To,Mr. N. BirenChief Minister, Manipur 4 December 2018 Subject: Call to release journalist and withdraw defamation suit Dear Chief Minister, The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) writes to you out of concern on issues of freedom of expression and media rights in Manipur. We are a group of editors, journalists, bloggers and RTI leaders across several countries of South Asia as well as those of South Asian-origin based in UK and the US concerned about the rights of journalists who face pressure from any quarter in the course of their professional duties or right to free expression. We wish to raise the question of the cable TV journalist Wangkhem Kishorechandra, working then with ISTV, who was first arrested last August after he posted statements on Facebook mocking the BJP. He was put in jail and slapped with a defamation charge.
Dhaka, 21 November 2018: The release of the internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam has been hailed by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) as “as an example of justice being delivered, despite many delays at different levels.” Dr. Alam was set free on bail yesterday evening after day-long wrangles between his lawyers and jail authorities in Dhaka over a purported “discrepancy” in the prison’s address in bail documents which threatened to delay his release. The wrinkle was ironed out and he emerged to hold aloft a camera in what CHRI described as “a symbolic statement of the freedom of media”. Dr. Alam’s release capped a dramatic legal struggle which lasted the duration of his detention — 108 days for alleged violations of the country’s sweeping Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Act and allegedly bringing Bangladesh into disrepute with his criticism of last August’s crackdown against
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
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
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
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