BBG Media Highlights - April 29, 2013
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UN Member States must hold Azerbaijan to account for deteriorating human rights situation, failing to implement previous commitments - Reporters Without Borders, April 29, 2013

In addition to violence and imprisonment, journalists critical of the authorities have been subjected to serious violations of their right to private life. This has been done either to obstruct their journalistic activities or to pressurise them into ceasing their work altogether. Examples include the case of outspoken critical journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who works for the Azerbaijani service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In March 2012, a sex video of her filmed by hidden camera was posted on the Internet after she refused to be silenced by a blackmail attempt. No one has been brought to justice for these violations.

 

Radio Liberty condemns campaign of persecution against its employees in Azerbaijan- Panorama, April 28, 2013

Corporation of radio stations "Free Europe - Radio Liberty" has condemned the campaign of intimidation and blackmail the employees of Azerbaijani Service, Khadija Ismailova and Yafez Hasanov. As the Azerbaijan news agency Turan reports, The campaign against journalists is taking place on the eve of consideration of the situation in Azerbaijan with human rights in the UN, and before the presidential election, which according to the President Ilham Aliyev, will be fair, reads the statement of the Corporation. Thus on April 25, the pro-government web site posted a fabricated pornographic video about Khadija Ismayilova. This is the second such provocation against Ismailova since March last year, the statement notes that over the past two weeks the pressure on another employee also increased.

 

The digital nation of Google- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 28, 2013

Google's most explicit and organized foray into state domains has been under the banner of Google Ideas, its "think/do tank." Jared Cohen, who gained fame as a rising star of "digital diplomacy" at the State Department, joined Google in October 2010 to launch Google Ideas. It began with a trio of initiatives under the broad umbrellas of counter-radicalization, illicit networks and fragile states. Through the unit, Google has collaborated with state authorities to dismantle what it calls illicit networks, such as drug cartels and human traffickers, and worked with the U.S. government's broadcasting arm, Voice of America, to run the "first phone-based constitutional survey" in Somalia. It has even staked a claim in the fight against violent extremism, in which there has "traditionally been an over-reliance on governments," as Mr. Cohen wrote in a post on Google's corporate blog nearly a year ago. "What do a former violent jihadist from Indonesia, an ex-neo-Nazi from Sweden and a Canadian who was held hostage for 15 months in Somalia have in common?" Mr. Cohen asked.

Citations of BBG Broadcasters

Gas Leak Suspected After Dozens Injured By Blast In Prague- NPR, April 29, 2013

An explosion at an office building in the the Czech capital on Monday injured at least several dozen people and may have left some victims trapped in rubble. The early thinking was that a natural gas leak led to the disaster in the center of Prague, police spokesman Tomas Hulan said,according to the Associated Press. Radio Free Europe reported that "Prague's mayor, Bohuslav Svoboda, was quoted as saying from the scene that there were fears that 'three or so' people might still be inside the structure." While the AP was initially saying that "up to 40 people" were injured,CNN was reporting that fire officials said "at least 55 people" were hurt. "The blast occurred in a building near the National Theater, not far from the Vltava River," Radio Free Europe said.  

 

Egypt minister must resign over offensive talk: Journalists union head- Ahram Online, Saturday April 27, 2013

Head of Egypt's Journalists syndicate demands an apology and resignation of minister of information following 'sexually offensive' comments against women colleagues. In an interview with private-owned Al-Hurra channel on Saturday, the head of Egypt's journalists syndicate Diaa Rashwan blasted the Minister of Information Salah Abdel-Maksoud's "inappropriate" comments to female journalists, demanding his resignation. Abdel-Maksoud, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, came under fire last week when a female Egyptian journalist accused him of sexual harassment after he answered a question she posed to him by saying "come and i will show you."

 

RWB calls for immediate and unconditional release of journalist Sun Lin- Reporters Without Borders, April 26, 2013

Sun Lin's wife, Gao Xiaojun, was quoted on the Radio Free Asia website as saying: "They will probably change his status to criminal detention on April 30 (...) His reporting has been having an impact for many years now." One of his lawyers, Sun Muqing, said Sun Lin had been beaten by the police. He had not been informed of the charges against him and had refused to sign the custody sheet. In 2008, a court in the eastern city of Nanjing sentenced Sun Lin to four years' imprisonment for "gathering crowds to cause social unrest" and "illegal possession of firearms". At the time he told Reporters Without Borders that he had written about abuses of authority.

 

Remembrance of dissident Lin Zhao obstructed on 45th execution anniversary- South China Morning Post, April 29, 2013

Over the last days several people have been picked up by police at the grave and sent back to their home provinces in an effort to avoid a mass gathering at the 45th anniversary of her death, Voice of America and Radio Free Asia reported on Monday. Lin was executed as a rightist in Shanghai in 1969, nine years after being sentenced to 20 years in jail for "counter-revolutionary activities". Police famously demanded a 0.5 yuan payment from her family for the bullet that killed her. As a Peking University student, she called for political freedoms during the Hundred Flowers campaign in 1957 that briefly allowed public political debate. After the ensuing crackdown, she started an underground newspaper, which led to her first prison sentence.

 

Iraq bans 10 television news networks- UPI, April 28, 2013

Iraqi authorities said Sunday the government has suspended the licenses of al-Jazeera and nine other satellite television news operations. The suspensions come after authorities accused the operations of inciting sectarian violence, Voice of America reported. Baghdad is currently seeking to curb rising unrest that began with violence at a Sunni protest camp last week. At least 170 people have been killed since the fighting began Tuesday.A statement Sunday from the Communications and Media Commission accuses the networks of encouraging revenge against the security forces who are trying to stop the violence.

 

China 'shocked' over comments on talks: embassy- The Myanmar Times, April 29, 2013

A Chinese official says he is "deeply shocked" by a government minister's comments that Kachin peace talks planned for earlier this month were delayed because China refused to allow international observers to attend. Mr Xiong Guofeng, secretary to the China's ambassador to Myanmar, was responding to an April 19 report on Radio Free Asia in which Minister for Environmental Conservation and Forestry U Win Tun was quoted as saying that China opposes the presence of monitors from the United States, United Kingdom or United Nations at the talks. "China seemed to be reluctant to invite representatives of the United Nations, the US and Britain to be present at the talks. China showed its reluctance to the Kachin side, not to the government side. The invitation was made by the Kachin side," U Win Tun was quoted as saying.

 

Fierce debate erupts over the 'China Dream'- Asia Times, April 29, 2013

Bao, who is under 24-hour police surveillance, indicated that Xi at least recognized that the "subject" (zhuti) of the China Dream was individual Chinese and not the state. "Xi has made clear that the China Dream should be realized according to the private ownership system," Bao noted in an article last March for Radio Free Asia. "The China Dream must not be monopolized by the state," he wrote, "The country should allow us common folks to each dream his own dream". Bao added that his own dream was that all Chinese "can have freedom of expression ? and freedom from fear of being harassed and censored".

 

Chut Wutty death does little to curb Cambodia's illegal logging- Asian Correspondent, April 29, 2013

In an article published exactly one year after environmental activist Chut Wutty was killed in Cambodia, Megan MacInnes, Senior Land Campaigner at Global Witness, regrets that "Wutty's death has not served as a wake-up call for Cambodia's donors or allies". On the same day, his brother- in-law, Yong Sokhorn, told Radio Free Asia that, "The government must reconsider and reopen the case in order to find the true killer and determine who was behind the killing." A year ago, Chut Wutty, one of the most outspoken voices against illegal logging, wanted to show two Cambodia Daily reporters that the Timbergreen company was involved in processing yellow vine.

 

Serbian President Apologizes for Srebrenica, Moldovan Political Shenanigans Continue- Transitions Online, April 26, 2013

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has apologized for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) by Bosnian Serb forces, Radio Free Europe reports. "I kneel and ask for forgiveness for Serbia for the crime committed in Srebrenica," Nikolic said in a statement on Bosnian television. But, he added, "genocide needs to be proved." After upsetting incumbent Boris Tadic in Serbia's May 2012 presidential elections, Nikolic alarmed regional and European leaders by saying no genocide occurred at Srebrenica, the BBC notes. He insists genocide remains unproved by international courts, although both the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice classify the massacre as such, Balkan Insight points out.

 

Conservationists: Elephant poaching up in Central African Republic- UPI, April 26, 2013

The WWF said it also received word that elephant meat reportedly was being openly sold at markets in villages nearby. "Due to the violence and chaos in the area, the exact number of elephants slaughtered is not known, however initial reports indicate it may be extensive," the organization said in a release. "The security situation is preventing ... staff from searching the dense forest for elephant carcasses." The Dzanga-Sangha protected areas comprise a three-country park system that is home to one of the world's largest populations of forest elephants, Voice of America said. Bas Huijbregts, WWF's policy chief for the region, told Voice of America the trouble began soon after the rebel coalition known as Seleka overran the government in March.

 

Zimbabwe: Frustrated Masomere Blasts Team Official- AllAfrica, April 27, 2013

Masomere is still to sign a contract with Shabanie Mine and he was hoping to do that yesterday. The coach had been operating without a contract since his return from the ban imposed by Zifa last November. The coach claims he was never assisted with a single cent by the club, when he was banned by Zifa, and was hurt when some members of the committee were interviewed by pirate radio station, Studio 7 of the Voice of America, claiming he was no longer the coach.

 

From the foreign-language press

 

Draft dodging common among the privileged in NK- Joongang, April 26, 2013

Draft dodging is rampant among the privileged in North Korea. "Many people in the privileged class don't let their sons go to army," a resident from South Hamgyeong province, North Korea, told RFA's Korean Service.

 

North Koreans visiting China increased 14% over last year- SBS, April 26, 2013

The number of North Korean visitor to China jumped by 14% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same quarter of last year, according to RFA Korean Service's report quoting the Chinese National Bureau of Statistic .

 

Youssef Amrani: Morocco-United States resumed joint military exercises; our relationship is strategic- Kifache (Moroccan news and information site) April 28, 2013

Kifache cited Alhurra for its interview with the Moroccan Delegate Minister for Foreign Affairs Youssef Amrani regarding the significance of the U.S-Morocco relationship.  Mr. Amrani stated that United States and Morocco have resumed joint military exercises.  The relations between the United States and Morocco are strategic. We are the only Arab country that has strategic dialogue with the United States, Mr. Amrani said.  The relations between us are built on four pillars: political, economic, security and intercultural dialogue, Mr. Amrani added

Also cited in the following sites:

Hakika News, Maroc Press, iNews Arabia, Aljnoob Media, and Lobab Forum  

Of Interest
Iran's Political Scene Is Sketchy For Cartoonists - NPR, April 28, 2013
Iranian newspapers are rife with cartoons. They are a tradition, and play a big role voicing criticism of the country's authoritarian regime. Increasingly, though, Iranian cartoonists have been imprisoned, received death threats, or gone into exile because of their work.

Voices In Danger: Journalism in the line of fire - The Independent, April 29, 2013
Cases such as the Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti, killed while in custody, make headlines in the international news. But there are thousands of others under threat who receive little or no publicity. In places like the paradise islands of the Maldives to the economic hot-houses of India and Brazil, intimidation, censorship and imprisonment are present. That is why we are launching today a new section of our website - Voices in Danger - which will give prominence to the plight of journalists being harassed, attacked or pressurised. In collaboration with Reporters Without Borders UK and other NGOs, we will feature regular case studies, interviewing the subjects where possible, and featuring some of their most powerful work.

Young German and African journalists foster ties - Deutsche Welle, April 29, 2013
radio+ is a student journalism project. By working together in radio, participants from Harare and Berlin hope to help sweep away prejudice and misconceptions, both among themselves and in the wider world. Even in this age of online services and global television, radio is still a widely-used medium, both in Africa and Germany.
About Us
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 175 million in 100 countries. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti).