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    October 03, 2017

    In response to the arrest of Newsday journalist Kenneth Nyangani for reporting that first lady Grace Mugabe and officials from the ruling ZANU-PF party donated used clothes, including night dresses and underwear, to the party’s supporters in Mutare, Cousin Zilala, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe said:

    “The arrest of Kenneth Nyangani is a deliberate tactic to harass and intimidate him and other journalists in order to deter them from doing their work. The intention is to send a chilling message to journalists and media workers that they must self-censor rather than expose truths.

    “Zimbabwean journalists should not be criminalized simply for doing their work. Kenneth Nyangani must be released immediately and unconditionally and all charges against him dropped.”

     

    For more information please contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations 613-744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    September 06, 2017

    The killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh by gunmen outside her residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday night raises alarms about the state of freedom of expression in the country, said Amnesty International India today.

    “Gauri Lankesh was never afraid of speaking truth to power. Her assassination must be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice,” said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India. “The police must investigate whether she was killed because of her journalism.”

    55-year-old Gauri Lankesh was the editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada weekly. She was widely regarded as an independent and outspoken journalist and activist, and a fierce critic of hardline Hindu groups in Karnataka.

    Speaking to journalists, the Bangalore City Police Commissioner said unidentified men shot Gauri Lankesh from close range, and three bullets hit her on the neck and chest.

    “Critical journalists and activists have increasingly faced threats and attacks across India in recent years. State governments must act to protect those whose voices of dissent are being silenced,” said Asmita Basu.

    August 23, 2017

    The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and their rivals, the de-facto Hamas administration in Gaza, have both tightened the noose on freedom of expression in recent months, launching a repressive clampdown on dissent that has seen journalists from opposition media outlets interrogated and detained in a bid to exert pressure on their political opponents, said Amnesty International.

    In the West Bank, the Palestinian authorities have arrested six journalists in August so far, shut down 29 websites and introduced a controversial Electronic Crimes Law imposing tight controls on media freedom and banning online expression and dissent. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas security forces have arrested at least two journalists since June and hampered others from freely carrying out their work. At least 12 Palestinians, including activists, were also detained by Hamas for critical comments posted on Facebook.

    August 07, 2017
      In response to the announcement by Israel’s communications minister, Ayoub Kara, that the Israeli government has decided to close Al Jazeera’ s office in Jerusalem and take the channel off air, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director, Magdalena Mughrabi said:   “This is a brazen attack on media freedom in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The move sends a chilling message that the Israeli authorities will not tolerate critical coverage. “By acting to suppress Al Jazeera the Israeli government joins a host of other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, which have demanded the channel’s closure in the wake of the dispute between Gulf countries and Qatar.   “All journalists should be free to carry out their work without facing harassment or intimidation. Instead of initiating a repressive clampdown on freedom of expression the Israeli authorities must halt any attempt to silence critical media.”  
    August 02, 2017
      Responding to the Thai authorities summoning of prominent journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk to answer accusations of sedition for some of his Facebook posts, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:   “The authorities must immediately stop using the criminal justice system to harass Pravit Rojanaphruk. It is outrageous to think that he could face decades in prison for a totally peaceful action like putting up a few critical Facebook posts. Pravit is a brave journalist who has already been arbitrarily detained by the military government twice since it seized power in 2014. All criminal proceedings against him must be dropped.   “There appears to be no end to the Thai authorities’ determination to stamp out any form of criticism, whether online or on the streets. In the past few years, dozens of people have faced sedition charges for peacefully criticising the junta, including for their use of Facebook and other social media.  
    July 28, 2017
      In response to the court’s ruling earlier this evening to conditionally release seven of the 12 imprisoned Cumhuriyet staff and the continuation of the pre-trial detention of five others, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia, said: “While the news of the release of seven Cumhuriyet journalists and others, is a positive step forward, we are dismayed at the continued imprisonment of Ahmet Şık, Kadri Gürsel, Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu. “The hearing so far has made it glaringly apparent that this indictment lacks any credible evidence. Strikingly, it mentions the word 'news' more than 600 times. Plain and simple, this is journalism on trial.   Background: The trial of the 17 Cumhuriyet journalists, executives and lawyers, of whom 12 have been held in pre-trial detention since last year, began on Monday 24 July in Istanbul.   The court also ruled to lift the restrictions on meetings between those imprisoned and their lawyers, which have been limited to an hour per week.
    July 27, 2017
      The Myanmar authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three journalists who were arrested in conflict-ridden northern Shan State last month, Amnesty International said ahead of their trial tomorrow.                                    Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung, both reporters for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), and Thein Zaw (aka Lawi Weng), a reporter for the Irrawaddy newspaper, were arrested on 26 June, along with four other people they were travelling with.   They have since been charged under the Unlawful Association Act and could face up to three years in prison if convicted. Three others arrested with them are also facing charges, including under the same Act, while a seventh man arrested on 26 June has since been released.  
    July 14, 2017
      Amnesty International calls on the Bahraini authorities to rescind their arbitrary decision to close the only independent newspaper in the country, al-Wasat, and end its all-out campaign to crush freedom of press. This call comes over a month after the Ministry of Information indefinitely suspended the newspaper and as the authorities’ crackdown on all forms of peaceful criticism intensifies. The organization also calls on the authorities to reverse their arbitrary decision not to renew the accreditation of prominent journalist Nazeeha Saeed and other journalists and for Nazeeha Saeed’s conviction for working without a permit to be quashed.  
    June 16, 2017

    Marking the fifth anniversary of the arrest of Saudi Arabian blogger and prisoner of conscience Raif Badawi, Samah Hadid, Middle-East Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International said:

    “Raif Badawi has already served half of his prison term, but he shouldn’t be locked up in the first place. Saudi Arabian authorities must ensure his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all prisoners of conscience detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

    “Blogging is not a crime. The harsh punishment of Raif Badawi shows the Saudi Arabian authorities’ blatant contempt for freedom of expression and the extent to which they are willing to go to crush all forms of dissent.”

    Background:

    May 19, 2017
    Journalists in Mexico protested this May 16 against the killing of one of their colleagues and called on the government to take action.

    By Erika Guevara-Rosas

    The tragic news of the brutal murder of Javier Valdez Cárdenas, a Mexican journalist renowned for his fearless reporting of the drug war wreaking havoc across Mexico, has sent shockwaves through the country.

    His journalism was particularly well-known in his home town of Culiacán, in Sinaloa. There, thousands of people are virtual hostages of a war between ruthless drug cartels and a government that is at best, unable to protect its people and, at worse, in collusion with those it claims to be fighting against.

    Javier was gunned down by unidentified men near the office of Riodoce, the weekly newspaper he founded and one of the few in the state still reporting on the wave of deaths sweeping through the area.

    April 07, 2017

    Iranian journalist Hengameh Shahidi is in a critical condition in Tehran’s Evin prison. She has been on hunger strike in protest at her arrest on 9 March. She has a heart condition and is refusing her medication. She is being held in solitary confinement and has been denied access to a lawyer.

     

    The health of journalist and political activist Hengameh Shahidi, aged 41, has seriously deteriorated since she went on hunger strike on 9 March 2017 in protest at her arbitrary arrest the same day. She has a pre-existing heart condition, for which she was previously hospitalized, and needs ongoing medical care, including medication. Her heart condition is exacerbated when she is under stress. At the beginning of April, she stopped taking her medication and is also refusing intravenous fluids.

    March 10, 2017

    "Now I know they jailed me to teach me a lesson - and that lesson, I learnt it."

    Celebrated novelist Aslı Erdoğan

    Turkey has earned an accolade which holds no glory: according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, it is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

    Globally, one third of all imprisoned journalists, media workers and executives are in Turkey’s prisons, with the vast majority among them waiting to be brought to trial.

    Some have been languishing in prison for months. An ongoing state of emergency was declared in July, following a violent coup attempt, blamed by the President and the government on those loyal to the cleric Fethullah Gülen. Journalists have been targeted in an unprecedented crackdown on all strands of opposition media.

    Coupled with the closure of more than 160 media outlets, the message - and the resulting effect on press freedom - is clear and disturbing: the space for dissent is ever-shrinking and speaking out comes at an immeasurable cost.

    February 07, 2017

    The Kenyan government must halt its crackdown on media freedom and allow Jerome Starkey to return to the country, said nine human rights organizations today, two months after the British journalist was detained and deported.

    The organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and PEN International, have sent a letter to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Internal Affairs and Coordination of National Government Joseph Nkaissery, and other senior government officials, calling for Jerome Starkey to be allowed to return to Kenya to resume his work, and that the government publicly reaffirm its oft-expressed commitment to the right to freedom of expression and media freedom.

    “It’s a travesty that Jerome Starkey, a well-respected international journalist was detained and deported under questionable circumstances and is now no longer able to carry out his work in Kenya. But this is just one of many cases of media harassment and intimidation of journalists carried out by the Kenyan authorities,” said Justus Nyang’aya, Amnesty International Kenya Country Director.

    July 28, 2016
            131 media houses shut down. More than 40 journalists detained          Emergency decrees fail test of necessity, proportionality and legitimate purpose

    As Turkey enters its second week of a three month state of emergency, the ongoing crackdown on civil society and the assault on media freedom has reached disturbing and unprecedented levels, said Amnesty International.

    Arrest warrants have been issued for 89 journalists, more than 40 have already been detained and others are in hiding. A second emergency decree passed on 27 July has resulted in the shutdown of 131 media outlets.

    “Rounding up journalists and shutting down media houses is the latest assault on a media already weakened by years of government repression. The passing of this second emergency decree leaves little room for doubt that the authorities are intent on silencing criticism without regard to international law,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director, Fotis Filipou.

    July 25, 2016

    Responding to news that Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists, Amnesty International issued the following quote:

    “This is the latest alarming development in what is increasingly becoming a brazen purge based on political affiliation,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe.

    “By rounding up journalists the government is failing to make a distinction between criminal acts and legitimate criticism. Rather than stifling press freedom and intimidating journalists into silence it is vital that Turkish authorities allow the media to do their work and end this draconian clampdown on freedom of expression.”

    Background

    On 24 July, Amnesty International revealed that it has gathered credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centres.

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