I started this blog for personal matters, to publish my art and literature, Now it seems I am turning this blog to a reporting media of Human abuse and Human being in wretched plight all around the World. I hope, We all citizen should rush to the crying and disturbing souls and help and support them. Protest and publicizing can help stop atrocities on public and bring safety measure to the mass under calamities.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood MP Seeks to Abolish Female Rights and Enforce Female Genital Mutilation

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood MP Seeks to Abolish Female Rights and Enforce Female Genital Mutilation

by Raymond Ibrahim, April 26, 2012
According to the Egyptian website Youm 7, Azza al-Jarf, a female Member of Parliament representing the Muslim Brotherhood's "Freedom and Justice Party," is trying to abolish several laws currently enjoyed by Egyptian women—including preventing them from divorcing or even separating from their husbands, because "the man has the authority and stewardship" (see Koran 4:34); mandating that fathers must circumcise their daughters; and trying to get the Egyptian educational system to ban the teaching of the English language—on the grounds that it is an "infidel" tongue—while separating boys and girls in classrooms and forcing girls to wear the hijab.
Ms. Jarf, of course, is not the first Muslim female in Egypt opposed to her own gender; earlier, another female politician declared that "women are deficient in intelligence and religion," and that, in agreement with Sharia law, they are banned from running for presidency.
At any rate, repressive and discriminatory laws, not to mention laws that mutilate the human body—such represent the Muslim Brotherhood's idea of "Freedom and Justice," the telling name of their political wing.

Source : MEF

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Asia Pacific: Free expression and law in 2011


 

 

 

Legal analysis

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Asia Pacific: Free expression and law in 2011

In this statement, ARTICLE 19 highlights the major legal developments, in particular laws and regulations, relating to freedom of expression and the right to information throughout Asia in 2011.

Trends

2011 saw both positive and negative trends in Asia Pacific.  On the positive side:
  • The Indian government indicated its intention to decriminalise defamation
  • Cambodia and Mongolia adopted Right to Information legislation
  • Malaysia and Vietnam all took steps towards legislation which increased media freedom within their respective countries. However, these laws do not properly reflect international standards on freedom of expression.
On the negative side:
  • Public debate and freedom of media continued to be restricted through the use of criminal defamation laws
  • Several countries, for example Burma, China and Pakistan, adopted laws restricting the right to freedom of expression on the internet  
  • National security laws, allegedly enacted with the aim of combating terrorism, continued to restrict freedom of expression. Such laws risk that individuals will censor themselves to avoid disclosing “state secrets”
  • Cambodia and Malaysia considered legislation that would significantly limit the right to freedom of assembly. 

Press regulations

In 2011, numerous bills regulating the print media were introduced in the region.  Most of them fall short of meeting international standards on freedom of expression. For example:
Malaysia The Malaysian government committed to a review of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (Press Act), intending to amend rather than repeal it in 2011. The planned amendment would replace the requirement for annual renewals of media outlets with a one-off licensing policy. Despite relaxing the media-licensing requirement, the government would still control the distribution of permits to all newspapers, printing presses and publications, thereby effectively controlling media content. The Press Act is fundamentally flawed from a freedom of expression perspective and must be repealed in its entirety.
Vietnam The Prime Minister of Vietnam issued Decree No. 2 of 2011 on the Administrative Responsibility for Press and Publication Activities (“Decree”), which applies to a wide range of individuals. ARTICLE 19 raised concerns about the Decree:
  • it over-regulates, moving into usually self-regulated areas such as the internet and print media.
  • It requires the unnecessary registration of the print media and does not adequately protect journalistic sources or journalists from any abuse of administrative powers.

Broadcasting laws

A number of broadcasting laws adopted in 2011 raise concerns about increased governmental control of the broadcasting sector, as well as a lack of diversity in the media.
China In December 2011, the Guangdong provincial government (in south China) issued a new regulation, effective from 1 March 2012. This regulation:
  • requires radio and television stations to apply to regulatory authorities for permission to broadcast in the indigenous Cantonese dialect instead of Mandarin
  • states that Mandarin should be the main language used for broadcasts
  • requires approval from central or provincial radio, film and television administrations for the use of any dialects (which television companies must accompany with subtitles)
Anybody violating the law will face “disciplinary action”.

Information and communication technologies

The regulation of information and communications technologies in the region is especially concerning. Burma, China and Pakistan all issued regulations which severely curtail freedom of expression on the internet and are likely to result in self-censorship by individuals. China issued two such regulations, in addition to the broadcasting law (see above).
Burma New internet regulations, issued by the Communications Ministry in May 2011, banned the use of external hard drives (CDs, USB sticks and floppy disks) in internet cafés.  Internet café owners are already subject to stringent regulation and are required to submit monthly records of internet usage to the Myanmar Post and the Telecommunications Ministry. Just two months before it issued these regulations, the government restricted the use of Skype and other VoIP (voice over internet protocol) services.
China In June 201, new police regulations require the installation of internet surveillance technology for wi-fi users in cafés, hotels and other businesses in central Beijing. This software will allow officials to check the identities of users and monitor their online activity. Businesses that fail to comply with the regulations face:
  • a fine of approximately £1900 (the cost of the new software)
  • the revocation of their licenses.
On 16 December 2011, the Beijing Municipal Government issued the “Beijing Microblog Development and Management Regulations”, targeting “micro-blog” (i.e. Twitter) users.  These regulations:
  • require Twitter users to register their real names with micro-blogging services to be verified by government authorities.
  • ambiguously prohibit the use of micro-blogs to disseminate rumours, obscenity or pornography, or to insult, incite illegal assembly or undermine national unity.
Pakistan On 21 July 2011, a Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) directive ordered internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile phone companies to implement the Monitoring & Reconciliation of International Telephone Traffic Regulations 2010. The regulations:
  • prohibit all users from sending encrypted information over the internet
  • oblige ISPs and mobile phone companies to report users who do so. 
The PTA directive enforces another regulation, issued in March that requires ISPs to:
  • allow for real-time surveillance of all communications
  • monitor and maintain records of all internet traffic, including websites visited and emails sent.
The PTA based the prohibition on the need to stop terrorists from communicating in secret via VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology. However, banning encryption will also allow for the routine surveillance of all internet users by the security services. 

Defamation and privacy

Developments relating to freedom of expression based on the protection of reputation were mostly negative in 2011. Although the Indian government announced an initiative to decriminalise discrimination, it has not yet been brought into effect. High profile cases in Thailand and Kazakhstan highlighted the chilling effect of those countries’ penal codes, which retain criminal liability for defamation.
Thailand 2011 witnessed an unprecedented spike in lèse-majesté cases (defamation of the monarchy). Thailand’s lèse-majesté law (Article 112 of Thailand’s Penal Code) prohibits “defamation, insults or threats” of “the King, the Queen, the Heir to the throne or the Regent” and imposes imprisonment for these offences of between three and 15 years. These provisions have been retained despite repeated international criticism. For example, in October 2011, the UN Human Rights Council expressed widespread concern about the increased use of lèse-majesté provision and its consequent impact on freedom of expression. However, on 23 November 2011, a Thai criminal court sentenced Amphon Tangnoppaku, also known as Ar Kong, to 20 years in prison for sending four text messages deemed to be insulting towards the Queen of Thailand. This is the heaviest sentence ever handed down for a lèse-majesté case in Thailand.
India Following public statements by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting and the Minister of Law and Justice, the Indian government announced an initiative to reform its Penal Code and decriminalise defamation. ARTICLE 19 applauds the government’s recognition that criminalisation of defamation results in a disproportionate restriction on freedom of expression and encourages speedy repeal of the relevant provision in the penal code.
Cambodia The courts have continued using the Penal Code (adopted in 2010) as a means of oppressing critics of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and silencing dissent. For example, in January 2011, human rights defender Sam Chankea was found guilty of defamation under the new Penal Code by the Kampong Chhang Provincial. The charges relate to an interview he had given to Radio Free Asia in 2009, in which he expressed his opinion about a land dispute between the villagers of Lorpeang village, Ta Ches commune, Kampong Tralach district of Kampong Chhnang and KDC International. Chankea has been ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riel (approx. £160) as well as 3 million riel (approx. £480) in compensation to the company, an excessive amount in relation to the average salary in the country. 

National security

There is growing concern over the use of national security laws to limit freedom of expression and the right to information. While Indonesia passed such a law, Malaysia repealed its controversial Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance.
Indonesia On 12 October 2011, the Indonesian Parliament passed the new “Law on State Intelligence”. This was the culmination of a government initiative to respond to the September 11 terrorist attacks and to international terrorism in general. The Law vaguely prohibits the revelation or communication of ‘state secrets’, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines exceeding 100 million rupiah (approximately $11,000), yet does not define the term ‘state secret’.  Civil society and journalists are, therefore, particularly vulnerable.  The Law also authorises the interception of communications by intelligence agencies without prior court approval.
Malaysia In September 2011, the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced the repeal of the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinance (EO), pledging to replace them with two new laws “strictly for terrorism” and similar to those in the United States and United Kingdom. ARTICLE 19 expressed concern at the reference to the UK anti-terrorism law, which the organisation has repeatedly criticised for criminalising the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression.

Protection of journalists, human rights defenders and bloggers

The safety of journalists and others commenting or reporting on areas of public interest is one of the top concerns in the region. In 2011, too many journalists, bloggers and others have been murdered or attacked because of their work. There were no positive legislative developments in this area during the year.
India 2011 witnessed the murder of three human rights activists in India (environmental activists Amit Jethava and Sheila Masood in July and August 2011 and right to information activist and whistle-blower, Shri Ram Vilas Singh in December 2011). All three were murdered for seeking information to promote transparency and accountability in public authorities. Although the killings of the two environmental activists resulted in parliamentary demands for the protection of human rights defenders, no such protection has been enacted. ARTICLE 19 condemns the killings and calls for:
  • speedy and effective investigation
  • an immediate extension of existing human rights defenders’ protections to environmental activists.

Elections restrictions 

Burma In November 2011, President Thein Sein signed a law amending Burma’s Political Party Registration Law. This made notable changes to the controversial law, which previously required that all political parties “protect” the country’s Constitution. The new law:
  • amends that provision, requiring only that political parties “respect” the Constitution.
  • no longer restricts anyone currently serving a prison sentence from membership in a political party, paving the way for the re-registration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party (the main opposition party), the National League for Democracy.
ARTICLE 19 welcomed this initiative but election restrictions in the country remain an issue of grave concern.

Official advertising

Government regulations concerning advertising indirectly influence the editorial independence of broadcast media.
China Supplementary provisions to the “Radio and Television Advertising Broadcast Management Rules”, effective from 1 January 2012, prohibit the insertion of advertising in the middle of 45-minute television drama broadcasts. These revisions are intended to implement the “Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Decision Concerning Some Great Issues in Deepening Cultural Structural Reform and Promoting the Grand Development and Grant Flourishing of Socialist Culture.” Although it is unclear what implications these provisions will have, they clearly interfere with the media independence.

Freedom of information and data protection 

In 2011, there have been some positive developments relating to the right to information in the region
  • Cambodia has drafted the Law on Access to Information
  • Mongolia has adopted the Law on Information Transparency and Freedom of Informatio
However, implementation and enforcement of such legislation remains an issue, as shown by the lack of implementation of the Indonesian law two years after its enactment.
Cambodia The Second Draft of the proposed Law on Access to Information in 2011 was welcomed by ARTICLE 19 as a positive and effective example of Right to Information (RTI) legislation in the region. In addition to all the main features expected from an effective RTI law, the Draft:
  • outlines, for example, a public interest test
  • outlines provisions on proactive disclosure and the protection of whistleblowers
  • contains an independent oversight body.
This legislation is particularly important because the Constitution of Cambodia does not expressly protect the right to information. ARTICLE 19 strongly encourages the adoption of the Law, which would make Cambodia the model throughout Southeast Asia.
Mongolia On 1 December 2011, the Law on Information Transparency and Freedom of Information, adopted by the Mongolian Parliament on 16 June 2011, came into effect. ARTICLE 19 has called on the government and civil society of Mongolia to ensure the effective implementation of the law.
Indonesia: In February 2011, a report by ARTICLE 19 and the Tifa Foundation revealed that, despite having more than two years to prepare for the implementation of the Indonesian Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):
  • local governments have failed to put in place mechanisms to publish information proactively and upon request
  •  no local regulations governing implementation of the FOIA are in place
  • existing proactive disclosures fall well short of FOIA’s requirements
  • citizens have little or no awareness of either the Act itself or the right to access information held by public bodies under the Act.

Freedom of association and assembly

Closely related to the right of freedom of expression is the right of individuals to protest. In 2011, Cambodia and Malaysia circulated draft legislation that severely restricts the right of freedom of association and assembly in their respective states.
Cambodia During 2011, the Cambodian legislature circulated a number of drafts of the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (“LANGO”), which severely restricts the freedom and independence of NGOs in Cambodia. The law includes:
  • mandatory registration provisions
  • a complex registration process, requiring that foreign NGOs maintain a “representative office” in Cambodia and “reach an agreement” with relevant government ministries
  • an obligation for NGOs to submit timely annual reports to the government. Those who do not risk having their activities suspended or completely invalidated: there is no recourse to appeal for a suspension or termination. 
Malaysia On 20 December 2011, the Malaysian Senate passed the Peaceful Assembly Bill, which prohibits street protests and imposes monetary fines on violators.  When enacted into law, the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) will:
  • impose arbitrary restrictions on the right to assemble peacefully, such as a 21-year-old minimum age requirement for organisers and protestors and venue restrictions specifying the few open spaces where assemblies are permissible. 
  • give excessive, unlimited authority to the police to disperse assemblies and arrest participants.  
The passage of this bill will allow the Malaysian government to prevent legitimate political expression, as it did in July 2011: police arrested more than 1600 protestors and fired water cannons and tear-gas at demonstrators demanding electoral reforms.
Burma In December 2011, Burmese President Thein Sein signed into effect a new law allowing peaceful demonstrations in the country. All demonstrations had been banned previously. While permitting peaceful demonstrations is a step in the right direction, the law does not meet international standards:
  • it, requires any group of more than one person to obtain a permit in advance
  • anybody failing to obtain a permit may receive up to one year in jail
  • anyone making a speech containing false information or information that could hurt the state may be imprisoned for up to six months. 
Singapore  Although accepting 84 of 112 recommendations made by Member States at its first UN Human Rights Council review, Singapore rejected recommendations regarding:
  • media freedom
  • the protection and promotion of the right to freedom of expression
  • the protection and promotion of the right to peaceful assembly and association. ARTICLE 19 condemns this action. We also condemn:, Singapore’s absence of intention to:
  • accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • review its defamation policy
  • repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for detention without trial.

Conclusions

While there was progress in a few areas, there were more setbacks and disappointments during 2011.
  • New proposals to limit freedom of expression on the internet and peaceful assembly were introduced throughout the region
  • Despite attempts to improve it, most positive legislation consistently falls short of ensuring freedom of expression and the right to information in line with international standards
  • National security laws continue to be used by governments to limit freedom of expression
  •  Countries remain unwilling to decriminalise defamation.

ARTICLE 19’s recommendations

  • All countries should abolish all defamation and insult laws, including those on seditious defamation. They should replace them with appropriate civil law regulation;
  • Laws or regulations restricting freedom of expression on the internet should be repealed
  • National security laws or provisions which illegitimately restrict freedom of expression should repealed
  • Laws on the right to information should be properly implemented into domestic law
  • Any laws or regulations on the media, including provisions concerning registration, should meet international standards on freedom of expression, association and assembly.

 Source : Article19

Blogger faces charges of blasphemy, apostasy after Mohammed tweets

Blogger faces charges of blasphemy, apostasy after Mohammed tweets


Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari may face the death penalty for tweets he sent out about the Prophet Mohammed
Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari may face the death penalty for tweets he sent out about the Prophet Mohammed
A Saudi blogger whose tweets about the Prophet Mohammed were deemed blasphemous and tantamount to apostasy has been deported from Malaysia back to Saudi Arabia, where he is certain to face trial and possibly the death penalty, report Malaysia's Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Human Rights Watch and other IFEX members.

Hamza Kashgari, 23, fled Saudi Arabia on 6 February in hopes of finding political asylum after his tweets sparked an official publishing ban and order for his arrest, as well as a Twitter lynch mob that called for his death, report the members.

Kashgari was on his way to another country - reportedly New Zealand - when security officials arrested him at Kuala Lumpur airport on 9 February, his lawyer, Muhammad Afiq Muhammad Noor, told Human Rights Watch. He was detained for several days and deported to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

"Malaysia had no business deporting Kashgari, and Saudi Arabia has no business prosecuting him for his tweets expressing his religious opinion, which it is his right to do freely," said Human Rights Watch. "It is near certain he will not get a fair trial in Saudi Arabia, where religious scholars have concluded that he is guilty of apostasy and should be put to death."

The journalist, who wrote for the daily paper "Al-Bilad", used the occasion of the Prophet Mohammed's birthday to send out three tweets. One of them read, "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you," reports the International Press Institute (IPI).

Kashgari is also said to have tweeted that he would no longer pray for the Prophet Mohammed and would greet him "as a friend, no more," says IPI.

His tweets resulted in a barrage of more than 30,000 tweets condemning Kashgari for blasphemy and apostasy, which refers to the renunciation or abandonment of faith, and calls for his execution.

CIJ and other local human rights groups had put pressure on the Malaysian government, which has close ties to the Saudi kingdom but no formal extradition treaty, to resist any demands to deport the Saudi blogger. "He should be released if there is no legal basis to arrest or extradite him," said CIJ in a statement at the time. "At the very least, the Malaysian authorities have an obligation to ensure Mr. Kashgari's safety."

Malaysia's Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters that Kashgari had been arrested following a request from Saudi Arabia, and that Malaysia was not to be used as a "safe haven" or "safe transit country" for those involved in "transnational crime" and wanted by their country of origin.

Malaysian human rights groups said they had secured a court injunction preventing Kashgari's deportation but that Kashgari was already on his way back to Saudi Arabia. The Malaysian government denies that it had any knowledge that an injunction was filed.

"The Malaysian government really botched this case, which has unfortunate consequences on Kashgari," said CIJ, which is currently working with local legal groups on a joint action.

Saudi media reported that Kashgari had been taken into custody after arriving in Saudi Arabia on Sunday night and that he would likely faces charges of blasphemy in spite of Kashgari having apologised, removed the tweets and deleted his account.

According to CIJ, Kashgari's lawyers indicated that calls for his execution could be politically motivated because of his blog postings in support of fellow activists in Syria and public support for the Arab Spring protests.

Kashgari too believed the campaign against him was politically motivated, and worries that it will be used to carry out a wider crackdown. "I never expected this. It was a huge surprise. My friends are writers and bloggers and now their lives are in danger too," Kashgari said to "The Washington Post" before he was detained in Malaysia.

"They fear what will happen to them. The government is trying to scare them and show that what is happening to me can happen to them sooner or later," Kashgari added.

Source : IFEX

Investigative journalist and family murdered

Investigative journalist and family murdered

A freelance journalist who had investigated illegal mining activity, his wife and their two children were found brutally murdered in their home in India's Madhya Pradesh state on 18 February, report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the International Press Institute (IPI).

According to IPI, Chandrika Rai, his wife, Durga, and their children, Jalaj (19) and Nisha (17) had been killed with a sharp object and each left in a separate room of the house. The bodies were discovered by the journalist's brother, who became suspicious after noticing that the family's front door had been locked from the outside.

In a letter addressed to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Indian Editors Guild said it suspected that the gruesome crime was linked to Rai's work as a journalist.

Rai had been investigating illegal coal-mining activity in the state's central Umaria district and had recently written a series of articles for the Nagpur-based "Hitavada" paper alleging the involvement of a local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician.

According to IPI, although the Umaria coalfields are controlled by an arm of India's state-run coal corporation, illegal coal mining remains rampant in the region.

Local police, however, told the media they are pursuing multiple angles in their investigation, including the possibility that the murders may be linked to the kidnapping of the 7-year old son of a government official last week.

According to IPI, local media reported that Rai had publicly accused the police of protecting the two suspects in the kidnapping. Rai had also disputed police claims that the boy was rescued without a ransom having to be paid, say IPI and IFJ.

India is one of the worst countries for investigating journalists' murders, ranking 13th in the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) impunity index, which spotlights where journalists are slain and the killers go free.


Source :Ifex

Johan Teterissa:Faxjam for freedom of expression

Amnesty International logo

Faxjam for freedom of expression

Johan Teterissa is a teacher from Maluku, Indonesia who is currently serving a 15 year prison sentence after he took part in a peaceful protest.
He has been imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
Last week, we spoke with Johan and he asked us to share this message with you:
“I urge Amnesty International to continue campaigning for the freedom of all political prisoners from Maluku...we should not have been charged in the first place... many of the prisoners are still suffering from the torture and some have even died... the police should be investigated for what they did... our families should also be given reparations as they are now suffering financially without us... I thank Amnesty International for its support.“
This week, we are responding to Johan's call and demanding his release.
Johan was arrested in June 2007 for his part in a peaceful protest during which the "Benang Raja" flag – a banned symbol of Maluku independence – was raised. He was tortured by police and continues to suffer from internal injuries as a result. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released, along with all other prisoners of conscience in Indonesia.

Johan Teterissa in his cell at the Waiheru detention centre in Ambon, Maluku. (c) Amnesty International
Take 



action Now
Will you help us keep campaigning for freedom for prisoners of conscience like him? We are calling on the Minister for Justice and Human Rights in Indonesia to release Johan Teterissa and all other prisoners of conscience in Indonesia.
Please don't keep silent on this injustice.
In solidarity,



Amnesty International
International Secretariat
1 Easton Street
London, WC1X 0DW
United Kingdom


Source : Amnesty

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