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ARCHIVES: State Control

January 11, 2011

Panama: Retrograde move to make insulting president punishable by imprisonment

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has urged the National Assembly of Panama to reject a draft law under which anyone insulting the president or an elected official could be sentenced to between two and four years in prison, as it would represent major step backwards for freedom of expression in Panama. The National Assembly is due to resume examining it Tuesday. Called Draft Law 105 and submitted on January 5 by National Assembly president José Muñoz and... MORE
January 8, 2011

Broadcaster banned from police press conference after criticising murder inquiry

Britain's ITV News was on Wednesday banned from a police press conference after running a report criticising the police's handling of an investigation into the murder of Joanna Yeates, a landscape architect whose body was found on the outskirts of Bristol last month, the Guardian newspaper reported. Avon & Somerset police have complained to Britain's broadcast media regulator, Ofcom, about what they have branded "unfair, naïve and irresponsible reporting" of the case on ITV1's News at Ten... MORE
January 8, 2011

IFJ tells Barroso: Defend free speech and media rights

As leading European Union (EU) officials prepare for a mission to Hungary, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has urged President Manuel Barroso and his team to analyse and change the country's controversial new media law which the Federation claims is a breach of European law and violates principles enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. EFJ says the EU must examine the law and its implementation, not... MORE
January 7, 2011

Zimbabwe orders media to pay higher fees or face prosecution

The Zimbabwean government on Thursday warned journalists and media organisations operating in the African country that they could be prosecuted if they fail to immediately comply with new registration fees that have soared by as much as 300 percent, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists has condemned the new fees as 'shocking and retributive,' arguing that they 'can only make journalists go underground or stop practicing.' 'Ordinarily fees for... MORE
January 7, 2011

Saudi Arabia announces new Web publishing law

Online newspapers and blogs based in Saudi Arabia will now need to register with the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information to operate. The new guidelines and rules will be added to the current publishing and printing law. Abdul Aziz Khaja, Minister of Information and Culture, stressed that the list is a tool of regulation – rather than restricting freedom of speech. He said it is in line with the development moves that the media sector is witnessing in Saudi Arabia. He added that the rule... MORE
January 7, 2011

Call for the authorities to respect press freedom ahead of South Sudan independence vote

The authorities in Southern Sudan and the government in the capital Khartoum have been urged to guarantee the safety of journalists and pluralism of news and information two days ahead of an historic referendum on independence for South Sudan. The South Sudanese will vote on January 9 – marking a decisive step in their history – whether or not to secede from the rest of Sudan, bringing about partition of Africa’s largest country, on the sixth anniversary of the peace agreement that ended a... MORE
January 5, 2011

Korean broadcasting regulator under fire

The Korean government has come under fire for its recent selection of new TV channel operators. Critics say it will cause excessive competition in a saturated market and aggravate large conservative newspapers' dominance of public opinion. Experts are also voicing doubt about the selection committee's fairness and correctness in assessing applicants, according to the Korea Herald. The Korea Communications Commission announced last Friday that it picked the country's four largest conservative... MORE
January 5, 2011

Hungary unmoved by EU criticism over media law

Hungary's government insisted Tuesday it would not bow to outside pressure and rethink its disputed media law, even after the European Commission expressed concerns and said it would sanction Budapest if necessary -- even during the nation's EU presidency, according to "It isn't necessary to change a Hungarian law just because it is subject to criticism from abroad," Zoltan Kovacs, state secretary for communication, told national radio. "Before criticising, let's wait and see... MORE
January 5, 2011

Internet censors in Tunisia move into top gear in response to widespread unrest

Online censorship has ben reinforced amid a wave of protests and rioting in Tunisia that began two weeks when a young man set himself on fire outside a police station in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid . “Online social networks have played a key role in transmitting news and information about the situation in Sidi Bouzid and other regions while the government-controlled traditional media have mostly ignored the story,” Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “... MORE
January 1, 2011

Sri Lanka: Less anti-media violence in 2010 but more obstruction and self-censorship

New forms of censorship and obstruction being used by government to prevent diverse and freely-reported media coverage of the situation in Sri Lanka. The fall in the number of physical attacks, threats and cases of imprisonment is to be welcomed, but it is worrying that the authorities are blocking the return of real editorial freedom, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has said. At the same time, the flight of 55 Sri Lankan journalists, including many press freedom... MORE