Ossigeno Media News Review – March 24th, 2020

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

GENEVA / WASHINGTON / VIENNA – Governments must promote and protect access to and free flow of information during COVID-19 pandemic, say international media freedom experts. A joint statement was issued on March 19 by the monitors for freedom of expression and freedom of the media for the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), and OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Read here

BRUSSELS – The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is strongly concerned about the cost-cutting measures (salary cuts, unilateral reductions in working conditions, etc.) imposed on journalists and media workers by some media companies because of the Coronavirus crisis, and calls on European and national political authorities to protect the social status of employed and self-employed journalists. Read here  

NEW YORK – Human Righs Watch issued a Report about the COVID-19 crisis which also deals with freedom of expression. A rights-respecting response to COVID-19 needs to ensure that accurate and up-to-date information about the virus, access to services and other aspects of the response to the outbreak is readily available and accessible to all, it says. In a number of countries, governments took actions against journalists and healthcare workers, it added. Read here 

TORONTO – IFEX highlights the initiative “Free them all: COVID-19 outbreak sparks calls for releasing prisoners of conscience across MENA region”, amid concerns of the virus impacting thousands in overcrowded prison cells across the Middle Eastern and North African region.  The Gulf Centre for Human Rights singles out the condition of prisoners in  Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Read here

LONDON – Index of Censorship created a monitoring map to track media violations during the coronavirus crisis.  The map showed detention and arrests in China and Egypt, and various forms of restrictions and surveillance in the US, Russia, Thailand, South Africa. Read here

LEIPZIG – The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) urges European leaders to respect freedom of expression during the corona crisis. Independent journalistic work plays a crucial role in pandemics and European leaders should not exploit emergency measures to legitimise restrictions on press and media freedom in any way. Read here

LONDON -The Government of Iran has failed to commit itself to undertaking the vital reforms needed to protect freedom of expression and civic space, during the adoption of its Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, ARTICLE 19 said. Read here

WASHINGTON – Beijing dismisses Chinese news assistants working for U.S.  news organizations in Beijing, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. The dismissals of at least seven Chinese Nationals came after China announced measures on March 17 that would lead to the expulsion of at least 13 U.S. citizens who worked as correspondents at The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journa and The Washington Post. Read here

PARIS – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) accuses the Egyptian authorities of abusing their powers by withdrawing a Guardian reporter’s press credentials and issuing a warning to a New York Times reporter for questioning the official figures for coronavirus cases in Egypt. Read here

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