2 April 2002
Volume 11 - 2002 Issue 13 (02 Apr. 2002)
A rare joint session of the Indian Parliament passed the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) last week, provoking fears that the new law will be misused by security forces, the BBC reports. Under the law, police officers can detain suspects for up to 90 days without trial and wiretap telephone calls. At present, India's criminal code allows for detention without trial for a maximum of 24 hours.
The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is conducting two seminars for journalists next month in Costa Rica and Honduras focussing on freedom of expression in the Americas. Aimed at increasing awareness and strengthening press freedom in the region, the seminars will address various issues confronting journalists. Participants will be introduced to the Inter American Press Association's Chapultepec Declaration, a document that sets forth 10 principles for establishingpress freedom in the Americas.
Anna Politkovskaya, the Vienna-based journalist whose reporting on the Russian army's human rights violations in Chechnya has resulted in death threats and overnight detentions, has won Index on Censorship's (INDEX) 2002 Most Courageous Defence of Freedom of Expression award. "Despite being arrested and abused by Russian soldiers, despite countless threatsto her own safety and that of her children, and official pressure on her newspaper, [Politkovskaya] continues to return regularly to Chechnya," says INDEX.
The impunity that allows journalists in Latin America to be murdered without their perpetrators being brought to justice grabbed attention again at the Inter-American Press Association's (IAPA) mid-year meeting in the Dominican Republic. IAPA is issuing protest letters to the
As Ukrainian voters head to the polls, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontierès, RSF) is calling attention to the worsening violence against the press. The group says attacks against the press have increased in the run-up to the vote, citing the 27 March confiscation of 100,000 copies of the newspaper "21st Century" in Lugansk and the destruction of most of "Svoboda" newspaper's print-run on 24 March. A driver distributing copies of "Svoboda" was also assaulted that day, says RSF.
Turkey's "Mini Democracy Package," a set of legislative amendments designed to improve the government's commitment to human rights as it seeks to join the European Union, fails to adequately protect free expression, says the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC). The group has released a report on freedom of expression in Turkey analysing the impact of Law No. 4744 on writers, publishers and journalists.
A new anti-terrorism law to be tabled in Nepal's parliament could mean the end of the civil and political rights granted by the country's constitution, according to a new report from Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). Four months after Nepal's King Gyandendra declared a state of emergency on 26 November 2001, over 100 journalists have been arrested in the country and at least 30 are still in detention, the group says. RSF recently completed a fact-finding mission to Nepal, meeting with government officials, journalists, press-freedom groups and human-rights organisations including the Center for Human Rights and DemocraticStudies (CEHURDES).
Democratic Republic of Congo
In a case reminiscent of one last year that forced members of Journalist in Danger (Journaliste en danger, JED) to go into hiding, a government minister in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is accusing the group of supporting armed rebel movements and of working for
Press freedom groups are urging the Israeli government to allow journalists into the besieged West Bank city of Ramallah and ensure the safety of the media following numerous reports of expulsions and injuries. Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontièrs, RSF) says at least 11 journalists have come under gunfire and three of them have been hit since Israel declared Ramallah a closed military zone on 28 March. The group urges the Israeli government to cancel the ban immediately, as do the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the