World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Journalism Is A Profession, Not A Criminal Offence

World Press Freedom Day May 3


Journalists across the world are being targeted by governments for carrying out their legitimate investigative reporting work.

Journalists have been harassed, tortured, and even killed for reporting the news, and their work is often censored. Democracies and authoritarian regimes have neglected to protect the right to freedom of expression.

On the eve of World Press Freedom Day Amnesty International is calling on governments to make a public commitment to freedom of expression, and to guarantee protection for journalists.

Celebrate your freedom of expression on World Press Freedom Day (May 3), by drawing attention to the human rights of journalists and editors around the world at the end of your news bulletins, and in editorial comment.

All New Zealanders will be invited to celebrate their freedoms by raising their glass in a toast "to freedom" on May 28, Amnesty International's 40th birthday, we hope you will contribute to this celebration.

Further information relating to World Press Freedom Day is attached.

World Press Freedom Day May 3
Asia: Freedom of expression at risk

Across the Asia Pacific region, Amnesty International has recorded dozens of cases of human rights abuses against journalists in recent years.

In Myanmar, the media is strictly controlled by the military authorities, and the law imposes draconian restrictions on the right to freedom of expression. Journalists, writers and editors are among the more than 1800 political prisoners currently held in the country's prisons.

Seventy-one year old journalist U Win Tin is serving a 20 year sentence in Insein Prison, Yangon. Initially arrested during the military authorities' 1989 crackdown for allegedly urging the opposition party, the National League for Democracy to adopt a civil disobedience campaign, he has been behind bars since then, and is in failing health.

In 1996, U Win Tin was accused of passing on information about prison conditions to the United Nations. Together with a group of other men, he was held in tiny military dog cells, made to sleep on cold concrete floors and denied visits from his family. U Win Tin is suffering from a heart condition and spondylitis (inflammation of the vertebrae). Amnesty International is calling for his immediate release.

In countries where there is armed conflict journalists are often on the frontline, and risk being caught in the crossfire, or being targeted for their reporting, captured, tortured and "disappeared".

During the years of armed conflict in Sri Lanka, journalists have been subjected not only to censorship from the government, but to attacks from both the security forces, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Mylvaganam Nimalrajan, a correspondent for several newspapers and international agencies, at his home in Jaffna on 20 October 2000 allegedly by members of the Eelam People's Democratic Party, allied to the security forces. Before he was killed, he had reported allegations of vote-rigging and threats during the October elections.

In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, journalist Surinder Oberoi was one of the first on the scene at a bomb attack near his office in Srinigar in January 2001. When Special Operations Group Police arrived, they accused him of being there quickly because "journalists are hand in glove with the militants". The Superintendent of Police allegedly threatened to kill Mr Oberoi, and joined three other police beating him with rifles. He has since been asked by these same policemen to withdraw his official complaint of ill-treatment.

The rise of "new media" through the use of Internet technology and the opportunities this presents to journalists to disseminate information to a global audience is seen as a threat by repressive governments.

In China, Huang Qi founded a website in June 1999. Postings on the site increasingly drew attention to alleged corruption and human rights violations. A year after he set up the site, Huang Qi was detained on charges of subversion. At the opening hearing of his trial in February 2001, Huang Qi fainted, and the proceedings were postponed. Huang Qi's wife claims he has been beaten in detention, has lost a tooth, has a scar on his head and suffers from pain in his testicles. Huang's wife is denied permission to see him and his lawyer has difficulty visiting him.

Amnesty International continues to document such cases around the world and calls on governments to uphold the right to freedom of expression.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO:

Myanmar: UN Chief Rohingya Refugee Crisis Enters Second Year

Over 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to ramshackle refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area, Bangladesh after being forced from their homes by a military operation which UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein compared, at the time, to ethnic cleansing. More>>

ALSO:

Scott Morrison In Hot Seat: NZ Congratulates Current Australian PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today congratulated Scott Morrison on winning the leadership of the Australian Liberal Party and has acknowledged outgoing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. More>>

ALSO:

Swing States: Gordon Campbell On Why The US Needs MMP

After the bizarre events this week in Helsinki, the world will be hoping and praying that the US midterm elections in November can put a restraining brake on the presidency of Donald Trump. This may happen, but there’s a highly undemocratic reason why such hopes may be frustrated. More>>

ALSO: