World (NI) – Trump and politicians in other democracies are normalising attacks on the press, warns Reporters Without Borders. First world democracies are setting lower standards for freedom of the press relative to the rest of the world, a newly published…
Angolan authorities should immediately drop charges against two journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Rafael Marques de Morais, who runs the anti-corruption website Maka Angola, and Mariano Bras, of the weekly, O Crime, were charged with “crimen injuria,” which is similar to insult laws, the journalists told CPJ.
Marques de Morais told CPJ a prosecutor questioned him for three hours on December 27 before charging him with crimen injuria over an article he wrote and published on Maka Angola in October. The article alleged wrongdoing by Angola’s attorney general, João Maria de Sousa, in his purchase of state-owned land.
Ruthless Assault on Press Freedom Shields State from Scrutiny
Turkey’s government has all but silenced independent media in an effort to prevent scrutiny or criticism of its ruthless crackdown on perceived enemies, Human Rights Watch said today. The assault on critical journalism sharpened in 2014 but accelerated after the failed coup attempt in July 2016, denying Turkey’s population access to a regular flow of independent information from domestic newspapers, radio, and television stations about developments in the country.
The 69-page report, “Silencing Turkey’s Media: The Government’s Deepening Assault on Critical Media,” documents five important components of the crackdown on independent domestic media in Turkey, including the use of the criminal justice system to prosecute and jail journalists on bogus charges of terrorism, insulting public officials, or crimes against the state. Human Rights Watch also documented threats and physical attacks on journalists and media organizations; government interference with editorial independence and pressure on media organizations to fire critical journalists; the government’s takeover or closure of private media companies; and restrictions on access to the airwaves, fines, and closure of critical television stations.
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.”