6 October 2004
Volume 13 - 2004 Issue 40 (5 Oct. 2004)
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that a criminal defamation conviction in Paraguay violated international law, a move that is expected to strengthen the efforts of free expression advocates in Latin America.
On 2 October 2004, Dipankar Chakrabarty, editor of the daily newspaper "Durjoy Bangla" in the northwestern city of Sherpur, was savagely hacked to death by unidentified assailants, report Media Watch, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
2003 was thought to be the worst year for journalists in the Philippines. A record seven were murdered, according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). This year is proving to be just as dangerous. On 29 September 2004, Romeo Binungkal became the seventh journalist killed since January.
Seven years after Guatemala's civil war ended with the signing of peace accords in 1996, the country remains dangerous for journalists. Last week, the leader of a journalists' association was murdered and a magazine reporter received death threats, reports Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala (CERIGUA).
In Bahrain, criticising political leaders comes with a high price. Just ask Abdul al-Hadi al-Khawaja, vice-president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). On 25 September 2004, police arrested him a day after he criticised Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Al Khalifa for the country's economic problems and past human rights abuses. Authorities also ordered the BCHR closed and barred it from resuming its activities.
Political reforms in Turkey aimed at securing a coveted membership in the European Union have meant improved conditions for freedom of expression, but more needs to be done, says Human Rights Watch.
The Ethiopian government has pledged to review controversial sections of a proposed press law, following a meeting with four international free expression watchdogs, reports the International Press Institute (IPI).
The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) hopes to draw attention to free expression violations in Central Asia next week when it opens a two-day conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, entitled "Media in Danger/Media in Transition."
IFEX members will play prominent roles at a conference in Monrovia, Liberia, this month aimed at producing a blueprint for bringing the war-torn country's media laws and policies in line with international free expression standards.