Monday, September 01, 2008

Larisa Alexandrovna: "Freedom Of The Press...Where?" US Shows It Can Lead Pack In Silencing Press

Freedom of the Press... where?

I have taken a couple of days of vacation only to return to total mayhem. How total? Well, let me just say that I don't even know where to begin. Let us then begin with the obvious and horrible:

Magomed Yevloyev - Russia

NAZRAN, Russia: More than 1,000 people gathered in Russia's troubled Ingushetia region Monday to protest the death of Magomed Yevloyev, a leading journalist and opposition leader who was shot over the weekend while in police custody.

Yevloyev, owner of the opposition Internet site, was the most high-profile Russian journalist to be killed since the investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya was shot outside her Moscow apartment in October 2006.

The police said he had been shot by accident when he tried to grab an officer's gun.

His supporters and human rights groups said they did not believe that version of events.

Yevloyev had often clashed with Ingushetia's Kremlin-backed leader, Murat Zyazikov, and officials had tried to close down his Internet site.

Amy Goodman - USA

Perhaps most extraordinarily, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now -- the radio and TV broadcaster who has been a working journalist for close to 20 years -- was arrested on the street and charged with "conspiracy to riot." Audio of her arrest, which truly shocked and angered the crowd of observers, is here. I just attended a Press Conference with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Police Chief John M. Harrington and -- after they boasted of how "restrained" their police actions were -- asked about the journalists and lawyers who had been detained and/or arrested both today and over the weekend. They said they wouldn't give any information about journalists who had been arrested today, though they said they believed that "one journalist" had been, and that she "was seemingly a participant in the riots, not simply a non-participant." I'll have video of the Press Conference posted shortly.

Vlad Teichberg - USA

Vlad Teichberg, a journalist from Glassbead, reports being detained at 2 am in Minneapolis on August 27th. Notes, computers, cameras, cell phones, clothing, and money were confiscated by police.

NLG attorney Bruce Nestor reports the media group was originally told they were being investigated for recent car burglaries in the neighborhood. They were then questioned about their travel plans. All of the detainees declined consent to a search of their property, but the cops searched those belongings anyway. Later, Nestor was told that he and others were detained for trespassing on railroad property.

Some of the material illegally seized by Minneapolis police last week in "an intelligence operation" contained information regarding other protest groups, including organizers' names and phone numbers, as well as their schedules and meeting and protest locations. Nestor correctly predicted that the police would use such information to conduct future raids, and further prevent Constitutionally protected protest over the next week.

Abdul Hamid Adiamoh - Gambia

Abdul Hamid Adiamoh, publisher and editor of Today, a privately-owned, Banjul-based newspaper was arrested for the third time on August 26, 2008 and held overnight at a police station in Serrekunda, Gambia’s second largest city.
Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that Adiamoh was granted bail on August 27, by the Kanifing Magistrate court in the sum of 200,000 Gambian Dalasis (approx, 9,500US$) and one surety.

The reason for Adiamoh’s criminal charges was that his newspaper published an article and photographs about some Gambian children who often abandoned school to search for metal scraps in waste dumps.

Adiamoh, a Nigerian, who has been charged with “publishing with seditious intention”, will reappear in court on September 10.

Now I am still going through my emails, but this is in the first 4 emails I got. So far, the US is leading the pack over this weekend, with the RNC perhaps showing off that the US too can compete on the world stage when it comes to silencing the press...


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