Press Release

Recognition of fearless work by Pulitzer Prize winning photographers: SAMDEN

May 5, 2020 Delhi/Kathmandu/Dhaka/Colombo/Boston Congratulating the three Indian photojournalists for winning the 2020 Pulitzer prize in the feature photography category for their images of Jammu and Kashmir, the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) described it as a recognition for fearless work under difficult conditions. “Apart from reflecting the challenges and tensions faced by ordinary people as well as by government personnel, their work was truly fearless as they surmounted daily difficulties, in a situation fraught with danger, obstacles and tension,” said SAMDEN, a network of editors, broadcasters, bloggers, media professionals and writers largely from South Asia, anchored in the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). The Pulitzer Prize awards outstanding journalism by US media. The award to the photojournalists, Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand of the Associated Press (AP), also comes at a time when media worldwide has expressed solidarity

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SAMDEN protests actions against Mir Shakilur Rahman and The Wire

April 4, 2020 Delhi/Kathmandu/Dhaka/Colombo/Boston, Leading editors and media professionals from South Asia today protested actions against the media in Pakistan and India: the detention of Pakistani editor and publisher Mir Shakilur Rahman in Lahore and legal action against the independent Indian online portal, The Wire. “The preoccupation of the world public and opinion makers with the COVID-19 pandemic has made it easier for those who want to try and gag critics in the media,” said the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN), which is anchored by co-convenors from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. While the harassment and imprisonment of journalists has been a distressing trend in all the countries of South Asia over the past few years, SAMDEN said, “we have seen a sudden escalation in such actions over the past few weeks”. It described the actions against Rahman

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SAMDEN: The media needs a pro-active protection policy

Feb 26, 2020 New Delhi, India The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) today said that mob attacks on journalists, photographers and media professionals underscored the need to develop robust and pro-active policies and laws to protect the press.  Reporters have been shot at, beaten, abused, surrounded and intimidated as they have gone about mapping the violence that was unleashed by mobs in the North-eastern part of Delhi. Some were threatened by mobs and asked to prove that they were Hindu, others were punched and hit with sticks. One journalist with the Times of India said in a first-person account that she planned to wear a helmet as protection from stone-pelters. The violence stressed the failure of the administration and the police to handle the situation. “Such incidents in Delhi show that even basic reporting has become a dangerous profession,”

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Pakistan: SAMDEN urges independent, impartial probe into journalist’s death

New Delhi, 19 June 2019: The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) joins media groups in calling for an independent and time-bound inquiry into the alleged murder of senior journalist Ilyas Warsi. Groups such as the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the Karachi Press Club and the Rural Media Network Pakistan, among others, have raised questions about the circumstances leading to his death. Mr. Warsi was found dead last Saturday in Hyderabad in Pakistan’s Sindh Province, with “visible signs of torture on his body”, according to news reports. He had long been associated with Kawish, a Sindhi daily newspaper. SAMDEN urges the police and Syed Murad Ali Shah, the Chief Minister of Sindh, to investigate the death on an urgent basis. The inquiry should establish whether the killing was linked to his work as a journalist.  The country’s authorities need to act

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Press Release

Arrest of Uttar Pradesh journalists shows disregard for rule of law by state: SAMDEN

New Delhi, 10 June 2019: The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) today joined calls by the Editor’s Guild of India, The Network of Women in Media, India, and journalists across the country demanding the release of three media professionals held in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly “maligning” the image of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath by sharing and broadcasting a video.  Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, and Ishita Singh and Anuj Shukla, the editor and the head of ‘Nation Live’ TV news channel, were arrested for broadcasting a video that showed a woman speaking to reporters outside CM Adityanath’s office, claiming that she had sent him a marriage proposal.  One of the two charges under which Mr. Kanojia was arrested– that of criminal defamation — cannot be used to make arrests without a magistrate’s order, SAMDEN pointed out. The other (“fraudulently/dishonestly damaging

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SAMDEN welcomes release of Reuters journalists in Myanmar, urges greater media freedom

New Delhi, 7 May 2019: While the release of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar after 17 months of imprisonment is a welcome step, authorities there must also respond to calls for greater media freedom, the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) said today.  The freeing of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting along with other colleagues of the news agency for their reporting on the Rohingya refugee crisis, also reflected the importance of the international campaign and mobilisation by media on the rights of journalists, SAMDEN said.    The two men were charged with breaking the country’s Official Secrets Act while working on an investigative report on the violence against Rohingya Muslims and pardoned earlier today as part of a general amnesty that freed thousands of prisoners. They had been in jail for

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