Global Report 10.06.05


About 500 journalists, human rights activists, novelists and
pro-democracy supporters demonstrated in Cairo on 1 June against the
alleged harassment of women journalists and protesters during last
week’s referendum vote. The women were reportedly beaten and groped
while protesting or covering the referendum to allow more than one
candidate to stand in presidential elections. The Jordan Times


Jailed journalist Akbar Ganji was granted a week’s leave from prison
for medical reasons on 29 May, subject to a probable extension
depending on his medical report, judiciary officials announced. Ganji
is reportedly suffering from asthma, with several internet news sites
recently saying that he had gone on a hunger strike to protest alleged
inattention of the jail wardens to his condition. Speaking to a group
of journalists, who met him at his home on 30 May, Ganji called for the
release of all jailed political activists and journalists. “I believe
all political prisoners and jailed webloggers and journalists must be
immediately released without any precondition,” he said. Ganji has been
serving a six-year jail term since 2001 on a battery of charges,
including linking some of the country’s top officials to a string of
murders of Iranian intellectuals.


China has accused a Singapore newspaper journalist of spying for
foreign intelligence services – an offence that carries the death
penalty. Ching Cheong, chief China correspondent of the Straits Times,
was detained in Guangzhou on 22 April.

Earlier reports had said he was allegedly trying to obtain
manuscripts of secret interviews with a purged Communist leader who
opposed the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. But last week the Chinese
Foreign Ministry said: “He admitted that in recent years, he has been
instructed by foreign intelligence agencies to engage in
intelligencegathering activities in mainland China, and has collected
large amounts of fees for spying.”

Although a ministry spokesman
said Beijing had “full evidence” to support its case, he neither named
the agencies Ching allegedly spied for nor provided details of when or
where the alleged spying took place. Singapore Press Holdings, which
publishes ST, said in a statement: “We have no cause to doubt that in
all the years that Ching has worked with us he has conducted himself
with the utmost professionalism. Until we see incontrovertible
evidence, we stand by our belief that he has always acted in the best
interests of The Straits Times.” The Business Times


Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick and TV reporter Steve Wilson, of
WXYZ-TV, are locked in a video war. A 12-minute documentary-style piece
called “Steve Wilson: The Inventive Reporter”, which is critical of the
journalist, has been running three times a day on the city’s public
access channel. Produced by Detroit’s cable commission, the video is
being broadcast following clashes between Kilpatrick and Wilson. The
video coincides with an apology on local radio from Mayor Kilpatrick
concerning his use of public funds. The New York Times


On 26 and 27 May, reporters Mario Espinoza Ruiz, Ronald Ripa
Casafranca and Nilo Gonzáles Domínguez, of Radio Panorama, were the
target of a number of intimidating acts. Threatening phone calls were
received at the station, the journalists were followed by strangers in
a car and flyers denigrating the reporters were distributed in the city
of Andahuaylas in southeastern Peru. The journalists say the threats
began after they started investigating alleged irregularities committed
by the director of the city’s local educational administrative unit,
Liceo Truyenque Aréstegui, after complaints by some of the region’s
teachers. Truyenque Aréstegui has denied any involvement. He also
stated that the journalists have personal interests that are motivating
their accusations against his administration. The journalists intend to
file a complaint with the police. IFEX/Instituto Prensa y Sociedad


A Congolese radio journalist has been attacked by a group of armed
men. Jean Ngandu, who works for Radio Okapi, was accosted by several
men wearing Congolese army uniforms in his home city of Lubumbashi, in
the southern Katanga Province. One told Ngandu: “You talk too much,
we’re going to put an end to it” and shot at him five times, according
to local sources. Ngandu, who dropped to the ground, was not
injured. Committee to Protect Journalists


The trial of Kelvin Jakachira, a reporter for the banned newspaper
The Daily News, has been set for 1 August. Accused of practising
journalism without accreditation, if convicted, he risks two years in
jail or a hefty fine, or both. IFEX/Media Institute of Southern Africa


Unidentified assailants have killed a newspaper editor in eastern
Bangladesh. Police said Comilla Muktakantha editor Golam Mahfuz was
killed on 30 May in his combination residence-office in Comilla, a town
88km east of the capital, Dhaka. Four people have been detained for
questioning but the motive is not yet clear. Journalists in
Bangladesh are often targeted for writing about corruption, political
violence or organised crime. At least 10 journalists have been killed
and dozens wounded in the country since 1997, media rights groups


Journalists and their confidential sources should be afforded a
level of legal protection similar to parliamentary privilege, according
to Tony Morris QC, the head of the inquiry into the so-called “Dr
Death” medical malpractice case in Queensland. The Australian

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