Fellesappell til kongen av Nepal

29.08.2005

 

King Gyanendra
Narayanhity Royal Palace
Kathmandu, Nepal

c/o press@ntc.net.np

Re: Reinstate Press Freedom in Nepal

Your Royal Highness,

The Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ), Human Rights House Foundation (HRH) and the Norwegian PEN Centre are deeply concerned about the systematic and aggressive attacks on press freedom in Nepal.

Since February 1, civil rights, including freedom of speech and expression, have been systematically eroded by the government in direct contradiction of international standards and rights guaranteed in the Nepalese constitution.

It has become clear that the government is sanctioning the use of threats, violence, detention and censorship against the media community in Nepal either through the direct government action or inaction in the face of press freedom abuses.

The comprehensive control being exercised over press rights has resulted in around 2000 journalists becoming unemployed, and put many journalists under the continual threat of arrest and violence.

Policies limiting government advertising and other revenue sources for the media, have impacted on the independence of the media and bans of the broadcast of news on FM stations have directly deprived the people of Nepal of valuable sources of information.

It is completely unacceptable to allow the harassment, intimidation and censorship of journalists in Nepal: their safety and right to free speech should be guaranteed under the democratic principles that you claim to adhere to.

The Norwegian Union of Journalists, Human Rights House Foundation and Norwegian PEN will – together with IFJ affiliates and other organisations opposed to your sanctions – be participating in a Global Day of Action for Press Freedom in Nepal on August 30 to express our solidarity for this cause.

We urge you to take notice of the global support for press freedom in Nepal and immediately reinstate press freedom in Nepal as a fundamental democratic right.

A strong, free and independent media will in turn support democracy in Nepal.

Yours sincerely

Ann-Magrit Austenå/s.    Carl Morten Iversen                Maria Dahle
president, NJ                  secretary general,N-PEN        director,  HRH

CC.: Minister for Information ( info@hmgofnepal.gov.np )
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Appell til Hviterusslands president

Oslo, August 24, 2005

President Alexander Lukashenko
The office of the President of Belarus
Fax: + 375 17 2260610

Dear President Lukashenko

Norwegian non governmental organisations, the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ), the Human Rights House Foundation (HRH) and Norwegian PEN, express grave concern over recent crackdown on free expression in general, and the harassment of Polish-speaking journalists in particular, in Belarus.

We are alarmed at the increased harassment of journalists and media outlets in Belarus, in particular those working for the Polish minority press and we strongly condemn this latest crackdown on local and foreign journalists working in your country. We urge the authorities to ensure everyone’s right «to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers» as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.»

According to information from the International Press Institute (IPI), several Polish and Belarusian journalists of Polish descent were recently harassed and detained in the Belarusian cities of Schuchin and Grodno. The Norwegian Journalists Association, the Human Rights House Foundation (HRH) and Norwegian PEN are particularly concerned about the following incidents:

On 1 August, Belarusian police arrested Andrzej Pisalnik, editor-in-chief of Glos znad Niemna, a Polish minority newspaper based in Belarus and a

contributor to the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita in Schuchin.

* On 6 July, Pisalnik and several of his colleagues from Glos znad Niemna, as well as Andrzej Poczobut, editor-in-chief of Magazyn Polski, and Ivan Roman, a reporter for the Solidarnost newspaper, were arrested by police in Grodno, while they were protesting in the city centre against the harassment of their newspapers.

* On 27 July, special police officers and plainclothes policemen entered the SPB headquarters and detained many of the journalists present in the offices at the time. Among them were Pisalnik, Inesa Todryk, a reporter for Glosznad Niemna, Waclaw Radziwinowicz and Robert Kowalewski, journalists for Gazeta Wyborcza, Pavel Mazheika, the head of the Grodno office of the BAJ, and Siarhey Hryts, a photographer for the Associated Press (AP).

* On 27 July, Schuchin police detained Agnieszka Romaszewska, a Polish journalist for the television channel TVP1, near the «Polish House» in Schuchin, where a conference of the outgoing members of the SPB was beingheld at the time. Reportedly, she did not have the necessary accreditation from the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

* On 27. July 2005, Andrei Pochobut, editor-in-chief of the Polish-language magazine «Magazyn Polski», was given a 15-day prison sentence for «taking part in an illegal demonstration» in the western town of Shchuchin on 3 July and for «civil disobedience» in protesting the government’s taking control of the Union of Poles in Belarus.

* On 6. August 2005 The expulsion of Adam Tuchlinksi, 25, of the weekly news magazine Przekroj. Tuchlinksi is a Polish photojournalist who was expelled from Belarus and banned from the country for five years.

* On 11. August 2005 beating of Pawel Reszka, Moscow correspondent for the Polish daily «Rzeczpospolita».

* On 16. August 2005 raids were carried out by the Belarusian secret police (KGB) in Minsk and the western city of Grodno. The KGB raided the apartments of three young members of the Third Way opposition movement who reportedly create satirical, animated cartoons for Internet distribution. The KGB confiscated at least 12 computers and other equipment used to produce the cartoons and interrogated three Third Way members.

The Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ), the Human Rights House Foundation and Norwegian PEN condemn the authorities´ attempts to worsen the relationship between the Belarusian and the Polish people. We appeal to the Committee for Religious and National Questions to respect the freedom of association and ensure that the Association of Belarusian Poles is free to operate without restrictions.
We urge the Belarusian authorities to:

– give Polish diplomats permission to enter Belarus

– recognise the election of the new leader of the Association of Belarusian Poles

Angelika Borys, who was elected chairwoman of the Polish Association in March 2005

– respect freedom of expression and stop hounding and arresting journalists from Belarus´s Polish minority as part of  your present conflict with neighbouring Poland.

.
Sincerely
Maria Dahle          Ann-Magrit Austenå             Carl Morten Iversen
director, HRH        president, NJ                       secretarygeneral, Norwegian PEN

Cc:
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Belarusian Ministry of Justice
The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Constitutional Court in Belarus
The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Kiev
Association of  Belarusian Poles
Association of Polish Journalists
Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ)
Law Initiative, Pravova Initiativa
PEN Belarus
Polish Society Assosiation in Belarus
OSCE

Appell: Løslat Akbar Ganji

His Excellency Hojjatoleslam Sayed Mohammad Khatami
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue
Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail: Khatami@president.ir
Web: www.president.ir

3 June 2005

Excellency,

We, the undersigned member organisations of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), are writing to call for the permanent release from prison of journalist Akbar Ganj.

Our members welcomed the news earlier this week that Ganji had been granted a week-long leave from Evin Prison in Tehran. As you are aware, he was said to be in very poor health. Doctors had recommended that Ganji be hospitalized for back problems and asthma, which worsened because of his prison condition. His lawyer, Nobel peace laureate Shirin Edabi, voiced great concern about his health. We trust that, during his temporary release from prison, Ganji will be given required medical treatment in order to improve his health.

Now that Ganji has been released from Evin Prison, we urge that his freedom from incarceration be made permanent and that he not be returned to prison next week. He has already served more than five years of his prison sentence, much of it in solitary confinement. His health, already weakened by the imprisonment, <>will only worsen and reverse any gains made during this week of freedom.

We believe that Akbar Ganji has been held in violation of his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We call for his immediate and unconditional release, by which he will not have to return to Evin Prison next week. This action by your
government will underscore the humanitarian concerns for
Ganji’s well-being and be seen as a positive development by the
international community.

Sincerely,

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network
Committee to Protect Journalists
Freedom House
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Norwegian PEN Centre
PEN American Center
PEN Canada
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
World Press Freedom Committee