Global Report 21.01.05

USA

Famed prison journalist Wilbert Rideau has walked free despite
testifying at his fourth trial that he did kill a bank teller in 1961.
It was the first time Rideau had given evidence – after 44 years in
jail. Jurors in his first three trials agreed Rideau should be put to
death but the death penalty was outlawed and the sentence was commuted
to life. He was released after persuading the court he was only guilty
of manslaughter, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Rideau, now 62, was Angola State penitentiary’s most famous
prisoner, having turned the prison newspaper into a periscope on prison
life. He went on to win some of the most prestigious journalism awards
in America.

RUSSIA

A correspondent for the US-funded Radio Liberty says she was beaten
by unknown assailants and believes the attack was related to her work,
reports The Moscow Times .

Yelena Rogachyova said she was beaten in the city of Yoshkar-Ola.
Her attackers threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the
attack. However, she did not report the attack to police as she did not
get a good look at her assailants.

KURDISTAN

An independent journalist/blogger sponsored by his readers? That’s
Chris Allbritton, who returned to New York from Iraqi Kurdistan, raised
$315,000, then headed back to cover the war, detailing his experiences
on his blog, Back-to-Iraq 3.0. With 25,000 readers a day checking out
his dispatches, Allbritton secured a plum assignment as Time’s Baghdad
correspondent, which meant he had to change his approach to blogging,
reports Wired.

“I’m very careful not to scoop Time and I have become much more
miserly in parcelling out my opinions.” Another journalist/blogger
serves two competing masters. Om Malik, a senior writer at Business
2.0, also operates a blog with 350,000 visitors per month.

POLAND

Forbes has launched an edition of the business magazine in Poland.
Forbes Polska , to be published in conjunction with Axel Springer
Polska, is the ninth foreign language edition in countries including
Russia, Brazil and China. Editor-inchief Steve Forbes, speaking at the
launch in Warsaw, said: “We hope Forbes will play a leading role in
describing and analysing the economic changes taking place in Poland.

COLOMBIA

Reporters Sans Frontieres urged the authorities to stage a proper
investigation into the murder of journalist Julio Palacios Sanchez of
Radio Lemas in the town of Cucuta. Local journalists believed he was
killed because of his work and believe that they require protection.
Although 2004 was less deadly for the press than previous years – with
only one journalist and one media assistant killed – the organisation
believes it is still one of the most dangerous in Latin America for the
news media. Palacious was shot three times in the chest by two men. He
managed to drive himself home, but later died in hospital.

CUBA

Fears are growing over the over the health of imprisoned journalist
Normando Hernandez Gonzalez, who is believed to have contracted
tuberculosis. Reporters Sans Frontieres , in calling on the Cuban
government to ensure he has all necessary treatment, also called on the
European Union to pressure the government to obtain the release of all
journalists imprisoned in Cuba. Although seven journalists were freed
last year, the press freedom situation in the country continues to be
“catastrophic”, RSF said. With 22 still detained, it is the world’s
second biggest prison for the press after China (26 held). Dissident
Hernandez was sentenced last year to 25 years.

TURKEY

Turkey has been criticised by the European Court of Human Rights
over its treatment of a journalist who reviewed books dealing with the
sensitive Kurdish south-east of the country. One of the books reviewed
by Attila Halis last January was written by convicted Kurdish rebel
leader Abdullah Ocalan, for many years Turkey’s most wanted man.

Halis was given a one-year jail sentence in 1995 for disseminating
propaganda. After losing an appeal Halis went on the run, but the
police caught up with him in March 2002, when his sentence was
suspended.

EU Business reported that the European Court had
declared Ankara had violated the European Convention on Human Rights in
two areas: the right to freedom of expression and the right to a free
and fair trial.

UAEGlobal reportGGgggg

A leading Saudi journalist has called for concerted efforts to
create a unique media to discuss issues of importance to the Arab
world. Dawood Al Sharyan, a presenter on Dubai TV, told the Khaleej
Times that press freedom was on the decline worldwide.

“Under the slogans of nationalism, democracy, national unity and
fighting against American projects and policies, freedoms of all kinds
have deteriorated dramatically,” he said while attending a conference
on Arab Media in the Information age.

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