IFJ Asia Pacific Bulletin: JULY

IFJ launches new Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists
Endorsed by representatives of more than 500,000 journalists and following months of consultations across the world, the IFJ’s new Global Charter will form the core of strengthening ethical standards for journalists worldwide. Read more here.


Hong Kong’s media under pressure
Hong Kong’s media remains under pressure during some of the largest demonstrations in Hong Kong’s history against a proposed controversial extradition bill that could see Hong Kong citizens extradited to the Mainland. While Hong Kong’s Chief Executive (CE) Carrie Lam announced said the bill will be suspended after weeks of unrest, the IFJ remains concerned about the impact on media freedom and journalist safety. During the protests, journalists were blocked and barred from covering the protests. On June 30 Hong Kong journalists covering a rally in support of Hong Kong police were attacked, insulted and kicked by government supporters. Police was called in on multiple occasions to stop the attacks during the demonstrations and the protest was deemed as violent as the June 12 protest.  

IFJ World Congress reaffirms commitment to UN Convention on Safety of Journalists: Delegates at the IFJ World Congress backed a motion to promote the IFJ campaign for a UN Convention on the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals.
Read more here.
 

IFJ hails ILO adoption of a Convention on violence and harassment at workplace
The Convention recognizes that violence and harassment in the world of work “can constitute a human rights violation or abuse” and are “a threat to equal opportunities, unacceptable and incompatible with decent work.” It provides with broad definitions of what violence and harassment in the world of work mean, where they can take place and who can be concerned.
Read more here. IFJ Board elected in Tunis: 254 IFJ delegates convening in Tunis for their World Congress elected Younes M’Jahed of Morocco as their new President. Younes M'Jahed is a journalist at Ittihad Ichtirak.
Read more here.

Sri Lankan media blocked from meeting probing Easter Sunday attacks: The Sri Lanka media were blocked from live proceedings of the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on May 29, which was probing the Easter Sunday attacks. Reports suggested that suspension was due to political interference.
Read more here.

Shut down in Myanmar blocks internet in conflict areas
Four telecommunication companies in Myanmar were ordered by authorities to temporarily suspend internet services in nine townships amid military crackdowns on ethnic rebels. The government order was justified by the authorities in relation to the ongoing conflict between Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army. Read more here


Afghanistan: Deathly day for Shamshad TV with one dead and seven injured: A media security guard has been shot and killed, while another seven media workers have been injured from a car bomb blast near private broadcaster Shamshad TV in Kabul. Afghanistan Independent Journalist Association (AIJA) has urged the Afghan government to carry out a thorough investigation into the shooting of Eymal Zay and the bombing of Shamshad TV. It again reiterated the urgent need to prioritize the safety of media in the country. IFJ monitoring shows that Afghanistan was the world’s deadliest country for journalists in 2018, with 16 journalists and media workers killed.
Read more here.

Hong Kong: Journalists attacked in pro-government rally
Hong Kong journalists reporting a rally in support of Hong Kong police were attacked, insulted and kicked by government supporters on June 30. The Hong Kong Journalists Association HKJA and the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association (HKPPA), journalists reporting on the Sunday rally were insulted, kicked, spat at, splashed with water and their cameras damaged by rally-goers. Police were called in on multiple occasions to stop pro-government demonstrators targeting journalists during the demonstrations and the protest was deemed as violent as the June 12 protest. Read more here.

IFJ calls on PM Modi for action into journalist murders and attacks
India’s increasing spate of attacks and murders of media workers has prompted a direct call to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for urgent action into India’s poor record on journalist safety. Recent attacks in the country were including the killing by immolation of a journalist in Madhya Pradesh and a night attack on a female journalist in New Delhi.
Read more here.

Politician punches press club leader: The president of Karachi Press Club (KPC) was punched and pushed from a chair by a politician from Pakistan’s ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) during a live TV broadcast on June 24. Footage of the attack shows a heated argument break out between the two panellists, immediately before Siyal stands up to push over the chair of the KPC leader. Read more here.

Journalists harassed covering city-wide protests in Hong Kong: As over a million people took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest the government’s controversial extradition bill on June 9, a number of journalists were blocked and barred from covering the protests. Read more here.

Pakistani journalist’s home stormed by police: Jang reporter Shahid Sultan’s home in Rawalpindi in Pakistan was stormed by police in the early hours of May 24, 2019. Shahid’s two young son’s had their bedroom door broken, and were brought out of the room at gunpoint by police officers. Shahid was also held at gunpoint. Read more here.

Kashmiri editor arrested for 27-year-old terrorism case
A Kashmiri editor was arrested in a late night raid on his home in Srinagar on June 24. The respected veteran editor of Daily Afaaq, Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, was taken from his home by police and arrested on a non-bailable warrant issued in relation to a case dating back to 1992. He was later released on bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gowhar Majeed, when police were unable to provide any clear details and specific justification for the arrest of Qadri for a case dating back some 27 years. Read more here.
 
Myanmar: Three journalists sued for reporting farmer protest
Myanmar’s military has launched legal action against three local journalists following their reporting of a farmer protest in the Kayah State capital, Loikaw. On 19th June, Captain Aung Myo Tun from Myanmar’s military filed a lawsuit with Demoso Township Police Station under Article 12 of the Law Protecting the Privacy of Security and Citizens against 12 people. This included three journalists working for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), Eleven Media Group, and Kantarawady Times.
Read more here.
 
Cambodia court rejects appeal of two former RFA reporters
Cambodia’s court has rejected an appeal by two former Radio Free Asia (RFA) reporters accused of espionage. The case dates back to 2017, when Chhin and Sothearin were detained on November 17 for “illegally collecting information for a foreign source” and charged under the Article 445 of the Criminal Code for allegedly providing information that could cause damage to national security. 
Read more here
 
Former editor of Beijing News detained in China
Dai Zigeng, the former editor-in-chief of state media group Beijing News, was detained earlier this month for allegedly committing "serious violations of disciple and law", according to China’s Communist Party discipline commission. In 2003 Dai helped found Beijing News, one of China’s leading news outlets, and continued to work there until 2017 when he was appointed to his current position. During his time there, the publication gained its reputation of investigative journalism that dared to speak the truth. Read more here.
 
Sri Lankan journalist faces charge over article
On June 16, Sri Lankan journalist Kusal Perera was faced with charges for commenting on the development of religious rivalries after the April 21 Easter Sunday attack. Perera writes a weekly column for the Daily Mirror, and in the May 17 edition titled “From Islamic terrorism to marauding Sinhala Buddhist violence” he outlined the rise of Sinhala-Buddhist extremism pursuing anti-Muslim behavior. Read more here.
 
Four journalists arrested for a tweet in India
Four journalists have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh for sharing a video deemed to be ‘defaming’ the chief minister on Twitter. On June 8, freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia shared a video on Twitter of a woman claiming that she proposed marriage to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Prashant was arrested for ‘defaming’ the chief minister. Since then, the Uttar Pradesh police arrested three more journalists, Anuj Shukla and Ishita Singh of Nation Live, a Noida-based news channel and Peer Mohammad, a freelance journalist from Gorakhpur district for airing the footage of the woman speaking to newsmen and for posting it on social media.
Read more here.
 
Filipino journalist arrested in ‘mistaken identity’ case
Filipino journalist Fidelina Margarita Valle was arrested June 9, released nine hours later is a case of ‘mistaken identity’. The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrested Valle at 10.30 am using the warrant issued against Elsa Renton, who uses the aliases Tina Maglaya and Fidelina Margarita Valle, a subject of a manhunt for several crimes. The arrest warrant for arson was issued in 2006, whilst the warrant for multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property was issued in 2011. Read more here.
 
Australian press freedom questioned 
In June Australia’s press freedom was questioned as Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers raided the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst on June 4 over a story she wrote in April 2018. Annika Smethurst is a well-respected journalist working as the political editor of News Corps the Sunday Herald Sun. This was followed by a police raid into Australia’s public broadcaster, ABC on June 5 by Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers, the day after Smethurst’s house was raided. AFP officers served the ABC legal team with a warrant to search through email systems in relation to the people mentioned in the search warrant and were searching "data holdings" between April 2016 and July 2017.
Read more here and here.

Sri Lankan journalist released, following week-long detention
Mohammed Rizvi Maharoof, a journalist from Sri Lanka, was released following a week-long detention, after his arrest under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in late May. In late May, police conducted a search operation of a building owned by Maharoof. He was arrested after police claimed they had found materials of Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) who have been accused of carrying out the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019. Read more here.            

 

Australian public broadcaster pulls radio report following complaint
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the public broadcaster allegedly pulled a radio news story following complaints from mining company, Adani, an Indian mining company that is currently in the final stages of opening a mine in northern Australia.
Read more here.
 
Australian media outlet to cut over 50 editorial roles
Australian media outlet News Corp has announced that it will cut 55 editorial positions, targeting journalists that lack digital skills. Executive chairman Michael Miller said that News Corp needed to downsize to remain profitable and that it was looking for ‘new skills’.
Read more here.
 
Former editor of Beijing News detained in China
Dai Zigeng, the former editor-in-chief of state media group Beijing News, was detained earlier this month for allegedly committing "serious violations of disciple and law", according to China’s Communist Party discipline commission. In 2003 Dai helped found Beijing News, one of China’s leading news outlets, and continued to work there until 2017 when he was appointed to his current position. During his time there, the publication gained its reputation of investigative journalism that dared to speak the truth.
Read more here.

 

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