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.
- Maria Ressa, founder of news website Rappler, was arrested recently in Manila by the Philippine authorities for cyber libel. She was charged with five tax cases and violation of the nationality law, anti-dummy law. Rappler became the sole focus of the government and its journalists are banned from attending any public event. Moreover the news site has been falsely accused by Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, for trying to destabilise the government with aid from foreign agencies.
- Rizwan Razi, a Lahore based journalist, was forcibly taken from his residence on February 9th morning by plainclothes people, according to his son. Later it was disclosed that his arrest was made by the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency, FIA.A police report was lodged against the senior journalist and anchor of a famous Dada Pota show from news channel Din; charging him under U/S 11, 20 of the PECA-2016, 123-A, 500 PPC. Charges were made for sharing defamatory and hateful posts on his twitter account against the government, judiciary and the intelligence services of Pakistan. Senior journalists and Pakistan Union of Journalists, PUJ and the Lahore Press Club protested the arrest. Rizwan was released on bail the next day.
- Thailand’s popular Voice TV has again been the target of the National Broadcasting and Communication Commission Thailand (NBTC). On February 12th, the NBTC, using the order No. 97/2014 published by the military junta, ordered a shut down of Voice TV transmissions for two weeks.Khaosod English reports that the NBTC accused Voice TV news as they, “run the risk of causing confusion and inciting conflict or division in the kingdom.” The regulator had sanctioned the outlet 18 times since the military coup in 2014. The longest period of suspension in the past was for 26 days. In the wake of Thailand’s election Voice TV is the only digital broadcaster to be punished with a temporary shut down.
- Japanese government is now restricting the movements of its journalists abroad, especially in war-torn countries. Earlier this month Kosuke Tsuneoka’s, a freelance journalist and a specialist at Middle Eastern wars, was barred from boarding a plane, at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, and his travel documents were seized and revoked by the authorities. Kosuke was traveling to Yemen via Sudan to report on the dangers of famine. The authorities claimed that their actions were in accordance with the controversial regulation that allows the government to take such actions when a Japanese citizen intends to enter a country where they are banned.Earlier in January 14th, Kosuke was denied entry upon landing at an Omani airport enroute to Yemen.In 2015, Japanese foreign ministry has suspended Yuichi Sugimoto’s, freelance photographer, passport when he tried to travel to Syria after Freelance journalist Kenji Goto’s murder by Islamic State. Another Japanese journalist, Jumpei Yasuda, was released after being held hostage in Syria for three years in October 2018. In 2010, Kosuke was held hostage for five months in Afghanistan.
- A second journalist was murdered in Mexico February 9th. Jesus Ramos Rodriguez was a local radio presenter for the Radio Oye 99.9 FM and hosted a programme called Nuestra Region Hoy. He was shot while having breakfast with the mayor and other celebrities at Hotel Ramos in Emiliano Zapata, a southeastern town of the Tabasco state. The local and federal authorities linked his death with his work as a journalist.