Global Report 04.03.05

AMERICA

A convicted felon who is accused of killing a San Diego newspaper
publisher 18 years ago has pleaded not guilty to the killing. Stanley
Clayton appeared in San Diego Superior Court to answer to charges for
the 1987 slaying of William Thompson. Clayton was arrested last week
after investigators matched his DNA to blood samples found at the crime
scene.Thompson was publisher of the African-American newspaper The
Voice and Viewpoint when he was found dead in his home.

He had been stabbed 55 times. NBC

SERBIA

(RSF/IFEX) RSF has condemned a one-year suspended prison sentence
for libel handed down to former Podrinski Telegraf editor Milan
Milinkovic. The organisation noted that both the United Nations and the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe oppose the
application of prison sentences for press offences. The one-year
suspended sentence was handed down by Nebojsa Jovanovic, the owner of
Medikom, a company that distributes Kodak products in Serbia. The
action stems from an article about Medikom’s links with former
president Slobodan Milosevic (pictured) and his wife, Mirjana Markovic.
The judge ruled that the word “relationship” was inappropriate in the
context of the article.

SLOVAK REPUBLIC

(RSF/IFEX) RSF called on US President George W. Bush to raise
the issue of press freedom at his meeting with Russian President
Vladimir Putin in Bratislava. The organisation expressed concern, in
particular, over “the Russian government’s growing control of the news
media and the increasing use of violence and harassment against
journalists.” In a letter to President Bush, the Paris-based
organisation said: “No fewer than 17 journalists were physically
attacked and three were threatened because of their work in 2004 alone.
Violence against journalists constitutes the biggest threat to press
freedom in Russia.”

IRAN

A journalist has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for criticising
Iran’s clerical rulers and working with a U.S.-funded radio station,
his lawyer has said. 

Charges against Arash Sigarchi include provoking people to riot
through his writings, co-operating with hostile governments and
counter-revolutionary groups and insulting the authorities, lawyer
Mohammad Saifzadeh said.He said Sigarchi was found guilty by a
revolutionary court and sentenced to 14 years in jail.Toronto Globe and Mail

PERU

IPYS/IFEX The Madre de Dios superior tribunal, in southeastern Peru,
rejected an appeal filed by journalist Luis Aguirre Pastor’s defence
and upheld a sentence that bans the journalist from practicing his
profession for one year. Aguirre, director and host of the radio news
programme, La Voz de Madre de Dios , was indicted for defamation in
2003. 

The ruling banning Aguirre from working as a journalist is based on
the fact that he has no university degree and is not a member of a
journalists’ association.

TUNISIA

Reporters sans Frontières: Journalist Abdallah Zouari, of the banned
Islamist weekly Al-Fajr , now in his 33rd day of a hunger strike in
protest over an internal banishment order, was dismissed from hospital
late last week by the same cardiologist who had ordered his admission
hours before. Zouari, who needs daily medical monitoring because of his
hunger strike, was rushed to a hospital in the southern city of Zarzis
near Tunis after suddenly feeling ill. He underwent some tests and was
admitted by the cardiologist on duty but subsequently discharged.

INDIA

Two police officers were jailed for three years on charges of
causing the disappearance of Aj Di Awaz journalist Sukhpal Singh Palli
in 1994. Palli had disappeared after he was taken from the residence of
his in-laws at Chular village in Moonak. 

Asi Massa Singh and Havaldar Baljit Singh had been held responsible
for taking him away from the village. According to the prosecution
Palli, who was reporting for the Punjabi daily from Moonak, had been
picked up from his home at Sekhuwas village 15 days before he
eventually disappeared. The prosecution had said that the journalist
was later picked up from his in-laws’ residence by officials belonging
to the Sunam CIA staff after which nothing was heard about him ever
again.

THAILAND

The Tourism Authority of Thailand will lead around 1,000 tourism
operators and journalists from 40 nations to Phuket and Krabi next
month in a bid to boost tourism in the wake of the December tsunami,
the authority’s deputy governor has revealed Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn
said that invitees would descend on Thailand on 3 March for the
five-day visit. 

The ‘mega fam trip’, as it had been dubbed, will see the
1,000-strong crowd taken to visit some of the region’s most important
tourism destinations in order to demonstrate the speed of the
post-tsunami restoration work.

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