19 July 2006
Volume 15 - 2006 Issue 28 (18 July)
As Russia prepared to host the G-8 summit of leading industrialised democracies from 15-17 July, its upper house of Parliament approved a bill broadening the definition of "extremism" to include media criticism of state officials, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Concerns about the bill's impact on freedom of expression have also been raised by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), ARTICLE 19, and the International Press Institute (IPI).
Press freedom and human rights groups are increasingly concerned about the fate of journalist Ogulsapar Muradova, a correspondent for the US-funded radio station Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and human rights activists Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khajiev, who were arrested in Turkmenistan between 16 and 18 June. The three are associated with the Turkmenistan Helskinki Foundation for Human Rights.
Turkey's parliament has approved changes to an anti-terrorism law despite concerns that they will place new limits on free expression, according to IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). The measures must still be ratified by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
Two Angolan journalists have been killed in the space of eight days, according to Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). "These murders are a reminder of how Angola was an especially dangerous country for the press in the 1990s," says RSF.
At a time when the space for media freedom in Hong Kong is contracting and many previously independent newspapers have toned down their coverage of sensitive matters, the need for a truly independent public broadcaster is more vital than ever, says the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HJKA). Yet press freedom advocates fear possible moves to turn government-owned Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) into an organ of state propaganda.
Since mid-June, Malaysian authorities have banned 18 books on Islam and religion on the grounds that they could "disrupt peace and harmony," report the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and ARTICLE 19. The Ministry of Internal Security has now banned more than 45 books since 2003.
Despite President Hosni Mubarak's 2004 promise to abolish laws criminalising press offences, Egypt's newly amended press law still mandates prison sentences for insulting public officials in the media. The country's National Assembly approved the amendments on 10 July, one day after some 25 newspapers refused to publish and journalists rallied to protest the new measures.
The IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET) will host the Istanbul International Independent Media Forum from 3 to 5 November 2006 at the Dolapdere Campus of Istanbul's Bilgi University.
18 July 2006
18 July 2006