Global Report 18.03.05

USA

David Nitkin, whose reporting as The Baltimore Sun’s State House bureau chief made him the target of a ban by Governor Robert L.Ehrlich Jr , was named yesterday the paper’s state political editor. In announcing the promotion, Sun editor Timothy A.

Franklin
said it was not related to the governor’s order from last autumn that
bans state employees from speaking with Nitkin and columnist Michael
Olesker. Nitkin has said the order has made his job more difficult, as
regular sources no longer speak to him. BaltimoreSun.com

UKRAINE

Former
President Leonid D Kuchma was questioned in connection with the 2000
slaying of a journalist who wrote about top-level corruption in his
government. Prosecutors refused to release details about what Kuchma
told them but said he had been questioned as a witness. Kuchma has
denied accusations that he gave the order that led to journalist Georgi
Gongadze’s abduction.

The journalist’s decapitated body was found in a forest outside Kiev. LA Times

TURKEY

Reporters
Without Borders has again demanded the release of Austrian journalist
Sandra Bakutz, who has now been held in prison in Turkey for one month.

Bakutz,
a journalist for Austrian Radio Orange 94.0 and for the Germany weekly
Junge Welt, was arrested by police at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, in
February. She has been charged with belonging to an illegal
organisation. Her case is to go before a high court with the first date
fixed for 30 March. She faces between 10 and 15 years in prison.

Turkey’s
chief prosecutor, Mustafa Kelkit in Ankara, is proceeding against her
under the Turkish criminal code for allegedly belonging to the extreme
left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)n classed by
the United States and the European Union as a terrorist organisation.

No evidence of her membership of the organisation has been produced.

IRAQ

Reporters
Without Borders has called for the immediate release of Iraqi
journalist Majed Fadhil Zaboun. Zaboun, the editor of Al-Fourat’s
culture section, has been held by the US military since 18 February
when he was arrested on the Syrian border while returning from a
conference in Damascus with a delegation of Iraqi poets. An
independent, Arabic-language newspaper created in 2003, Al-Fourat
focuses on politics in Iraq and is distributed throughout the
country. 

United Press International.

INDIA

Petroleum
minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has expressed shock at the death of senior
economic journalist Pradeep Puri, 55, last week.

“The
contribution of Puri to economic journalism and to the oil sector in
particular will be long remembered. We shall certainly miss his pointed
views on oil sector development,” Aiyar said in his condolence message
to Puri’s family. Managing editor of Petrowatch, an energy news
service, Puri had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in January.

He
had held several important assignments in his 30-year career as
journalist, including The Times of India, Economic Times and as energy
editor of the Business Standard. Indo-Asian News Service.

INDIA

The
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is extremely concerned
for the safety of journalist JB Pun Magar, after his abduction by
Maoists in the Kapilbastu district, 200km southwest of Kathmandu.

Magar,
a staff reporter of the fortnightly magazine Himal Khabarpatrika, was
abducted while on assignment covering the conflict in the district. IFJ/IFEX

PERU

José
Antonio Simons Cappa, the editor of the magazine El Huinsho Yurimaguas,
in Alto Amazonas (in Peru’s northeastern Amazonian region), was
attacked by municipal employees who beat him and confiscated the
videotape from his camera. The attack took place when Simons tried to
film a public meeting given by Alto Amazonas provincial mayor Leonardo
Inga Vásquez, implicated in several judicial cases, including cases of
alleged corruption. Just when the meeting was about to address the
mayor’s judicial problems, the mayor noticed Simons’ presence and
tried to prevent him from filming. Simons fled, but two municipal
officials gave chase and caught him. They beat him and took his camera,
which was returned an hour later without the videotape. The mayor has
denied having anything to do with the beating and has accused Simons of
insulting him. Reporters Without Borders

CHINA

The
secret trial of a Chinese dissident journalist charged with illegally
revealing state secrets has ended with the court expected to hand down
a minimum jail sentence of 10 years, family members said. Shi Tao’s
trial lasted two hours and a verdict was expected to be announced this
week. Shi Tao, who has been charged with illegally divulging state
secrets abroad in January, worked for the Contemporary Trade News in
the provincial capital of Changsha in Hunan province. He was detained
after posting an official document relating to the 1989 Tiananmen
Square (pictured) student protests that resulted in the massacre of
hundreds, possibly thousands of protesters. AFP

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