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
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
New Delhi, 12 April 2019: The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) joins international media federations and organisations in strongly denouncing alleged threats by a former leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) against journalists in South Warizistan in Pakistan, and has urged the Federal government in Pakistan to take effective action. Taj Mohammad Wazeer, the former leader of JI, and other unidentified members of Pakistan’s National Assembly had on April 8 made public statements at a political rally calling for attacks on and killing of journalists in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to the International Federation of Journalists. SAMDEN condemns these statements and urges authorities to take legally mandated action to protect the lives of media workers and uphold the freedom of the press.
New Delhi, 13 March 2019: The independent Tanzanian news organisation ‘The Citizen’, which resumed operations after a seven-day government-imposed ban, today received support from the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) which oppose pressure on media. The media group, whose publication and online edition had been blocked for a week, said it was “back with renewed vigour… in full and robust circulation”. It was banned on February 27 after the Tanzanian government accused it of publishing “false news” on the performance of the Tanzanian Shilling against the US dollar, and charged it with violation of the 2017 Statistics Act. This law prohibits the publication of any statistical information that differs from official statistics. “We believe that penalising journalists for independently investigating government claims is an unacceptable infringement of their fundamental rights,” said Sanjoy Hazarika, International Director, CHRI, and co-convener of
New Delhi, 15 February 2019: The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) urges authorities in the Philippines to drop all charges against noted journalist Maria Ressa and to respect journalists’ legitimate right to report on matters of public interest including alleged acts of corruption and abuse of human rights, in accordance with the Philippines’ commitments under domestic and international law. SAMDEN expresses alarm over frequent attacks against journalists and the high number of unsolved media killings in the Philippines, and the fact that these attacks appear to directed almost exclusively against journalists who are critical of the ruling dispensation. As many as 74 journalists have been killed in the country since 2000, including 12 murders under President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership alone. Philippines was declared “the deadliest peacetime country for journalists in Southeast Asia” in a December 2018 report by the International
Pakistan govt must heed stakeholders’ concerns before establishing new media regulatory authority: SAMDEN
New Delhi, 10 February 2019: The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) has urged the Pakistan government to enter a transparent dialogue with media leaders in that country over acute concerns about a proposed new media authority that could potentially render journalists vulnerable to state control. The government’s decision to establish the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA) has triggered widespread opposition among media groups across the country. “We note the strong denunciation of the PMRA by leading news organizations in the country – the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and the Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) – which have described it as undemocratic, regressive and aimed at curbing media freedom,” SAMDEN said in statement. Among other provisions, the PMRA seeks to introduce an annual licensing system for members of print media – a