Tag: press freedom

Gambia: Arrests, Media Closures as Deadline Nears

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Rights at Risk as Calls for Jammeh’s Exit Intensify

The government of President Yahya Jammeh, defeated in Gambia’s December presidential election, has arbitrarily arrested opposition sympathizers and closed three independent radio stations in the past week, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. Jammeh is required under Gambia’s Constitution to cede power to President-elect Adama Barrow by January 19, 2017.

Since December 31, intelligence agents have arrested and briefly detained at least six people for wearing or selling T-shirts bearing the logo of the #Gambiahasdecided movement, which has called for Jammeh to respect the election results and step down. Several senior members of the movement have fled Gambia after receiving credible threats from alleged National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officers. On January 1, 2017, intelligence agents forcibly closed three private radio stations, depriving Gambians of independent sources of information during this critical period.

Journalist Flees Kazakhstan Fearing Persecution

The chief editor of a leading news website in Kazakhstan has announced that he has left the country out of concern that he may be targeted for prosecution.

Bekzhan Idrisov, who edits Radiotochka.kz, made the announcement on his Facebook page on December 26. The publisher of his website and editor of Central Asia Monitor newspaper, Bigeldy Gabdullin, was detained by the authorities in mid-November on suspicion of committing fraud.

Stories of reporters feeling compelled to flee Kazakhstan are a stark reminder of the problems face by independent media in the country as they negotiate financial constraints and pressure from the government to refrain from critical coverage.

Qatar: Independent News Website Blocked

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Further Undermines Media Freedom

Qatari authorities have blocked Doha News, the country’s only independent news website, in a move that undermines Qatar’s attempts to present itself as a center for media freedom in the Gulf region, Human Rights Watch said today. Doha News has been publishing news about Qatar online for six years, but on November 30, 2016, authorities there ordered Qatar’s two internet service providers, Vodafone and Ooredoo, to block the site, making it inaccessible to internet users in Qatar.

A Doha News spokesperson told Human Rights Watch that Qatari authorities said that the site’s reporting had upset “several” unnamed government ministries and cited concerns over its failure to formally register in Qatar. Doha News is registered and hosted in the United States, but its journalists live and work in Qatar. In October, Doha News published an editorial calling on the authorities to amend provisions of the 2014 cybercrime law to “preserve free speech and protect journalism in the country.”

Standing Rock Protectors Threatened With Blockade Of Food And Medicine

Tensions flare once more as North Dakota officials graduate their militarized tactics against protesters. Sheriffs have now threatened a blockade of people, food, and medicine to the camps.

The threats comes on the heels of the US Army Corps of Engineers warning protesters to leave by December 5th. Anyone remaining stay under fear of prosecution for trespassing. Fines have also thrown into the basket of incentives for the water protectors to surrender.

Establishing a blockade represents yet another ultra-militarized tactic used against peaceful American citizens. Denying nourishment and medical treatment is a classic strategy to degrade will and resolve. Combined with harsh weather conditions, water protectors are faced with a tormentingly deadly roulette.

Stop the Presses

The latest attacks on journalists and news organizations by corrupt populists are contributing to a global rollback of fundamental rights.

Imagine that Donald Trump wins the presidency. Then, as he has done throughout his career, he goes after his enemies. He purges the Republican Party of everyone who refused to support him. He initiates criminal proceedings against Hillary Clinton.

And he shuts down The New York Times and The Washington Post.

It sounds like an unlikely scenario. Even if he does somehow manage to pull his campaign out of hospice to win in November, Trump wouldn’t be able to just close the leading newspapers in the United States, however much he might despise the liberal media.

Press freedom groups call on Bangladesh to release British journalist, 81

Dozens of press freedom groups around the world are calling on Bangladesh to free an elderly British journalist held without charge for over three months.

In a joint letter to Bangladesh’s justice minister Anisul Huq, 26 groups highlight their “serious concerns” about the ongoing detention and treatment of Shafik Rehman, 81, who is in custody in Dhaka.

Signatories include Index on Censorship, the International Federation of Journalists and Reporters Without Borders/RSF. Reprieve, the human rights organisation who coordinated the letter, is concerned that Mr Rehman could be charged with offences that carry a potential death penalty.

Clinton Email Hack Show’s Campaign Monitored Unfriendly Or Critical Journalists

Hackers who allegedly infiltrated the DNC’s servers continue to raise the bar for info-jacking, and leaking. They’ve now moved to discredit repeated Clinton campaign denials that they too were had. A steaming hot cache of campaign documents, leaked to outlets, unveil the organization’s disturbing surveillance of journalists. The near Orwellian findings add to Clinton’s pattern of subversion and control of press and information freedom.

These most recent leaks were sent to the Smoking Gun, an outlet specializing in document acquisition. According to Smoking Gun, infiltrators targeted the email’s of staffers working in communications, campaign finance, and policy advisement.