02/11/2017
 

IFJ Asia Pacific Bulletin: NOVEMBER

The participants at the IFJ-MAV Pacific Regional meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu on October 26-27, 2017. Credit: Jane Worthington

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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 December 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.       IFJ launches annual #EndImpunity campaign

2.       Pacific Media Network launched in Vanuatu

3.       IFJ Blog: Myanmar Government Uses Laws, Threats to Strangle Reporting – Phil Thornton

4.       Korean journalist strike over management interference

5.       Missing Pakistani journalist recovered after two years

6.       Hong Kong journalists threatened for ‘bias’ reporting

7.       Pakistan journalists come under attack

8.       Indian outlet slapped with defamation lawsuit

9.       Japanese journalist death due to overwork

10.   China’s National Congress sees media restrictions grow

11.   Malaysian union leader dismissed

12.   Filipino journalist gunned down in Mindanao

13.   Pakistan internet cut for three days

14.   India journalists threatened on Whatsapp

15.   Forbidden Stories launched - RSF

16.   Tonga media gagged ahead of elections – Pacific Media Network

17.   CPJ Impunity Index 2017 – CPJ

18.   Journalists charged for drone usage in Myanmar – Free Malaysia Today

 

1.       IFJ launches annual #EndImpunity campaign

Today, November 2, is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, and a call for action to put an end to the continuing killing and attacks on journalists across the world. Globally, a journalist in killed every five days, while in the Asia Pacific region, the number is ten days. This year, the IFJ has recorded 56 journalist and media worker killings across the world. In the Asia Pacific, 20 journalists and media workers have been killed in 2017, including 6 in Afghanistan, 4 in India, Pakistan and the Philippines.

Today, the IFJ is launching its annual #EndImpunity campaign which will run from November 2 until November 23. The IFJ has chosen to spotlight seven countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, calling for strengthening of the international legal framework and national protection mechanisms.

Read the IFJ blog on Impunity day Opens external link in new windowhere

SAMSN #EndImpunity campaign launch

SAMSN #EndImpunity campaign page: https://samsn.ifj.org/campaign-impunity-2017/

IFJ #EndImpunity campaign launch

IFJ #EndImpunity campaign page: http://www.ifj.org/campaigns/end-impunity-2017/  

IFJ safety website: http://ifj-safety.org/en  

IFEX has launched its annual #EndImpunity campaign with an interactive ‘Stories in the Fight Against Impunity’ map, updates on the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity and several resources, available here.   

2.       Pacific Media Network launched in Vanuatu

On October 26 and 27, the IFJ and Media Association blong Vanuatu (MAV) hosted a two-day regional workshop with journalists from the Pacific. The workshop brought together journalists from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, New Zealand and Vanuatu. They discussed the challenges for journalism in the Pacific, and developed plans for future campaigns. The meeting also launched the Pacific Media Network, to work together on future advocacy and campaigning.

See photos here

3.       IFJ Blog: Myanmar Government Uses Laws, Threats to Strangle Reporting – Phil Thornton

After decades of intimidation, draconian prison sentences, persecution and being driven into exile by the country’s former military regime, Myanmar’s journalists are again being targeted by the government and its security forces for their reporting. Phil Thornton discusses the situation facing Myanmar’s media after a challenging 12 months.

Read more here.

4.       Korean journalists strike over management interference

Since September 4, over 3,000 journalists and media workers from Korea’s public broadcasters, KBS and MBC, have been on strike. The strike comes as staff at Korea Broadcasting Service (KBS) and Munhwa Broadcasting Company (MBC) – the two largest public broadcasting services in Korea – grow increasingly frustrated at attacks on the broadcaster’s editorial independence. KBS and MBC staff are calling for KBS CEO Ko Dae-young and MBC CEO Kim Jang-kyum to resign and restore the political independence of the media operations. Over 3,800 journalists, 2,000 from MBC and 1,800 from KBS have been involved in the strike since early September, which has led to programs been cancelled and filming on several productions halted.

Read more here

5.       Missing Pakistani journalist recovered after two years

In August 2015, Zeenat Shahzadi disappeared. According to police reports, she disappeared when unidentified men in a white car, forced her into the vehicle in Islamabad, not far from her home. She disappeared, five days before she was due to testify before Pakistan’s Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances, with regards to the case of Indian citizen Hamid Ansari, who had disappeared after travelling to Pakistan without a visa. On October 19, her family received a call saying that their daughter had been recovered, from an area near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Read more here.

6.       Hong Kong journalists threatened for ‘bias’ reporting

In late September, Tom Grundy, the editor-in-chief of the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), an online English media outlet, spoke with the IFJ and HKJA about a series of letters that he and some of his staff had received over the past month. Each letter arrived on Tuesday, some sent to the HKFP office, while one was sent to the Hong Kong of guest editor Tim Hamlett, and the latest was sent to the United Kingdom home of Tom Grundy’s family. In the letter sent to Tom’s family’s house in the UK, it said ‘I and many people would really regret if something happened to Tom in the next few years’.

The letters included a list of 50 ‘foreigners’ that ‘have been deemed guilty of spreading hatred and dividing Hong Kong, China society’. The ‘foreigners’ include Tom, Tim Hamlett, as well as other journalists, scholars and media workers. Under the list of names, the letters says that ‘the punishment shall be mandated as of January 2018. Expulsion from Chinese Territory. A list will be sent to immigration staff’.

Read more here.  

7.       Pakistan journalists come under attack

On October 12, Haroon Khan, a journalist with Sach TV and a stringer for Mashriq Television was killed in Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in northwest Pakistan. Khan was returning home after offering prayers when two motor-cycle borne assailants opened fire. Khan’s bullet ridden body was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

Ahmed Noorani, a senior reporter at the investigation cell of The News daily, sustained serious head injuries when he was dragged out of his car by unknown attackers and hit with iron rods and clubs on a busy street. According to The News, six attackers on three motorcycles intercepted Noorani’s car on a busy road, and dragged him. His driver Mumtaz was injured while trying to prevent an attacker from hitting the journalist with a knife. Noorani and his driver were taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences’ hospital, where he is steadily recovering at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Read more here and here.

8.       Indian journalists slapped with defamation lawsuit

On October 9, seven editors from The Wire had criminal defamation charges filed against them. Businessman Jay Shah filed a criminal defamation case in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, against reporter Rohini Singh and Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia and MK Venu, editors of the news portal for the report ‘The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah’ highlighting a dramatic increase in some of his businesses since Narendra Modi became prime minister. The story based on annual filings of Shah’s companies with the Registrar of the Companies, was published by The Wire, a not-for-profit independent news website. Jay Shah is a son of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah.

Read more here.

9.       Japanese journalist death due to overwork

On October 4, the Labour Standards Supervision Office ruled that Miwa Sado, a 31-year-old reporter with NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, died from karoushi – a Japanese term for dying from overwork. In the two months prior to her death, she has clocked 146 and 159 hours of overtime, working until midnight nearly every night covering the Metropolitan Assembly Election and Upper House Election in Tokyo. Miwa died on July 2013 of congestive heart failure, three days after the second election.

Karoushi is a phenomenon in Japan that sees most workers, clocking more than 80 hours of overtime a month. The Labour Standards Supervision Office said the Miwa’s death was a direct result of her work life.

Following Miwa’s death, NIPPORO has worked with NHK to improve working conditions, particularly through controlling the number of overtime hours worked.

Read more here.

10.   China’s National Congress sees media restrictions grow

On October 18, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China started in Beijing, China. In the lead up to the Congress, the media faced increasing restrictions and challenges in covering the Congress and reporting on the lead up:

·         Community Party Secretary of Beijing, Cai Qi, demanded that officials and citizens in Beijing ensure that the meetings during the Congress run smoothly and safely.

·         All mayors and leaders from other provinces are following strictly implemented security measures including that citizens ‘act as surveillance’, reporting any suspicious activities to local officials, including any rallies.

·         Ding Lingjie, the editor of Minsheng Guancha (Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch), disappeared on September 22. Ding was reported missing from a relative’s apartment in Shangdong Province. Several belongings, including her computer were also reported missing, and Ding’s mobile phone has been turned off

·         Wu Lijuan, the publisher of Rose China has been under surveillance by security agents in Hubei since September 28

·         BBC reported that journalists, along with journalists from New York Times, The Economist, Financial Times and the Guardian were denied entry to the press room to cover the press conference announcing the new leadership of the Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee. French newspaper, Liberation, Le Monde and Hong Kong Satellite Television also reported that their journalists were denied entry.

In the lead up to the National Congress, the IFJ wrote an open letter to the National Congress Press Centre, requesting clarity as to why several journalists had not received their accreditation to cover the Congress, and the new precedures put in place to control the media.

Read more here and here.   

11.   Malaysian union leader dismissed

On October 12, Chua Cheong Wee, a 48-year-old journalist at Kwong Wah Yit Poh Press Berhad in Penang, northwest Malaysia, was dismissed with immediate effect on the grounds of disobeying his chief’s instructions. Chua, who had worked at the publication for 25 years, said that it was alleged that he disrespected his boss by using offensive words and shaming him in front of other staff. Chua had been transferred from the publication’s headquarters in Penang, to the branch office in Kuala Lumpur in April this year.

Chua believes that one of the reasons he was fired is because he protested the rejection of his petition for him to be transferred back to Penang to be with his family. The rejection was recorded, and used as evidence when he was dismissed.

Read more here.  

12.   Filipino journalist gunned down in Mindanao

On October 24, Christopher Iban Lozada, 29, the operations manager and broadcaster of dxBF Prime Broadcasting Network, was driving home with his girlfriend at 9pm when a gunman in the van drove up and opened fire. Lozada was killed immediately, while his girlfriend was injured and taken to hospital. Prior to his murder, Lozada had reported receiving several death threats, which he shared on Facebook. The threats were related to his reporting and alleged involvement in filing charges against Bislig mayor, Librado Navarro, over corruption.

Read more here.

13.   Pakistan internet cut for three days

Between September 29 to October 1, most cities in Pakistan remained without mobile and Internet services as a part of the security measures for Ashura, during which there are major religious processions across Pakistan. The Sindh Home Department issued a formal notification of network disconnection across eight cities including Karachi while mobile and internet services were reported suspended in Punjab including Faisalabad, Baluchistan including Quetta and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Peshawar without formal notice.

The suspension notification by the Government of Sindh’s, Home Department stated that the suspension was being carried out on request of law enforcement agencies ‘as there are apprehensions of coordination of criminal activity by miscreants/criminals through the use of cellular phones/internet’.

Read more here.

14.   Indian journalists threatened on Whatsapp

At least four journalists have filed police complaints in Delhi and adjoining Noida after receiving death threats on WhatsApp messaging service and phone calls warning them that anyone critical of the government, and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party would meet the same fate as journalist Gauri Lankesh who was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru on September 5.

Read more here.

15.   Forbidden Stories launched – RSF

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Freedom Voices Network announce the launch of Forbidden Stories, a project that aims to secure the data and information of threatened journalists and, when journalists are arrested or killed, to continue and publish their investigative reporting.

The goal of Forbidden Stories is to publish and continue the work that other journalists cannot carry on because they have been threatened, imprisoned or killed. Our aim is to keep their stories alive and to ensure that as many people as possible have access to independently reported information about important subjects such as the environment, public health, human rights and corruption.

Read more here.

16.   Tonga media gagged ahead of elections – Pacific Media Network

The Tonga Broadcasting Commission has been gagged by the government in the lead up to the general election on November 16. Laumanu Petelō, editor of Tonga Broadcasting Commission’s (TBC) television and radio, and news manager Viola Ulakai have moved into a new department under the commission’s marketing and sales management. The restructuring has been made under the direction of TBC’s new board chairman, Dr Tu’i Uata, who replaced ‘Ahongalu Fusimālohi last month.

The restructure comes after advice that Ulakai should be suspended in April 2016 after Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva was disappointed to learn she had falsely claimed a request for a press conference to answer questions regarding his son had been made on the behalf of the Tonga Media Council.

Read more here and here.  

17.   CPJ Impunity Index 2017 – CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released its annual Impunity Index for 2017, spotlighting countries where journalists are killed and killers walk free. In the 2017 report, there have been some success stories in the Asia Pacific, including in Afghanistan who has dropped off the list for the first time since CPJ started the Index in 2008. The Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. In the Asia Pacific, India is ranked the highest with 12, followed by Bangladesh with 10, Pakistan with 7 and Philippines with 5.

Read more here.

18.    Journalists charged for drone usage in Myanmar – Free Malaysia Today

Lau Hon Meng (Malaysia) and Mok Choy Lin (Singapore) along with their local driver and translator, have been detained for flying a drone over Myanmar’s Parliament. They have been charged and face three years’ in jail if found guilty. They will be held in custody until November 10.

They were on assignment for the Turkish state broadcaster, Turkish Radio and Television, when they were arrested.

Read more here.

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