IFJ Global Mapping of Press Freedom and Trade Union Rights’ Violations in Journalism in 2017

Bulgamaa  |   2017-05-03  |   Information / HIGHLIGHTS / OVERVIEW


• Detention and Imprisonment of Journalists: This section covers arbitrary, unwarranted or politically-motivated arrest, detention and imprisonment of journalists and other media actors in your country.
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists: This category covers harassment of journalists and other media institutions or actors; violence or interference causing damage or destruction of a journalist’s equipment or other property; punitive and vindictive exercise of investigatory tax or administrative powers; arbitrary denial of access for journalistic coverage; threats to journalists’ privacy, threats to employment status, psychological abuse, bullying, online harassment and cyber-bullying; judicial intimidation: opportunistic, arbitrary or vexatious use of legislation, including defamation, anti-terrorism, national security, hooliganism or anti-extremism law, issuing bogus and fabricated charges; political intimidation, including hate speech and use by public figures of abusive, demeaning language against journalists or media outlets; other forms of intimidation and harassment.
• Impunity: This section covers failures to promptly, independently and effectively investigate and seek to prosecute crimes and offences against journalists and other media institutions or actors in your country.
• Acts Having Chilling Effect on Press Freedom: This category covers acts having chilling effects on media freedom, including restrictive legislation encroaching on media freedom; censorship, interference with editorial freedom; threats to the confidentiality of journalists’ sources; unjustified or indiscriminate blocking of websites or social media platforms, hacking and surveillance or interception of the communications data of journalists without due process of authorisation etc.
• Restrictions on Trade Unionists’ Rights and Freedoms This category convers acts and decisions by authorities or employers which seek to impede, deny or undermine in any way the rights and freedoms of trade unionists at the workplace.
• Any additional information you would like to provide pertaining to other issues affecting press freedom and trade unionism such as media concentration, freedom of association and collective bargaining in your country Note: The description of these categories follows the model the IFJ, its European group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and other partners agreed with the Council of Europe on its Online Platform for the promotion of journalism and the safety of journalists. L'Association Générale des Journalistes Professionnels de Belgique (AGJPB - VVJ)
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists: The union reported isolated incidents in which police prevented photojournalists and cameramen from filming at public events. The union protested officially these limitations on the working rights of journalists. • Acts Having Chilling Effect on Press Freedom: According to AGJB-VVJ, there were attempts to compel two journalists working for the Flemish public TV (VRT) and the daily Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper to violate the confidentiality of their sources. One of the journalists had his telephone seized by the authorities. Asociación Nacional de Periodistas del Perú (ANP)
• Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists: The union reported one killing of journalist Hernán Choquepata Ordónez on 20 November 2016. The victim had been critical of the government prior to his killing. The ANP condemned the murder, provided assistance to the family and wrote to the Interior Ministry urging the authorities to investigate the killing and bring the journalist’s killers to justice. 38 cases of assaults on journalists were recorded in 2016 and the union denounced them all, waged a campaign to highlight these acts of violence and called on the authorities to investigate them and punish perpetrators. They are also recorded in a major publication which is published every three months. Furthermore, 21 incidents involving threats were reported in the country. Beside public condemnations, the unions urged personal protection measures for the victims of these threats, especially in rural provinces. For cases of extreme gravity, the union facilitated the relocation of the victim to a secure accommodation run by an organisation dedicated to assist the profession in Lima. • Detention and Imprisonment of Journalists: The journalist Ronald Ormeño Gonzales, who had received a one-year suspended sentence and was fined 2.600 euros in a defamation case, was detained 14 days after he had failed to pay the fine.
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists: 39 cases of harassment and intimidation were reported to the union from 31 provinces of Peru. Incidents of intimidation consisted of both legal and administrative pressure on journalists, with a view to impeding their work. The union also said that women journalists are facing a new form of cyber harassment, with many being targeted even in their private lives on social networks.
• Impunity: The union said that there has been no action to investigate and punish those who killed Hernán Choquepata Ordóñez and those who threatened, harassed and attacked other journalists. In other news concerning press freedom, the union reported on the challenge of media concentration in the country. According to ANP, a group of journalists petitioned the Constitutional Court in Peru, denouncing the monopoly of El Comercio group which now controls 78% of the market since its acquisition of Epensa group in 2013. The applicants demanded to transaction’s cancellation but they are still awaiting the court’s judgment. In the meantime, journalists experience the effects of the monopoly every day. The ANP says that a journalist who leaves the media outlets controlled by the group has only 22% chances to be employed in the print media. Furthermore, the ANP pointed out that litigation is being used as a form of censorship. It creates a climate of fear because of the risk of being jailed as a result of informing the public. So, efforts are being made to ensure achieve depenalization of press offences. However, the ANP has also good news to report on positive signs concerning collective bargaining. The union says that there are on-going negotiations at El Peruano and Canal 7 for collective bargaining agreements which would cover both journalists and other media workers in the sector. Association des journalistes du Burkina Faso (AJB) • Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists: According to the AJB, journalist Ali Compaoré who works for the public television received threats on 9 January 2016. Another journalist, William Somda, of a private television BF1 was attacked by security forces of 9 June 2016. The union condemned both incidents recorded and their action led to the dismissal of the official of a games company who had urged the security forces to attack Mr Somda.
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists: The union reported an incident in which security forces stormed the studios of the public television service, Télévision nationale du Burkina (TNB) and stopped the live special programme on the terrorist attacks in the capital, Ougadougou on 15 January 2016. furthermore, journalists Paul Miki Rouamba of private radio Ouaga FM and Boukary Ouédraogo of Notre Temps were held in the capital as they were reporting on the massive slaughter of donkeys by a Chinese company. The union, jointly with Syndicat autonome des travailleurs de l’information et de la culture (SYNATIC), protested the heavy handed action of security forces. The union also met with the two journalists and sent a protest letter to the Chinese company which was allegedly behind the unlawful detention of the two journalists. Confederation of Mongolian Journalists (CMJ) The union denounced the failure by the government to consult all media stakeholders, in particular journalists’ organisations, on press laws including the recent broadcast bill. The CMJ says that legislation on media should benefit from the wealth of knowledge and expertise on the media industry which journalists’ representatives can provide during the drafting process. The draft law has also been criticised by independent experts for failing to make the regulator an independent body. The law also does not include community broadcasting. Trade Union of Croatian Journalists
• Restrictions on Trade Unionists’ Rights and Freedoms The union reported four cases of dismissals of unions’ leaders in the last eight years in reprisals for their trade union activities. Others forms of restrictions include reductions of salaries, denial of career opportunities, banning trade unions’ activities and refusal to negotiate collective agreement. Free Media Movement ( Sri Lanka) 1) Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalist The union recorded three cases of attacks on journalists during 2016. Freddie Gamage, editor of Meepura newspaper was attacked on 2 June by unidentified assailants. On 12 July, Daya Neththisinghe, editor of Sathhanda newspaper was also the victim of another attack by supporters of a former minister while a businessman with political connections attacked another journalist, Mohammed Geeth of Hiru TV. His colleague Roshan Kumara and Granvil Ratnayake of Sirasa TV were also assaulted by members of the security forces on 15 December. These incidents were reported to the police and the union petitioned the Human Rights Commission in the case of Roshan Kumara and Granvil Ratnayake. There were also threats against three other journalists, Amith Maduranga of Ada Newspaper on 2 March, Subramaniam Gunaratnam , a reporter for the national television on 16 March and Hiru TV Ranjith Karunaweera on 27 Septgember. All three incidents were blamed on the security forces in Sri Lanka. 2) Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists The union says that journalists in Matara, southern Province, were prevented from reporting on the court hearing against Basil Rajapakse on 12 May 2016. The case was reported to the Inspector General of Police who pledged to investigate. Another incident occurred in the capital, Colombo, on 27 September when security forces banned journalists covering the exhumation of the body of murdered senior journalist and 2009 UNESCO Press Freedom Award winner Lasantha Wickramathunga. The authorities claimed they were complying with the family’s request. On 18 November, the country’s media secretary alleged that Derana News had falsified the President’s speech and demanded an explanation from the news outlet. DİSK Basın-İş ( Turkey)
• Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalist The union reported four killings of journalists in 2016. Two of them, Rohat Aktaş and Ömer Baran were killed by security forces on 8 February 2016. The authorities later accused them of criminal activities. The other journalist, Gülşen Yıldız, was killed in a suicide attack blamed on the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks movement on 18 February 2016. The fourth journalist, Mustafa Cambaz, was killed on 17 July during clashes which followed the failed attempted coup. The union also says that there were too many cases of threats against journalists in Turkey and they are still continuing up to now.
• Detention and Imprisonment of Journalists: According to the union, at least 79 journalists were arrested last year in Turkey, although the exact number cannot be known due to the current chaotic situation in the country. • Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists According to the union, intimidation is a widespread, daily occurrence that is perpetrated by the governing party, its followers and the security apparatus. Intimidation and harassment can take the form of warnings from ministers to journalists "to watch their steps,” as well as internet lynch campaigns by pro-government trolls. It also includes threats and the like by security services, particularly against journalists operating in largely Kurdish areas. The judiciary frequently uses anti-terrorism or libel laws as a catch-all against journalists. • Impunity: The union says that, in cases in which pro-government journalists attack opposition journalists in the media, prosecutors often refuse to act on criminal complaints. • Acts Having Chilling Effect on Press Freedom: According to the union, there were mass firings of journalists and the closure of more than 20 media outlets using the state of emergency legislation introduced in 2016. This has forced many journalists who try to retain their jobs into practicing self-censorship. Opposition websites, meanwhile, are regularly banned: Until it was closed in October 2016, the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) website was blocked close to 50 times in 15 months. The Sendika.Org website has also been blocked 17 times in the past 20 months. UNIONE SAMMARINESE GIORNALISTI E FOTOREPORTERS – USGI
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists The union reported the lawsuit in defamation in which huge amounts of damages were requested against three journalists ANTONIO FABBRI , CARLO FILIPPINI and MARINO CECCHETTI .The USGI stood up for the journalists and petitioned the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commission.
• Acts Having Chilling Effect on Press Freedom: The USGI cited the effects of the legislation which was enacted in 2014 which confers wide ranging powers, including the power to impose fines on media, to primarily a politically appointed body. National Union of Journalists (Malaysia) • Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalist The union says that on 3 November 2016, the Red Shirt Anti Bersih UMNO movement led by Youth Leader Jamal Yunos threatened to tear down the Malaysiakini news organisation’s building. The union mobilised to protest, which led to the detention of the movement’s leader.
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists The union recorded two cases, including the incident in which journalists Akil Yunus and Michelle Tam who were manhandled by security forces and had their equipment confiscated on 15 October 2016. The union reported the incident to the police. On 19 November, newspapers’ journalists from covering a public event organised by governing part UMNO – State Division of Pahang. Japan Federation of newspaper workers’ Unions (Shimbunroren)
• Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalist The union reported one case of a Toyama city council member who attacked a female journalist, pushing her and taking away by force her recording material, thereby preventing her from working on 9 June 2016. The union, through its branch in Hokushinetsu region, issued a protest statement the following day on 10 June.
• Detention and Imprisonment of Journalists: According to the Federation, two journalists working for Ryukyu Shimpo and the Okinawa Times newspapers were briefly held by the riot police on 20 August 2016 while they were reporting on protests against the construction of helicopter landing pads ( helipads) in the US military’s northern training area. Reporter Ayako Sakaguchi of RYUKYU SHIMPO was twice grabbed by both arms by the riot police while filming the protesters being removed and was then pushed from behind for a distance of roughly 40 meters. As a result of the police action, the journalists could not film the protesters being removed from the area. The Federation and both newspapers issued protest statements. The authorities claimed that it was not they were any members of the media among people held, despite the fact the Ryukyu reporter had the press badge. National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine • Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalist The two unions reported one killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet on 20 July 2016 in a car explosion, which is being investigated. There were also a total of 38 incidents of attacks on at least 44 journalists and other media workers while 32 cases of threats were recorded and 7 abductions concerning 14 journalists.
• Detention and Imprisonment of Journalist: According to the unions, one journalist Roman Sushchenko was arrested on spying accusations on 30 September 2016 and remains in custody. Seven more journalists were briefly held.
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists The unions say that there were 31 cases of attacks which caused damage to media property, 89 incidents where journalists were denied access or banned from place for reporting purpose, nine cases of cyberbullying, ten cases of hacking attacks. There were other 34 cases where journalists were affected by the limitations which were introduced by the reforms in the municipal media law.
• Impunity: According to both unions, four cases of obstructions and attacks concerning between 4 – 6 journalists were resolved but 44 cases of violations of up to 56 journalists remain unresolved.
• Acts Having Chilling Effect on Press Freedom: The two unions reported multiple cases in malicious interference in journalists’ work, including up to ten incidents of blocking of websites.
• Restrictions on Trade Unionists’ Rights and Freedoms: According to the unions, there was one case at the Vilʹnym shlyakhom newspaper where union’s leaders were denied the right to collective bargaining and the union leader was fired. The unions reacted by announcing a strike on 30 August 2016 to protest the dismissal. The journalist was later reinstated by a court ruling. There were other violations of ILO Convention at the National Newspaper and Magazine Publishing House which again led to the collective labour dispute. Furthermore, in May 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution, which increased salaries to journalists but the National Newspaper and Magazine Publisher (NNMP) failed to implement it and raise the wages of its employees. In October 2016, NNMP’s workers petitioned the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. Representatives of labor collective and representatives of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine established conciliation commission on solving the issue of collective labour dispute. For the first time in the history of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, the collective bargaining process started on 30 December 2016. National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
• Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalist The union reported four killings of journalists in 2016. They were Elvis Ordaniza killed on 16 February 2016, Alex Balcoba killed on 27 May 2016, Larry Que who lost his life on 20 December and Jun Briones killed on 13 March 2016. There were also three cases of attacks concerning Satumino Jan Estanio who was attacked on 30 June 2016 and Virgilio Maganes in November. Another journalist, Lourdes Escaros was threatened on 7 November 2016. Furthermore, journalist Jaja Necosia of Kilab Multimedia was assaulted by the police during a protest at US Embassy. There was a public threat issued by President Duherte on 31 May when reporters asked him how he intended to address the media killings in the Philippines: "Just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch.” • Detention and Imprisonment of Journalist: According to the union, there are five cases of detention and imprisonment of journalists. Dante Encarnacion Tabosares who manages Radyo Bomba 99.5 was sued for libel by the Mayor of Makilala town, Rudy Caoagdan. Reporter Olan Bola of dzBB was also arrested and charged with obstruction of justice on 20 October 2016 and female journalist Nancy Carvajal was arrested on 7 October for libel from Vice President Jejomar Binaya who said on the same day two other journalists Jose Ma.Nolasco and Nilo Paurom. Another journalist Wences Balinguit of Southern Tagalog Exposure was arrested on 20 October by Manila Police District during the protest at the US embassy.
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists: The union cited a case where photographs of four members of the Foreign Correspondent Association were maliciously posted on the internet in December by supporters of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, wishing to cause harm to these reporters. It also listed other cases of harassment, including the incident where Reuben James Rosalado (TV reporter) and cameraman Jovy Alcoran were harassed by brothers Roseller and Reiner Kue on 22 September 2016. Their colleague Rena Manunag-Dago-on (Reporter of IBC TV 13) was harassed by agents of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency while Queenie Casimiro (News Chief of ABS-CBN Zamboanga) and cameraman Sonny Dagohoy were barred by state security forces from covering the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Basilan on 21 July 2016. In other incidents, the union says that producer and commentator Kit Lagare of International Online TV), Malou Cabahug (DWAD) and Pol Baral (DZXL) were swarmed by supporters of a candidate during election campaign on 7 May 2016. Sindicato Nacional de Redactores de la Prensa (SNRP), Mexico
• Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalist The union reported 11 cases of journalists’ killings recorded during 2016 in Mexico. These cases remain unresolved. Union of Cyprus Journalists
• Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists The union reported three cases during 2016. In the first case involving journalist online reporter Dina Cleanthous, the Chief of Police threatened to sue the journalists unless she erases accusations against Police and himself about a murder case. UCJ issued a press release against the threats by the Chief of Police. The journalist did not erase anything and the Chief of Police did not follow up on his threats. However, on 19 September, unidentified individuals set fire on Dina Cleanthous’ car and police investigated but no arrest was made. On 24 December 2016 CyBC correspondent Anna Andreou in Istanbul was accused in a newspaper article by European Member of Parliament Mavrides of being "the mouthpiece of the Turkish Government.” The union condemned the MEP’s remarks and the SyBC issued a statement defending the journalist. The Cyprus Press Council also reviewed the case and denounced both Mr. Mavrides and against the newspaper which published the article.