30 July 2002
Volume 11 - 2002 Issue 30 (30 Jul. 2002)
South Africa has a new think tank dedicated to supporting community media, thanks to the joint efforts of the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) and the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF). The organisations officially launched the Community Media Policy Research Unit (CMPRU) at a press conference in Broederstroom on 27 July.
Nina Ratulele, the co-ordinator of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) has been elected chair of the Council of Asia-Pacific Press Institutes (CAPPI), reports PINA. At CAPPI's annual council meeting last week in Nadi, Fiji, members made Ratulele the first woman to lead the organisation. She succeeds Nepal Press Institute head Gokul Pokhrel.
The world's newest access-to-information law is now available online (in Spanish only). On 27 June, Peru's Congress passed the Access to Information Law, a move the Peruvian Press Council (PPC) calls a step in the right direction. PPC has been leading a campaign to create such a law. It says the law needs to be strengthened so that it can bring an end to the "culture of secrecy" in Peru and encourage greater government transparency.
The first guide to anti-corruption written specifically for French-speaking West Africa is now available. Published by Transparency International (TI), the comprehensive handbook, "Combattre la corruption, enjeux et perspectives," is the culmination of two years of research involving more than 100 participants in the region.
The Gambia Press Union (GPU) is preparing to challenge the constitutionality of a media bill passed last week that gives the government powers to summon journalists, force them to reveal their sources and hand out stiffer penalties, says Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). On 25 July, the Gambian parliament passed a bill that provides for the establishment of a government-appointed media commission. It will become law once President Yahya Jammeh signs it.
Civil society organisations must come together if they are to play an effective role in improving Egypt's human rights situation, said the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) at a forum held last week. At the 26-27 July forum, co-sponsored by the International Federation for Human Rights and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, the organisation presented its annual report and brought together human rights groups to discuss common strategies and goals.
Almost two years after the fall of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's regime, the Serbian parliament has passed a law that will transform the country's state-run radio and television network into an independent public broadcaster and give it the authority to issue licences to new media, report the Association of the Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).
Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are suspected of being responsible for the murder of newspaper distributor Elizabeth Obando, abducted from a bus and shot on 11 July in Playarrica, report the Foundation for Press Freedom (Fundacion para la Libertad de Prensa, FLIP) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).
One of Burma's most well-known political prisoners, journalist U Win Tin, is gravely ill and needs urgent medical attention, say Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Burma Media Association (BMA). The groups are demanding his immediate release from prison amidst reports that his already poor health has sharply deteriorated since early July.
Veteran Algerian television journalist Mourad Belkacem has been found murdered in his home in Algiers, leaving many in the local journalism community "seriously distressed," reports the Algerian Centre for the Promotion of Press Freedom (Centre algérien de defense de la liberté de la presse, CALP).
A celebrated Romanian novelist, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge's notorious secret prisons and a Chinese writer who has spent most of the last 22 years in prison are among the 37 winners of this year's Hellman/Hammett grants, announces Human Rights Watch (HRW). The grants are awarded each spring to writers around the world who suffer political persecution for exercising their right to freedom of expression.