6 August 2002
Volume 11 - 2002 Issue 31 (06 Aug. 2002)
The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) is gearing up to hold its eighth world congress in Kathmandu, Nepal, this year. Co-sponsored by Radio Sagarmatha, "Voice for a Better World: Community Media and Social Justice" will be held 24-30 November.
During her more than three years of incarceration in Nigeria, journalist Chris Anyanwu managed to document her ordeal by smuggling notes and letters out of prison. These became the basis for her new book, "The Days of Terror," published earlier this year. Anyanwu was one of many journalists, politicians and others jailed in the 1990s under the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha, described in the book as Nigeria's "worst tyrant."
Milkias Mihretab, the founding editor of a newspaper critical of the Eritirean government, has won an Amnesty International UK (AI UK) award in recognition of his bravery. On 27 June, AI UK announced it had awarded its "Special Award for Human Rights Journalism Under Threat" to Mihretab, editor of the newspaper, "Keste Debena." The organisation says the prize is in recognition of the great risks Mihretab took in criticising the government of President Isayas Afeworki, who has jailed 13 journalists since September 2001, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The Center for Human Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES) held a seminar on free expression on 4 August, bringing together close to 50 journalists, lawyers and human-rights advocates to discuss the state of free expression in one of the most dangerous districts of the country.
The Association of Independent Media (ANEM), ARTICLE 19, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have expressed concerns that a parliamentary coalition which controls two-thirds of Montenegro's municipalities is trying to scuttle three proposed media laws that would improve free expression in the fledgling republic.
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) is voicing fears that a new bill on internal security passed by the French Senate gives police officers powers to access computer files and seize information stored on internet service providers' (ISP) computer servers. Adopted by the Senate on 31 July, the Loi d'orientation et de programmation sur la sécurité intérieure (LOPSI) sets out the government's new security policies.
Civil society representatives in Afghanistan are calling on the Afghan government to transform the state-run broadcaster into a public-service media outlet, adopt an access-to-information law and remove restrictive provisions in the press law, reports ARTICLE 19.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), ARTICLE 19 Africa and the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) have joined 50 other African human rights and civil society advocates in issuing a declaration calling for an end to the impunity and rights abuses that prevail under the regime of Liberian leader Charles Taylor.
Crusading Zimbabwean journalist Geoffrey Nyarota, awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize earlier this year for his tireless efforts in denouncing government corruption, will deliver the keynote speech at IFEX's general meeting in Senegal in September.