Sunday, November 30, 2008
double click the pictures to see enlarged http://cartoonin.blogspot.com/
The picture shows how terrorists are killing, maximum impact minimum efforts.
Beware of double standard people among us, who support terrorism in disguise.
Sept. 13, 2008: Five bomb blasts in New Delhi's popular shopping centers left 21 people dead and more than 100 injured. The Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility. http://cartoonin.blogspot.com/
Double standard people are within us help terrorists escape and hide.we have to find them out. Keep an ear open to all religious temples where they speak through alien languages, all religious shrines are victim and occupied by terror elements, and a shelter of terrorists. keep watch.
The picture below shows how terrorists are growing.
Terrorism atacked India time and again and indian leaders are soft on it, this resulted 26/11. and unless the world leaders do something in stringent manner-- a stern action the human race will face an awkward situation. Freedom of Expression is already had jolts and brushes.
Dec. 13, 2001: Attack on the Indian Parliament complex in New Delhi led to the killing of a dozen people and 18 injured. Pakistan-based terror groups were blamed for the attack. pic. above
In search of ideas and chances for global peace : Let us rethink about other angles what we can do our best
by - Albert Ashok
This is a global war against terro r. From 9/11 to 26/11 this planet of human abode is ashamed of its failure to curb demoniac force. The terrorism unleashes catastrophes and relishes its victory over human blood. This globe has shown enough mercy and compassion toward terrorism. But this long restraint has sent a wrong signal to this evil force. The terrorists think we are really weak and spineless. Though they know they will never succeed to their goal but they can try hitting lives, bringing disaster, damaging private properties. They think they are doing some jihad ( religious glorious act, the world spit on them) and their double standard patronisers are within us, they come forward for them with plea of mercy whenever they ( the terrorists) are in danger. The masked people should be sorted out, and mark them in public.
How long it will take to eliminate this cancerous growth of the disease for this planet? We, common men are made of flesh and blood. We can not restrain ourselves from being struck time and again, our calmness, coolness and priceless patience has definite limit. If government forces, world leaders , big human right forces, institutions can not bring solutions, meaningful peace to protect each and every peace loving human souls let us give licenses to kill attackers and eliminate terrorists. I am not against any race , colour, religion and other human values of common. I am against only all forms of terrorism. We believe we have power, we shall not attack any body, not allow attackers on us, to remain on our stand if our messages of love fails than we can DO what IT EXACTLY DEMANDS. We are the victims of terror mongers. We, also believe that our heart is humble enough, we have respect for all creeds, race, religion and other human values, and when we are in public we do not stand tall than others. Our respect for mutual relation is equal, and we stand colourful harmoniously in solidarity of human kind. But when you come in public and you boast your religion, race, colour, ethnicity etc. are taller than other -- it means you are violating common codes and norms, you are the root of evil. We are strong enough to weed out evil at least for the sake of mass and stop play havoc.Let us consider (if needs be) sacrifice one to save thousand. We want license for arms to protect ourselves. We understand the use and responsibility of arms.Let peace be fully armed to protect its modesty. We have respect for love. Love can yield fruits of paradise. But we also know no seed can grow on rock, and seedlings have certain conditions of germination. You need the right climax on right track. You never go to wild beasts with out proper security and never ever preach love and non violence to wild animals.Terrorists have no name , no relation, they are beasts of hell. Shoot them at sight. People Who prevent you mark them, watch them they are double standard. As soon as you find them are terrorist eliminate, then and forever.
Look what is their demand! Do they beg money to you? No. Do they want shelter to you? No. Do they preach freedom for any country? No. Do they want to bring a new government ? No. Do they have want release of a political leader? No then What they want? They only want unrest, chaos, barbarity and follow their religious scriptures. They want to rule this world according their religious law book. Do you agree with them. I understand we want peace and avoid their aim and movement. We have receded back a lot of space and sympathy has been poured on them to correct their way. But beasts will remain beast, like coal never changes its colour, at least they have proved.Today, it is clear who are terrorists, a few decades in past have documents who they are, from which religion they descended, which religion they practice and preach, which countries support them , where they find the fund and resources, who are their helpers. The whole world spit on terrorism and on its very roots. The share also divided by their brotherhood. I hope history repeats. The religion will be destroyed by their own demoniac creature unless their own people curb and control. Do you remember Frankenstein, who created the monster! Some religious leaders are playing Frankenstein. They are defeated time and again, still they are with their evil design,with thirst of blood. Vampires. The religion supports them I don’t think the major part are proud when they feel the heat from global index fingers. If they want their lives be secured they should come clean doing some exemplary action against terrorism and a confession in public .Mr Qureshi of Pakistan and other ministers of Pakistan, You may close your eyes and see none, all your expression say in other words that you are guilty and supporters of this most hatred crime against India and humanity. You may be under the pressure of your crime generating religious and political leaders, but we expect you should have least honesty with your neighbouring country. You sold yourself to other countries many times in past in the name of eliminating Taliban and Al-qaeda. You deceived them. You are doing business in the name of curbing terrorism. You have rented your soil to criminals that attacked India time and again. From 1993 we have definite proof that you acted like cunning jackals. Your words and deed never match. You close eyes everytime a raising pointed finger of global allegations towards you. And it fuels anger in double. We are frustrated by your ISI activities and underhand connected with terrorism. You people are provoking the common people of the globe to resort for counter violence. We don’t expect it from you.We urge to world leaders to bring a pact of peace and take a stern action against Terrorism, eliminating all roots and its sponsored groups. Try to divide intelligently religion and civilized government. Those countries ruled by religion oust them from the pact and peace process, mark them stop them getting benefits from rest of the world. No secular country should allow extra facilities to a religion be it a minor or major. ( let them help if need arises, in different way, never acknowledge any religion above law and supremacy of country, It can keep every one equal in rank)In Terrorism, you can not deny that religion has no part. It is main root. When you deny you are denying the truth. We must not forget the truth. Taliban and al-qaeda had based religion and its scriptures. And it started ruling with barbaric way of terrorism. Now their path are accepted in all countries by their own people wherever the religion exists and spreads terrorism.
If we close our eyes we are deceiving our selves. We kept our mouth shut for long and tried to correct themselves but result says we are completely failure. Many years are lost. And how many years shall we be spending under their mercy? The terrorism is growing taller day by day. We are growing smaller with love, Don’t we know smash terrorism and confront any kind of war for the resolution of peace?Yes, We can. In the name of civilization no one can snatch our right to protect ourselves from enemy when leaders of most are basically selfish and not coordinated, depends on vote bank. we have no more faith on government it fails time and again. And there is no system that assures punishment of corrupted leaders, responsible leaders and government.
Bring an end of this heinous crime. Let us stand once again united above all our identities.
Do not forget vigilance every moment is only guard . keep your eyes and ears open at every religious temples. The leaders, preachers , priest that speak alien language, has no respect for its country, that boast its superiority above others, are suspicious. The religious institutions should be monitored by government and security forces. PEACE and INTEGRITY is above all
Thursday, November 27, 2008
It started from:
March 12, 1993: A series of thirteen explosions in Mumbai, then called Bombay, resulted in 257 deaths and over 700 injuries. The blasts were orchestrated by the organized crime syndicate called the D-Company, headed by Dawood Ibrahim.
Feb. 14, 1998: Coimbatore bombings: 46 deaths, 200 wounded as a result of 13 bomb attacks in 11 places.
Oct. 1, 2001: Militants attack Jammu & Kashmir Assembly complex in Srinagar, killing about 35. The Muslim extremist group Jaish-e-Mohammed was allegedly involved.
Dec. 13, 2001: Attack on the Indian Parliament complex in New Delhi led to the killing of a dozen people and 18 injured. Pakistan-based terror groups were blamed for the attack.
Sept. 24, 2002: Akshardham temple in Gujarat: The first major hostage taking since Sept. 11 in the U.S.; 31 people were killed and another 79 wounded.
May 14, 2002: Militants attack on an Army camp near Jammu, killing more than 30 people.
March 13, 2003: A bomb attack on a commuter train in Mumbai killed 11.
Aug. 25, 2003: Twin car bombings in Mumbai killed at least 52 people and injured 150. Indian officials blamed a Pakistan-based terror outfit.
Aug. 15, 2004: An explosion in the northeastern state of Assam killed 16 people, mostly school children.
July 5, 2005: Militants attack the Ram Janmabhoomi complex, the site of the destroyed Babri Mosque at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
Oct. 29, 2005: Three powerful serial blasts rocked the busy shopping areas of south Delhi, two days before the Hindu festival of Diwali, killing 62 and injuring 200. A Pakistan-based terrorist outfit, the Islamic Inquilab Mahaz (believed to have links with Lashkar-e-Taiba) claimed responsibility.
March 7, 2006: A series of bombings in the holy city of Varanasi killed at least 28 and injured 101. Indian police put the blame on some Pakistan-based terror outfits.
July 11, 2006: Seven bomb blasts occurred at various places on the Mumbai Suburban Railway, killing 200. Investigations revealed that terror outfits with a base in Pakistan were behind the blasts.
Sept. 8, 2006: At least 37 people were killed and 125 were injured in a series of bomb blasts in the vicinity of a mosque in Malegaon, Maharashtra. The blasts were followed by an explosion and most of the people killed were Muslim pilgrims. The students Islamic Movement of India was responsible.
Feb. 19, 2007: A train heading from India to Pakistan is torn apart by two bombs, sparking a fire that kills at least 68 people.
May 18, 2007: A bombing during Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad, killed 13 people. Four were killed by Indian police in the rioting that followed.
May 26, 2007: Six people killed and 30 injured in a bomb blast in India's northeastern city of Guwahati.
June 10, 2007: Gunmen killed 11 people in separate incidents of firing in Manipur's border town of Moreh.
Aug. 25, 2007: Forty-two people killed and 50 injured in twin explosions at a crowded park and a popular eatery in Hyderabad by Harkat-ul-Jehad-i-Islami (HuJI) activist.
Nov. 24, 2007: A series of near-simultaneous explosions rip through courthouse complexes in the north Indian cities of Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad, killing at least 16 people.
May 13, 2008: A series of six explosions tore through Jaipur, a popular tourist destination in the Rajasthan state in western India, killing 63 people and injuring more than 150.
July 25, 2008: Seven blasts in quick succession across the south Indian tech city of Bangalore killed one and injured more than 150 people.
July 26, 2008: Serial blasts in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad killed 45 people and injured more than 150. A group calling itself Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility.
Sept. 13, 2008: Five bomb blasts in New Delhi's popular shopping centers left 21 people dead and more than 100 injured. The Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility.
Sept. 27, 2008: A blast in a New Delhi flower market left one dead.
Oct. 30, 2008: Thirteen bomb blasts in India's northeastern state of Assam and three other towns left at least 61 people dead more than 300 injured.
http://online.wsj.com/public/us Mumbai Attacks Kill Scores; Hostages Taken in Chaotic Night
Put your hand up if you’re British or American
GUNMEN who killed more than 80 people in Mumbai last night ordered hotel guests: “Put your hand up if you’re British or American.”
The Oberoi and Taj Mahal Palace hotels were among at least SEVEN locations attacked simultaneously as maniacs with machine guns and bombs staged massacres that rocked the teeming Indian city.
About 40 British and other foreigners Frightened hostages were marched off — and their fate was unclear.
At least 900 were wounded as the wild-eyed terrorists, thought to be Islamic fanatics, opened fire and lobbed grenades indiscriminately.
A rail station, restaurant and police HQ were also hit, along with a hospital where 58 perished.
For Britons Anyone concerned about friends or relatives should call the Foreign Office on 0207 0080000
Last night there were fears the Test may be called off.
Plans by Middlesex County Cricket Club to fly out today for the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League were scrapped.
The bloodbaths began at 10.33pm local time. Gunmen in jeans and carrying rucksacks fired AK47s and threw grenades at the crowded CST railway terminus — killing ten.
At the police HQ, a frantic cop yelled down the phone: “We are under fire, there is shooting at the gate.” The chief of the anti-terror squad was among three top cops reported killed.
Three more people died when a taxi was blown up near the airport.
Another target was the city’s famous Cafe Leopold — a mecca for tourists.
It was left pitted with bullet holes — with pools of blood on the floor where diners had fled leaving behind their shoes.
Journalist Sourav Mishra was wounded in the shoulder as he ate there with friends. Last night he was having to share a hospital bed with THREE other injured patients. He said: “I heard gunshots — something hit me. I ran away and fell on the road.”
Hospital officials said a Japanese man had died there and nine Europeans had been admitted, three of them in critical condition with gunshots.
An Indian government spokesman said four suspects had been killed in two incidents when they tried to flee in cars.
He added another more died at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and nine more were arrested.
Mumbai has frequently been targeted by Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2007 that killed 187 people.
A group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the attacks in e-mails to several media outlets.
state home secretary Bipin Shrimali said four suspects had been killed in two incidents when they tried to flee in cars, and Roy said two more gunmen were killed at the Taj Mahal. State Home Minister R.R. Patil said nine more were arrested. They declined to provide any further details.
Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.
Indians have almost stopped reacting to terror incidents with shock and horror. But recent news of the arrest of 10 people linked with two relatively small terror attacks earlier this year has created a national furor, and is likely to skew political parties' calculations ahead of next year's general elections.
The arrests by the Anti-Terrorist Squad of Maharashtra police have shocked India for two reasons. The nine accused are all Hindu right-wingers, confirming, for the first time, suspicions raised by political and security analysts that the Hindu extremist fringe has been organizing for terror attacks. Second, among the accused are a serving lieutenant colonel and a retired major of the army, an institution so far considered impervious to communal elements.
For years, Indian security and investigation agencies have had a trite, almost comically knee-jerk explanation for terror attacks — they have been blamed on Islamist fundamentalists aided by "foreign elements," meaning mostly Pakistan and China. Even where the majority of victims have been Muslims — such as the May 2007 blast at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, the attack on an Indo-Pak train in February 2007 and the April 2006 twin blasts at New Delhi's Jama Masjid — the first murmurs of suspicion have named Islamist groups.
India has lost more lives to terrorism than any country other than Iraq.
We, human rights defenders should be very strict to fight this cancerous disease. It’s not politics, its not economy, its sheer perverted adventure for some youths belonging to some corrupt religious thought. We have seen in middle east, and south asian countries where terror-attacks often take lives. In Muslim and Islam dominated countries too the lives of common are not protected. Yes, though, we can not specifically tell it is Islam or Muslim people are terrorist but the fanatics and fundamentalists who are responsible for this terrorist act are ‘muslim’ and the people who embraced Islam. Many Britons and American out of adventure had joined this bandwagon terrorism, they used weapons and caused genocide in past. Their act never been approved by the civil society or civilized world. ‘Terrorism’ is most hatred word for peace loving world, who embraces in terrorism is a killer of humanism. A killer of humanism has no place in this planet. It should be wiped out.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Nepal : Beyond Hooliganism Underming of a free media
24 November 2008
The escalating number of violent attacks on certain parts of the Nepali media
can no longer be regarded as hooliganism – instead they point to an organised
assault on freedom of expression in Nepal.
On the morning of 24 October, the CEO of leading media house Himalmedia was attacked on his way to work. Just a few weeks later, bundles of Himalmedia’s newly printed Himal Khabar Patrika (Himalaya news magazine) were doused in petrol and burned. On 16 November, twenty-five men circled the depot whilst eight ransacked the building, cutting off phone lines and stealing mobile phones before threatening to kill the distribution staff. The edition carried as lead story an exposé on the growing violence carried out by youth groups associated with political parties.
Himal Khabar Patrika’s Editor Kanak Mani Dixit told ARTICLE 19: “There is a
planned effort underway to weaken the resolve of journalists amidst a growing
political polarisation in Nepal today. Besides verbal intimidation, there have been physical attacks. Our own media house has been victim to planned attacks in the last couple of weeks; first an attack on the vehicle carrying our CEO, and lately an act of arson and the torching of our latest issue at our Kathmandu distribution centre.” A number of similarly unconcealed attacks on the media have continued to occur over the last few weeks and have been reported by ARTICLE 19 partners in Nepal.1 Staff and buildings of the Regional Bureau office of Avenues Television were attacked on 18 November, while similar assaults took place against Nuwakot Jagatan on 17 November and the government-controlled Rastriya Samachar Samiti on 13 November.
In October there were also attacks on a Gorkhapatra correspondent on 28 October, Basudha Editor Rammani Upadhyay on 24 October, the offices of Tarai Times on 20 October and a Himalayan Times correspondent on 11 October. According to local staff, media personnel continue to be phoned and given death threats. Escalating harassment against media staff in a coordinated manner by what appears to be organised groups demonstrates both an increase in impunity in Nepal and a decrease in political interest in protecting Nepal’s vibrant media. It may also point to support for such attacks from higher up in the government. As Kanak Mani Dixit continued: “It is important that a culture of self-censorship does not develop to weaken the role of media in a developing democracy. We have fought hard for media freedom in Nepal over the years, and it would be a shame to let it come under a cloud at a time when [the] media should be a partner for critiquing those in power, bringing transparency in political relationships, and helping create a healthy environment for the drafting of a new constitution.” It is interesting to note that the timing of these attacks on the media coincide with government’s systematic blocking of legal reforms, called for by local and international organisations, including ARTICLE 19. The government has consistently ignored orders given by the Supreme Court of Nepal to reform both the Printing and Publications Act and the Offences Against the State and Punishment Act, which were found to be in contravention of the Interim Constitution 2006.
ARTICLE 19 calls upon the Nepali government to implement the changes in
legislation required by the very constitution that they drafted in 2006. ARTICLE 19 also calls on the government to create an environment whereby the media can carry out its work free from interference or violence.
It seems likely that these attacks are not simply random criminal acts but form part of a sustained and deliberate assault on freedom of expression. The impunity of those involved and the lack of any legislative changes ordered by the Supreme Court not only generate a “chilling effect” within the local media, but also amongst the NGO community and civil society itself.
ARTICLE 19 therefore also calls upon the international community to monitor and raise the profile of any such organised crimes against freedom of expression directly with the Nepali government, and to lobby for the implementation of laws to end impunity and guarantee media freedom and independence.
· For more information: please contact Oliver Charles,
firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 20 7278 9292
· ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.
ARTICLE 19, 6-8 Amwell Street, London EC1R 1UQ
Tel: (+44) 20 7278 9292 / Fax: (+44) 20 7278 7660
Web: www.article19.org / Email: email@example.com
government of Swaziland is imposing on Freedom of Expression. Under a
controversial Suppression of Terrorism Act that has been passed by the
Parliament in May 2008, Swazi journalists, political activists and human rights
defenders have apparently become persona non-grata, battered and/or arrested.
The Swaziland Act is the latest in a series of anti-terrorism laws that have been
enacted since the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Freedom of expression has been especially challenged by the adoption of these new laws which prohibit speech that is considered “extremist” or supporting of terrorism. Under the guise of the fight against terrorism, these new laws are used to suppress political and controversial speech. As recently as September at the 40-40 celebration, the Monarch’s 40th birthday and Swaziland’s 40 years of independence, King Mswati III promised his people better governance for economic renewal. ARTICLE 19 asserts that the restriction of free expression and pro-democracy activities of human rights defenders will hinder genuine economic progress.
“Frankly, terrorism is a specious argument for repression of free expression in
Swaziland. At issue in the recent crackdown are legitimate political grievances
which, instead of being addressed through the democratic process, are demonized.” said Dr. Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE19. In recent weeks, political activities have been outlawed, marches and demonstrations have been banned, and television camera crews, journalists and political activists have been arrested on suspicion of making remarks in support of terrorism. ARTICLE 19 strongly urges the government of Swaziland to reverse this course of action. Its resources would be much better used in strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and addressing Swaziland’s significant social challenges, including poverty and HIV/AIDS. “The serious imperative to fight terrorism and the use of violence against citizens must not be used as an excuse to repress dissent and undermine freedom of expression. On the contrary: the protection of human rights and freedom of expression are central to political and social change, democracy and development in Swaziland and anywhere else in the world” said Dr. Callamard. org
ARTICLE 19 has noted with increasing concern the multiplication all over the world of restrictions on freedom of expression, or attempted restrictions, justified on the grounds of national security. These restrictions have included: the development of anti-terrorist laws, which are too often vague and overly broad, leaving them open to interpretation and potential abuses; the use of Official Secrets Acts to deny access to publicly held information, including information of vital public interest, such as whether or not Al Jazeera was considered as a potential military target during the recent Iraq war; etc. All of these situations have one thing in common: the desire to bury or silence controversial voices that authorities deem to pose a potential threat to
security. A recent report published by the Council of Europe has clearly shown that the use of anti-terrorism to curtail freedom of expression is also a European problem. Nations around the globe have adopted new anti-terrorism legislation or revised old laws in response to the attack on 11 September 2001. Most of these laws or revisions have expended the powers of governments to fight terrorism and other crime. Controls on these powers are often insufficient.
For instance, new laws designed to protection national security from terrorism and other threats limit journalists’ ability to access information. There have also been increased procedural powers to obtain information through surveillance, searches, demands for disclosure and other means. At the same time, the laws are used to prosecute journalists for obtaining information from sources and justify surveillance to identify the sources so that journalists can be prosecuted under secrets acts for violating their duties to keep information secret. Too often, these are used for political rather than public safety reasons.
In 1995, international experts around the world adopted the Johannesburg Principles which set out standards on the extent to which governments may legitimately withhold information from the public and prohibit expression for reasons of national security. Amongst other things, they provide that a restriction is not legitimate unless its purpose and effect is to “protect a country’s existence or its territorial integrity against the use or threat of force, or its capacity to respond to the use or threat of force” from either an internal or an external threat. The Johannesburg Principles also identify a number of illegitimate grounds for claiming a national security interest, such as protecting the government from embarrassment or entrenching a particular ideology. These are clearly not national security interests but, at the same time,
countries around the world continue to use and abuse these reasons.
· For more information: please contact Cece Fadope, ARTICLE19: Africa Programme:
firstname.lastname@example.org +44 20 7278 9292.
· For a copy of the Johannesburg Principles, please click here:
· For a copy of the Council of Europe’s report “Speaking of Terror”, please click here:
· ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name
ARTICLE 19, 6-8 Amwell Street, London EC1R 1UQ
Tel: (+44) 20 7278 9292 / Fax: (+44) 20 7278 7660
Web: www.article19.org / Email: email@example.com
Diplomatic Embassies and High Commissions of Swaziland
118 Ave Winston Churchill
1180 Brussels Belgium .
Tel. ++32 2 3 47 47 71
Fax ++32 2 3 47 46 23 . . .
Honorary Consuls for Germany in Berlin and Duesseldorf .
20 Buckingham Gate
London SW1E 6LB
United Kingdom .
Tel. ++44 20 7630 6611
Fax ++44 20 7630 6564 . . .
3400 International Dr
Washington DC 20008
United States .
Tel. ++1 202 362 6683 . . . . .
Diplomatic Embassies and High Commissions in Swaziland
Lilunga House, 3rd Floor
Mbabane Swaziland .
Tel. ++268 404 3174 . . . .
2nd Floor Gilfillan St
Postal Address: Private Bag,
Mbabane, Swaziland .
Tel. ++268 404 2581, ++268 404 2582, ++268 404 2583, ++268 404 2584 Fax ++268 404 2585 firstname.lastname@example.org . . . .
United States Central Bank Building Warner St Mbabane Swaziland .
Friday, November 21, 2008
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has learnt with great dismay of the dismissal of Shahzad Hussain Butt, senior reporter of the Aaj Kal Urdu newspaper in Lahore, for reasons directly connected with his activities as president of the Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ).
According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an IFJ affiliate, Butt was asked explicitly by the management of his newspaper, part of the Media Times group of publications, to disown a PUJ statement that was critical of the Governor of Punjab. On his refusal, Butt was told that he should cease reporting for work.
The PFUJ disputes the statement of Najam Sethi, editor-in-chief of the Media Times group, that Butt was relieved of his responsibilities because he was known to be negotiating for a position with a private TV channel.
Meanwhile, Aaj Kal editor Khalid Chaudhary has reportedly said on record that Butt has neither been dismissed nor asked to resign.
The Governor, Salman Taseer, owns a majority stake in the Media Times group. On November 17, a television channel aired clips of a televised conversation during which Taseer attacked the Pakistan media. The media, he said, had become a "monster" that had "crossed all limits" and would not allow "any government to work smoothly". He went on to suggest that certain news anchors would have been "handcuffed and arrested" had they been in a western country.
The following day, the PUJ and the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), both major constituent unions of the PFUJ, issued separate statements strongly critical of Taseer's comments. As president of the PUJ, Butt termed the Governor's statements a clear attack on press freedom, reminiscent of the days of the military regime led by Pervez Musharraf that Taseer had supported.
The Media Times management action against Butt followed.
"The IFJ condemns action by the Media Times management to dismiss a reporter for his statements as a union representative," said IFJ Asia-Pacific.
"An essential component of a free and independent press is that media owners accept in good faith the right of their employees to their own views. The dismissal of Butt strikes at the roots of the basic rights to freedom of opinion and association in Pakistan."
In other news from Pakistan this week, the PFUJ reported that the Sindh provincial government withdrew notification of a ban on the daily Islam and weekly Zarb-e-Momin after a PFUJ appeal.
For further information, contact IFJ Asia-Pacific, tel: +612 9333 0919, e-mail: email@example.com, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: http://www.ifj.org/
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), the International Federation ofJournalists (IFJ) and other IFEX members have voiced great concern aboutthe deteriorating security situation in the border area of Pakistan. Last week, two journalists were shot and wounded in Peshawar, the capitalof Pakistan's restive North West Frontier Province, as they were returningfrom interviewing a Taliban commander in nearby Khyber. Sami Yousafzai, "Newsweek" magazine's special correspondent in the regionand a CBS News stringer, and Yatsukura Motoki, Islamabad bureau chief forthe Japanese daily "Asahi Shimbun", are in stable condition. Their driverwas also shot. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), it's unclearwhether the journalists were attacked for their work or were the targets ofa criminal gang seeking ransom. The North West Frontier Province, as well as the adjoining FederallyAdministered Tribal Areas (FATA), has been the scene of a number of attackson journalists, foreigners and government officials in recent weeks. On 11 November, Khadija Abdul Qahaar, a Canadian freelance journalist andpublisher of the website Jihad Unspun, and her Pakistani translator andguide were kidnapped while travelling in the region's Bannu district, sayCPJ, PPF and IFJ. PPF says tribal elders are negotiating for Qahaar's andher colleagues' release. "The Pakistan-Afghanistan border region has long been unstable, but itsviolence has been steadily spreading into other areas of Pakistan," saidCPJ. "Journalists in the region have long warned about the lack of securityand the threats they face from all sides - Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters,drug lords, gun runners, criminal gangs, and even the Pakistani government.For journalists, as for all others in Peshawar, this is a situation goingfrom bad to worse." In a separate incident, Royal TV and daily "Sahafat" reporter Abdul RazzaqJohara was killed in Mianwali, in the Punjab, on 3 November - the day afterhe did a report on drug trafficking, report PPF, IFJ and Reporters WithoutBorders (RSF). According to RSF, the local police said they arrestedseveral suspects, although five other suspects remain at large. In response to a call from IFJ affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union ofJournalists and the All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation, journalists demonstrated throughout Pakistan on 12 November in protestagainst the latest killings of their colleagues and to urge the authoritiesto go after those responsible.
Visit these links:- PPF: http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org- IFJ: http://tinyurl.com/5q3tue- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/5ohryy- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29285- IFEX Pakistan page: http://tinyurl.com/23z96j
A radio broadcaster who often criticised local corruption was shot to deathon 17 November in Gingoog City, Mindanao, southern Philippines, report theCenter for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and other IFEX members. Aresio Padrigao, broadcaster at Radyo Natin (Our Radio), had just droppedoff his daughter in front of Bukidnon State University on the morning of 17November when he was killed by a gunman riding tandem on a motorcycle. While the motive is unclear, CMFR believes Padrigao was killed for his workas a journalist. Padrigao anchored "Sayri ang Katilingban" (Know thePeople), which aired every Friday. He often criticised local governmentcorruption as well as illegal logging activities in the province on hisprogramme. He also wrote a column for the community newspaper "MindanaoMonitor Today". Toto Gancia, a radio announcer at the same station, told CMFR that Padrigaohad received threats prior to his murder. "The threats told him in effectthat he would not live 'til Christmas," Gancia said. According to CMFR, Padrigao was the fifth Filipino journalist killed in theline of duty in 2008. Of the 37 journalists murdered in relation to theirwork during President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's reign, only two haveyielded convictions for the gunmen and none have resulted in convictions ofthe masterminds, says CMFR. "The aura of impunity surrounding these attacks on journalists is thegovernment's fault," says the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). "Aslong as authorities continue in their failure to prosecute thoseresponsible for such killings, journalists will be seen as easy targets." CPJ has launched a global campaign to combat impunity in unsolvedjournalist murders, focusing initially on the Philippines and Russia. Visit these links:- CMFR via Southeast Asian Press Alliance:http://www.seapabkk.org/newdesign/newsdetail.php?No=992- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/62o3x8- International Federation of Journalists: http://tinyurl.com/67z6nf- Reporters Without Borders (RSF): http://tinyurl.com/6y6erl
sOURCE : IFEX NEWS
Brazil: Impunity in Case of Journalist’s Murder Threatens Freedom of Expression
Source: ARTICLE 19.ORG.
The family of journalist Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho are being harassed a year and a half after he was murdered in Porto Ferreira, in the state of São Paulo. There are concerns that this is linked to their participation in the investigation of the crime perpetrated on him.
After Barbon was murdered on 5 May 2007, their house was attacked and his widow, Kátia Rosa Camargo, received several silent phone calls. In February 2008, after giving an interview to a national TV station, Kátia received a telephone call telling her to be quiet or she would end up like her husband. On 12 November 2008, Kátia was fired from her job as a secretary at the radio station “Rádio Primavera”. The same day, journalist João dos Reis (known as Jota Reis) was also fired. He had originally been responsible for covering the case as a news reporter at the local radio station “Porto FM”, but was first transferred to a musical programme and then dismissed. Kátia and the family’s lawyer, Ricardo Ramos, believe that she was fired due to her active promotion of the investigation of the assassination of her husband. Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho worked for the radio station “Porto FM” and the local newspapers Jornal do Porto and JC Regional before he was shot dead by an unidentified man while in a public place. According to his wife, he had been receiving death treats by telephone and email some weeks before he was killed. At the time of his death, he was investigating a robbery in which members of local authorities were allegedly involved. Five men – four from the military police – have been detained in connection with his murder.ARTICLE 19 expresses solidarity with Barbon’s family and urges the investigators to ensure that all those responsible for the crime against him are brought to justice so that the underlying motivation for the murder can be clarified. Impunity in cases of violence against journalists leads to fear and self-censorship and, unless such crimes are actively investigated and prosecuted, freedom of expression will remain under threat. ARTICLE 19 also urges the authorities to investigate all aspects of the case with a view to ensuring that no one is at risk simply for demanding justice in this case.
October was eventful Around Africa with a number of countries taking progressive steps. Leading the news early in the month, a handful of media professionals and human rights activists were released from detention in countries including the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Niger and Rwanda. ARTICLE19 also welcomes the release on 7 October of journalist Moussa Kaka, Director of Saraouniya Radio in Niger. Over the last year ARTICLE19 has followed closely the Kaka case on charges accusing him of being supportive of rebels in the country. Kaka has been released on bail with the charges of "endangering the safety of the state for suspected links with the Tuareg-led rebels in the north of the country." still standing against him.
Pockets of resistance to new media
Meanwhile, free expression remained under threat in other parts of the continent. In North Africa, there were several reports of attacks and intimidation against new media professionals, with a particular focus on resistance to the free flow of information offered on the World Wide Web. Egyptian authorities appeared to have turned their sights against online journalists and bloggers who are critical of the country’s authoritarian approach of governance. Bloggers, Abd Altawab Mahmoud and Khalifa Ebaid were arrested for ”taking advantage of prevailing atmosphere of democracy to overthrow the regime” in a move described by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) as a violation of their right to free expression. The bloggers are suspected of being targeted for their affliliation to the Muslim Brotherhood but the charges on which they were detained have been called unlawful by human rights activists in the country. Still another blogger has been detained, whilst three others are being sought by Egyptian security forces.Egypt is ranked 146th in the Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) Press Freedom Index 2008 out of 173 countries, the same place it held in 2007. Incidentally Eritrea falls at the bottom of the index for a second year. To view the full index follow this link: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29031
A Pattern of Media Repression - Pre-print Censorship in Sudan
Sudanese press continue to be subject to pre-print censorship – a practice ARTICLE 19 condemned in March of this year. This wave of censorship was a result of newspapers’ publishing reports in February accusing the government of backing Chadian rebels in a failed coup attempt, an accusation which the government has denied.In Khartoum on 13 October 16 journalists were accused of receiving funds from the United States International Development agency, USAID alleged for the purposes of ‘campaigning against the government and the benefit of the Sudanese people’. This condemnation was published in Akhir Lazha newspaper and the accused journalists were not permitted to respond to the accusations; each of the retaliatory articles were censored before their respective newspapers went to print. ARTICLE 19 reminds the Sudanese authorities that ‘everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression’ including the right ‘to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’ as enshrined in Article 19 of ICCPR and Article 9 of the ACHPR
Access to information as a fundamental right to Truth, Justice and reconciliation
On 22 October, the Parliament of the Kenyan Coalition Government passed a Bill for setting up a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. The Bill will assess mass human rights abuses since the country’s independence in 1963 to, and including the post-election violence of 2007 and 2008. ARTICLE 19 welcomed the bill, urging Kenyans to ensure that the information gathered by the TJRC is properly preserved for the future. Executive Director, Dr Agnès Callamard, said: “The ‘right to truth’ about past human rights violations is central to addressing underlying issues and to restoring the dignity of the victims. The TJRC is a positive step toward ensuring the public’s ‘right to truth’ following recent incidents of mass human rights violations in Kenya.”The Kenyan National Human Rights Commission’s report into the violence had called for reconciliation and highlighted failings of the media between December 2007 and February 2008. A key recommendation of the report published in August 2008 was for the need to pass a Hate Speech Bill. The KNCHR had drafted legislation on hate speech in 2007.The KNHRC’s report identified the role unregulated call-in programmes and live talk shows on vernacular radio stations such as KASS FM and Inoodo FM allowed the preaching of hate speech messages both against different ethnic groups or the political parties depending on the district. Hence the key recommendations from the bill included: ‘Parliament should enact hate speech legislation with this  year’ and ‘The Communications Commission of Kenya should be empowered to monitor the content of local language as well as other media’.In a paper published by Pambazuka News on 22 October by KNCHR Commissioner and ARTICLE 19 International Board member, Lawrence M. Mute, the importance, merits and international and domestic human rights obligations for the passing of the 2007 Kenyan Hate Speech Bill into law were clearly defined. ARTICLE 19’s regional office will advocate alongside our Kenyan partners and freedom of expression stakeholders for the passing of such legislation ensuring that any draf bill is in line with international freedom of expression standards and the guarantees within Kenyan domestic legislation. The Bill propsed by the KNCHR has been careful that freedom of expression rights under international laws such as the ICCPR are taken into account as Commissioner Mute’s article explains. To view Commissioner Mute’s article titled ‘Legislation, hate speech, and freedom of expression in Kenya’ follow this link: http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/51378
Kenyan Association of Journalists
The Kenyan Association of Journalists held the first in a series of meetings on 21 October in Nairobi. There was agreement about the need for greater professionalism among the media, as well as a desire for greater media pluralism and diversity, especially since the recent post-election violence in Kenya. The meeting was well attended by over 300 journalists and media professionals, along with ARTICLE 19.
Reporters in Distress
In October eleven media professionals have been harassed or imprisoned, and three detained by state security forces in Tunisia, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, South Africa, Swaziland and Sudan – whilst two independent broadcasters have been shut down in Malawi and Lesotho this month.Aside from the resignation of Els de Temmerman, Belgian editor-in-chief of the Ugandan government-owned newspaper New Vision, on grounds that she could not guarantee the editorial independence of the newspaper – Uganda has seen a stepping up in restrictions to free expression. In October alone, a journalist and media advocate was attacked and has been arrested three times, and now faces charges including ‘incitement to violence’. Sssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, an open critic of the Ugandan government and a programme coordinator for Human Rights Network for Journalists, had escaped an attempted abduction after being knocked off his motorbike earlier this month.Issuing of hefty fines and terms of imprisonment for defamation in Egypt has been of concern to ARTICLE 19. In Egypt three editors-in-chief are facing possible imprisonment for publishing false news whilst a journalist and editor were ordered to pay 80,000 Egyptian pounds (£8,960) for publishing a satirical piece about an Egyptian cleric. Whilst in Lesotho, a defunct Lesotho weekly, The Mirror, its editor and EPIC Printers were handed a M50 000 (GBP 4700) fine on 29 September 2008 for defaming Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, for a publication in April 2001 in which the story made ‘political insinuations that were highly defamatory’. The court stated "There was no justification whatsoever for those allegations and the defendants negligently published them without bothering to establish their truthfulness". A Masotho broadcast journalist Thabo Thakalekoala sentenced to two years in prison for sedition or alternatively a fine of M200 (GBP 10) – which he paid, was also sentenced to a further two years for criminal defamation and subversion. Although this sentence was suspended on condition that Thakalekoala does not commit a similar offence in the next three years. MISA has criticised the state for its notorious ‘insult laws which senior politicians and government officials have used against the media to demand hefty compensation’.A journalist in Kenya is currently facing defamation charges. Andrew Mwangura was arrested on 1 October for contradicting the Kenyan government’s version of the destination a cargo ship seized by Somali pirates, in what has been a widely covered story both regional and international press. The ship, carrying a cargo of military tanks, originally alleged to be bound for Kenya was reported to have been bound for Southern Sudan, in breach of the arms embargo placed on the country. Mwangura, has been released on bail.
African media and civil society leading debate on free expression and media legislation
On 8 October, Tanzania’s Freedom of Information Coalition submitted a draft Media Services Bill to the Tanzanian Minister of Information and Culture in push to changes to media policy in the country that promote ‘press freedom, professionalism and accountability’. The Coalition has been actively campaigning for the introduction of a Freedom of Information Bill since 2006. Kenya’s FOI Bill has as yet not been discussed in parliament and currently Uganda is the only East African country to have passed an FOI law in the region, although implementation of the law has been stagnant.Other interesting legislative developments in the continent this month include the efforts by the Attorney General’s Office in Zimbabwe to form an Information Communication Technologies (ICT) Bill. Zimbabwe’s Access to Information law (AIPPA) has been criticised for restricting rather than promotion the free flow of information in the country. Civil society organisations including MISA-Zimbabwe, have called for the guarantee of independence of regulators in media and telecommunications to be assured in the development of any ICT legislation. http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/70617
Botswana's Mogae wins $5m prize
Botswana's former President Festus Mogae has won a $5m (£2.8m) prize to encourage good governance in Africa. Mr Mogae, who stepped down in April after two terms in office, said he was honoured and humbled by the award. Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable countries - it has never had a coup and has had regular multi-party elections since independence in 1966. Announcing the prize, ex-UN head Kofi Annan also commended Mr Mogae for his action to tackle the Aids pandemic. The Ibrahim Prize - the most valuable individual annual prize in the world - was set up by Sudan-born telecoms entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim. As well as the $5m prize, Mr Mogae, 69, gets $200,000 a year for the rest of his life.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
• For more information: please contact Africa Programme Officers Cece Fadoupe, email@example.com or Roxanne Abdulali firstname.lastname@example.org +44 20 7278 9292
Monday, November 17, 2008
17 November 2008
Council of Europe Accused of Secrecy Over Convention on Transparency
Public kept in the dark on world’s first international treaty on access to information
London, Madrid -- Human rights organisations working on government transparency filed a request last week with the Council of Europe for information about the Convention on Access to Official Documents. The convention, still in draft form, has been heavily criticised and is being finalized under a shroud of secrecy.
“It’s more than a little ironic that the world’s first international treaty on access to information is being decided upon behind closed doors”, said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe. “The public has the right to know what is being discussed, and what positions our governments are taking on the treaty”, commented Darbishire, whose organization, along with the Open Society Justice Initiative and Article 19, is leading civil society efforts to promote a stronger treaty that fully protects the right of access to information. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is composed of delegations from the national parliaments of the 47 countries, adopted an unusually critical opinion of the treaty in October. It identified numerous problems with the draft convention and called for the Council of Europe to allot more time for redrafting. On 12 November, the Council of Europe reportedly considered whether or not to act on the Parliamentary Assembly’s opinion of the treaty, but did so without notifying the public of their conclusions. Neither elected representatives nor civil society received any information about what was discussed or how the meeting might impact treaty negotiations. An information request was therefore filed on 14 November with Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, asking for information about what happened in the meeting (see www.access-info.org for the text of the information request). The Committee of Ministers, chaired by Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, will vote on the convention’s adoption on 27 November. Civil society groups have called on Minister Bildt to ensure that their concerns are discussed before any vote is scheduled. Sweden became the first country in the world to grant its citizens a right to access information in 1776. “Sweden’s reputation as an advocate of transparency will be substantially tarnished if Minister Bildt allows the treaty to be adopted in its current form without adequate attention to the concerns raised by civil society, information commissioners, and governments”, said Sandra Coliver of the Open Society Justice Initiative.The Parliamentary Assembly’s opinion identified a number of problems in the treaty, including the narrow range of public bodies to which the right applies, shortcomings in the definition of documents, the absence of maximum time-limits for answering requests, the failure to give requestors a right to appeal to an independent body or court that can order disclosure of information, and the failure to restrict the reservations that states may make to the convention’s provisions, which is highly unusual for a Council of Europe human rights treaty.“There are double-standards at play here”, said Toby Mendel of Article 19. “The Council of Europe is promoting a convention on access to information as a tool for public participation in decision making, but at the same time blocking such participation in the discussion over the draft Convention by withholding information about the decision-making process.”
Notes for Editors:
1. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Opinion of 3 October 2008 (Opinion No. 270/2008) is available at: http://assembly.coe.int/Mainf.asp?link=/Documents/AdoptedText/ta08/EOPI270.htm
2. Concerns advanced in that opinion have been raised over the past year by more than 250 NGOs; Information Commissioners from nine countries (Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the UK); and the OSCE’s Representative on Freedom of the Media. These bodies were not formally consulted on the draft Convention and the issues they raised were not fully considered on their merits.
3. Drafting the convention was delegated to a group of government appointees dominated by countries from north-west Europe, many of whose access to documents laws date back to rules on administrative procedures adopted in the 1970s and early 1980s. Countries of central and eastern Europe were underrepresented in the drafting process; several of these have expressed concerns that the standards being set fell below those of their more modern access to information laws and risk undermining recent advances in the right to information.
4. A major reason given by those involved in the drafting process for not wanting to consider revisions to the current treaty text is that the process has already taken 10 years. This is not strictly the case. Talk about drafting a Convention only started in 2002 upon the Council of Europe’s adoption of a Recommendation on Access to Official Documents. Actual drafting began only in January 2006 and the main text of the Convention was completed by July 2007.
5. Only three human rights organisations working on access to information – Access Info, Article 19 and the Justice Initiative -- were invited to participate in the drafting sessions. There was no attempt to engage in wider consultation with civil society, the public or experts in this area such as Information Commissioners from across Council of Europe Member States.
6. If the Council of Europe were to adopt a stronger treaty it would undoubtedly require some ratifying states to introduce changes to national law upon ratification. This is normal for human rights treaties whose entire purpose is to motivate states to bring their law and practice into line with the standards defined in the treaty; if this were not the case, there would be little point in bodies such as the Council of Europe adopting such treaties.
For more information, please contact:
• Helen Darbishire, Executive Director, Access Info Europe, + 34 667 685 319 email@example.com • Sejal Parmar, Senior Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19, + 44 20 7239 1192 firstname.lastname@example.org• Sandra Coliver, Senior Legal Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative, +1 917 361 5618 email@example.com
ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works globally to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech. For more information on ARTICLE 19 please visit www.article19.org
6-8 Amwell Street London EC1R 1UQ United KingdomTel: +44 20 7278 9292 - Fax: +44 20 7278 7660 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.article19.org
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Security forces shot dead a journalist in Swat Valley, northeast Pakistan,
last week, making him the third journalist to be killed in Swat this year,
report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and other IFEX
Qari Mohammad Shoaib, a reporter for daily newspapers "Azadi" and "Khabar
Kar", was shot in Mingora near his home on 8 November, reportedly because
he did not stop his vehicle at a checkpoint.
Security forces admitted that Shoaib was killed "by mistake," according to
IFJ affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). His vehicle
displayed a press sticker and he was carrying a press card.
IFJ joined PFUJ and local unions in protests demanding that provincial and
federal authorities conduct an immediate independent inquiry into the
killing of Shoaib and arrest those responsible. They also urged media
owners to ensure all their personnel working in conflict zones receive
adequate safety training and equipment.
"There is a full scale army operation and insurgency in Swat Valley, Bajaur
Agency and many parts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Scores of
people are being killed every day and the situation for everyone,
particularly journalists, is intolerable and unbearable," said the Pakistan
Press Foundation (PPF).
Swat Valley, about 150 kilometres northeast of Peshawar, has been the focus
of a Pakistan army offensive against insurgents since August. IFJ and PFUJ
recently completed a series of safety training workshops for journalists
and camera operators working in Swat and Pakistan's other hot spots.
Visit these links:
- IFJ: http://tinyurl.com/5wcygh
- IFJ on protests: http://tinyurl.com/55tcxw
- PPF: http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org/
- Reporters Without Borders:
- Committee to Protect Journalists: http://tinyurl.com/5dvka4
was sentenced to 20 years and six months injail by a court in Rangoon's Insein prison on 10 November. The poet, Saw Wai, received a two year sentence for a Valentine's Day poemthat mocked Than Shwe published in the weekly "Love Journal". The firstwords of each line of the Burmese language poem spelled out the message"Power Crazy Senior General Than Shwe". Even the lawyer representing Nay Phone Latt, Aung Thein, is himself servingfour months for contempt of court for complaining of unfair treatmentduring earlier proceedings. Nay Phone Latt's mother, Aye Than, who was not allowed to attend the trial,said, "He is the first ever blogger to be arrested in Burma. I have no ideawhy they punished my son with such a harsh judgment." Nay Phone Latt is a former member of the opposition National League forDemocracy, who owns three internet cafés in the capital Rangoon. HisBurmese language blog, http://www.nayphonelatt.net/ , provided invaluableinformation about events during and after the "Saffron Revolution", themonk-led protests last September that were put down by the military. His was sentenced to 15 years for offences under the Electronics Act, twoyears for "creating public alarm" and three and a half years for offencesunder the Video Act. The charges included possession of a banned video ofthe unrest. The government appears to be expediting the trials of activists involved inlast year's protests, says the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Morethan two dozen activists were sentenced to harsh prison terms this weekthat will keep them in jail long past a 2010 election. On 11 November, 14members of the Generation 88 Students group were sentenced to prison termsof 65 years each. Amnesty International says the junta holds more than 2,100 politicalprisoners, up sharply from nearly 1,200 in June 2007 - before thepro-democracy demonstrations. RSF is asking bloggers worldwide to show solidarity with Nay Phone Latt bypublishing his photo on their blogs. RSF and the Writers in PrisonCommittee (WiPC) of International PEN are also urging protest letters to besent to Burmese embassies worldwide requesting his and Saw Wai's release. Visit these links:- Mizzima News: http://tinyurl.com/5w24bt- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/5pbjnw- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29243- WiPC: http://tinyurl.com/55wzbc- Amnesty International: http://tinyurl.com/5wc2u2
IPI LAUNCHES JUSTICE DENIED CAMPAIGN, TELLING "STORIES OF IMPUNITY ANDIMPRISONMENT OF JOURNALISTS WORLDWIDE"
Another harrowing week for journalists, according to IFEX alerts. Some of the recent stories: a Pakistani journalist was killed at a checkpoint -even though his car was clearly marked "press". A man who murdered anArgentine photographer in 1997 and was sentenced to life imprisonment wasfreed, while a Burmese blogger who criticised the military junta got 20years in jail. International Press Institute's (IPI) newly launched Justice DeniedCampaign seeks to change this reality. It highlights stories of impunityand the imprisonment of journalists worldwide, ensuring that these storiesremain visible, particularly among key decision-makers. The "impunity" figure is often bandied about in free expression circles: innine out of 10 murders of journalists, the perpetrators remain at large.IPI looks beyond the number and tells the stories of impunity. They includea Serbian journalist likely murdered for daring to criticise developmentsin Kosovo, a Mexican crime reporter who simply vanished, a Sri Lankanjournalist caught up in the violence of his country's civil conflict, andan outspoken press freedom advocate shot dead for resisting restrictions onthe press in the Gambia. The stories of imprisonment include a group of Cuban journalists arrestedin a massive crackdown triggered by a petition for reforms, a Bangladeshireporter who has been sentenced to a total of 48 years of imprisonment insix separate cases, and two Iranian journalists facing the death penaltyafter addressing the plight of the country's Kurdish community. "The stories told by IPI's Justice Denied Campaign are stark reminders ofthe dangers faced by journalists committed to informing the public," saidIPI. "When a journalist is attacked or jailed, the loss goes beyond thepersonal, with entire communities losing access to information they sorelyneed. We trust these stories will offend peoples' innate sense of justice,but we also hope that this will prompt people to act." IPI is encouraging the media to support the Justice Denied Campaign by publishing these stories. Background material, interviews and commentarieson cases are presented on IPI's website, at:http://www.freemedia.at/justicedenied
source : Ifex News
74th International PEN Congress Calls for Cultural Rights, Free Expression
Urges worldwide protection of cultures and indigenous languages, and a review of UN resolutions on religious defamationFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFor more information contact:Larry Siems, (212) 334-1660 ext. 105
New York, October 22, 2008—International PEN closed a historic Congress in Bogotá by strengthening its commitment to supporting writers and literature from all cultures and languages. From September 17 to 22 , over 120 delegates from 70 countries upheld the importance of ideas and the free word in changing and developing civil society. "Our discussions and debates here in the beautiful city of Bogotá have been a great success," said Jirí Grušá,
International President of International PEN. "We are grateful to Colombian PEN for their wonderful hospitality and for sharing their literary heritage and culture. We are also delighted to welcome three new PEN centers to our worldwide community: Ethiopian PEN, Haiti PEN and Uighur PEN."With a special focus on Latin America, and in particular Colombia, the great work of the PEN centers in this region was recognized and celebrated. The autumn 2008 issue of PEN International magazine, Context: Latin America and the Caribbean, will include a wealth of writing from the best novelists, short story writers, poets and essayists from this region. 10 resolutions were passed by the Assembly of Delegates including calling for increased protection of journalists in Colombia and Mexico and the release of all writers in prison in Cuba. A campaign defending freedom of expression and the right to write in the Americas will become a key priority for International PEN in 2009. A resolution was also passed urging the Chinese government to stop the harassment and persecution of all Chinese writers and journalists, continuing the existing International PEN campaign for freedom of expression in China.Responding to recent efforts in the United Nations to place limits on freedom of expression in the name of combating “defamation of religions,” the Assembly of Delegates passed a resolution opposing the implementation of Resolutions 7/19 (“Combating defamation of religions”) and 7/36 (“Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression”) in the UN Human Rights Council.Other resolutions raising concern for writers under attack in Iran, Vietnam, Russia, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan were also adopted.The theme of the Congress, the role of the word, was present throughout the six days. From literary readings and lectures, and a round table on the role of the word in conflict, justice, truth and the construction of peace, to applauding the work of a Colombian creative writing workshop network, PEN delegates discussed how words, both written and oral, are crucial in promoting engagement across cultures and languages.The theme of the Congress—the role of the word—was present throughout the six days. From literary readings and lectures, and a roundtable on the role of the word in conflict, justice, truth and the construction of peace, to applauding the work of a Colombian creative writing workshop network, PEN delegates discussed how words, both written and oral, are crucial in promoting engagement across cultures and languages."The world will be better when we all understand the role of the word, its power to create or hinder dialogue," commented Cecilia Balcázar, President of the Congress. "Violence will be ousted when we all discover the lies that are hidden under the appearance of truth that language creates, when we all are aware of the intolerance it promotes, when we identify that the dogmatism of hegemonic discourse is imposed on alternative and valid ways to construct the reality where we all live.""Eminent writers from across the globe were united in their exploration of ‘the role of the word'," added Caroline McCormick, Executive Director of International PEN. "Their different cultural perspectives illuminated our understanding of the continued significance of literature today."Kata Kulavkova (Macedonian PEN) was elected as Vice President for services to PEN. She joins other distinguished Vice Presidents such as J. M. Coetzee, Margaret Atwood and Nadine Gordimer. Josep Maria Terricabras (Catalan PEN) was elected as the new Chair of the International PEN Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee. Mohamed Magani (Algerian PEN) was re-elected to the International PEN Board, and Yang Lian (Independent Chinese PEN) was elected to the Board for the first time. They join the other eminent writers of the Board, as well as International Secretary Eugene Schoulgin (Norwegian PEN), Treasurer Eric Lax (PEN USA), the Secretariat in London and all the PEN centers, in imagining and realizing the ambitions and the future of the organization.
Freedom to Write Card-Writing Blitz
When: Tuesday, December 9Where: PEN American Center: 588 Broadway, Suite 303What time: 6 p.m.Each December, PEN Members send greetings to imprisoned writers and their families around the world. Join us as we aim to increase the number of writers we reach this year. PEN will provide cards, envelopes, address labels, and postage. All you need is a message of goodwill for your fellow writers and journalists imprisoned around the world.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Muslim artist gets death threats
Sarah Maple has attracted criticism from some Muslims
A Muslim artist exhibiting her work at a west London gallery, has received death threats via email.
Staff at SaLon gallery in Notting Hill said they had received violent emails about Ms Maple, 23, and her family.
The glass front of the gallery has also been smashed with staff receiving abusive phone calls since the start of her exhibition on 16 October.
Some sections of the Muslim community have criticised her in the past for her portrayal of her religion.
One work showed a woman in a headscarf holding a pig.
'Freedom of expression'
Gallery director Samir Ceric said he was "sad, upset and disappointed" at the way art was being treated and called the violent reaction to her work an "attack on freedom of expression".
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said officers were investigating the damage to the gallery's window but could not comment on the threatening email.
Some of her photographic self-portraits have feature her in a headscarf in provocative and suggestive poses and one painting shows the artist in a headscarf with a bare breast.
But Mr Ceric said her work was being misrepresented and dealt with religion but also politics, celebrity culture "and so many other subjects".
"We expected people to ask questions but we didn't expect anything like this," he added.
The gallery intends to continue exhibiting her work until its scheduled end on 16 November.
Zarganar, the leading Burmese poet, comedian and activist who is currently being detained for criticising the Burmese junta's handling of the cyclone that hit the country in May, has been honoured with PEN Canada's 2008 One Humanity Award.
Zarganar, whose real name is Maung Thura, was arrested in June for criticising the Burmese junta's handling of Cyclone Nargis and organising relief efforts for its victims - which could land him 15 years in jail.
Not that jail is anything new for him. Zarganar, as a leading voice of the pro-democracy movement, has been arrested at least four times since 1988, including for supporting the monks in the Rangoon protests last September.
In May 1990, he was arrested for impersonating General Saw Maung, former head of the military government. He served four years of a five-year sentence, during which time he was banned from reading and writing - so he scratched poems on the floor of his cell with a piece of pottery and committed them to memory.
He continues to be banned from performing and stripped of his freedom to write and publish.
The PEN Canada One Humanity Award honours someone "whose work has transcended the boundaries of national divides and inspired connections across cultures." PEN Canada says, "One such writer is our Honorary Member Zarganar, whose steadfast courage and integrity over many years we are honouring by granting him the One Humanity Award."
The CAD$5,000 award (US$4,000) is being given in absentia on 22 October at a PEN Canada benefit in Toronto.
For more information about Zarganar and samples of his work, see: http://www.pencanada.ca/
Botswana's Mogae wins $5m prize
Festus Mogae presided over 10 years of growth and stability
Botswana's former President Festus Mogae has won a $5m (£2.8m) prize to encourage good governance in Africa.
Mr Mogae, who stepped down in April after two terms in office, said he was honoured and humbled by the award.
Botswana is one of Africa's most stable countries - it has never had a coup and has had regular multi-party elections since independence in 1966.
Announcing the prize, ex-UN head Kofi Annan also commended Mr Mogae for his action to tackle the Aids pandemic.
The Ibrahim Prize - the most valuable individual annual prize in the world - was set up by Sudan-born telecoms entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim.
As well as the $5m prize, Mr Mogae, 69, gets $200,000 a year for the rest of his life.
"One does one's work, one uses one's best endeavours to do a job as well as one could, and if other people then assess it and judge it to be meritorious and worth of recognition it's then honouring and humbling," Mr Mogae told the BBC.
However, he also pointed out that Botswana was already doing well before he became president in 1998.
Became president: 1998
Stepped down: 2008
Took serious action to tackle Aids
Left Botswana wealthy and stable
Criticised for moving Bushmen
"I did not create the democracy in my country, I consolidated it and deepened it by practiced, accountable governance, respect of the rule of law, independence of the courts, respect for human rights, including women's rights," he said.
But Mr Mogae also inherited a country with one of the world's highest rates of HIV/Aids and he took strong action to tackle it, making Botswana the first sub-Saharan African country where anti-retroviral drugs were widely available for free.
The drugs are known locally as "Mogae's tablets", reports the AP news agency.
"President Mogae's outstanding leadership has ensured Botswana's continued stability and prosperity in the face of an HIV/Aids pandemic which threatened the future of his country and people," Mr Annan said.
Botswana has Africa's highest average income and is seen as its least corrupt country, according to Transparency International.
Kofi Annan announcing the winner
It is the world's biggest diamond producer but unlike other resource-rich countries in Africa, this has not become a source of conflict.
"Botswana demonstrates how a country with natural resources can promote sustainable development with good governance, in a continent where too often mineral wealth has become a curse," Mr Annan said.
Mr Annan also noted that Mr Mogae had tried to diversify Botswana's economy away from its reliance on diamonds.
In 2006, President Mogae's government introduced a law curbing the sale of alcohol and banning it on Sunday.
He blamed alcohol for the spread of HIV/Aids, among other problems.
But Mr Mogae also came in for criticism from lobby group Survival International for Botswana's policy of relocating Bushmen groups away from their traditional homes in the Kalahari desert.
Mr Mogae was succeeded as president by Seretse Khama Ian Khama in April.
Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano won the inaugural Ibrahim Prize last year.