Free Press

Thursday, 15 January 2009 19:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

ImageBetter figures despite a hostile climate and more Internet repression.

Reporters Without Borders only counted cases in which a link between the violation and the victim's work as a journalist was clearly established or very likely. The figures cover the violations the organisation learned about. They do not cover violations which the victims chose not to report (usually for security reasons). In other words, the same method was used to compile the figures as in previous years, making comparisons possible.

In 2008:

60 journalists were killed
1 media assistant was killed
673 journalists were arrested
929 were physically attacked or threatened
353 media outlets were censored
29 journalists were kidnapped


1 blogger was killed
59 bloggers were arrested
45 were physically attacked
1,740 websites were blocked, shut down or suspended


Monday, 12 January 2009 19:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

...for international journalists to be allowed into the Gaza Strip - With 100 news media signatures now on the petition it launched on 9 January, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its appeal for support by the international media and again urges the Israeli authorities to lift the ban on foreign media access to the Gaza Strip that has been in force since November. Allowing journalists into the Gaza Strip would be the best way to ensure independent coverage of the events unfolding there.

The only news coverage of the situation in Gaza comes from the 295 Palestinians who are working for a range of news organisations in extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances. Reporters Without Borders express its solidarity with all these media employees and deplores the deaths of four journalists since 27 December, three of them in the course of their work. The four journalists are Basel Faraj, Ihab el-Wahidi, Omar Silawi and Alaa Mortaji. Reporters Without Borders offers its sincere condolences to their families.

Since the Israeli supreme court ruling on 31 December that foreign journalists should be allowed into the Gaza Strip in groups of 12, the Israel Defence Forces have permitted a very small number to enter. Reuters and the BBC were allowed to cover the activities of some Israeli soldiers for a few hours. The other journalists have been condemned to wait in Sderot or the hills that overlook Gaza.

"Dignity," a vessel chartered by the Free Gaza organisation carrying medical personnel and journalists, was driven back twice by the Israeli navy when it tried to approach the shore of the Gaza trip. The campaign must continue against the blockade imposed on the international media by Israel.


Saturday, 20 December 2008 19:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today on learning that a delay in a police raid on Your Black Muslim Bakery - a business and community organisation based in Oakland, California, that was suspected of criminal activity - could have cost Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey his life.

Bailey was gunned down by a masked man on his way to work on 2 August 2007. The police raided the bakery the next day, suspecting some of its employees of being involved in the killing. One of them, Devaughndre Broussard, confessed to the murder but later retracted. Yusuf Bey IV, the bakery's leader, is also suspected of involvement.

Reporters Without Borders welcomes Oakland mayor Ron Dellums' call on 16 December for more transparency in the state investigation and for it to be expanded to include the delay in the raid. The press freedom organisation also urges Attorney General nominee Eric Holder, as soon as he is confirmed, to make sure a federal investigation is launched. State attorney Edmund G. Brown could face a conflict of interest when investigating a police department he was in charge of when mayor of Oakland.

The Chauncey Bailey Project, a cooperative effort by San Francisco Bay area journalists investigating the circumstance around Bailey's death, reported on 15 December that a raid on the bakery was planned for 1 August 2007 but was delayed for 48 hours to accommodate the vacation schedules of two SWAT commanders. Bailey was killed on 2 August 2007.


Thursday, 18 December 2008 19:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, of al-Bagdhadia television arrested after hurling his shoes at George W Bush at a Baghdad press conference during a surprise visit by the US president on 14 December 2008.

"We obviously regret that the journalist used this method of protest against the politics of the American president", the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "But for humanitarian reasons and to ease tension, we call for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi who has been held by the Iraqi authorities for two days."

"Given the controversy surrounding this incident, we urge the Iraqi security services to guarantee the physical wellbeing of this journalist, who was clearly injured during his arrest", it added.

"While we do not approve of this kind of behaviour as a means of expressing an opinion or convictions, the relaxed way in which George W Bush spoke about the incident afterwards, should give the Iraqi auth orities all the more reason to show leniency", the organisation concluded.


Monday, 15 December 2008 19:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

Reporters Without Borders condemns the Chinese government's censorship of the websites of certain foreign news media such as Voice of America and the BBC and certain Chinese media based outside mainland China, which have been rendered inaccessible inside China since the start of December.

"Freedom of information is widely violated in China," Reporters Without Borders said. "Right now, the authorities are gradually rolling back all the progress made in the run-up to this summer's Olympic games, when even foreign websites in Mandarin were made accessible. The pretence of liberalisation is now over. The blocking of access to the websites of foreign news media speaks volumes about the government's intolerance. We urge the authorities to unblock them again."

According to the online magazine China Digital Times, the Asiaweek ( and Mingpao ( websites have been inaccessible since 2 December. The Hong Kong ( and Taiwanese ( versions of the video-sharing website YouTube are also inaccessible.

Access to the BBC's website is also restricted. According to the BBC's technical service, web traffic has also suddenly fallen off.


Sunday, 02 November 2008 19:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Press

The Chauncey Bailey Project, a cooperative effort among San Francisco Bay Area journalists to investigate the August 2007 murder of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey, has revealed important new information about the case in a series of articles posted on the project's website,

After extensively reviewing documents with the help of legal and criminal experts, the independent investigation concluded that Derwin Longmire, lead detective in charge of the case, left out important information linking Yusuf Bey IV, the head of a local community bakery, to the murder. A police tracking device placed Bey outside Bailey's house a few hours before the murder, something Longmire omitted from his case report. The investigation also found that the relationship between Bey and Longmire, who have been friendly since 2005, was clearly a conflict of interest. Since Bailey had been investigating the bakery at the time of his murder, Bey should have been considered an important suspect. Instead, Longmire brought in Bey to help obtain a confession from DeVaughndre Broussard, a bakery employee.

Broussard confessed to carrying out the murder alone but subsequently retracted. Telephone records also show that Bey and Longmire have contacted each other many times since the murder. The Alameda County district attorney's office has begun its own investigation to determine if there was a conspiracy to murder Bailey.

Image Courtesy of Democrat and Chronicle


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