April 12, 2019 New Delhi, India 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, 15 March 2019: The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) expresses relief at the Supreme Court of India’s decision to stay a contempt of court order issued by the Meghalaya High Court against its member, Patricia Mukhim, the editor of The Shillong Times, and its publisher. The move will ensure that the newspaper will not have to, at this time, shell out the fine of Rs 4 lakh that had been imposed on it as penalty by the Meghalaya court. The Meghalaya High Court’s order had come in response to a story published in December in the Shillong Times published which discussed a judgement providing perks and facilities for retired judges and their families. The Court had fined both editor Patricia Mukhim and publisher Shobha Chaudhury Rs 2 lakh each, and ordered them to sit in a corner of the court
Pak govt must heed stakeholders’ concerns before establishing new media regulatory authority: SAMDEN
Feb 10, 2019 New Delhi, India 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 move that
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.
New Delhi, October 20, 2018: 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
May 8, 2018 Accra 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 rallied around