Freedom of Expression in the News: Weekly Round-up, 14-18 February 2011

In Iran, Internet surfers battle cyber police

TEHRAN — Western sanctions have done little to stop the flow of computers and software to Iran, where the real challenge for cyber surfers is getting around local censors who block thousands of websites, including Facebook and YouTube. Last month, authorities launched the Islamic republic’s first Internet police unit to counter the growing popularity of web-based social networks, expected to increase cyber roadblocks in a country with the Middle East’s highest number of web surfers.


Libya: Protests ‘rock city of Benghazi’

There are reports of protests by hundreds of people in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the unrest had been triggered by the arrest of a lawyer who is an outspoken critic of the government.


 Egypt: Lara Logan of CBS attacked by Egyptian mob in Cairo

A senior CBS correspondent is recovering in hospital in the US after she was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob while covering the Egyptian protests, the US network says.


Bahrain information authority seeks ways to improve media standards

King Hamad has often called for greater media freedom and has urged the parliament to enact an “enlightened and advanced” press code that would underpin freedom of expression. Manama: Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority (IAA) president has called for the formation of a joint committee that would help enhance journalism standards in the country.


Iran unrest: MPs call for death of Mousavi and Karroubi

Members of Iran’s parliament have called for opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to be tried and executed. State TV showed some 50 conservative MPs marching through parliament’s main hall on Tuesday, chanting ‘Death to Mousavi, death to Karroubi’.


European Union:  Should press law prioritise privacy or public interest?

Formula One boss Max Mosley won a court case after the News of the World filmed him with prostitutes. Last month he went to the European court of human rights to argue for tighter laws protecting privacy. But critics, including journalism professor Roy Greenslade, say any change would reduce press freedom. Emine Saner hears the arguments.


Iran hinders web searches leading up to planned rally, sources say

Iranian authorities have blocked the word “Bahman” – the 11th month of the Persian calendar – from Internet searches within the country, according to an opposition website. The measure appears to be an effort by Iranian authorities to obstruct access to several websites that are promoting a rally on Monday – the 25th day of Bahman – proposed by Iranian opposition leaders in support of the uprising in Egypt, Saham News reported Saturday.


Singapore:  IBAHRI gravely concerned by conviction and sentence of Dr Chee Soon Juan, leader of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is gravely concerned about the recent ruling of the Singapore High Court, in which Dr Chee Soon Juan’s conviction for speaking in public without a permit was upheld. The IBAHRI believes that Dr Chee, leader of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), has been the target of repeated attempts by Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) to stifle his opposition views and prevent him standing for parliament.



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