13 August 2002
Volume 11 - 2002 Issue 32 (13 Aug. 2002)
The fledgling Southern Africa Journalists Association (SAJA) is calling on the African Union to play an active role in promoting press freedom throughout the continent, saying it is ready to work with and support the newly-formed organisation on this front, reports the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
An American freelance war reporter and three Polish investigative journalists have won the first-ever Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism for their "courageous, independent and professional reporting."
The Free Expression Policy Project (FEPP), a New York-based think tank on artistic and intellectual freedom, has initiated a Youth Free Expression Network aimed at "empowering young people to advance their own free-expression rights and participate in the political process."
September 11 and its effects on the media is the theme of the 2001/2002 "Freedom of the Media Yearbook," recently published by the office of the OSCE's Freedom of the Media Representative. Essays by widely-published media critics, including "Taliban" author and journalist Ahmed Rashid, OSCE Freedom of the Media Representative Freimut Duve and Leonard Sussman of Freedom House, examine whether the United States' "war on terrorism" has compromised press freedom.
Following recent attacks against journalists by Malawi's ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) party, authorities are being urged to investigate the death of a journalist in a bar last week to determine whether it was linked to his professional activities.
Italian prime minister and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi is facing mounting pressure from international free-expression groups over his attempts to influence the public broadcaster RAI following news that two television programs critical of Berlusconi will be cancelled.
Hong Kong (China)
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) joined Hong Kong journalists last week in calling for a freedom-of-information law amidst controversy over the government's refusal to release details of its contract with a multinational company. Speaking on a radio talk show panel with former legislator Christine Loh and Francis Moriarty, chair of the Foreign Correspondents' Club Press Freedom Committee, SPJ's Robert Leger said a freedom-of-information law would help "hold government more accountable to give citizens power to pry information that ? the government might not want them to have because it is embarrassing to them."
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) is demanding a full investigation into the death of Bangladeshi journalist Syed Farroque Ahmed, whose body was found in Srimangal, south-eastern Bangladesh, on 3 August.
In a case that could set an important precedent for journalists reporting in conflict situations, twelve IFEX members have signed onto a legal appeal in support of Jonathan Randal, a former "Washington Post" reporter who has been subpoenaed to testify before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).