South Asia Media Solidarity Network - March 2013
South Asia Media Solidarity Network - March 2013
Welcome to the e-bulletin of the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) for the month of March 2013. The next bulletin will be sent on April 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: email@example.com
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
Three Pakistan journalists slain inside a week
The crisis of safety for journalists in Pakistan was again in evidence. Between the February 25th to March 1st three journalists were killed in separate incidents in three provinces of the country. On February 25 Khushnood Ali Shaikh, the chief reporter of the state-controlled Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) wire agency was killed in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province when he was struck in a hit-and-run incident with a car. On 27 February in Miranshah, North Waziristan, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), journalist Malik Mumtaz Khan, was on his way to his home when he was gunned down by armed men waiting in a vehicle with tinted windows of the kind widely used by militants. On March 1, Mehmood Ahmed Afridi, a correspondent for the newspaper Intikhab, was killed by gunmen travelling by motorcycle in Kalat, in the south-western province of Balochistan.
These tragic events occurred during the same week that an IFJ international delegation - with SAMSN partner the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) - was undertaking an assessment of the press freedom situation in a country now regarded as among the most dangerous for journalists and meeting with high level officials to advocate for stronger measures to ensure journalists are able to report freely and safely.
Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/journalist-shot-killed-in-pakistan-pfuj-demands-arrest-of-killers and http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/three-journalists-slain-in-one-week.
Indian journalist discharged in terror case; another granted
SAMSN has welcomed the release of Muthiur Rahman Siddiqui, a journalist based in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, after six months in detention on terror charges. The twenty-six year old reporter and sub-editor with the Deccan Herald, Bengaluru’s oldest and most well-known newspaper group was arrested by local police on August 27 last year, on charges of involvement in a plot hatched by overseas terror groups to kill a number of well-known public figures in the city. The police failed to produce any credible evidence implicating him in the alleged plot leading to his discharge. In another development in the same state of India, K.K. Shahina, a senior investigative journalist, was granted bail in a case of criminal intimidation of witnesses, filed following a story she wrote for the weekly magazine Tehelka in December 2010.
Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/indian-journalist-released-after-six-months-detention-on-terror-charges; and http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/bail-granted-for-indian-journalist-but-worries-persist-over-political-pressures.
Journalists injured in Bangladesh political turmoil; another
attacked with bombs
SAMSN partners in Bangladesh have expressed their deep concern at the injuries suffered by a number of journalists in attacks by political activists in the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong, as protests engulfed Bangladesh on February 22. At least ten journalists were injured when activists of the Islamic political party, the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, the Chhatra Shibir, demanding the dispersal of youth protesters gathered in another quarter of the city, clashed with police in the national capital Dhaka.
In another event which is possibly connected to the ongoing political turmoil, Nayeemul Islam Khan, editor of the daily newspaper Amader Orthoneeti, and his wife Nasima Khan, were injured when the car they were travelling in after attending a social function in Dhaka on the night of March 11, was attacked with petrol bombs.
Further details at: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/journalists-injured-as-political-protests-engulf-bangladesh and http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-condemns-bomb-attack-on-newspaper-editor-in-bangladesh.
Physical attacks on journalists peak in
SAMSN partner, the Maldives Journalists’ Association (MJA), has sharply condemned three attacks against journalists in the island nation on Friday, February 22. In the most serious incident, Ibrahim Waheed Aswad, news head of the Rajje TV channel was hit on the head with an iron rod near the artificial beach area in the Maldivian capital city of Male. He suffered serious injuries to the head and face and has since been transferred for critical medical treatment to the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo. Just prior to this incident, two women in senior editorial and reporting functions at the Maldives Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Aishath Liza and Aminath Saani, were assaulted in the city and a packet full of a corrosive industrial fluid thrown at them. Both suffered burn injuries.
Maldives privileges law may endanger press
SAMSN partner, the Maldives Journalists Association (MJA) has sounded an alarm over a recently passed Parliamentary Privileges Act that could soon become law. Initially passed by the Maldives parliament, the Majlis in December 2012, the act was returned by President Mohammad Waheed for reconsideration. In passing the act afresh, overriding the presidential veto, the Majlis has indicated its intention to convert his act into law without further delay. The MJA believes that section 17(a) of the act which empowers Parliament or one of its committees to summon anyone to “give witness or to hand over any information” of interest, is too broad in its provisions and could undermine the constitutional protection that journalists currently enjoy.
SAMSN partner, DUJ, submits memorandum as India opens public
consultations on media ownership
The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), a SAMSN partner, has made a submission to a public consultation on rules of media ownership. The process was initiated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on a mandate from India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. A consultation paper was introduced on February 15 and comments and recommendations will be received until April 15.
Indian union opposes minimum entry qualifications for
SAMSN partners in India, including the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) have advised that a recent move by the Press Council of India to impose minimum academic qualifications for entry into the profession of journalism, be abandoned. The move was announced by the PCI through a March 12 press note introduced by its chairman Markandey Katju, a former judge of the Supreme Court of India.
IFJ and PFUJ conclude press freedom mission in
The IFJ along with SAMSN partner, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, concluded a press freedom mission in Pakistan between March 2 and 6. The mission team which included former IFJ president Christopher Warren, senior Nepali editor Kanak Mani Dixit and President of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Eko Maryadi and IFJ and PFUJ staff, concluded meetings in Karachi and Lahore, before arriving in Pakistan’s national capital of Islamabad for two days of meetings, followed by a national conference on March 5. The national conference was addressed by Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik among several others. A complete report from the mission is under preparation, for release before March end.
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