The kidnappers of Jacques Roche, the editor of daily newspaper Le
Matin’s arts and culture section, have threatened to kill him if a
$250,000 ransom is not paid. Roche was abducted on 10 July in Portau-
Prince while driving his car. Armed gangs have been blamed for a rise
in violence in Haiti since last September which has seen 700 people,
including 40 policemen, killed. Reporters Without Borders


Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink faces three years in jail for
“insulting Turkish identity”. Dink, who runs the Turkish-Armenian
bilingual weekly Agos, published an article in February which discussed
the Turkish genocide against Armenians in 1915 – a government
taboo. Reporters Without Borders


Sudanese newspapers proclaimed a new era of freedom of expression
after being promised press restrictions would end now that a state of
emergency has been lifted. The signing of a new constitution paved the
way for President Omar el-Bashir to end the restrictive laws in place
since he took power in a 1989 coup. But some journalists –
long-accustomed to officials vetting stories and closing newspapers –
remained wary. Sudanese columnist Zuheir Mohamed Ali Abdel-Meguid said:
“It’s a new era but anything can happen. I think they will enter a
period of hibernation but come back.” Associated Press


Freelance journalist Razhabboi Raupov is in a critical condition after a brutal assault by two assailants.

Raupov was beaten with an iron bar near his home. The attack is the
fifth this year. Meanwhile, the Uzbek government has threatened two
members of the Internews Network with six months in prison for filming
without required permits. The justice ministry has ordered the
organisation to stop its media development work in the
country. Reporters Without Borders


Hundreds of Malian journalists and supporters have marched through
the streets of Bamako to demand the truth about the abduction and
beating of local radio personality Hamidou Diarra. Marchers protested
against the “barbaric” treatment of their colleague, who was kidnapped
on 5 July near the Kélédou radio station and released several hours
later after being badly beaten. “We strongly denounce this new method
of muzzling the media,” a statement handed to the communications
ministry said. Mail & Guardian Online


Five Iranian parliamentarians have said they will visit jailed
journalist Akbar Ganji who has been on a hunger strike for more than 30
days. Ganji has reportedly lost 17kg during his protest, raising
concerns for his health. Lawmaker Saeed Abutaleb said if anything
happens to Ganji “we will all be sorry”. US President George Bush has
called on Iranian authorities to release Ganji, who was sentenced to
six years in jail in 2001 for writing articles linking government
officials to the 1998 murder of political dissidents. Radio Free Europe


China will spend $36m on building the first journalist martyrs’ cemetery.

The park, to be built in the North West Shanxi province, will open
to the public next month and will honour the 50 journalists killed by
Japanese troops during the invasion of 1942. CRI Online

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