South Asia Media Solidarity Network e-Bulletin, Feb 2013
South Asia Media Solidarity Network e-Bulletin, February 2013
Welcome to the e-bulletin of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) for the month of February 2013. The next bulletin will be sent on March 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: firstname.lastname@example.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
1. Media shutdown in Kashmir and detention of journalist following the execution of terrorism convict
Media in the Kashmir valley, shut down on February 9, following the imposition of a curfew by the Indian government, in preparation for the execution of a person convicted of offences relating to the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliamentary compound. The same day, a senior journalist of Kashmiri origin based in the Indian national capital of Delhi was detained under heavy police guard in the residential premises of his father-in-law and his family, including his children were harassed. As this bulletin is prepared, the curfew is gradually being lifted in the Kashmir valley and there are signs that newspapers could possibly begin publishing again.
2. Journalists in Bangladesh observe anniversary of traumatic twin murder
SAMSN partners in Bangladesh observed a day of protest on February 11, calling for results in the investigation of the murder of married couple Sagor Sarowar and Meherun Runi, both journalists, one year earlier. After the initial failure by local police to identify the murderers, or even establish a motive, the investigations were assigned to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an anti-terrorism force believed to have greater expertise. Despite making nine arrests, the RAB is yet to establish the killer’s identities, or a possible motive.
3. Indian journalist continues to be detained after legal challenge to his release
SAMSN partners have strongly criticised the continuing detention of Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje for over three months on charges of involvement in a July 2012 vigilante attack on a group of partying teenagers in the city of Mangalore, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The cabinet in the state of Karnataka reportedly arrived at a decision to drop charges against him but his release has been prevented following a legal challenge in the High Court.
4. Continuing attacks against journalists in Nepal
SAMSN has taken note of the continuing attacks on journalists in Nepal, most recently in the Kavre district in the central region of the country, in which cadres of the Young Communist League (YCL) assaulted and seriously injured a number of journalists who had gathered to cover an event involving three senior leaders of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), including Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. The YCL is the youth affiliate of the Maoist party, which currently leads Nepal’s government. Reports from SAMSN partner the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) indicate that the incident occurred on January 29, and was followed immediately afterwards by a number of threats against news photographers who had recorded the attacks. This incident has followed an alarming increase in threats against journalists in Dailekh, a district in the far western region of Nepal, following the arrest of ruling Maoist party cadres in connection with the murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa. Journalists in the region have been threatened that they would ‘meet the same fate’ as Thapa; over 20 journalists fled the area after the attacks and death threats.
Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/continuing-assaults-on-journalists-by-political-cadre-in-nepal and http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/growing-threats-to-dailekh-based-journalists
5. Three years since disappearance of Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda
Sri Lanka’s journalists observed the three-year anniversary of the disappearance of their colleague Prageeth Ekneligoda on January 25. SAMSN partners have reminded the Government of Sri Lanka that it continues to be seriously remiss in meeting its commitments on national reconciliation and taking accountability for human rights abuses during the island nation’s quarter-century long civil war and its immediate aftermath.
6. Afghan daily wins international award
Afghan daily newspaper, Hast-e-Subah was awarded the 2012 Press Freedom Prize from Reporters Without Borders. Editor and owner Sanjar Suhail accepted the prize in December. Established in 2007, Hasht-e Subah has been recognised for its work in establishing the premises of a free media by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy.
Further details at: http://www.ned.org/node/2494.
Afghan Independent Journalists' Association,
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