Media Tracker | 1st December 2018

Media Tracker

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.

  • Alarm bells rang for the US journalists when the Trump Administration cancelled CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House Pass. There have been examples of journalists being barred from covering the White House press briefings but the reasons were largely to do with security clearance. Behavioral issues were never a cause for such an action.

And now, while Acosta’s card had been reinstated, what worries the free expression advocates are the new set of rules in placed by the Trump administration. Disregarding the rules may result in revocation of a reporters press pass. According to these rules, reporters are allowed to ask a “single question.” Follow-up questions would be permitted at the discretion of the White house official or the President himself. The rules also state that the reporter must “physically surrender” the microphone when told to do so.


  • International press freedom organisations have urged the representatives in Bulgarian Construction Industry to stop campaigning to defame the credibility of the investigative news website and its Romanian Rise project. The campaign aims at discrediting the news site and partner for receiving vague and opaque

Bivol and its partner had received funding via IJ4EU with the help of International Press Institute to investigate the EU funding going into Bulgaria. Consequently, Bivol and Rise published a set of exposes, under hashtag #GPGate, with details of massive corruption in Bulgaria. This prompted investigation by the Bulgarian authorities and European Union’s anti-fraud office, OLAF.


  • Abdel Hafez al-Houlani, as staff reporter at the Syrian pro-opposition news website Zaman al-Wasl, was recently detained upon his return from Syria, without charges in Arsal, the northeastern city of Lebanon.

According to the editor-in-chief of the website, al-Houlani was detained after the publication of his article about 20 pregnant Syrian women, in Lebanon, who miscarried after drinking polluted water that allegedly carried a deadly virus. Citing the Lebanese minister of state for refugee affairs, Mouin Merehbi, the article argued that the problems faced by Syrian refugees in Lebanon resulted from lack of collaboration between the ministry of the state for refugee affairs, security agency and the general security in the country.


  • Singapore’s news website The Online Citizen (TOC) just came under scrutiny by the state’s police recently as the editor, Terry Xu, was subjected to an 8-hour long interrogation recently. The police also confiscated electronic devices from the editor’s home and later his office.

The police officials had taken such steps after a blogger published a comment accusing the ruling party and its leadership of massive corruption and tampering with the constitution. The site was asked to take down the comment immediately and it complied, but two months later, this last month, the police officials seized the office equipment at the TOC.

The editor is concerned that this action can result in his arrest. However, following the generous support of its readers TOC was able to resume its publication on November 26. Carried on spurious grounds, these actions have all the hallmarks acts of intimidation.


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