02/02/2017
 

Asia Pacific Bulletin: February

On January 20, the IFJ launched its ninth China Press Freedom Report - Strangling the Media: China Tightens its Grip

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Asia Pacific, ASIA PACIFIC, Campaigns, Reports, Events, Meeting, Workshop, Conference, Bulletins, Blog

Welcome to the IFJ Asia-Pacific’s monthly e-bulletin. The next bulletin will be sent on March 1, 2017 and contributions from affiliates are most welcome. To contribute, email ifj(at)ifj-asia(dot)org

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In this bulletin:

1.       Strangling the Media: IFJ launches 2016 China Press Freedom Report

2.       IFJ 2016 Killed List Report launches tomorrow

3.       IFJ launches Insurance for Journalists

4.       Journalist gunned down in Balochistan, Pakistan

5.       SEAJU joins Thai journalists to denounce media bill

6.       NUJ Philippines website hacked, down for two days

7.       I’m With the IFJ!

8.       Pakistan TV anchors sexually harassed at work

9.       IFJ warns President Trump against threats to press freedom

10.   Bangladesh: journalist beaten in police station

11.   Sri Lanka: Drone camera seized by PM security

12.   Journalist detained in Hyderabad, India

13.   Afghan journalist attack; car vandalised

14.   SAMSN Blog: Remembering Lasantha

15.   SAMSN Blog: Journalism: a tragic adventure?

16.   Sri Lankan journalists marked ‘Black January’

17.   Tells us about your union experiences

18.   The IPC gets you where the story takes you

 

1.       Strangling the Media: IFJ launches 2016 China Press Freedom Report

The IFJ launched its annual China Press Freedom Report: Strangling the Media: China tightens its grip on January 20, at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong. The 2016 report, the ninth by the IFJ, documents the challenges faced by local and foreign journalists, writers, publishers, bloggers, citizen journalists and other media workers. For the second time, the report includes the IFJ’s assessment of the number of journalist and media workers detained and jailed in China. It documents 68 cases, the earliest dating back to 2008.

The key findings of the report include the continued use of abductions and forced confessions, the reduced diversity in the media and increasing attacks against foreign journalists. For the second year, the report also documented media workers detained in China, which increased from 51 in 2015 to 68 in 2016.

Read more here and here.  

2.       IFJ 2016 Killed List report launches tomorrow

On February 2 (Brussels time) the IFJ will launch its annual Killed List report, documenting media workers who were brutally killed in 2016 in the line of duty. In its 26th year, the report continues to shed light on the safety challenges that journalists across the world face. You can see more here and watch IFJ social media for the launch.

3.       IFJ launches: Insurance for Journalists

The IFJ has now launched accessible insurance for journalists across the world, at home, abroad and in hostile regions. The insurance covers all journalists, anywhere in the world. Holders of the IFJ International Press Card get a 10 percent discount on all policies.

Read more here.

4.       Journalist gunned down in Balochistan, Pakistan

Muhammad Jan Sumalani was gunned down by two attackers on his way home from work on January 12 in Kalat in Balochistan. Sumalani, 37, was a reporter for Urdu language Daily Qudrat and Brahui language Daily Talar published from Quetta. He was also a member of the Ahmad Yar Khan Press Club, Kalat.

Balochistan province remains Pakistan’s most dangerous place for journalists and was named as the ‘Cemetery for Journalists’ in the 2014-15 South Asia Press Freedom Report. Since 2007, nearly three dozen journalists have been killed in the province. Journalism in Balochistan has been particularly challenging due to multiple threats from various quarters – Baloch nationalists and separatists as well as security forces and intelligence agencies.

Read more here.

5.       SEAJU joins Thai journalists to denounce media bill

On Sunday, January 29, 30 media organisations including the National Union of Journalists Thailand (NUJT) and the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) issued a joint statement denouncing the draft media regulation bill, stating that the bill would restrict press freedom rather than protect it, opening way for the state authority to interfere with the media affairs through the so-called professional media council. The joint statement also said that the bill would limit the public’s freedom of expression and access to information. The media organisations called on the NRSA to drop the bill.

The South East Asian Journalist Unions (SEAJU) said: “We stand with TJA, NUJT and our Thai colleagues in calling on the National Reform Steering Committee not to put forward the bill. Immediate steps need to be taken to guarantee press freedom in Thailand, and to protect strengthen, not control, the local media community."

Read more here

6.       NUJ Philippines website hacked, down for two days

On Monday January 9, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) website went offline after a massive denial of service (DoS) attack. The attack saw the NUJP website remain offline for two days, while NUJP worked to bring it back online. In a statement NUJP said: "We do not know by who, but this we can say – whoever is responsible for this attack are enemies of press freedom and of free expression.”

Read more here

7.       I’m With the IFJ!

See what IFJ members have to say about the IFJ and what it means to them! Video available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiWi7pPWX9o&feature=youtu.be

8.       Pakistan TV anchors sexually harassed at work

Tanzela Mazhar and Yashfin Jamal, journalists with Pakistan TV (PTV) have accused PTV Lahore’s director of news of sexual harassment. Mazhar alleged that she had filed a complaint following the incident, only to be told by the inquiry committee that she should have left the job in such a situation. Since then, Mazhar and Jamal have taken up social media and TV talk shows to push for investigation after their complaint to PTV authorities yielded no results. On January 23, PTV management slapped a ban on two anchors for taking to social media and appearing in talk shows to ‘defame the organisation’.

The PFUJ has demanded an investigation and punishment to the guilty.

Read more here

9.       IFJ warns President Trump against threats to press freedom

In the lead up to President Trump’s inauguration, the IFJ called on the president-elect to stop attacking the media and respect freedom of expression as a fundamental right.

IFJ president, Philippe Leruth, said: “The journalists’ community holds Donald Trump accountable for his actions as President of the USA and we call on him to abide by core freedom of expression standards that are fundamental to his country’s democracy and its First Amendment rights.  We ask President Trump to respect the basic right for US citizens and the rest of the world to be properly and independently informed. The new president not only has a responsibility towards his own national press but also towards the foreign media and citizens across the world.” 

Read more here

10.   Bangladesh: journalist beaten in police station

ATN News staff, Cameraperson Abdul Alim and reporter Ishan Bin Didar, were brutally attacked by a group of policemen inside the Shahbagh Police Station while they were covering the shutdown enforced by the demonstrators protesting the construction of a power plant. Alim was hospitalized and needed three stitches on his right eyebrows as a result of the attack.

Alim said of the attack: “I was on duty to cover the shutdown... Suddenly, a pro-hartal (strike) activist was taken inside the police station while he was being beating up. I was recording footage of the incident and entered the police station. At one stage, some policemen started shouting, saying ‘the journalist is recording footage of us, catch him’. Within a moment, around 15 to 20 policemen swooped down on me and started beating me up."

Read more here.

11.   Sri Lanka: Drone camera seized by PM security

On January 7, Hiru TV used a drone camera to cover a demonstration in Mirijjawila, Hambantota. The demonstration was at the inauguration of the Sri Lanka-China industrial zone, which was attended by the Prime Minister. During the demonstration the police fired tear gas shells and launched water canons to disperse the demonstrators. The drone was seized by the Prime Minister’s security division, and then returned to Hiru TV a few hours later, without the memory card.

Read more here

12.   Journalist detained in Hyderabad, India

Kunal Shankar, the Andra Pradesh and Telengana correspondent with the fortnightly English language magazine Frontline of the Hindu group, was picked up by private security guards en route to covering a protest at the Hyderabad Central University. The security guards then handed him over to police, where he was then taken to the police station and questioned for over an hour before his release.

The University filed a case of trespass against Shankar, even though he deposited his driving license and registered his presence at the security gate upon entering the University to cover the protest action.

Read more here

13.   Afghan journalist attacked; car vandalized

On January 26, Zabihullah Ghazi, a correspondent of Voice of America radio in Nangarhar province was beaten by the bodyguards of former Mayor of Jalalabad Lal Agha Kakar, who also vandalized his car. The incident occurred when Ghazi, on his way to Jalalabad, tried to film the armed bodyguards beating people in a traffic jam. The Mayor of Nangarhar, Golab Mangal, assured the Afghan Independent Journalists Association of an investigation into the incident and punishment to the perpetrators according to law.

Read more here.

14.   SAMSN Blog: Remembering Lasantha

January 8 marked eight years since the brutal murder of Sri Lanka journalist Lasantha Wickremetunge. Dilrukshi Handunnetti worked with Lasantha at the Sunday Leader and remembers all that he stood for: truth, courage, and justice.

Read more here.

15.   SAMSN Blog: Journalism: A tragic adventure?

Working as a journalist in Bangladesh is dangerous and full of challenges. Local journalist Sam Jahan discusses what it’s like to be a journalist in Bangladesh.

Read more here

16.   Sri Lanka journalists mark ‘Black January’

On January 24, the Free Media Movement (FMM) organized a vigil in Colombo to commemorate journalists and media workers who have sacrificed their lives in order to safeguard the freedom of expression and to demand justice for them.

See photos from the vigil here.

17.   Tell us about your unions experiences

The IFJ has a call out for stories about your experience with your union and how they have helped you. The stories will be used in a wider IFJ campaign in 2017.

Stories can be sent to Alex Hearne (alex.hearne(at)ifj-asia(dot)org) or via social media here

18.   The IPC gets you where the story takes you

The IFJ has launched an international campaign to promote the International Press Card (IPC), IFJ’s global press pass. The campaign highlights the importance of the card for journalists across the world, working to support their safety and recognition across the globe.

The IPC is available to all IFJ affiliate members and can give access to EU and UN government officials, as well as assist in important and sometimes dangerous situations.  For more information visit the IFJ website here

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