The ‘10 most urgent’ cases of press freedom violations

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 05 May 2019

Under threat: Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone.

PULITZER prize winners, a veteran investigative reporter, a blogger and a photographer.

They are among those on this month’s list of the 10 most urgent cases of journalists whose global press freedoms are being abused.

The list, which is updated monthly, was put together by the One Free Press Coalition, a new group formed by news organizations to spotlight journalists under attack. The group’s founding members include Reuters, The Associated Press, Forbes and Time.

One name not on the list: Lyra McKee, the 29-year-old journalist killed last month, by members of the “New IRA” during a riot in Northern Ireland.

This is because her murder was less about press freedom than bravely doing her job – and because local authorities are actively pursuing justice, according to Forbes.

Here are the “10 Most Urgent” cases, as provided by the coalition, in no specific order:

Azory Gwanda (Tanzania)

A freelance journalist working in rural Tanzania, Gwanda has been missing since November 21, 2017. Before his disappearance, Gwanda had been investigating mysterious killings in his community.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (Myanmar)

Following their investigation into a security force massacre of Rohingya men and boys in western Rakhine State, the pair were convicted under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years each in prison, even though a policeman testified that they had been entrapped. The Myanmar Supreme Court recently upheld their convictions.

Miguel Mora and Lucيa Pineda (Nicaragua)

In December, Nicaraguan police raided TV station 100% Noticias and arrested station director Miguel Mora and news director Lucيa Pineda. Both journalists are being held on charges of “inciting hate and violence” and have been denied consistent access to legal services.

Miroslava Breach Velducea (Mexico)

In March 2017, La Jornada correspondent Breach Velducea was murdered in the state of Chihuahua in connection with her reporting on links between politicians and organized crime. Prior to her death, she had received threats on at least three occasions for her reporting.

Claudia Duque (Colombia) Duque has endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance, psychological torture, and exile as a result of her work. Colombian courts convicted three high-ranking officers of the Colombian security services for torturing Duque and her daughter in 2003 and 2004. As of ?May 2019, all the defendants in the case were free.

Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) and Alaa Abdelfattah (Egypt)

Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdelfattah and photographer Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) were released this year after spending over five years behind bars. However, both have to report to a police station each evening, and it is up to the police whether they can leave. So far, both have spent every night of their “freedom” behind bars.

Aasif Sultan (India)

Aasif Sultan, a reporter with Kashmir Narrator, was arrested on anti-state charges in August 2018. He has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal sources by police, and has experienced health issues as he remains behind bars.

Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia)

Months after his brutal murder at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, and despite findings from the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent UN criminal investigation. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded.

Mimi Mefo (Cameroon)

In November 2018, journalist Mimi Mefo was arrested on false news and cybercrime charges in connection to her reporting on unrest in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. She continues to speak out against harassment of journalists throughout Cameroon and the impact of the conflict.

Anna Nimiriano (South Sudan)

As editor of the Juba Monitor, Nimiriano fights to keep her colleagues out of jail for their reporting. Although the government has ordered her to shut down the paper, she perseveres in the face of arrest threats and constant censorship of her and her colleagues. – Reuters


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