21 March 2012
IFEX Communiqué Vol 21, No 12
Malawi's President has ramped up his campaign to threaten and discredit any media that don't toe the official line, report the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Criticism of the government's crusade has resulted in the chair of MISA-Malawi receiving threats himself.
On 15 March, the one-year anniversary of democracy protests in Syria, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has found the government to blame for at least five of the eight journalists killed. Even with the international spotlight on recent unrest, journalists and bloggers continue to be targeted with arrests and detentions, and the staff of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) are still being held, report CPJ, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Five men were sentenced to three years in jail in the Papua region for raising an outlawed separatist flag and declaring the region's independence, report Human Rights Watch and Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF).
China has approved changes to its criminal code that give the police powers to hold journalists and others who discuss sensitive national issues in secret locations for up to six months without charge, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Freedom House, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Mexico, 2011: 172 attacks on press freedom, including nine journalists and two media workers killed, two disappeared, and eight media outlets bombed. Most shockingly, the security forces and other state authorities were behind 40 percent of the attacks, while organised crime only accounted for 13 percent of cases.
Europe and Central Asia / Awards and other opportunities
The South and East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is calling for submissions for its 2012 Human Rights Photo Award - a part of the BETA news agency's Photograph of the Year competition. All professional photojournalists in South East and Central Europe are eligible to participate. The closing date is 22 April 2012.