19 November 2002
Volume 11 - 2002 Issue 45 (19 Nov. 2002)
Journalists learned last week the sad news that Zimbabwean journalist Mark Chavunduka died in hospital. An award-winning former editor for the independent weekly "Standard," Chavanduka gained international recognition for his courage in reporting in the face of brutal attacks by the Zimbabwean government.
Turkish activist, Sanar Yurdatapan, whose use of humour and ingenuity in fighting government censorship has earned him numerous convictions and jail terms, was among three human rights defenders honoured by Human Rights Watch (HRW) last week.
The deadline for submitting nominations to Human Rights Watch (HRW) for the 2003 Hellman/Hammett grants program is fast approaching. Named after Lillian Hellman and Dashiel Hammett - American writers who were interrogated in the 1950s about their political beliefs and affiliations - the grants provide financial assistance to writers who have been victims of political persecution.
Ghanian journalist Raymond Archer has won the 2002 Lorenzo Natali Gold Medal for exposing a deportation scandal which led to the resignation of a Swedish government minister, reports the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). Archer headed a list of seven journalists from five regions who were awarded the Lorenzo Natali Prize in Belgium last week for excellence in reporting human rights issues. The prize has been administered by IFJ since 1999.
Journalists and public officials are expected to lock heads at a conference next week to discuss how the Council of Europe (CoE) should balance the protection of free-expression rights amidst the war against terrorism.
A climate of intimidation and violence against journalists in Haiti is jeopardising the free-expression gains made when democratic elections were restored eight years ago, says a new report by Amnesty International.
In what was called a "new spirit of collaboration" between the judiciary and the press, a meeting of judges and journalists from Costa Rica and El Salvador last week agreed that libel offenses committed by the press should be decriminalised and dealt with only in civil courts, reports the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).
PEN Canada highlighted the plight of Ethiopian journalist Lubaba Said and Iranian writer Siamak Pourzand last week as part of International PEN's "Day of the Imprisoned Writer." The annual event has been held since 1981 to draw world-wide attention to writers and journalists who suffer reprisals for their work. This year's event took place on 15 November, with individual PEN centres organising their own activities.
The body of Ukrainian journalist Mikhail Kolomiyets, missing since 21 October, has been found hanged in Belarus, report the World Association of Newspapers and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). A Ukrainian government spokesperson said the cause of death was suicide.
Three anti-terrorism bills recently introduced into the Philippine Congress have elicited calls of alarm from the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), ARTICLE 19 and FORUM-ASIA. The groups say the proposed bills would unduly restrict freedom of expression, and give authorities wide-ranging powers to intercept and monitor individuals' telephone conversations and e-mail communications.
A Kazakh journalist whose daughter died in police custody and three Somali-Canadians who founded the first independent radio network in Somalia were honoured last week in Toronto at the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression's (CJFE) International Press Freedom Awards Banquet.