International Federation of Journalists Bulletin: July 2011
journalists killed in Pakistan blast; Shahzad inquiry starts
The IFJ was deeply saddened to learn that a trainee journalist who was badly injured in a double-blast in Peshawar, Pakistan, on June 11 has died. Shafiullah Khan, 28, died on the night of June 16 in a hospital at Wah Cantonment, near Rawalpindi, where he was being treated for severe burns. His colleague, Asfandyar Abid Naveed, of the daily Akhbar-i-Khyber, died in the same incident, when a suicide attack at the Khyber Super Market late on June 11 followed a low-intensity blast a few minutes earlier.
Meanwhile, the IFJ commended the success of affiliate the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in securing an independent judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court justice to investigate last month’s abduction and murder in Pakistan of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. PFUJ President Pervez Shaukat will serve as a member in the commission, which held its first proceedings on June 27.
2. Murder highlights impunity as live coverage
of massacre trials goes ahead
The IFJ joined its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the murder of dwEB-FM radio commentator Romeo Olea in Camarines Sur province on June 13. Olea was on his way to work about 5.30am when he was shot by three gunmen on the outskirts of Iriga in the northern Philippines. He died shortly after in hospital. Olea is the fourth media worker to be killed in the Philippines this year and the fifth since the inauguration of President Benigno Aquino III on June 30, 2010.
Olea’s murder came just 24 hours after the Philippines Supreme Court approved a petition for live media coverage of the Ampatuan Massacre trials. The petition was submitted to the court last November 19 by the NUJP with several of the victims’ families, colleagues, academics and three of the biggest media organisations in the Philippines.
3. Shock and outrage at murder of senior journalist in India
The IFJ was shocked and outraged at the daylight murder of Jyotirmoy Dey, senior journalist and special investigations editor with the afternoon daily Midday, in the western Indian city of Mumbai. Dey was shot dead on the afternoon of June 11 as he drove home on his motorcycle in the Powai suburb of Mumbai. He was reportedly trailed by four men on two motorcycles who fired eight shots. Dey suffered serious injuries to his head and chest and is believed to have died on the spot.
4. Five members of media crew in Afghanistan finally safe
The Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA), an IFJ affiliate, welcomed the release of two French journalists and their Afghan interpreter, 18 months after they were taken hostage in the north-eastern Afghan province of Kapisa. Reporter Hervé Ghesquière and cameraman Stéphane Taponierm, of France 3 TV, and their Afghan interpreter Reza Din are now safely back in their respective homes. A driver and a local facilitator for the news crew, identified only by the names of Ghulam and Sattar, were also taken captive at the same time and released some weeks back. This detail was kept secret to ensure that no harm came to the three remaining hostages.
SAMSN meeting planned for Kathmandu, July 29-31
Preparations are under way for the 2011 meeting of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN), to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal from July 29-31. This important gathering offers leaders of the region’s journalists’ unions, professional associations and press freedom advocacy groups an opportunity to devise common campaign strategies to promote and defend press freedom in the region and promote cross-border solidarity and cooperation. This year’s meeting will focus on the use of social media and other online tools in campaigning and advocacy and will strengthen ties between the members of the network by formalising its structure.
6. China authorities
dismiss blacklist fears after international
The IFJ was pleased the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) in China acknowledged that the government will not allow the creation of media “blacklists” by government departments or institutions. The move follows the IFJ expressing concerns about statements made by China Health Education Centre director and spokesperson of the media and promotion office Mao Qunan, who said on June 13 that the Ministry of Health (MOH) would prepare a list to curb certain journalists and media workers from “polluting the communications environment”. In a June 27 story titled “Establishment of so-called reporters blacklist by press information department not allowed”, state-controlled Xinhua News Agency reported that a GAPP official stated that no law or regulation allows any organisation or individual to harass or interrupt media personnel when they are exercising their legal rights.
7. Concerns for detained journalists in Mongolia and Yemen
The IFJ was concerned by the continued detention of Ulaanbaatar Times editor-in-chief Chuluunbaatar Dolgor, who has been held in custody since his arrest on March 24. The IFJ joined affiliate the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists in calling for his immediate release, as the Parliament of Mongolia passed new freedom of information legislation, known as the Law on Information, Transparency, Right and Freedom to Access Information. The law, passed on June 16, will take effect on December 1.
The IFJ is also concerned by the imprisonment of Middle East-based freelancer Glen Johnson, who was arrested last week for entering Yemen illegally while researching a story commissioned by a UK-based publication about people smuggling in Africa. At the time of writing, Al Jazeera reports suggested Johnson will be released and deported to his native New Zealand. Twitter users can share messages of support for Johnson by using the #FreeGlen hashtag or by liking this Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/FreeGlen?ref=ts
8. INSI seeks women’s perspectives for new safety guide
The International News Safety Institute (INSI) is appealing to women journalists to share their advice, anecdotes and experiences in the first safety guide solely dedicated to women in the media. INSI's decision to prepare this ground-breaking publication was prompted by the brutal attack on CBS reporter Lara Logan in Egypt in February. INSI’s guide will not just be for women covering conflict or civil unrest. It will be a comprehensive collection for all female media professionals working in environments where their safety might be put at risk.
9. Call for applications: 2011 Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize
The Prize recognises outstanding journalists, some of whom take great risks to expose injustice and suffering. Established in 1992 by the European Commission, the Lorenzo Natali Prize is awarded in memory of Lorenzo Natali, a former European Commissioner who sought to further the European Union’s development and aid programs. To be eligible for submission, journalistic works need to have been published or broadcast during the period from 1 July 2010 to 31 August 2011. The deadline to submit applications is 31 August 2011.
Entries should be submitted electronically at www.lorenzonataliprize.eu.
If affiliates have any information on a press freedom violation, please make sure you immediately contact staff at IFJ Asia-Pacific so action can be taken.