. The fire broke out the night of 15 June at the Internet café, which had opened a month ago and did not have a licence, says Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). It had only one exit, accessible by a narrow staircase.
The family of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes, murdered in 1999 by Indonesian troops in East Timor, has appealed to the international community for assistance following the Indonesian government's decision to end legal proceedings against the case's prime suspect. On 13 June, the government said it was dropping the case because there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute Camillo dos Santos, an Indonesian army officer formally identified as the prime suspect earlier this year by several eyewitnesses, writes Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is urging Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to end the impunity surrounding murders and violent attacks on journalists, saying a "troubling atmosphere of intimidation and fear prevails throughout the country. The group recently completed a three-day mission to the country, during which it spoke to numerous journalists. They told CPJ that, compared to the brutally repressive regimes of Francois and Jean Claude Duvalier, they felt freer under Aristide's rule but more intimidated. "The threats can come from anywhere," including the so-called "OP" community groups that operate like paramilitary groups, they said.
Canada's reputation as a country that upholds press freedom is being put to the test following the firing of a long-time newspaper publisher by CanWest Global Communications Corp (CanWest Global), the country's largest media conglomerate. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) says "Ottawa Citizen" publisher Russell Mills was told by CanWest Global that he lost his job because he published an article and editorial about scandals involving Prime Minister Jean Chrétien without first submitting them to head office for approval. Mills was fired from his post on 16 June.
More than a decade after Albania's transition from hardline communist dictatorship to fledgling democracy, journalists still risk harassment, physical assaults and criminal defamation lawsuits, often by authorities, says Human Rights Watch (HRW). In a 60-page report released last week, the organisation says the media, haunted by the legacy of the previous regime, remain "far from free" in Albania.
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) has issued a report declaring Bangladesh the country with the highest number of attacks against journalists. Based on a one-week fact-finding mission to the country last March, the report says in the last eight months alone, 145 journalists have been physically assaulted or received death threats while 16 press clubs and newsrooms have been brutally attacked. "The issue of safety in general has now reached dramatic heights," says a Dhaka-based European diplomat interviewed by RSF.