17 November 2004
Volume 13 - 2004 Issue 46 (16 Nov. 2004)
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and International PEN are calling attention to attacks on freedom of expression around the world which are resulting in record levels of journalists killed and hundreds of others jailed for criticising authorities.
With national elections in Zimbabwe slated for March 2005, the embattled administration of President Robert Mugabe is making it clear that critical media coverage will not be tolerated. Parliament has passed amendments to the already repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) that lengthen jail terms and increase fines for journalists caught working without government accreditation.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has relaunched its Solidarity Centre in Algeria as part of a new campaign to improve the rights of Algerian journalists and monitor attacks on press freedom.
For Jesús Blancornelas, editor of Mexico's muckraking newspaper "Zeta," the price for investigating Tijuana's powerful drug cartels has been very high. He is a virtual prisoner, moving only between home and office accompanied by 20 heavily armed bodyguards. Three "Zeta" staff members have been murdered, the most recent being Blancornelas' co-editor, Francisco Ortiz Franco, gunned down in front of his children in June 2004.
As Ukrainians headed to the polls on 21 November 2004 for the second round of presidential elections, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called on authorities to give journalists full access to polling stations and the counting process, and to stop interfering with the media.
Censorship in Russia, and the role of libraries and journalists in promoting access to information, will be the subjects of a conference in March 2005 sponsored by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
Researching Ghana's laws pertaining to media and freedom of expression should now be easier thanks to a new reference guide published by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA). The IFEX member has just launched "Legislation on Media, Speech and Expression in Ghana: A Source Book."