28 October 2009

Communiqué Vol 18, No 42

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Victory guaranteed; opposition clobbered and dissent crushed

Tunisian President Ben Ali was re-elected for the fifth time after crippling his opposition and quashing dissent After reducing his opposition, silencing dissent and repressing any independent media coverage, Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected for a fifth time on 25 October, reports the Arab Network for Human Rights (ANHRI) and other IFEX members.

Asia and Pacific

Civil society gagged at ASEAN conference

Civil society representatives were barred from a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as government officials from Burma and Singapore, among others, sabotaged the conference in Thailand last week, reports the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA).


Newspapers crippled by legal action; journalist jailed

Fifty-seven IFEX members and other rights organisations joined the Arab Network for Human Rights (ANHRI) to condemn the recent targeting of Moroccan journalists who have been hit with lawsuits, high fines and jail sentences, threatening media diversity. Orchestrated by the monarchy, newspapers have been shut down as the government ramps up its repression of independent journalism, report IFEX members.


Young cameraman killed in bomb blast

Iraqi journalists are among the many killed in roadside bombs as insurgents attempt to weaken a fragile government prior to elections in 2010 An Iraqi cameraman was killed in an explosion in front of his home in Kirkuk on 21 October, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).


Rights activist murdered in Ingushetia

A human rights activist from Ingushetia, a republic in Russia, was killed on 25 October when his car came under attack from another vehicle, reports ARTICLE 19.


Journalists under threat from crime groups

Drug traffickers are on the hunt for journalists in Guatemala for reporting on the killing of three people, presumably by members of crime groups, reports Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala (CERIGUA).

United States

Government reading over citizen's shoulders

The USA Patriot Amendments Act of 2009 introduced on 20 October prohibits the U.S. government from carrying out searches to monitor its citizens' choice of books from libraries and bookstores, reports the Pen American Center, a member of the Campaign for Reader Privacy.


Help free imprisoned songwriter

Songwriter Lapiro de Mbanga has been detained since April 2008 for writing lyrics critical of Cameroonian President Biya Freemuse, a free expression organisation for musicians and composers, is asking for your support to help dissident singer/songwriter Lapiro de Mbanga. He was imprisoned in 2008 and fined US$640,000 for writing a song critical of Cameroonian President Paul Biya.
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
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