Samden Blog

Protect Afghan journalists: SAMDEN urges UN, media groups, govts

New Delhi – The United Nations, governments and media organizations across the world are being urged to ensure the protection of local media professionals, foreign correspondents, and creative artists, especially women, in Afghanistan. The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) today said that such protection must extend to both online and offline spaces and include independent publishers, broadcast houses as well as web and citizen journalists. While the news conference by the Taliban leadership was rare, SAMDEN added, it also emphasized that everything depended on the Talban’s delivery of its public assurances. It pointed out that there had been chilling accounts of Taliban cadres allegedly entering the homes of journalists and it remained deeply concerned about the safety and security of media professionals in Afghanistan, especially women journalists. The Network noted a recent report which quoted one of the country’s top

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SAMDEN urges independent investigation into Danish Siddiqui’s death

New Delhi, 19 July 2021: Urging governments and human rights bodies to strengthen their commitment towards the safety and security of journalists as frontline defenders, the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) today called for an independent investigation into the death of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui in Afghanistan. “The details on this tragic death of a Reuters photojournalist, while covering clashes between Afghan security forces and the Taliban, are murky and inconclusive. Siddiqui’s family, admirers of his work and aspiring journalists who look up him deserve clarity and more information on the circumstances under which he died,” it said. SAMDEN, a group of more than 60 journalists from South Asia that is anchored in the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), expressed condolences for Siddiqui’s death, remembering the brilliance of his journalism and the dedication to capture the life and

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SAMDEN condemns arrest of Bangladeshi and Manipuri Journalists

May 21, 2021, New Delhi – Prominent editors and media professionals of South Asia called for the release of senior Bangladeshi reporter Rozina Islam of Prothom Alo, who was charged under a century-old colonial law – the Official Secrets Act, 1923 – and the Penal Code of Bangladesh for highlighting alleged irregularities in Bangladesh’s health sector.  Professional journalists provide a public service by ensuring that credible information, analysis and views reach large audiences – online, offline and broadcast – even during the ongoing devastating pandemic and health emergency, said SAMDEN. This needs to be encouraged as part of an open and free ecosystem. “In the absence of concreate evidence of a recognisable criminal offence, Rozina’s arrest for reporting that apparently revealed the corruption and mismanagement in Bangladesh’s health sector is reflective of a new normal in South Asia where authorities

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In the news

South Asian journalists decry attacks on media persons

May 26, 2020 New Delhi, India (Matters India) The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) on May 26 bemoaned a pattern of official and corporate arbitrariness against media in the region. As examples, the network cited detention of media professionals in Bangladesh, attacks on journalists in Punjab, and the dismissal of a pregnant reporter in Assam state. In Bangladesh, SAMDEN noted that the Sheikh Hasina Wajed government has used the controversial Digital Security Act (DSA), passed in 2018 amid opposition from national, international media and rights groups, to arrest or charge at least 20 journalists over the past month. In one case, a senior journalist vanished in March after a politician from the governing Awami League party filed a criminal defamation case against him. The reporter mysteriously turned up at the India-Bangladesh border nearly two months later and was slapped

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In the news

SAMDEN Protests Detention of Jang Group Editor, Legal Action Against The Wire

“This report was factually correct and a matter of record, yet the police has made it the basis for a criminal case,” South Asia Media Defenders Network said about the recent FIR against The Wire. New Delhi, April 04, 2020 (The wire) South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) has protested the detention of Pakistani editor and publisher of the Jang Group, Mir Shakilur Rahman, and the legal action against The Wire, and called it “representative of a trend across the region”. In a press statement issued on April 4, SAMDEN, which has co-convenors from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, said, “While the harassment and imprisonment of journalists has been a distressing trend in all the countries of South Asia over the last few years, we have seen a sudden escalation in such actions over the past few years.” “The pre-occupation

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SAMDEN urges Pakistan govt to act swiftly in killing of TV anchor

Sept 8, 2020New Delhi, India The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) today called on Pakistani authorities to take firm action in the killing of Shaheena Shaheen, a TV talk show host and editor, in Balochistan province. Police in the Balochi town of Turbat said that they were hunting for Ms. Shaheen’s husband, Nawabzada Mehrab Khan Gichki, who allegedly fired at her on Saturday at a relative’s home. The motive for the alleged shooting was not known. Ms Shaheen worked for Pakistan television and edited a local Baloch magazine called Dazghar. “We urge the provincial government of Balochistan and authorities in Pakistan to take strong action to bring the killer/s of Ms. Shaheen to justice,” the network said. Pakistan was ranked 145 of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Sans Frontiers, which measures the safety and

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