Freedom of Expression in the News: Weekly round-up, 13-17 June 2011

Kurdistan: Journalist Sentenced to over a Month in Prison for Publishing Statement by PKK Leader

Journalist Ercan Atay was sentenced to one month and seven days of imprisonment after he published a statement by Murat Karayilan, head of the Steering Committee of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK). Atay was tried on charges of “praising crime and a criminal.”


United Kingdom: Facebook contempt case: juror sentenced to eight months

A juror serving at London’s High Court admitted to using Facebook to communicate with a defendant already acquitted in an ongoing narcotics case. She also admitted to conducting an internet search into another defendant and revealing details of the case while the jury was still deliberating.


United States: New Tennessee raises freedom of speech issues 

A new Tennessee state law originally designed to combat cyber-bullying also impacts free speech and is scheduled take effect July 1st. The law extends harassment laws to include communication through email or internet, and it requires internet service providers to release information about who posts certain images to law enforcement. It would also criminalize causing “emotional distress” through displaying certain images.


Rwanda: Glimmer of Hope as Rwanda Cabinet Approves Access to Information Bill

ARTICLE 19 has issued a press release, imploring the Rwandan Parliament to pass the Access to Information Bill, which aims to instill “transparency and accountability in public service delivery.”


Pakistan: Journalist bodies ask government to ensure safety of journalists

The international press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RWB), in conjunction with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ), and the Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ), has called on the Pakistan government to “urgently ensure the safety” of journalists and all those working in the media after the death of journalist Abid Naveed, who worked for the daily Akhbar-e-Khyber in the June 11 suicide bombing in Peshawar that killed 34 people.


Sierra Leone: Policeman held over S. Leone journalist’s killing

Police in Sierra Leone have arrested three suspects, including a policeman, in the stabbing death of Exclusive newspaper journalist Ibrahim Foday. He was stabbed last week in the east of the capital while covering a riot involving two rural communities over a piece of land.


Singapore: Alan Shadrake faces Singapore jail term for criticising use of death penalty

The British author of a controversial book about Singapore’s justice system was convicted of contempt of court and faces heftier criminal defamation charges for his book’s criticism of Singapore’s frequent and arbitrary use of the death penalty. The judge offered the British author a chance to “make amends,” but the author refused, claiming that he was asked to apologize for no wrongdoing.


Tajikistan: BBC radio journalist detained

BBC radio correspondent Urunboi Usmonov has been detained in Tajikistan on suspicion of being a member of an Islamist movement Hizb ut-Tahrir, an illegal association in the country. According to his lawyer, he was denied access to legal assistance for two days, and is accused of using his job to promote an Islamist organization. 



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