NEWS

Index Index – International free speech roundup 16/01/13
16 Jan 13

A Bangladeshi blogger is in critical condition after being stabbed by three unknown attackers on 14 January in Dhaka, the country’s capital. Asif Mohiuddin, 29, is the author of a blog about atheism widely read in Bangladesh. His posts often satirise religion, with one post referring to god as “almighty only in name but impotent in reality.” Press reports have referred to Mohiuddin as a “militant blogger”, although there is no suggestion that his work incited violence. Shortly after the attack, the South Asian Meeting on Internet and Freedom of Expression was held in Dhaka, and participants called on the government to protect journalist’s human rights under the constitution of Bangladesh, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Siam Sarower Jamil - Demotix

     – Blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed on 14 January

Nigerian newspaper editor was shot dead on 12 January. Ikechukwu Udendu was killed in the southeastern city of Onithsa by an unknown assailant, who then phoned the victim’s brother to instruct him to collect the dead body. The editor was on his way to supervise the printing of the mothly newspaper Anambra News when he was attacked. Arrests and attacks on the Nigerian media are frequent but rarely resolved. On 26 April 2012, the offices of daily newspapers in the cities of Abuja and Kaduna were bombed.

Last week saw widespread attacks on the media in Greece, after bombs were placed outside of the homes of five journalists on 11 January. Homemade devices were used to carry out arson attacks on Chris Konstas, Antonis Liaros, George Oikonomeas, Petros Karsiotis and Antonis Skyllakos, members of the Journalists’ Union of Athens Daily Newspapers. Anarchist group Lovers of Lawlessness said they committed the attacks in protest against the journalists for allegedly covering the government favourably since the financial crisis began in 2009.

An editor of investigative weekly Alaan Magazine has been charged with defamation in Morocco, after alleging that a government official had ordered champagne to his hotel room during a business trip. Youssef Jajili printed a hotel receipt under Minister of Manufacture and Trade Abdelkader Amara’s name, which charged him for the alcohol while he was away at the expense of taxpayers. Amara denied the claim, saying that someone had ordered the champagne while he was out of the room. Jajili will appear in court on 28 January, and faces one year imprisonment and if found guilty under section 52 of Morocco’s defamation laws. Even though alcohol is widely available in Morocco, it is forbidden to followers of Islam, who make up the majority of the country.

On 15 January, Facebook announced a new format to its search facilities: “graph search”. The new tool will allow users to search for specific content, people, or images on the site. Critics suggest that the move could undermine Facebook’s privacy policy and allow users less control over their personal information, but Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the graph search is “privacy aware,” since the new tool will only search content already shared with the user.