Ossigeno Media News Review – APRIL 7, 2020

7 April 2020 By Luciana Borsatti – Here is a brief review of some topics highlighted recently by NGO and international organisations for media freedom

STRASBOURG – Press freedom must not be undermined by measures to counter disinformation about COVID-19, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, says. Regrettably some governments are using the imperative of combating disinformation as a pretext to introduce disproportionate restrictions to press freedom, she adds. READ HERE

PARIS – Reporters Without Borders (RSF), among others, fears that the Hungarian government will take total control over national media and calls on European institutions to take urgent action in order to prevent the elimination of press freedom and, with it, democracy in Hungary.  READ HERE 

NEW YORK – Journalists face prison and harassment over pandemic reports, the Committee to Protect Journalists says, highlighting cases in Algeria, Slovenia and Kashmir. Iraq suspended Reuters license for three months for a news report which alleged that confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country are much higher than official statistics. READ HERE 

BRUSSELS – Professional journalism, ethical journalism, independent media, transparency from those in power, media literacy and the free flow of information are the best antidote to misinformation and conspiracy theories about the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)  said. The Federation therefore welcomes the policy brief recently issued by ARTICLE19  Viral Lies: Misinformation and the Coronavirus”. READ HERE 

TORONTO – A call for an urgent release of imprisoned journalists, human rights defenders and others, now at risk of Covid-19 in Turkey, has been signed by almost 30 international organizations for media freedom, including IFEX. Ankara is working on a draft law that will reportedly release up to 100,000 prisoners, but the signatories are concerned that journalists will remain behind bars. READ HERE

VIENNA/BELGRADE – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, and the Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, Andrea Orizio, welcomed the reversal by the Serbian Government of the decision aimed at regulating the centralization of public information on the coronavirus pandemic . READ HERE 

WIEN – The International Press Institute (IPI) urged Egypt to release all detained journalists amid concerns over the spread of Covid-19. More than 60 journalists are currently being detained in Egyptian prisons, which are overcrowded and have inadequate medical facilities. Those jailed include IPI member and Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein, who has been deteined for nearly 1,200 days. READ HERE 

NEW YORK – Sri Lanka uses the pandemic to curtail free expression, Human Rights Watch says. Sri Lanka’s inspector general has ordered police to arrest those who “criticize” officials involved in the coronavirus response, or share “fake” or “malicious” messages about the pandemic. READ HERE

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