23 February 2011
IFEX Communiqué Vol 20, No 08
As violent protests against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi spread to the capital, Tripoli, and Qaddafi and his son this week vowed to fight until the "last man standing", the number of those killed in the unrest now tops 300, reports Human Rights Watch. With the situation difficult to assess because of a government-imposed news blackout, IFEX members are at the very least calling for an independent investigation and a special UN Human Rights Council session to respond to the crisis.
In a major concession to protesters, 23 high-profile activists and bloggers who had been accused of plotting to overthrow the government have been released, along with dozens of other political prisoners, report the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and news reports.
A freelance journalist was gunned down outside his home in Mosul on 17 February, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the International Press Institute (IPI) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Elsewhere in Iraq, security forces raided media groups and have been using live ammunition on protesters in some of the most blatant violations of free expression and free assembly, say RSF and Human Rights Watch.
A 20-year-old woman blogger has been sentenced to five years in jail on state security charges, report the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), PEN International's Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Another journalist was killed in the volatile province of Balochistan, cementing Pakistan's position as one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists today, say the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Posters calling for the death of B92 were plastered around a town in Serbia last week, the day after the independent broadcaster aired a show reporting on irregularities at the local coal mine, report the Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).