WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Thu - 23.10.2014


press freedom

Offering a groundbreaking platform for journalists silenced by the repressive regimes of their home countries, Lebedev’s project will not only carry out insightful case studies into the hardships encountered by individuals throughout their journalistic careers, but will also provide an arena for these journalists’ own work, promising to enrich the UK public’s awareness of the political situation in these countries by giving them access to the investigative journalism of true insiders. In an article published online yesterday, Lebedev, owner of the Independent and Evening Standard newspaper, explained his personal motivations behind the project – namely, the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who was working for his family’s Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, when she was assassinated as a result of her work on exposing Russian atrocities in Chechnya.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-30 17:36

Labelled the "Secrecy Act" by its critics, the controversial Bill seeks to "provide for the protection of certain state information from alteration, loss, destruction or unlawful disclosure" – in other words, it poses an ugly threat to the investigations of whistle blowers and their fundamental right to access and disseminate information of public interest.

Right2Know campaigners, who before the vote, warned on their website that, "if passed the Bill would add to the generalised trend towards secrecy, fear and intimidation that is growing in South Africa today," held a silent vigil in parliament in Cape Town, alongside a picket outside the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, but to no avail.

The Bill was passed 189 votes to 74 with one abtension, meaning that the matter now lies in the hands of President Jacob Zuma, who has the option to get it passed into law. Significant improvements have already been made to the Bill after consultation by the National Council of Provinces, but according to Lindiwe Mazibuko, parliamentary leader of the Democratic Alliance party, the Bill nevertheless remains "flawed" and "does not pass constitutional muster."

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-29 16:20

The cross-party agreement, according to a statement published by the Newspaper Society, "has been condemned by a range of international press freedom organisations," and "has no support within the press" due to the fact that it "gives politicians an unacceptable degree of interference in the regulation of the press."

This latest move by the UK press has placed David Cameron in something of a quandary – the royal charter agreed upon by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties during a late-night meeting in March had been, as deputy Labour Leader, Harriet Harman said, "supported unanimously by the House of Commons and had the full backing of the House of Lords" and was due to go for approval by the Queen at the next meeting of the Privy Council on 15 May.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-26 17:00

The House of Lords voted on Tuesday 23 April by a majority of 78 in favour of passing the Bill, and consideration of the Lords amendments took place in the House of Commons yesterday, Wednesday 24 April. The Bill has hereby cleared its last Parliamentary obstacle, and now awaits the final stage of Royal Assent which will statutorily enact the Bill as an official Act of Parliament. According to the UK parliament's website, "the aim of the Bill is to reform the law of defamation to ensure that a fair balance is struck between the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation."

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-25 17:11

Excellent news for "smaller" blogging sites with a turnover of less than £2 million per annum and/or fewer than 10 employees, then, as it has been announced that such businesses will not be subject to the harsh financial damages due to be introduced under the new royal charter (see previous Editors Weblog article on reactions to the royal charter). Small companies who do not consider publishing news as the main part of their business will also be exempt.

Many of the small blogging sites in question will be heaving a huge sigh of relief in the wake of this government concession. Concerns had already been raised over the issue; outrage was widespread over the fact that small-scale bloggers would be subject to the harsh press regulation rules that were intended for the large news organisations responsible for the misconduct which lead to the Leveson inquiry in the first place. This exemption has been made in the form of a legislative amendment to the royal charter agreed upon by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties. The amendment is due to go before the House of Commons for debate later today, 22April.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-22 16:22

“If you can’t stomach the gore, don’t run the photo. Period,” wrote Orange County Register Editor Charles Apple, who first brought attention to The Daily News’ photoshopping.

The Daily News declined to comment on its editorial decision, but the question of whether to publish graphic images is one many other editors confront.

FOR GORE

Some advocate for the publication of graphic photos, arguing that text can never show the true magnitude of a horror as visuals do.

“I think TV news distances and ‘shrink-wraps’ human suffering,” writes Zeynep Tufekci, a fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. “[A]nd I believe such mode of reporting is against the public interest.”

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-04-18 12:30

Reports say Carvalho was gunned down just one month after Rodrigo Neto de Feria, who worked for the same newspaper, Vale do Aço. They both covered the police beat and the murders are believed to be linked.

In a report published in January titled “Brazil, the Country of 30 Berlusconis” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) examines all aspects of Brazil's media landscape. Berlusconi, the Italian media mogul and former prime minister, was known for his dominating influence over media in Italy. The concentration of media ownership in Brazil is identified by RSF as just one of many challenges, aside from journalist murders, that threaten freedom of information.

“Murders cannot be linked to an overall context similar to the context in Mexico or Colombia” said Marcelo Moreira, president of the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism.

Reporters Without Borders also reports that “relations with local politicians seem to account for the marked increase in threats and physical attacks on journalists and news media in recent years.”

Author

Briana Seftel

Date

2013-04-17 17:04

Emerging from a decade-long civil war, Burundi’s National Assembly passed a media law last week that the country's journalism union condemned as an unconstitutional assault on press freedom.

According to Reuters, the bill, which requires senate approval before President Pierre Nkunrunziza can sign it into law, subjects journalists to fines ranging from $2,000 to $6,000 and bars the media from reporting about public safety, national defense or the plunging national currency that lost 14 percent against the U.S. dollar last year.

The news follows a recent case involving radio reporter Hassan Ruvakuki, who spent 15 months in prison in connection with his work before finally being released on health grounds on 6 March.

New York-based Human Rights Watch cautioned that the government has been attempting to stifle press criticism of violence perpetrated by the current regime.

In Kuwait, local reports announced the cabinet approved a media law bill stipulating a 10-year jail term for religious offences and a fine of more than $1 million for criticizing the emir. Local newspapers leaked details on the law that would have to be approved by the Parliament and head of state, the emir.

Author

Briana Seftel

Date

2013-04-12 16:47

Budget minister, Bernard Cazeneuve (pictured left) launched the injunction on Tuesday 9 April in front of the French National Assembly, calling for members of the press in possession of Offshore Leaks files to pass them on to the Ministry of Justice "so that they are able to do their job." Le Monde's major issue with this demand lies in what Cazeneuve actually means by "the press." Indeed, they are the only French newspaper to have had access to the mass of 2.5 million Offshore Leaks documents gathered by the ICIJ. In an article published yesterday, 10 April, the French paper wondered whether its planned refusal to cooperate with this demand would lead to "the press" being considered a hindrance to the justice system in preventing them from following up these investigations into offshore dealings.

One issue that demands consideration is the secrecy of journalists' sources, a principle which is currently protected by French law. Le Monde points out that handing over the Offshore Leaks documents to the judiciary will inevitably expose the process behind gathering and developing the data in question, and could ultimately lead to the identification of the ICIJ’s classified sources.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-11 15:19

Should the UK media dutifully adopt a subdued form of respect following the death of a world leader who, having divided opinion so significantly during her premiership, should surely be expected to continue polarising views in the wake of her death? Ought journalists to be restricting their reactions to a purely reverential mourning, rather than using it as yet another excuse to argue over the Thatcher legacy? Or isn’t it inevitable, and indeed justifiable, that her death will spark strong opinions and reactions, prompting us to look back over her time in power and analyse it critically, even if this does mean highlighting the negative in some cases more than the positive?

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-10 13:21

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The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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