Attacks on the Press



The cases of press freedom violations described on this website were investigated and verified by CPJ's research staff, according to CPJ strict criteria.



Afghanistan

Year in Review: 1995

The Taliban militia, which is reportedly backed by Pakistan, emerged in 1995 as the major military force in war-ravaged Afghanistan, leaving the government increasingly hostile to Pakistani journalists.

The Taliban militia arose in late 1994 among Islamic seminary students. By early 1995, it was widely reported that the Pakistani government was supplying arms, cash and training to the Taliban militia, which had scored a string of victories that united the ethnically Pashtun southern and eastern regions of the country under its rule. In areas that they govern, the Taliban have instituted a puritanical Islamic regime, implementing Sharia penalties, such as amputation for theft, and strictly circumscribing the role of women in public life. When an attempt to take the capital, Kabul, was thwarted in April, the militia turned its attention to the country's west. One of the country's few oases of stability, Herat, a town near the Iranian border, fell to the Taliban on Sept. 4. By November, Kabul--which had begun a slow process of reconstruction following the Taliban's withdrawal in April--was again facing rocket attacks.

The government's wariness of Pakistan led to the detention of three Pakistani journalists during the year. Intikhab Amir of the daily Dawn and free-lance photographer Ghaffar Baig were detained in February for traveling without visas and released only after they had convinced their captors that they had entered the country for bona fide reporting purposes. A month later, Behroze Khan of the News International was detained on the same grounds and interrogated about Pakistan's foreign policy and involvement in Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan

February 20, 1995

Intikhab Amir, Dawn IMPRISONED
Ghaffar Baig, Free-lancer IMPRISONED

Amir, a reporter for the Pakistani English-language daily Dawn, and Baig, a Pakistani free-lance photographer, were stopped by Afghan authorities while returning to Pakistan from Kabul. The two were arrested for traveling without Afghan visas and were held for three days in an underground prison cell. They were questioned about the purpose of their visit to Afghanistan and were released when the authorities were satisfied that they were bona fide journalists.

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Afghanistan

March 25, 1995

Behroze Khan, The News International HARASSED
Ian Steward, United Press International HARASSED

Khan, a reporter for the Pakistani daily The News International and stringer for UPI, and Steward, a reporter for UPI, were detained by Afghan authorities for 24 hours for traveling without legal documents. Both reporters were arrested outside their hotel in Kabul and taken, blindfolded, to the Ministry of Security for interrogation. Khan was traveling with his press card and national identity card, which Pakistani journalists had regularly used as travel documents to enter Afghanistan. Khan was not asked about his travel documents during his interrogation but was questioned instead about Pakistan's foreign policy and alleged interference in Afghan affairs. Both journalists were covering developments in Afghanistan following recent territorial gains by President Burhanuddin Rabbani's forces.

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Bangladesh

Year in Review: 1995



As autocratic and fundamentalist forces found themselves with new influence in Bangladesh, journalists found themselves in the line of fire. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, leader of the Awami League, the country's major opposition party, forged an unlikely alliance with two of her party's historic adversaries: the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami Party, which had opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan in 1971, and the Jatiya Party of former dictator H.M. Ershad. The coalition's emergence forced President Abdur Rahman Biswas to dissolve parliament in late November and call early elections, scheduled for mid-February 1996.

The emergence of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Jatiya parties as kingmakers in Bangladesh presented a renewed threat to the independent secular press, which has fared badly at the hands of both fundamentalists and the military. Free-lance journalist Delwar Jahid fled the country in 1995, after authorities--acting under pressure from Islamists who had publicly called for his execution--charged him with deliberately insulting the religious feelings of Muslims in an article about a proposed anti-blasphemy law. The charges against Jahid echo the case of journalist and novelist Taslima Nasrin, who was accused of criticizing the Koran, and forced to flee to Sweden in August 1994 (she now lives in Germany). The ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which, like the Awami League, has assiduously courted fundamentalists, appeared intent on trying Nasrin, and in August the High Court rejected her lawyers' petition to drop the charges. An appeal to the Supreme Court was adjourned several times during the year, and as of mid-January 1996, a hearing on the petition had yet to be held. Another journalist, Farhad Mazhar, the editor in chief of Chinta magazine, was detained for 28 days under the Special Powers Act for advocating the release of police officers jailed by the military.

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Bangladesh

May 9, 1995

Delwar Jahid, Free-lancer THREATENED, LEGAL, ACTION

A case was filed against Jahid, a journalist and human rights activist, in the magistrate court of the Comilla District. The suit charged Jahid with deliberate intent to outrage the religious feelings of Muslims. The allegedly offending article, entitled "Islam and Human Rights," expressed opposition to the enactment of a blasphemy law backed by fundamentalist political leaders. Following demands for his execution and threats to his family, Jahid sought political asylum in Germany, where he currently resides. He has won several awards for his writing on human rights issues in Bangladeshi dailies and is a former president of both the National Organization of Journalists and the Comilla Press Club.

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Bangladesh

July 30, 1995

Farhad Mazhar, Chinta IMPRISONED

Mazhar, editor in chief of Chinta (Thoughts) magazine, was arrested at his office by police in Dhaka. He was jailed under the Special Powers Act of 1974, which allows up to 120 days' detention without bringing charges; although there was no charge on the detention order, it stated that Mazhar had created tension "among certain classes and groups of people." Mazhar's detention is believed to have been connected to an article he wrote about a revolt by ANSAR, an auxiliary police force, which was crushed by military troops in December 1994. In his article Mazhar had appealed to the government for a general amnesty of those Ansar members who were still in detention. On Aug. 27, Mazhar was released from jail after the Bangladesh High Court declared his 28-day detention illegal.

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Cambodia

Year in Review: 1995

The fledgling independent press in increasingly authoritarian Cambodia sustained a series of crippling blows in 1995. Criminal prosecution for disinformation or defamation threatened the continued operation of several newspapers, and there were violent attacks on the offices of others. Increasingly fearful printing houses began refusing work from the opposition press. Even more ominous was the introduction of a new press law despite the objections of local journalists, human rights groups and the country's nominal head of state, King Norodom Sihanouk. Enacted in late August, the law allows authorities to shut down newspapers for 30 days, permits simultaneous civil and criminal penalties and includes a dangerously ill-defined clause barring the publication of reports that affect "national security and political stability."

These developments reflect the fact that democratic forces in parliament are losing ground. Sam Rainsy, a prominent liberal member of parliament, was expelled from the National Assembly on June 22, shortly after his ejection from the royalist Funcinpec Party. And in mid-November, the Funcinpec secretary general, Prince Norodom Ranariddh (a close ally of Rainsy's), was arrested on what many saw as fabricated charges of conspiracy, terrorism and subversion. With the opposition Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party weakened by internal disputes, the country appeared headed toward de facto one-party rule under the communist Cambodian People's Party (CPP), led by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen.

And Hun Sen has not shown himself to be a supporter of press freedom. After a mob of 100 people ransacked the offices of an opposition newspaper in late October, Hun publicly announced that the villagers who had perpetrated the attack had done nothing wrong. And when a group of pro-government newspapers broke off from the Khmer Journalists Association to form the League of Cambodian Journalists (LCJ), Hun's party was accused by some journalists of engineering the split.

For the first time, Cambodia's small English-language press community found itself targeted by the government. In August, the Information Ministry lodged a criminal complaint against the highly regarded Phnom Penh Post, seeking prosecution of the paper's American editor and publisher for defamation, disinformation and inciting public unrest. And at year's end, Hun Sen publicly objected to the publication of another English-language newspaper, the Cambodia Daily, saying it was illegal.

The one case that sounded an optimistic note for the press in 1994, the arrest of Lt.-Col. Sat Soeun for the murder of journalist Chan Dara, ended in mid-May 1995. To the disappointment of many local journalists, a Cambodian court acquitted the officer.

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Cambodia

January 4, 1995

Sen Pronet, Samleng Yuvachun Khmer HARASSED, CENSORED

Local police briefly detained Sen, a photojournalist for Samleng Yuvachun Khmer (Voice of Khmer Youth), and confiscated his film. He had photographed an accident caused by police officers who were attempting to enforce a new city ordinance that prohibited more than one passenger traveling on a motorcycle. The officers told Sen he had no right to take photographs of police activity without permission.

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Cambodia

February 15, 1995

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer CENSORED

Police conducted a warrantless raid on a Phnom Penh printing press and seized copies of a booklet produced by the newspaper Samleng Yuvachun Khmer (Voice of Khmer Youth). The booklet, entitled Only the King Can Save Cambodia: Cambodian People Want Peace, reprinted letters by King Sihanouk and Prime Minister Ranariddh; an appeal by Son Sann, leader of the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party; and an editorial that had appeared one month earlier in Samleng Yuvachun Khmer. The editorial reportedly criticized Second Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and advocated an increase in the king's powers. Police officials said the booklets had been printed without the Information Ministry's permission and had made unauthorized use of the Royal Government's logo on their covers. The Information Ministry separately contended that the booklets might have created unrest and provoked demonstrations.

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Cambodia

February 27, 1995

Chan Rotana, Samleng Yuvachun Khmer LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED
Samleng Yuvachun Khmer LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Chan, editor of Samleng Yuvachun Khmer (Voice of Khmer Youth), to one year in prison and a fine of 5 million riels (US$2,058) for printing an article that accused Prime Minister Ranariddh of naively following the dictates of his co-prime minister, Hun Sen. Chan was convicted of violating Article 62 of the Criminal Code, which allows jail terms of up to three years for publishing news that is "fabricated, falsified or untruthfully attributed to a third person" and "has disturbed or is likely to disturb the public peace." The Information Ministry had earlier suspended the paper for three days following the offending article's publication in the paper's Jan. 12-13 edition. On Oct. 9, the Court of Appeals upheld Chan's conviction. In a highly irregular move, the court approved a government request to change the disinformation charge against Chan to defamation shortly after the hearing began. And while convicting him of a lesser offense, the court retained the sentence imposed in February--a move of questionable legality, which Chan planned to contest before the Supreme Court. He remained free pending his second appeal.

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Cambodia

May 19, 1995

Thun Bun Ly, Odom K'tek Khmer LEGAL, ACTION, CENSORED

The Phnom Penh Muncipal Court fined Thun, editor of Odom K'tek Khmer (Khmer Ideal), 5 million riels (US$2,058) for publishing a letter to the editor headlined "Stop Barking, Samdech Prime Ministers." The court stipulated a one-year prison term and the indefinite closure of the paper if Thun was unable to pay the fine. The case, which was brought under Article 62 of the Criminal Code, followed two earlier temporary closures of the paper. The first, on Nov. 9, 1994, came in response to the letter's Oct. 30 publication. The Information Ministry lifted the ban on Jan. 17 but reimposed it a month later saying the paper had continued to print libelous, defamatory and distorted articles and that the ministry had received a letter of complaint from the co-prime ministers. On Oct. 13, the Court of Appeals upheld Thun's conviction. However, the paper was allowed to continue publishing pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Cambodia

May 20, 1995

Hen Vipheak, Serei Pheap Thmei LEGAL, ACTION

Phnom Penh's Municipal Court convicted Hen, the editor of Serei Pheap Thmei (New Liberty News), of disinformation under Article 62 of the Criminal Code. Hen was fined 5 million riels (US$2,058) and sentenced to one year in prison for publishing a satirical commentary on the various branches of government and a cartoon depicting Second Prime Minister Hun Sen holding a gun to the head of co-Prime Minister Ranariddh. Hen faces an additional year in prison if he is unable to pay the fine. The Court of Appeals upheld his conviction on Dec. 2 and affirmed that the paper would be closed. The sentence is suspended pending Hen's appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Cambodia

August 23, 1995

Michael Hayes, Phnom Penh Post LEGAL, ACTION

The Information Ministry confirmed that the government had lodged a complaint against the Phnom Penh Post, a highly regarded English-language weekly, in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Local sources said they expected the government to bring charges against the paper's editor and publisher, Michael Hayes, under Articles 59 to 63 of the Criminal Code. The charges cited in the complaint reportedly include disinformation, defamation and inciting public unrest. They stem from an article by reporter Nate Thayer in the paper's March 24-April 6 issue, which described security measures taken by the two prime ministers to prevent a coup from occurring while they attended a meeting in Paris to discuss aid to Cambodia. Hayes, a U.S. citizen, faces up to nine years in prison and heavy fines if convicted on all counts.

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Cambodia

August 24, 1995

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer LEGAL, ACTION

Chan Rotana, editor of Samleng Yuvachun Khmer (Voice of Khmer Youth), appeared in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning about "false statements" that had appeared in his newspaper. Although the summons from the court had not mentioned specific reports, Rotana told local sources that he faced charges of defamation and "incitement to discrimination," under Articles 61 and 63 of the Criminal Code, for alleging that Second Prime Minister Hun Sen had handed over land to Vietnam. The same month, an Information Ministry spokesperson told the Cambodia Daily that four other newspapers faced imminent charges as well, including Moneakseka Khmer (Khmer Ideal), Serei Pheap Thmei (New Liberty News), Wat Phnom and Damneung Pel Prek (Morning News). As of November, neither these newspapers nor Samleng Yuvachun Khmer had been formally charged.

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Cambodia

August 28, 1995

Thun Bun Ly, Odom K'tek Khmer LEGAL, ACTION

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Odom K'tek Khmer (Khmer Ideal) editor Thun of violating the disinformation and defamation provisions of Articles 62 and 63 of the Criminal Code through the publication of five articles and editorial cartoons that accused the co-prime ministers of abusing their powers and retarding the country's progress. Thun was fined 10 million riels (US$4,116) and faces a prison sentence of two years if he is unable to pay the fine. The court also ordered the permanent closure of the paper under Article 46 of the 1992 State of Cambodia press law. Thirty members of the anti-riot military police force were present in the courtroom throughout the trial. Thun had two months in which to appeal the verdict.

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Cambodia

August 31, 1995

All media LEGAL, ACTION

Cambodia's acting head of state, National Assembly President Chea Sim, signed into law a press bill opposed by many Cambodian journalists. The law's most controversial provision is Article 12, which bars the publication of information affecting "national security and political stability"--a provision local journalists and lawyers said was so vague as to potentially embrace any criticism of the government. Under Article 12, authorities may immediately confiscate offending issues and can suspend publication for up to 30 days. Article 12 also sanctions simultaneous civil and criminal penalties. Convicted publishers, editors and authors face fines of 5 million to 15 million riels (US$2,058-$6,174), as well as jail terms under the Criminal Code. Other sections of the press law provide for fines of 1 million to 5 million riels (US$412-$2,058) in cases of defamation or incitement to commit violence "which may affect public order."

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Cambodia

September 7, 1995

Damneung Pel Prek ATTACKED

A grenade exploded inside the office courtyard of Damneung Pel Prek (Morning News). A local resident sustained shrapnel wounds, and the blast damaged the building's windows, courtyard walls and gate. Witnesses reported a motorbike leaving the area at the time of the explosion. The paper's editor and publisher, Nguon Nonn, suspended publication following the attack. Cambodian authorities jailed Nguon twice in 1994 for publishing articles that criticized the government and announced in late August that they intended to prosecute him again.

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Cambodia

October 23, 1995

Serei Pheap Thmei ATTACKED

An employee of Serei Pheap Thmei (New Liberty News) was injured when some 100 people ransacked the newspaper's office. The assailants, who arrived in three trucks and carried heavy poles and axes, destroyed computers, printers, and cameras for television, film and video. Police arrived at the scene but failed to intervene. Witnesses told local sources that the attackers were residents of Kraingyov Village. Two days before the attack, the newspaper had published an article criticizing a rural development project in Kraingyov headed by Second Prime Minister Hun Sen. On Oct. 30, Hun Sen visited Kraingyov and told villagers assembled there that they had done nothing wrong by attacking the paper.

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Cambodia

October 24, 1995

Moneakseka Khmer THREATENED
Odom K'tek Khmer THREATENED
Wat Phnom THREATENED

The newspapers Moneakseka Khmer, Odom K'tek Khmer and Wat Phnom received anonymous phone calls warning that their offices would be attacked at 6 p.m. The attacks, however, never took place. The warnings came a day after the mob attack on Serei Pheap Thmei.

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China

May 16, 1995

Wang Xizhe IMPRISONED

Police detained dissident Wang Xizhe at his hotel room in Beijing, where he had traveled from his home in Guangzhou, in southern China, to appeal an extension of his parole period. On May 26, authorities told Wang's wife that they had escorted her husband back to Guangzhou and that they were detaining him for 15 days for breaking his parole and traveling to Beijing without permission. A Democracy Wall activist during the late 1970s who had helped publish a dissident journal, Wang was convicted of sedition and served 14 years in prison. Since his release on parole in 1993, he had written essays that were published abroad. CPJ protested his detention in a letter to the Chinese government.

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China

May 21, 1995

Wang Dan IMPRISONED

Wang, a former student leader and frequent contributor to overseas publications, was detained by police in Beijing. He was among more than 40 Chinese scholars and dissidents who were detained or arrested for signing either of two petitions in mid-May that called for the release of dissidents jailed during the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and for new legal protections of human rights, including freedom of the press. Signatories to the two petitions included Wang and former staff members of the People's Daily, the Chinese government's official newspaper. Citing a confidential source, the Hong Kong daily Lien Ho Pao reported in late July that Beijing authorities intended to prosecute Wang for inciting citizens to conduct anti-government activities, openly attacking the socialist system, disrupting public security and undermining social stability. The newspaper also reported that public security officials had collected all of Wang's "offensive" articles published outside the border as evidence against him. CPJ called on authorities to free Wang in a May 24 press release.

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China

Late May

Jiang Peikun IMPRISONED, THREATENED
Ding Zilin IMPRISONED, THREATENED

Jiang, a professor, and Ding, a former professor, were warned at their home by an alleged representative of the People's University against publishing "anti-government" writings overseas. Both Jiang and Ding have written extensively in overseas publications about the Tiananmen Square crackdown, which claimed the life of their son Jiang Jielian, a 17-year old high school student. The two were arrested in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, on Aug. 18, in an apparent attempt to keep foreign journalists from contacting Ding during the Beijing Women's Conference. They were released Oct. 5. CPJ protested the warning in a letter to the Chinese government.

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China

June 22, 1995

Jimmy Lai, Apple Daily CENSORED

Three reporters for the new Chinese-language Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily were barred from covering the three-day Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) plenum in Beijing. The PWC is responsible for shaping official policy toward Hong Kong prior to the transfer of sovereignty over the colony in 1997. An official in charge of media coverage for the event reportedly said that the number of reporters was fixed and that new applications were not being considered. However, Apple Daily claimed that another first-time applicant for media credentials was accepted. Apple Daily was launched on June 20, by Jimmy Lai, publisher of the Chinese-language magazine Next. Apple Daily is banned in China.

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China

June 26, 1995

Chen Ziming IMPRISONED

Chen, former publisher of Economics Weekly, was rearrested and ordered to return to prison to serve the remainder of his 13-year sentence after being freed on medical parole. Chen, a 1991 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, was originally arrested in October 1989, labeled one of the "black hands" behind the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and subsequently convicted of conducting counterrevolutionary activities. He was released on medical parole in 1994 for treatment of cancer, hepatitis and heart disease after serving four-and-a-half years of his sentence. Chen's rearrest was believed to be linked to his 24-hour fast on the sixth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown and to his endorsement of a petition in May 1995 calling for freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners.

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China

August 7, 1995

All media CENSORED

Some 10 uniformed and plainclothes security police officers broke into a room where women survivors of the Sino-Japanese war were holding a news conference about their ordeal as "comfort women" (sex slaves) to Japanese troops. The police prevented photographers from taking further pictures and confiscated their film. They also wrote down the names of journalists in attendance and told them not to report on the conference or its disruption by the police.

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China

August 25, 1995

Wat Wing-yin, Next EXPELLED
Tse Ming-chong, Next EXPELLED

Chinese authorities expelled Wat and Tse, a reporter and a photographer, respectively, for Hong Kong's outspoken Next magazine, charging them with military espionage. The official Xinhua News Agency said the two entered the coastal area of eastern Fujian province on Aug. 18 posing as tourists in order to obtain military secrets. The reporters acknowledged that they had visited China without securing the official permission required of foreign journalists reporting in China. Next magazine is owned by garment and publishing magnate Jimmy Lai, whose newspaper Apple Daily had recently been denied permission to cover a meeting in China.

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China

Early September

Andrew Brown, Reuters HARASSED

During the second week of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Reuter correspondent Brown woke up early one morning to find an unknown man inside the Beijing hotel room where he was staying with his wife and young child. The man, who appeared to be searching for something when he was surprised by Brown, quickly leafed through a stack of papers on the desk and rushed out. The reporter immediately alerted hotel personnel. Later that morning, the hotel manager apologized to Brown for the incident, claiming that the intruder was an orderly who was sent to clean the room. Throughout the conference, all foreign journalists were assigned to specific hotels--a step that many of them saw as facilitating surveillance of their activities.

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China

September

Chen Ziming HARASSED

Authorities froze the joint bank account of imprisoned dissident Chen Ziming and his wife, Wang Zhihong, denying her access to the couple's savings. Chen asked authorities to release the funds so that his wife could pay for his cancer treatment. According to press accounts, the dissident has been denied treatment for his condition since he was incarcerated on June 26.

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China

October 22, 1995

Fan Wenjun,Cable News Network (CNN) HARASSED
Three Hong Kong television reporters HARASSED

Security officers detained CNN cameraman Fan and three Hong Kong television reporters after the journalists attempted to cover a sit-in demonstration by family members of jailed dissident Chen Ziming. The journalists were questioned for nearly three hours, and their tapes were confiscated. They were among several foreign correspondents who had accompanied Chen's wife, Wang Zhihong, on her way to a Beijing park where the protest was being held and who were subsequently barred from interviewing or filming the protestors. Police arrested Wang at her apartment later that day. She was released six days later but placed under strict house arrest. Along with other family members, she had called for the immediate release of and medical treatment for Chen, who is suffering from cancer.

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China

November

Six television stations CENSORED

A cable television station in Lengshuitan City, in Hunan province, and an economic news station in Xishuanbanna City, in Yunnan province, were fined and their broadcasting equipment was confiscated. At least four other stations throughout the country were variously fined and barred from broadcasting locally produced programs.The actions followed a six-month investigation by the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television. According to the government, the moves were in response to the broadcasting of pornographic or politically sensitive programs.

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China

December 12, 1995

Independent television producers LEGAL, ACTION

The Ministry of Radio, Film and Television confirmed to reporters that it had issued a series of new regulations, including several that discouraged independent television productions. The new regulations, which were issued over a period of several months, require television producers to apply for licenses and, by the end of each year, to submit their production plans for the coming year. Those who do not meet this requirement will face fines and the closure of their operations. The ministry also introduced a restrictive capitalization requirement of 500,000 yuan (US$60,241) and a minimum of five staff members for new production firms. A ministry official said the regulations were intended to prevent programs that were "crude," "excessive" or detrimental to society.

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China

December 13, 1995

Wei Jingsheng LEGAL, ACTION

Wei, one of the most prominent dissidents in China and former co-editor of the pro-democracy journal Tansuo (Explorations), was convicted by the Beijing Intermediate People's Court of conspiring to subvert the government. Foreign reporters were barred from attending the trial. The dissident's 14-year sentence was upheld on Dec. 28, following a closed appeal hearing. Wei has been held incommunicado since police detained him on April 1, 1994, shortly after he met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck. However, he was not formally arrested and charged until Nov. 21. Wei had been released on parole on Sept. 14, 1993, after serving 14 1/2 years of a 15-year sentence for "counterrevolutionary" activities that included writing essays strongly criticizing the goverment and calling for democratic rule. Following his release, Wei wrote several op-ed pieces for publication abroad and concluded a deal with a Hong Kong magazine for the publication of his prison memoirs--moves that prompted an official warning that he was violating the terms of his parole.

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China

December 19, 1995

Henrik Bork, Frankfurter Rundschau EXPELLED

Authorities told Bork, Beijing bureau chief of the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau, that his working and residential visas would not be renewed upon their Dec. 27 expiration. Foreign Ministry officials told Bork that his reporting was "biased" and that he had "negatively influenced German public opinion about China." Bork said he had been warned about his coverage on several occasions, particularly after Prime Minister Li Peng's 1994 visit to Germany, which was marred by public demonstrations against China's human rights record. Bork had worked in China for four years and contributed reports to several German-language newspapers based in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. His expulsion came despite an appeal by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel for Beijing to reconsider its decision.

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India

Year in Review: 1995

Conditions for reporters in the war-torn, northwestern state of Kashmir continued to decline in 1995 from an already abysmal low. In March, CPJ conducted a fact-finding mission to the region to document the abuses and hindrances Kashmiri journalists face from both competing separatist groups and Indian security forces. The findings of that trip were published in the report On A Razor's Edge: Local Journalists Targeted by Warring Parties in Kashmir and brought to the attention of Indian government authorities. [See Special Report: India, p. 121.]

Adding to the pressures on Kashmiri journalists since that mission has been the emergence of militias that are widely reported to be sponsored by the Indian army. The most powerful of these is the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon, led by the renegade militant Koka Parray.

In early July, Parray abducted four journalists from their offices in Srinagar and threatened to have them killed unless every newspaper in the city published his statement criticizing the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the region's most powerful separatist group. The local newspapers did so and then faced the retaliatory closure of a major printing press by the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Parray's presence made it more difficult to assess two of the worst attacks on Kashmiri journalists to date. Photojournalist Mushtaq Ali was killed in September when a bomb exploded in the offices of BBC correspondent Yusuf Jameel. Three months later, Zee Television correspondent Zafar Meraj was abducted and shot while returning home from an interview with Parray. Meraj survived the attack, but both cases remain unresolved and mired in innuendo, with mainstream separatist leaders, the government and Parray accusing one another of culpability.

Other areas of the country adhered more closely to India's vaunted tradition of press freedom. But there were important exceptions. In Maharashtra, the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party--which has a long history of harassing Bombay's press--was catapulted to power in state assembly elections last March. Any hope that its newfound prestige would bring with it maturity and restraint was shattered in mid-October, when Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray called on his followers to burn copies of a new weekly magazine, Outlook, for publishing a poll that found the overwhelming majority of Kashmiris opposed to continued Indian rule. And in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the ruling party, All-India Dravida Munnetra Khazagam, continued to browbeat the local press. The editor of a Tamil-language magazine was threatened for publishing reports that embarrassed state authorities, and many other journalists were physically assaulted by party thugs while attempting to cover the interrogation of a top aide to Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram.

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India

January 26, 1995

Al-Safa HARASSED

Government forces cordoned off the entire area around the offices of the Srinagar daily Al-Safa and ordered all of the staff members other than the editor in chief, Ashraf Shaban, to present themselves for identification before a government informant on suspicion of militancy. They were released immediately after the lineup.

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India

March 1, 1995

Magbool Sahil, Chetan HARASSED

Sahil, a photographer for Chetan, was detained during a cordon-and-search operation in Srinagar's Jawaharnagar District. Sahil had shown Indian officers his press identification card at the time of his detention. He was subsequently released.

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India

Early March

Maqsood Ahmed, Uqab HARASSED

Army officers raided the home of Ahmed, sub-editor of the Srinagar daily Uqab, on three separate occasions in early March and asked him why he had leaked a story about an alleged army atrocity. Ahmed had filed a report from the Kashmiri town of Uri stating that two young children of a militant, whom the army was seeking, had been brought to a local hospital with burns over 90 percent of their bodies; he had written that they had been locked inside their house, which was then set on fire.

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India

March 19, 1995

All media CENSORED

Indian authorities declared the Kashmiri town of Charar-e-Sharif closed to the press and all other visitors. Armed separatists belonging to the militant groups Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Ansar had occupied the town's 15th-century shrine to Sheikh Nuruddin Wali, a Sufi saint, since January 1995. Indian army troops laid seige to the shrine in early March, precipitating a standoff between the two parties.

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India

March 31, 1995

Shakeel Akhtar, Navbharat Times ATTACKED
M.K. Bangroo, Press Trust of India ATTACKED
Anuradha Bhasin, Kashmir Times ATTACKED
Ved Bhasin, Kashmir Times ATTACKED
Prabhod Jamwal, Kashmir Times ATTACKED
S.M.A. Kazmi, Indian Express ATTACKED
Vijay Malla, Rashtriya Sahara ATTACKED
Sujay Mehdudia, United News of India ATTACKED
Harbans Nagoke, Dainik Jagran ATTACKED
Parvez Qureshi, Farogh-e-Wattan ATTACKED
Surinder Sagar, Kashmir Times ATTACKED
Imrana Samnani,Sandesh ATTACKED
Three other journalists ATTACKED

Imrana Samnani, Sandesh, Three other journalists

Send inquiries to CPJ's Asia Program.


India

Late April

Prakash Swamy, Junior Vikatan ATTACKED, , THREATENED

Swamy, executive editor of the Tamil-language biweekly Junior Vikatan, was stopped by five or six men while driving home in Madras. When he pulled over to the curb, one of the men asked him how he dared to write against their leader. Another man hit him in the jaw; a third broke his windshield. Swamy escaped in his car. About 15 days earlier, he had published an article alleging that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram was illegally amassing properties and had violated foreign exchange laws. Swamy received several anonymous phone calls afterward, threatening him with death if he continued to pursue the story.

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India

May 12, 1995

All media CENSORED

Following the May 11 burning of Sheikh Nuruddin Wali's shrine and most of the surrounding town of Charar-e-Sharif, Indian authorities imposed restrictions on journalists who had arrived in Kashmir to report on the destruction. In the fire's immediate aftermath, reporters were kept under army escort at least one kilometer from the town's ruins. And on May 14, a curfew effectively confined visiting reporters to their hotel during a fact-finding visit by Indian Home Minister S.B. Chavan and Finance Minister Manmohan Singh. In a letter to the Indian government, CPJ denounced the curbs and urged that journalists be granted unrestricted freedom of movement throughout the Kashmir Valley.

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India

July 6, 1995

Rashid Ahmed Shah, Nida-e-Mashriq IMPRISONED, HARASSED
Bashir Manzar, Greater Kashmir IMPRISONED, HARASSED
Manzar Qazi, Greater Kashmir IMPRISONED, HARASSED
Shafat Ahmed, Greater Kashmir IMPRISONED, HARASSED
Aftab IMPRISONED, HARASSED

Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon militiamen abducted Shah, editor in chief of Nida-e-Mashriq, and Manzar, associate editor of Greater Kashmir, from their offices in Srinagar. Greater Kashmir staff members Qazi and Ahmed, who insisted on accompanying Manzar, were released the following day. On July 8, over 40 Srinagar journalists traveled to the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon stronghold in the northern part of the Kashmir Valley and appealed to its leader, Koka Parray, for their colleagues' release. Parray accused the two newspapers of printing statements by the Jamaat-e-Islami party and its militant wing, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, that called him an Indian agent. He demanded that Greater Kashmir and Nida-e-Mashriq publish a statement in which he implicitly criticized the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. After the statement appeared in the two papers on July 9, Parray immediately released Shah and Manzar. On the same day, however, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen sought retaliation by shutting down the daily Aftab's printing press, which also prints Nida-e-Mashriq, Greater Kashmir and several other local papers. The move prompted a monthlong solidarity strike by all Srinagar newspapers.

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India

July 10, 1995

Suresh Giri, Ajit ATTACKED
Ajit ATTACKED

The deputy commissioner of Punjab's Ropar district removed two billboards advertising the daily Ajit. During the same month, unidentified assailants attacked Giri, Ajit's stringer and sales representative in the town of Anandpur Sahib, while he was on his way to work, and district workers demolished his office, which was located on state land. The deputy commissioner had reportedly been angered by the publication of stories by Giri about problems with the security arrangements for a festival in Ropar. In mid-August, following protests by journalists and opposition parties, the district administration restored Ajit's billboards and the deputy commissioner publicly apologized for their removal.

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India

August

Eyewitness CENSORED

Government authorities barred Eyewitness, a weekly news program produced by the Hindustan Times Ltd. newspaper group and broadcast by the state-run Doordarshan television network, from broadcasting an interview with Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In the interview, which had been scheduled for broadcast on Aug. 13, Bhutto commented on the abduction of five Western tourists in Kashmir and expressed her willingness to enter into talks with India, an Eyewitness statement said. The ban occurred while parliament was in session in New Delhi.

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India

September 7, 1995

Mushtaq Ali, Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Asian News International (ANI) KILLED, ATTACKED
Yusuf Jameel, BBC and Reuters ATTACKED
Habibullah Naqash, Asian Age and United News of India ATTACKED

Ali, an AFP photographer and a camera operator for ANI, was fatally injured when a letter bomb addressed to Jameel, Srinagar correspondent for the BBC and Reuters, exploded in his hands. The package had been delivered to Jameel's office by an unidentified woman wearing an enveloping black burkha. It was opened by Ali, who was in Jameel's office at the time, while Jameel was answering a phone call. The bomb exploded immediately, severing Ali's left hand, disfiguring his face and severely injuring his right hand and abdomen. He died of his injuries three days later. Jameel and Naqash sustained minor injuries in the explosion, and the office was extensively damaged. The attack was condemned by CPJ, State Governor K.V. Krishna Rao and the separatist All-Party Hurriyat Conference, which called a three-day general strike in the Kashmir Valley to protest the assault. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. Jameel's coverage of the Kashmir conflict had frequently drawn criticism from militant groups and the Indian government alike.

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India

September 20, 1995

Srinagar newspapers THREATENED

Srinagar's newspapers went on strike after a split in a leading militant group, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), left the local press subject to conflicting ultimatums from both factions. Supporters of Yasin Malik, the JKLF's undisputed leader prior to the split, ordered the Srinagar press not to file reports from a press conference by the breakaway faction. However, JKLF leaders loyal to Malik's rival, Pakistan-based Amanullah Khan, threatened to retaliate against the press if news about their conference was excluded. The strike was called off on Sept. 28, after leaders of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference successfully mediated between the two factions and the local press community. For the past two years, the avowedly secular and pro-independence JKLF had refrained from acts of intimidation, while Malik himself had spoken openly in support of press freedom.

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India

September 26, 1995

Ashraf Shaban, Al-Safa HARASSED

Border Security Force troops detained Shaban, editor in chief of the Srinagar daily Al-Safa, for nine hours. Shaban's interrogators accused him of meeting with militants on a regular basis.

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India

Mid-October

Outlook ATTACKED

Shiv Sena party activists burned inaugural copies of Outlook magazine in the foyer of the publication's Bombay offices, threatened distributors and defaced billboards throughout the city advertising the new weekly. The incidents came after Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray called on "patriotic Indians" to destroy Outlook for publishing an opinion poll that showed the overwhelming majority of Kashmiris were opposed to Indian rule over the disputed state. Conducted by an Indian public opinion research group, the poll found that 72 percent of Kashmiris favored complete independence for the state, with 19 percent supporting Kashmir's accession to Pakistan and only 7 percent opting for autonomy under Indian rule. The Shiv Sena is the dominant partner in a Hindu nationalist coalition that has governed Maharashtra State, including Bombay, since March 1995.

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India

Mid- November

Arokia Vel, Junior Vikatan HARASSED
Chandra Mohan, Junior Vikatan HARASSED

Vel and Mohan, a reporter and a photographer, respectively, for the Tamil-language biweekly Junior Vikatan, were detained by security guards of Indira Kumari, Tamil Nadu's minister for social welfare. The guards seized the two while they were covering a protest outside Kumari's residence and demanded that they surrender Mohan's film of the demonstrators. The journalists refused to comply and were released after three hours.

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India

December 8, 1995

Zafar Meraj, Zee Television ATTACKED
Noorul Qamrain, The Mirror ATTACKED
Naseer Ahmed, Zee Television ATTACKED

Unidentified gunmen shot Meraj, Kashmir correspondent for Hong Kong-based Zee Television, as he returned from an interview with the leader of the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon militia. Several gunmen intercepted Meraj's taxi about 15 kilometers north of Srinagar and forced him into their vehicle after he identified himself. The two journalists accompanying him--Noorul Qamrain, editor of The Mirror, a Srinagar daily; and Zee TV cameraman Ahmed--were beaten and told to return to Srinagar. The gunmen drove several kilometers north to Pattan, where they told Meraj to leave the car. As he exited, they fired a round of bullets, hitting him in the abdomen and left shoulder. A passing truck driver rescued Meraj, and brought him to a Srinagar hospital where he was operated on. Doctors there pronounced his condition stable, and he was subsequently sent to New Delhi for further treatment. In a press release, CPJ condemned Meraj's shooting.

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India

December 16, 1995

Dainik Jagran ATTACKED

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supporters besieged the Lucknow offices of the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran for five hours, damaging the building's gates, setting fire to a vehicle and attacking other property. The BSP supporters were protesting the publication of an interview on Dec. 8 that they said humiliated and defamed Mayawati, the party's general secretary and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state. In the interview, a former BSP minister claimed that the unmarried Mayawati had a 12-year-old daughter. The blockade marked the culmination of a massive BSP rally near the newspaper's offices, during which party leader Kanshi Ram exhorted the crowd to march on Dainik Jagran. Police arrested Ram when he called off the siege but released him shortly afterwards.

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India

December 21, 1995

Aftab CENSORED
Srinagar Times CENSORED

The Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen militant group ordered a "ban" on the circulation of the Kashmiri dailies Aftab and the Srinagar Times. The move was prompted by the papers' failure to print statements by the group calling for an end to ski courses in the resort town of Gulmarg, about 30 miles north of Srinagar. More than a dozen local newspapers went on strike to protest the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen's demand. They resumed publication nine days later, after leaders of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, mediated between the press and Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen.

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Indonesia

Year in Review: 1995

The Suharto regime escalated its crackdown on Indonesia's only independent journalists' union, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), jailing three of its members and forcing more than 80 others out of work.

Five AJI members were taken into custody in a March 16 police raid. Two of them, AJI President Ahmad Taufik and AJI member Eko Maryadi, were charged with publishing an unlicensed magazine, Independen, and exposing the government to "hostility, hatred or contempt." After a three-month trial, on Sept. 1 they were each sentenced to 32 months in prison, sentences that were increased on appeal to 36 months each. Also sentenced was AJI's office assistant, Danang Wardoyo, who received a jail term of 20 months for his role in distributing Independen.

A monthly underground magazine produced by AJI, Independen was intended to fill the void left by the government's ban on three leading newsweeklies in June 1994. Since its inauguration in the fall of 1994, Independen had gained a small but influential readership with its coverage of such sensitive topics as the succession to Suharto and the personal wealth amassed by his ministers.

Independen was not the only publication to be targeted. In early September, the editor of another underground magazine, Kabar Dari Pijar (News from Pijar), was convicted of intentionally insulting Suharto and sentenced to two years in prison.

The sentences of Taufik and his colleagues appeared to be part of a broader attempt to eradicate AJI, which has taken the lead in upholding press freedom in Indonesia. The day after the arrests, the state-sponsored Indonesian Journalists' Association (PWI) expelled 13 of its members for their involvement with AJI; since membership in PWI is compulsory for Indonesian journalists, the move effectively forced them out of work. They joined dozens of other journalists who had been dismissed by their employers, under government pressure, for their work with AJI.

CPJ honored Taufik with one of its annual International Press Freedom Awards in December and initiated a letter-writing campaign for his release. The appeals, signed by more than 300 journalists and media executives, were presented by CPJ to the Indonesian Embassy in January 1996. Taufik remains in jail, having filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.

There was, however, one encouraging development during the year. Ruling on a case brought by the editor in chief of the banned Tempo magazine, a civil court held that the June 1994 revocation of its license was unlawful. Many observers expected the decision to be overturned following an appeal by Harmoko, but it was upheld by the Appellate Court on Nov. 22.

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Indonesia

March 16, 1995

Ahmad Taufik, Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) IMPRISONED, ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Eko Maryadi, AJI IMPRISONED, ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Danang Wardoyo, AJI IMPRISONED, ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Abdul Haris, AJI IMPRISONED, ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Jemi Sakir, AJI IMPRISONED, ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Liston P. Siregar, AJI IMPRISONED, ATTACKED, , HARASSED
AJI IMPRISONED, ATTACKED, , HARASSED

Police detained Taufik, AJI's president; Haris, Sakir and Siregar, AJI members; and Wardoyo, AJI's office assistant, at a gathering in a Jakarta hotel marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Later that evening, about 20 police officers raided AJI's office, arresting AJI member Maryadi and seizing the group's computers, fax machine and various documents. All six were released after being questioned for a few hours about AJI's unlicensed newsmagazine Independen, copies of which were being sold at the gathering. However, Taufik, Maryadi and Wardoyo were rearrested the following day and remained in prison throughout the rest of the year (see Sept. 1 case). Before helping to found AJI, Taufik was a reporter at the weekly newsmagazine Tempo until it was banned in June 1994. Maryadi was formerly a researcher for Tempo.

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Indonesia

March 17, 1995

Satrio Arismunandar CENSORED
Eros Djarot CENSORED
Ardian Gesuri CENSORED
Toriq Hadad CENSORED
Budiman Hartoyo CENSORED
Yopie Hidayat CENSORED
Fikri Jufri CENSORED
Diah Purnomowati CENSORED
Happy Sulistiadi CENSORED
Goenawan Mohamad CENSORED
Moebanoe Moera CENSORED
Yosep Adi Prasetyo CENSORED
Hasudungan Sirait CENSORED

The state-sponsored Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) expelled 13 of its members for their involvement with the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI). The 13 were removed for signing the Sirnagalih Declaration establishing AJI, which, according to PWI, "denied the principle of a single journalists association in Indonesia." PWI is Indonesia's sole and compulsory journalists union, and staff members and editorial boards must get its approval in order to obtain a publishing license. Among those expelled from PWI were Mohamad and Jufri, the former chief editor and vice chief editor, respectively, of the banned newsmagazine Tempo, and Djarot, the former editor of the banned tabloid Detik. In announcing the dismissals, PWI also said Indonesian publishers should not employ AJI journalists.

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Indonesia

August 2, 1995

Ricky Pitoy Tafuama, KOMPAS ATTACKED

Tafuama, a reporter for KOMPAS daily, was approached by some two dozen police officers while interviewing local residents facing eviction in Bandung. He was asked to leave the area. Tafuama refused, saying he was on assignment for KOMPAS. One of the officers then ordered him to come to the local police precinct. When Tafuama again insisted on staying, the officers grabbed the journalist by the hair and proceeded to beat and kick him. The local government and a private real estate developer had planned to build a new housing development on the disputed land and claimed that the residents were illegally occupying it.

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Indonesia

September 1, 1995

Eko Maryadi, AJI IMPRISONED
Ahmad Taufik, AJI IMPRISONED
Danang Wardoyo, AJI IMPRISONED

AJI members Taufik and Maryadi were convicted of violating Article 19 of the press law, which prohibits the publication of an unlicensed newspaper or magazine, and Article 154 of the Criminal Code, which bars the expression of "feelings of hostility, hatred or contempt toward the government." The charges stemmed from articles in AJI's newsmagazine Independen that dealt with topics such as the succession to President Suharto and the personal wealth of the country's leaders. Their 32-month sentences were increased Oct. 11 to 36 months in prison each, following a closed appeal hearing during which they were denied counsel. For his role in distributing Independen, AJI office assistant Wardoyo was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Aug. 24--a sentence that was increased on appeal to 20 months. All three had been in custody since their arrests in mid-March and were tried in public over a three-month period beginning in early June. At press time, the defendants were appealing their case to the Supreme Court. CPJ honored Taufik with its annual International Press Freedom Award on Dec. 6 and initiated a letter-writing campaign for his and his colleagues' release.

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Indonesia

September 11, 1995

Tri Agus Susanto Siswowihardjo, Kabar Dari Pijar IMPRISONED

Siswowihardjo, editor in chief of Kabar dari Pijar, a bulletin published by the Jakarta-based nongovernmental organization Pijar, was convicted of intentionally insulting President Suharto, in violation of Articles 55(1) and 134 of the criminal code. His two-year sentence was upheld on appeal Nov. 24. Siswowihardjo had been in custody since his arrest on March 9, during a police raid on Pijar's Jakarta offices and was brought to trial on July 8. The case against him was based on the publication of an article in the bulletin's June 1994 issue, entitled "This Country Has Been Messed Up By A Man Called Suharto." The government's grievances referred primarily to the headline rather than to the article, which reported the contents of a speech by Adnan Buyung Nasution, head of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation. Nasution himself has not been charged. Siswowihardjo formerly worked as a reporter for the banned weekly Editor.

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Indonesia

Mid-September

Fajrun Najah Ahmad, Lampung Post CENSORED
Izhar Laily, Lampung Post CENSORED
Uten Suhendy, Lampung Post CENSORED
Supriyadi, Lampung Post CENSORED

The Sumatra-based newspaper Lampung Post suspended four reporters after receiving an official complaint about an interview with the dissident novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Ahmad, Laily, Suhendy and Supriyadi were indefinitely suspended for alleged negligence in the editing of the interview, according to the newspaper's executive editor. However, local sources said Subrata, the country's director general for press and graphics, had sent a letter to the Lampung Post's editor in chief after the interview ran on Sept. 10, demanding that the paper take action against staff members responsible for its publication.

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Indonesia

September 14, 1995

"Perspektif" CENSORED

"Perspektif," a popular weekly television talk show, was abruptly canceled five days after it featured the dissident journalist Mochtar Lubis as a guest. The show's broadcaster, privately held PT Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV), said the program was canceled for reasons of time allocation. However, Indonesian reporters citing inside sources said "Perspektif" was cut under pressure from the Information Ministry, which had issued several warnings about the program's content prior to Lubis' appearance. SCTV is co-owned by Sudwikatmono, President Suharto's stepbrother, and businessman Henry Pribadi. "Perspektif" was produced for SCTV by Yasa Tama Cipta, an independent production firm.

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Indonesia

September 18, 1995

Media Indonesia CENSORED

The daily newspaper Media Indonesia announced that it was suspending publication of its Sunday edition for four weeks. The announcement came a day after the Sunday edition published an interview with Islamic scholar Nurcholish Madjid, in which he criticized the country's political system and called for the creation of new opposition parties. The Information Ministry denied involvement in the decision to suspend the Sunday edition, which is produced on contract by a firm composed of staff members from the banned Tempo magazine.

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Malaysia

Year in Review: 1995

Malaysia continued to keep a tight lid on the country's broadcast media, with predictable consequences for the 1995 parliamentary election. After national television devoted weeks to news broadcasts praising the country's economic growth under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and touting his success in promoting Malaysia's interests abroad, a coalition led by his United Malays National Organization (UMNO) won over 60 percent of the popular vote and three-quarters of the seats in parliament. And while mass meetings of the UMNO-led National Front were widely televised, opposition parties charged that they had been denied media access prior to the election. The results ensured that Mahathir, an acerbic critic of the West who believes that economic development takes precedence over civil liberties, would continue to chart Malaysia's course for the next five years.

Broadcasters who attempted to challenge the government's control over the airwaves ran into major obstacles. In August, Malaysia's only nationwide private television station, TV3, was denied permission to broadcast 24 hours a day on the grounds that it would hurt the nation's productivity. And Global, a daring talk show on state-owned television, abruptly changed its programming content after the Information Ministry voiced its displeasure with a program in which the country's human rights record was assailed by panelists from local nongovernmental organizations and a human rights officer from the U.S. Embassy. A scheduled program on labor rights, for example, was replaced by a feature on Bosnia--a favorite topic of of Mahathir's.

The print media also suffered for transgressing important boundaries. The fortnightly magazine Muslim Media International lost its publishing license in January for allegedly creating a negative impression of other Islamic countries and their leaders. And three reporters for the daily Harian Metro were detained and questioned under the Official Secrets Act on charges of publishing confidential information about the kidnapping and murder of a Malaysian industrialist's son.

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Malaysia

January 22, 1995

Muslim Media International CENSORED

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir announced that his government had revoked the publishing permit of the fortnightly magazine Muslim Media International because it had created a negative impression of Muslim countries and their leaders. He also faulted the magazine for raising the issue of demands by the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) that the opposition Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) drop the word "Islamic" from its name. The Home Ministry had revoked the magazine's publishing permit in December 1994 but at the time had offered no explanation for the measure.

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Malaysia

March 31, 1995

Yusaini Ali, Harian Metro IMPRISONED
Saniboey Mohamed Ismail, Harian Metro IMPRISONED
Ahmad Tarmizi, Harian Metro IMPRISONED

Ali and Ismail, reporters for the Malaysian daily Harian Metro, were arrested by police in Johor Bahru. The two were detained for allegedly releasing classified information held by the Johor police in a Dec. 10, 1994, report about the kidnapping and murder of a Malaysian industrialist's 14-year-old son. Ali and Ismail were released on bail April 3. Under Article 8(2) of the Official Secrets Act, the reporters faced a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum of seven years. However, police dropped charges against them on June 3. Harian Metro stringer Tarmizi, a former Special Branch officer at the Johor police headquarters, was arrested on April 11 for supplying information about the kidnapping to Ali and Ismail. Tarmizi was released on bail five days later, and the charges against him were dropped June 16. Harian Metro, a Malay-language tabloid, is published by the pro-government New Straits Times newspaper group.

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Myanmar

August 19, 1995

BBC World Service CENSORED

The BBC World Service announced that it had found systematic interference with two of three frequencies used for its Burmese-language broadcasts. According to the BBC, the interference began in early August, shortly after the network broadcast an interview with the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was freed in July after being under house arrest for nearly six years. Although Myanmar authorities denied responsibility for the jamming, they had accused the BBC of anti-government bias earlier in the year. BBC spokesmen said this was the first case of jamming in the 55-year history of the network's Burmese broadcasts and announced that the BBC would compensate by allocating additional frequencies for its Burmese service.

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Myanmar

August

Yindee Lertcharoenchok, The Nation CENSORED

Yindee, a reporter for The Nation, an English-language Thai daily, was denied an entry visa to Myanmar shortly before she was to travel to Rangoon with Supatra Masdit, a prominent Thai women's leader and member of parliament, who was also denied a visa. Supatra was to videotape a message from Burmese opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the conference of women's nongovernmental groups in Beijing the following month. The two had intended to travel to Rangoon on Aug. 22.

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Myanmar

September 27, 1995

Ye Htut IMPRISONED

Ye Htut was arrested on charges of sending fabricated news abroad to Burmese dissidents and opposition media. Among the organizations to which Ye Htut allegedly confessed sending reports was the Thailand-based Burma Information Group (BIG), which publishes the human rights newsletter The Irrawaddy. Myanmar's official media claimed that BIG had presented a false picture of the country to foreign governments and human rights organizations. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

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Myanmar (Burma)

Year in Review: 1995

Despite the release in July of opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest for six years, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) kept a tight rein on the flow of information and ideas within the country.

The BBC World Service, one of the very few reliable sources of information available to ordinary Burmese, reported in early August that its Burmese-language broadcasts were being jammed for the first time in its 55-year history. Speculation about the government's motivation focused on an interview with Suu Kyi that the network broadcast shortly before the jamming began, and pointed to official complaints earlier in the year of an anti-government bias in the BBC's reports. And while many foreign reporters were given access to Suu Kyi following her release, the state-controlled domestic press continued to ostracize her.

Contributing to opposition publications remained a dangerous business for Burmese citizens. In September, authorities arrested a young Rangoon resident, Ye Htut, for sending reports to the Burma Information Group (BIG). The government charged that BIG, which publishes The Irrawaddy, a human rights newsletter, had used Ye Htut's reports to present a false picture of the country to overseas audiences. According to Burmese dissident sources, Ye Htut was subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison.

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North Korea

Year in Review: 1995

North Korea's media remained uncritical, fervent government mouthpieces to a degree unparalleled in other autocratic Asian countries. However, 1995 saw one moment of rare candor: the media's detailed accounts of population displacement, property loss and food shortages in the wake of massive floods along the Amnok and Taedong rivers in August. In a striking departure from the country's ideology of self-reliance, authorities accepted former Newsweek correspondent Bernard Krisher's offer to post an appeal for disaster relief on the Internet.

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Pakistan

Year in Review: 1995

Press freedom conditions deteriorated alarmingly in Pakistan, with a sharp increase in violent attacks on the media and an increased government tendency to resort to bannings, arrests and other forms of intimidation.

Many of the abuses were in the city of Karachi, where the Sindh provincial government vies for control with the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM), an armed group that draws support from the descendants of Urdu-speaking Indian immigrants. Clouding the picture is a breakaway faction of the MQM, as well as sectarian groups that have pitted the city's Sunni and Shi'a communities against each other. The city's fractiousness has aggravated the insecure position of local journalists, who often can only speculate about the identities and motivations of their assailants. The prominent Nawa-i-Waqt newspaper group, for instance, faced two anonymous attacks during the year. In late February, the group's offices were ransacked and set on fire by masked gunmen. Four months later, unidentified people fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the newspaper's offices.

The government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto bore a large share of the responsibility for creating a climate that legitimized attacks on press freedom. In June, Sindh provincial authorities imposed a 60-day ban on six popular newspapers for printing allegedly sensationalized accounts of Karachi's civil strife. The measure met with widespread protests by Pakistani journalists and was rescinded after five days. Two months later, Karachi police raided the home of the editor of Newsline magazine--apparently to harass her for having published an unflattering profile of Sindh's governor.

Powerful religious and economic interest groups also attacked the press with impunity. Sunni extremists from the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) party stormed the BBC's Islamabad offices and beat its correspondents after the network aired footage in which an SSP leader denounced the country's Shi'a minority. The only official move against the SSP, which supports the ruling Pakistan People's Party in Punjab province, was the brief detention of nine SSP members. Reporters covering labor conditions in Pakistan faced similar hazards. Free-lance reporter and bonded labor activist Zafaryab Ahmed was arrested and held for more than a month on charges of working with Indian intelligence to discredit Pakistan's carpet industry--charges that were still pending at year's end. And two Norwegian broadcast journalists were beaten by unidentified men after they filmed sweatshops employing children; their film was seized and never recovered.

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Pakistan

February 15, 1995

Kamran Khan, The News LEGAL, ACTION

The attorney general's office initiated a defamation suit against Khan, the chief correspondent of The News and a stringer for the Washington Post. The charges stemmed from a Jan. 23 article in The News, which said that, during a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had requested the extradition of Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain, then living in self-imposed exile in London. Bhutto claimed damages in the suit of 10 million rupees for "the grievous harm" inflicted on her reputation and "the mental agony and torture inflicted by the malicious actions of the defendant." In a letter to the prime minister, CPJ called on her to drop the charges against Khan. At year's end, however, she had not done so. Khan had spent several weeks as a Gad Gross fellow at CPJ in the fall of 1991, following a stabbing attack in Karachi.

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Pakistan

February 25, 1995

Family Magazine ATTACKED
Phool ATTACKED
The Nation ATTACKED
Nawa-i-Waqt ATTACKED
Nawa-i-Waqt Group ATTACKED

Masked gunmen ransacked and set fire to the Karachi offices of the Nawa-i-Waqt newspaper group. Several journalists working for the English-language daily The Nation, the Urdu daily Nawa-i-Waqt, the weekly Family Magazine and the monthly Phool were beaten by the militants. The Karachi police arrived at the scene one-and-a-half hours after the incident.

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Pakistan

March 10, 1995

Ahmed Zia, Nawa-i-Waqt ATTACKED, , HARASSED

A dozen unidentified people attacked the office of Nawabshash correspondent Zia of the Urdu-language daily Nawa-i-Waqt. They burned furniture and documents and stole money from the office. Police arrested members of an Islamic student political group, the Anjuman Taliba-i-Islam, in connection with the attack but later released them.

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Pakistan

March 11, 1995

Press photographers ATTACKED, , HARASSED

Police, intelligence agents and paramilitary forces beat and detained a group of press photographers who had arrived at the Karachi residence of Pir Syed Mardan, president of the Pakistan Muslim League political party, after his house sustained a rocket-propelled-grenade attack. They were taken to a paramilitary forces camp and held for over an hour. The photographers were released after senior government officials intervened.

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Pakistan

March 22, 1995

Ghulam Ali Mirza, Dawn LEGAL, ACTION
Ahmed Ali Khan, Dawn LEGAL, ACTION
Ardeshir Cowasjee, Dawn LEGAL, ACTION

The Supreme Court initiated a contempt of court proceeding against Ali Mirza, printer and publisher of the English-language daily Dawn; the paper's editor, Khan; and its principal columnist, Cowasjee. The contempt charge was based on a column published on Nov. 25, 1994, questioning the political independence of recent Supreme Court appointments. According to Article 204 of the constitution, the court may punish anyone who "scandalizes the Court or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the Court or a Judge of the Court into hatred, ridicule, or contempt." Those found to be in contempt of court face imprisonment of up to six months and/or a fine of up to 5,000 rupees. In a letter to the government, CPJ called for an end to the proceedings against the three journalists and urged the amendment of Article 204.

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Pakistan

May 29, 1995

Aslam Gauhar, Khabrain ATTACKED, , THREATENED

Gauhar, a reporter for the Urdu-language daily Khabrain in Punjab province, was stabbed by five unidentified assailants. The journalist was admitted to a local hospital in critical condition. Gauhar was reported as saying that, in response to a report he wrote that was critical of a federal minister, he had received threatening phone calls prior to the attack.

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Pakistan

June 5, 1995

Zafaryab Ahmad, Free-lancer IMPRISONED

Ahmad, a free-lance journalist, was arrested at his home on charges of sedition by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar told reporters that Ahmad had acted in collusion with the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to discredit Pakistan's carpet industry. A campaigner for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front, Ahmad had written extensively about labor abuses in Pakistan and had helped publicize the slaying in April of child labor activist Iqbal Masih. Ahmad was released on medical bail in July for treatment of a heart complaint. Charges against him were still pending at year's end. In a letter, CPJ called on the government to drop the charges.

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Pakistan

Late June

Nawa-i-Waqt Group ATTACKED, , THREATENED
Pakistan Television Corporation, Ltd. ATTACKED, , THREATENED

A rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) was fired on June 21 at Karachi's Nawa-i-Waqt press building, which houses the offices of the Urdu daily Nawa-i-Waqt and an English-language daily, The Nation. The attack damaged the building's storeroom and set off a fire, but no one was hurt. In the immediate aftermath of the assault, unidentified callers threatened further attacks. Four days later, an RPG was fired at the state-run television station in Karachi, damaging an adjacent building but causing no injuries. In a letter, CPJ urged Prime Minister Bhutto to investigate the two attacks.

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Pakistan

June 29, 1995

Erling Borgen, NRK-TV ATTACKED
Elfinn Haug, NRK-TV ATTACKED

Haug, a cameraman for the Norwegian television network NRK-TV, was attacked and beaten after filming child labor workshops in the Sialkot area, 75 miles north of Lahore. Haug and NRK-TV reporter Erling Borgen had been in Sialkot for just over two hours when they were approached by four or five men. One of the men seized Haug's camera; when Haug tried to recover it, another beat him with a hockey stick. Haug sustained cuts and bruises in the attack. Local police subsequently recovered the camera but not its film. In a letter to Prime Minister Bhutto, CPJ called for an investigation into the attack.

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Pakistan

June 29, 1995

Aghaz CENSORED
Awam CENSORED
Evening Special CENSORED
Qaumi Akhbar CENSORED
Parcham CENSORED
Public CENSORED

The government of Sindh province banned six leading Urdu-language evening newspapers--Aghaz, Awam, Evening Special, Qaumi Akhbar, Parcham and Public--for 60 days under the Maintenance of Public Order Act of 1960. The newspapers were ordered closed for publishing allegedly sensationalized reports about Karachi's ongoing factional and ethnic violence. The ban was lifted five days later after widespread protests by Pakistani journalists and international press freedom groups, including CPJ.

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Pakistan

July 1, 1995

Ardeshir Cowasjee, Dawn THREATENED
Ayaz Amir, Dawn THREATENED

An attorney for Asif Ali Zardari, a member of the National Assembly and the husband of Prime Minister Bhutto, sent a notice to Dawn columnists Cowasjee and Amir threatening legal action unless all "false attributions and allegations" against his client were retracted within seven days and damages paid in the amount of 50 million rupees. The notice accused the two journalists of publishing articles over a two-year period with the intention of discrediting Zardari. According to the notice, the offending articles included several that charged Zardari with misappropriating government money and misdirecting government funds. Dawn refused to comply with the request, and formal defamation charges have yet to be filed.

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Pakistan

August 7, 1995

Sadaqat ATTACKED

A distributor of the daily Sadaqat was beaten in Faisalabad, Punjab, by more than 20 heavily armed members of the extremist Sunni Muslim political party Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. The militants then burned the bundles of the newspaper that had just been delivered to the distributor.

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Pakistan

August 17, 1995

Razia Bhatti, Newsline ATTACKED, , HARASSED, LEGAL, ACTION
Mohammed Hanif, Newsline ATTACKED, , HARASSED, LEGAL, ACTION
Publisher, Newsline ATTACKED, , HARASSED, LEGAL, ACTION
Newsline ATTACKED, , HARASSED, LEGAL, ACTION

Police conducted a midnight raid on the home of Bhatti, editor of the independent monthly magazine Newsline, and instructed her to send a reporter or appear in person for questioning later that morning. Bhatti refused to comply. Later the same day, police again raided both Bhatti's home and Newsline's offices and questioned those present about her whereabouts. The raids came one month after the governor of Sindh province, Kamaluddin Azfar, threatened a criminal defamation suit against Bhatti, reporter Hanif and Newsline's publisher unless the magazine issued an unconditional apology for a June 1995 article by Hanif about Azfar's rise to power. Newsline declined the request and Azfar filed formal charges. But following the intervention of Pakistan's Newspapers and Periodicals Organization, the Governor's House announced on Aug. 17 that the charges were being dropped. Bhatti received a Courage in Journalism Award in 1994 from the International Women's Media Foundation.

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Pakistan

August 24, 1995

Daniel Lak, BBC ATTACKED, , THREATENED
Zaffar Abbas, BBC ATTACKED, , THREATENED
BBC ATTACKED, , THREATENED

Some half-dozen men wielding steel pipes and iron rods ransacked the Islamabad office of the BBC and beat the two correspondents working there, Lak and Abbas. Neither journalist was critically injured. The intruders smashed the bureau's computers, wire terminal and telex equipment, and threw firebombs that damaged a rug and office furniture. On Aug. 27, Pakistani police arrested Ziaur Rehman Farooqi, leader of the extremist Sunni Muslim political party Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), after he admitted to the local press that SSP activists had perpetrated the attack. Ten days prior to the attack, Farooqi had threatened to hold a demonstration in front of the BBC's offices unless the BBC withdrew a report in which SSP parliament member Azim Tariq was shown making inflammatory remarks about Pakistan's minority Shi'a Muslim community. The BBC registered the threat with police and then withdrew the documentary. However, the network then aired a second report in which Tariq described the Shi'a as infidels. Farooqi was held in custody for 11 days, and eight other SSP members detained along with him were released after a few days' questioning. No criminal charges were filed.

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Pakistan

September 14, 1995

Farhan Effandi, Parcham IMPRISONED, ATTACKED, , LEGAL, ACTION

Effandi, Hyderabad correspondent for the Karachi-based Urdu-language daily Parcham, was seized in Hyderabad by government paramilitary rangers and taken to a local police station where he was held in custody for two days. Effandi told colleagues that he was blindfolded, kicked and beaten during his detention. On Sept. 16, two days after his abduction, police brought him to the Court of the Judicial Magistrate-II of Hyderabad city. Effandi was charged with illegally possessing a Kalashnikov rifle, which the rangers claimed to have found during a Sept. 15 raid on his office. A bail hearing was never held, and Effandi's trial was scheduled to begin Nov. 2. His newspaper is widely seen as an organ of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM), an opposition political party of Muslim immigrants from India.

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Pakistan

October 23, 1995

The News ATTACKED

Masked gunmen fired several rounds at the offices of The News, a Karachi daily, smashing windows and damaging a bank office located on the ground floor. At least four men fired from two sides of the nine-story building. Editors of The News were uncertain of the attackers' motive.

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Pakistan

November 4, 1995

The News ATTACKED
Ansar Naqvi, The News ATTACKED

Plainclothes and uniformed police raided the Hyderabad offices of The News. Naqvi, a reporter for the newspaper, asked the officers to produce a search warrant. He was told that a warrant was unnecessary and threatened with arrest. After the police had checked each room, an officer arrived and conducted a second search of the premises. Later the same evening, the police detained three employees of a law firm in the same building.

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People's Republic Of China

Year in Review: 1995

The contradiction between China's impulse toward market reform and private enterprise development, and its desire to control information distribution came to the fore in 1995. Nowhere was this more apparent than with the November crackdown on provincial television stations, several of which had demonstrated increasing autonomy in their news content. Authorities closed two of the stations and fined four others for broadcasting politically sensitive material, following an investigation of the country's television stations that took several months. The government also tightened its grip on independent television producers, requiring them to submit annual production plans for official approval and imposing prohibitive capitalization requirements on would-be production houses. For China's nascent independent media, the message was clear: grow in accordance with official dictates rather than market forces.

The same contradiction was evidenced by the January 1996 decision requiring Western financial news services, including those run by Dow Jones and Reuters, to distribute their news through the official Xinhua News Agency. The move sent shock waves through the overseas investors community, whose members realized that the financial information they depended on would now be released at the government's discretion. The January decision brought renewed press attention to the conviction in 1994 of Xi Yang, a Hong Kong journalist now serving a 14-year term for allegedly leaking state banking secrets in a news report.

More often, though, China's press freedom violations were difficult to separate from the broader question of its treatment of political dissidents. The government reincarcerated two of its most prominent dissident journalists--Wei Jingsheng, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison at year's end for allegedly conspiring to subvert the government (his previous jail term lasted 14 1/2 years), and Chen Ziming, who was rearrested and ordered to serve out the duration of his 13-year prison sentence after a year on medical parole. Both writers had continued to press for freedom of expression and the release of their imprisoned colleagues during their brief periods out of jail.

For foreign correspondents, Beijing's hosting of the Fourth World Conference on Women opened a window on the regime's public security apparatus. All reporters for the overseas press were assigned to specific hotels, where at least one reporter's accommodations included a complimentary room search. Many others complained that their phones were tapped and that they were closely monitored on the floor of the conference as well.

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Singapore

Year in Review: 1995

Singapore, the prime exponent of the belief that a free press is incompatible with "Asian values," remained dangerous ground for Western publications. During 1995, the International Herald Tribune was fined twice for publishing articles that criticized the Singaporean government, however obliquely.

In January, Christopher Lingle, a former professor at the National University of Singapore, was found guilty of contempt of court for a Tribune opinion piece in which he ambiguously referred to "intolerant regimes" in Asia and their "compliant" judiciaries. He was fined US$7,100--a sum collected from his local assets left behind after he fled to the United States in October 1994. Other defendants in the case included the Tribune's publisher and the Singapore-based editor of its Asia edition, who were fined US$1,725 and US$3,400, respectively.

Six months later, the Tribune was ordered to pay libel damages of US$678,000 to Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew, his son Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong for publishing an opinion piece by former Far Eastern Economic Review editor Philip Bowring that said dynastic politics were evident in Singapore, despite official claims of bureacratic meritocracy. The ministers' suit charged Bowring with undermining their authority by implying that Lee's son owed his position to nepotism and that Goh was a puppet in the senior minister's hands.

Other foreign publications, including the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Asian Wall Street Journal and Asiaweek, have periodically seen their circulation curbed by Singaporean authorities in retaliation for publishing unflattering reports about the country's leadership. The government has also strictly limited the amount of time foreign correspondents are allowed to stay in the country. And in 1995, authorities began inundating the Internet with pro-government material in an attempt to counter critical commentary about Singapore in Internet news groups.

Goh, when questioned by CPJ during a September appearance at Williams College in Massachusetts, said he supported the right of Singaporeans to the free flow of information. In a move that generated considerable controversy on campus, the college awarded Goh an honorary degree for his role in promoting Singapore's economic growth.

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Singapore

January 17, 1995

Christopher Lingle LEGAL, ACTION
Richard McClean, International Herald Tribune (Paris) LEGAL, ACTION
Michael Richardson, International Herald Tribune (Singapore) LEGAL, ACTION
International Herald Tribune (Singapore) LEGAL, ACTION
Singapore Press Holdings LEGAL, ACTION

Lingle, a former senior fellow in European studies at the National University of Singapore, was found guilty of contempt of court for an Oct. 7, 1994, opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune criticizing unnamed "intolerant regimes" in Asia and their "compliant" judiciaries. Lingle, who fled to the United States on Oct. 20, 1994, after being interrogated by Singaporean police, was tried and convicted in absentia. Also found guilty were co-defendants McClean, publisher and chief executive of the Tribune in Paris; Richardson, Asia editor for the Tribune; International Herald Tribune Pte Ltd., the paper's Singapore distributor; and Singapore Press Holdings Ltd., which prints the paper's local edition. Richardson and McLean were fined US$3,400 and US$1,725, respectively. The distributor and printer were ordered to pay US$1,035 each. Lingle himself was fined US$7,100, an amount that a Singapore court ordered deducted from his local assets, which were frozen on Feb. 4.

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Singapore

July 26, 1995

International Herald Tribune LEGAL, ACTION

The Singapore Supreme Court ordered the International Herald Tribune to pay libel damages of US$678,000 to the country's top three leaders. The award stemmed from an Aug. 2, 1994, opinion piece by Philip Bowring, a former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, which said dynastic politics were evident in Singapore "despite official commitments to bureaucratic meritocracy." Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew, his son Deputy Prime Minster Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong sued the paper, charging that it had undermined their authority by impying that Lee's son owed his post to nepotism and that Goh was merely a puppet of the senior minister. The Tribune, which apologized in print for the article, did not contest liability. CPJ expressed its dismay over the verdict in a letter to Goh.

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South Korea

Year in Review: 1995

South Korean journalists began breaking their professional taboo against criticizing authority figures in 1995. The press reported extensively on a slush-fund scandal involving former president Roh Tae Woo and criticized opposition leader Kim Dae-jung for accepting US$2.6 million from Roh during the 1992 presidential election campaign. Still more remarkable were newspaper editorials calling on incumbent President Kim to disclose the sources of his election funds.

However, a repressive National Security Law that remained on the books circumscribed news coverage related to North Korea and the publication of material with a socialist or communist perspective. On Nov. 15, Choi Chin-sop, a journalist with the monthly Mal magazine, was released from prison after serving a three-year sentence for belonging to an "anti-state" organization--the pro-reunification 1995 Committee--and publishing articles that allegedly praised North Korea. About 20 of Choi's articles on human rights violations, including profiles of persons detained under the National Security Law, were cited as evidence against him during his trial. Choi reportedly plans to return to his position at Mal.

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Sri Lanka

Year in Review: 1995

In its first full year in office, the People's Alliance (PA) government failed to meet its campaign pledge to uphold press freedom. President Chandrika Kumaratunga bluntly threatened the press in a speech addressed to journalists and censored coverage of the war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), while pro-opposition papers found themselves vulnerable to assaults, police raids and criminal defamation suits.

In part, the PA's turn away from press freedom was a reaction to the many mainstream Sri Lankan newspapers that opposed Kumaratunga's conciliatory approach toward the LTTE. After the Tigers abruptly walked out of PA-initiated peace talks on Aug. 19 and stepped up their campaign of targeting civilians and the military, press criticism escalated. In late May, Kumaratunga issued a pointed threat to the press at the opening of the National Information Center. "We will not kill them [journalists] and drop them by air to the sea beaches," she said, alluding to the 1990 murder of the Inter Press Service correspondent Richard de Zoysa. But she warned reporters to be "responsible" in covering the war and threatened that her government would otherwise take "serious action to see that responsibility is implemented." In her speech, she faulted one newspaper for allegedly exposing the government's war strategy in a report on the installation of anti-aircraft guns in Colombo.

A 50-day offensive against the LTTE saw the northern city of Jaffna fall to the government on Dec. 5, ending five years of Tiger rule there. Although the victory gained the government newfound support in the opposition press, it did so paradoxically on the heels of a harsh censorship regime. The regulations--introduced Sept. 21, about three weeks before the campaign began--required journalists to clear all war reports with the Media Ministry or risk the closure of their printing presses or broadcasting stations. The measures, which only applied to the foreign press for five days, were lifted on Dec. 20. However, most analysts predicted that the war against the LTTE would drag on for months or possibly years in the jungles of northern Sri Lanka, and it was far from certain that the government would refrain from reintroducing censorship during future campaigns.

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Sri Lanka

February 7, 1995

Lasantha Wickrematunga, Sunday Leader ATTACKED

Four unidentified men wielding clubs attacked Sunday Leader editor Wickrematunga and his wife near their home in a Colombo suburb. Wickrematunga, who suffered cuts and bruises, was hospitalized following the attack. The assailants also smashed his car. Wickrematunga's newspaper is known to be critical of the new People's Alliance government and to support the opposition United National Party.

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Sri Lanka

July 17-18

Pearl Thevanayagam, Sunday Leader HARASSED

Police twice detained Thevanayagam, a reporter for the English-language Sunday Leader, while she was returning from a reporting assignment in the northern region of Jaffna, which is controlled by the separatist Liberation tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Thevanayagam said she had posed as a teacher in order to circumvent government restrictions on press access to the area. On July 17, she was detained and questioned about the purpose of her visit for three hours at a police station located on the government side of the control line. Police detained her again the following morning while she was waiting for a train to Colombo. Thevanayagam remained in custody for several hours, during which time she was identified as a journalist. She was released at the personal request of President Kumaratunga after an appeal by the Colombo-based Free Media Movement.

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Sri Lanka

Early September

The Island Group ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Gamini Weerakoon, The Island ATTACKED, , HARASSED
Ravi Laduwahetty, Divaina ATTACKED, , HARASSED

Police raided the offices of The Island Group, the country's largest independent newspaper group, and questioned Island editor Weerakoon and Divaina reporter Laduwahetty after their newspapers published articles that were critical of the government. The police asked the journalists to divulge their sources, but their requests were refused. The Island is an English-language daily, and Divaina is its Singhalese-language counterpart.

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Sri Lanka

September 12, 1995

Lasantha Wickrematunga, Sunday Leader ATTACKED, , LEGAL, ACTION
Lal Wickrematunga, Sunday Leader ATTACKED, , LEGAL, ACTION

Police searched the office of Lasantha Wickrematunga, editor of the English-language Sunday Leader, after President Kumaratunga complained about an article in the newspaper that said her administration had broken campaign promises. Both Lasantha and his brother Lal, the newspaper's publisher, were charged with defaming the president in late September by the attorney general. They face up to two years in prison if convicted. The case is scheduled to begin Jan. 31, 1996.

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Sri Lanka

September 21, 1995

All media CENSORED

The government announced strict censorship regulations on all war reports by foreign and domestic media. The guidelines covered military intelligence, troop movements, names of personnel, military events and incidents, unidentified sources and material seen as "inciting the public." Reporters were required to submit all accounts of the war's progress to the Media Ministry; noncompliance was punishable by the closure of printing presses or radio and television stations. Five days later, the government lifted the clearance requirement for foreign media. A petition brought by the tabloid Jana Jaya to lift the censorship regulations on domestic media was dismissed Nov. 7 by the Supreme Court, and the regulations remained in force until Dec. 20.

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Taiwan

Year in Review: 1995

A 10-month crackdown on Taiwan's pirate radio broadcasters continued into January 1995, when the police raided the unlicensed station TNT. The raid followed government charges that TNT and other pirate broadcasters had incited a taxidrivers' riot a month earlier. Since their emergence in 1993, the pirate stations have drawn a vast working class audience because of their biting criticism of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party, live call-in talk shows and broadcasts in the Taiwanese and Hakka dialects. They have also provided an important platform for opposition political parties that had little access to the official broadcast media. The government began issuing licenses to low-power stations in the fall of 1994, but by the end of that year some three-quarters of the applicants had been refused. Among them was TNT.

Following a protest campaign by CPJ and increased attention to the issue in the Western press, the government abruptly ceased the raids. Instead, it jammed the private broadcasters' frequencies. Station owners responded by changing them.

Taiwan's three television stations--all state controlled, through the KMT, the Taiwan Provincial Government and the Defense Ministry--were joined by a new opposition counterpart in 1995, when authorities granted a broadcasting license to a private company whose board includes Hsu Hsin-liang, the presidential candidate of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. The move promises a more level playing field for Taiwan's first direct presidential elections, which are scheduled for March 1996.

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Vietnam

Early January

The Hanoian CENSORED

The Ministry of Information and Culture ordered the closure of a weekly publication, Nguoi Hanoi (The Hanoian), after it printed a story about the social costs of Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet's decision to ban the production, trade and use of firecrackers. The ministry also asked local authorities to discipline the editor in chief and journalists involved in the article's publication. According to the ministry, the article's publication violated the press law and adversely affected the implementation of the ban on firecrackers.

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Vietnam

Year in Review: 1995

Vietnam's press continued to mirror the country's ambivalent approach to liberalization. Reporters enjoyed unprecendented freedom to report on corruption, poverty and labor abuses, but critical coverage of political affairs, government leadership and the issue of one-party rule remained off-limits. Do Muoi, the Communist Party's secretary general, bluntly restated those boundaries in a March speech to the Vietnam Journalists' Association. "We will not allow the abuse of press freedom by people who seek to destabilize the sociopolitical situation," he said. And an essay the same month in Tap Chi Cong San, the theoretical journal of the party's central committee, warned the press against deviating from the party line.

Almost all of the country's 350 officially licensed publications adhered to these guidelines. And the few instances where magazines were penalized stemmed from fairly mild infractions, such as a story in Nguoi Hanoi (The Hanoian) about the social costs of the government's ban on firecrackers. The only major challenge to the official ideology came in the form of privately circulated essays by dissidents. In November, the government acted against such publications by imposing prison sentences of 15 months and 12 months, respectively, on dissident party members Do Trung Hieu and Hoang Minh Chinh for writing and distributing materials that allegedly violated the state's interests. A month later, authorities arrested Nguyen Xuan Tu, a dissident writer better known by his pen name, Ha Si Phu. Tu had written an essay earlier in the year in which he called Marxism-Leninism an outdated relic that was harmful to the country's economic reforms. The three joined five other writers already imprisoned in Vietnam, including former CPJ International Press Freedom Award-winner Doan Viet Hoat, who is serving out a 15-year prison sentence for publishing the dissident newsletter Freedom Forum.

Albania

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Vietnam

January 27, 1995

Knowledge and Technology CENSORED

The Vietnamese government halted the distribution of Knowledge and Technology, a state-owned monthly periodical, for publishing sensational stories. Authorities claimed that the most recent issue of Knowledge and Technology, published by the Casting and Metallurgy Association, devoted more space to topics such as crime, cannibalism and polygamy than it did to the metals industry. The journal also allegedly failed to include required publishing information on its title page and featured a cover that was deemed unsuitable for a scientific review.

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Vietnam

Mid-June

Do Trung Hieu IMPRISONED
Hoang Minh Chinh IMPRISONED

Police arrested dissident writers Hieu and Chinh in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, respectively. On Nov. 8, they were tried together by the Hanoi People's Court and convicted of violating the interests of the state by writing and distributing documents criticizing the government. Hieu was sentenced to 15 months in prison, while Chinh was sentenced to 12 months. In privately circulated pamphlets, Hieu had written about the government's attempts to disband the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and had called for greater openness in the Communist Party. The former party official in charge of religious affairs in Ho Chi Minh City, Hieu was previously arrested in 1990 and expelled from the party in 1992. Chinh had written essays criticizing the party's monopoly on power and had demanded the rehabilitation of party members purged in the 1960s. Chinh, the former director of the Institute of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, was previously jailed from 1967 to 1973 and from 1981 to 1987 for alleged "revisionism."

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Vietnam

December 5, 1995

Nguyen Xuan Tu (Ha Si Phu), Writer IMPRISONED

Police arrested Tu, a biologist and dissident writer whose pen name is Ha Si Phu, in Dalat. Two days later, police searched his house and confiscated thousands of pages of documents and manuscripts, including two issues of Thien Chi Monthly, a Vietnamese-language journal published in Germany that had reprinted some of Tu's essays. Tu was reportedly charged with violating Article 92 of the Criminal Code, a national security provision that outlaws possessing or divulging "state secrets." Tu has written extensively in official journals and his manuscripts have been privately circulated. Earlier in the year, he had written an essay in which he called Marxism-Leninism an outdated relic that was harmful to the country's economic reforms. In a Dec. 4 radio interview on a California station, he called on Vietnamese-Americans to lobby for the withholding of most-favored-nation trading status for Vietnam until that country's democracy was "well developed."

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(c) 1996 Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ Website