4 August 2004
Volume 13 - 2004 Issue 31 (3 Aug. 2004)
London is known as the "libel capital of the world," a haven for rich and powerful claimants from other countries who are using the courts to stifle scrutiny of their dealings, reports "Index on Censorship" magazine. With financial factors increasingly determining whether publishers choose to defend their writers in English courts, there are fears that the country's libel laws are casting a chill over freedom of expression.
On 31 July 2004, unidentified assailants shot and killed Roger Mariano, a broadcast journalist, in the northern province of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines, reports the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). He became the third journalist to be killed this year.
The Organization of American States' Special Rapporteur on Free Expression, Eduardo Bertoni, has requested a report from the Mexican government concerning the murder of journalist Roberto Mora García, citing inconsistencies in the official investigation into the case.
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontierès, RSF) has urged the Syrian government to release five detained cyber-dissidents, three of whom were sentenced last week to jail terms of up to four years for e-mailing information to an online newspaper in the United Arab Emirates.
One of the greatest challenges facing media today is the practice of bribery, which erodes public confidence, undermines professionalism and compromises ethical values, says the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
July has been a busy month for Vietnam's censors. Three writers have been convicted for advocating freedom of expression and political reform, report Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontiers, RSF) and the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC).
Journalists and judges will meet in Ecuador and Colombia this week to discuss press freedom and the law as part of the Inter American Press Association's (IAPA) continent-wide programme to encourage dialogue between media and the courts.
The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN has released its latest report on worldwide attacks on writers and journalists, covering the period from January to June 2004.
The Stanhope Centre and the London School of Economics (LSE) are inviting journalists from East Africa to apply for a 6-7 week training programme designed to equip young reporters with the means to understand critical issues and debates in the fields of politics, economics and the media.