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South Asia Media Solidarity Network e-Bulletin, January 2013

South Asia Media Solidarity Network e-Bulletin, January 2013

Welcome to the e-bulletin of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) for the month of January 2013. The next bulletin will be sent on February 15, 2013 and inputs are most welcome. We encourage contributions to let others know what you are doing; to seek solidarity and support from other SAMSN members; and to find out what others are doing in the region.

To contribute, email: ifj@ifj-asia.org

SAMSN is a group of journalists’ trade unions, press freedom organisations and journalists in South Asia that have agreed to work together to support freedom of expression and association in the region. SAMSN was formed at a meeting of these groups in Kathmandu, Nepal, in September 2004. The group agreed to stand in solidarity and work together for media reform, for an independent pluralist media and to build public respect for the work of journalists in the region.

For further information on SAMSN, visit: www.ifj-asia.org/page/samsn.html

Please distribute this bulletin widely among colleagues in the media.

1. Three journalists killed in Quetta twin bomb attack

SAMSN partners have joined the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in sharply condemning the death of three journalists in a twin bomb strike on a snooker club in Quetta, capital city of Balochistan province on January 10. News channel cameraman Imran Shaikh and photographer Mohammad Iqbal were killed on the spot, when a second bomb was detonated as first responders and journalists gathered to assess the damage caused by an initial blast. Saifur Rahman, a senior reporter with a news channel died two days later of serious injuries sustained at the scene.

Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-and-pfuj-condemn-death-of-cameraman-photographer-in-quetta-twin-blasts and http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-condemns-death-of-another-journalist-in-quetta-twin-blasts.

2. SAMSN calls for transparency in investigation of Indian journalist’s killing

IFJ has on behalf of SAMSN partners, demanded that the government of the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur should publish the report of an official inquiry into the killing of freelance news cameraman Thangjam Nanao Singh. Nanao Singh who worked for India’s state-controlled TV broadcaster, Doordarshan and numerous other channels, died of bullet wounds as he covered a public demonstration on December 23 in Imphal, capital of Manipur state. The report from the official inquiry ordered by the state government was submitted on January 4, but is yet to be made public. Meanwhile, India’s National Human Rights Commission has asked the state government to explain what steps it has been taking to ensure that those responsible for the death of the journalist are brought to account.

Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/manipur-state-government-in-india-should-publish-report-on-journalists-death; and http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=22..170113.jan13.

3. Arrests made in killing of Nepali journalists; protests follow political intervention

The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and other SAMSN partners have welcomed the arrest of five persons for the murder in August 2004 of Dekendra Thapa, a journalist with Radio Nepal and the Kathmandu-based Nepal Samacharpatra daily in Dailekh district in the far-western region of Nepal. Following the arrest of one person, an active cadre of a major political party in Nepal, on January 3, the police arrested four others on the basis of his reported confession. Days later, the Prime Minister of Nepal ordered the investigation stopped on the grounds that a crime that occurred during the country’s civil war would not come under ordinary criminal jurisdiction and should be left to a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The International Media Mission to Nepal, in which SAMSN is an active partner, addressed an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to let the prosecution proceed, so that the climate of impunity is dispelled.

Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-welcomes-arrests-in-2004-murder-of-nepali-journalist and http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/international-media-mission-addresses-open-letter-to-nepal-prime-minister.

4. Journalists face arrest, legal harassment and prosecution in India’s Karnataka state

SAMSN partners have strongly condemned two cases of journalists being targeted with criminal action by the authorities in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Naveen Soorinje, a reporter with the Kannada language Kasturi news channel has been in detention since November 7 on charges of being involved in a mob attack on a group of teenagers in a resort located in the district of Mangalore. While the footage that he gathered and broadcast over his channel was invaluable in the arrest of those who were actually behind the attack, there has been no evidence of his involvement.

In another case, charges of criminal conspiracy and intimidation of witnesses have been laid against K.K. Shahina, who as a reporter with Tehelka magazine, had published a story suggesting that the Karnataka police’s case against an Islamic cleric on terrorism charges was based on suspect evidence.

Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-condemns-continuing-detention-of-indian-journalist-naveen-soorinje and http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-deeply-concerned-over-criminal-charges-against-indian-investigative-reporter.

5. Sri Lanka’s journalists to observe “Black January”

The Free Media Movement and other SAMSN partners – the Sri Lanka Journalists’ Association, the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions, the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance and the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum -- are continuing their “Black January” observances with mass protests and demonstrations on January 28 under the slogan “Resist Suppression of the Media: Uphold Rule of Law”. This observance began in 2012, to commemorate numerous atrocities against journalism that occurred in the month of January over various years, including the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunga and the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda.

Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/on-anniversary-of-lasantha-wickrematungas-killing-ifj-deplores-climate-of-impunity and http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/three-years-on-no-clues-on-prageeth-ekneligodas-disappearance.

6. Brutal attack on Bangladesh blogger

Bangladesh blogger Asif Mohiuddn was attacked by unknown assailants and suffered serious stab wounds to his neck and back on January 14 in a neighbourhood of Dhaka city. Mohiuddin’s blog titled “Almighty only in name, but impotent in reality” carries material that is critical of organised religion both in Bangladesh and elsewhere. Human rights issues, including freedom of expression, are also a theme addressed in the blog.
Further details at: https://www.cpj.org/2013/01/bangladeshi-blogger-hospitalized-after-being-stabb.php.

7. Journalists in Afghanistan form new federation

Nine journalists’ organisations and campaign groups in Afghanistan, including SAMSN partner, the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA) have formed an umbrella body to coordinate their activities and campaign more effectively for media freedom and journalists’ rights. The organisers addressed a news conference on January 20, at which they said that the establishment of the Afghanistan Journalists’ Federation (AJF) would strengthen democracy, independence of media and defend the rights of journalists. Akhpalwak Safi of the AIJA is represented on the AJF, as is Abdul Hameed Mobarez of the Afghanistan National Journalists’ Union.

Further details at: http://unama.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=12254&ctl=Details&mid=15756&ItemID=36278&language=en-US.

8. “Media for Freedom” awards instituted for South Asia

The Media for Freedom foundation set up by a group of South Asians in the U.S., has instituted an award to be given every two years to a young woman journalist from South Asia who has made an outstanding contribution towards public understanding of women’s rights and empowerment.

Further details at: http://mediaforfreedom.com/readarticle.php?AID=17584.

9. Maldives journalists fear that new “Freedom of Assembly Bill” will impede their work

SAMSN partner, the Maldives Journalists’ Association (MJA) has expressed concern over certain clauses in the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Bill passed by the national parliament on December 26. This bill includes a number of measures such as banning demonstrations outside private residences and government buildings, as well as establishing reporting limitations on media not accredited with the state. It stipulates that only journalists who have official accreditation will be permitted to report on public gatherings and police activities in the country. The MJA has called for a review of this provision.

Further details at: http://minivannews.com/politics/mja-express-concern-over-media-limitations-outlined-in-assembly-bill-49921.

IFJ Asia-Pacific
http://asiapacific.ifj.org
ifj@ifj-asia.org

SAMSN Members:

Afghan Independent Journalists' Association, Afghanistan
Bangladesh Journalists' Rights Forum (BJRF), Bangladesh
Dhaka Reporters' Unity, Bangladesh
All India Newspapers Employees' Federation (AINEF), India
Indian Journalists' Union (IJU), India
National Union of Journalists India (NUJI), India
Maldives Journalists Association
Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Nepal
National Union of Journalists Nepal (NUJN), Nepal
Nepal Press Union (NPU), Nepal
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Pakistan
Pakistan Press Foundation, Pakistan
Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), Sri Lanka
Federation of Media Employees' Trade Unions (FMETU), Sri Lanka
Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka
Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF: Human Rights Journalists Forum of Bangladesh)
Media Watch, Bangladesh

ENDS

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