Press Release

Need justice for Khashoggi and Sohail Khan; repeal Bangladesh’s draconian Digital Security Act: SAMDEN

New Delhi, 20 October 2019: Expressing horror at the disappearance and reported brutal murder of Saudi commentator Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi diplomatic premises. a network of editors and journalists from South Asia today demanded swift and transparent investigation in the case and drew attention to other disturbing developments in this region. “Time and again, journalists and defenders of free expression who are in the front line of seeking transparency but are among the first casualties of fearless and investigative reporting,” said a statement by the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN). The Saudi government maintains that Khashoggi was accidentally killed in a brawl, but several reports say the incident was premeditated and citing Turkish officials have said he was brutally tortured, decapitated and his body dismembered.  Some reports have even linked the event to Crown Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  The need for governments to look out for the safety of journalists

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Release photojournalist Shahidul Alam immediately, SAMDEN urges Dhaka

London/New Delhi/Dhaka, 6 August 2018: The acclaimed international Bangladeshi photographer and cultural archivist Shahidul Alam, who was forcibly taken from his home in Dhaka on Saturday night after speaking out against alleged attacks on school students demanding better road safety, must be freed without delay and unharmed, a group of 17 South Asian editors and advocates for media freedom declared today. “We call upon the Bangladesh government and the relevant police authorities to release Shahidul Alam immediately and unharmed as this incident fuels greater concern about media freedom and freedom of expression in Bangladesh,” said the statement by the South Asia Media Defenders Network, SAMDEN.  “Governments must respect basic rights to free speech, expression and press freedom which lie at the very heart of a democracy.” Shahidul Alam, SAMDEN said, is known across the world for his riveting documentation of the rights of

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South Asia Media Defenders Network expresses concern about attack on Ghanaian journalist

Accra, Ghana, 8 May 2018: Expressing solidarity with local media organizations about the reported assault on Ghanaian journalist Ohemaa Sekyiwa by Hajia Fati, a member of the ruling New Patriotic Party in Ghana, the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) has also called for an independent investigation into the incident.In a statement, the Media Defenders Network, which is based in South Asia and anchored in the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), noted today that “the incident took place within a day of the close of the two-day international Press Freedom Day in Accra”. CHRI is headquartered in New Delhi and has offices in Accra and London. SAMDEN is building connections with media organizations across the Commonwealth, the organization of 53 former British colonies. Sanjoy Hazarika, the founder of SAMDEN and international director of CHRI, expressed solidarity with media organizations which have

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SAMDEN: ‘Alarming pattern’ in attacks on media, ‘impunity recognises no borders’

New Delhi, 29 March 2018:Declaring that ‘impunity recognizes no boundaries’, 20 prominent editors and media figures from a media rights network across South Asia, including India, Bangladesh and Pakistan today slammed the recent killings of journalists in India and Pakistan as illustrating a pattern of violence against media workers. The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) said it condemned the killing of journalist Sandeep Sharma, in Madhya Pradesh, two journalists in Bihar and one in Pakistan. The alarming pattern of attacks against journalists, without successful investigations or convictions, points towards shrinking freedom of expression and anti-media tendencies in ‘democratic’ nations, and concerns the very right to life itself. Sharma, a television channel stringer was run over by a truck on Tuesday. He  had recently conducted a sting operation exposing a police official in the area which showed the latter  accepting a

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Don’t muzzle media, respect Constitution: SAMDEN urges Kenyan govt

New Delhi, 6 February 2018:The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) today condemned what it called “increasing authoritarianism in Kenya and assaults on the press.” In the past week, the administration of recently re-elected Uhuru Kenyatta terminated TV broadcasts by a number of media houses for almost a week. The Government disregarded a subsequent court order to lift the ban and complied only when threatened with contempt of court. Kenya, earlier known for its robust media, is no longer so. “It is unacceptable that the media now fears arrests, harassment, and shut down of television channels just because it is performing a professional duty,” said Sanjoy Hazarika, International Director of CHRI, representing SAMDEN, which has international editors, journalists, professional media members, and writers. They include such as Mehfuz Anam, editor of The Daily Star of Dhaka, Rita Payne, journalist and media

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South Asian groups welcome Maldives Supreme Court order to release political prisoners

New Delhi, 2 February 2018:The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN ) welcome the decision by the Maldives’ Supreme Court for the release of all political prisoners. We urge the Government of the Maldives and its security forces to respect the ruling and ensure its enforcement. The Supreme Court’s order for the fair re-trial of all the political prisoners’ is a landmark ruling. The government’s pressure on the court during trials of political prisoners violated the Maldives’ Constitution and international law. We support the strengthening of human rights, democratic institutions, and respect for the rule of law in the Maldives. The latest ruling reaffirms the fundamentals of the separation of powers. We believe this is a step in the direction of bolstering democracy and good governance in the Maldives. Signed: Wajahat Habibullah, Chairperson

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