Murder in Playa del Carmen brings official count of journalist deaths to eight in Mexico
- Ruben Pat, security reporter and founder of Facebook-based Playa News, was shot and killed outside of a bar in the Quintana Roo resort town after having received threats for the last six months.
- Pat’s murder was the second involving Playa News staff, with another, Chan Dzib, having been shot less than a month earlier.
- The deaths come amidst a 132% increase in homicides in the state of Quintana Roo in the first six months of 2018 vs. 2017.
“Two Mexican journalists killed in separate attacks” (Al Jazeera | July 2018)
“Journalist shot dead in Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen” (Reuters | July 2018)
“Another Mexican Journalist Murdered As Violence Escalates” (teleSUR | July 2018)
Reporters arrested in Myanmar following Rohingya coverage
- Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested on the outskirts of Yangon after working on stories related to the military crackdown on the Rohingya community in Rakhine state.
- The Ministry of Information said the reporters faced charges of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act for having “illegally acquired information” for dissemination to foreign media.
- The event has prompted international condemnation, including by the United Nations, foreign governments, international journalism organizations, and press freedom advocates.
“Factbox: International reaction to arrest of Reuters reporters in Myanmar” (Reuters | December 2017)
“Analysis: Government Turning Back the Clock on Press Freedom” (The Irrawaddy | December 2017)
“UN chief calls on Myanmar to release Reuters journalists” (CNN | December 2017)
Danish journalists wounded in knife attack in Gabon capital
- Two Danish reporters for National Geographic were wounded after a Nigerien national living in Gabon attacked them with a knife in Libreville.
- The attacker told police the assault was in retribution for the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, although it was unclear if the Danes were mistaken for Americans.
- The attack was reportedly the first of its kind in Gabon, a Christian-majority country with peaceful interfaith relations.
“2 Danish journalists violently attacked in Gabon” (The Associated Press | December 2017)
“Two Danish journalists wounded in Islamist knife attack in Gabon” (Reuters | December 2017)
“Two Danish journalists wounded in Gabon knife attack” (AFP, via France 24 | December 2017)
Travel bans trap Egyptian activists in “giant prison”
- Two prominent human rights advocates—Aida Seif al-Dawla and Azza Soliman—recently discovered they were barred from traveling in and out of Egypt as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi continues targeting civil society and human rights organizations.
- Human rights monitors report that 217 people have been subject to travel bans between 2014 and 2016, 115 of whom are critics of the Sisi-led government.
- Activists and journalists reported being met with deferral or radio silence when inquiring about the cause or origin of their bans, with the government denying a crackdown.
“Egypt is giant prison, activists banned from travel say” (Reuters)
“Egypt imposes travel bans on human rights activists” (The Financial Times)
“A Top Egyptian Human Rights Activist Banned From Travel” (AP via The New York Times)
Bhutanese journalist faces charges of defamation following social media share
- Namgay Zam, an independent journalist, has been accused of defaming a prominent Bhutanese businessman after sharing a critical post on Facebook.
- The post targeted a property dispute involving the businessman, and the author, Dr. Shacha Wangmo, was charged with libel and petty misdemeanor.
- If convicted, Zam faces a fine of up to 2.59 million Bhutanese ngultrum—around $38,500, or 10 times the average salary of a journalist—or up to three years in prison.
“Bhutan journalist hit by defamation suit for sharing Facebook post” (The Guardian)
“Lawsuit Over Facebook Post Raises Fears of Online Censorship in Bhutan” (Global Voices Advox)
“In Bhutan, a Facebook Post Leads to Defamation Charges” (The Diplomat)
(Image Credit: via The Guardian)
Turkey halts activities of 370 NGOs as “purge” continues
- Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned the activities of hundreds of organizations, including human rights and children’s organizations, arrested opposition lawmakers, and shuttered more than 100 media organizations on charges of collusion with terrorists.
- Of the suspended, 153 were allegedly connected to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen (whom Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup), 190 with Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 19 to far-left militant group DHKP-C, and 8 to the Islamic State.
- More than 100,000 in the military, police, political administration, journalism, and academia have lost their jobs and tens of thousands have been arrested, prompting condemnation from human rights monitors and warnings from foreign governments.
“Turkey halts activities of 370 groups as purge widens” (Reuters)
“Erdogan Renews Putsch Purge With Targets in Media, Academia” (Bloomberg)
“Erdogan’s ‘One-Man Regime’ Sacks 10,000, Closes Kurdish Media” (teleSUR English)
Mauritanian clerics push for application of death penalty for blogger convicted of apostasy
- Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was convicted in 2014 over a blog post discussing Mauritania’s racial stratification and the history of racial discrimination in Islam.
- The Forum of Imams and Ulemas recently issued a fatwa calling for Mkhaitir’s execution in line with absolutist laws regarding heresy in Islam.
- If carried out, Mkhaitir’s execution would be the first in the country since 1987, prompting international human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders to advocate for his pardon.
“Mauritanian clerics urge for blogger’s death penalty to be applied” (Reuters)
“Millions of people rallied to the support of Raif Badawi – who will care for a poor young man in Mauritania?” (The Independent, August 2015)
“Death Sentence in Mauritania for Islam ‘Insult’” (Reuters via The New York Times, December 2014)