The Ministry of Communication of Angola threatens to suspend the public license of the Radio Despertar station and of the Folha 8 newspaper, despite the measure being unconstitutional. The government says they encourage public disorder. The announcement was made on Wednesday, May 15, as reported the Voz da América [pt] website. Some owners of the Radio have ties with the main opposition party UNITA [en]. In 2012, the police confiscated computers of the Folha 8.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Freedom of Speech
Ukrainian blogger Olena Bilozerska's User Winner prize in the Bobs 2013 Best Blog Ukrainian nomination has been revoked, writes [ru] Mustafa Nayyem, the Ukrainian member of the Bobs 2013 jury, on his Facebook page, linking [ru] to the official statement [uk] posted on the Bobs 2013 website. The scandal (more on it in this GV text) seems far from being over in Ukraine, however, as many netizens are displeased with the decision. Nayyem's Facebook announcement has generated over 150 comments so far, many of them critical of the contest organizers in general and Nayyem in particular. In one of the few English-language comments in that thread, Andreas Umland, a Kyiv-based German political scientist, writes:
Online journalism and news portals are gaining popularity in Nepal as evident in Surath Giri's list of 20 online newspapers. However, according to reports, the Ministry of Information and Communications of Nepal has recently formed a five-member committee to register, regulate and manage online news.
Lebanese blogger Habib Battah narrates how he was held against his consent, forced to delete photographs of ruins from his phone camera and repeatedly assaulted in this post on the Beirut Report. When he reported the case to his local police station, the officers in charge said it was his word against theirs. He adds:
Facebook is free for all, but it doesn’t mean that we are liberated to slander others with impunity – or to make vile threats…without consequences.
POLITICAL BAHAMAS BLOG discusses “potentially criminal Facebook behavior.”
KAFA (Enough Racism and Violence) posted [Ar] that the migrant domestic workers in Beirut celebrated Labor's Day by holding a demonstration in which they demanded an end to the Kafala System [Sponsorship System]. The demonstration culminated with a gathering in a public park where the workers shared different aspects from their respective cultures.
Colombians commemorated World Press Freedom Day showing their outrage over the May 1 attack against journalist Ricardo Calderón from Semana magazine. Calderón was investigating corruption among military officers [es]. On Twitter the hashtag #NoNosCallarán [es] (we will not be silenced) is trending in Colombia.
Are you in Lima? Would you like to do something to preserve the Internet? Sign up for the 2013 Internet Freedom Camp: two days of free culture and activism in Lima [es].
South Korean state prosecutors raided the National Intelligence Service headquarter amid allegations that the agency hired bloggers and used its agents to manipulate public opinion before the presidential election. The Daum Agora site posted [ko] a snippet of data on the agency's electioneering which was collected by the Lawyers for a Democratic Society.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the sudden change of management at the opposition TV station TVi, announced three days ago, and is disturbed to learn that ensuing internal disputes have resulted in broadcasting being suspended. [...]
Hungarian grassroots student union Hallgatói Hálózat (Student Network) started a blog that curates freedom of information requests related to higher education. The blog, titled Transparent Education [hu], is using the Hungarian public freedom of information request service KiMitTud [hu] to track down the allegations of misuse of funds by university student governments. The blog's author Dániel G. Szabó was the one who sued the Faculty of Law at ELTE University in order to publicize the information on the Faculty's student government spendings. The aim of the blog is to promote the use of freedom of information requests, and to make the spending of public funds transparent at Hungarian colleges and universities.
North Korea Tech blogs about Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's visit to North Korea and his views on the limitation and potential of internet technology in the North Korea.
“Practice indicates that responsible and ethical journalism is never the result of state legislation and regulations, but of the voluntary compliance with the code created by the media community itself.”
This statement from the Guide on Ethics in Journalism [mk] opens Žarko Trajanoski's analysis [en] of the “manipulations” by Macedonia's “pro-government journalists” who “fanatically support and promote [the proposed Media Law].” The English-language version of Trajanovski's text was published by Metamorphosis: Foundation for Internet and Society (@fmeta), and it is also available in Macedonian and in Albanian. One of Trajanoski's conclusions is that “the most vigorous advocates for the adoption of a new Media Law since 2011 are exactly the journalists and editors flagrantly violating the ethical norms of the journalist code.”
An anonymous threatening message [es] was delivered to the Article 19 Mexico offices on April 19, 2013, as reported [es] by the pro-human rights and freedom of expression organization. As a result, its director, Darío Ramírez, has published a video [es]. You can follow the hashtag #articulo19 to stay informed, and you can also show solidarity through their Twitter account: @article19mex.
Feng Xiaogang, one of the most famous movie directors in China, when giving a speech when he accepted the honor of Director of Year from the China Film Directors Guild on 12 April, criticized the censorship system in Chinese movie industry. However, in the video showing his speech, the word “censorship” was covered by a beep sound. Tea Leaf Nation has the full story.
An anti-austerity flashmob called by “Screw the Troika” [pt] in front of the the Ritz Hotel in Lisbon, on April 16, 2013, ended with the detention of a 49 year old woman. The protest against the visit of the IMF, ECB and European Comission representatives in Portugal, was recorded in video by the activist platform Ministério da Verdade.
Offbeat China translated an interesting online conversation on why a terrorist attack won't work in China after the Boston Marathon Explosions. The answer lies in the difference between the U.S and China in their media environments.
A leading alternative news site in Greece, Athens Indymedia announced it was being suppressed by Greek judicial authorities, along with two radio stations, and provided a Tor link [el] for alternate access. Potmos asserted on the significance of the site for independent news in Greece:
@potmos: Fast and accurate info posted on Athens
#Indymedia led to life sentence for cop who murdered 15yo Alex. Grigoropoulos in 2008.
Russian Internet censors at Roskomnadzor have reversed a decision to ban Wikipedia's entry for “cannabis smoking,” following a reexamination of the article after a new round of edits by Wikipedian volunteers. In a statement [ru] on its website today, April 10, 2013, Roskomnadzor announced the unbanning, though at least nine [ru] other Wikipedia articles apparently remain on the RuNet blacklist.
The Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) explains [en] why Macedonian journalists are demanding an open debate “on the scope and the contents” of the draft Law on the Media (via @Macedonia_en):
[...] It was prepared, in its entirety, by the Government and is offered today to the public to give its comments and suggestions as a final and closed concept. [...] we do need changes in the legislation to incorporate the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive and we need improved and strengthened implementation of the existing legislation. Any expansion of the scope of the regulation needs to be preceded by a serious debate on the very need to introduce new regulation. [...]
“Yemen’s Press and Publications Court (YPPC) has issued a summon statement against prominent investigative journalist, Mohammed Abdo Alabsi, to appear before court and interrogate him for his investigative reports,” writes Yemeni Afrah Nasser.
According to Nasser, Alabsi is being interrogated for a report involving corruption in the treatment of those wounded in the Yemeni uprising.
Activists entered Thailand's National Book Fair wearing masks with the face of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a magazine editor who was sentenced to ten years for publishing articles which were deemed to insult the monarch. They distributed flyers asserting the ‘Freedom to Read, Write, Publish and Disseminate’ to highlight the negative impact of the lèse majesté law.
David Bandurski from China Media Project blogs about the life of Zeng Li, a “content examiner” at Southern Weekly, who had recently passed away. Before his retirement, he wrote a farewell letter to his colleagues with remorse about his role as news censor.
Cuban blogger, teacher and GV author Elaine Díaz Rodríguez was denied a visa to enter the US [pt] Wednesday, April 3, 2013, preventing her from participating in the International Congress of Latin-American Studies. Brazilian journalist Alex Haubrich reported Elaine's frustration with and criticism of the US government's criteria.
On April 1, 2013, the 20 year anniversary of Novaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper critical of the government and known for its investigative reporting, Head of the Chechen Republic (formerly President) Ramzan Kadyrov took to his Instagram [ru], as he often does these days, to publicly express respect for the publication and its journalists, even thought he “sometimes disagrees with them.” Some bloggers [ru] were flabbergasted [ru] – after all, it is a widely held belief on RuNet that Kadyrov (then Chechen Prime Minister) is at least partially responsible for the assassination of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya in 2006.
A 13-year-old girl, who was put on stage in the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and criticized by netizens because of the “voice-over” arrangement, has seemingly come out in favor of more censorship on the popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo. Her micro-blog has triggered a lot of discussion and debate in the past few days. More from Offbeat China.
Anonymous Brazil released a dossier [pt] about Marco Feliciano, recently elected as chairman of the Committee for Human Rights and Minorities in the Deputy Chamber amid the outrage of human rights defenders due to his vocal hardline views on homosexuality and racist remarks. The dossier contains information on legal cases involving the evangelical preacher and congressman as well as “ghost workers” from his office.