One day ahead of two-day bilateral talks with the U.S., China's Foreign Ministry rejected what it labeled "interference" in the country's internal affairs under the rubric of human rights, according to international news reports. Despite this obstructionist tone, CPJ hopes that Washington officials, led by Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael Posner, will stick to their announced agenda--and cast it as a matter of China's own national interest.
The three-person panel of experts on Sri Lanka appointed in 2010 to look into possible war crimes during the decades-long conflict with Tamil secessionists submitted its findings to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday. That report should include the attacks on the news media that have become a reality for journalists working there.
CPJ ranks North Korea, with no independent media, as the world's most censored state. South Korea, with a wide-open press, seldom comes in for criticism. The high-tech, economic powerhouse is ranked as one of the most intensely wired nations in the world, and South Koreans enjoy near universal Internet access. But all is not well with the media on the southern half of the Korean peninsula.
Sandhya Eknelygoda has recently managed to get the attention of the United Nations about the case of the disappearance of her husband, Prageeth, on January 24, 2010. Still, there has been no progress made in learning of his whereabouts.
In September 2010 we posted an alert about criminal charges being brought against Malaysian blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman. He was accused of "intent to hurt" because of a March 2010 satirical entry on his blog, nose4news, that made fun of Malaysia's state-run power company Tenaga (TNB). The charges were brought by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), which was formed in 1998 as the country's online media industry began to emerge.
Tuesday's letter from CPJ and four other groups to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apparently had some impact. The Canadian Press reported today that Ban has asked the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO, which oversees press freedom, to look into the case of Prageeth Eknelygoda, a Sri Lankan columnist and cartoonist missing for more than a year.
Here are two quick updates on prominent Pakistani cases we've been following:
Despite police claims made soon after the assassination-style killing of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar on January 13, there have been no arrests made in his case, and there is little reason to expect that there will be any. Babar was one of 20 people killed in gang violence in Karachi that day. He was returning home after his report on the violence had been aired. Mark another case in Pakistan's poor record for impunity for the killers of journalists--the country ranked 10th last year in CPJ's Impunity Index.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.