Headlines Free Expression Spotlight


Headlines Free Expression Spotlight
Vol. 20 No. 24 | 15 June 2011
India / Pakistan / Philippines: IFEX members call for journalists' protection following deadly week for media
Iran: Authorities responsible for death of dissident Hoda Saber, says RSF
United States: Justice served in Chauncey Bailey case thanks to journalist collective
Swaziland: MISA welcomes long-awaited Media Complaints Commission
South Africa: Show your opposition to secrecy bill
International / Gender: CPJ includes sexual aggression in journalist security guide
International / Awards and other opportunities: Artists: Apply now for the Freedom to Create Prize
Free Expression Spotlight
INDIA / PAKISTAN / PHILIPPINES: IFEX members call for journalists' protection
following deadly week for media
It was another deadly week for journalists in Asia, with at least three journalists killed in
separate incidents in Pakistan, India and the Philippines. With such abysmal records
bringing the murderers of slain journalists to justice - all three countries rank in the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Impunity Index - the outlook is bleak for the latest
victims, say IFEX members, who are calling for new ways to address journalists' safety
and to counter impunity.
In a pattern that has become all too familiar in the provinces in the Philippines, radio commentator Romeo Olea was shot
twice in the back on 13 June in Iriga City, Camarines Sur, while riding his motorcycle to work, reports the Center for
Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). Olea anchored the news programme "Anything Goes" on radio dwEB, and
often discussed issues concerning the city's government.
According to news reports, Olea's wife reported that he had recently received death threats.
If work related, Olea's killing would be the fourth case of a journalist/media worker killed in the line of duty under the
administration of Benigno Aquino III, says CMFR. The first work-related killing under Aquino's rule was that of another
dwEB broadcaster, Miguel Belen, who was gunned down on 9 July 2010 and succumbed to his injuries on 31 July 2010.
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) criticised
the administration for failing to address continued attacks on journalists despite Aquino's personal pledge to protect
human rights.
Meanwhile, in eerily similar circumstances in Mumbai, India, senior journalist and special investigations editor with the
daily "Midday" paper Jyotirmoy Dey was shot dead in broad daylight on 11 June by four men on motorcycles as he
IFEX Communiqué Vol 20, No 24
drove home on his motorcycle, report IFEX South Asian members.
Dey was a veteran of the crime beat in Mumbai and recently published several exclusive reports that exposed Mumbai's
powerful oil mafia and money launderers, which may have earned the ire of powerful organised crime syndicates, his
colleagues said.
According to CPJ, Maharashtra's State Chief Minister denied demands from Dey's colleagues to take the investigation
out of the hands of the Mumbai police and hand it over to the State's Central Bureau of Investigation. Keeping the
investigation small disturbs CPJ.
"Too many Indian journalists can be killed without repercussions: it has become a national embarrassment," said CPJ.
"India's authorities need to act quickly to address this impunity."
And then in Pakistan, which was the deadliest country for journalists last year, Asfandyar Abid Naveed, a reporter for
the daily "Akhbar-i-Khyber", was killed and at least six other journalists were injured when two blasts ripped through
Khyber Supermarket, a commercial and residential area of Peshawar on 11 June, report CPJ.
According to Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), 39 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the blasts. Police
investigators believe the first low intensity bomb was planted as a trap to attract police and journalists who were
expected to come to the site of the explosion to cover the story. The second larger blast, apparently a suicide bomb,
then went off after the crowd had grown.
IFJ is urging media personnel and their employers to undertake "urgent measures" to ensure safe reporting in Pakistan,
such as being educated on the "frequent recourse to the double-blast strategy" in the region, and knowing which areas
are susceptible to attack. Just last month investigative journalist Nasrullah Khan Afridi was killed in an apparently
targeted bomb blast in the same market, says PPF.
The double blast came a day after Pakistan's government failed to meet a 10 June deadline, set by the Pakistan Federal
Union of Journalists (PFUJ), to establish a judicial commission to investigate last month's abduction and murder of
journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, reports CPJ.
Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia programme coordinator, recommends that the media industry attempt to address the problem
itself. "The government is unable to protect journalists from attacks. Therefore, media owners, managers and journalists
in the field must quickly unite and together work hard on establishing and ensuring their security."
Dietz recommends trying to prevent deaths in the first place - with a Pakistani organisation designated to compile and
monitor data on journalists who are threatened or are in immediate danger.
"The goal would be to create a hub of experts and gather knowledge about the assaults, kidnappings and murders of
journalists over the years," said Dietz.
Related stories on ifex.org:
Radio commentator killed in Camarines Sur
Shock and outrage at murder of senior journalist in Mumbai
Journalist killed, eight others injured in Peshawar blasts
More on the web:
How can Pakistani journalists protect themselves? (CPJ)
Call for urgent steps to protect journalists after Peshawar suicide bombing (RSF)
IFEX Communiqué Vol 20, No 24
Regional news
IRAN: Authorities responsible for death of dissident Hoda Saber, says RSF
The Iranian authorities are responsible for the death of jailed journalist and dissident
Hoda Saber, who died of a heart attack on 10 June after going on hunger strike, says
Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Saber, who was in his 50s, began his strike on 2 June to protest the death of opposition figure Haleh Sahabi, during an
incident at the funeral of her activist father.
According to public statements by Hoda's sister, Saber suffered a heart attack at early on 10 June, but prison officials
failed to transfer him to a hospital from Tehran's notorious Evin Prison for six hours. According to RSF, his family
learned about his death two days later on the Internet.
"The authorities who arbitrarily arrested him failed to give him proper medical treatment. We support the family's
complaint and demand that the prison deaths of all journalists and political prisoners in Iran be investigated," said RSF.
In a shocking revelation, 64 political prisoners held in the same ward as Saber provided a detailed account on 13 June of
how Saber had been beaten up by state agents right before his death and that he had not suffered from any health
conditions or illness in the past year.
According to his fellow inmates, two hours after being taken to the prison clinic on 10 June, Saber was returned to his
cell and cried out that he had been beaten instead of receiving medical treatment, and that he would file a complaint. A
few hours later he was sent to Modares Hospital, where he died.
"We firmly state that the current [political] establishment is directly responsible for the death of martyr Saber. This heartbreaking incident is not the first of its kind, and as things stand, it will not be the last either," said the inmates.
Saber was jailed in July 2010, along with hundreds of other activists and intellectuals in the wake of Iran's disputed June
2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He had also served several prison terms since 2000.
Haleh Sahabi died on 1 June during a confrontation with security forces at the funeral of her father, Ezatollah Sahabi.
She had been allowed out of prison to attend the ceremony. There are reports that she was hit by security forces and
died of a heart attack.
"We are concerned, and the international community should be concerned, about the vulnerability of hundreds of
political prisoners in Iran, any of whom could fall victim to wilful neglect by the authorities," said the International
Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
Prior to Saber's death, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had documented cases where jailed journalists were
punished for speaking out about abuse while in detention.
Take journalist and blogger Mehdi Mahmoudian, who is serving a five-year prison sentence at the Rajaee Shah prison in
Karaj for documenting abuse and rape of detainees at the now defunct Kahrizak Detention Center. In a letter last year
to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he detailed torture, drug abuse and forced sex among prison inmates, among other
IFEX Communiqué Vol 20, No 24
When the letter was made public recently, prison authorities transferred Mahmoudian to solitary confinement for 10
days and banned him from having visitors for three months, reports CPJ.
In another punitive move, guards repeatedly bashed the head of imprisoned journalist Massoud Bastani into a wall on 2
June after a family visit went a minute longer than the allotted time, reports CPJ. Bastani worked for the reformist
newspaper "Farhikhteganand" and the reformist news website Jomhoriyat until his arrest in July 2009.
"These journalists should not be in prison in the first place but while they are there the authorities have a duty to ensure
their safety and well-being," said CPJ.
Related stories on ifex.org:
Rampant impunity continues to claim victims, say human rights organisations
Imprisoned journalists subjected to abuse
More on the web:
Iranian authorities "responsible for journalist's death" (RSF)
Iran: 64 prisoners testify jailed activist Hoda Saber beaten before died (Eurasia Review)
UNITED STATES: Justice served in Chauncey Bailey case thanks to journalist
Four years ago, U.S. journalist Chauncey Bailey was gunned down on his way to work.
Within weeks, local journalists, including a representative from the Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ), came together as the Chauncey Bailey Project to finish his work looking
at criminal activity at a local bakery and to investigate his death. On 9 June, victory finally
came: the manager and employee of the business were convicted of first-degree murder,
report CPJ and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Bailey, a well-known community journalist and editor of the Oakland Post Group of newspapers in California, had been
investigating the troubled finances of a local business called Your Black Muslim Bakery - whose proprietors and
employees themselves had long rap sheets - when he was killed in the street by a masked gunman on 2 August 2007.
Shortly after, an employee of the bakery, Devaughndre Broussard, confessed to being the gunman - and the case was
considered solved. But Bailey's colleagues asked why only one suspect was charged as an alleged lone gunman when
evidence pointed to a wider conspiracy.
Organised as the ad hoc collective the Chauncey Bailey Project, they uncovered several pieces of evidence that were
only later pursued by Oakland police, and that drew attention to the irregularities of the initial police investigation including the mishandling or withholding evidence by the chief detective.
For instance, the project obtained and made public a secretly recorded police video of Your Black Muslim Bakery's
owner Yusuf Bey IV and other employees at a police station joking about Bailey's murder.
Eventually, in exchange for a lesser sentence, Broussard testified against Bey as well as his co-worker, Antoine
Mackey, for having arranged and ordered the murder. Both were convicted of first-degree murder on 9 June.
Bey was also found guilty for the 2007 deaths of Odell Roberson, Jr. and Michael Wills. Mackey was found guilty of
Wills's death as well, reports CPJ.
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According to the project's executive editor, Robert Rosenthal, the district attorney acknowledged the project's crucial
role in getting the guilty verdicts - an unusual statement for a prosecutor to make. "I would especially like to recognise
and acknowledge the Chauncey Bailey Project, who worked diligently and tirelessly to ensure that the defendants
responsible for these senseless murders were brought to justice," district attorney Nancy O'Malley said, shortly after
the verdicts were announced.
"There is a broader lesson in the success of the Chauncey Bailey Project," said Rosenthal. "In today's journalism world,
collaboration is frequently essential. These verdicts and the work of the Chauncey Bailey Project are a powerful
reminder that investigative reporting plays a crucial role in our democracy."
Related stories on ifex.org:
Newspaper editor gunned down in Oakland
More on the web:
Justice served in Chauncey Bailey murder (CPJ)
Justice served in Chauncey Bailey murder trial (RSF)
The Chauncey Bailey Project website
SWAZILAND: MISA welcomes long-awaited Media Complaints Commission
Fourteen years after the idea was initially bandied about, a new commission that deals with public complaints about the
media has been established in Swaziland, reports the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA). On 7 June, the
government finally registered the Media Complaints Commission (MCC), a media self-regulatory framework for the
According to MISA, the absence of a media complaints mechanism in Swaziland has led to a lack of trust of the media
sector by the majority of citizens. A commission could help stem criminal defamation lawsuits and the practice of selfcensorship, says MISA.
"The MCC will discourage expensive court procedures and mechanisms, and allow for access to a complaints
mechanism by the poor majority of Swazis who rarely are able to defend themselves in court in cases of defamation,"
says MISA.
The idea of a media complaints mechanism was first discussed in 1997, when the government tried to set up a media
commission by law - a move condemned by MISA and other press freedom organisations. They said any governmentled initiative to regulate the media was viewed as an attempt to "muzzle the media and exert undue control on matters of
free expression."
Over the years, MISA and other media advocacy groups have fought for the council's independence and resisted
several government attempts to regulate the media by law, particularly since the country's media are dominated by
state-owned channels and papers. A self-regulated commission could ensure, for example, that politicians would not
have the right to appoint commission members or dole out media licences.
At the same time, media stakeholders felt the body should be registered with the government so that it had legal
standing - a long battle that only culminated last week.
"MISA is proud to note the unwavering stakeholder commitment from both the media and the Swazi government in
finding common ground that led to the final registration of the commission," says MISA.
IFEX Communiqué Vol 20, No 24
Related stories on ifex.org:
MISA expresses concerns over the Draft Media Commission Bill
More on the web:
Victory as Media Complaints Commission finally registered (MISA)
MISA applauds the registration of the Swaziland Media Complaints Commission
Also in this issue
SOUTH AFRICA: Show your opposition to secrecy bill
South Africa's Parliamentary Committee is ramming through an unconstitutional secrecy
bill that could allow government institutions to operate without public scrutiny, and deter
the media from exposing corruption. But public pressure has forced the Committee to
continue the debate. Show your opposition to the bill before it becomes law by signing
Avaaz's petition here.
Right now ruling party MPs are forcing the Parliamentary Committee to vote clause by clause on a "protection of
information" bill that gives nearly every state body - from the National Art Gallery to every university in South Africa the right to classify its information based on a vague definition of "national security". Citizens could be denied
information on where their taxes are going, for example, as well other crucial information they may need to make
important decisions.
Those found guilty of disclosing information could face a minimum of 15 years in jail. The provision is widely seen as an
attempt to curb investigative reporting and criticism of the government.
But public pressure is pushing back. IFEX members the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) and the Media Institute of
Southern Africa (MISA) plus 400 other NGOs, media groups, unions, businesses and religious organisations - and even
former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils - are working together under the banner of the Right2Know campaign to
speak out against the clauses.
Last week, after Right2Know submitted amendments to Parliament and government ministries, ruling party MPs were
forced to prolong finalising the bill until at least August from an original June deadline.
The Right2Know campaign is calling for a "new period of action" to stop the secrecy bill. "We call on all those who are
seriously concerned by this turn of events to make their collective voices heard now," says Right2Know.
Right2Know wants the bill to be abandoned in its current form, and redrawn to be more transparent, have independent
oversight, only apply to security and intelligence agencies, and ensure that media and whistleblowers that disclose
secrets in the public interest are always protected.
Sign now, then forward this - when it reaches 50,000 signatories it will be delivered to Parliament, the Executive and key
international allies.
IFEX Communiqué Vol 20, No 24
Add your name here.
More on the web:
Right2Know website
INTERNATIONAL / GENDER: CPJ includes sexual aggression in journalist
security guide
Following dozens of reports of journalists being sexually victimised on past assignments, such as CBS correspondent
Lara Logan's sexual assault in Cairo this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has added the topic of sexual
aggression against journalists and how to minimise the risk to its journalist security guide.
According to CPJ, both local and foreign journalists have reported being attacked. (See CPJ's new report, The Silencing
Crime: Sexual Violence and Journalists, for documented cases of sexual aggression against journalists.) And although
most victims have been women, men have also targeted, often while in detention or captivity.
"Being aware of one's environment and understanding how one may be perceived in that setting are important in
deterring many forms of sexual aggression," says CPJ.
CPJ's new section on sexual aggression gives journalists some practical suggestions, such as: always seek prior advice
from colleagues with experience in that locale, especially if it's new territory for you; travel and work with colleagues or
(vetted) support staff; keep in touch with your newsroom back home; dress conservatively and in accordance with local
custom; appear confident but avoid striking up conversation or making eye contact with strangers.
And for news organisations: include guidelines on the risk of sexual assault in your security manuals as a way to
increase attention and encourage discussion; identify places where the overall risk is greater, such as conflict zones
where rape is used as a weapon; set clear policies on how to respond to sexual assaults that address the journalist's
needs for medical, legal, and psychological support; create a climate in which journalists can report assaults without
fear of losing future assignments and with confidence they will receive support.
CPJ is committed to documenting instances of sexual assault, and journalists are encouraged to contact CPJ to report
such cases; information about a case is made public or kept confidential at the discretion of the journalist.
CPJ security guide: Addendum on sexual aggression
Related stories on ifex.org:
CPJ and INSI respond to sexual assault on U.S. reporter in Egypt
for the Freedom to Create Prize
The annual Freedom to Create Prize celebrates artists who use their talents to
promote social justice and inspire the human spirit. Enter by 30 July 2011.
The prize has two categories: the Main Prize, open to individuals or artistic groups in all creative fields over the age of
16, and the Imprisoned Artist Prize, focusing on artists who are currently jailed for their artwork. The total prize fund is
IFEX Communiqué Vol 20, No 24
The prize is open to all forms of art, in any creative field and any individual or group of any gender, religion or nationality.
In 2010, nearly 2,000 artists entered from more than 100 countries.
Winners will be unveiled in November 2011at a special ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa.
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The IFEX Communiqué is the weekly newsletter of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), a global network
of 88 organisations working to defend and promote the right to free expression. The IFEX Clearing House is managed by
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.
The views expressed in the IFEX Communiqué are the sole responsibility of the sources to which they are attributed.
The IFEX Communiqué grants permission for its material to be reproduced or republished provided it is credited as the source.
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