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ARCHIVES: Govt policies

December 13, 2010

Slovenians reject new media law amid low turnout

Slovenians rejected a new media law Sunday which the government had said was designed to limit political influence on the state radio and television broadcaster, in a national vote marked by low turnout, says a Reuters report. Preliminary results of the referendum released by 2055 GMT showed 72.6 percent of voters rejected the law, with only 27.4 percent backing it, the state electoral committee said. Turnout was 14.6 percent. The details : Parliament passed the law in October but the... MORE
December 13, 2010

El Salvador's new public information law welcomed

ARTICLE 19 has welcomed the approval of the Access to Public Information Law by El Salvador's Legislative Assembly on December 2, and urged President Mauricio Funes to immediately sign and implement the legislation. The law marks a new era for freedom of information in the country. "The adoption of the Access to Public Information Law by the Legislative Assembly is an important step forward in the realisation of the right to information in El Salvador," said Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive... MORE
November 17, 2010

Zimbabwe: Bill would restrict public access to official information

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has called for the withdrawal of bill which is about to be submitted to parliament and which would allow the authorities to block public access to official documents including judicial decisions, new legislation and public records. Announced on October 22 and called the “General Law Amendment Bill,” the proposed law’s sole aim seems to be to place additional obstacles in the way of access to information and thereby hamper the work... MORE
November 9, 2010

Hungary criticised over media secrecy law

Hungary's parliament last week passed another element of a controversial media reform package which will force journalists to identify their sources in stories involving national security and public safety. The law comes into effect on January 1, 2011. If faced with judicial action, journalists would only be able to keep their source secret if such secrecy is ruled to be in the public interest. Also, when the information is deemed to contain state secrets or obtained illegally, the sources... MORE
November 6, 2010

Proposed law in Syria would step up censorship of online media

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has called on the Syrian authorities to abandon an Internet communications bill that was drafted at the behest of Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri and was approved by the cabinet last week. If adopted by parliament, it is likely to have a serious impact on online free expression, which is already limited in Syria. Syria is on the RSF list of “Enemies of the Internet” because it has blocked hundreds of websites and hounds its... MORE
November 2, 2010

Bulgaria: Concerns about criminal code reform and electronic surveillance

A bill was adopted by the Bulgarian cabinet on October 20 that would amend the criminal code section dealing with “crimes against the national and racial equality” of the country’s citizens. Prompted by Council of Europe recommendations, it would increase the penalties for discriminatory statements in the media to four years in prison and a fine of 5,000 to 19,000 levas (2,000 to 5,000 euros). Instead of applying just to incitement of racial, national or ethnic hatred (article 162-1), the... MORE
October 29, 2010

COICA, a repressive bill that threatens Internet users worldwide, must be stopped

Free speech organisations are urging the US Congress to abandon consideration of the proposed Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which Sen Patrick Leahy introduced into the Senate on September 21. At the Center for Democracy & Technology’s initiative, nine organszations and experts have sent the attached letter to the senator. COICA’s provisions include introducing a system of Internet filtering to protect copyright. Internet service providers would have to block... MORE
October 23, 2010

Swaziland prime minister threatens to censor columnists

Swaziland's Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, has announced his intention to create a law requiring newspaper columnists to seek permission before they write critically about the government, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported. Dlamini's statement appeared in the Tuesday edition of state daily Swazi Observer , according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa and local journalists. Dlamini accused news columnists of tarnishing their country's image... MORE
October 11, 2010

Bolivia: Adopted unchanged, anti-racism law’s media clauses will need judicious enforcement

The bolivian law against racism was approved by the senate on October 8 and was immediately promulgated by President Evo Morales. The senate adopted the lower house’s version of the law without any changes despite major protests by media and journalists’ organisations against two articles that make it an offence for the press to publish racist comments or statements that incite racism, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF). The protests have continued... MORE
September 23, 2010

Authorities urged to drop two projects that threaten media freedom

As the leaders of the ruling African National Congress meet this week in the eastern city of Durban, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has urged the South African government to abandon two projects, one to create a media tribunal and one to pass a bill protecting information involving “national security.” The press freedom organisation offers South Africa’s media and civil society its full support in their efforts to combat these two retrograde projects. “We are... MORE