South Asia Media Solidarity Bulletin: MAY

Truth vs Misinformation: IFJ launches 17th South Asia Press Freedom Report
On May 3, the IFJ and SAMSN launched the annual South Asia Press Freedom Report 2018-19 - Truth vs Misinformation: The Collective Push Back. 
This report shows that in spite of war mongering, the damaging impacts of fake news and hate speech, and the politics of control, South Asia’s media workers made it very clear that they have a decisive role to play in fighting the scourge of misinformation and supporting democracy and human rights. And most importantly they have a leading role in truth-telling.
See the report here

Sri Lanka blocks social media after deadly terror attack
Following deadly terror attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday, April 21, , the Sri Lanka government had blocked social media channels in an attempt to stop the spread of ‘false news reports’. Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Viber were all affected. Reports also suggested that access to VPNs in Sri Lank was impacted. Read more here

Journalists attacked covering elections in India
On May 8, voting in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha (India’s national elections) took place, including in seven constituencies in West Bengal. Journalists from NewsX, ABP Ananda and Zee News were attacked, allegedly by Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers. According to The Indian Express two of its journalists were injured when TMC workers allegedly ransacked Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Arjun Singh’s vehicle at Tetulia village. 

Senior Pakistani journalist killed by bikers: Aman Ullah Gharro, from Dera Ismail Khan in Peshawar, was shot and killed by unknown bikers. Gharro was working for Janbaz, a local television, and has filed news against non-state actors allegedly involved in terrorism. Aman also worked as a correspondent for a local newspaper Meezan-e-Adal. Read more here

Former TV presenter shot dead in Afghanistan: Mina Mangal, a former television presenter who is now working as parliamentary adviser, was shot in broad daylight on May 11 in Kabul. Mangal was working as an adviser to the Cultural Commission of Wolesi Jirga. She had worked as a television presenter for over 10 years. Early reports suggest that she was shot by her ex-husband. Read more here

Afghanistan: Killers of Abdul Manan Arghand sentenced to death: According to TOLO News, on April 16 the Attorney General’s Office said in the statement that two suspects had been sentenced to death for killing Abdul Manan Arghand on April 25, 2018. All court proceedings relating to the case were sealed and the public nor the media were able to attend. Read more here.

Pakistan journalist charged with cyber terrorism over tweet: Shahzeb Jillan, a journalist with Dunya News and former BBC and Deutsche Welle journalist has been charged under Pakistan’s Penal Code and the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act. The charges relate to Shahzeb’s appearance on the Aaj Kamran Khan Show on March 18. During the show, Shahzeb gave his own analysis on the enforced disappearances allegedly carried out by the Pakistan military. Read more here.

Nepal government drafts harsh provisions to Media Council Act: According to My Republica, the Bill to Amend and Integrate the Media Council Act was registered by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on May 9, and will have wide ranging implications for the media. Under the proposed provisions, media can be fined up to NPR 1 million (USD 8850) for publishing content in violation of the media code of ethics. Under Section 18, media outlets, publishers, editors and/or journalists can be fined up to NPR 1 million for publishing content found to be tarnishing the dignity or reputation of any individual. Read more here

World Press Freedom Day celebrated in the region:
IFJ affiliates in Asia Pacific held different activities, ranging from freedom festival to discussions and marches to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day 2019. Read more here

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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