Entries in Journalists (8)


Journalists Fighting for Press Freedom Reach Deal with Chinese Officials?

George Doyle/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- A rare, public outcry in China by journalists demanding increased press freedom has taken a turn.

Staffers at the Southern Weekly clashed with Communist Party officials after an editorial calling for reform was censored.  Now, an apparent deal between the two sides might allow the journalists to go unpunished for their protest and for stopping work.

Censorship in China will not end.  But the deal -- and the fact that protestors were allowed to publicly criticize the government -- is a small but significant shift towards reform.

The incident erupted just two months into the new leader Xi Jinping’s regime.  While the government has not commented, it is widely believed that a top official -- Guangdong party chief Hu Chunhua -- brokered the deal, a sign that the party is taking the issue very seriously. 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Japanese Journalist Killed While Covering Syrian Conflict

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(ALEPPO, Syria) -- Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto was killed in Syria while covering the ongoing civil war there, Syrian activists said Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Yamamoto, 45, died Monday of wounds she sustained while reporting in the Suleiman al-Halabi neighborhood of Aleppo, east of where the conflict was taking place, the Japan Daily Press reports.  She was an awarding-winning war correspondent with Tokyo-based Japan Press, an independent news service, according to the Kyodo news agency.

An estimated 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed as a result of Syria's fighting, the United Nations said Friday.  BBC News reports Yamamoto is one of several foreign journalists killed in the Syrian conflict since March 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Group Charges Iraq with Suppressing Press Freedoms

Rubberball/Mike Kemp(WASHINGTON) -- Journalists in Iraq have much to fear, a local rights group has charged.

That fact was already documented in media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders’ 2011-2012 World Press Freedom Index, which listed Iraq 152nd out of 179 countries for press freedom.

Now, the Journalism Freedoms Observatory says things are getting worse in Iraq.

Issuing a report ahead of Thursday's World Press Freedom Day, the JFO alleged that government forces have stepped up attacks and arrests of media workers during the past year, in addition to restricting their movements.

Listing examples of the growing trend against journalists, the JFO claimed three members of the media were killed over the past year, seven survived assassination attempts, 31 were beaten by Iraqi security and 65 journalists were arrested.

There have also been dozens of instances of banned media coverage, blocked movement of reporters and cameras destroyed or confiscated. On top of that, two media organizations were raided and a radio station was shuttered.

What's more, the JFO says that Iraqi lawmakers are introducing a series of bills to put legal clamps on "freedom of the press, general freedom of expression and Internet use."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Bra-Gate' Angers Foreign Press in Israel

Jim Hollander/Pool/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- The Foreign Press Association in Israel blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office Thursday, after the security team forced several female journalists to take off their bras before being allowed into press events. The incidents follow a similar episode in January dubbed "Bra-gate" by the Israeli press when a female reporter for Al Jazeera was denied entrance to a Netanyahu press conference for refusing to remove her bra, after already taking off other items of clothing.

The FPA said that it condemned the "continued harassment" of journalists and said it would be discussing whether its members should continue covering events at the prime minister's office.

"In the past two days, three female reporters in separate incidents were forced to undress, remove their bras and have them placed through an X-ray machine in front of a group of colleagues," the statement read. "In addition, pocketbooks were emptied in public, with personal items also put on display and X-rayed for everyone to see."

"This type of treatment is unnecessary, humiliating and counterproductive. After repeated appeals and promises by security officials it appears that the Prime Minister's Office does not have the desire to stop this happening," the statement said.

The FPA said that it is only at the prime minister's office that this type of intrusive scrutiny occurs.

The prime minister's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Official: Pakistani Government 'Sanctioned' Journalist's Murder

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Adm. Mike Mullen said Thursday the Pakistani government "sanctioned" the killing of a critical Pakistani investigative journalist, becoming the first high-ranking official to make the public allegation.

The tortured body of Syed Saleem Shahzad was discovered in late May, days after he published an exclusive report which suggested al Qaeda had infiltrated the Pakistani navy. Months before, Shahzad had told colleagues and a Human Rights Watch researcher that he felt personally threatened by the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI.

The New York Times reported earlier this week the Obama administration had seen intelligence that directly linked the agency to the murder.

Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Thursday, "I have not seen anything to disabuse that the government knew about it. [But] I cannot, I would not be able to walk in and say, here's the string of evidence I have to confirm it."

Mullen said he could not confirm the ISI in particular had anything to do with the killing, but he was "hugely concerned" about the death.

At the time of Shahzad's death, Pakistan's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, visited his home to offer condolences and told reporters there it was possible the journalist was killed over a personal matter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Libya Releases Four Foreign Journalists

U.S. State Department(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Three journalists, including two Americans, were released by the Libyan government Wednesday after having been imprisoned since early April; a fourth, held since early this month, was also released.

Sources confirmed to ABC News the release of American reporters Jim Foley and Clare Gillis, as well as Spanish photographer Manu Brabo and Britain's Nigel Chandler. South African Anton Hammerl was not among those released; his fate was not immediately clear.

Libyan authorities are still holding the journalists' passports, a source tells ABC News, and diplomats are negotiating with the regime to get those documents released.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Libya to Release Four Captured 'New York Times' Journalists

US State Department(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- The four New York Times journalists who were captured by Libyan government forces earlier this week will all be released Friday, according to the newspaper.

The Times reports that Libyan government officials informed the U.S. State Department Thursday that Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario would all be freed.

The paper reported Wednesday that the four journalists had gone missing Tuesday and were believed to have been swept up by government forces in Ajdabiyah after entering the region through the Egyptian border without visas.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China Cracks Down on International Journalists


(BEIJING) -- It started out as a story about anonymous online calls for a "Jasmine Revolution," calls that, it must be noted, were not met with any notable enthusiasm from Chinese people.

But it has turned into the story of China's nervousness about recent upheaval in the Middle East and north Africa and how this skittishness has changed the working landscape for international reporters in China.

In the week since last Sunday's abortive protests, in which about a dozen journalists were detained or manhandled and one reporter was beaten quite severely, China has made it clear that journalists must familiarize themselves with the "new rules" for reporting in the country, by putting in official requests with the government to carry out interviews in Beijing.

This seems to constitute a repealing of Premier Wen Jiabao's decree in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics that journalists can operate freely without seeking specific government permission.

China's foreign ministry has denied that any journalists were beaten up by Chinese police, saying, "there is no such issue as Chinese police officers beating foreign journalists."

Our cameraman, a Filipino national, was visited Friday night by police who demanded to see his passport and press card and reminded him of the importance of abiding by Chinese law.

Two policemen banged on my door Saturday afternoon bearing a similar message.  They claimed that they needed to talk to me about my registration and asked for my passport and residency.

Although they did not mention my reporting, their parting words were unambiguous: "Make sure you understand Chinese law."  Dozens of other journalists have faced similar visits and worse.

At least four journalists have complained that their Gmail accounts have been hacked into, according to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China.

ABC News went to a shopping area Sunday called Xidan, one of the locations for the "stroll" called for by Jasmine Revolution organizers.  It was the third week of calls for protests, and there were no visible protestors that we saw, but hundreds of uniformed police and plainclothes officers, watching our every move and talking into radio pieces.

Within five minutes of walking down the street, I was clocked by one such plainclothes officer who was observing me from a pedestrian overpass.  I was surrounded by police, demanding to see my passport.

I was not carrying a camera and they had no way of knowing I was a journalist from looking at me; it was clear that I was stopped simply because I was white.

They took my passport and press card and wrote down all my details.

Two men carrying video cameras taped the entire thing, moving around me in circles.  They were perfectly polite but told me clearly, "you better good bye."  When we tried to take another route, we were stopped by two other groups of police.

Most journalists in China feel exasperated by the situation and are incredulous that China's security arm is turning what would likely be a non-story (the lackluster turn-out for a "Jasmine Revolution") into such a scandal.

While the tactics being used at this stage are mostly thuggish -- threats, intimidation, and a little bit of roughing up -- many are wondering whether the government will follow through on its threat to strip disobedient journalists of their credentials and residency.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio