Venezuela: Armed group accuses Globovisión of hiring paramilitaries to create mayhem

Venezuelan TV channel Globovisión have been accused of hiring paramilitary men to be involved in armed stand-offs on 10 March, resulting in two deaths. Members of armed group Colectivo La Piedrita went to the offices of Globovisión to accuse the station of hiring paramilitaries to “promote violence” and blame them for the deaths of two former members of the group. Appearing with the hearses of the deceased group members, Colectivo demanded authorities investigate the deaths. The group also accused “Ultimas Noticias” newspaper of engaging in a “terrorist-media campaign” operating via social networks.



Syria: Foreign media threatened, journalists missing

Arab and foreign media who are in Syria “illegally” are being threatened by the information ministry. On 9 March, authorities threatened to take measures against Arab and foreign journalists who have entered the country “illegally” and against anyone cooperating with them. The minister accused journalists of fabricating reports, complicity with terrorists and suggested that covering the activities of those terrorists justified their crimes. Two Turkish journalists, Adem Ozkose, Middle East correspondent for Gercek Hayat magazine and columnist for newspaper Milat, and cameraman Hamit Coskun, who crossed into Syria a week ago, have been missing for four days.

Liberia: Reporting on genital mutilation draws threats

A female journalist has been threatened with genital mutilation after exposing the practice in Liberia. Mae Azango, a reporter for the daily newspaper FrontPage Africa and news website New Narratives was forced into hiding after receiving threatening phone-calls, saying “they will catch me and cut me so that will make me shut up”. Azango published an article on Thursday about Liberian tribes practicing female genital mutilation on as many as two out of every three girls in the country. Several people confronted the journalist about the article, and it was widely discussed on radio programmes.

Azerbaijan: Journalist threatened with blackmail

An award-winning journalist in Azerbaijan has been threatened with blackmail. Khadija Ismayilova received photographs of an intimate nature with a threatening note saying unless she stops “behaving improperly”, she will be “defamed.” Ismayilova, who has caused public scandal by writing investigative articles exposing corruption among high-ranking Azerbaijani officials and their families, said on Facebook that the threat was not a surprise to her. The journalist has been targeted by pro-government forces in previous incidents.