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    May 07, 2019

    Responding to news of the amnesty and release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East and Southeast Asia Director said:

    “Today marks an important victory for press freedom in Myanmar. The case against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo was a travesty of justice from start to finish and they should never have spent a day in prison.

    “While all those who campaigned for their release welcome the government’s decision, the reality is the country retains a range of repressive laws used to detain journalists, activists and any perceived critic of the authorities. Until these laws are repealed, journalists and activists remain under a permanent threat of detention and arrest.

    “In recent weeks, Amnesty International has recorded a surge in politically motivated arrests – most for criticism of the military. The government must follow through its rightful decision to free Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo by releasing all other journalists and prisoners of conscience detained on hollow charges, and by repealing all laws that keep a chokehold on freedom of expression.”

    April 05, 2019

    Responding to reports that the Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested at least seven individuals, some of whom are journalists, writers and academics, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research Lynn Maalouf said:

    “Those arrested include Salah al-Haidar, the son of human rights activist Aziza Al-Yousef, who was temporarily released just a few days ago after more than 10 months of a terrible ordeal. Others include Abdullah al-Duhailan, a journalist, novelist and advocate for Palestinian rights and Fahad Abalkhail, who has supported the Women to Drive Campaign.

    “In their continuing crackdown, it is no coincidence that the Saudi Arabian authorities are shamelessly targeting those citizens who are part and parcel of the society’s vibrant intellectual, artistic, activist landscape. By targeting them, they are signaling to their entire people that there will be zero tolerance of any form of criticism, let alone questioning, of the state’s authoritarian practices.

    April 04, 2019

    A police raid on the offices of online news site 263 Chat after one of its journalists filmed the removal of street vendors in Harare is a blatant assault on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom, Amnesty International said today.

    Police fired tear gas into the newsroom after chasing reporter Lovejoy Mtongwiza to the website's offices. The journalist had been taking photos and videos of the police forcing out street vendors in the Zimbabwean capital.

    "Today’s attack on the 263 Chat offices was designed to send a chilling message to journalists and shows the lengths the Zimbabwean police are prepared to go to muzzle media freedom," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “The authorities must end the attack on the media and launch a prompt, thorough and effective investigation into this attack and ensure that all suspected perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.”

    263 Chat is an online news site which reports on political, economic and social issues in Zimbabwe.

    April 03, 2019

    This year marks the fifth presentation of Amnesty International Canada’s Youth Media Award. Annually this prestigious award is granted to a student journalist, who produces a human rights story with an emphasis on an issue impacting young people.

    The Amnesty Media Awards are bestowed for excellence in journalism and honours the efforts of journalists to increase Canadians’ awareness and understanding of human rights. Past recipients include noteworthy individuals such as Anna Maria Tremonti of CBC Radio, Stephanie Nolen of the Globe and Mail, and documentary filmmaker Ric Esther Bienstock – Winning is quite the accomplishment!

    An assortment of well written and insightful human rights stories were received from students all across Canada.  It was a tough decision-making process for our esteemed judges to determine a winner.

    March 12, 2019

    Luis Carlos Díaz, a Venezuelan journalist and defender of digital rights and freedom of expression, was arrested in Caracas on the afternoon of Monday, 11 March, by the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) and accused of alleged “cyber-crimes”.

    “Luis Carlos Díaz has been detained solely because of his widely respected work covering the Venezuelan people’s demands to live in dignity in their country and for his denunciations of the authorities’ response to the serious human rights crisis that they are experiencing. He is a prisoner of conscience and we demand his immediate and unconditional release,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    Last weekend, senior officials under the command of Nicolás Maduro accused Luis Carlos Díaz of being part of a “conspiracy” that led to a power outage that has affected the country for more than five days, presenting a manipulated video where they used past statements he had made about internet service outages as if he were talking about the current power cuts.

    February 25, 2019

    An investigative journalist who published a report revealing corruption within the ministry of health in Gaza is facing up to six months in jail, said Amnesty International, ahead of her appeal hearing tomorrow. 

    Hajar Harb, a Palestinian journalist from Gaza, released an investigative report on al-Araby TV  on 25 June 2016 highlighting that the ministry, which is run by the Hamas de-facto administration, was profiting by arranging illegal medical transfers out of the Gaza Strip for people who did not need treatment. She has been charged with a series of offences including defamation and the publication of false news.

    “The prosecution of Hajar Harb is an outrageous assault on media freedom. The authorities in Gaza are blatantly seeking to punish her for exposing corruption within the Hamas administration. The authorities must drop all the charges against her immediately,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    February 19, 2019

    Responding to the decision of a Turkish first instance appeals court to uphold the conviction of journalists and executives from the Cumhuriyet newspaper, Amnesty International’s Turkey Strategy and Research Manager, Andrew Gardner said:

    “Today’s ruling to send the former Cumhuriyet staff back to prison exposes yet again the way in which politically motivated trials and unsound court decisions are simply rubber stamped by an equally biased appeals process.

    “The prosecution of scores of journalists and other media workers is an ongoing affront to press freedom and to justice. By using the courts to increase their stranglehold on the media, the authorities have once again displayed the ugly side of Turkey’s broken judicial system. This should ring alarm bells for anyone who cares about freedom of expression.”

    For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    Background

    February 13, 2019

    Responding to the arrest warrant served to Maria Ressa at the Rappler offices today on charges of ‘cyber libel’, Amnesty International Philippines Section Director, Butch Olano, said:

    “Just days after the National Bureau of Investigation announced that it will indict Maria Ressa for cyber libel, a warrant for her arrest was served today. Amnesty International Philippines condemns the arrest based on a trumped-up libel charge. This is brazenly politically motivated, and consistent with the authorities’ threats and repeated targeting of Ressa and her team. Authorities should end this harassment, drop the charges, and repeal this repressive law.

    “In a country where justice takes years to obtain, we see the charges against her being railroaded and the law being used to relentlessly intimidate and harass journalists for doing their jobs as truth-tellers.”

    Background

    February 06, 2019

    Responding to the announcement by Radio Free Asia that one of their contributors, Truong Duy Nhat, was reportedly abducted in Bangkok (Thailand), Amnesty’s Senior Director for Global Operations, Minar Pimple, said:

    “Truong Duy Nhat’s disappearance is deeply alarming. He is a former prisoner of conscience who was repeatedly targeted by the Vietnamese authorities. We know from several sources that he travelled to Bangkok to claim asylum. No-one has seen or heard from him since 26 January.

    “Thai authorities must immediately investigate these multiple reliable reports of abduction from members of the Vietnamese exile community, corroborated by Nhat’s colleagues at Radio Free Asia, who have now raised the alarm. Viet Nam security forces have abducted exiles and refugees from Thailand and elsewhere in the past. Truong Duy Nhat is at a clear risk of torture or other ill-treatment if his abduction is confirmed.

    “Vietnamese authorities have been silent over Truong Duy Nhat’s disappearance. They must come forward with any information about his whereabouts and ensure his safety and freedom of movement.”

    January 31, 2019

    In response to reports of the detention of at least 11 journalists in Venezuela this week, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The detention of journalists is a flagrant and deeply concerning attack on freedom of expression and the right to truth, in a vain attempt to prevent the world from seeing the massive human rights violations that the Venezuelan authorities are committing.”

    “A free press is fundamental for the defence of human rights in any country in the world. The Venezuelan authorities must guarantee that journalists are able to work in safe conditions without fear of reprisal, immediately order the unconditional release of all members of the press who remain in detention and refrain from deporting foreign journalists covering the ongoing protests and institutional crisis.”

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

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    January 02, 2019

    Bangladesh’s authorities must investigate the ongoing violent attacks on journalists and activists ahead of the country’s 11th parliamentary elections due on 30 December 2018 and immediately release those journalists and activists who have been arrested arbitrarily, Amnesty International said today.

    Condemning the recent attack on journalists and activists, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Saad Hammadi said, “The authorities must impartially investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice. Such incidents are detrimental to a peaceful atmosphere for people to exercise their civil and political rights.”

    At least 12 journalists on duty to cover the elections at a Dhaka constituency came under attack and 16 vehicles carrying them were damaged by a group of 30-35 attackers on 24 December 2018. The guest house where the journalists were resting also came under attack.

    November 29, 2018

    In response to Minister Chrystia Freeland’s announcement today that the Canadian government will place sanctions on 17 Saudi nationals believed to be involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner, Justin Mohammed, said: 

    November 01, 2018

    Sudanese authorities have this year been unrelenting in their quest to silence independent media by arresting and harassing journalists, and censoring both print and broadcast media, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization documented the arrest and detention of at least 15 journalists between January and October 2018 by the government’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISS). In addition, the entire print run of 10 newspapers was confiscated on at least 27 occasions. Al Jareeda, one of the last independent newspapers, has been confiscated at least 13 times this year.  

    “Since the beginning of 2018 the Government of Sudan, through its security machinery, has been unrelenting in its crackdown on press freedom by attacking journalists and media organizations,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Instead of embracing freedom of expression, the hostility directed towards independent media shows the lengths to which the Sudanese authorities will go to silence dissidence.”

    October 17, 2018

     Responding to news of the release of blogger “Mother Mushroom” in Viet Nam, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and South East Asia, said:

    “This good news, which comes as a relief after two years behind bars, should also be a reminder of Viet Nam’s worsening record of jailing anyone who criticises the regime. While Mother Mushroom is no longer imprisoned, the condition for her release was exile and there are over one hundred people languishing in jail because they peacefully spoke their mind – in public, on blogs or on Facebook.

    “The mobilization around the world for Mother Mushroom’s case should trigger a change of course for Viet Nam’s leaders. The Cybersecurity Law due to take effect in January 2019 will only give authorities more tools to silence dissent and put people away. It should not be implemented – lest others face the same horrific treatment as Mother Mushroom and other peaceful critics still in jail. All prisoners of conscience should have their sentences quashed and should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

    July 30, 2018

    Responding to news that the Malaysian authorities have acquitted and dropped all sedition charges against political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar “Zunar” Ulhaque, lawmaker R. Sivarasa and civil rights lawyer N. Surendran, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher, said:

    “Zunar, Sivarasa and Surendran have shown great courage in shining a spotlight on injustices such as corruption and abuse of power. Their acquittal is a positive development but the Malaysian authorities must do more to protect people who dare to speak out.

    “The new government must take this opportunity to usher in a new era for human rights by fully restoring freedom of expression and abolishing the 1948 Sedition Act, an archaic piece of legislation which has been repeatedly used to target dissenting voices. The authorities must also drop any other charges under the Act and, pending its repeal, ensure that no one else is arrested, investigated, charged or imprisoned under its draconian provisions.”

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