Tag Archives: censorship

Threats to media freedom in Australia so far in 2014

This semester I have had the privilege of working with two capable press freedom interns who have been helping me research my reports to Reporters Without Borders in Paris as their Australian correspondent.

Reporters-Without-BordersHere is a summary of the posts from TONI MACKEY and EVE SOLIMAN:

13/03/2014

ABC’s Two Independent Audits Clear Accusation of Biased Coverage

There were two cases where ABC was accused of having a biased coverage. These cases were the news coverage of the 2013 Election against the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the news coverage on Australian Asylum Seeker issues. Andrea Wills conducted an audit of 23 items that involved radio coverage of the 2013 election and found the items all followed the ABC’s Editorial Policies found in section 4. Gerald Stone conducted the audit on the asylum seeker issue and analysed 97 reports. He found the 93 were unbiased and followed ABC’s Editorial Policies. Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/audits-exonerate-abc-over-bias-claims/story-e6frg996-1226852398864

Malcolm Turnbull’s Media Reform

Malcolm Turnbull is proposing media reforms however Labor is opposing them because they are worried that it will affect local TV news. These reforms could affect Nine Entertainment, Seven West Media and the Ten Network in preventing them owning regional affiliates. Turnbull is also considering repealing the laws that prevent anyone from owning two out of three media outlets in the one market. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/12/malcolm-turnbull-has-opened-a-can-of-worms-on-media-reform-labor

 18/03/2014

Rinehart’s Court Order to help the introduction of uniform shield laws

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart demanded Adele Ferguson to release her sources, however a court has ruled in Ferguson’s favour with Rinehart’s business having to pay all of her court costs. This case is also being used in support of uniform shield laws for journalists throughout Australia. There have been several previous cases in Australia where journalists have been threatened and charged over not releasing sources. Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-15/rinehart-ordered-to-pay-journalist27s-costs/5323084

Politician warned over releasing media statements regarding the military unless given permission

Defence Chief General David Hurley has warned the newly elected Jacqui Lambie against using the media to criticise the military. This was after she released a statement about abuse being an intractable problem in the forces. He sent her a letter stating that if she had any problems with the military then she should take them up with him and not via the media. Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-14/tasmanian-senator-elect-jacquie-lambie-labels-a-letter-from-the/5320106?section=tas

26/03/2014

Proposed Legislation Changes Freedoms on Hate Speech

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act –  making it illegal to publicly offend, insult, humiliate on the grounds of race – has been slated for removal in a reform. The proposed legislation states : “it is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if a) the act is reasonably likely (i) to vilify another person or a group of persons; or (ii) to intimidate another person or group of persons.” Section 18D would be repealed and replaced with “ this section does not apply to words, sounds, images, or writing spoken, broadcast, published or otherwise communicated in the course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter.” Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-25/racial-discrimination-act-changes-george-brandis/5343464

01/04/2014

Prime Minister Supports Australian Journalist in Egyptian Jail

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has finally intervened and asked the Egyptian President for the release of journalist Peter Greste. The President has assured Tony Abbott that Greste’s case would be subject to a fair and just trial. He has assured Greste’s family that he would receive all the legal support and assistance that is needed. This comes after a previous article reporting the Opposition Labor Party had pushed for the PM to intervene. They have also declared their support and assistance towards this matter. Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/grestes-family-hail-pms-intervention/story-fni0xqi4-1226867971205?from=herald+sun_rss

02/04/2014

Gag Order involving Gangland Lawyer X by the Victorian Supreme Court placed on Media Outlets

The Herald Sun  in Melbourne has received a gag order from the Victorian Supreme Court. This order is to prevent publication of any information involving Lawyer X which could give away his identity. This order was extended to all media outlets the following day. It is suspected that the lawyer was a police informant from 1996 to 2010. Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/herald-sun-silenced-in-latenight-court-case-from-telling-you-more-about-lawyer-x/story-fni0fit3-1226871611414

 

08/04/2014

Dob in a public servant campaign

Public servants have been urged to dob in their colleagues for posting political criticisms on social media. This comes under the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct and breaches of this act include “harsh or extreme in their criticism of the Government, Government policies, a member of parliament from another political party, or their respective policies, that they could raise questions about the employee’s capacity to work professionally, efficiently or impartially.” It covers posts that are made on facebook, twitter, youtube, pinterest, flikr, blogs, forums and wikipedia. Source: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/colleagues-told-dob-in-political-web-posts/story-fni0cx12-1226875635588

Seven Network’s reputation damage by the Australian Federal Police

Seven Network suffered damages to its reputation after an Australian Federal Police raid that was looking for evidence of a deal with Schapelle Corby. The network says that even if there was a deal, there was no criminal offence and that because of the raid it has suffered damage to its corporate image from it imply they have committed an offence. They stated that they complied with the instructions to hand over documents to the AFP, however it was implied that there was further material that was being withheld. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/07/seven-network-says-it-suffered-reputational-damage-after-afp-raids

09/04/2014

Mamma Mia Faces Possible Contempt of Court

Mamma Mia journalist Kate Leaver’s article included alleged prejudicial remarks on the Hughes case. At this time however the jury was still in session, the article was published with a headline that did not state the subject of Robert Hughes which meant that the jury members could have been exposed to biased information. Coverage on this possible conviction of contempt of court was banned to be reported on until after the trial was over. The article involved accusations against Hughes’ wife. Judge Zahra referred the matter to the NSW Attorney General Source: http://mumbrella.com.au/mamamia-face-possible-contempt-court-charges-robert-hughes-case-219065

15/04/2014

Clive Palmer may back Cross Media Law Changes

Clive Palmer has said that he is considering voting for the repeal of cross media ownership. This is because of the introduction of new media outlets such as internet. Source: http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/clive-palmer-mulls-vote-for-cross-media-law-change-20140407-368xn.html

Journalist Wins First Round in Court Case

Natalie O’Brien has sued ABC’s Media Watch over defamatory remarks critiquing her reporting. She has won the first round of legal battles. This is in regards to her report over poisonous chemicals detected near a children’s playground in July last year. Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/broadcast/journalist-wins-first-round-in-court-case/story-fna045gd-1226883045684#

13/05/2014

Australian Journalist Deported

An Australian journalist was deported from Myanmar. This was because he was covering a press freedom demonstration. The authorities accused him of breaching the terms of his business visa. They believe that he was taking part in the demonstration. This follows a previous journalist working for the same website Democratic Voice of Burma, being sentenced a year in jail. Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-09/australian-journalist-deported-from-myanmar/5440830

Photographer attacked

The photographer  Sam Mooy was taking photographs of former boyfriend of previous PM Julia Gillard. Bruce Wilson is reported to have just lashed out and struck the photographer’s equipment, grabbed him by the collar and attempted to strike him. Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/julia-gillards-exboyfriend-bruce-wilson-attacks-photographer/story-fn59noo3-1226914699235

20/05/2014

A Senate Inquiry found that the AFP bungled the raid on the Seven Network and that sources should be protected.

A government inquiry has found that the AFP raid on Seven network attempting to gather evidence of chequebook journalism being used in an exclusive interview with Schapelle Corby was incompetent and costly. The inquiry also found that sources should be protected in the case of such raids. Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/afp-bungled-seven-network-raid-and-sources-should-be-protected-senate-inquiry-finds/story-e6frg996-1226919836654#mm-premium

21/05/2014

Budget Cuts Get Rid of Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The Federal Budget has called for the disassembly of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by 1 January 2014. This is an effort to save $10.2 million a year. This dissolution means the duties will have to be relocated to four other bodies. Source: http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it/abbott-government-uncomfortable-with-freedom-of-information-laws-opposition-20140514-zrc1r.html

27/05/2014

Treasurer Joe Hockey Suing Fairfax

Treasurer Joe Hockey is suing Fairfax over articles published that defamed him. They are about a fundraising event alleging in exchange for donations the donors gained access to him. He believes he has been greatly injured, shunned and avoided. His lawyers say his reputation has been brought into disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt. He is claiming damages, interest and costs. Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/the-media-debate-over-hockey-suing-fairfax/story-e6frg996-1226931129296#

Budget Media Cuts

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s budget contains a 1% cut to ABC and SBS funding for the next four years. Although this may seem minute in reality this also includes the media outlet not benefiting from the 3% inflation rate adjustments and remaining stagnant. The 1% cut amounts to an annual decrease of $9 million the first year, also the complete cancellation of funding for The Australia Network. ACMA (The Australian Communications and Media Authority) also is receiving a $3.3 million cut over four years. Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/abc-news-to-feel-effect-of-australia-network-axe/story-e6frg996-1226917173980

Asher Wolf Case

Asher Wolf is a freelance journalist reporting of privacy breaches made by the Department of Immigration. However they then demanded Asher Wolf to hand over the materials relevant to the story. This breach was found on the Department of Immigration’s website where complete personal information of over 10,000 (1/3) of Australia’s asylum seekers with full name, birth date, arrival, placement etc. was accessible to unauthorized personnel. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/19/asylum-seekers-identities-revealed-in-immigration-department-data-lapse

Morcombe’s publicly call for a Change in Laws

Father of murdered schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, Bruce Morcombe,  has publicly pleaded for a change in law to allow juries to know about a defendant’s past crimes when they are on trial. Morcombe believes that “members of the public are smart enough to hear the truth in court”. During the murder trial the jury heard about the past crimes of another suspect, but not of the defendant’s. Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/bruce-morcombe-calls-for-jurors-to-hear-past-crimes-of-defendants-after-his-son-daniels-killer-brett-peter-cowan-was-tried-without-his-criminal-history-being-revealed/story-e6frg6n6-1226905141811

Government Snooping

Accusations have arisen regarding Government bodies snooping on the public’s social media pages. It started from a tweet from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to a pro-asylum seeker activist that gave the impression that they had seen posts on her private Facebook page. On April 4 2014, the DIBP sent Vanessa Powell a twitter message stating “it’s come to our attention that a Facebook post on your wall contains an offensive remark directed at a staff member”.  The tweets from the DIBP stated “If you do not remove your Facebook post with immediate effect, we will consider our options further” and “Post in question is dated yesterday, with a picture of a bus and contains a comment by George Georgiadis”.  This last tweet is in response to Ms Powell asking what tweet they were referring too. This post has since been removed from Ms Powell’s Facebook page. According to a Sydney Morning Herald article the DIBP hires private contractors who monitor social media every day to determine Australian perceptions on different policies. Source: http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/government-cyber-snoops-scouring-social-media-20140410-36gen.html

Australia-based African Defamation Case

Australian- based Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front writer Reason Wafawarova is being sued for defamation by former Zimbabwe Envoy ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila. Zwambila filed for a lawsuit back in 2011 where she claimed that Wafawarova defamed her in an article published in the Zimbabwean state media in 2010. This article claimed that a former Zimbabwean envoy had stripped in front of embassy staff. She has claimed that the article has followed her around, her name had been stigmatised and that it had taken dignity away from the country. Wafawarova has said that he is unable to receive a fair trial because his witnesses are Zimbabwean diplomats that have since been redeployed from the embassy and that their governments had refused his request for their appearances. He has also argued that the article was about something that happened on Zimbabwean soil and in a Zimbabwe newspaper so therefore Australia should have no jurisdiction over the matter. Source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/2014/05/12/former-envoy-sues-zanu-pf-writer-for-200000/

Senator Faulkner and Spy Cameras

Senator Faulkner has accused the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) of spying on him using CCTV cameras, which he says is a breach of parliamentary privilege. The head of DPS has been questioned by Senator Faulkner in a Senate Estimates hearing, where she has admitted to the footage being accessed “to gather evidence in a potential code of conduct case around an individual, yes”. It is believed by media that the reason behind this was to identify a whistleblower who was leaking information to the Senator. Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/parliamentary-cameras-monitored-john-faulkner-with-whistleblower/story-fn59niix-1226931722580#

Fairfax Defamation Cases

Nick Di Girolamo who was the former chief executive of Australian Water Holdings is also suing Fairfax media in a $12.5 million defamation suit. He says that his reputation was trashed by stories published in the Sydney Morning Herald. These stories were from 2012 and 2013 and investigated involvement of the corrupt former Labor Minister Eddie Obeid in the water company. Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/23/nick-di-girolamo-launches-125m-defamation-suit-against-fairfax-mediahttp://www.theaustralian.com.au/media/media-diary/obeids-to-sue-fairfax-for-50m/story-fnab9kqj-1226931115298#

Australian journalists face the possibility of extra delays in their freedom of information appeals with Australian federal budget cuts doing away with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) by January 2015.

The cut is meant to save $10.2 million a year, but dissolving  the OAIC will mean the duties that the agency carried out will have to be shifted into four other bodies.

The privacy functions that are carried out by the Privacy Commissioner will continue as an independent legislative position within the Human Rights Commission.

The external examination of Freedom of Information (FOI) will be adopted by the Administrative Affairs Tribunal.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman will take the responsibility of filing and treatment of FOI complaints.

The last function will be divided into the Attorney General’s Department, whose responsibility will include the administering of “FOI guidelines, collecting statistics and providing explanatory material on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982” (Office of the Information Commissioner disbanded as part of budget reforms, Ashurst Australia).

The budget cuts aimed at saving $10.2 million annually but will only save $3.3 million in direct financing this year and the cost of financing the continued duties, once carried out by the federal budget will be passed onto the four separate departments that it absorbed into. Source:

http://www.oaic.gov.au/news-and-events/statements/australian-governments-budget-decision-to-disband-oaic/australian-government-s-budget-decision-to-disband-oaic

© Toni Mackey and Eve Soliman 2014

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Budget cuts to FOI body could prompt delays

By guest blogger EVE SOLIMAN – press freedom intern

Australian journalists face the possibility of extra delays in their freedom of information appeals with Australian federal budget cuts doing away with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) by January 2015.

The cut is meant to save $10.2 million a year, but dissolving  the OAIC will mean the duties that the agency carried out will have to be shifted into four other bodies.

The privacy functions that are carried out by the Privacy Commissioner will continue as an independent legislative position within the Human Rights Commission.

The external examination of Freedom of Information (FOI) will be adopted by the Administrative Affairs Tribunal.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman will take the responsibility of filing and treatment of FOI complaints.

The last function will be divided into the Attorney General’s Department, whose responsibility will include the administering of “FOI guidelines, collecting statistics and providing explanatory material on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982” (Office of the Information Commissioner disbanded as part of budget reforms, Ashurst Australia).

The budget cuts aimed at saving $10.2 million annually but will only save $3.3 million in direct financing this year and the cost of financing the continued duties, once carried out by the federal budget will be passed onto the four separate departments that it absorbed into.

The Attorney General’s Office will be funding $500,000 this year and $900,000 annually in the following years, the Human Rights Commission will contribute $2.7 million in 2015 and around $5.5 million annually the following years and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal will pay $300,000 this year and half a million dollars annually in the following years.

The reasons behind the budget cut can only be speculated, but could have a negative impact on the freedom of information and ways that the functions can be met.

A major critique by the government, agencies and other commentators on the OAIC, is that it has been inefficient in delivering information and reviewing FOI applications.

But despite claims of the OAIC’s efficiency, or viewing the institution as unnecessary there is copious amounts of evidence on the accomplishments and progress of OAIC to counter the arguments.

The completion of cases per day has increased from .37 cases in the first year and a half of its establishment, to 4.7 cases per day, the completion and cessation of FOI requests and privacy complaints also increased substantially.

The OAIC was formed in 2010 as an independent bureau within the Attorney General’s Department that’s purpose involved several elements of information dispersal and management: privacy, FOI and policy.

Predating the formation of the OAIC, the Privacy Commissioner belonged to the Human Rights Commission. The OAIC has 76 staff.

The OAIC has accomplished many things within the spectrum of privacy, freedom of information and information policy.

The agency had conducted an audit of the information management policies belonging to 191 Australian government agencies.

OAIC also resolved a total of 1,191 appeal applications and requests for information and published the reasoning for 186 of those cases, handled 4521 phone enquiries and 1891 written enquiries involving freedom of information and closed 394 FOI complaints.

In 2011, the OAIC hosted a National Information Policy Conference, that was attended by hundreds of people and created and dispersed the Principles on open public sector information which the government utilises and relies on.

References:

http://www.oaic.gov.au/news-and-events/statements/australian-governments-budget-decision-to-disband-oaic/australian-government-s-budget-decision-to-disband-oaic

file:///C:/Users/Eve/Downloads/Privacy%20Update%20-%2014%20May%202014.pdf

http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it/abbott-government-uncomfortable-with-freedom-of-information-laws-opposition-20140514-zrc1r.html

http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s4005459.htm

http://www.zdnet.com/budget-2014-oaic-disbanded-as-privacy-foi-oversight-redistributed-7000029426/

© Eve Soliman 2014

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How the ABC cuts will damage media freedom in the region

By MARK PEARSON Follow @Journlaw

[Thanks to press freedom intern Eve Soliman for her research assistance here.]

One of the saddest aspects of Tuesday’s budget cuts to the ABC and SBS and the axing of the $220 million Australia Network contract is the impact on media freedom in the Asia-Pacific region.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 11.13.07 AMAmong the Australian values the Australia Network has advocated to neighbouring countries has been the effective operation of a genuinely independent national broadcaster – funded by the government yet producing high quality Fourth Estate journalism exposing corruption and questioning policy in the public interest.

Its current affairs schedule has included top shelf news and current affairs programs like 7.30, Dateline, Lateline, Foreign Correspondent, Q&A, The World This Week and of course ABC News Breakfast. Add to that the online curation via the Australian News Network website and you have a showcase of the media playing a watchdog role in a functioning democracy.

Many of the countries receiving the Australia Network fare much worse than Australia’s 28th position on Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index, including Vietnam (174th), Singapore (150th) and Malaysia (147th).

These are nations where ‘public broadcasting’ means something quite different and journalists are subjected to licensing regimes and even jail, with 232 imprisoned in Vietnam in 2012 and, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, more this month.

Our quality public broadcasting content has operated as an exemplar of how journalism can work in a properly functioning democracy.

The Australia Network commitment was one of the few budgetary investments in media freedom made by this country – and now it is gone.

So too will many journalism jobs if ABC management is unable to find further cuts in its tight administrative budget – which is unlikely according to managing director Mark Scott.

The Budget announcement that the ABC was suffering only a 1 per cent cut over four years might not sound much, but this needs to be combined with inflation of around 3 per cent increasing operating costs.

Anyone familiar with compound interest would understand that this 4 per cent annual deterioration represents an escalating erosion of the ABC’s budget over that period – down to 96% of its current budget in the first year, 92% in the second, 88% in its third, and 84.5% in the fourth.

You can see how – when combined with inflation – the 1 per cent haircut actually becomes a 15% decrease over those four years.

That means either fewer staff, fewer programs, or low cost junior personnel replacing experienced colleagues at the public broadcasters in coming years.

Australia Network viewers seem less likely to have the opportunity to view some of the Walkley Award winning reportage brought to them through its programming in recent years.

Our Asian and Pacific neighbours have been witness – via the Australia Network – to corruption being exposed in all quarters by leading Australian journalists whose media organizations are now under threat.

The network also relayed other news stemming from the work of Kate McClymont of the Sydney Morning Herald which led to many of the recent revelations by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

They have also heard news of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse – also triggered by top notch investigative reporting by the Newcastle Herald’s Joanne McCarthy.

But recent Fairfax redundancies and pressures on other news organizations combines with this Budget decision to send a somber message to the region  – the quality and quantity of news and current affairs in this Western democracy is on the decline.

It will be interesting to see how this development feeds into Australia’s ranking in the 2015 RSF World Press Freedom Index.

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014

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Why Australians should care about World Press Freedom Day: My blog for No Fibs

By MARK PEARSON Follow @Journlaw

CITIZEN journalism site No Fibs has just posted my latest blog on today’s international marking of World Press Freedom Day.

It got a nice nod from Paul Barry of ABC’s Media Watch. Cheers Paul!

You can view the full piece here, but here is a taste:

—-

Readers of the NoFibs site reap the rewards of citizen journalists expressing their news and views with a high level of free expression by world standards.

So why should Australians care about media freedom on World Press Freedom Day 2014?

Quite simply, because it is a ‘fragile freedom’ – continually under threat and only noticed by most people once they have lost it.

Just ask any of the refugees who have fled to Australia over the past century from regimes that have robbed them of their human rights. One of their first responses is typically that they love their new home country because it is ‘free’ and they can express themselves freely here.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 4.50.16 PMWhen you look at international indices of media freedom like that of Reporters Without Borders, Australia (ranked 28th) sits in stark contrast to the censorship and intimidation of journalists in many other countries like Vietnam (174th), China (175th) and Somalia (176th).

Journalists are not usually jailed in this country (although Melbourne broadcaster and blogger Derryn Hinch was a recent exception) – and they are certainly not tortured or murdered for exercising their right to free expression here.

At least in Hinch’s case he was duly tried and convicted (for breach of a suppression order) in a legal system that is open, just and in accordance with the rule of law.

The same cannot be said of another jailed Australian journalist, Peter Greste, who remains in jail in Egypt after 130 days along with five of his Al Jazeera media colleagues (and 14 others) on trumped up charges of defaming the country and of consorting with the Muslim Brotherhood.

While Greste’s plight has been highlighted here because of his nationality, he is just one of 168 journalists jailed throughout the world this year for just doing their job. The expression ‘shoot the messenger’ takes on a chilling reality when you also consider the 25 journalists, bloggers and citizen journalists killed already in 2014.

Australia’s relatively good performance in these press freedom rankings belies the fact that there are ongoing and emerging threats to free expression.

… and that’s just half of it. Read the full blog at No Fibs.

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014

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#Hinch (@HumanHeadline), #Morcombe and open justice – lessons in media law

By MARK PEARSON

It is timely that in the space of a week we should see the Human Headline (@HumanHeadline) Derryn Hinch released from jail for a publication offence and a serial offender receive a life sentence for the sex murder of teenager Daniel Morcombe.

CatchingTheDevil(Morcombefrontpage14-3-14)C-M

Courier Mail front page 14-3-14

We learned yesterday after Brett Peter Cowan was convicted of that 2003 crime that he had served time twice earlier for similar offences.

He is exactly the kind of individual that Hinch wants placed on a public sex offender register for exactly the reason most talkback callers and social media commenters are asking this question: How can we release such individuals anonymously into our communities when we cannot be sure they will not strike again?

Hinch asked it again this morning:

Hinch became the first Australian journalist jailed this millennium for a publishing offence when he was jailed for 50 days refusing to pay a $100,000 fine for breaching a suppression order on the prior convictions of Adrian Ernest Bayley – the accused sex murderer of ABC worker Jill Meagher in Melbourne in 2012.

In 2011 he was sentenced to five months of home detention for publicly naming two sex offenders at a rally and on his website in defiance of such anonymity orders.

In 1987 he was jailed on a contempt of court charge after broadcasting the criminal record of a former priest Michael Glennon accused of child sex offences and implying his guilt in his high rating Melbourne radio program.

It was only by a 4-3 majority that the High Court later stopped short of overturning Glennon’s conviction on those sex charges on the grounds of Hinch prejudicing his fair trial. (Glennon died in jail this year.)

Journalists and media law students have much to learn from the events of the past week.

While the crimes themselves left a trail of human destruction, the Hinch and Morcombe stories make for ideal case studies in a media law module covering open justice, contempt of court and court reporting – the exact module my students will be starting next week.

They will get to research and debate these kinds of important questions that arise from the week’s events:

  • What public policy issues are at play that see a journalist jailed for reporting the past convictions of an individual convicted of a high profile crime?
  • What does such a penalty say about Australia’s standard of media freedom?
  • Why is Australia’s approach to this level of suppression different from that applying in the United States?
  • Why should the mainstream media be prevented from reporting such material when social media platforms and certain websites are full of it?
  • Why would Hinch’s blog and Twitter feed where he breached the suppression orders over Bayley not represent a ‘real risk of prejudice’ to the trial, when mainstream media coverage might do so?
  • How can juries be quarantined from such information and – if they can’t – why shouldn’t the media be allowed to publish it?
  • Do other methods of dealing with juries – judges’ instructions, training, sequestering etc – mean we no longer need to suppress such material?
  • Are the past offences of such criminals matters of such overwhelming social importance and public concern that suppression of the details should be considered contrary to the public interest?
  • Should the Courier-Mail’s front page heading of February 21, 2014 – ‘Daniel’s Killer’ – have forced the trial to be aborted? Should it be grounds for a sub judice contempt charge? Should it be grounds for Cowan’s appeal?
  • How can a journalist report upon such proceedings in an interesting and timely way while navigating the various restrictions that apply?
  • How ‘open’ should ‘open justice’ be in such high profile trials? Should cameras and smartphone recordings be allowed in court? Should tweeting and other social media usage be allowed in court?
  • Is it appropriate in the modern era of communication that a major television network has to rely on a presenter standing outside a courthouse relaying sentencing information to the audience from a court reporter on the inside via telephone?
  • How much social media commentary should be tolerated about such cases while an accused is facing trial?

I’m sure many other questions arise too – and would be keen for other educators, journalists, lawyers and students to use the Comments section here to pose them so my students can take them up in lecture and tutorial discussions.

———–

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014

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The Human Headline legacy – the jailed Hinch, suppression and free expression

By MARK PEARSON

Broadcaster, tweeter, blogger and veteran journalist Derryn Hinch – the self-proclaimed ‘Human Headline’ – has been released from jail after serving a 50 day sentence for breaching a suppression order. 

Derryn Hinch's 'Human Headline' blog - Countdown to Freedom

Derryn Hinch’s ‘Human Headline’ blog – Countdown to Freedom

Hinch had refused to pay a $100,000 fine over his blog and Twitter comments including suppressed background material on Adrian Ernest Bayley, accused of the Melbourne murder of Irish woman Jill Meagher.

Hinch has been jailed twice, fined and sentenced to home detention for his contemptuous reportage and commentary about sex offenders over more than a quarter of a century.

While much of the coverage of his prosecutions and trials has focused on his cavalier and principled stance in the vein of his ‘Human Headline’ moniker, he has also been responsible for a body of case law covering sub judice contempt, the naming of a child sexual assault victim and the defiance of suppression orders – in his television and talkback radio programs, blogs and Twitter feeds.

I am preparing a paper for the ANZCA conference in Melbourne in July, reporting on a legal and textual analysis of eight key Victorian and High Court cases involving Hinch as a party in 1986, 1987, 1996, 2011 and 2013.

It reviews these key cases involving Hinch as a defendant and an appellant since 1986 – including Magistrates, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and two High Court judgments – and identifies the key media law principles shaped in the process.

It concludes that the Hinch legacy is far more significant than his shallow ‘Human Headline’ title suggests – and ventures into important human rights questions arising in the complex legal and moral terrain where free expression, the ‘public interest’ and the ‘public right to know’ compete with an accused’s right to a fair trial, an ex-prisoner’s right to rehabilitation and a child’s right to protection from sexual predators.

For example, Hinch’s appeal to the High Court over his contempt conviction in 1987 was unsuccessful but resulted in a broadening of the public interest defence to sub judice contempt.

His latest case offers an excellent summary of the relevant factors considered in deciding whether there is a real risk of prejudice to a trial, because Hinch was acquitted on a second contempt charge that his blog ‘had a tendency, or was calculated, to interfere with the due administration of justice in the trial of Bayley’.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye ruled that three factors combined to reduce the tendency of Hinch’s blogging to prejudice potential jurors: the small readership of the article, the period of delay between the publication of the article and the likely trial date of Bayley, and other prejudicial material about Bayley circulating in the media and social media at the time (para 114). While ‘highly prejudicial’, Justice Kaye had a ‘reasonable doubt’ in light of those three factors that the article would have prevented Bayley getting a fair trial.

I will post updates on this paper as the research and writing unfolds. Meanwhile, no matter what you think of Hinch’s bravado in his naming and shaming of sex offenders, at least this week we should be able to celebrate the release of an Australian journalist from jail.

———–

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

© Mark Pearson 2014

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Filed under blogging, contempt of court, courts, free expression, media ethics, Media freedom, media law, Press freedom, sub judice, suppression, Uncategorized

RSF names 39 leaders as Press Freedom Predators

3 May 2013
World Press Freedom Day

Media release from Reporters Without Borders – RSF (See http://www.rsf.org)

Website: http://en.rsf.org/asia,2.html
Twitter: @RSFAsiaPacific, @RSF_Asia (中文)
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39 leaders, groups named as Predators of Freedom of Information in 2013

On World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders is releasing an updated list of 39 Predators of Freedom of Information ­– presidents, politicians, religious leaders, militias and criminal organizations that censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and kill journalists and other news providers. Powerful, dangerous and violent, these predators consider themselves above the law.

“These predators of freedom of information are responsible for the worst abuses against the news media and journalists,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “They are becoming
more and more effective. In 2012, the level of violence against news providers was unprecedented and a record number of journalists were killed.

“World Press Freedom Day, which was established on the initiative of Reporters Without Borders, must be used to pay tribute to all journalists, professional and amateur, who have paid for their commitment with their lives, their physical integrity or their freedom, and to denounce the impunity enjoyed by these predators.”

Five new predators have been added to the list: the new Chinese president, Xi Jinping, the Jihadi group Jabhat Al-Nosra from Syria, members and supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Pakistan’s Baloch armed groups, and Maldives’ religious extremists. Four predators have been dropped from the list: former Somali information and communications minister Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed, Burmese President Thein Sein, whose country is experiencing unprecedented reforms despite the current ethnic violence, the ETA group, and the Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces, which are harassing journalists less.

To draw attention to their abuses, Reporters Without Borders has drafted indictments against some of these predators in the hope that they will one day be brought before competent courts. To better highlight the gulf between propaganda and reality, the statements of some of them have been contrasted with the facts. And to show how some predators really think, we have presented their innermost thoughts in the first person. We had to use a little imagination, of course, but the facts alluded to conform to reality.

New names in the list of predators

A predator goes and is replaced by another. It is no surprise that Xi Jinping has taken former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s place as predator. The change of person has not in any way affected the repressive system developed by China’s Communist Party.

The list of predators has been impacted by the repercussions from the Arab Spring and uprisings in the Arab world. Members and supporters of Egyptian President Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, have been responsible for harassing and physically attacking independent media and journalists critical of the party.

Jabhat Al-Nosra’s entry into the predators list reflects the evolution in the Syrian conflict and the fact that abuses are no longer attributable solely to the regime, represented on the list by Bashar al-Assad, but also to opposition armed groups, which are proving to be more and more intolerant and suspicious towards the media. At least 23 journalists and 58 citizen-journalists have been killed in Syria since 15 March 2011 and seven journalists are currently missing.

In Pakistan, Baloch armed groups, including the Balochistan Liberation Army, Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch Musallah Defa Army, have turned the southwestern province of Balochistan into one of the world’s most dangerous regions for journalists. Consisting of armed separatist groups and opposing militias created to defend the central Pakistani government, they have spread terror in the media and created information “black holes.” Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are also on the predators list because of their abuses against the media.

Ever since the army mutiny that overthrew President Mohamed Nasheed in the Maldives in 2012, extremist religious groups have tried to use their nuisance power to extend their influence. They have become more aggressive as the July 2013 presidential election approaches, intimidating news media and bloggers and using freedom of expression to impose a religious agenda while denying this freedom to others.

Unacceptable impunity for predators

Physical attacks on journalists and murders of journalists usually go completely unpunished. This encourages the predators to continue their violations of human rights and freedom of information. The 34 predators who were already on the 2012 list continue to trample on freedom of information with complete disdain and to general indifference.

The leaders of dictatorships and closed countries enjoy a peaceful existence while media and news providers are silenced or eliminated. Such leaders include Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Issaias Afeworki in Eritrea and Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Turkmenistan. In these countries, as in Belarus, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries, the international community’s silence is not just shameful, it is complicit.

Reporters Without Borders urges the international community not to hide behind economic and geopolitical interests. Thanks to their rich natural resources, Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev and Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev are confident that no one will rap their knuckles. Economic interests come before everything else, as they do with China. It is the same with countries that the West regards as “strategic.”

Iran’s two predators – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – have already taken steps to deter the media from providing independent coverage of next June’s presidential election. The waves of arrests of journalists that began on 27 January, “Black Sunday,” are clear evidence of this.

Criminal organizations and paramilitary groups that are often linked to drug trafficking – Mexico’s Zetas, Colombia’s Urabeños and the Italian Mafia – continue to target journalists and media they regard as too curious, independent or hostile. In Mexico, a country that is especially deadly for media personnel, 87 journalists have been killed and 17 have disappeared since 2000. Justice has not been properly rendered in any of these cases.

Since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in Russia, the authorities have tightened their grip even further in response to unprecedented opposition protests. The country remains marked by a completely unacceptable level impunity for those responsible for violence against journalists. A total of 29 have been murdered since 2000, including Anna Politkovskaya.

Why are predators never brought to justice?

The persistently high level of impunity is not due to a legal void. There are laws and instruments that protect journalists in connection with their work. Above all, it is up to individual states to protect journalists and other media personnel. This was stressed in Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists, which the United Nations security
council adopted in 2006.

Nonetheless, states often fail to do what they are supposed to do, either because they lack the political will to punish abuses of this kind, or because their judicial system is weak or non-existent, or because it is the authorities themselves who are responsible for the abuses.

The creation of a mechanism for monitoring adherence to Resolution 1738, which Reporters Without Borders has proposed, would encourage member states to adopt specific provisions for penalizing murders, physical attacks and disappearances that target journalists, would extend Statesʼ obligations to non-professional “news providers” and would reinforce their efforts to combat impunity for such crimes.

At the international level, the legal protection of journalists is also guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Geneva Conventions and other instruments. The United Nations recently published an Action Plan on the safety of journalists and measures to combat impunity for crimes of violence against them.

The International Criminal Court’s creation has unfortunately not helped advance the fight against impunity for those responsible for the most serious crimes of violence against journalists, although journalists play a fundamental role in providing information and issuing alerts during domestic and international armed conflicts. The ICC only has jurisdiction when the crime takes place on the territory of a state that is a party to the Rome Statute (which created the ICC) or if the accused person is a citizen of a state party.

Furthermore, the Rome Statute provides for no specific charge for deliberate physical attacks on journalists. Article 8 of the statute needs to be amended so that a deliberate attack on media professionals is regarded as a war crime.

Dropped from the predators list

Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed
Also know as “Jahweyn,” this Somali politician is no longer minister of information and telecommunications. His successor does not seem to be directly responsible for harassment, intimidation or other abuses against media personnel. Journalism nonetheless continues to be very dangerous in Somalia, with a total of 18 journalists killed in 2012.

Burmese President Thein Sein
Installed as president in March 2011, Thein Sein no longer qualifies as a predator of freedom of information. Under his presidency, the military junta has disbanded and all jailed journalists and bloggers, including Democratic Voice of Burma’s 17 video-journalists, have been freed. In 2012, prior censorship was abolished and many exile media began operating openly inside the country. The first privately-owned daily newspapers appeared in early 2013.

Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces
The security forces of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and those of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip have been dropped from this year’s list of predators because the number of their press freedom violations has fallen considerably in the past four years. The situation of freedom of information in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is nonetheless still the subject of concern. The Hamas government recent banned local journalists from working for Israeli media, and many journalists are prosecuted for insulting President Mahmoud Abbas.

ETA
The organization ETA has been dropped from the 2013 list. It announced the “definitive end to armed actions” in 2011 and has carried out no attacks on journalists or news media since then. Reporters Without Borders has
of course not forgotten all the journalists who were physically attacked or killed by ETA and continues to demand justice for those crimes of violence. Reporters Without Borders will also continue to be on the lookout for any future threat to media freedom by ETA.

_______________________

3 mai 2013
JOURNEE MONDIALE DE LA LIBERTE DE LA PRESSE

39 Prédateurs de la liberté de l’information recensés par RSF en 2013

A l’occasion de la Journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse, Reporters sans frontières publie une liste de 39 Prédateurs de la liberté de l’information, chefs d’Etats, hommes politiques, chefs religieux, milices et organisations criminelles qui censurent, emprisonnent, enlèvent, torturent et parfois assassinent les journalistes et autres acteurs de l’information. Puissants, dangereux, violents, ces Prédateurs se considèrent au-dessus des lois.

“Ces prédateurs de la liberté de l’information sont responsables des pires exactions contre les médias et leurs représentants. Leurs actions sont de plus en plus efficaces : 2012 a été une année historiquement violente pour les acteurs de l’information, avec un nombre record de journalistes tués”, déplore Christophe Deloire, secrétaire général de Reporters sans frontières. “La Journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse, instaurée à l’initiative de Reporters sans frontières, doit être l’occasion de rendre hommage à tous les journalistes, professionnels et amateurs, qui payent leur engagement de leur vie, leur intégrité physique ou leur liberté, et de dénoncer l’impunité dont bénéficient ces prédateurs.”

Cinq nouveaux prédateurs rejoignent la liste : le nouveau président chinois Xi Jinping, le groupe djihadiste Jabhat Al-Nosra en Syrie, les membres et partisans des Frères musulmans en Egypte, les groupes armés baloutches du Pakistan et les extrémistes religieux des Maldives. Quatre prédateurs ont disparu de la liste : l’ancien ministre somalien de l’Information et des Télécommunications, Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed ; le président birman Thein Sein, dont le pays connaît une ouverture sans précédent, malgré une situation instable ; le groupe ETA, ainsi que les forces de sécurité du Hamas et de l’Autorité palestinienne, dont les exactions envers les médias sont en sensible diminution.

Pour mieux dénoncer les Prédateurs, Reporters sans frontières formule des actes d’accusation étayés dans l’espoir que ces individus ou ces mouvances soient un jour forcés de rendre des comptes à la justice. Pour mettre en évidence le décalage entre leurs propagandes et la vérité, leurs assertions officielles sont confrontées aux faits. Pour démontrer leurs intentions profondes, Reporters sans frontières se met dans leurs têtes et présente leurs pensées au style direct, à la première personne. La transcription est librement établie par l’organisation, mais les faits invoqués conformes à la réalité.

De nouveaux noms dans la liste des Prédateurs

Un prédateur en remplace un autre : Xi Jinping reprend sans surprise la place de prédateur de l’ancien président chinois Hu Jintao. Le changement d’individu ne remet en rien en cause le système liberticide porté à bout de bras par le Parti communiste chinois.

La liste des prédateurs subit elle aussi le contre-coup des printemps arabes et des mouvements de soulèvements populaires. Les membres et partisans du parti des Frères musulmans en Egypte se rendent responsables d’actes d’agressions, de pressions et de harcèlement envers les médias indépendants et les journalistes critiques du parti et du président Morsi.

L’entrée de Jabhat Al-Nosra symbolise l’évolution du conflit syrien et le fait que les exactions ne sont plus du seul fait du régime, représenté dans la liste des prédateurs par Bashar Al-Assad, mais également de groupes armés de
l’opposition, qui s’avèrent de plus en plus intolérants et suspicieux envers les médias.
Du 15 mars 2011 au 3 mai 2013, au moins 23 journalistes et 58 citoyens-journalistes ont été tués en Syrie. A ce jour, 7 journalistes sont toujours portés disparus.

Au Pakistan, les groupes armés Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Baluch Liberation Front (BLF) et Musallah Defa font du Balochistan l’une des régions les plus dangereuses au monde pour les journalistes. Ils ont instauré la terreur au sein des médias, assassiné des journalistes et créé des trous noirs de l’information. A noter que les services de renseignement pakistanais, également responsables d’exactions contre la presse, figurent déjà dans la liste des prédateurs.

Aux Maldives, depuis la mutinerie militaire de 2012, qui a renversé le président Mohamed Nasheed, les groupes religieux extrémistes tentent d’user de leur force de nuisance pour étendre leur influence dans le pays. A l’approche des élections présidentielles de juillet 2013, ils durcissent leurs positions. Ils intimident les médias et les
blogueurs et instrumentalisent la liberté d’expression pour imposer un agenda religieux en refusant que cette liberté soit étendue aux autres.

Ces Prédateurs qui jouissent d’une intolérable impunité

Les agressions et assassinats de journalistes se soldent généralement par une impunité totale des responsables. C’est pour les Prédateurs un encouragement à poursuivre les violations des droits de l’homme et de la liberté d’information. Les trente-quatre Prédateurs qui figuraient déjà sur la liste 2012 continuent de piétiner la liberté d’information dans le dédain le plus complet et l’indifférence générale.

Les dirigeants des régimes dictatoriaux et des pays les plus fermés coulent des jours paisibles tandis que la presse et les acteurs de l’information étouffent ou ont été réduits au silence. C’est le cas de Kim Jong-un en Corée du Nord, Issaias Afeworki en Erythrée ou Gourbangouly Berdymoukhamedov au Turkmenistan. Pour ces pays, ainsi que pour le Bélarus, le Vietnam, l’Erythrée et les autres dictatures d’Asie centrale (Ouzbékistan en tête), le silence de la communauté internationale est plus que coupable, il est complice. RSF appelle la communauté internationale à ne plus se cacher derrière les intérêts économiques et géopolitiques. Forts de leurs ressources naturelles, Ilham Aliev en Azerbaïdjan, et Noursoultan Nazarbaïev au Kazakhstan savent pertinemment que nul ne viendra leur taper trop fort sur les doigts. Les intérêts économiques passent avant tout, comme avec la Chine. Même scénario pour des Etats ‘stratégiques’ pour les pays occidentaux.

Les deux prédateurs iraniens – le président Mahmoud Ahmadinejad et le Guide Suprême, l’Ayatollah Khamenei – ont déjà pris des mesures pour dissuader les médias d’assurer une couverture indépendante de l’élection présidentielle du 14 juin 2013. En témoignent les vagues d’arrestations de journalistes et détentions préventives qui se succèdent depuis le dimanche noir, 27 janvier 2013.

Les organisations criminelles ou paramilitaires, souvent liées au narcotrafic – Zetas au Mexique, Urabeños en Colombie ou mafias italiennes – continuent de prendre pour cibles journalistes et médias jugés trop curieux, trop indépendants, souvent hostiles. Pays particulièrement meurtrier pour les journalistes, le Mexique en compte 86 tués et 17 disparus depuis 2000. Justice n’a été réellement rendue dans aucune de ces affaires.

En Russie, un tour de vis répressif a été mis en place depuis le retour à la présidence de Vladimir Poutine, en réponse à une mobilisation sans précédent de l’opposition. Le pays reste marqué par l’impunité intolérable de nombreux assassins et agresseurs de journalistes. Pas moins de 29 journalistes ont été tués en lien direct avec leur activité professionnelle depuis l’année 2000, dont la journaliste Anna Politkoskaïa.

Pourquoi les prédateurs échappent-ils à la justice ?

La persistance d’un haut niveau d’impunité ne s’explique pas par l’existence d’un vide juridique. Des normes et des mécanismes existent pour protéger les journalistes dans l’exercice de leur profession. La protection des journalistes et autres acteurs médiatiques incombe en premier lieu aux États comme le rappelle la résolution 1738 relative à la sécurité des journalistes, adoptée par le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies en 2006. Pourtant, les Etats sont trop souvent défaillants, soit par manque de volonté politique de réprimer de telles exactions, soit parce que leur appareil judiciaire est inexistant ou affaibli, soit encore parce que les autorités sont responsables de ces exactions. La mise en place d’un mécanisme de contrôle du respect et du suivi de la résolution 1738 par les Etats membres des Nations unies, proposée par Reporters sans frontières, inciterait les Etats à adopter des dispositions pénales spécifiques incriminant les crimes, agressions et disparitions de journalistes, à étendre les obligations des États envers les acteurs de l’information non-professionnels et à renforcer leur lutte contre l’impunité.

Au niveau international, la protection juridique des journalistes est également garantie par la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme, le Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques, les Conventions de Genève entre autres textes. Les Nations unies ont récemment publié un Plan d’Action sur la sécurité des journalistes et la lutte contre l’impunité.

La mise en place d’une Cour pénale internationale n’a malheureusement pas fait progresser la lutte contre l’impunité des auteurs des crimes les plus graves contre les journalistes, malgré leur rôle fondamental d’information et d’alerte pendant les conflits armés internes et internationaux. La CPI n’est compétente que lorsque les faits ont lieu sur le territoire d’un Etat partie ou si la personne accusée du crime est ressortissant d’un Etat partie. En outre, le Statut de Rome (constitutif de la CPI) ne prévoit aucune incrimination spécifique des attaques délibérées contre les journalistes. Un amendement à l’article 8 est nécessaire pour que les attaques délibérées contre les professionnels des médias soient considérées comme un crime de guerre.

Ces personnalités et mouvements qui sortent de la liste des Prédateurs

Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed
Surnommé “Jahweyn”, cet homme politique somalien a quitté son poste de ministre de l’Information et des télécommunications. Son successeur ne semble pas directement responsable de pressions, d’intimidations ni d’exactions à l’encontre de la presse. L’exercice du métier d’informer reste certes très périlleux en Somalie (où 18 morts ont été recensés en 2012).

Le président birman Thein Sein
Au pouvoir depuis mars 2011, Thein Sein ne mérite plus le qualificatif de prédateur de la liberté de la presse. C’est sous sa présidence que la junte militaire a été dissoute et que tous les journalistes et blogueurs emprisonnés, y compris les 17 vidéo-journalistes de la Democratic Voice of Burma, ont été libérés. En 2012, la censure préalable a été abolie, nombre de médias en exil sont rentrés. Les premiers quotidiens privés sont parus début 2013.

Les forces de sécurité du Hamas et de l’Autorité palestinienne
Les forces de sécurité de l’Autorité palestinienne en Cisjordanie et celles du gouvernement du Hamas à Gaza sortent cette année de la liste des prédateurs. Le nombre de violations de la liberté de la presse qu’elles ont commises a considérablement diminué au cours des quatre dernières années. Toutefois, la situation de la liberté de l’information reste préoccupante, en Cisjordanie et à Gaza. Le gouvernement du Hamas a récemment interdit aux journalistes gazaouis toute collaboration avec des médias israéliens, et très nombreux sont les procès pour ‘insulte à la personne du Président Mahmoud Abbas’.

ETA
L’organisation a été retirée de la liste des Prédateurs en 2013. ETA a en effet annoncé en 2011 la “fin définitive de ses actions armées” et depuis n’a pas réalisé d’attentats contre des journalistes ou médias. Reporters sans frontières n’oublie naturellement pas les journalistes tués ou agressés par ETA et continue de demander que justice soit faite pour les actes commis. A l’avenir, RSF demeurera extrêmement vigilante, attentive au moindre indice de menace contre la liberté de la presse dont se rendrait coupable ETA.

Benjamin Ismaïl
Head of Asia-Pacific Desk
Reporters Without Borders

Website: http://en.rsf.org/asia,2.html
Twitter: @RSFAsiaPacific, @RSF_Asia (中文)
Facebook : facebook.com/reporterssansfrontieres
Skype: rsfasia

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