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Journalist/Bloggers

    May 25, 2018

    Responding to the news that blogger Merzoug Touati was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 50,000 Algerian dinar (approximately USD $430) for online posts, Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It is utterly shocking that the Algerian authorities have imposed such a heavy sentence on someone solely for expressing his peaceful opinion online.

    “Merzoug Touati’s arrest, trial and sentence is further proof that freedom of expression remains under threat in Algeria, where the authorities continue to use a range of repressive laws to quell dissent.

    “As a citizen-journalist, Merzoug Touati has every right to document the world around him and the country he lives in.

    "Algerian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Touati, a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for peacefully expressing his views on Facebook and YouTube."

    May 07, 2018

    A Uzbekistani court’s decision to release journalist Bobomurod Abdullayev is a glimmer of hope for the country’s beleaguered journalists, and must be followed by concrete reforms to respect, protect and promote the right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

    Tashkent City Court ordered the release of Bobomurod Abdullayev, who was sentenced to 1,5 years of community service.  His three co-defendants, blogger Khayotkhan Nasreddinov and businessmen Shavkat Olloyorov and Ravshan Salayev, were acquitted, as reported by Uzbekistani human rights defender Sukrat Ikramov.

    “Bobomurod Abdullayev’s has already paid a terrible price for his independent journalism, spending seven months in Uzbekistan’s most notorious detention centre where he was allegedly tortured to confess to trumped up charges. There must now be a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into these allegations, which are alarmingly commonplace in Uzbekistan,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    May 02, 2018

     Journalists in Afghanistan face threats, intimidation and violence for simply doing their jobs, Amnesty International said on World Press Freedom Day as it honoured the memory of the 10 Afghan journalists killed in horrific attacks this week.

    Against the backdrop of unrelenting violence, a double bombing in Kabul and a shooting in Khost on Monday marked the deadliest day for journalists since the conflict in Afghanistan began in 2001. The Kabul bombings killed 29 people and wounded 45 others.

    “Afghanistan’s journalists are among the bravest in the world. Working in some of the most difficult conditions, they have faced threats, intimidation and violence for simply doing their jobs. At a time when many have sadly turned their attentions away from the country, and the work of a journalist means constantly putting your life at risk, they have continued to confront injustice and give voice to victims,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South Asia.

    April 13, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is proud to announce that Ashley Hyshka has won its annual Youth Media Award. Her story “No More Stolen Sisters”, won the national award and was published on February 15, 2018 in "The Runner," a student-owned newspaper with Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in Surrey, B.C. She is the third national youth media award winner and the first to be awarded from British Columbia.

    "Stolen Sisters examines the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in B.C., and the institutional errors that may have contributed to some of their deaths. The author has personalized the piece in compelling fashion with interlinked profiles of a frustrated cop and Lorelei Williams, whose family has known only violence,” said Rick MacInnes-Rae, renowned former journalist and volunteer Amnesty Media Award judge. "The story is harrowing in addressing the frequent errors made by police when confronted with probable causes for actions they subsequently did not take. Had some of the leads been followed, it seems clear some of the tragic history might not have occurred."

    April 11, 2018

    Responding to the decision by a Myanmar court to press forward with the criminal case against Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific said:

    “This appalling but wholly unsurprising decision is entirely in keeping with Myanmar’s continued regression on freedom of expression and human rights in general.

    “The case against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo is clearly politically-motivated and completely baseless. They are languishing behind bars simply because of their peaceful journalism and investigating the atrocities committed against the Rohingya people by Myanmar’s own security forces in Rakhine State.

    January 09, 2018

    The Myanmar authorities must immediately release two journalists from the Reuters news agency who have been arbitrarily detained for investigating military abuses in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Amnesty International said.

    The two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, are due in court tomorrow. They had been investigating the recent military operations in Rakhine State when they were arrested on 12 December 2017.

    “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo must be immediately and unconditionally released. They have done absolutely nothing but carrying out their legitimate work as journalists. This is clearly an attempt by the authorities to silence investigations into military violations and crimes against Rohingya in Rakhine State, and to scare other journalists away from doing the same,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    December 04, 2017

    In response to the death threats made against Aunício da Silva, an investigative journalist and editor of Ikweli, a weekly publication in Nampula City in the north of Mozambique, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said:

    “Aunício da Silva’s life has been threatened simply because he was doing his job as an investigative journalist: holding the powerful to account.

    “This incident represents yet another attack on media freedom in Mozambique and sends a chilling message to journalists across the country to stay silent or face the consequences.

    “Journalism is not a crime. Mozambican authorities must protect the profession by urgently investigating these threats against Aunício. Anyone found to be criminally responsible for threatening and harassing journalists must be brought to justice in a fair trial.”

    Background

    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.  

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