Stiletto by Max Kolbe – February 2009

Minor Miracles & Dirty Cops

Since last we wrote authorities around the world have again proved unfailing in their inability to tolerate those going about their daily routine as a reporter. There are exceptions, however, with a minor miracle in the Philippines where a suspect has been charged over the killing of a journalist. And guess what? The warrant was issued for a cop.

Yes officer, Israelis also know how to impress. The Committee to Protect Journalists wants Israel to return confiscated news footage of its navy allegedly firing on and boarding a ship which Tel Aviv says never happened.

There were also Journalists on board and they’re not happy, saying they were beaten-up and had their equipment confiscated during the latest adventure into Gaza. Among those on board was Al-Jazeera correspondent Salam Khodr who reported the boat was boarded by the Israeli navy and diverted to the port city of Ashdod.

In another African family and the National Union of Somali Journalists has demanded clan elders of a “known attacker” to punish him for stabbing radio director Hassan Bulhan five times in the stomach and heart during a tribal reconciliation.

The attack occurred three days after gunmen killed Said Tahlil Ahmed, director of independent HornAfrik Radio in Mogadishu.

The attacks also come after the top United Nations official in Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, compared the role of Somali media with the infamous Rwandan radio station that helped incite the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Press campaigners have condemned the killing of a Kenyan journalist whose decapitated body was dumped in a forest. Francis Kainda Nyaruri was discovered with his hands tied behind his back and deep gashes on his body.

Nyaruri was reported missing after writing about alleged corruption for privately owned Weekly Citizen that highlighted financial irregularities within the local police.

“We call on the police to pursue all possible leads and ensure that the perpetrators of this hideous crime are brought to justice,” said Tom Rhodes, the Africa co-ordinator of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.

Just a bit closer to home and the Khyber Union of Journalists and the Peshawar Press Club have condemned the abduction of a journalist associated with a private TV channel and demanded the government find him.

Noor Hassan, was on his way from Peshawar to Swat, when he was abducted. KhUJ President Muhammad Riaz said threats to the lives of journalists were increasing.

Heading northeast and a visiting media mission – made up of 15 international organisations including UN agencies — has asked the Nepalese government to conduct a impartial investigation into the murder of journalists Uma Singh, J.P. Joshi, Birendra Sah and Puskar Joshi.

After wrapping up a four-day visit to Nepal, it concluded press freedom was worsening in Nepal due to continued threats and attacks on media people and media houses.

Kazakh journalist Bakhytzhan Nurpeisov, 19, who works for the independent newspaper Public Opinionhas been seriously beaten by unknown assailants, Max has seen pictures of their handiwork and if you’re into brutality then this was impressive.

According to reports, the attackers did not touch his money, but took his tape recorder, camera, and media identification.

He was hospitalized with head wounds and a fractured cheekbone. Kazakh Journalists’ Union Chairman Seitkazy Mataev said the beating of journalists in Kazakhstan has become a trend. Nurpeisov is also the nephew of opposition activist Marzhan Aspandiyarova.

An Iraqi sports editor has died of shrapnel wounds suffered in a roadside bombing more than two months ago. Majid al-Sakr had been in a coma since the November 28 attack in Baghdad.

The head of the Iraqi Journalists’ Union, Mouyyad al-Lami, says the 51-year-old journalist of the privately owned daily Al-Bayana was survived by a wife and five children.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says 136 journalists and 51 media support workers have been killed since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Meanwhile, much closer to home and Malaysia’s Information Ministry has denied making any payments to journalists covering the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

The press secretary to the Information Minister, Hisham Abdul Hamid, said the ministry had never directed any of its officers to make such payments.

“This has never been the practice of the Information Ministry,” he told Bernama. The Mandarin version of the Malaysiakini portal reported an Information Ministry officer had given envelopes containing money to journalists covering the by-election.

Two journalists of Merdekaview.com lodged a police report over an allegation they had received a white envelope containing money from an officer at the by-election media centre.

As Southeast Asia’s youngest country East Timor is catching on quick with regional customs. The editor of the investigative newspaper Tempo Semanal is being sued for defamation by justice minister, Lucia Lobato, for publishing a story suggesting she was awarding contracts to refurbish a prison to her husband’s company and her associates.

The minister argues the editor, Jose Belo, violated her privacy and journalists’ ethical code by publishing text messages between the minister and the business associates. This has rights groups worried as the minister is using criminal laws imposed by the country’s former occupier, Indonesia, to charge a journalist and threaten media freedom.

And on a final note … Philippine prosecutors have filed murder charges against a police officer in the killing of a radio journalist.

Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor said arrest warrants were issued for Inspector Redempto Acharon and alleged accomplices after charges were filed in connection with the August 2008 slaying of Dennis Cuesta, program director of Radio Mindanao Network in General Santos city.

It is not clear why Cuesta was targeted but local media have noted that Acharon is a cousin of the mayor of General Santos — an official whom Cuesta criticized in his radio program. The officer charged has denied any involvement. 

Since last we wrote authorities around the world have again proved unfailing in their inability to tolerate those going about their daily routine as a reporter. There are exceptions, however, with a minor miracle in the Philippines where a suspect has been charged over the killing of a journalist. And guess what? The warrant was issued for a cop.

Yes officer, Israelis also know how to impress. The Committee to Protect Journalists wants Israel to return confiscated news footage of its navy allegedly firing on and boarding a ship which Tel Aviv says never happened.

There were also Journalists on board and they’re not happy, saying they were beaten-up and had their equipment confiscated during the latest adventure into Gaza. Among those on board was Al-Jazeera correspondent Salam Khodr who reported the boat was boarded by the Israeli navy and diverted to the port city of Ashdod.

In another African family and the National Union of Somali Journalists has demanded clan elders of a “known attacker” to punish him for stabbing radio director Hassan Bulhan five times in the stomach and heart during a tribal reconciliation.

The attack occurred three days after gunmen killed Said Tahlil Ahmed, director of independent HornAfrik Radio in Mogadishu.

The attacks also come after the top United Nations official in Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, compared the role of Somali media with the infamous Rwandan radio station that helped incite the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Press campaigners have condemned the killing of a Kenyan journalist whose decapitated body was dumped in a forest. Francis Kainda Nyaruri was discovered with his hands tied behind his back and deep gashes on his body.

Nyaruri was reported missing after writing about alleged corruption for privately owned Weekly Citizen that highlighted financial irregularities within the local police.

“We call on the police to pursue all possible leads and ensure that the perpetrators of this hideous crime are brought to justice,” said Tom Rhodes, the Africa co-ordinator of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.

Just a bit closer to home and the Khyber Union of Journalists and the Peshawar Press Club have condemned the abduction of a journalist associated with a private TV channel and demanded the government find him.

Noor Hassan, was on his way from Peshawar to Swat, when he was abducted. KhUJ President Muhammad Riaz said threats to the lives of journalists were increasing.

Heading northeast and a visiting media mission – made up of 15 international organisations including UN agencies — has asked the Nepalese government to conduct a impartial investigation into the murder of journalists Uma Singh, J.P. Joshi, Birendra Sah and Puskar Joshi.

After wrapping up a four-day visit to Nepal, it concluded press freedom was worsening in Nepal due to continued threats and attacks on media people and media houses.

Kazakh journalist Bakhytzhan Nurpeisov, 19, who works for the independent newspaper Public Opinionhas been seriously beaten by unknown assailants, Max has seen pictures of their handiwork and if you’re into brutality then this was impressive.

According to reports, the attackers did not touch his money, but took his tape recorder, camera, and media identification.

He was hospitalized with head wounds and a fractured cheekbone. Kazakh Journalists’ Union Chairman Seitkazy Mataev said the beating of journalists in Kazakhstan has become a trend. Nurpeisov is also the nephew of opposition activist Marzhan Aspandiyarova.

An Iraqi sports editor has died of shrapnel wounds suffered in a roadside bombing more than two months ago. Majid al-Sakr had been in a coma since the November 28 attack in Baghdad.

The head of the Iraqi Journalists’ Union, Mouyyad al-Lami, says the 51-year-old journalist of the privately owned daily Al-Bayana was survived by a wife and five children.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says 136 journalists and 51 media support workers have been killed since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Meanwhile, much closer to home and Malaysia’s Information Ministry has denied making any payments to journalists covering the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

The press secretary to the Information Minister, Hisham Abdul Hamid, said the ministry had never directed any of its officers to make such payments.

“This has never been the practice of the Information Ministry,” he told Bernama. The Mandarin version of the Malaysiakini portal reported an Information Ministry officer had given envelopes containing money to journalists covering the by-election.

Two journalists of Merdekaview.com lodged a police report over an allegation they had received a white envelope containing money from an officer at the by-election media centre.

As Southeast Asia’s youngest country East Timor is catching on quick with regional customs. The editor of the investigative newspaper Tempo Semanal is being sued for defamation by justice minister, Lucia Lobato, for publishing a story suggesting she was awarding contracts to refurbish a prison to her husband’s company and her associates.

The minister argues the editor, Jose Belo, violated her privacy and journalists’ ethical code by publishing text messages between the minister and the business associates. This has rights groups worried as the minister is using criminal laws imposed by the country’s former occupier, Indonesia, to charge a journalist and threaten media freedom.

And on a final note … Philippine prosecutors have filed murder charges against a police officer in the killing of a radio journalist.

Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor said arrest warrants were issued for Inspector Redempto Acharon and alleged accomplices after charges were filed in connection with the August 2008 slaying of Dennis Cuesta, program director of Radio Mindanao Network in General Santos city.

It is not clear why Cuesta was targeted but local media have noted that Acharon is a cousin of the mayor of General Santos — an official whom Cuesta criticized in his radio program. The officer charged has denied any involvement.

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Luke Hunt is a foreign correspondent, author and occasional photographer who has covered much of Asia fr the last 30 years.

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