Global Report 15.04.05

CANADA

A lawyer for aboriginal leader David Ahenakew – on trial for a hate
crime after a newspaper published his anti-semitic remarks – has said
the reporter who wrote the article should be charged with the same
offence.

Doug Christie told the court in Saskatoon that James Parker, a former reporter with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix,
knowingly disseminated hate by publicizing the comments. “Who
distributed the allegedly hateful words?” said Christie, who argues
that Ahenakew, 71, thought he was having a private conversation with
Parker when he praised Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. “If it had been
Dr Ahenakew, no one else would have heard them other than him and Mr
Parker.” Parker covered a conference on aboriginal health in December
2002, when Ahenakew, a former senator with the Federation of
Saskatchewan Indian Nations, made a speech in which he blamed Jews for
starting the Second World War. In an interview outside, recorded on
tape, he referred to Jews as “a disease” and said Hitler “made damn
sure” Jews didn’t take over Germany and Europe.

“That’s why he
fried six million of those guys.” The comments resulted in Ahenakew
being charged with the wilful promotion of hatred against an
identifiable group. If found guilty, he could face up to six months in
jail. CBC News

TURKEY

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has successfully sued a
journalist who criticised government attempts to criminalise adultery
by saying the premier had reduced politics to the “level of the
crotch”. The premier, who once was imprisoned for reciting a poem
deemed to be an attack on the state, is coming under intense criticism
for what journalists’ groups have called an increasing disregard for
press freedoms. An Istanbul court ruled in favour of Erdogan, saying
veteran journalist Fikret Otyam had “violated personal rights”, and ordered the 80-year-old to pay compensation for the article in left-wing weekly Aydinlik.
Otyam had said efforts to make adultery a crime had reduced “the EU
issue to the level of the crotch of men and women”. The government
backed away from the adultery legislation under European Union pressure
in October. “I would not dream of insulting the prime minister. I just
supported him in a humorous way,” Otyam said. The Sunday Business Post 

IRAN

Iran’s hardline judiciary has barred the head of a journalists’
association from travelling to an international conference in the
Netherlands. Rajab-Ali Mazroui, who is also a reformist former MP, was
due to take part in a meeting of the International Federation of
Journalists when his passport was confiscated. In a letter to judiciary
chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (pictured), Mazroui protested
that he had received no explanation from the judiciary. An outspoken
champion of press freedom, Mazroui was prevented from defending his
seat in parliamentary elections last year after being blacklisted by
the conservative-controlled Guardians Council, which vets candidates
for public office. AFP

NEW ZEALAND

News organisations want a freer hand to report on suicide and
largely ignore existing health ministry suggestions, a
government-financed study has found.

The ministry recommends avoiding the word “suicide” in
headlines, not running photographs of funerals and never reporting the
method of a suicide, as this “may lead to imitation”. The Canterbury
University study says it should instead develop suicide reporting
protocols with the media. New Zealand Herald

UNITED STATES

A Rhode Island TV reporter convicted of criminal contempt for
refusing to reveal a source has been granted early release from his
sentence. Jim Taricani of
WJAR-TV in Providence, was serving a sentence of six months of home
confinement, but served only four. During this time he was banned from
working or using the internet. Taricani was convicted of violating a
court order to disclose the identity of the person who gave him an FBI
videotape in 2000, when it was evidence in an investigation of
government corruption in Providence. The tape, which was broadcast in
early 2001, showed an aide to Mayor Vincent Cianci taking a $1,000
bribe. At the time, lawyers, investigators and others involved in the
corruption investigation were under a court order not to release any
surveillance tapes. Taricani refused to reveal his source, who he said
had demanded confidentiality. But a week after Taricani’s conviction,
the source identified himself. New York Times

BRAZIL

Reporters Without Borders has expressed outrage at a shooting in the
southern city of Itapema that left newspaper editor Maurício Melato
Barth seriously injured, and has suggested local authorities could have
been involved.

“We firmly condemn the violence and cowardliness of this attack,
which aimed to silence a journalist,” the organisation said. “It is
highly likely this ‘contract’ was carried out with the support, if not
at the behest, of local officials who had been criticized in the
victim’s articles, and we therefore call for a federal investigation to
find out who was involved.” The owner and editor of the local newspaper
Infobairros, Melato found two masked men waiting for him when he
returned home on the evening of 23 March. They fired three shots at him
at close range, hitting him twice and shattering both his
thighbones. Reporters Without Borders

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Reporters Without Borders
has called on President Joseph Kabila to protect its partner
organization in Kinshasa, Journalist in Danger (JED), following death
threats. An email to JED’s secretary-general, Tshivis Tshivuadi, and signed “Commander Mbonge Munene” (“Violent Wind”) warned: “The hour of repentance is nigh and you will pay with your blood” for
a “campaign of lies against the DRC”. It said members’ throats would be
cut for betraying the fatherland. Reporters Without Borders said: “This
is not the first time that our partner organization has been the target
of threats. The authorities should finally take the threats seriously
and should identify and punish those responsible. If anything
whatsoever happens to the JED’s leaders, especially its president,
Donat M’Baya Tshimanga, we will hold the authorities directly
responsible.” Reporters Without Borders

THE PHILIPPINES

A leading member of the armed forces has confirmed the existence of
a list naming media organisations and other groups as “influenced” by
the communists, in a presentation entitled “Knowing the Enemy”.

Inday Espina-Varona, who
chairs the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, said
statements by Brigadier General Jose Angel Honrado, Civil Relations
Service chief, betrayed a “fantastic ignorance of democracy”.

Philippines Sun Star

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