Media Tracker lists the challenges and achievements of the journalists and media organisations worldwide. Here’s a list of journalism at risk stories in the recent month. We would like to thank international media protection organisation and news outlets for their content.
- In the recent week, Authorities of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain blocked popular Qatari-funded news websites including those of regional broadcaster Al-Jazeera and various newspapers, dubbing them as attempts to incite sedition, in violation of agreements between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The censorship immediately followed alleged remarks by Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in which he allegedly criticised U.S. foreign policy and president Trump, while expressing support for Hezbollah and Hamas and, arguing for improved relations with Iran and Israel. However, soon after, a series of tweets from the government spokesman denounced the controversial remarks saying that the news agency had been hacked and the alleged remarks were “not true and totally baseless.” (CPJ)
- Based in Turkey for the past five years a French photographer, Mathias Depardon, was arrested on 8 May while reporting in the southeast of the country for National Geographic Despite an order for his deportation (issued on 11 May), he is still being held at a detention and is now on a hunger strike. Turkey is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index (RSF)
- In the recent week three separate incidents saw police brutality against media workers in Kolkata, India. In one incident, at least 50 media workers were attacked and beaten by law enforcement agencies officers as they covered a political protest march in Kolkata, West Bengal. The attack resulted in at least a dozen journalists and media workers seriously injured. In a separate incident, journalists were gathering in Kolkata to protest against the attacks last week in the same area, when they were charged at by police and attacked. The police however apologized for the incidents and promised to investigate the responsible. A week prior to these two attacks, photojournalists were reportedly attacked by a police driver as they covered a fire in a building in the same city. (IFEX)
- Sozcu, a Turkish opposition paper published a blank “May 19 Press Freedom Special Edition,” protesting the detentions of nine of its staff members. The Saturday, edition published bare columns with writers’ names, leaving the weather segment blank as well. This was done in response to Friday’s detentions of Mediha Olgun, the editor of Sozcu’s website, and reporter Gokmen Ulu. Detention warrants were also issued for owner Burak Akbay and head of finance Yonca Kaleli. Authorities accused the journalists and staffers to have committed crimes on behalf of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen: an alleged mastermind of the last summer’s failed coup attempt. Sozcu is an avid supporter of the secular legacy Kemal Ataturk and a staunch critic of Turkey’s present government and leader. (The Star)