Thursday, June 26, 2008

Defend Freedom of Expression, Defend voice of journalists

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Telugu daily editor arrested, remanded in judicial custody

Jun 25 (UNI) The city police has arrested Telugu Daily Andhra Jyothi editor K Srinivas along with two of its reporters under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act from the newspaper office here late last night. Police immediately produced the trio before the local court Magistrate and remanded them in judicial custody for two weeks. They were later lodged in Chenchalguda prison. The Banjara Hills Division Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) V Ramakrishnaiah told newspersons that the editor and two contributers--Srinivas and Vamshi-- were arrested

Why: The back ground
a complaint lodged by the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS) Founder President M Krishna Madiga, who alleged that beating of an effigy, symbolising him, was an insult to the Scheduled Castes (SCs). Police claimed they had evidence that the three slippered an effigy of Krishna Madiga during a protest following an attack by MRPS activists on the newspaper office on May 26.

Reaction : on behalf of the editor:
In protest against the arrests, the newspaper staff took out a rally from the office to the police station and demanded their release. Journlists Associations were organising dharnas in several parts of the state in protest against the arrest of the scribes and staged rasta and rail rokos this morning.
Hyderabad, Jun 25 (UNI) Journalists today boycotted the press conference of Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K Jana Reddy at the conference hall in the Chief Minister's block in protest against the arrest of 'Andhrajyothi' daily Editor K Srinivas and two contributors last night. As soon as the Minister announced in the press conference that the Government was ready to appoint an inquiry commission to probe the arrest of the scribes, journalists attending the conference, obstructed him by raising slogans against the Government and boycotted the conference. Raising slogans against the Government, the journalists came out of the conference hall and staged a sit-in in front of the main entrance of the Chief Minister's block. Later, they took out a procession from the Chief Minister's block to the main gate of the Secretariat. Additional forces were deployed in the Secretariat to prevent any untoward incident. Earlier, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy reviewed the matter with the Home Minister and city Police Commissioner B Prasada Rao in the wake of rallies and 'rasta rokos' organised by journalist unions in the State to protest the arrests.This incident of arrest drew all round condemnation with representatives of political parties and print and electronic media journalists terming the arrests ‘assault on Press freedom’.
CPI city secretary K. Subba Raju said that in his 40 years of public life, he never witnessed a more unfortunate assault on the freedom of the press than the arrest of Andhra Jyothi journalists. “Invoking the provisions of the SC and ST Atrocities Act in a case of burning of an effigy of a political leader is nothing but making a mockery of the law. Political parties should not lose their tolerance,” he felt.
CPI (M) leader Ch. Babu Rao, Telugu Desam Party leader Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, Katragadda Nagamalleswara Rao (Babu) and several others expressed their resentment over the incident.
Former national president of the Samata Party V.V. Krishna Rao likened the incident to the Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. “Where is the need for the police to arrest the journalists in the night? Are they criminals?,” he questioned.
Later, a large number of journalists of the print and electronic media took out a rally through the thoroughfares of the city, raising slogans against the police and the government. They staged a rasta roko in front of the Sub-Collector’s office before submitting a memorandum to Sub-Collector Gaurav Uppal against the incident.
IFJ Condemns Arrest of Journalists in Hyderabad City. Following arrest of journalists, IFJ calls on authorities in Andhra Pradesh state "not to allow laws against hate speech to be used as an instrument for silencing critical voices in the press" The IFJ is informed by K. Sreenivas Reddy, General Secretary of the Indian Journalists' Union, an IFJ affiliate, that there is no legal basis for the complaint, since the journalists were merely expressing indignation over the May 26 attack.

Source : Hyderabad html,
The Hindu, Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Andhra Pradesh ,Thursday, Jun 26, 2008
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels.The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries. IFJ Asia-Pacific at tel: +612 9333 0919; or IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 / 2207, fax: +322 235 2219, e-mail: , Internet:
IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1
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7 months ago:
Media protests arrest of two journalists in Andhra Pradesh
" The opposition parties raised the issue in both the houses of the legislature and alleged that the government was trying to gag freedom of the press. "
Hyderabad, Nov 12 - Media persons wore black badges and shouted slogans against the police on the premises of Andhra Pradesh state legislative assembly Monday, as they protested the arrest of two journalists in Kurnool district for exposing corruption.
B. Sreeramulu and B. Urukundu, two journalists from Telugu dailies Andhra Jyothi and Andhra Bhoomi respectively, were arrested Nov 7 for exposing corruption in Indiramma housing scheme for the poor.
The journalists exposed how the officials sanctioned houses under the scheme in the names of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, state minister M. Mareppa, local legislator M. Sikhamani and film actor Nagarjuna.
Journalists got the village secretary of Laddagiri in Kodumuru mandal to sanction houses in the names of these personalities.
The investigative story published Oct 23 said village secretary K. Madduleti, for a bribe, signed the document for the release of money and cement bags for the non-existent beneficiaries.
On a complaint filed by the district officials, the police arrested the journalists. They were booked for cheating and for writing stories that harmed the reputation of the government and individual officials. Justifying the action, police claimed that the journalists were at fault as they secured the certificate from the village secretary through fraudulent means.
Additional Director General of Police (administration) and spokesperson of the state police A.K. Khan said the scribes had criminal motive in securing blank forms and certificates.
'We have acted in accordance with the law. There is prima facie evidence of the criminal intent of the two journalists,' he said.
The arrests evoked sharp reaction from the journalists. Andhra Pradesh union of working journalists condemned the arrests and demanded immediate release of the two. The union has been taking out rallies in different parts of the state to condemn the police action.
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has invited leaders of journalists' union for talks later Monday. State Home Minister K. Jana Reddy said the cases against the journalists could be withdrawn only if the chief minister intervenes.
The opposition parties raised the issue in both the houses of the legislature and alleged that the government was trying to gag freedom of the press.
Bharatiya Janata Party moved an adjournment motion and the entire opposition staged a walkout when their demand for a debate on the issue was disallowed.

Source:Monday, 12 November 2007 news:253500103507 channel: India

IRAN: Government threatens to ban Association of Iranian Journalists
IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
26 June 2008
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris
(RSF/IFEX) - Systematic harassment of the Association of Iranian Journalists by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government took a new turn on 24 June 2008 when Labour Minister Mohammad Jahromi threatened to dissolve the organisation.

"This is yet another attempt by the Iranian authorities to silence those who defend free expression in Iran," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is vital that journalists should be able to meet, form unions and practice their profession freely. We urge the authorities to allow the Association of Iranian Journalists to continue operating."
In a 24 June letter to the association, the labour minister said it was "illegal" and could be closed down soon. The authorities have been pressing for the removal of the association's executive committee - which has been in place since 2006 - on the grounds of alleged procedural irregularities in the voting held during its general assemblies.
The association's officials have also been pressured to include pro-government journalists in its decision-making bodies.
The association's spokesperson, Mashalah Shamassolvaezin, told Reporters Without Borders that "several letters were sent to the Iranian authorities to try to resolve these problems and find a legal way to correct the flaws in the statutes, but no answer was received." The association also filled a petition before an administrative court in an attempt to maintain the existing executive committee, but it was rejected in April.
Created in 1997 at the start of reformist President Mohammad Khatami's term of office, the association currently has 4,000 members. Several pro-government journalists tried unsuccessfully to take control in August 2006. This independent body, the only national organisation defending journalists, has since then been in open conflict with the Ahmadinejad government.

The Iranian authorities have been hounding civil society since 2005 and dozens of organisations have been banned. The interior ministry tried in August 2006 to ban the Defenders of Human Rights Centre, which 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi helped to found and currently heads. The centre plays a key role in defending free expression in Iran.

For further information contact Hajar Smouni, RSF, 47, rue Vivienne, 75002
Paris, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 78, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51
, e-mail:,

The information is the sole responsibility of RSF. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1
tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879
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26 June 2008
Law on journalists' working conditions supports press freedom, should not be repealed despite newspaper owners' demands, says IFJ
SOURCE: International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Brussels
(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 24 June 2008 IFJ media release:
IFJ Opposes Bid to Repeal Pakistan Law on Journalists' Working Conditions
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) fully endorses the stand taken by its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), in opposing a demand by Pakistan's apex organisation of newspaper owners for the repeal of the Newspaper Employees' (Conditions of Service) Act.
"The Act is an important safeguard for workers' rights and journalism as a profession, and the IFJ is concerned at moves by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) to repeal it," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
"Although the record of implementation leaves much to be desired, the Act is a fallback guarantee of the dignity of journalism and, by implication, the freedom of the press."

The IFJ calls on the APNS and its president, Hameed Haroon, to honour the law rather than seek its repeal or "substantial amendment".

The IFJ disagrees with the APNS assertion that "the fundamental rights guaranteed to the newspaper establishments under the Constitution are being contravened under the present law".
According to information made available by the PFUJ, the constitutional validity of the Act has already been dealt with by Pakistan's Supreme Court. Judicial bodies in other countries with similar laws have also determined that there is nothing in the laws that infringes on press freedom guarantees.
Consistent with its position that there can be no press freedom where journalists live in conditions of poverty, corruption or fear, the IFJ calls on the APNS to suspend its effort to seek the repeal of a law that was passed virtually unanimously by Pakistan's Parliament.
"The newspaper owners' refusal to honour the law and to implement successive wage awards made under its stipulations are the main impediments to growth and quality improvement in the print media in Pakistan," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

The IFJ urges the APNS to enter into a constructive dialogue with the PFUJ and other unions of newspaper workers to address practical ways to implement the statutory wage awards for journalists and newspaper employees.

"The IFJ recalls the role played by the PFUJ in the recent campaign for press freedom in Pakistan and appreciates the spirit of cooperation that was displayed then by the APNS," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

"That spirit of cooperation needs to be carried forward to ensure a fair deal for journalists in Pakistan and a new beginning for press freedom in the country."

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries.
For further information, contact the IFJ Asia-Pacific, tel: +612 9333 0919, or the IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 / 2207, fax: +322 235 2219, e-mail: , Internet: /
The information contained in this press release is the sole responsibility of IFJ. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit IFJ.
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26 June 2008
RSF urges action on behalf of Ricardo González Alfonso, other imprisoned
journalists after EU sanctions lifted
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris
(RSF/IFEX) - RSF is appealing to Raúl Castro's government to make a gesture in favour of the organisation's correspondent, Ricardo González Alfonso, and other imprisoned journalists in return for the European Union's (EU) 23 June 2008 decision to lift the political sanctions it had imposed on Cuba. The Cuban government had made the lifting of the sanctions a condition of restoring normal relations with the EU.

"There have been a few advances in freedom of expression and information since Raúl Castro took over as council of state president on 24 February, with Cubans being given the right to buy their own computer equipment or enter tourist hotels that have better Internet connections," RSF said. "The dialogue begun by the Spanish government undoubtedly contributed to this, just as it led to the release in February of independent journalist Alejandro González Raga and two other detainees from the 2003 'Black

The press freedom organisation added that "a similar gesture is now needed with regard to the 23 other journalists who are still imprisoned, 19 of whom have been held since the March 2003 crackdown. The EU sanctions imposed after the crackdown, which were suspended in 2005, have now been definitively lifted. The Cuban government got its way, so there is no longer any excuse for sidestepping the call for an improvement in human
rights and free expression."
As well as being RSF's Cuba correspondent, González Alfonso is also the founder of the Manuel Márquez Sterling journalists' association and the independent magazine "De Cuba". He was arrested on 18 March 2003 and was given a 20 year prison sentence on the absurd charge of being a "mercenary" in the pay of the United States. He has been held in Havana's Combinado del Este prison since the end of 2004. Now aged 58, he suffers from high blood pressure and cervical arthritis, and has problems with his circulation and digestion. After a long spell in the prison hospital and a total of four
operations in 2006 and 2007, he was returned to his cell on 27 January 2008, although he was still in very poor health.
His wife, Alida Viso Bello, told RSF on 23 June that for the past month he has not been getting the Captopril medicine that heart doctors prescribed for his high blood pressure, and he is experiencing frequent arthritis attacks because he does not have an appropriate chair in his cell. Viso Bello never got a reply to the request she submitted in February for him to be released on health grounds.

With a total of 23 journalists detained, Cuba continues to be the world's biggest prison for the media, after China. It is the only country in the western hemisphere that not does permit any form of media that is not under direct government control.

Updates the González Alfonso case:
For further information on the González Raga case, see:

For further information, contact Benoît Hervieu, RSF, 47, rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 68, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51,
e-mail: , Internet:

The information contained in this update is the sole responsibility of RSF.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit RSF.
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1
tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879
alerts e-mail: general e-mail: Internet site:
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Friday, June 6, 2008


You are here because you want to know about local and international current news

and affairs of P E N

This blog is maintained by

PEN All-India Center (West Bengal)

click here to return to PEN West Bengal

Important PEN Events:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Local News~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The PEN All-India Centre, Kolkata,

cordially invites you and your friends to a memorable Evening of Poetry Reading
On 7th july 2008
Place: Bangla Academy, Jibananda Sabha Ghar, Time : Evening 5.p.m.



Two books written by Mr. Anirban Roy Chowdhury will be published

following Poetry performance by A host of renowned poets.

RAINBOW ARTISTS AND WRITERS FOUNDATION and All-india PEN are holding a seminar on 'FREE THE WORD' and 'FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION', keep in watch, if you have your explanation on this topic pls. contact Albert Ashok , 033 2560 0070, email -


International News

Eugene Schoulgin, International Secretary(International PEN), was busy , from late March '08, let us know it from his report: ‘ I was in charming Bled for the Writers for Peace Committee Conference. Interesting speeches and conversations took place, and much was agreed to help improve committee structures. Then the weekend after, I travelled to Glasgow for the Writers in Prison Committee Conference hosted by Scottish PEN. Important plans for the next few years where made, and the commitment and professionalism of the members as well as the office in London you will soon be able to read about on our website. I also enjoyed the ceilidh on the Saturday night where many of us danced more wildly than we have in a very long time! Next I went to London for International PEN's first festival of world literature Free the Word! We were lucky to have many writers with us from all over the globe so thank you to all who took part. In the future we hope to have festivals in other cities working with PEN Centres to Free the Word!’ . (Eugene Schoulgin is an author of Norwegian-Russian origin. He began his career as a writer in 1970 with his first novel The Rabbit Cage).

The news was reflected and echoed by the Executive Director(International PEN), Caroline McCormick that, ‘ The Annual Peace Committee Conference in Bled, the Writers in Prison Committee Conference in Glasgow and the first annual London Free the Word! world literature festival. In addition to all of these events being highly successful, they have also afforded us the opportunity to work closely with a number of you and we are extremely grateful for the partnership and support of the Slovenian, Scottish, English and African Writers Abroad PEN Centres.’

The news as follows: Free the Word! A celebration of world literature

We are delighted to report that the inaugural Free the Word! festival took place on London’s South Bank from 11-13 April. Over a long weekend comprising 14 events, and linked by the International PEN annual literary theme of ‘The Writer Next Door’, audiences were treated to 21 writers from as many countries, as well as expert facilitators, interpreters and the writers of the future from our outreach programme. The emphasis was firmly on writers being in dialogue with each other and audiences, as well as key International PEN issues such as translation and freedom of expression. Our literary encounters took place in intimate spaces and informal theatre bar environments as well as imposing auditoria, and we also enjoyed an Insulting Cabaret.

Here is what one audience member had to say about his experience of the Festival: ‘I've been to several festivals of literature in London, but never one that has drawn together such a wide and interesting range of writers from all across the globe and given a platform to so many urgent and courageous voices. I find that quite often you can forget how important a role writing has in many societies, not just as a purely cultural force, but as an instrument for changing societies and changing lives. I think Free the Word! gave us a very strong reminder of that power.’

Listen to Free the Word! events online! We will shortly have photos from many of the events as well as recordings for you to listen to. Please visit the International PEN website within the month to meet the great writers you know and the great writers you don’t...
This news was received from International PEN and published without further addition and omission

Caroline McCormick, Executive Director added the forth coming programmes:
We are now all looking forward to the forthcoming Conference of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee hosted by Macedonian PEN from 5 - 8 June and to the Bogotá Congress, which will take place from 17 - 22 September. In addition to the meetings of the Committees and the Assembly of Delegates, Cecilia Balcazar and her colleagues in Colombian PEN are planning a rich cultural programme, as well as events such a special session focusing on freedom of expression in Latin America. The Congress will see the election of two members of the Board, and of a new Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee and the Translation & Linguistic Rights Committee.


PEN International Magazine
‘The Writer Next Door’ PEN International Vol. 58 No. 1

The first issue of 2008 takes its cue from International PEN’s annual literary theme, The Writer Next Door. Expect writing from unexpected places - 96 pages of stories, poems, essays and more by Alberto Manguel, Chantal Montellier, Alexis Wright, Alain Mabanckou, Azar Nafisi, André Gorz and many more. This issue also introduces ‘Found in Translation’, a new feature made possible by the generous support of Bloomberg, in which works will appear in translation for the first time in English, French or Spanish.

Forthcoming in September 2008: Context: Latin America and the Caribbean

The latest issue in the ‘Context:’ series featuring contemporary writing from around the world will spotlight new and established writers from Mexico down to the tip of Chile, as well as those based outside Latin America and the Caribbean who have written on these regions. If you would like to contribute, we would love to hear from you! The deadline for submissions is 18 July 2008. Please see the International PEN website for writing and submission guidelines.

Subscribe to PEN International!

Feast on contemporary writing from everywhere for only £10 / €16 / $25 per year. One year’s subscription includes two issues of the magazine in spring and autumn. To subscribe, email , or visit for more information.

A note about prices: Having defied the upward surge in costs generally for many years, PEN International has, alas, had to raise the price of single issues to £5 / €8 / $12.50 and of annual subscriptions to £10 / €16 / $25. We hope you will join or stay with us as we continue to take the magazine in new and exciting directions!


Committee News
Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee

The Committee will be meeting in Ohrid, Macedonia for its 11th Conference from 5 – 8 June. The role of PEN Centres and their involvement in the work and successes of this Committee will be presented, including contributions made to the Diversity e-collection, as well as a discussion about new translation projects and a round table session entitled ‘Freedom and Fear.’ For more information visit

Women Writers Committee

The next IPWWC newsletter will be issued in August following the publication of ‘Our Voice’, the fourth volume of the IPWWC anthology of women writers, containing poems and short stories in English, French and Spanish, published by Biblioteca de Textos Universitarios of the Universidad Católica de Salta.

Writers for Peace Committee

In late March the International PEN Writers for Peace Committee meeting took place in Bled. Many relevant issues were discussed including threatened minority ethnic groups in Iraq such as the Aramaic community and the Mandeans, the Palestinian-Israeli situation, the Serb-Kosovar situation, and the recent Tibetan crisis. The meeting was overseen by the Chair of the Committee, Edvard Kovac. As well as giving space to these important concerns, it also gave the opportunity for old friends to reunite and new friends to meet.

Writers in Prison Committee

The 7th International Conference of International PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee, hosted by Scottish PEN, was held in Glasgow from 4 - 6 April. Over 55 participants from 29 Centres came to debate issues ranging from religious defamation, Holocaust denial, and incitement to violence, to form campaign strategies including China, and to share ideas and experiences. On the final day, Scottish PEN held a special event on promoting freedom of expression among young people. For more, go to Scottish PEN. Huge thanks to Scottish PEN for making this an extremely successful, and enjoyable, conference. Minutes from this meeting will be available shortly. For more information contact Sara Whyatt on


News and Events from PEN Centres
All-India PEN: A blog has been started by members of the All-India PEN Centre. To read about their activities and events visit

Sydney PEN: A groundbreaking collection from Australian Aboriginal writers, the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature, offers a rich panorama of over 200 years of Aboriginal culture, history and life. It is being published as part of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature Project and available from 7 May.

South African PEN: South African PEN is launching a new short story competition for African writers under 40, which will be known as the PEN/Studinski Awards. There will be prizes for first, second and third place winners, at £5,000, £3,000 and £1,000 respectively. For further details and competition guidelines see

Turkish PEN: Turkish PEN celebrated its 58th anniversary on 18 April. They looked back at their progression as a Centre with fondness whilst stating ‘We hope to improve our Centre – both as an institution in Turkey and in terms of intercultural relations. We are eager to embrace all the linguistic and literary diversity and richness in our country.’


The next newsletter, a special focus on our work with the Latin American and Caribbean PEN Centres, will be available in July 2008.

PEN Centres: please send your news for inclusion to Emily Bromfield,

About 'PEN International'

Originally founded in 1921 to promote literature, today International PEN has 145 Centres in 104 countries across the globe. Our primary goal is to engage with, and empower, societies and communities across cultures and languages, through reading and writing. We believe that writers can play a crucial role in changing and developing civil society. We do this through the promotion of literature, international campaigning on issues such as translation and freedom of expression and improving access to literature at international, regional and national levels.

Our membership is open to all published writers who subscribe to the PEN Charter regardless of nationality, language, race, colour or religion. International PEN is a non-political organisation and has special consultative status at UNESCO and the United Nations.

International PEN,

Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER

International PEN is a registered charity, number 1010627
To find out more visit

THE PEN, All-INDIA P.E.N. Centre, West Bengal, (Kolkata, West Bengal,India)

This is a voluntary organization, Kolkata (Calcutta) Chapter.

Web blog:

for news:

Albert Ashok- Phone - 9133 2560 0070,

Three Depressed terrorists

Three Depressed terrorists
Terrorism is inhuman act, an evil concept