Activist who accused Bahrain security forces of sexual assault is rearrested

A  prominent human Rights Activist,Ebtial-Saegh has been arrested and  detained by Security agents in Bharain for tweeting remarks considered  to be attacks on the   kingdom’s ruler and security forces.

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However, the activist is accusing the members of the security agency of sexually assaulting her. Read more……

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Turkey: Concerns for freedom of expression deepen after referendum

On 16 April 2017, President Erdogan declared victory in a constitutional referendum, granting him significantly increased presidential powers and enabling the Turkish authorities to further dismantle the current system of democratic checks and balances. The referendum took place under a state of emergency, and was marred by widespread violations of the right to freedom of expression and other human rights. The outcome of the referendum is likely to jeopardise guarantees for human rights in Turkey, already under sustained attack.

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 “The ‘Yes’ result enables the incorporation into law of many of the temporary emergency powers that Erdogan invoked in the wake of the failed coup attempt in July 2016, which have been systematically used to stifle dissent over the past months,” said Katie Morris, Head of the Europe and Central Asia Programme at ARTICLE 19.

By removing guarantees of political and judicial oversight over the executive, the constitutional amendments mean there will be little to stop President Erdogan from completely immobilising remaining independent media and political opposition”, she added.

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ARTICLE 19 calls on the government of Turkey to ensure the full protection of the right to freedom of expression and other human rights following the referendum outcome. Other States, including through European and International intergovernmental bodies, must redouble their efforts to ensure the Turkish government upholds human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

An assault on constitutional guarantees of democracy and protections for human rights

According to the State-run Andalou news agency the Turkish population voted 51.18 percent to 48.82 percent in favour of 18 proposed amendments to the Turkish Constitution. The opposition is calling for an annulment of the results, alleging multiple violations of electoral law. After the referendum results were declared, President Erdogan again raised the prospect of re-introducing the death penalty, which could result in Turkey leaving the Council of Europe and could potentially be applied to those facing serious criminal charges on the basis of their expression. Following the referendum, the state of emergency was also immediately renewed by the cabinet for a further three months allowing the continuation of extraordinary measures which have weakened the rule of law in Turkey and enabled an unprecedented crackdown on the media. The constitutional amendments fundamentally alter Turkey’s democratic path and will grant the president powers to rule by decree – ensuring that a power he has enjoyed under the state of emergency becomes a permanent state of affairs.

The constitutional amendments threaten guarantees for democracy and further endanger human rights protections in Turkey. Prior to the referendum, the Venice Commission, an independent commission of legal experts affiliated with the Council of Europe, warned that the constitutional changes would “lead to an excessive concentration of executive power in the hands of the president and the weakening of parliamentary control of that power”, creating a system which “lacks the necessary checks and balances required to safeguard against becoming an authoritarian [regime].”

The Venice Commission also raised concerns that the amendments allow the President to control judicial appointments, severely jeopardising the independence of the judiciary. Judicial independence had already been seriously undermined through legal changes in 2014 allowing the Justice Minister more control over the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors. While most of the constitutional amendments brought about through this referendum will come into effect in 2019, the changes will immediately give President Erdogan increased authority over the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, further cementing the domination of the executive over the judiciary. Since the coup attempt in July 2016 and the declaration of the state of emergency, judges have been subject to criminal prosecutions, and have been removed from their positions without ensuring due protections for the independence of the judiciary. ARTICLE 19 has also observed trials of journalists, which were visibly politically motivated.

Restrictions on freedom of expression during campaigning period

The referendum took place in an environment that was far from free and fair, with people denied access to adequate and equitable information on campaigns. There were very limited opportunities for opposition and independent media to argue in favour of a ‘no’ vote to the proposed amendments, against a backdrop of a severe crackdown on freedom of expression.

Preliminary conclusions  issued by OSCE-ODIHR and Council of Europe election observers have criticised the referendum, arguing that it was ‘contested on an unlevel playing field, and the two sides in the campaign did not have equal opportunities’, to make their case to the voters. They also raised concerns that ‘under the state of emergency… fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed.’

Since the failed coup attempt and in the run-up to the referendum, several members of opposition political parties have been arrested on terrorism-related charges, thousands of public employees, including academics and opponents to the constitutional reforms, were dismissed in February, and some of the most outspoken “No” campaigners were arrested. In an interim monitoring report, OSCE election observers noted that the ‘No’ campaigners had been subject to bans, police interventions, and violent scuffles at their events, while the ‘Yes’ campaign had dominated television coverage of the referendum.

Moreover, election monitors reported that the ongoing restrictions on freedom of expression, including the closure of media outlets and arrests of journalists, further undermined the referendum.

Recommendations

Turkey is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and of the European Convention of Human Rights, and is therefore obliged to protect human rights, including the rights freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial.

Electoral violations during the referendum campaign, and the proposed amendments clearly contravene OSCE commitments, Council of Europe standards and other international obligations regarding freedom and equality in the campaign. Turkey’s international partners and the guardians of these bodies must respond strongly to the constitutional amendments, making clear that Turkey must guarantee the independence of the judiciary. They must use all their leverage to work with Turkey to promote observance of its international commitments.

ARTICLE 19 calls on Turkey to:

  • End the state of emergency and reinstate rights and freedoms curtailed by the emergency decrees;
  • Immediately and unconditionally release all writers, journalists and media workers detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression;
  • Guarantee the independence of the judiciary;
  • Ensure forthcoming OSCE-ODIHR recommendations are fully implemented, in particular those related to freedom of expression and freedom of the media;
  • Ensure that the death penalty is not reintroduced.

ARTICLE 19 recommends to the international community:

  • For Member States of the UN Human Rights Council to raise the deteriorating situation for freedom of expression in Turkey during its 35th Session in June 2017.
  • Make clear that any attempt to reinstate the death penalty is unacceptable.
  • Specifically, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should reinstate full monitoring of Turkey.
  • Source : Article 19

How African governments use advertising as a weapon against media freedom

National governments remain the single largest source of revenue for news organizations in Africa.  In Rwanda, for example, a  staggering 85-90% of advertising revenue comes from the public sector.

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In Kenya, it’s estimated that 30% of newspaper revenue comes from government  advertising.  In 2013, the government spent Ksh40 million in two weeks just to publish congratulatory messages for the new President Uhuru Kenyatta.

But with a general election coming up this year in August, the Kenyan government has decided to stop advertising  in local commercial media.

In a memo, reportedly sent to all government accounting officers, the directive was given that state departments and agencies would only advertise in My.Gov –  a government newspaper and online portal.

Electronic advertising would only be aired on the state broadcaster – the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

It’s difficult not to characterize the withdrawal of state advertising from commercial media as punitive. Without this revenue stream newspapers are likely to fold.

Worse still, efforts to withdraw government advertising from commercial media can be interpreted as a worrying way to undermine the freedom of expression.

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Starving news media of revenue is a means of indirect state control. This has been the case in countries such as Serbia, Hungary, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

But to fully understand the link between government spend on advertising and media freedom it’s important to take a historical perspective.

How did we get here?

The 1990s saw the adoption of multi-party politics in many African countries. This led to relatively liberal constitutions  in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana among others.

Since then, most African governments have grown anxious about their inability to control the local news agenda, much less articulate government policy.

For governments in countries such as  Ethiopai, Uganda,Zimbabwe and more recently Tanzania, controlling the news agenda is seen as a means to stay in power. Views that compete with the state position are often cast as legitimizing the  opposition agenda.

This is part of a much broader strategy for political control which Africanist historians and political scientists have called the ”ideology of order”.  This is based on the premise that dissent is a threat to nation building and must therefore be diminished.

The narrative was popularized by most post-independence African governments and emphasized through incessant calls for what they liked to call “unity”.

In Kenya, former president Daniel Moi even coined his own political philosophy of ”peace, love and unity”. Citizens were expected to accept this narrative unequivocally. Dissenting views were undermined through state-controlled media such as Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and newspapers such as the Kenya Times.

From the 1960s – 1980s, African governments conveniently used the nation-building argument to suppress legitimate dissent. Opposition was punished by imprisonment, forced exile and even death. This was common practice in Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and in West Africa more generally.

The current political climate on the continent is premised on constitutional safeguards including the protection of free speech which make these kinds of punishments unlikely in the present day.

Many countries now have institutional safeguards  including fairly robust judicial systems capable of withstanding the tyranny of naked state repression.

As a result, the media is controlled in subtler ways and its violence is softer. It’s against this background that I interpret the withdrawal of government adverts from the commercial media in Kenya.

Controlling media budgets

In Kenya, the decision followed a special cabinet meeting which agreed that a new newspaper would be launched to articulate the government agenda more accurately.

The government also argued that the move was part of an initiative  to curb runaway spending by lowering advert spend in Kenya’s mainstream media and directing all the money to the new title.

A similar move was made in South Africa last year when the government’s communications arm announced that it would  scale down government advertising in local commercial media.

Instead, advertisements would be carried in the government newspaper Vuk’uzenzele. The decision withdrew an estimated $30 million from the country’s commercial newspaper industry.

The South African government also claimed that the move was made to reduce government spending. But  critics have argued that the decision was made to punish a media outlet that’s been particularly critical of President Jacob Zuma’s presidency.

In both countries the decisions have hit at a particularly hard time for the media industry, providing governments with the perfect tool with which to control the press.

Will a free press survive

Commercial news media is going through a period of unprecedented crisis. The old business models are unable to sustain media operations as audiences adopt new ways of consuming news.

More than that, mass audiences are growing ever smaller. Newspapers particularly haven’t been able to adapt to the changing profile of the old versus the new newspaper reader.

The effect has been that newspapers are no longer as attractive to advertisers. As such, they have to rely a lot more on state money and patronage for survival.

To sidestep state control commercial media in Africa must rethink their business models and diversify their revenue streams.

It won’t be an easy road but non-state media must also work hard to disrupt this re-emerging narrative of “order”. Nation states cannot revert to the dark days when government policy was singular and alternative viewpoints were silenced or delegitimised.

Source : The Conversation

UN resolution affirms surveillance that is not necessary or proportionate is against the right to privacy

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ARTICLE 19 welcomes the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) of a resolution that significantly advances States’ commitments to protect the right to privacy in the digital age. For the first time, the resolution affirms that State’s surveillance practices should be justified according to the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality. Progress on this and other standards in the resolution reflect many of ARTICLE 19’s new Global principles on privacy and freedom of expression.

“This resolution reinforces that privacy is essential to the meaningful exercise of the right to freedom of expression. This is crucial for investigative journalists, human rights defenders, and whistleblowers, who require secure communications to expose wrongdoing and inform the public, and who need privacy to protect themselves and their sources,” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

“Almost four years after the Snowden revelations, States are finally agreeing with the public that privacy violations must be subject to the same scrutiny as other rights violations. This resolution is the clearest articulation yet that sweeping surveillance practices that are neither necessary or proportionate are against international human rights law.” 

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“The resolution must now be translated into action. Governments must end mass surveillance, end interference with our secure communications, and ensure businesses do the same”, Hughes added.

The resolution on “the right to privacy in the digital age” (A/HRC/34/L.7/Rev.1) was adopted by consensus on 23 March 2017 at the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution was led by Brazil and Germany, with a core group of Austria, Lichtenstein, Mexico, and Switzerland, and was supported by 66 cosponsoring States.

Importantly, the resolution calls for the convening of an expert workshop on the right to privacy in the digital age, to include a focus on the role of businesses, and a further report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to be presented to the 39th Session of the HRC in September 2018. Both will enable substantive contributions from across disciplines and stakeholder groups to further elaborate applicable norms to the right to privacy, and challenges of implementation.

The resolution builds upon one previous HRC resolution and decision and three UN General Assembly resolutions of the same title, all following the global debate on the human rights implications of States’ mass surveillance practices provoked by the Snowden revelations in 2013.

Importantly, the present HRC resolution stresses, for the first time, that:

States should ensure that any interference with the right to privacy is consistent with the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality”

It is significant that the 47-seat Human Rights Council, which includes among its current membership the United Kingdom and the United States of America, reached consensus on the need for States to justify interferences with the right to privacy in accordance with the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality.

Though previous resolutions on the right to privacy in the digital age were all adopted by consensus, differing views between States had until now prevented the articulation of this principle so clearly. This is a significant step forward, bringing HRC resolution standards into line with the views of the Human Rights Committee, the treaty body of experts monitoring States’ compliance with the right to privacy as protected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the conclusions and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteurs on the right of freedom of opinion and expression, on the right to privacy, and on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.

The requirement for States to justify the necessity and proportionality of privacy interferences is particularly relevant to considering whether States’ practices of mass surveillance are compatible with international human rights law. ARTICLE 19 has long argued, with many others, that such indiscriminate practices undertaken without specific, individualised, or reasonable suspicion are inherently unnecessary and disproportionate, and have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. Though the resolution does not go as far as reaching a conclusion on this issue, consensus on the applicable principles represents notable progress in that direction.

The resolution also makes a number of other normative advances, and strengthens elements from previous UN resolutions:

  • Anonymity and encryption: for the first time, the HRC emphasises that technical solutions to secure the confidentiality of digital communications, including measures for encryption and anonymity, are important for all people’s enjoyment of human rights, including to freedom of expression, and that States must not interfere with the use of such technical solutions. This expands on the HRC’s affirmation of this principle in relation to journalists and the protection of their sources in 2016, and aligns with the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression.
  • Metadata: the resolution strengthens references made previously to metadata or communications data, now noting that its aggregation “can reveal personal information that can be no less sensitive than the actual content of communications and can give an insight into an individual’s behaviour, social relationships, private preferences and identity”.
  • Algorithms and profiling: the resolution raises new concerns on the automatic processing of personal data, inclusive of metadata, for “individual profiling may lead to discrimination or decisions that otherwise have the potential to affect the enjoyment of human rights”. These concerns reflect how privacy-invasive automatic processing can be in the rapidly developing context of ‘big data’ and automated (algorithmic) decision-making, and how these human-built processes may reproduce societal prejudices and lead to discrimination.
  • Role of business enterprises: the resolution reiterates the responsibilities of business enterprises to respect human rights, including the rights to privacy and freedom of expression online, developing language on principles of data protection. Though not new elements, it repeats previous language that States must refrain from requiring business enterprises to take steps that unjustifiably interfere with the right to privacy, including when requesting the disclosure of personal information. The human rights principles applying to the relationship between States and business enterprises, in particular to protect privacy and freedom of expression online, should be considered in greater depth at the expert workshop.

ARTICLE 19 is grateful to Brazil, Germany and the core group for their open collaboration with civil society throughout the process leading to the adoption of this resolution. We look forward to working with all States at the UN to elaborate these principles further, including at the forthcoming expert workshop, and will work at all levels, to ensure that States implement these principles in law, policy, and practice.

Source : Article 19

United States must protect freedom of expression at home and abroad

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“ARTICLE 19 calls on President-elect Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress, to uphold the core United States value of freedom of expression and maintain the important and long-standing role of the United States in protecting this right internationally,” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

“The values of the United States Constitution are reflected in international human rights law, which the United States has long championed around the world. President-elect Trump must recommit to uphold these values both at home and abroad in this time of heightened global uncertainty,” Hughes continued.

ARTICLE 19 calls on President-elect Trump and the United States Government to:

  1. Embrace his pledge to be a “President for all Americans”, including by unequivocally renouncing the repeated attacks made against ethnic and religious minorities, women, and persons with disabilities during the election campaign, and refraining from such rhetoric in future. All people in the United States must be able to exercise their right to freedom of expression freely and participate fully in public life.
  2. Protect media freedom and recognise the important role of an independent and critical press, and refrain from statements that legitimise or incite violence against journalists, or that justify the abuse of libel laws to attack journalists and silence critical voices.
  3. Fully respect and protect the right to protest, including for government critics and opponents.
  4. Remain an active and engaged member of the United Nations committed to promoting freedom of expression and ensuring accountability for human rights violations, including through its membership of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as of regional bodies such as the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
  5. Maintain vocal support and funding for civil society organisations and human rights defenders working to promote human rights and democracy around the world.

ARTICLE 19 also calls on the new administration, together with Congress, to address long-standing freedom of expression concerns in the United States:

  1. Prohibit mass digital surveillance, ensuring the compliance of all surveillance activities with the United States Constitution and international human rights law.
  2. End the prosecution of whistleblowers who reveal information in the public interest, and reform the Whistleblower Protection Act, Espionage Act and other relevant laws and executive orders to protect public interest disclosures.
  3. Ensure an open, transparent and accountable government, including by championing the Freedom of Information Act and the proactive disclosure of government policies, practices, and data.        Source : Article 19

Freedom of Expression in Eastern Africa

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JUNE/JULY 2016

This monthly bulletin provides a snapshot of the status of Freedom of Expression in Eastern Africa. It is compiled by ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa with the assistance of its partners in the respective countries.

BURUNDI

JUNE 5: Egide Ndayisenga, Radio Bonesha journalist was arrested by authorities and held arbitrarily for two days without charge. Media reports said Ndayisenga was arrested in the northern province of Cibitoke for allegedly providing information to Burundian journalists in exile outside the country. The authorities also claimed that his movements in the province were suspicious.

JUNE 17: Julien Barinzigo, a journalist who working for theOximity News website was arrested and detained by plainclothesmen in Cibitoke district, north of Bujumbura for allegedly insulting the president and undermining internal state security. Barinzigo has since been brought before a judge twice. A request for his release by his lawyers had not been examined because, according to the judges, Bujumbura’s courts are in the process of being reorganized.

JULY 22: Jean Bigirimana, who previously worked for a pro-government Radio Rema FM and later for Infos Grands Lacs and Iwacu, was reportedly arrested by the provincial branch of the National Intelligence Service (Service National des Renseignements – SNR) and taken to unknown place. Media reports said he was arrested when he left his home in the capital Bujumbura around lunch time on July 22 for Bugarama, after receiving a phone call from a source in the country’s national intelligence service. Further reports said after family heard he had been arrested, they went to the scene of the arrest, and they were told that he had been carried away by members of the SNR. Bigirimana’s wife, Godeberte Hakizimana posted on SOS Médias Burundi website appealing to the authorities to find her husband whom she described as being “in great danger”.

ETHIOPIA

JUNE 15: Siefu Fantahun, a radio and TV host was arrested by local police and put in jail. Fantahun, who has worked in Ethiopia’s entertainment media for more than 10 years, was arrested for reporting about the recent uprising in the Oromia region, the largest region in the country. Local reports said Fantahun was picked up for miss informing the public about the Oromo protest that has been going on since 2014.

JUNE 19: Ethiopian authorities arrested Mukhtar Nuh Ibrahim of Horn Cable TV and four other journalists who released but detained Nuh Ibrahim. ARTICLE 19 partner organisations in Ethiopia said Ethiopian police arrested the journalists after luring them to false press conference in Wajale, a town located on the border of Somaliland and Ethiopia. The reasons for their arrest were not immediately clear.

KENYA

JUNE 9: Cyprian Nyakundi, a blogger was sued by National Bank of Kenya (NBK) and subsequently given interim injunction restraining him or any other contributors to his blog from writing anything about the bank. The bank through an advertisement in the daily newspapers barred Nyakundi from publishing any statements defamatory of the bank, its shareholders, directors and or employees in any nature, form and manner whatsoever on his blog, his twitter handle or any other of his social media accounts Nyakundi has in the last two years been sued numerous time by both individuals and corporate groups for defamation.

JUNE 14: Several journalists from the Star newspaper were warned by Moses Kuria, a pro-government politician, against covering his functions after news of his alleged call for assassination of the main political opposition Raila Odinga. The Gatundu South MP was capture on a video allegedly calling for the opposition chief’s assassination for being a threat to Kenya. Kuria later claimed the newspaper was being used to fight the government hence should not cover his political events.

JUNE 14: Jackson Njeru and Jackline Ogutu popularly known as Nyako Ber were jailed for three months each for contempt of court by a Nairobi Magistrate.  The two were jailed for being administrators of a Facebook account known as Buyer Beware. The page publishes information that warns the public about defective or substandard goods or service. Their crime was that being group administrators, they did not bring down a post from a member of the group that mentioned prominent lawyer Cecil Miller, who has sued them in various courts in Nairobi, Kwale and Mombasa. The lawyer had earlier gotten injunction against the two for mentioning his name anywhere online pending the determination of the cases he has against them. Miller had sued Njeru and Ogutu in several magistrate courts, first using the Section 29 of the Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Act 2013, for misusing licensed telecommunications equipment (Facebook) but when the section was declared unconstitutional on April 19 he switched to Section 184 of the Penal Code which criminalizes defamation content.

JUNE 15: Paul Letiwa, a journalist with Daily Nation received threatening messages from unknown person barely two weeks after being posted by his company in Samburu County. Mr. Letiwa, who had worked for the company in Nairobi as a correspondent for five years, said he started receiving threats through his phone after he published a story on misuse of public funds by the Samburu County government. Some county officials dismissed the story, saying it “it lacked facts”. One of the messages from an anonymous person warned the writer against publishing negative stories about the county.  The number the sender used to threaten him is not registered and was switched off immediately.

JULY 20: Moses Masinde, a journalist with MediaMax group was seriously beaten and injured during a political rally held in Port Victoria, Budalang’i constituency by opposition leader Raila Odinga. Masinde was accosted by rowdy youths while recording anti-Raila demonstrations that were taking place at the market. Police came to his rescue and rushed him to Port Victoria Police Station. His camera was vandalized and tape snatched during the chaos.

UGANDA

JUNE 22: Sadati Waligo, a journalist attached to Kamunye, a sister tabloid of Red Pepper newspaper was remanded to Kakondo prison in Lyantonde district for alleged criminal libel. Waligo appeared before Grade One Magistrate Tadeo Muyinda and was charged for publishing a defamatory story in Kamunye and also posting on his social media, facebook account on January 17 with intent to injure the reputation of Lyantonde Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Sulaiman Tiguragara Matojo. The story indicated that Matojo was involved in the theft of cows from the late minister Eriya Kategaya’s farm in Buyaga village, Mpumudde sub-county.

JUNE 29: Two journalists, Abubaker Lubowa of the Daily Monitor and Mutebi Robert of Salt Media were assaulted by police officers at Spear Motors in Kampala while covering the arrest of Ingrid Turinawe, the secretary for mobilization of the opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change and her driver. The two were returning from attending a treason case against Dr. Kizza Besigye a former FDC Presidential candidate at the Nakawa Magistrates Court. The attack prompted a group of about thirty (30) journalists to match in solidarity and camp at the Kampala East Metropolitan Police to demand for action against the two alleged police officers.

JULY 20: Mathias Ssebwato and Joseph Makumbi, both ofVision Group Media were arrested by police officers from Old Kampala police station in Kampala for allegedly taking photographs at the station while covering a story of an alleged defilement. The two were charged with assault and criminal trespass before they were released after a ten hours’ detention. Makumbi’s camera was confiscated by the police.

JULY 23: Two journalists Solomon Hamala of Red Pepper and Fredrick Sooma of Bukedde Television were beaten up by the head of the security team of the Kyabazinga (King) of Busoga Kingdom, Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope. The two reporters had been invited by the minister for sports in the Kyabazinga Kingdom, Amin Bbosa to cover the launch of the inter-county soccer tournament when they were attacked. According to ARTICLE19’s partner organisation in Uganda, the two were rescued by the District Police Commander of Iganga District, Nassibu Nditta who restrained the soldier from harming the two further. They filed an assault case at Iganga police station.

JULY 24: Jamil Mukiibi, a Delta Television journalist was attacked by commercial motorcyclists as he covered a scuffle between two rival cyclists’ associations. Mukiibi sustained several injuries and lost his equipment. Century Riders Association, an umbrella of one of the feuding commercial cyclists had gone to Boda boda 2010 offices (another group of commercial motorbike) in Nateete to demand for their motor cycles that were impounded by the riders when a scuffle ensued.

SOMALIA

JUNE 6: Sagal Salad Osman, who worked for state-owned Radio Mogadishu, was shot by gunmen in the capital’s Hodon district, near the Plasma University. ARTICLE19’s partner organasations in Somali said unknown people sprayed bullets on Sagal before fleeing the scene. Authorities launched investigations media reports said.

JUNE 23: Authorities in the Puntland region of Somalia raided an independent radio station, Radio Daljir and ordered it to close down. Media reports said Puntland ministry of Information ordered the station to close following the station’s interview with Abdisamad Mohamed Galan, the former governor of the Bari administrative region on June 21. Mohamed Galan was sacked in May 2016 by Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and has been criticized for leading an armed rebel against the Puntland government. In an interview, Puntland Information Minister Mohamud Hassan So’adde threatened journalists who interview “terrorist elements” with dire consequences.

SOUTH SUDAN

JULY 26: Alfred Taban and Ana Namiriano, both editors of the Juba Monitor newspaper, were summoned to the headquarters of the security services in Juba. Namiriano was allowed to leave after questioning but Taban – the publication’s founded editor was charged with “publishing or communicating false information to Southern Sudan” and“undermining the authority of or insulting the president” under articles 75 and 76 of the 2008 Penal Code Act. He was released on June 29 July after being custody for 13 days.

TANZANIA

JUNE 15: Senior journalist Simon Mkina and Ismail Mehbood of the banned Mawio newspaper and their Printer appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam facing five counts relating to publishing and printing seditious material. They were charged alongside two others, Jabir Yunus and Tundu Lissu, who were not before the court. They were charged with allegations of conspiracy to publish seditious publication, publishing and printing a seditious publication and printing a newspaper without submission of an affidavit. The state Attorney Paul Kadushi told the court that between January 12 and 14, this year, at unknown place in the city, Yunus, Mkina and Lissu conspired together to publish a seditious publication. He said the publication carried a story titled “Machafuko yaja Zanzibar,” in the newspaper namely ‘Mawio’ dated January 14, 2016.

JUNE 22: Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe, Tanzania’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs minister, threatened to sue a weekly Kiswahili tabloid Dira ya Mtanzania following alleged publication linking him to Sh2 billion fraud allegations. On June 13 and 20 the tabloid published on its front page published an article titled: “Mwakyembe atuhumiwa kutapeli bilioni 2…kupandishwa mahakamani wakati wowote (Mwakyembe accused of Sh2 billion fraud… to be arraigned at any time and “Utapeli wa Mwakyembe wamwagwa hadharani (Mwakyembe’s fraud exposed) respectively. Dr. Mwakyembe accused the publication for linking him to the same allegations of defrauding Sh2 billion through a company known as Power Pool Tanzania.

JUNE 23: Police officers blocked reporters from entering an Iringa High Court to cover a murder case of TV journalist Daudi Mwangosi who was killed on September 2, 2012. According to media reports police had barricaded the courtroom entrance to keep journalists away from covering the proceedings in which a police officer is accused of murdering the TV reporter. However, the court registrar had to intervene and allowed journalists in to record and take pictures of the proceedings. Meanwhile the High Court ruled that police officer; Pacificus Cleophase had a case to answer in connection with the murder of Mwangosi. Justice Dr Paulo Kihwelo ruled that four prosecution witnesses who testified in court had established a clear case against the accused. Police attacked Mwangosi after he confronted them about the assault and arrest of Godfrey Mushi, a reporter with Nipashe newspaper. Mushi had been photographing the demonstration and the police officers on duty.

JULY 14:  The government of Tanzania revoked registration of more than 400 dormant newspapers whose owners, Information minister, Nape Nnauye, said had failed to abide by the registration laws. Nnauye said the papers were de-registered after failing to issue publication for three consecutive years. He said after de-registration, nobody will be allowed to publish or distribute such newspapers and magazines through a hard copy or electronically as it was now against the law. Owners of the newspapers would be required to start the registration process afresh if they wished to return to business.

Some of the deregistered newspapers and magazines includeMamboleo, Weekly Deals, Mwamko, Utamu, Raha, Starehe, Daily Times, Financial Times, Tanga Yetu Alasiri, Dar Leo, Wakati, Mkombozi, Jamii Express, Habari za Tanzania, Pata Ukweli. Others include Mwana Africa, Pwani Wiki hii, Habari Njema, Kilimanjaro Yetu, Kigoma Yetu, Mtazamo, Arusha Raha, Sani Sport, Admedia Magazine and Advertising Africa.

Source : Article 19

Egypt deports French journalist amid crackdown on the media

Cairo – Egyptian authorities have deported a French journalist without explanation, their latest move in an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression and the media.

The reporter, Remy Pigaglio, who worked for several publications, including Catholic daily La Croix, was returning from a trip to France and prevented from entering Egypt. He has a residency work permit and press card, and was detained for 30 hours at the airport before being sent back to Paris early on Wednesday.

French journalists in Egypt expressed their dismay at the deportation, saying in a note that it was a sign of “the growing repression by authorities of Egyptian and foreign media.”

Egypt was ranked 158 out of 180 countries in the 2015 Press Freedom Index, according to Reporters Without Borders, a freedom of expression advocacy group.
Source :news 24

Journalists Arrested in Ferguson Settle with St. Louis County

Four reporters who were arrested in Ferguson, Miss., during the protests that followed the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown have reached a $75,000 settlement with St. Louis County.

The settlement, obtained by the Huffington Post, which also reported that the journalists—Ryan Devereaux, Lukas Hermsmeier, Ansgar Graw and Frank Herrmann—are barred from discussing its terms and conditions publicly.

According to the Huffington Post, the officers involved will undergo training sessions regarding “media access and the right to record police activity.”
Source : Daily Beast

Turkey is sending its journalists to prison

After forcing out his prime minister, President Erdogan muzzles the press

CAN DUNDAR saw the shooter approach and take aim at his legs. “He drew his gun, called me a traitor, and began firing,” he says, recalling the scene on May 6th outside an Istanbul courthouse, where he and a colleague have been standing trial. His wife grabbed the gunman, and Mr Dundar (pictured, right), one of Turkey’s best-known journalists, survived unscathed. Just hours later, he was sentenced to nearly six years in jail for publishing details of covert Turkish arms shipments to Syrian insurgents in Cumhuriyet, the newspaper where he served as editor-in-chief. The paper’s Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gul (pictured, left), was sentenced to five years. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had called on the pair to “pay a heavy price” for revealing state secrets, has kept mum about the attack. Pro-government newspapers suggested it had been staged to attract sympathy for its target.

These are dark days for journalism in Turkey. The latest press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders puts the country in 151st place, between Tajikistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Censorship is the industry standard. News reports from the Kurdish southeast, where clashes between armed separatists and Turkish security forces have claimed more than a thousand lives since last summer, increasingly resemble army propaganda. The dead are referred to either as “martyrs” or “terrorists”; civilians, at least 250 of whom have been killed in the fighting, are seldom mentioned.
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Journalists are routinely sacked or dragged through the courts. In late April two columnists, also from Cumhuriyet, were given prison terms for republishing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. Mr Dundar blames Mr Erdogan and his government. “Most of our media [have] already surrendered,” he says. “Now they are trying to silence the rest.”

The departure of prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, hounded into resigning last week, and the pending appointment of a more pliant successor, will make that task easier. For over a year, Mr Erdogan has been pushing for constitutional changes that will give him sweeping new powers. He is now ratcheting up his campaign to transform Turkey’s system of government from a parliamentary to presidential one. “At this point,” he said in a speech on May 6th, “there is no turning back.”

To get those changes, he will need an early election, a referendum, or both. But it may no longer matter. With Mr Davutoglu out of the way, one of the last checks on Mr Erdogan’s power is gone. “This effectively marks the end of parliamentary democracy in Turkey,” says one political strategist. “Davutoglu may not have been a huge reformist, but the fact that he was in the system gave people some reassurance that things would not lead in the direction of one-man rule,” says Asli Aydintasbas of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank. That reassurance is now gone.

A deal that promised visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens, in exchange for a range of reforms and a commitment to stem illegal migration to Europe, offered some hope of emboldening the reformists in the Turkish government. That deal is now hanging on by a thread.

Mr Erdogan seems more than happy to snap it. In his speech, the Turkish leader slammed Europe for asking Turkey to amend its laws against terrorism, which are increasingly used to prosecute Kurdish activists and other critics, including Mr Dundar. “The EU says: you will change the anti-terror law for visas,” he said. “Pardon me, but we are going our way and you can go yours.”
Source : The Economist

Policy Brief: The Right to be Forgotten

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In this policy brief, ARTICLE 19 provides comprehensive recommendations on how to ensure protection of the right to freedom of expression with regard to the so-called “right to be forgotten.”

The “right to be forgotten” usually refers to a remedy which in some circumstances enables individuals to demand from search engines the de-listing of information about them which appears following a search for their name. It can also refer to demands to websites’ hosts to erase certain information.

More broadly, it has been considered as a right of individuals “to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent Information about them is communicated to others” or as a right that gives the individual increased control over information about them. It has been categorised as a privacy right even though it applies to information that is, at least to some degree, public.

The “right to be forgotten” is expressly recognised neither in international human rights instruments nor in national constitutions. Its scope remains largely undefined: it ranges from a more limited right protected by existing data protection law to broader notions encompassing the protection of reputation, honour and dignity. It came to the fore with the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the Google Spain case of 2014. In this case, the CJEU held that data protection principles applied to the publication of search results by search engines and that individuals had a right to request that search engines operating in the EU de-list search results obtained by a search for their name. However, this issue is not limited to Europe, as since the CJEU judgement, several states outside of Europe either have adopted a dedicated “right to be forgotten” law or have been looking to adopt new laws on the subject.

ARTICLE 19 is concerned by these developments and the implications of the “right to be forgotten” for the right to freedom of expression. Hence, in this policy brief, ARTICLE 19 proposes a framework solution to the issues raised by the “right to be forgotten,” grounded in international human rights law. ARTICLE 19 does not advocate for the recognition of the “right to be forgotten” in domestic or international standards. Instead, this policy brief offers detailed recommendations on how to strike a proper balance between the right to freedom
of expression and other rights in this context, and what substantive and procedural safeguards should be put in place in order to protect the right to freedom of expression, if such a “right” is recognised and granted.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Existing remedies should be pursued such as those offered by privacy and defamation laws, and remedies under the terms and conditions of intermediaries, instead of recognising the “right to be forgotten,”;

2. Any “right to be forgotten” should be strictly limited, as certain minimum requirements must be met for such a right to be compatible with the right to freedom of expression, both in terms of substance and procedure. Specifically, the “right to be forgotten” should be limited to private individuals and should be actionable only against search engines (as data controllers), rather than actionable against hosting services or content providers. Any protections should also make explicit reference to the right to freedom of expression as a fundamental right with which such protections must be balanced. Further, decisions on “right to be forgotten” requests should only be issued by courts or independent adjudicatory bodies;

3. A strict seven-part test for balancing the right to freedom of expression and the “right to be forgotten” should be applied, taking into consideration:

  • Whether the information in question is of a private nature;
  • Whether the applicant had a reasonable expectation of privacy, including the consideration of issues such as prior conduct, consent to publication or prior existence of the information in the public domain;
  • Whether the information at issue is in the public interest;
  • Whether the information at issue pertains to a public figure;
  • Whether the information is part of the public record;
  • Whether the applicant has demonstrated substantial harm;
  • How recent the information is and whether it retains public interest value;

4. Minimum procedural requirements should be observed, including

  • Only courts or independent adjudicatory bodies should decide whether “right to be forgotten” requests should be upheld;
  • Data publishers should be notified of “right to be forgotten” requests and should be able to challenge these requests;
  • De-listings should be limited in scope, including geographically;
  • Relevant service providers, public authorities and the courts should all publish transparency reports on “right to be forgotten.”
  • Source : Article 19