World News Missed in October

Hong Kong, October 5

Hong Kong Press Freedom in Question As Financial Times  Journalist Denied Visa

Hong Kong refused to renew the work visa of Victor Mallet, Asia news editor at the Financial Times.

Mallet is also a member and former acting president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC), which was condemned in August by government officials in China and Hong Kong for hosting pro-independence activist Andy Chan.

Chan was the founder of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, which was formally banned by Hong Kong authorities in September. The FCC claimed it did not endorse or rebuff Chan’s political views and was only interested in promoting freedom of expression.

The Financial Times said, “This is the first time we have encountered this situation in Hong Kong. We have not been given a reason for the rejection.”

Morocco, October 24

Masaktach – Campaign Against Sexual Harassment Launches in Morocco

Moroccan women have used social media to create their own #MeToo movement, which they call Masaktach, meaning “I will not be silent.”

The movement began following a series of sexual violence including the kidnap and rape of a young girl named Khadija. She was taken in June and tortured for two months. Shortly after, Moroccan pop star Saad Lamjarred was arrested for the third time for sexual assault in France.

“It’s via the hashtag #Masaktach that hundreds of tweets have called Moroccan radio stations, Hit Radio in the lead, to stop broadcasting the songs of the pop star,” said a member of the  #Masaktach campaign.

Zineb Belmkaddem, one of the organizers of the movement, said, “We began the campaign to raise the voices of women and point to how they had been either ignored or silenced and even attacked.”

Myanmar, October 26

Myanmar Court Frees Journalists on Bail in Incitement Case

Myanmar freed three journalists from Eleven Media on bail after they were arrested for publishing an article critiquing government spending.

Dozens of journalists have been prosecuted over the course of a few months including Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who uncovered mass graves of Rohingya Muslims.

“As a reporter, I wrote my articles based on true information,” said reporter Phyo Wai Win upon release.

The next court date is November 9. Win and fellow journalists, Kyaw Zaw Lin and Nayi Min, could face two years in prison for violating Section 505 (b) of the country’s colonial-era penal code, which “prohibits publishing information that may cause fear or alarm, that could cause someone to commit an offense or disrupt public tranquility.”

Though the temporary release is seen as a win in the international community, human rights groups are still concerned that the arrest in and of itself is just another indication of the declining press freedom in Myanmar.

South Africa, October 31

African Investigative Journalists Say Threats Mounting — from Near and Far

While the role of journalists is invaluable all over the world, the job is particularly demanding in Africa where reporters are underpaid, censored, threatened and assassinated.

“There’s a tale of repression, assassination, harassment, jailing,” said South African journalism professor Anton Harber. “It’s pretty rough out there.”

Press freedom advocacy groups have raised concern over the years about journalists’ safety in this region. Reporters Without Borders said Somalia is the deadliest country for reporters in sub-Saharan Africa and the Committee to Protect Journalists said the government in Tanzania has used legislation to harass journalists.

According to VOA, despite the danger, journalists such as Muno Gedi continue to shed light on relevant issues including female genital mutilation, the sale of international food aid in refugee camps, and conflict between Somali clans and militant groups.

“I think the investigative journalism in the world is always risky, especially Somalia; it is a risky area,” she said. “So when you work for the investigative journalism in Somalia, it’s not easy.”


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