Freedom of Expression in the News: Weekly round-up, 13 September 2010

South African journalists fear limits to press freedom

There are increasing tensions between journalists and the South African Government over a proposed protection of information bill and media tribunal, that have the potential to limit press freedom.  The protection of information bill is at already at the committee stages, and would set rules for those who reveals state secrets, but giving the government the power to define what a state secret is.  Journalists fear that the government are trying to prevent press exposés, whilst the government claims it is trying to protect the public good.

Craigslist removes sex ads after campaign by anti-prostitution lobby

The online advertising site Craigslist has removed adverts for ‘adult services’ from its site, following mounting pressure from groups campaigning against prostitution and sex trafficking.  The move indicates a concession by first amendment free speech advocates to the wishes of those seeking to protect vulnerable women and girls from exploitation.  The campaign was lead by Prosecutors across the US, following a series of sexual attacks and a murder of women advertising on the erotic section of the website.  However, it is not clear whether this ban is permanent, or whether it will affect Craigslist websites outside of the US.

Pakistan: HRCP flays delay in arrest of journalist’s abductors

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has condemned the abduction and torture of journalist Umar Cheema and the delay in arresting those responsible for the act.  The HRCP has further condemned the situation as indicative of patterns of torture and intimidation against journalists in the country.  The HRCP called on the Pakistani government to honour its obligations to provide a safe environment for all citizens, including journalists, and hoped that the alarm caused by this brutal episode of abduction and torture would draw attention to the struggle of those the government are currently failing to protect.\story_7-9-2010_pg7_21

Report slams drug gang sway on Mexico media

Powerful drug gangs in Mexico are increasingly dictating the way drug violence is covered by the country’s media, according to a report issued by the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists.  Campaigns of threats, kidnappings and killings against journalists covering drug stories have caused them to fear for their lives, with 22 journalists having been killed since 2006.  Mexico is one of the worst countries for investigating crimes committed against journalists, and the report called for the Mexican government to take serious measures to protect them, including making attacks on freedom of expression a federal crime.


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