Freedom of Expression in the news: weekly roundup, 9 July 2010

Syria: ‘Unfair sentencing of Syrian lawyer and human rights activist’ July 5, 2010

Haytham al-Maleh, a 78-year old Syrian lawyer and human rights activist was sentenced to three years in prison for conveying false news that could debilitate the morale of the nation, and weakening national sentiment. He was charged after giving a television interview in September 2009, where he ‘criticised the lack of democracy, the excessive powers wielded by security officials and official corruption in Syria.’ He also published writings that exposing several human rights abuses. Amnesty International condemned the sentence, saying that he should not have been tried in the first place. Considered a prisoner of conscience, Amnesty International is redoubling its campaign for his immediate and unconditional release.

Venezuela: ‘Imprisoned Venezuelan journalist declares hunger strike’ July 5, 2010

            After being held for two years without a trial, a Venezuelan journalist has gone on hunger strike asking the judge in his case to recuse himself. He was arrested in May 2008 and his charges included ‘illegal possession of a firearm, resistance to authority and property damage.’ According to his supporters, the real reason for his arrest was for articles he published that were critical of Venezuela’s state-run petroleum industry.

Thailand: ‘Rights activists say Thai media liberties slipping as state of emergency extended’ July 6, 2010

            The extension of Thailand’s emergency rule allows the government to continue shutting down media outlets it considers to be a threat to national security. Authorities are trying to curb anti-government media that use divisive hate speech and encourage violence, however, according to media rights advocates, the campaign is politically motivated and continues attacks on freedom of expression.

            Thai authorities are closing hundreds of Web sites, newspapers and broadcasters that are opposed to the government, saying they spread hate speech and lies. The media are also accused of instigating violence during the two-month demonstration by protestors in Bangkok.

United States: ‘US soldier charged for leaking video showing US army war crime’ July 7, 2010

            A 22-year old US army intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning has been charged with leaking a video of a US army helicopter attack in Baghdad in July 2007. Two employees of Reuters news agency were killed in the attack. Manning is accused of divulging confidential information and is currently being held in a detention centre in Kuwait. According to Reporters Without Borders, if the soldier had not leaked the video, the US defence department would still continue to openly practice acts of censorship and deny the fundamental right of access to information to the public.,37896.html

Fiji:New press law gives sweeping powers to military regime’ July 7, 2010

            New media legislation in Fiji now permits government-appointed officials to arbitrarily seize media equipment and documents. Officials can also now force journalists to reveal their sources and fine media organisations up to $100,000 Fiji Dollars.

Zambia: ‘Journalists urge u-turn on convicted Zambian editor’ July 9, 2010

            Newspaper editor of The Post, Fred M’membe, was convicted in a case linked to a pornography trial for a photo of childbirth. He was sentenced to four months in prison with hard labour for publishing an article criticising a trial against a Post colleague, Chansa Kabwela. Kabwela had sent officials a picture of a woman giving birth outside a hospital in an attempt to highlight the poor state of medical care in Zambia, and as a result, was charged with ‘distributing obscene materials.’ Whilst her trial proceedings were going on, M’member published a story about the trial, and was convicted of contempt of court.

Italy: ‘Italy’s News Blackout’ July 9, 2010

            Reporters and editors on all major newspapers began a 24-hour strike, with radio, TV and internet journalists due to join the protest. The protest is in response to a law that will seriously compromise freedom of speech in Italy. Under the new law, journalists’ freedom to investigate will be limited and the use of wiretaps by the police will be restricted. Freedom of expression could be compromised because journalists would risk jail and publishers could be fined for reporting the contents of wiretaps before a defendant is sent to trial.


0 Responses to “Freedom of Expression in the news: weekly roundup, 9 July 2010”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

RSS Media Law and Freedom of Expression News

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 25 other followers


%d bloggers like this: