“...Forced silence is generally a consequence of this formula: army or cartels that control the information, corrupt or weak governments that surrender to them, and a judicial system that doesn’t work. We soon realized that something was rotten in the country when the reporters who were supposed to file the news became themselves the news; when saying that (after Iraq), Mexico was the most dangerous place for journalists in the world became commonplace, and nobody cared. Those deaths were registered in small news stories, like these, that I collected from the newspapers: The journalist was kidnapped in the morning by five unknown men just in front of the municipal police department…His eight year-old daughter watched the execution. He was killed when he was taking her to school…Three months before his murder, his house had been shot and his car burned…He was taken by eight masked men dressed in black, from his home, in front of his wife and daughters…By the corpse a message was found: “This happened to me for writing what I shouldn’t. Be careful with your text when you write the news.”—Mexican journalist Marcela Turati speaking about the abuses and dangers the press faces in Mexico during her acceptance of the Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism earlier this month. Full video of her speech available here.
“The Justice Department is pursuing at least two major press investigations, including one believed to be focused on David Sanger’s reporting in a book and in The Times on an American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iranian nuclear works. These tactics will not scare us off, or The A.P., but they could reveal sources on other stories and frighten confidential contacts vital to coverage of government. ”—The New York Times lashes out against the secret DOJ dragnet of AP phone and email records, saying that the Obama administration has “a chilling zeal for investigating leaks and prosecuting leakers.”
“As in 1957, 1966 and 1989, Chinese intellectuals are feeling more or less the same fear as one does before an approaching mountain storm. The scariest [fear] of all is not being silenced or sent to prison; it is the sense of powerlessness and uncertainty about what comes next… It's as if you are walking into a minefield blindfolded.”—
Hao Qun, as quoted in The Guardian. China Tries to Rein in Microbloggers.
The News, via The Guardian:
China has launched a new drive to tame its boisterous microblogging culture by closing influential accounts belonging to writers and intellectuals who have used them to highlight social injustice.
The strict censorship of mainstream media in China has made social media an essential forum for public debate, but authorities have shown increasing determination to control it. Previous campaigns have warned the public against spreading rumours – a theme that has recurred in this crackdown – and ordered users to register with their real names.
Now attention has turned to the country’s opinion formers. A recent commentary in the state-run Global Times newspaper warned that “Big Vs” – meaning verified accounts with millions of followers – had become “relay stations for online rumours” and accused them of “harming the dignity of the law”.
Somewhat Related: The South China Morning Post reports that the central government has ordered universities to stop teaching seven subjects, among them civil rights, press freedom and the communist party’s past mistakes.
Press freedom in Northern Ireland
Across Northern Ireland reporters and journalists face greater threats to press freedom, source confidentiality and physical safety than any of their counterparts in Britain. Much has been made of moves by police in England to seize television footage of the August riots.
To those of us in Northern Ireland this is nothing new. A month earlier we had riots during which not only petrol bombs but pipe bombs were thrown and shots fired in east and later north Belfast. The PSNI is attempting to seize (and not for the first time) the footage taken of the riots on the Newtonards Road and Ardoyne. Not only would such a move potentially paint news crews as spies in the eyes of republican terror groups, but also in the minds of the rioters who, as night follows day, will return to Northern Irish streets in the next Ulster marching season.
Six-Year Anniversary of the Murder of Anna Politkovskaya
Victoria Nuland, Department Spokesperson
October 6, 2012
Six years ago on October 7, renowned journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot and killed in her apartment building. With her death, the Russian people lost a voice that courageously sought to report the truth. Today we remember Anna’s legacy both as a journalist and as a champion of human dignity. Justice will not be done until all involved in her murder have been identified and prosecuted.
We will continue to shine the spotlight on this case, and others, such as American Paul Klebnikov who was gunned down in Moscow eight years ago. Journalists across the globe who speak out against abuses and work to secure fundamental freedoms for their fellow citizens must be protected.
“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know. We regard this action by the Department of Justice as a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”—AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt
Happy World Press Freedom Day!
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.