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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Abid Hussain, submitted in accordance with Commission resolution 1999/36

E/CN.4/2000/63

          
          UNITED
          NATIONS
          Economic and Social
          Council
          COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
          Fifty-sixth session
          Item 11(c) of the provisional agenda
          Distr.
          GENERAL
          E/CN.4/2000/63
          18 January 2000
          ENGLISH
          Original: ENGLISHIFRENCHI
          SPANISH
          CIVIL ANI) POLITICAL RIGHTS INCLUDING THE QUESTION OF:
          FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
          Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection
          of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Abid Hussain,
          submitted in accordance with Commission resolution 1999/36
          CONTENTS
          Paragraphs
          Executive summary
          Introduction 1
          I. TERMS OF REFERENCE 2
          II. ACTIVITIES 3 - 19
          III. ISSUES 20 - 58
          A. Trends 20-41
          B. Access to information 42 - 44
          C. Criminal libel and defamation 45 - 52
          D. The police and the criminal justice system 53
          E. The new technologies 54 - 58
          Page
          4
          6
          6
          6
          9
          9
          15
          16
          19
          19
          E
          GE.00-10259 (E)
        
          
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          CONTENTS ( continued)
          Paragraphs Page
          IV. COUNTRY SITUATIONS 59- 202 21
          Angola 59- 60 21
          Azerbaijan 61 - 62 21
          Bahrain 63 - 64 22
          Bangladesh 65 - 66 22
          Belarus 67 - 73 23
          Bosnia and Herzegovina 74 - 75 24
          Bulgaria 76 - 77 24
          Chad 78-79 25
          Chile 80-81 25
          China 82 - 90 26
          Colombia 91 -95 27
          Côte d'Ivoire 96 - 98 28
          Cuba 99 - 104 29
          Democratic Republic of the Congo 105- 110 30
          Djibouti 111-112 32
          Equatorial Guinea 113- 114 32
          Iran, Islamic Republic of 115 - 120 33
          Ireland 121 34
          Israel 122 - 125 34
          Japan 126 35
          Jordan 127- 129 35
          Kenya 130- 131 36
          Kuwait 132- 136 36
          Lebanon 137- 139 37
          Malaysia 140 - 144 38
          Mexico 145 - 156 39
          Myanmar 157- 160 42
          Nigeria 161 - 163 43
          Pakistan 164- 166 44
          Peru 167- 168 44
          Republic of Korea 169 - 172 45
          Sudan 173 45
          Syrian Arab Republic 174 - 177 46
          Togo 178- 181 46
          Tunisia 182 47
          Turkey 183 - 189 48
          Turkmenistan 190 - 192 49
        
          
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          CONTENTS ( continued)
          Paragraphs Page
          IV. COUNTRY SITUATIONS ( continued )
          United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 193 49
          Yemen 194- 196 50
          Zambia 197- 198 50
          Zimbabwe 199-200 51
          Palestine 201 - 202 51
          V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 203 - 210 52
          Annexes
          I. International mechanisms for promoting freedom of expression 54
          II. The public's right to know: Principles on Freedom of Information
          Legislation 56
        
          
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          Executive summary
          This report is the seventh report presented by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion
          and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Abid Hussain, pursuant to
          Commission resolution 1999/36 of 26 April 1999. The report contains the activities undertaken
          by the Special Rapporteur, a discussion of pressing issues, a brief summary of urgent appeals and
          communications to and from Governments as well as final conclusions and recommendations.
          With regard to the country situations, the Special Rapporteur has sent 11 allegations and
          56 urgent actions during the year. It is significant to note that the Special Rapporteur has
          increasingly joined with other thematic and geographical mechanisms (Special Rapporteur on the
          question of torture, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,
          Chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Special Rapporteur on independence of
          judges and lawyers, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and
          consequences, and Special Rapporteur on the right to education).
          During the year under review, the Special Rapporteur has increased cooperation with
          other United Nations agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. He has
          attended an international workshop on media law reform in Nigeria (16-18 March 1999), two
          round tables organized by the Government of Canada (June 1999), a meeting with journalists and
          ministers from Nepal (30-3 1 August 1999), the International Colloquium on the Freedom of
          Expression and Defamation organized by Article 19 - the International Centre against
          Censorship (Colombo, 15-17 September 1999). Moreover, increased cooperation with United
          Nations bodies was gained during World Press Freedom Day organized by UNESCO (3 May
          1999) in Colombia, a working meeting held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris (29 October
          1999) as well as a meeting with the Organization of American States Special Rapporteur on
          freedom of expression and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
          Representative on freedom of the media (25-26 November 1999).
          An essential aspect of the mandate involves country visits. From 20 to
          26 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur undertook a mission to the Sudan. He also visited
          Ireland from 18 to 22 October 1999 and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
          Northern Ireland from 24 to 29 October 1999. Finally, the Special Rapporteur undertook a
          mission to Tunisia from 6 to 11 December 1999. The Special Rapporteur also requested the
          Governments of Albania, Argentina, China, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,
          Egypt, Indonesia, Peru, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam to invite him to visit
          their countries, but he regrets that invitations have not so far been received.
          The report also identifies “trends” on the basis of the communications received (more
          than 1,500 annually from a variety of sources) that will encourage Governments to review
          practices and take remedial action when required. The Special Rapporteur also directs the
          attention of Governments to a number of issues of concern and urges them to review existing
          legislation or adopt new legislation, for example on access to information, criminal libel and
          defamation, the police and the criminal justice system, and their approach to new technologies.
          The Special Rapporteur concludes the report with his recommendations. As the right to
          freedom of opinion and expression is violated regularly in States with widely different political
          and institutional frameworks, he urges Governments to scrutinize their domestic legal systems to
        
          
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          bring them in line with international standards. The Special Rapporteur also encourages
          Governments to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
          International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to amend criminal laws which
          may be used to infringe article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to ensure
          that press offences are no longer punishable by imprisonment. The Special Rapporteur also
          invites Governments to promote a policy of free access to information with particular regard to
          the Internet. The Special Rapporteur also expresses his deep concern at the continuing silencing
          of women and calls upon Governments to remove all obstacles to the exercise of their full right
          to freedom of opinion and expression. Finally, the Special Rapporteur recommends to
          Governments, in the light of the continuing pattern of violations of the right to freedom of
          opinion and expression of human rights defenders, to implement the provisions of the
          Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to
          Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
          (General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 9 December 1998, annex).
        
          
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          Introduction
          1. The present report is the seventh report presented by Mr. Abid Hussain (India), the
          Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and
          expression. The mandate was established by Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/45
          of 5 March 1993. This report is submitted pursuant to resolution 1999/36, which also renewed
          the mandate for three years. Section I of the present report contains the terms of reference for
          the discharge of the mandate. Section II presents an account of the activities undertaken within
          the framework of his mandate in the past year. Section III provides a brief discussion on a
          number of issues which the Special Rapporteur considers to be important for the development of
          the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Section IV contains brief summaries of urgent
          appeals and communications to and from Governments, along with observations of the
          Special Rapporteur. Lastly, section V contains the conclusions and recommendations of the
          Special Rapporteur.
          I. TERMS OF REFERENCE
          2. The Special Rapporteur refers to his previous reports as regards the mandate and methods
          of work adopted by him. The structure of the present report is along the same lines as the
          previous report. The main body of issues includes an analysis of communications received by
          the Special Rapporteur (in order to highlight trends), access to information, concerns relating to
          criminal libel and defamation, the police and the criminal justice system, as well as the role of
          the new information technologies.
          II. ACTIVITIES
          3. During the period under review, the Special Rapporteur sent 11 allegations and 56 urgent
          actions. Seeking to avoid unnecessary duplication of the activities of the other thematic
          special rapporteurs and country-specific rapporteurs, the Special Rapporteur has joined during
          the past year with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture on 4 cases of allegations
          (Azerbaijan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe) and on 12 cases of urgent
          appeals (Belarus, 3 for China, Myanmar, 1 for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2 for the
          Syrian Arab Republic, 2 for Togo, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Zambia). The Special
          Rapporteur also joined with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
          executions on 14 cases of urgent actions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2 for China, 2 for Colombia,
          1 for the Islamic Republic of Iran, 7 for Mexico, 1 for Peru). In the course of the year, 11 urgent
          actions were written jointly with the Chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
          (Bahrain, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, 2 for China, Israel, Kenya, 2 for Nigeria, Palestine, Syrian Arab
          Republic), 1 case ofjoint urgent action with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of
          judges and lawyers (Babrain), 2 cases ofjoint urgent action with the Special Rapporteur on
          violence against women (China, Pakistan) and 1 case ofjoint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on the right to education (Malaysia). Moreover, the Special Rapporteur also joined
          with the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the
          Congo (3 urgent actions) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (3 urgent actions).
          4. The Special Rapporteur has received a large number of allegations concerning cases of
          violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in 1999. As was the case in previous
        
          
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          years, the Special Rapporteur was only able to deal with a limited number of requests for
          information from some Governments, owing to the insufficient financial and human resources to
          fulfil his mandate in the manner he would deem appropriate. The matters raised in previous
          reports to the Commission on Human Rights regarding the circumstances of work
          (E/CN.4/1995/32, paras. 92-95; E/CN.4/1996/39, para. 6; E/CN.4/1997/31, para. 7;
          E/CN.4/1998/40, para. 3 and E/CN.4/1999/64, para. 3) unfortunately remain a matter of great
          concern. The mandate requires a substantially increased pool of resources. Within the current
          constraints, the Special Rapporteur has engaged in an exchange of views with Governments only
          with regard to a limited number of cases, which are discussed in section IV.
          5. It should thus be emphasized that the countries discussed in the respective sections in no
          way reflect the extent of the problem worldwide, as indeed violations of this right take place in
          almost every country in spite of the emergence of an increasing number of national institutions
          which are working for the promotion and protection of human rights.
          6. Closer cooperation is engaged by the Special Rapporteur with treaty bodies and human
          rights field operations, as well as with other specialized bodies within the United Nations system
          and regional intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations, particularly at the local
          level, concerned with the right to freedom of expression. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur
          noted with great satisfaction that the number of meetings and seminars he attended and had been
          invited to had tripled over the past year.
          7. From 16 to 18 March 1999, the Special Rapporteur attended in Abuja an international
          workshop on media law reform in Nigeria organized by Media Rights Agenda (MRA), a
          non-governmental organization based in Nigeria, and Article 19 - the International Centre
          against Censorship, together with the National Human Rights Commission.
          8. In June 1999, he was invited by the Government of Canada to Ottawa where two round
          tables were organized: one governmental, with the participation of representatives of the
          Ministries for Foreign Affairs and Justice as well as the Canadian International Development
          Agency (CIDA), the second a gathering of Canadian NGOs.
          9. On 30 and 31 August 1999, the Special Rapporteur went to Nepal where he had the
          opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister, government ministers and journalists from that
          country. Matters relating to freedom of speech and writing as well as the need to set up a
          national commission for human rights were discussed.
          10. The Special Rapporteur had also the opportunity to participate in the International
          Colloquium on Freedom of Expression and Defamation organized by Article 19 in Colombo
          from 15 to 17 September 1999.
          11. In regard to cooperation with intergovernmental organizations, the Special Rapporteur
          collaborated very closely with Mr. Alain Modoux, Assistant-Director-General and head of the
          Unit for Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace of the United Nations Educational,
          Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), who made a statement during the debate
          on item 11(c) of the fifty-fifth session of the Commission on Human Rights. The
          Special Rapporteur was also invited by UNESCO to World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 1999
        
          
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          in Bogota and to a working meeting held in Paris on 29 October 1999 with a view to exchanging
          information and enhancing cooperation. The Special Rapporteur thus made concrete
          recommendations in his mission reports this year (see report on the mission to the Sudan,
          E/CN.4/2000/63/Add. 1, the report on the mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
          Northern Ireland, E/CN.4/2000/63/Add.3, and the report on the mission to Tunisia,
          E/CN.4/2000/63/Add.4) to encourage the use of UNESCO 's expertise in the field of media
          legislation and the training ofjournalists in coordination with the programme of technical
          cooperation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
          12. A meeting was also organized by Article 19 in London on 25 and 26 November 1999
          which brought together for the first time the Special Rapporteur, Abid Hussain; Freimut Duve,
          the OSCE Representative on freedom of the media; and Santiago Canton, the OAS
          Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression. During that meeting, which was designed to
          promote dialogue not only between the special appointees but also with non-governmental
          organizations working in the field, a joint declaration was issued, setting out the key ways in
          which Governments should move to guarantee that individuals enjoy the right to freedom of
          expression, opinion and information (see annex 1). The Special Rapporteur is convinced that
          such exchanges of experience and increased cooperation with these mechanisms are essential to
          realize the right to freedom of opinion and expression in all parts of the world. This is the reason
          why he decided, together with the two other mechanisms, to meet on a more regular basis to
          discuss their mandates and ways of working in areas of importance.
          13. From 26 to 28 May 1999, the Special Rapporteur was invited to attend a workshop on
          gender integration into the human rights system organized by the Office of the High
          Commissioner for Human Rights. As Chairman of the meeting, he found this initiative very
          useful for the special mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights and took that
          opportunity to recall that the gender issue is considered with specific attention in his annual and
          mission reports.
          14. lii this regard, he held further meetings with the Special Rapporteur on violence against
          women, its causes and consequences, in order to continue to pay particular attention, as
          requested by the Commission on Human Rights in resolution 1999/36, to the situation of
          women and the relationship between the effective promotion and protection of the right to
          freedom of opinion and expression and incidents of discrimination based on sex, creating
          obstacles for women with regard to their right to seek, receive and impart information. The
          Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate his regrets that constraints of time and resources limited
          the extent to which the work could be jointly undertaken with the Special Rapporteur on violence
          against women. This remains an area of critical importance to him and he sincerely hopes that in
          the near future more deliberate efforts can be made in this area.
          15. Additionally, the Special Rapporteur attended the sixth meeting of special
          rapporteurs/representatives, experts and chairpersons of working groups of the special
          procedures and advisory services programme, held in Geneva from 31 May to 3 June 1999.
          16. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur visited Geneva from 8 to 14 April 1999 for
          consultations and to present his report to the Commission on Human Rights at its
          fifty-fifth session. During this period, the Special Rapporteur held a press conference and
        
          
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          organized a briefing for NGOs which was very well attended. He also met with various
          delegations, in particular representatives of the Government of Canada and ambassadors from
          France, Malaysia, Hungary and the Islamic Republic of Iran. He discussed his intention to
          undertake field visits with the Permanent Representatives of the Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia,
          Egypt and Peru and with representatives of Cuba and the Russian Federation.
          17. Finally, the Special Rapporteur considers the carrying out of country visits to be an
          essential element of the mandate. From 20 to 26 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur
          undertook a mission to the Sudan. He then visited the Republic of Ireland from 18 to
          22 October 1999, followed by a visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
          Northern Ireland from 24 to 29 October 1999. Finally, the Special Rapporteur undertook a
          mission to Tunisia from 6 to 11 December 1999. For these four visits, he has submitted separate
          reports to the Commission at its current session (E/CN.4/2000/63/Add.1, 2, 3 and 4).
          18. During the year under review, the Special Rapporteur has sent reminders regarding his
          wish to undertake a visit to Albania, Argentina, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,
          Egypt, Indonesia, Peru, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam to examine in situ the realization of the right to
          freedom of opinion and expression. In this regard, he regrets that invitations have not so far been
          received from those countries. Moreover, the Special Rapporteur has also sent additional official
          requests to visit China, Cuba and the Russian Federation. On 5 July 1999, the Government of
          China informed the Special Rapporteur that the request was under careful consideration.
          19. The Special Rapporteur would like to reiterate that the role of non-governmental
          organizations in furthering the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and
          expression cannot be overestimated. Indeed, it is those organizations which spearhead these
          concerns and are forcefully advocating, monitoring and lobbying for human rights. Some of
          them have gone out of their way to volunteer their time to help the Special Rapporteur in his
          missions. The Special Rapporteur wishes to express his special thanks to Article 19, the
          hiternational Centre Against Censorship, which continues to provide information and material
          relevant to the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression to the
          Special Rapporteur.
          III. ISSUES
          A. Trends
          20. The Special Rapporteur has noted a number of characteristics common to the violations
          reported to him in the framework of his mandate and believes that it would be helpful to consider
          what may be called “trends”. It is his hope that the identification of these trends will encourage
          Governments to review practices and take remedial action where required. It is also hoped that
          this work will assist the OHCHR in developing programmes of technical assistance for interested
          Governments which will accelerate the process of eliminating the causes of violations of
          freedom of opinion and expression and associated rights.
          21. The Special Rapporteur receives more than 1,500 communications annually from a
          variety of sources: international, regional, national and local non-governmental organizations;
          associations of media professionals; trade unions; members of opposition political parties;
        
          
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          human rights defenders and activists; concerned individuals and others. It must be stated that
          resource constraints do not permit the Special Rapporteur to respond to, or act upon every one of
          the communications received. These constraints also make it difficult, if not impossible, to
          verify the facts presented in each and every case in order to determine what, if any, action would
          be appropriate. That being said, however, it can be stated that these communications are not
          confined to alleged violations of the rights to opinion, expression and access to information in
          countries in which the political system and institutional arrangements are implicitly or explicitly
          undemocratic. It is true, however, that the preponderance of allegations refer to situations where:
          (a) the legal and institutional protections and guarantees of human rights are, to a greater or
          lesser degree, circumscribed; or (b) situations of internal armed conflict or severe civil unrest
          exist. Nonetheless, it is important to note that allegations also refer to incidents and instances in
          which these rights are infringed or violated in both emerging democracies and countries with
          long-established democratic institutions, practices and traditions.
          22. While some of the communications refer to the same individual case or event or a series
          of cases in the same country, the majority of them do not. From this, one can only conclude that
          violations of the rights to opinion, expression, access to information, assembly and association
          are rampant and may, at any given time, occur anywhere in the world.
          23. The Special Rapporteur acknowledges that in a number of countries independent media,
          professional or collegial associations and non-governmental organizations have been allowed to
          form and function. In such cases, there may well be a need for training and guidance on, for
          example, raising professional standards and important skills such as how to develop and thrive in
          a self-regulating environment. It is the Special Rapporteur's strongly held view that
          Governments should create and permit an enabling environment in which training and
          professional development of media persons can be organized and carried out without fear of
          legal, criminal or administrative sanction by the State.
          24. From communications received in the past year regarding repression of, or infringement
          upon freedom of opinion and expression and the exercise of associated rights, it appeared that in
          several cases measures or actions were taken by the State, its agents, or an organized non-State
          entity for reasons such as: (a) out of fear - for example, to cover up wrongdoings and crimes
          against the people; (b) as a manifestation of an exaggerated sensitivity to criticism of either a
          professional or personal nature; (c) in aid of the pursuit U by an individual, group, organization
          or institution U of wealth, privilege and power by any and all means; (d) intolerance of any
          individual, group or organization perceived to be obstructing such pursuit; (e) out of arrogance or
          the “might is right” way of thinking in which criticism or inquiry is not tolerated.
          25. With these points in mind, the Special Rapporteur directs the attention to the following
          general trends in terms of violations of freedom of opinion and expression and associated rights.
        
          
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          1. Governments taking action sui moto
          26. There are cases when Governments characterize media and others seeking to exercise
          freedom of opinion and expression as, for example, “unpatriotic”, “inciting treason”,
          “denigrating the Government”, “inciting nationalist xenophobia”, propagating “immoral”,
          “extremist and divisive ideas”. The response of the authorities, on the basis of these and other
          characterizations, have included, inter alia : a blackout on reports of civil strife in the country;
          criminalization of reporting on draft evasion, including the cancellation of licences to publish
          and broadcast; a ban on cultural magazines; warnings against, and suspension of publications - in
          one case for having published “too many” reports of a “political nature”; a ban on all
          independent media in a disputed territory; revocation ofjournalists' licences without reason;
          expulsion offoreign journalists, without explanation; cancellation of a publishing licence for a
          newsletter that focused on human rights violations and other issues related to human rights;
          seizure without explanation of copies of a foreign-based weekly; suspension of broadcasting
          rights on the basis that previous programming incited prejudice between religions; closure of a
          radio station that reported on irregularities and nepotism in the public administration; banning of
          newspapers and books considered, for example, “insulting to the military” or guilty of having
          published “false and malicious articles”; the ban of a moderate newspaper calling for abolition of
          the death penalty; expulsion of foreign journalists for having sought “to tarnish the image of the
          country”. Communications also indicate that at various times, Governments have threatened to:
          “resort to physical torture” against personnel of independent media that did not support it in a
          conflict against an armed group or file court cases against journalists and newspapers that
          publish “lies”.
          2. Detention or arrest, bringing of charges, trial and sentencing
          27. It can be stated that the legal actions taken against journalists and other individuals
          seeking to exercise their rights to opinion, expression and information remain of epidemic
          proportion. Publishers, editors, journalists and activists have been arrested, charged, tried and/or
          sentenced for, inter alia : an unpublished article that was said to be a “call to social disorder”;
          “disturbing public order”; “insulting the head of State”; “distribution and disclosure of false
          news”; revealing State secrets by publishing classified documents that were embarrassing to the
          ruling party; caricaturing the State religion; publishing “false and insulting information”;
          publishing “slanderous material, disturbing public opinion and exposing military secrets”;
          publishing an “alarming article” related to activities of a clique of powerful politicians who were
          funding clashes between clans; regular publication of articles on police corruption,
          high-handedness and cases of extortion; publishing an article about police torture of a prisoner;
          refusal to reveal sources; publication of an article critical of the justice system; disclosure of
          arms purchases by the Government and the statement that this action could threaten the peace
          process.
          28. Criminal penalties have been imposed on a number of grounds, including: libel of a
          member of Parliament; libel of a private individual; responsibility for public disorder and acts of
          sabotage; defamation, following publication of stories on corruption; “compromising State
          security”; slander of the national police; establishment ofajournalists' union without
          government permission; fraud and impersonating ajournalist; teaching of a banned religion,
          constituting a crime against national security; publication of an article contrary to the press laws
        
          
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          and “potentially harmful to the morale of the armed forces”; contempt of court, following
          comments about the judiciary and its corruption during a television broadcast; publication of
          criticism of the Government.
          29. Actions against activists and human rights defenders also included, inter alia : arrest for
          having circulated a petition calling for constitutional change; seizure of all copies of, and
          prohibition on a book on corruption involving judges and civil servants; arrest of pro-democracy
          activists and dissidents; efforts to suppress discussion of the social and environmental costs of a
          controversial irrigation and hydroelectric project; expulsion of student leaders from various
          universities and institutions of higher learning; accusations of membership in an unauthorized
          association, distribution of illegal leaflets, insulting the authorities, holding unauthorized
          meetings; charge, trial and conviction for having written a book about massacres of civilians, in
          violation of the anti-terror law.
          3. Repressive measures in consonance with provisions in press, media and other laws
          30. In a number of cases, the punitive and repressive measures taken by the authorities are
          “legal” inasmuch as there are laws regulating expression, access to information, assembly and
          association. It must be stated, however, that the legal character of these actions is profoundly at
          odds with the standards set out in international human rights instruments, most notably the
          Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which applies to all States, without exception, by virtue
          of their being a Member of the United Nations, and the International Covenant on Civil and
          Political Rights, which applies to all States that have ratified or acceded to it.
          31. There are laws that penalize, inter alia : disclosure of information of importance to the
          State; slander of high-level officials of the Government, the armed forces, the judiciary and the
          clergy; “disturbing public order”; revealing business secrets; contempt of the police; insult to the
          military. Other laws have the effect of, for example: withdrawing the right ofjournalists to
          protect sources; banning free discussion of many vaguely defined topics (e.g. the national
          constitution in whole or in part); banning a large number of categories of so-called “hate
          speech”; banning alleged pornography; conferring on the State the power to control and/or
          dissolve non-governmental organizations considered to have exceeded their mandate or breached
          a broad range of boundaries; establishing a Government-imposed media council to replace
          independent, self-regulating councils; preventing press coverage of proceedings in publicly
          funded governing bodies; defining and restricting the role of news announcers; imposing a
          temporary ban for “frequent publication” of obscene or indecent material; limiting the practice of
          journalism only to those journalists who are members of one specific journalists' association;
          granting to family court judges the power to sanction journalists who publish information on a
          person's private life or physical disability.
          4. Harm to media personnel and others
          32. The excessive use of force by the police and other security forces has been consistently
          addressed by the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and on
          the question of torture. The communications received in the past year clearly point out the
        
          
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          dangers inherent in the profession ofjournalism and decisions by citizens to demonstrate
          peacefully either in support of or in opposition to Governments and other entities such as
          opposition political parties.
          33. In the past year, measures taken by the police and security forces have included actions
          against and causing injuries to journalists and photographers covering, for example: a strike
          called by the main opposition party; a protest march organized by a labour union; the
          swearing-in ceremony of the new President; the escort of otherjournalists, by police, to a
          magistrate's court; a clash between ethnic communities; a public meeting; a confrontation
          between municipal officers and street vendors; police treatment of protesters participating in a
          demonstration by Islamic activists; a union blockade and a rally organized by the opposition.
          34. Communications also referred to police violence againstjournalists in the context of, for
          example: articles written on criminal issues; publication of allegations of embezzlement by
          public authorities; published criticisms of human rights violations; coverage of sensitive
          domestic issues; attempts to publicize police harassment.
          35. Actions againstjournalists and others were also taken by various non-State actors that
          resulted in, inter alia : the mob killing of one journalist; death threats against a woman sculptor
          on the basis that in their culture sculpting is described as a sin; distribution of a pamphlet
          accusingjournalists and intellectuals of being enemies of the peace process; kidnapping by a
          rebel group; murder by militant members of a separatist movement; threats by an opposition
          leader to ban reporters from covering an election campaign; an attack on and occupation of a
          national radio building by armed attackers; the taking ofjournalists as hostages by rebels; a
          bomb attack causing the death of a journalist who was a secularist and critic of a certain religious
          movement.
          36. In addition to these types of actions by individuals or groups that were identified or
          publicly claimed responsibility, the communications received by the Special Rapporteur also
          related to violence or threats of violence by unknown persons or groups against members of the
          media and others. These cases included, for example: murder, possibly in response to published
          criticism of religious extremism; threats following reports of allegations of favouritism by senior
          government officials, fighting between government and guerrilla forces, police violence against
          civilians; threats following publication of articles about, or investigation into political corruption
          and corruption in prisons; murder of writers, journalists, poets and translators, in some cases
          possibly by rogue elements of security forces; murder following broadcast of programmes on
          such topics as corruption among political authorities, the police and military, and violence
          committed by terrorists and narcotraffickers; threats following harsh criticism of the
          Government; threats following publication of allegations of forgery and perjury; assault
          following publication of articles on illicit business deals involving persons in government and
          private companies.
          5. Academic freedom and public demonstrations
          37. While less numerous than communications related to violations against members of the
          media, the Special Rapporteur would also note actions taken by Governments in relation to
          academic freedom. Information was received about, for example: suppression of research on
        
          
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          such controversial topics as a national independence movement that was active in the past; a ban
          on campuses of any independent organizations that are considered political; refusal of
          permission to hold a seminar on human rights; State-supported harassment of independent
          libraries that were established to provide access to materials to which there is no access in State
          institutions; charges of having published a play that was considered blasphemous; charges
          against and conviction of the head of a political science department, who was also a contributor
          to a student magazine, for having defamed the religion of the State.
          38. With regard to public demonstrations, the Special Rapporteur not only underscores the
          frequency with which communications are received about the excessive use of force by police
          and security forces in response to demonstrations, marches and other manifestations, but notes
          such other concerns as: a requirement of prior notification; measures to prevent public
          commemoration of a major event; arrest of students demonstrating peacefully and calling for
          “freedom of thought and expression for all without exception”; arrest of labour leaders during a
          nationwide strike by civil servants and distribution of “Wanted” posters on more than 20 others;
          prosecution of workers for demonstrating in the streets and a verbal attack by a judge against a
          radio station reporting on the protests.
          6. Other concerns
          39. While less common than other types of communications, information was received by the
          Special Rapporteur on several other issues which are of concern. These included, inter alia , a
          case in which action was taken against a “whistle-blower” who revealed information on
          wrongdoing and non-disclosure of relevant personal information (bank holdings) by senior
          officials. Other communications referred to the State monopoly on radio and television, and the
          firing, apparently for political reasons, of employees of the State-owned broadcasting
          corporation who were characterized as “opposition supporters”. Concern has also been
          expressed about the practice in some States of releasing persons from prison or detention and
          ordering them to be held under house arrest with severe restrictions on their freedom of
          movement and their rights to opinion, expression and access to information.
          40. It will be recalled that in previous reports, the Special Rapporteur expressed his concern
          about the use and abuse of national security laws to suppress opinion, expression and
          information. Again, while less common than other types of information received,
          communications did refer to declarations of states of emergency, the effect of which was,
          inter alia , to forbid the printing, broadcasting or communicating of information which is seen to
          incite violence or to cause racial or communal disharmony; or forbid information “prejudicial” to
          the State or that is likely to cause “disaffection” with the Government or “hatred or contempt”
          for the administration of justice or national security.
          41. The Special Rapporteur cannot help but view with dismay the content of the
          communications received in the past year. Clearly, in several cases the rights to freedom of
          opinion, expression and information are violated in States with widely different political systems
          and institutional frameworks for governance. In a number of cases these rights do not enjoy
          even the minimum protections and guarantees set out in the Universal Declaration of Human
          Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and associated international
          human rights instruments.
        
          
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          B. Access to information
          42. In resolution 1999/36, the Commission on Human Rights invited the Special Rapporteur
          “to develop further his commentary on the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and
          ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, and to expand on his observations and
          recommendations arising from communications”. With this in mind, the Special Rapporteur
          wishes to state again that the right to seek, receive and impart information is not merely a
          corollary of freedom of opinion and expression; it is a right in and of itself As such, it is one of
          the rights upon which free and democratic societies depend. It is also a right that gives meaning
          to the right to participate which has been acknowledged as fundamental to, for example, the
          realization of the right to development.
          43. Clearly, there are a number of aspects of the right to information that require specific
          consideration. The Special Rapporteur wishes to emphasize in this report, therefore, his
          continuing concern about the tendency of Governments, and the institutions of Government, to
          withhold from the people information that is rightly theirs in that the decisions of Governments,
          and the implementation of policies by public institutions, have a direct and often immediate
          impact on their lives and may not be undertaken without their informed consent. The Special
          Rapporteur therefore endorses the set of principles that have been developed by the
          non-governmental organization Article 19 - the International Centre against Censorship (see
          annex II). These principles, entitled “The Public's Right to Know: Principles on Freedom of
          Information Legislation”, are based on international and regional law and standards, evolving
          State practice, and the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations.
          44. On that basis, the Special Rapporteur directs the attention of Governments to a number of
          areas and urges them either to review existing legislation or adopt new legislation on access to
          information and ensure its conformity with these general principles. Among the considerations
          of importance are:
          - Public bodies have an obligation to disclose information and every member of the public
          has a corresponding right to receive information; “information” includes all records held
          by a public body, regardless of the form in which it is stored;
          - Freedom of information implies that public bodies publish and disseminate widely
          documents of significant public interest, for example, operational information about how
          the public body functions and the content of any decision or policy affecting the public;
          - As a minimum, the law on freedom of information should make provision for public
          education and the dissemination of information regarding the right to have access to
          information; the law should also provide for a number of mechanisms to address the
          problem of a culture of secrecy within Government;
          - A refusal to disclose information may not be based on the aim to protect Governments
          from embarrassment or the exposure of wrongdoing; a complete list of the legitimate
          aims which may justify non-disclosure should be provided in the law and exceptions
          should be narrowly drawn so as to avoid including material which does not harm the
          legitimate interest;
        
          
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          - All public bodies should be required to establish open, accessible internal systems for
          ensuring the public's right to receive information; the law should provide for strict time
          limits for the processing of requests for information and require that any refusals be
          accompanied by substantive written reasons for the refusal(s);
          - The cost of gaining access to information held by public bodies should not be so high as
          to deter potential applicants and negate the intent of the law itself;
          - The law should establish a presumption that all meetings of governing bodies are open to
          the public;
          - The law should require that other legislation be interpreted, as far as possible, in a
          manner consistent with its provisions; the regime for exceptions provided for in the
          freedom of information law should be comprehensive and other laws should not be
          permitted to extend it;
          - Individuals should be protected from any legal, administrative or employment-related
          sanctions for releasing information on wrongdoing, viz, the commission of a criminal
          offence or dishonesty, failure to comply with a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice,
          corruption or dishonesty or serious failures in the administration of a public body.
          C. Criminal libel and defamation
          45. It will be recalled that in his report to the 1999 session of the Commission on Human
          Rights (E/CN.4/1999/64) the Special Rapporteur addressed the issue of criminal libel. It will
          also be recalled that in his report to the fifty-first session, the Special Rapporteur stated that, “the
          principle of proportionality must be strictly observed for the purpose of preventing the
          undermining of the freedom of expression” in terms of the legal protection against “any
          intentional infringement on the honour and reputation by untrue assertions” (emphasis added)
          (E/CN.4/1995/32, para. 47).
          46. The Special Rapporteur was both astonished and alarmed at the number of
          communications received in the past year referring to accusations of libel and defamation against
          members of the media - publishers, editors and journalists. A review of the many
          communications received yields a list of cases relating to, for example:
          - Defamation and damages awarded in connection with reports on corruption at the
          presidential palace;
          - A claim for damages by a former member of the intelligence services;
          - Defamation following publication of an article on nepotism in the awarding of public
          contracts;
          - Libel of a member of Parliament (with a sentence of up to five years' imprisonment);
        
          
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          - Libel of a private individual (with a sentence of up to five years' imprisonment);
          - Defamation arising from publication of stories on corruption;
          - Damages for libel and a sentence of four months in prison;
          - Libel following publication of an article on corrupt business practices;
          - Accusations of repeated aggravated defamation of members of the board of a rival daily
          newspaper;
          - Defamation causing injury to a parliamentary member for the Government (one year
          suspended sentence);
          - A prison term of three years and a fine for having published libellous statements against
          the wife of a member of a national assembly;
          - One year's suspended sentence for having insulted the honour of a member of
          Parliament;
          - Provisions in law establishing prison terms of one to three years for contempt of the
          President and the police;
          - A sentence of one to six years for insulting the military.
          47. These and other cases and incidents have had a direct and negative impact on freedom of
          expression, access to information and the free exchange of ideas. The climate created by such
          suits causes writers, editors and publishers to be reluctant to report on and publish matters of
          public interest not only because of the large awards granted in these cases but also because of the
          high costs of defending such actions.
          48. Criminal defamation laws represent a potentially serious threat to freedom of expression
          because of the very sanctions that often accompany conviction. It will be recalled that a number
          of international bodies have condemned the threat of custodial sanctions, both specifically for
          defamatory statements and more generally for the peaceful expression of views. For example,
          since 1994, the Human Rights Committee has expressed concern about the possibility of
          custodial sanctions for defamation in a number of countries. Similarly, the Declaration of
          Sana'a, adopted on 11 January 1996 by the United Nations/UNESCO Seminar on Promoting
          Independent and Pluralistic Arab Media states that “disputes involving the media and/or the
          media professionals in the exercise of their profession ... should be tried under civil and not
          criminal codes and procedures.”
          49. The Special Rapporteur has also noted that authoritative international human rights
          bodies have established a number of principles which restrict the legitimate scope of civil
          defamation and insult laws. For example, in 1995, in Tolstoy Miloslavsky v.
        
          
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          the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights drew a link between the imposition
          of excessive sanctions and a chilling effect on freedom of expression and ruled that excessive
          damages for defamation violated article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
          50. International jurisprudence also supports the view that Governments and public
          authorities as such should not be able to bring actions in defamation or insult. The Human
          Rights Committee has, for example, called for the abolition of the offence of “defamation of the
          State”. While the European Court of Human Rights has not entirely ruled out defamation suits
          by Governments, it appears to have limited such suits to situations which threaten public order,
          implying that Governments cannot sue in defamation simply to protect their honour. A number
          of national courts (e.g. in India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States,
          Zimbabwe) have also refused to allow elected and other public authorities to sue for defamation.
          51. On the issue of a strict standard of truth, the Special Rapporteur notes that such a
          standard may be excessively onerous; as a result, courts in a number of countries have mitigated
          the strict truth requirement, at least for material relating to matters of public interest, by
          recognizing a defence of non-malicious or reasonable publication. This approach is reflected in
          a case decided by the European Court of Human Rights (Bladet Tromso and Stensaas v. Norway,
          20 May 1999, Application No. 2 1980/93); the Court held that even though certain allegations
          had been shown to be false, the applicant newspaper and editor should not be liable in
          defamation because, taking into account all relevant factors, the decision to publish had been
          reasonable.
          52. In light of these and other concerns, the Special Rapporteur wishes to state again that it is
          critical to raise public consciousness to ensure that defamation laws are not used (or abused) to
          stifle open public debate of matters of general or specific interest. Once again, at minimum, it
          must be understood that:
          - Criminal defamation laws should be repealed in favour of civil laws as the latter are able
          to provide sufficient protection for reputations;
          - Sanctions for defamation should not be so large as to exert a chilling effect on freedom of
          opinion and expression and the right to seek, receive and impart information; penal
          sanctions, in particular imprisonment, should never be applied and damage awards should
          be strictly proportionate to the actual harm caused;
          - Government bodies and public authorities should not be able to bring defamation suits;
          the only purpose of defamation, libel, slander and insult laws must be to protect
          reputations and not to prevent criticism of Government or even to maintain public order,
          for which specific incitement laws exist;
          - Defamation laws should reflect the importance of open debate about matters of public
          interest and the principle that public figures are required to tolerate a greater degree of
          criticism than private citizens;
        
          
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          - To require truth in the context of publications relating to matters of public interest is
          excessive; it should be sufficient if reasonable efforts have been made to ascertain the
          truth;
          - With regard to opinions, only patently unreasonable views may qualify as defamatory;
          defendants should never be required to prove the truth of opinions or value statements;
          - The onus of proof of all elements should be on those claiming to have been defamed
          rather than on the defendant;
          - In defamation and libel actions, a range of remedies should be available in addition to
          damage awards, including apology and/or correction.
          D. The police and the criminal justice system
          53. In several countries, there is an overall need for overhauling the criminal justice system.
          Oral evidence and witnesses continue to be the main plank on which the prosecution case rests.
          The trustworthiness of witnesses has increasingly come under attack. The emphasis therefore
          must be shifted to more scientific investigation to make the system truly one that promotes
          justice and is not merely a weapon in the hands of the prosecution or the police. Perhaps there
          should be a police complaints authority for redress of complaints. The number of complaints
          against police handling of cases in the area of freedom of expression is on the increase. These
          are complaints relating to high-handedness, arbitrary detention and falsely implicating persons.
          There should also be a police security commission to ensure that police are protected from
          political interference. There should also be a massive programme for training of the magistracy
          under the aegis of high courts.
          E. The new technologies
          54. In his previous reports (E/CN.4/1999/64 and E/CN.4/1998//40), the Special Rapporteur
          underlined the importance and role of the new technologies, in particular the Internet and
          satellite dishes, in the free flow of information, ideas and opinions. It will also be recalled that
          he has encouraged Governments to view the Internet and other information technologies as
          means to achieve a plurality of voices and to take steps aimed at their integration into the
          development process. Information received by the Special Rapporteur suggests, however, that
          Governments have increasingly placed greater attention on control and regulation of these
          technologies than they have on expansion of existing networks, on upgrading technical capacities
          to reach under- or unserved areas, and on permitting the establishment of new information
          networks and exchanges. Hence, the Special Rapporteur will briefly examine two areas of
          related interest: first, the link between printed and electronic media within a controlled and
          censored environment, and second, the type and degree of controls applied to new technologies.
          55. The Special Rapporteur believes that there is a clear link between the printed media and
          the electronic media. The Internet and satellites dishes, two main components of the
          “information revolution”, can play an influential role in bringing out dissenting voices and
          shaping the political and cultural debate. Indeed, the Internet is a unique communication
          medium due to its global, decentralized, interactive and, not least, infrastructure-independent
        
          
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          nature which allows it to transcend national barriers. Similarly, satellite dishes have the potential
          to create a public sphere in societies where State coercion has pushed debate into the
          background. Hence, electronic media are a significant experiment in terms of bypassing
          boundaries defined strictly in terms of national and territorial integrity. However, they are not a
          good substitute for the printed media which remain the most accessible source of information.
          Internet sites, for instance, can be welcomed as a means to support advocacy of cultural and
          political rights, yet they remain inaccessible to the majority of the population owing to financial,
          economic and technological constraints. Moreover, while representing a global phenomenon,
          Internet users are concentrated in Western developed countries. Therefore, the new technologies
          provide only a temporary solution to the legal and coercive pressure applied to the domestic
          media and often they will encounter the same hostility and intimidation. However, the Special
          Rapporteur believes that the Internet, as a cheap and fast mode of transmission, is an important
          pool of information for the purpose of gathering information regarding legal and extralegal
          proceedings to curb freedom of expression while satellite dishes are easily accessible even in the
          most remote areas.
          56. With regard to the type and degree of controls applied to the new technologies, a review
          of the communications received in the past year, as well as information previously brought to the
          Special Rapporteur's attention, illustrates the ambivalence that still characterizes much of the
          discussion about the appropriate use and the avoidance of abuse of the Internet. In general, most
          Governments have sought to address the problems raised by the dissemination and proliferation
          of pornography, in particular child pornography, and materials produced by neo-nazi and/or
          other “hate groups”. These concerns are legitimate. The Special Rapporteur believes, however,
          that the dangers posed by such materials on the Internet can be adequately addressed through the
          judicious application of existing international standards and national laws consistent with
          international standards governing freedom of opinion and expression and the right to seek,
          receive and impart information. At the same time as efforts are being made in response to
          pornography and hate speech, other measures are being taken that cannot, by any reasonable
          definition, be accepted as consistent with international standards. These measures have included,
          in certain countries, the requirement that the information accessible through the Internet be
          “trustworthy” and in line with the country's “ethical principles”, or efforts to control information
          viewed as threatening to political stability and undermining the predominant culture, or some
          proposals by State police to monitor all data sent over the Internet within national boundaries.
          57. It will be recalled that in his report to the fifty-fourth session of the Commission on
          Human Rights (E/CN.4/1998/40) the Special Rapporteur stated: “The new technologies and, in
          particular, the Internet are inherently democratic, provide the public and individuals with access
          to information sources and enable all to participate actively in the communication process.
          Action by States to impose excessive regulations on the use of these technologies and, again,
          particularly the Internet, on the grounds that control, regulation and denial of access are
          necessary to preserve the moral fabric and cultural identity of societies, is paternalistic. These
          regulations presume to protect people from themselves and, as such, they are inherently
          incompatible with the principles of the worth and dignity of each individual. These arguments
          deny the fundamental wisdom of individuals and societies and ignore the capacity and resilience
          of citizens, whether on a national, State, municipal, community or even neighbourhood level,
          often to take self-correcting measures” (para. 45).
        
          
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          58. In the time since the report to the fifty-fourth session of the Commission was prepared,
          nothing has occurred that would cause the Special Rapporteur to revise his recommendation that
          the new information technologies, including the Internet, be considered in light of the same
          international standards as other means of communication and that no measures be taken which
          would unduly restrict freedom of expression and information. On-line expression should be
          guided by international standards and be guaranteed the same protection as is awarded to other
          forms of expression.
          IV. COUNTRY SITUATIONS
          Angola
          Communication sent
          59. On 20 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal concerning the arrest
          and detention of Mr. Rafael Marques, journalist of the newspaper Foiha Otto and a human rights
          activist. According to the source, Mr. Marques was arrested on 16 October 1999 by the
          Department of National Criminal Investigations in Luanda. He is currently detained at Viana
          prison and has allegedly been refused access to his lawyer. According to the source, he was
          charged on 14 October 1999 under a 1978 law, said to have been technically repealed in 1991,
          with defaming President dos Santos in an article published in July.
          Observations
          60. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the release on bail of Rafael Marques
          on 25 November 1999 and thanks the Government for its reply.
          Azerbaij an
          Communication sent
          61. On 15 November 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint communication with the
          Special Rapporteur on the question of torture concerning the following cases: Smira Mamigdze,
          Ilahme Mamigdze, Zamina Alliguze and a fourth female journalist who were reportedly injured
          on 16 November 1998 when the police violently dispersed a group ofjournalists demonstrating
          against a suit brought against the newspaper YeniMusavat; Aydin Bagirov, Mustafa Hajibeyli
          and Sahil Kerimli, all journalists, who were allegedly beaten and detained by police
          on 15 August 1998; Natig Kavadli, journalist, who was reportedly beaten and detained by
          police officers while covering a political rally; Haji Zamin, journalist, who was reportedly taken
          on 22 August 1998 to a police station where he was verbally abused; Taleh Hamid, editor of the
          newspaperMustigil, who was allegedly beaten on 1 September 1998 by police officers;
          Zakir Jabbarly and Dilgam Bayramov, both correspondents for the Mozalan newspaper, who
          were reportedly verbally and physically assaulted on 22 September 1997 by employees of the
          passport department while researching the alleged illegal registration of citizens; Aygun
          Ismaylov, journalist, who was reportedly also seized; Ilham Shaban, journalist, is said to have
          been beaten by the police on 7 November 1998 during a demonstration.
        
          
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          Observations
          62. A response from the Government is still awaited.
          Bahrain
          Communication sent
          63. On 6 July 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent action to the Government of
          Bahrain with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the
          Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on the case of
          Mr. Sheik Al-Jamri, a 62-year-old religious scholar and former member of the National
          Assembly. Mr. Al-Jamri, who has been in prison without trial since January 1996, was said to be
          sentenced to a long prison term for his opposition activities. He was arrested along with seven
          other prominent Shia Muslim clerics, apparently in connection with a petition he circulated
          calling for constitutional change.
          Observations
          64. The source informed the Special Rapporteur that Sheikh Abdul Amir al Jamri was
          convicted on 7 July 1999 and sentenced to a 10-year prison sentence by a Bahraini security
          court. However, according to additional information, he was released on 8 July 1999 and has
          returned to his village promising not to engage in further political activities.
          Bangladesh
          Communication sent
          65. On 11 November 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an allegation concerning the attack
          by the police on 1 November 1999 against Sanual Huq and Anisur Rahman, press photographers
          respectively of The Independent and the Daily Star newspapers, during a protest led by
          opposition parties. Moreover 13 journalists were reportedly attacked by the police while
          covering political demonstrations between 21 and 23 October 1999, including Amran Hossain,
          Rafiqur Rabman and Khalid Haider, journalists respectively with Daily Star, Reuters Photo and
          DainikDinkal. On 22 October 1999, according to the source, 10 cameramen and photographers,
          who were covering riots between police and Islamic extremists, were beaten up by the police in
          the streets of Dhaka. According to the information received, the journalists were: Joy of
          Banglabazar, Abdur Razzak of Dainik Sangrani, Enamul Huq Kabir of Muktakantha, Subir of
          DainikArthaneeti, Salimullah Salim of New Nation, Bulbul Ahmed of The Independent, Faruque
          Abmed of UNB, Swapan Sarker of DainikBanglarBani, Matiur Rahman Tuku and Mamum
          Talukder of Alker Kago .
          Observations
          66. A reply from the Government is still awaited.
        
          
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          Belarus
          Communications sent
          67. On 6 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action to the Government of
          Belarus concerning the disappearance of Mr. Anatoly Krasovsky, head of Krasika publishing
          house, and Mr. Victor Gonchar, vice-speaker of the Thirteenth Supreme Soviet. Concern was
          expressed regarding suggestions that there may have been official involvement, as
          on 1 March 1999 the police arrested Mr. Gonchar on charges of holding an illegal
          meeting in a private café, for which he served 10 days' imprisonment.
          68. On 21 June 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an allegation asking for further
          details about the January 1998 amendment to article 5 of the Law on the Press and raising the
          following cases: on 15 February 1999, the Press Committee had issued official warnings to six
          independent newspapers, the Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta, Narodnaya Volya, Belorusskaya
          Gazeta, Bellorrusky Rynok, Iniya and Nay /ny for having published information on alternate
          presidential elections on 16 May 1999. Opposition leaders had also been warned and the
          Ministry of Justice issued a warning threatening to ban 13 opposition parties and
          non-governmental organizations in connection with their participation in those elections. It was
          also alleged that on 12 May 1999, the Vice-Chairperson of the Mahileu region electoral
          commission, Anatol Fiodaraw, was sentenced to three days' administrative arrest for failing to
          appear in court and that Ales Bar d and Kazimir Lokic were also detained at a polling station. At
          the end of March 1999, the former Prime Minister, Mikhail Chigir, was reportedly imprisoned
          for his active role in the Belarus opposition and for his intention to stand as a presidential
          candidate in the alternate presidential elections. Yuri Zakharenko, former Minister of the
          Interior and a senior figure in the opposition movement, was reportedly abducted on 7 May 1999
          in Minsk by individuals linked to the State Security services, presumably for being a member of
          the alternate electoral commission.
          69. On 10 March 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on the question of torture concerning the case of Victor Gonchar, a 42-year-old
          opposition leader who appears to have been targeted by the authorities solely because of his
          peaceful opposition activities. He and 15 other members of the opposition were reportedly
          detained on 25 February 1999 during a peaceful meeting in a café. All were released pending
          trial but reportedly charged under the Administrative Code of Belarus with holding an
          unsanctioned meeting. On 1 March, Viktor Gonchar was reportedly arrested again and later
          sentenced by a Minsk court to 10 days' imprisonment under the same code for organizing an
          unsanctioned meeting.
          Communications received
          70. In its communication of 12 October 1999, the Government includes the press release
          issued by the Ministry of the Interior on the case of Mr. V. Gonchar and Mr. A. Krasovsky. The
          Minsk Prosecutor's Office, in accordance with article 101 of the Criminal Code, has initiated
          legal proceedings.
        
          
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          71. The Special Rapporteur also acknowledges the communication received on 27 April 1999
          which provides further details on the above cases. It is mentioned that Mr. Gonchar was
          sentenced to 10 days' detention in a special holding facility following an unauthorized meeting
          in violation of article 167-1, paragraph 1, of the Administrative Offensive Code. On 1 March the
          Minsk Lenin District Court sentenced him.
          72. The Government of Belarus also replied in its communication of 28 September 1999 to
          the concern raised in the allegation sent on 21 July 1999. It provides information on the
          registration of public associations; the administrative arrest of A.F. Federov, Ales Bar d and
          Kazimir Lokik; and the legitimacy of the warning served on six independent Belarusian
          newspapers and the detention of former Prime Minister Chigir.
          Observations
          73. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its replies which shows its
          willingness to cooperate. However, he remains extremely concerned about the disappearance of
          Mr. Gonchar and Mr. Krasovsky.
          Bosnia and Herzegovina
          Communication sent
          74. On 25 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal together with the
          Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions regarding the assassination
          attempt, on 22 October 1999, against Mr. Zeljko Kopanja, editor in chief of the Bosnian Serb
          independent Nezavisne Nov /ne, which resulted in the loss of both his legs and serious injuries to
          his abdomen. According to the information received, Mr. Kopanja's attempted assassination was
          linked to articles he had published concerning war crimes committed by Serbs against Muslims,
          and to his questioning the authorities' lacklustre efforts to apprehend suspected war criminals.
          Observations
          75. The Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of the finalization of the report, the
          Government had not transmitted any reply.
          Bulgaria
          Communication sent
          76. On 5 October 1999, an allegation was sent to the Government of Bulgaria concerning
          Alexei Lazarov, a journalist for the independent weekly Kapital ,who was reportedly attacked
          on 28 June 1999 by three unidentified assailants. According to the source, the assault appears to
          have been connected with an article in which Mr. Lazarov analysed the local media coverage of
          the privatization of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company and criticized a deputy,
          P.M. Evgenii Bakardzhiev. Moreover, the Special Rapporteur raises the case of
        
          
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          Ms. Anna Zarkova, journalist of the daily Trud, who was violently attacked on 11 May 1998
          when a group of assailants threw acid on her. According to the information received,
          Ms. Zarkova had received numerous threats for her coverage of organized crime and political
          corruption in Bulgaria.
          Observations
          77. No reply from the Government has been received so far.
          Chad
          Communication sent
          78. On 3 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur, together with the Special Rapporteur
          on the question of torture, transmitted an allegation to the Government concerning
          Sosthène Ngargoune, Chairman of the Union of Chadian Journalists who had allegedly been
          severely beaten by members of the armed forces of the Federal Republic after meeting up with
          the government forces whom he was interviewing on 25 October 1997 in the Moundou police
          station. His camera and tape-recorder were reportedly confiscated. it is further alleged that he
          had been arrested previously on 14 May 1998 and charged with defamation and libel in
          connection with the publication of an article in his newspaper the N ‘D laniena Hebdo.
          Observations
          79. The Special Rapporteur regrets that no reply had been received from the Government at
          the time the report was finalized.
          Chile
          Communication sent
          80. On 17 June 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action concerning the arrest of
          Alejandra Matus, author of El Libro Negro de la Justicia, Bartolo Ortiz, General Director of
          Editorial Planeta, and Carlos Orellana, an editor of the latter. Servando Jordan, the judge of the
          Supreme Court of Justice, is alleged to have brought a complaint against the book on the basis of
          article 6 of the Internal State Security Act which provides for penalties for persons using terms
          considered to be defamatory against senior government officials, the armed forces, the judiciary
          and the clergy. The book in question is allegedly the result of a detailed investigation into
          corruption in the Chilean judiciary and its support for the military junta of the Pinochet
          Government. According to the information received, on 14 April 1999 Rafael Huertas, the judge
          of the Court of Appeal ordered the confiscation of all copies of the book and the arrest of
          Alejandra Matus. On 16 June 1999 Mr. Ortiz and Mr. Orellana were allegedly arrested for
          violating the above Act.
        
          
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          Observations
          81. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the release of Bartolo Ortiz and Carlos Orelana
          on 18 June 1999.
          China
          Communications sent
          82. On 3 November 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government of
          China concerning the arrest and detention of Mr. Jiang Qisheng, a pro-democracy activist.
          According to a source, Mr. Jiang was tried on 1 November 1999 for propagating and instigating
          subversion. Allegedly Mr. Jiang is charged for writing an open letter to the Chinese public
          calling for the collective commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the 1989 democracy
          movement.
          83. On 17 August 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent actionjointly with the
          Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial,
          summary or arbitrary executions concerning Zulikar Memet, who was reportedly sentenced to
          death on 25 July 1999 by the Ili Prefecture Intermediate People's Court in the Xinjian Uighur
          Autonomous Region. It is alleged that he was accused of involvement in “ethnic separatist
          activities” and he told the court that his confession had been extracted under torture. His brother
          Hemit Memet, as well as eight other unidentified individuals, have also been sentenced to death
          (see para. 85 below).
          84. On 16 June 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action, together with the
          Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on arbitrary detention, concerning the detention of
          Mr. Jiang Qisheng. According to the source, Mr. Qisheng, said to be critical of the Government,
          gave an interview to The Boston Globe the day before his arrest on 17 May 1999. Allegedly,
          Mr. Qisheng was earlier imprisoned for 17 months for his involvement in the 1989
          pro-democracy movement.
          85. On 14 June 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted a joint urgent action with the
          Special Rapporteur on torture and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
          executions concerning Zulikar Memet and Saydakhmet Memet, who were reportedly detained in
          Urumqi, the capital ofXinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in 1998 and February 1999,
          respectively. It was reported that they were accused of “assisting separatists/terrorists” and
          arrested because they are brothers of Hemet Memet, who was previously detained
          on 11 February 1999 along with Kasim Mahpir and Ilyas Zordun: all were reportedly
          accused of involvement in “ethnic separatist activities”. A joint urgent action was sent
          on 17 February 1999 on these three persons as well.
          86. On 10 December 1998, the Special Rapporteur transmitted a joint urgent action together
          with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Rapporteur on violence
          against women concerning the cases of two Tibetan nuns, Ngawang Sandgrol and
          Ngawang Choezon, detained at the Drapchi prison in Tibet. The two nuns are said to be in
        
          
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          extremely poor physical condition after having been subjected to harsh interrogation and ill-
          treatment and placed in solitary confinement after violent suppression of demonstrations by
          prisoners inside Drapchi prison on 1 and 4 May 1998.
          87. On 9 December 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent action with the
          Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the arrest and
          detention of Wang Youcai, Xu Wenli and Qin Yongmin, Chinese citizens involved in the
          organization of the Chinese Democratic Party. According to information received, Wang Youcai
          was arrested on 30 November 1998 and is currently held in a State security detention centre in
          Zhejiang province and on 1 December 1998, Xu Wenli was arrested together with Qin Yongmin
          on suspicion of damaging State security.
          Communications received
          88. The Government of China, on 24 February 1999, provided the Special Rapporteur with
          information regarding the case of Ngawang Sangdrol who was sentenced in November 1992 to
          three years' imprisonment on charges of separatist activities by the Lhasa Municipal
          Intermediate People's Court. In 1993, 1996 and 1998 her sentence was further extended to a
          total of 15 years. The Government states that beating and ill-treatment by government guards is
          inconsistent with the facts.
          89. The Government of China on 2 February 1999 informed the Special Rapporteur that
          Xu Wenli, Wang Youcai and Qin Yougmin, all three of them of Han nationality, had their jail
          sentences and deprivation of political rights extended because they were recidivist in their
          incitement to subversion of State power.
          Observations
          90. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of China for its replies.
          Colombia
          Communications sent
          91. On 23 April 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions regarding the death threats
          received by the Colombian editor Gerardo Rivas Moreno in the form of a hand-written note
          accompanied by magazine clippings. It is said that the note was signed by the paramilitary
          “United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia”. These death threats could be connected with
          Mr. Rivas Moreno's work as literary editor and specifically with the translation of the complete
          works of Simon BolIvar. It is thought that Mr. Rivas might have been confused with one of the
          members of the so-called “Bolivarianos Group”, the name given by the Colombian revolutionary
          armed forces to its pro-Simon BolIvar political movement.
          92. On 10 June 1999, the Special Rapporteur, together with the Special Rapporteur on
          extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, sent a communication to the Government of
          Colombia in reply to its letters of 7 and 10 May 1999 requesting more details regarding the death
        
          
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          threats to the Colombian editor Gerardo Rivas Moreno by the paramilitary group “Autodefensa
          Unificada de Colombia”. The Special Rapporteurs asked to be kept informed about the
          investigation in relation to this case as well as the measures taken to protect the life and the right
          to freedom of opinion and expression of Mr. Rivas Moreno.
          Communications received
          93. By letters dated 7 and 10 May 1999, the Government requested the Special Rapporteur to
          submit additional information regarding the case of Mr. Rivas Moreno. On 29 July 1999, the
          Government informed the Special Rapporteurs that it was not in a position to submit information
          on the case of Mr. Rivas Moreno since the Special Rapporteurs themselves could not provide it
          with additional details. Nevertheless, the Government of Colombia replied on 27 August 1999
          that the Anti-Abductions Unit of the Public Prosecutor's Office in Bogota was conducting
          investigations into the incident regarding the case of Mr. Rivas Moreno. According to the
          Government, Mr. Rivas Moreno was recalled on 12 July 1999 to provide more information about
          his complaint and the Technical Investigations Corps was asked to appoint an investigator to
          seek to identify the perpetrator of the offence.
          94. The Government of Colombia also sent a communication on 30 July 1999 regarding the
          provisions governing compulsory military service and the recruitments of minors by insurgent
          groups.
          Observations
          95. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank the Government for its reply concerning
          Mr. Gerardo Rivas Moreno, in particular in the light of the difficulty of gathering information on
          this specific case. However, he remains very concerned about the current situation in Colombia
          with regard to the abductions, death threats, and even murders ofjournalists (seven during the
          period under consideration) and persons seeking to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and
          expression.
          Côte d'Ivoire
          Communication sent
          96. On 3 November 1999, a joint urgent action was transmitted by the Special Rapporteur to
          the Ivorian Government with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary
          Detention concerning the detention of Raphael Lakpe and Jean Khalil Sylla, editor-in-chief and
          journalist respectively of the Le Populaire daily newspaper. According to the information
          received, they were arrested in April 1999 and sentenced to six months' detention for the
          dissemination of false information and for activities likely to disturb law and order. They were
          allegedly arrested because on 28 April 1999 their newspaper published an article entitled “One
          student killed and four others seriously injured”, whereas the students in question had only been
          injured by the police.
        
          
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          Communication received
          97. On 8 November 1999 the Ivorian Government acknowledged receipt of the joint urgent
          action of 3 November 1999 and informed the Special Rapporteur that Mr. Raphael Lakpe and
          Mr. Jean Khalil Sylla had been sentenced for defamation but had since been released.
          Observations
          98. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the release of these two journalists, thanks the
          Government for the information it provided but nevertheless hopes to receive more detailed
          information about the sentencing of these two persons for defamation.
          Cuba
          Communications sent
          99. On 19 March 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an allegation expressing concern
          at the arrest, detention, harassment, assault and beatings that took place between October 1998
          and March 1999 with regard to journalists and human rights activists. Some of them were
          reportedly harassed as well as detained for a short period of time, like the following:
          (a) José Edel Garcia Diaz, journalist with the independent “Centro Norté del Pais” news agency
          and Jesus Diaz Loyola, journalist with the “Havana Press” agency; (b) Juan Gonzalez Febles,
          Adela Soto, Fabio Prieto Liorente, Ivan Garcia Quintero and Hector Gonzalez; (c) Raül Rivero,
          founder and Director of the independent “Cuba Press” agency; (d) Jesus Labrador Arias of
          “Cuba Press”; (e) Maria de los Angeles Gonzalez Amaro, Director of the “Union de Periodistas
          y Escritores Cubanos Independientes” agency; (f) Santiago Martinez Trujillo, photographer with
          the “Union de Periodistas y Escritores Cubanos Independientes” agency, Nancy Sotolongo Leon
          of the same agency and Angel Polanco of the “Cooperativa de Periodistas Independientes”
          agency; (g) José Antonio Fornariz Ramos, of the “Cuba Verdad” agency and Luis Lopez Prendes
          of the independent “BPIC” news agency; (h) Pedro ArgUelles Moran, correspondent with
          “Cuba Press”; (i) Hiran Gonzalez, correspondent with “Cuba Press”; (j) Lazaro Rodriguez
          Torres, Maria del Carmen Carro Gómez and Jorge Olivera, Director of the “Havana Press”
          agency; (k) Odalys Ivette Curbelo Sanchez, a “Cuba Press” correspondent; (1) José Luis
          Rodriguez, a photographer with the “BPIC” agency; (m) Manuel Antonia Gonzalez, a
          “Cuba Press” correspondent; (n) Oswaldo de Cespedes, a journalist with the “Cooperativa de
          Periodistas Independientes” agency and Omar Rodriguez Saludes of the “Nueva Prensa” agency;
          (o) Ofelia Nardo and Efrén Martinez Pulgaron of “Cuba Press”, Marvin Hernandez Monzón,
          Orlando Bordon Galvez and Lazaro Gonzalez of the same agency and Jesus Zufiiga, of the
          “Cooperativa de Periodistas Independientes” and Mario Viera Gonzalez, Director of the
          “Cuba Verdad” agency; (p) Ulises Cabrera, Head of the independent “Pueblo Libre” news
          agency; (q) Jorge Luis Arce Cabrera, correspondent with the “BPIC” agency in Cienfuegos and
          Jesus Egozcue Castellanos, Director of the independent “Linea Sur Press” news agency;
          (r) Ricardo Gonzalez, a “Cuba Press” journalist; (s) Juan Antonio Sanchez, a “Cuba Press”
          journalist.
        
          
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          100. In addition, the followingjournalists have reportedly been sentenced to longer prison
          terms: (a) Benardo Arévalo Padron, founder of the independent “Linea Sur Press” news agency,
          in Aguadade Pasajeros, was allegedly sentenced to six years' imprisonment for insulting
          President Fidel Castro and Vice-President Carlos Lage; (b) Juan Carlos Recio Martinez, a
          “Cuba Press” correspondent, was allegedly sentenced to one year of community service on
          13 February 1998 for acts against the security of the State; (c) Lorenzo Páez Nifthez, a
          correspondent of the independent “BPIC” news agency in Artemisa, Havana, was allegedly
          sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for insulting the national police. It is said that Mr. Páez
          was released on 4 January 1999 but arrested once again on 1 March 1999.
          101. On 26 January 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted ajoint urgent action with the
          Chairman of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the arrest and detention of
          Jesus Joel DIaz Hernandez, Executive Director of the independent press agency “Cooperative
          Avilena de Periodistas Independientes”. Also considered as a government critic and human
          rights activist, Jesus DIaz was reportedly arrested on 18 January 1999 in Ciego de Avila province
          and sentenced to four years' imprisonment for “dangerous behaviour”. According to the
          information received, Jesus DIaz's trial did not conform to international standards of fairness and
          his lawyer had inadequate time to prepare his defence.
          Communications received
          102. The Government of Cuba replied on 15 April 1999 concerning the case of Jesus Joel
          DIaz Hernandez. The latter was sentenced on 20 January 1999 to four years' imprisonment for
          dangerous behaviour following five warnings in accordance with article 415 of Cuba's Penal
          Procedure Act. The Government of Cuba denies that the arrest and detention of Mr. Hernandez
          is linked to his human rights interests and expresses its willingness to cooperate with the
          mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights.
          103. On 15 July 1999, the Government of Cuba sent a reply denying the request for further
          information on the allegation dated 19 March 1999 because the sources were unreliable. The
          Government of Cuba also questioned whether the objectivity that should characterize the work of
          the thematic mechanisms was being observed. The same communication also provided
          additional data on the Law for Protection of the National Independence and Economy of Cuba.
          Observations
          104. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of Cuba for its reply.
          Democratic Republic of the Congo
          Communications sent
          105. On 7 October 1999 the Special Rapporteur transmitted to the Government ajoint urgent
          action with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Rapporteur on
          the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo concerning
          Feu d'Or Bonsange, music editor, and Kala Bongamba, printer, both employees of the L ‘Alarnie
          newspaper. They were allegedly arrested on 27 September 1999 and detained in the private
        
          
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          residence of a senior military officer before being transferred on 2 October to the building known
          as the “GLM” which, according to the information received, is an unofficial place of detention.
          Persons working for L ‘Alarnie have allegedly been harassed by the authorities since 1997. The
          Special Rapporteurs also drew the Government's attention to the case of Clovis Kadda,
          publication director of the same newspaper, who was allegedly arrested on 22 September 1999
          and interrogated in the military district of Kinshasa about one of the members of his family who,
          it was said, had participated in the rebellion. According to the information received, he was
          tortured and released the following day.
          106. On 4 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted to the Government, jointly with
          the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, a series of allegations concerning the following
          persons: Freddy Loseke Lisumbu-La-Yayenga, editor of LaLibreAfrique newspaper, arrested
          on 22 December 1998, who allegedly received 150 lashes and was then interrogated about the
          publication of an article in his newspaper on that day; Christophe Bintu and Bienvenu Kasole,
          both of them human rights defenders, who were allegedly arrested on 12 January 1999 and
          released from the Kokolo camp on 20 January 1999 after being beaten and insulted in connection
          with their work as human rights activists; Jean-Baptiste Makoko, treasurer of the Groupe Lotus,
          a human rights NGO in Kisangani, who was allegedly arrested and beaten up on
          10 December 1997 by three soldiers for having photographed dead soldiers in Kisangani
          hospital; Albert Bilbert Bosangi Yema, editor-in-chief of the L ‘Arnie and L ‘Essor Africain
          newspapers, who was allegedly arrested on 7 February 1998, probably because of an article
          published in L ‘Arnie criticizing the arrest of the Chairman of the “Forces novatrices pour l'union
          et la solidarité” political movement and who, according to the information received, is suffering
          from diabetes and rheumatism and whose health has deteriorated since his detention;
          Désiré Rugemanizi, Chief of Kabare, who was allegedly arrested in January 1998 for criticizing
          human rights violations in the region and tortured before being released in February 1998;
          Floribert Chebeya Bahizire, Chairman of the NGO “La Voix des sans-voix”, who was allegedly
          beaten up at his home by armed men in uniform in March 1998; Oswald Hakorimana, a human
          rights defender in the Kivu du Nord region, who was allegedly beaten severely in March 1998 by
          soldiers who accused him of collecting information concerning massacres of civilians.
          107. On 4 February 1998, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action to the Government
          concerning the situation of Molse Musangana, Clement Kongo, Ngambata, Theodore Ngangu
          and Emmanuel Katshunga, publication director, deputy editorial director and journalist
          respectively. All were arrested on 3 February 1999 when elements of the National Intelligence
          Agency (ANR) allegedly surrounded the premises of the Le Potent/el newspaper. They were
          reportedly accused of having published decree-laws concerning political parties and regulations
          concerning demonstrations and public meetings. André Ipakala, editor of the La Référence Plus
          newspaper, was allegedly arrested on 4 February 1999, also by elements of the ANR, and taken
          to an unknown destination.
          108. On 3 February 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action to the Government
          together with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic
          Republic of the Congo concerning the case of Michel Museme Diawe, editor-in-chief of
          Radio-Television Congolaise, who had allegedly been evicted from his home on
          26 January 1999. According to the information received, he was harassed because of his
          professional activities.
        
          
          E/CN.4/2000/63
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          109. On 25 January 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted ajoint urgent action to the
          Government with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic
          Republic of the Congo concerning the questioning of Kinyongo Saleh on 2 January 1999 about
          an article that was published in the La Vision newspaper. It is said that he was released the same
          evening. The cases of Thierry Kyalumba, publication director of La Vision, questioned by the
          same services, and of François Kadima Malungu, former special security adviser to
          President Kabila, were also transmitted.
          Observations
          110. The Special Rapporteur regrets that no reply has yet been received from the Democratic
          Republic of the Congo.
          Djibouti
          Communication sent
          111. On 5 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government of
          Djibouti concerning the arrest and detention ofjournalists Moussa Ahmed Idriss, Daher Abmed
          Farah and Ali Meidal Wais. According to the information received Moussa Abmed Idriss, editor
          of the monthly Le Tenips, was arrested on 23 September 1999 in a police raid following the
          publication of an article stating that a military helicopter was destroyed as a result of guerrilla
          action. This was reportedly denied by the authorities who claimed it to be an accident.
          Ali Medidal Wais, senior editor ofLe Tenips, was arrested on 2 September 1999 and sentenced
          to eight months in jail for “dissemination of false new stories” and “damaging the armed forces'
          morale in an effort to harm national defence”. Daher Abmed, editor of the weekly
          Le Renouveau, was also sentenced to one year in prison for the same reason.
          Observations
          112. The Special Rapporteur has been informed that Moussa Idriss, Ali Medal Waiss and
          Daher Abmed Farah were released on 8 December 1999. However, the two newspapers, which
          were suspended for six months, have still not resumed publishing.
          Equatorial Guinea
          Communication sent
          113. On 15 November 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an allegation to the Government of
          Equatorial Guinea concerning the refusal of government bodies to process applications that
          would have authorized the appearance of the following periodicals: El Tienipo (application of
          11 July 1996), La Opinion (application of 22 April 1998), and La Hola del Periodista
          (application of 6 March 1998). The Special Rapporteur was also informed that José Olo Obono,
          well-known criminal lawyer and secretary-general of one of the parties awaiting recognition, has
          been sentenced to five months in prison and a fine for “insulting the Government”. It was
          alleged that Mr. Obono levelled strong criticism at the authorities during an interview he gave to
          the Spanish press in connection with the death of his former client, Martin Puye Topete.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/2000/63
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          According to the source, another serious incident occurred on 1 November 1998 when Alberto
          Mbe, Asunción Nsang Elo, Maria Luisa Abuy Eko and Benjamin Mba, members of the
          Convergencia para la Democracia Social party, were detained because they attempted to bring
          into Equatorial Guinea from Gabon 60 copies of a book published in Spain under the title
          Equatorial Guinea at the Crossroads . The Special Rapporteur also expressed concern over the
          absence of the regular publication of laws, decrees and governmental acts which jeopardizes the
          right of citizens to access information.
          Observations
          114. The Special Rapporteur is aware that, given the timing of this allegation, the
          Government's reply will appear in next year [ Is report.
          Iran (Islamic Republic of)
          Communications sent
          115. On 13 July 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent appeal with the Special
          Representative on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran concerning
          student demonstrators who were attacked on 8 July 1999 by members of the armed forces and
          the student vigilante group, Ansar-e Hezbollah, while they were gathering outside the university
          hostels on Tehran UniversityDs Amirabad campus to demonstrate against the closure of the daily
          newspaper Salani. Concern was expressed over the alleged deaths of four students, Na'imi,
          Sobrabian, Yavari and Zakeri, as well as over the arrest of and injury to students during this
          demonstration. On 6 July, student activists Mohamad Masud Salamati, Sayed Javad Emami and
          Parviz Safaria were reportedly detained after a demonstration outside the United Nations office
          in Tehran demanding the release of two journalists, Heshmatollah Tabarzadi and Hossein
          Kashani, who were arrested in mid-June.
          116. On 12 July 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action, with the Special
          Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Special Representative, concerning the cases of
          Heshmatollah Tabarzadi and Hossein Kashani, journalists of the weekly publication
          Hovizat-U-Khich, which has since reportedly been banned. The two journalists were allegedly
          arrested on 16 and 19 June 1999 for publishing information “contrary to the public order and the
          public interest” and “issuing an anti-establishment communiqué”. On 6 July 1999, a number of
          students were reportedly protesting the detention of the above-mentioned individuals at the
          United Nations office in Tebran and were themselves arrested. Furthermore, it has been reported
          that the Government suspended the publication of a leading moderate newspaper, Salani, the
          same day the Majilis passed a new law which in principle restricts freedom of the press.
          Salanills editor, Morad Raisi Veissi, was reportedly detained on 7 July 1999.
          117. On 15 December 1998, the Special Rapporteur transmitted a joint urgent appeal with the
          Special Representative and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
          executions to the Government of Iran. They expressed concern about the disturbing news of
          what is described as a “pattern of murders and disappearances” of prominent Iranian writers and
          government critics. Majid Sharif, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Jafar Pooynade, all
          said to be writers, were allegedly found dead in suspicious circumstances after having
        
          
          E/CN.4/2000/63
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          disappeared on 23 November, 3 and 9 December 1998 respectively. It is noted that these deaths
          followed the reported killings on 22 November 1998 of Dariush Forouhar and his wife, Parvaneh
          Forouhar, both prominent critics of the Government. Concern was expressed about the safety
          and physical integrity of Pirouz Davani, intellectual, critic and editor, who was reported missing
          since 25 August 1998, as well as that of all Iranian political and intellectual dissidents.
          Communication received
          118. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran replies to the Special Rapporteur in a
          communication dated 12 January 1999. It addressed the arrest of several staff of the Ministry of
          hiformation on charges of complicity in the killings of five Iranian citizens. The Government
          expressed its trust in the transparency and effectiveness of national mechanisms.
          119. hi its communication of 12 April 1999, the Government in reference to an allegation
          of 30 October 1998, stated that the publishing of Rah-e-no and Tavana had been suspended
          because of technical problems and a lack of funds.
          Observations
          120. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran
          for its replies and for having kept him informed on the recent developments regarding the
          situation of the media in the Islamic Republic. The Special Rapporteur was informed by the
          source that Hossein Kashani, director of the newsletters Hoveyet-e-Khish, was released on bail in
          July 1999. Moreover, the Special Rapporteur learned that Heshmatollah Tabarzadi was released
          on bail on 5 November 1999.
          Ireland
          121. From 18 to 22 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur undertook a visit to Ireland, on
          which he has reported separately to the Commission at its present session.
          (E/CN.4/2000/63/Add.2).
          Israel
          Communication sent
          122. On 22 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action with the
          Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the arrest and
          detention of Ms. Cosette Elias Ibrahim, ajournalist and student in the Faculty of Journalism in
          the Lebanese University of Beirut. According to the source, Ms. Elias Ibrahim was apprehended
          by Israeli soldiers, interrogated and then transferred to the detention centre at Al-Kiam. Two
          other individuals, Degaulle Boutros Bou Taleb and Samir George Khyame, also affiliated with
          the Lebanese media, were also allegedly detained and transferred to al-Khiam. According to the
          reports, Ms. Elias Ibrahim has been accused by the Government of Israel of writing reports about
          the occupied zone in southern Lebanon as well as of submitting information to the Lebanese
          armed forces about the movements of the Israeli army.
        
          
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          Communications received
          123. The Government of Israel replied to the Special Rapporteur on 28 September 1999.
          Regarding the detention of Ms. Cosette Elias Ibrahim, Mr. Degaulle Boutros Bou Taleb and
          Mr. Samir George Khyame, the Government suggested that any requests for further information
          should be addressed directly to General Lahad, who is responsible for the El-Khiam detention
          centre. The Government further reported that Lebanese prisoners fall into two categories: those
          who have been apprehended in the course of terrorist attacks against the Israeli Defence Forces
          are held in Israeli detention centres, while those who have been apprehended in the course of
          attacks against the South Lebanon Army are held in El-Khiam detention centre.
          124. The Special Rapporteur also acknowledges the communication sent on 14 July 1999 by
          the Government to draw his attention to the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Maher Dasuki in a town under
          the administration of the Palestinian Authority.
          Observations
          125. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of Israel for its prompt reply.
          Japan
          Communication received
          126. The Government of Japan responded on 8 October 1999 to ajoint allegation sent with the
          Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography on
          13 July 1998 expressing concern over the extensive proliferation of Web pages, bulletin boards
          and news-servers disseminating images of child pornography over the Internet (see
          E/CN.4/1999/64, para. 82). The Government informed the Special Rapporteur that on
          26 May 1999, a Law for Punishing Acts related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and
          for Protecting Children was enacted. It was due to enter into force on 1 November 1999. The
          Law provides that those who display child pornography on the Internet face imprisonment of up
          to three years. Measures to regulate the pornography industry operating through the Internet
          were introduced by an amendment to the Law on Control and Improvement of Amusement
          Business in October 1998. Moreover, the communication stated that when police investigators
          detect child pornography on the Internet, they ask the Internet providers to delete the material
          from the network. A trade organization of Internet providers has developed guidelines to curb
          illegal and harmful information, including child pornography, on the Internet. Under the
          guidelines providers can take measures such as warning, deleting the material and suspending
          the services to those that put illegal and harmful material on Web pages.
          Jordan
          Communications sent
          127. On 25 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal concerning the
          expulsion of Mr. Abdullah Hassanat (chief editor of the Jordan Times), Mr. Sultan Hattab
          (columnist at Al RaTh), and Mr. Jihad al-Monati (journalist at Al Dustour) from the Jordan Press
        
          
          E/CN.4/2000/63
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          Association (JPA). According to the source the expulsion was in response to a visit which the
          journalists made to Israel, at the invitation of the Haifa University Centre for Arab-Jewish
          Studies, in September 1999. As reported, membership in JPA is necessary to exercise the
          profession ofjournalism in Jordan.
          128. On 11 August 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an urgent action concerning
          Senan Shaqdeh, a senior editorial adviser for the evening daily newspaper Al-Masaya and a
          member of the Jordanian JournalistsEl Association. On 25 July 1999, he was reportedly arrested
          for publishing an article inAl-Masaya which, according to the authorities, was damaging to the
          GovernmentEls relations with a foreign Power.
          Observations
          129. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the release of Mr. Shaqdeh on 10 August 1999.
          Kenya
          Communication sent
          130. On 23 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action with the
          Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the detention
          and conviction of Mr. Tony Gachoka, publisher of the Post on Sunday, who was detained in
          connection with articles in his newspaper about alleged corruption in the judiciary. He was
          convicted of contempt of court, sentenced to six months' imprisonment and fined K Sh 1 million.
          The Special Rapporteur has been informed that three of the judges named in the newspaper
          articles for which Mr. Gachoka was being tried sat injudgement on his case.
          Observations
          131. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the release of Mr. Gachoka on 3 November 1999.
          Kuwait
          Communications sent
          132. On 11 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action to the Government of
          Kuwait concerning the arrest and detention of Mr. Abmad Baghdadi, head of the Political
          Science Department at Kuwait University and a regular contributor to the daily newspaper
          Al-slyassa. Mr. Baghdadi was convicted on 4 October 1999 on charges of defaming Islam and
          the prophet Muhammad for an article he wrote in 1996 in the Kuwait University student
          magazine Al-Shoula. According to the information received, Mr. Baghdadi has been sentenced
          to one month in jail and is currently detained at Talha prison.
          133. On 21 July 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action concerning the continued
          detention ofjournalists Fawwaz Muhammad al Awadhi Bseiso and Ibtisam Berto Sulaiman
          al-Dakhil who, together with three colleagues from the newspaper al-Nidaa, were sentenced to
          death in June 1991 for having collaborated with occupying Iraqi forces. It has been reported
        
          
          E/CN. 4/2000/63
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          that 10 days later, the sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. However, the three
          colleagues of Mr. Bseiso and Mr. al-Dakhil, who were convicted of the same charges and subject
          to the same sentence, were released from jail on 25 February 1999 whereas the whereabouts of
          Mr. Bseiso and Mr. al-Dakhil remain unknown as well as their place of detention.
          Communications received
          134. The Government informed the Special Rapporteur, in its communication
          dated 19 November 1999, that Mr. Baghdadi was convicted to six months' imprisonment for
          defaming the Prophet Muhammad. The charges against him were brought under the Kuwait
          Public Code and not under the laws governing the media. As a result of an appeal
          on 4 October 1999, Mr. Baghdadi had his sentence reduced to one month. Following his hunger
          strike, he was taken after one day to the hospital and granted permission to receive visits from
          family members and the media. It is further noted that the court hearing his case respected all
          national and international standards and that Mr. Baghdadi was represented by three lawyers.
          On 18 October 1999, the Prince of Kuwait granted him a pardon, so that Mr. Baghdadi spent
          only 13 days in prison. The Government further stated that the Kuwaiti Constitution endorses
          fully the right to freedom of opinion and expression (art. 36) which is limited only by the
          necessity of public order.
          135. The Government sent a communication on 30 July 1999 informing the Special
          Rapporteur that the Ministry of Information decided to ban the Al-Jazeera satellite and its
          correspondent from exercising their activities on charges of defaming the Amir. However, after
          the station's administration made an official apology and the presenter was dismissed, the
          Ministry lifted the ban and allowed the opening of a permanent office.
          Observations
          136. A response from the Government is still awaited.
          Lebanon
          Communication sent
          137. On 4 November 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal to the Government of
          Lebanon concerning the case of Marcel Khalifa, a well-known singer. According to the source,
          Mr. Khalifa was put on trial on 3 November 1999 for “insulting religious values” by including a
          two-line verse from a chapter of the Koran in his song “I am Yousef, o father” recorded in 1995.
          Allegedly, under article 473 of LebanonEls Penal Code blasphemy is punishable by one month to
          one year in prison, while article 474 of the Penal Code punishes “insulting publicly a religion”
          with imprisonment ranging from six months to three years.
          Communication received
          138. The Government informed the Special Rapporteur, in its communication
          dated 29 November 1999 with regard to the case of Mr. Marcel Khalifa, that the Lebanese
        
          
          E/CN.4/2000/63
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          Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Government further
          affirmed that Mr. Khalifa will get a fair trial and that he is still living in full freedom and giving
          his concerts according to schedule.
          Observations
          139. The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank the Government for its prompt reply.
          Malaysia
          Communications sent
          140. On 14 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action concerning the
          imprisonment of Murray Hiebert, a Canadian citizen and bureau chief of the weekly
          Far Eastern Economic Review in Kuala Lumpur. According to the information, Murray Hiebert
          was jailed on 11 September 1999 for six weeks after the Appeal Court upheld a 1997 conviction
          for “contempt of court”. Mr. Hiebert was first sentenced to three months in jail in
          September 1997 for an article entitled, “See you in court”, which appeared on 23 January 1997
          about a suit brought by Chandra Sri Ram, the wife of Appeal Court Judge Gopal Sri Ram,
          against the International School of Kuala Lumpur. Upon his conviction and pending the appeal
          of the original sentence, the court reportedly seized Mr. Hiebert's passport and he has therefore
          been unable to leave Malaysia since that time.
          141. On 18 June 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint allegation with the Special
          Rapporteur on the right to education concerning the dismissal of Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,
          Professor and Director for Civilizational Dialogue of the University of Malaysia. Owing to the
          apparent absence of an academic rationale for Professor MuzzafarEls dismissal, it is alleged that
          the dismissal is a politically motivated reprisal for his support for the opposition leader Ibrahim
          Anwar and the reform movement.
          Communications received
          142. In its communication of 4 October 1999, the Government of Malaysia replied that in the
          case of Mr. Murray Hiebert, the Malaysian judiciary had arrived independently at its judgement
          solely on the basis of the relevant laws.
          143. The Government of Malaysia on 11 August 1999 informed the Special Rapporteur that
          Dr. Chandra Muzzaffar allegedly was dismissed from his position at the university not for
          political reasons but because his contract had ended.
          Observations
          144. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of Malaysia for its prompt replies and
          welcomes the release of Mr. Hiebert on 11 October 1999.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/2000/63
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          Mexico
          Communications sent
          145. The Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or
          arbitrary executions, sent three urgent actions in connection with the death threats received by
          persons working for the “Miguel AgustIn Pro-Juárez” Human Rights Centre NGO
          on 6 September, 16 September and 1 November. Digna Ochoa Placido said that she had been
          assaulted, questioned and harassed by a group of individuals who entered her home and
          questioned her until the morning of 29 October and, before leaving, allegedly tied her to a butane
          gas container.
          146. On 6 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur also requested information concerning
          allegations of the violation of the human rights of the following persons:
          (a) On 16 December 1998, the body of Philip True, a United States citizen and
          correspondent for the San Antonio Express News, was found in the Sierra Madre mountains.
          According to the information received, Mr. True had gone to Huicholes in order to write an
          article about the indigenous population of the region;
          (b) During the same week, Armando Meléndez Sanchez, a journalist, was killed by
          three men who shot him in the presence of his wife;
          (c) Luis Mario Garcia Rodriguez, a reporter for the La Tarde newspaper, was killed
          on 12 February 1998 near a police station in Mexico City. According to the source,
          Mr. Rodriguez had written several articles about corruption in the Government Procurator's
          Department and the Federal Judicial Police;
          (d) Hector Felix Miranda, author of a column in which public and private corruption
          was regularly criticized, was killed in 1998;
          (e) Jesus Blancornelas, editor of the Zeta weekly in Tijuana, was taken to hospital
          on 27 November 1997 following an attempt on his life. According to the source, there are
          indications that drug traffickers were behind the affair since Mr. Blancornelas often published
          articles about the Tijuana cartel;
          (f) Gabriel Gaza, a crime reporter with the El Diario newspaper in Nuevo Laredo,
          was beaten up in the street on 7 October 1997 by about 12 police officers, including
          Inspector Juan Antonio Treviflo. It was reported that the police subsequently apologized for
          what had happened, explaining that it was an error since they had confused Mr. Gaza with a
          criminal;
          (g) The photographer Raül Urbina was assaulted by security officers when he was
          covering a demonstration in Mexico City on 3 September 1997;
        
          
          E/CN.4/2000/63
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          (h) Daniel Lizarraga, of the La Refornia newspaper, was abducted
          on 5 September 1997 by two men who are thought to have been members of the Federal Judicial
          Police. According to the information received, Mr. Lizarraga was investigating an alleged
          connection between officials of the Government Procurator's Office and cocaine traffickers;
          (i) Fatima Monterroso, of the “Detrás de la Noticia” programme, and
          Daniel Pensamiento, of the La Refornia y El Norte newspaper, correspondents in Chiapas, were
          assaulted on 26 August 1997;
          (j) Rafael Jiménez y Leobardo Espinoza, reporters for El Debate, as well as
          Georgina Gill of the Televisa television company and Manuel Salas and Moisés Juarez, of
          Noroeste, were assaulted and threatened in Culiacan on 31 July 1997. It is alleged that these
          attacks were the work of the State Judicial Police of Sinaloa;
          (k) Nidia MarIn, of the Excelsior newspaper, Miguel Perez of the La Refornia
          newspaper and Juan Garcia, a photographer with the Excelsior were, according to the
          information received, assaulted by State guards on 4 June 1997 when they were covering an
          inauguration ceremony;
          (1) Salvador Chavez, a correspondent for the Televisa television company, was
          arrested on 12 April 1997. According to the information received, he was detained for two hours
          and beaten by the police when covering a police operation in Guadalajara in the State of Jalisco;
          (m) CuauhtCmoc Ornelas Campos, editor of the Alcance review, has officially been
          declared as having disappeared since 4 October 1995. According to the information received, he
          condemned the activities of drug traffickers in the region of the State of Coahuila and their
          connection with the authorities.
          147. On 16 July 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions concerning the death threats
          received on various occasions by Jesus Barraza Zavala, director of the Pulso weekly and the
          aggression against his bodyguard by alleged official agents. On 9 April 1999, Pulso published
          two articles connecting Albino Quintero Meraz, an ex-governor, and the Federal Judicial Police
          with drugs trafficking and calling for an investigation. As a result, on 4 May 1999,
          Mr. Quintero's emissary allegedly threatened Mr. Barraza with death, stating that his body
          would be found floating in a river if he did not cease publishing his accusations. According to
          the information received, the emissary offered Mr. Barraza the sum of $30,000 in exchange for
          his silence.
          148. We have been informed that Benjamin Flores Gonzalez, the former director of Pulso, was
          killed by drugs traffickers on 15 July 1997 and that the police has so far not arrested the authors
          of this crime.
          149. On 26 April, both Special Rapporteurs sent an urgent action to the Government referring
          to the threats received by the staff of the La Guillotina review. It is alleged that on 8 April 1999
          a man attacked Carina Ochoa, a journalist with this review.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/2000/63
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          150. On 15 February, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action together with the
          Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions informing the Government
          of Mexico about the attack and the death threats received by Enrique Gutiérrez, a correspondent
          for the El Sur local newspaper while he was covering the elections of 7 February in Acapulco,
          State of Guerrero. The incident took place in La Glorieta de Puerto Marques, when the journalist
          was gathering information on alleged irregularities in the electoral process committed by election
          officers from Polling Station 308 and staff working for the municipal government, who were
          members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
          Communications received
          151. The Special Rapporteur received a communication dated 13 February 1998 in which the
          Government of Mexico clarified the legal position in respect of some of the cases on which
          information had been requested. In its communication the Government provided information
          about the case of Rene Solorio, Ernesto Madrid and Gerardo Segura, as well as the cases of
          Daniel Lizárraga, David Vicenteno, Abdel Jesus Bueno Leon, Benjamin Flores Gonzalez and
          Victor Hernández Martines. According to the information received, these cases are still under
          investigation and some have reached the trial stage. The Special Rapporteur will ask to be kept
          informed about the progress made in these proceedings.
          152. The Mexican Government, in a communication dated 10 August 1999, provided the
          Special Rapporteur with information about the case of Jesus Barraza, stating that proceedings
          had been instituted and that the Federal Government had requested the Government Procurator
          of the State of Sonora to take measures to protect the journalist. It also stated that the
          Government Procurator was authorized to do everything in his power to prevent any direct or
          indirect action being taken against Mr. Barraza and to guarantee his integrity. The Government
          also transmitted additional information about the case of Jesus Barraza, indicating that,
          since 31 June 1999, elements of the municipal police in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, had
          been assigned to protect Mr. Barraza. Similarly, the deputy investigator of the Government
          Procurator's Department (ordinary jurisdiction) based in that town had ordered elements of the
          judicial police to carry out regular checks at various hours of the day and night, including contact
          with the staff of the Pulso weekly and Mr. Barraza's home.
          153. The Mexican Government also sent a report dated 22 September 1999 indicating that the
          National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) had transmitted the file concerning the Human
          Rights Centre “Miguel Agustin Pro-Juárez” to the inspectorate responsible for coordinating the
          programme of assistance forjournalists and human rights defenders, in accordance with
          article 40 of the CNDH Law which states that the Inspector-General may request the competent
          authorities to take preventive measures to avoid an irreparable outcome when such acts are
          reported. It added that preventive measures had been taken and that preliminary investigations
          had been launched.
          154. In a letter dated 1 December 1999, the Special Rapporteur received a reply to the
          allegations submitted on a number of cases, providing information on each one. The progress
          made in the investigations varies from case to case. The report indicated that those responsible
          for the killing of the journalists Phillip True and Benjamin Flores Gonzáles had been identified
          and sentenced. However, it also stated, in respect of the killing of the journalist Luis Garcia
        
          
          E/CN.4/2000/63
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          Rodriguez and in the cases of the assault and battery of the journalists David Vicenteflo and
          Salvador Chavez Calderon, that CNDH had ended its investigations since it had “found no
          evidence of the participation by any authority or public official”. Similarly, it indicated that
          CNDH had closed the cases of Rene Solorio, Gerardo Segura and Ernesto Madrid because they
          had requested that the investigations should be discontinued. The case of the aggression
          committed against the journalist Raül Urbina was also closed since the Public Security
          Secretariat of the Federal District had taken steps to determine who was responsible, so that it is
          unknown whether all the guilty parties have been identified and sentenced.
          155. The information also indicated that, in the cases of the killing of the journalists
          Hector Felix Miranda and Abdel Bueno Leon, as well as the attempt against the life of
          Jesus Blancornerlas, investigations had not yet been completed or that CNDH's
          recommendations had not been complied with fully.
          Observations
          156. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Mexican Government for the information received.
          However, he notes with concern that most of the journalists attacked were those who spoke out
          about a connection between drugs traffickers and officials and condemned the abuse of power by
          State agents.
          Myanmar
          Communication sent
          157. On 15 November 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an allegation concerning restrictions
          on freedom of opinion and expression imposed by the Government which officially censors
          domestic public media. The Special Rapporteur also requested further information regarding the
          following individual cases. Saung Win Latt, a famous short story writer, has been detained since
          early 1997 and is serving a seven-year jail term for “violating the press” by making ajoke about
          the junta during a literary talk. U Hla Pc, a member of the Central Executive Committee of the
          opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), and U Zeya, chairman of the Myaungmya
          township NLD Organizing Committee, were among others allegedly harassed on
          26 January 1997 by the police. According to the information received , numerous NLD MPs,
          among them U Aung Tin from Shadaw and U Boe Thin from Loikaw, were forced to resign on
          13 January 1997. U Moe Thu, a writer and journalist who worked closely with Aung San
          Suu Kyi, has reportedly been detained since May 1996. Allegedly, U Win Tin, former editor of
          Hanthawaddy, had his sentence extended on 28 March 1996 to five years since he reportedly
          sent letters describing prison conditions at Insein to the former Special Rapporteur on the
          situation of human rights in Myanmar, Professor Yozo Yokota. U Myo Mynt Nyen and
          U Scm Hlaing were arrested in September 1990 and sentenced to seven years in jail for
          publishing anti-Government propaganda. Allegedly, in March 1996 they were sentenced to
          another seven years for sending letters to the Special Rapporteur regarding the harsh conditions
          in prison.
          158. On 28 July 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on the question of torture to the Government of Myanmar concerning the cases of
          Thaint Wunna Kin, Ma Khin Leh, U Aye Swe, Daw Tin Tin, Kyaw Kyaw Oo, U Zaw Myint,
        
          
          E/CN. 4/2000/63
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          Daw Tint Tint, Ko Zaw Zaw Latt, U Ba Chit, U Ye Tint, U Win Myint, Dr. Shwe Bo,
          Ma Thida Htway, Ko Lwin Moe Myint, Ko Myint Oo, Ko Ah Thay Lay, Ko Hia Win and two
          unnamed female physicians who were reportedly arrested between 19 and 23 July 1999 in Pegu,
          central Myanmar. Most of these individuals were allegedly arrested owing to their
          involvement in a march commemorating the fifty-second anniversary of the assassination of
          General Aung San. Military intelligence reportedly looked for Kyaw Wunna, one of the activists
          who was organizing the march, and, not finding him, arrested his 3-year-old daughter and his
          wife. Six other members of Kyaw Wunna's family were also allegedly arrested on 23 July 1999.
          The remaining 11 people, who were reportedly distributing pamphlets, were arrested between 19
          and 24 July 1999.
          Communication received
          159. The Government of Myanmar informed the Special Rapporteur on 11 August 1999 that
          allegations that some individuals, including a 3-year-old, have been arrested and detained in
          Bago are found to be untrue. However, some people have been investigated in connection with
          the discovery of pamphlets printed by the armed terrorist group, the All Burma Students'
          Democratic Front.
          Observations
          160. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for the reply received on 11 August 1999
          and wishes to inform the Government that given the timing of the last communication, sent on
          15 November 1999, the Government's reply will be included in next year's report.
          Nigeria
          Communications sent
          161. On 25 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action together with the
          Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the arrest and
          detention of Mr. Jerry Needam, a journalist of the newspaper Ogoni Star, and a human rights
          activist, in connection with the attempt of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People,
          (MOSOP), to express public concern over police conduct which would constitute an abuse of
          human rights.
          162. On 5 May 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action together with the
          Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the arrest on
          25 April 1999 of Mr. Lanre Arogundade, Chairman of the Council of the Lagos Branch of the
          Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ). According to the source, Mr. Arogundade was first
          arrested and detained in February 1999 at a time when he had been receiving death threats as a
          result of his NUJ activities. It is alleged that he was arrested on the basis of petitions filed
          against him by a faction of the Union, in connection with his alleged involvement in the murder
          of former NUJ treasurer Bolade Fasasi. It is further reported that his detention coincides with
          planned activities for the celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Nigeria.
        
          
          E/CN.4/2000/63
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          Observations
          163. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the release on bail of Mr. Needam
          on 2 November 1999 but regrets that no reply has been received from the Government on
          the case.
          Pakistan
          Communications sent
          164. On 24 May 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on violence against women concerning a press statement issued on 14 May 1999 by
          the Social Welfare Minister of Punjab, Mr. Pir Bin Yamin Rizvi, in which he accused the Human
          Rights Commission of Pakistan, the women's organization Shirkat Gah and the Ajoka theatre
          group of spreading vulgarity and obscenity in the name of human rights and of anti- State
          activity. The allegation of anti-State activities reportedly emanates from the participation of a
          Shirkat Gah representative in a British Council seminar on violence against women held in
          England.
          165. On 12 May 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action concerning
          Mr. Najam Sethi, founder and editor of the English-language weekly newspaper Friday Times,
          who was arrested on 8 May 1999 by the Pakistan Intelligence Bureau, in cooperation with the
          Punjab police. The reasons for Mr. Sethi's arrest are assumed to be related to declarations he
          made in the BBC television documentary “Correspondant” concerning the alleged high level of
          corruption in the Government of Pakistan.
          Observations
          166. The Special Rapporteur welcomes the release of Mr. Sethi but still awaits a reply from
          the Government of Pakistan on the cases in question.
          Peru
          Communications sent
          167. On 11 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions concerning death threats to
          Juan Sausa Seclen, correspondent for the daily La Repüblica. According to information
          received, the anonymous caller threatened Mr. Seclen, who is now in hiding, that if he did not
          stop criticizing the National Intelligence Service he and his family would disappear. Allegedly,
          Mr. Seclen had published an article regarding the current activities of Hugo Coral Goychocea, a
          former member of a paramilitary group and now a bodyguard of Walter Pietro Maitre, mayor of
          the city of Jaem. Moreover, according to the source, the 28 September edition of La Repüblica
          was seized in order to prevent the information from being made public.
        
          
          E/CN. 4/2000/63
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          Observations
          168. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of Peru for the communication
          dated 16 June 1999 in which a list of people benefiting from an amnesty law was provided.
          However, replies to the communications sent are still awaited.
          Republic of Korea
          Communication sent
          169. On 2 July 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an urgent action to the Government
          concerning Suh Jun Sik, a prominent human rights activist, coordinator of the Sarangbang Centre
          for Human Rights based in Seoul. According to the information received, Suh Jun Sik, a
          former political prisoner who had already been imprisoned for 17 years, was arrested on
          4 November 1997 by the Seoul Administration Security Division for having shown the film
          “Red Hunt” during the 1997 Seoul Human Rights Film Festival, which was sponsored and
          organized by the Sarangbang Centre.
          Communication received
          170. The Government replied on 8 January 1999 to a communication sent by the Special
          Rapporteur on 22 July 1999 (see E/CN.4/1999/64, para. 98). According to the Government,
          Ham Yun Shik was sentenced on 2 July 1999 to one year's imprisonment by the Seoul District
          Court. A complaint against Ham Yun Shik was lodged by the National Congress for New
          Politics for defaming the then presidential candidate Kim Dae Jung. In the same
          communication, it is stated that Song Chung Mu was sentenced to two years' imprisonment on
          23 September 1998 for having libelled Kim Dae Jung during electoral campaigns. The
          Government also explained how its legislation sets reasonable limits on the exercise of free
          speech to ensure just and fair elections.
          171. On 16 July 1999, the Government sent a reply regarding the case of Mr. Suh Jun Sik
          whose trial was not yet concluded owing to the presentation of further evidence.
          Observations
          172. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its prompt reply.
          Sudan
          173. From 20 to 26 September 1999, the Special Rapporteur undertook a visit to Sudan,
          on which he has reported separately to the Commission at its present session
          (E/CN.4/2000/63/Add. 1).
        
          
          E/CN.4/2000/63
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          Syrian Arab Republic
          Communications sent
          174. On 26 April 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent action together with the
          Special Rapporteur on the question of torture concerning Nizar Nayouf editor-in-chief of the
          monthly journal Sawt al-Deniocratiyya and Secretary-General of the Committee for the
          Defence of Democratic Freedoms in Syria, who was reportedly arrested in January 1992. On
          17 March 1992, a military court sentenced him to 10 years of forced labour for being a member
          of an unauthorized organization and for disseminating false information. For over a year,
          Mr. Nayouf has reportedly been suffering from Hodgkin's disease. Prison authorities have
          allegedly refused to give him medical treatment unless he pledges to refrain from political
          activity and signs a statement acknowledging that he made false declarations concerning the
          situation of human rights in Syria. It has also been brought to the Special Rapporteur's attention
          that he is being held in a solitary cell measuring 2.5 by 3 metres in the military prison of Mezze
          in Damascus, and has not seen the sun for seven years.
          175. On 26 April 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted a joint urgent action with the
          Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working
          Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the case of Farj Bayraqdar, a Syrianjournalist and poet
          who was reportedly arrested in March 1987 and held incommunicado for nearly seven years
          before he was brought before a State Security Court in 1993. Allegedly accused of belonging to
          the unauthorized “Hizb Al-Amal Al-Shuyu'i” (Party of Communist Action), he was sentenced to
          15 years of imprisonment on 17 October 1993. Currently held in Seydanaya prison,
          Mr. Bayraqdar is reportedly being denied medical treatment for serious injuries he sustained as
          a result of alleged torture.
          Communications received
          176. On 7 June 1999 the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic informed the Special
          Rapporteur that Mr. Nizar Nayyouf had been arrested for participating with other Syrian citizens
          in establishing a group that carried out activities against State security. On the same date, the
          Government reported that Mr. Faraj ibn Ahmad Bayraqdar had been arrested on 31 March 1987
          because of terrorist activities for which he received a 15-year prison sentence.
          Observations
          177. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic for its
          replies. However, he is still concerned for the health of Mr. Nayyouf given the repeated reports
          that he should receive adequate medical treatment.
          Togo
          Communications sent
          178. On 11 May 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on the question of torture concerning Tengue Nestor and Gayibor François, executive
        
          
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          members of the Togolese Association for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights
          (ATDPDH), both of whom were arrested on 3 May 1999 by the police at Lomé. It is alleged that
          Sant'Anna Brice, considered to have worked closely with this organization, was also arrested.
          According to the sources, all three are accused of “damage to the credit and safety of the State,
          dissemination of false information, forgery and use of forgery” for having transmitted to
          international human rights organizations erroneous information on human rights violations
          committed by the Togolese Government.
          179. On 25 May 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on the question of torture concerning Nadjombe Antoine Koffi, a member of the
          NGO Amnesty International who had allegedly been arrested on 14 May 1999 at Lomé a few
          days following Amnesty International's publication of a report on human rights violations in
          Togo during the 1998 elections. As in the case of the three persons mentioned in the urgent
          appeal of 11 May 1999, fears were expressed that Nadjombe Antoine Koffi might be tortured.
          Communications received
          180. The Togolese Government transmitted a reply to the Special Rapporteur on 27 July 1999
          informing him that an investigation launched into the activities of ATDPDH had revealed
          that some of its members, including Tengue Apedo Mensa, Sant'Anna Brice and
          Gayobor Koko Koété intended to reveal to Amnesty International a number of serious incidents,
          attributing them to the forces of law and order. On 7 May 1999, after a long period in police
          custody ordered by the Government Procurator, they were referred to the Government
          Procurator's Office of Lomé. They were charged with complicity in damage to a person's
          honour, the dissemination of false information and incitation to rebellion. After being charged, a
          detention warrant was issued on 7 and 14 May 1999. The accused were released on
          18 June 1999 at the order of the Government Procurator and proceedings are under way. Lastly,
          the Government assured the Rapporteurs that Togo, in accordance with its international
          undertakings, had made significant progress in ensuring respect for human rights, particularly in
          the legal field, giving as an example the fact that the National Human Rights Commission had
          closely followed developments in this case.
          Observations
          181. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its reply.
          Tunisia
          182. From 6 to 10 December 1999, the Special Rapporteur undertook a visit toTunisia,
          on which he has reported separately to the Commission at its present session
          (E/CN.4/2000/63/Add.4)
        
          
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          Turkey
          Communications sent
          183. On 7 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent to the Government allegations
          concerning the following cases: Yalcin Kucuk, a journalist of Hepileri, who has been jailed
          since 29 October 1998 and is currently detained at Gezbe prison; Nadire Mater, a reporter for
          Inter Press Service, who was charged under article 159 of the Penal Code “for insulting and
          belittling the military” in her book Mehnied ‘s Book: Soldiers who have fought in the south-east
          speak out and who, if convicted, faces a prison sentence of one to six years; Nuredin Sirin, an
          editorialist of Selani who was sentenced on 18 December 1998 for an article he published on
          15 July 1997; the Kurdish “MED-TV” satellite channel, which had its broadcasting licence
          withdrawn on 23 April 1999. The Special Rapporteur, however, welcomed the enactment of the
          Amnesty Law which brought the release of2l journalists.
          184. On 1 June 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action concerning
          Muzzafer Ilhan Erdost, a prominent writer, journalist and publisher who has been sentenced to
          one year in prison and a fine of 100 million lira on charges relating to his book Three Sivas.
          Mr. Erdost also undertook independent human rights studies and participated in the
          establishment of the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD). It was reported that he was first
          imprisoned from 1971 to 1974 because of his writings and in 1980 he was arrested for the second
          time, together with his brother, after the military coup d'etat of 12 September.
          185. On 5 January 1999, the Special Rapporteur transmitted an urgent action concerning
          Mr. Akin Birdal, Chairman of IHD and Vice-Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation of
          Turkey, who was sentenced on 16 December 1998 to a one-year term of imprisonment for a
          speech he made on 1 September 1995. In his speech, he allegedly called on the Turkish
          authorities to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict in the south-east. According to the source,
          Mr. Birdal could be arrested at any moment to serve a previous one-year sentence which was
          confirmed on 27 October 1998. Moreover, three branches of IHD based in Bursa, Mardin and
          Balikesir were closed down on 13 November, 16 and 17 December 1998 respectively because
          they had on the premises prohibited human rights publications. It is further reported that the
          Director of the Balikesir branch of IHD, Dr. Bekir Ceylan, was dismissed from his government
          post allegedly because he was an executive member of IHD.
          Communications received
          186. The Government of Turkey transmitted an explanatory note on 30 September 1999
          regarding the 21 journalists amnestied under Law 4454.
          187. In its communication dated 25 May 1999, the Government informed the Special
          Rapporteur about the temporary closure of the IHD branches in Balikesir, Mardin and Bursa.
          According to the Government, the Balikesir branch continues its activities, while the Mardin
          branch was closed for a period of three months from 16 December 1998. The branch office in
          Bursa was closed for a period of three months and then its activities were banned after the
          Government established that the office was functioning in contravention of the Law on
          Associations. The Government also informed the Special Rapporteur that Mr. Bekir Ceylan,
        
          
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          Director of the Balikesir branch office, was dismissed from his government post in the State
          Hospital as a result of his participation in the preparation of a false document. With regard to the
          case of Mr. Akin Birdal, it stated that his one-year sentence for “inciting the public to hatred and
          discrimination based on race, religion or ethnic origin” was confirmed in October 1998 and was
          implemented on 3 June 1999.
          188. The Government in its communication dated 30 June 1999 provided information
          pertaining to the case of Mr. Muzaffer Ilhan Erdost who on 20 July 1999 was sentenced to one
          year's imprisonment on the charge of spreading separatist propaganda against the integrity of the
          State and to a fine of 100 million lira. According to the Government, the case had been taken to
          the Court of Appeals.
          Observations
          189. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of Turkey for its replies and his
          willingness to cooperate with the mandate.
          Turkmenistan
          Communication sent
          190. On 19 February 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an allegation requesting further details
          about the legal basis of the charges against and conviction of Mr. Vyacheslav Mamedov, an
          activist of the Russian community of Turkmenistan. According to the information received,
          Mr. Mamedov was arrested on 21 January 1999 for “slander”, after a series of prior actions
          against him beginning on 8 December 1998, on the basis of an interview he had given on the
          Russian radio station “Mayak” on 18 December 1998 in which he had described his community
          work. According to the sources, Mr. Mamedov was freed a few days after his arrest, but the
          charges against him are still pending.
          Communication received
          191. The Government of Turkmenistan replied on 9 April 1999 concerning the case of
          Mr. Mamedov, who was granted a pardon by the President of Turkmenistan.
          Observations
          192. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its reply.
          United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
          193. From 24 to 28 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur undertook a visit to the
          United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on which he has reported separately to
          the Commission at its present session (E/CN.4/2000/63/Add.3).
        
          
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          Yemen
          Communication sent
          194. On 19 May 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent action concerning Abdel Latif
          Kutubi Omar, Hisham Basharah'il and Ali-Haitham al-Gharib. According to the source, Abdel
          Latif Kutubi Omar, editor in chief of the opposition weekly Al-Haq, was arrested on
          2 March 1999 in his Sanaa office by five armed plainclothes agents and was taken to the
          Criminal Investigation Department for interrogation. It has been reported that his arrest is linked
          to an article published inAl-Haq on 28 February 1999 in which he mentioned an agreement
          between the United States and the Yemeni authorities regarding military facilities offered to the
          United States on the island of Socotra. Mr. Omar was released on 6 March after three days in
          custody and was allegedly informed that he would be prosecuted and should appear in court on
          19 May. Hisham Basharah'il, editor in chief of the newspaper Al-Ayyani, and Ali-Haitham
          al-Gharib, a writer for the paper, were reportedly arrested on 2 and 4 March 1999 respectively
          and charged with instigating “national feuds”, “the spirit of separatism”, and harming “national
          unity”. The charge allegedly stems from an article published on 27 February 1999 which
          criticized factionalism in Yemeni society and the structure of local government.
          Communication received
          195. On 8 August 1999 the Yemeni Government transmitted, through the Supreme National
          Human Rights Commission, a reply to the Special Rapporteur giving further details about the
          charges against the persons in question. It stated that the publication of the article by
          Hisham Basharah'il and Ali-Haitham al-Gharib was likely to exacerbate confessionalism and
          regionalism, create divisions in Yemeni society and propagate ideas likely to cause a breach of
          State security. According to the Government's communication, Hisham Basharah'il published a
          summary of the proceedings of a trial on 2 March 1999 despite the fact that such action had been
          prohibited by the court which had considered that the press might influence court procedure. On
          the subject of Mr. Abdel LatifKutubi Omar, it stated that he had been referred to the competent
          court in connection with a number of affairs, the last of which involved the publication of an
          article entitled “Yemen provides the United States and Socotra with military facilities”. That
          article was considered likely to exacerbate confessionalism and tribalism and create divisions in
          Yemeni society.
          Observations
          196. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Yemeni Government for its reply and hopes that he
          will be kept informed of developments in these three cases.
          Zambia
          Communication sent
          197. On 12 March 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action with the Special
          Rapporteur on the question of torture concerning Amos Malupenga, Goodson Machona,
          Brighton Phiri, Joe Kaunda, Kelvin Shimo and Lubasi Katundu, all journalists with the
        
          
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          independent Post newspaper, who were reportedly arrested on 9 and 10 March 1999. All the
          journalists are believed to have been arrested in connection with an article on the low military
          capabilities and unprepared state of the Zambian army in the face of a possible threat from
          Angola.
          Observations
          198. A response from the Government is still awaited.
          Zimbabwe
          Communication sent
          199. On 6 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint allegation with the Special
          Rapporteur on the question of torture regarding the cases of Mark Chavudunka, editor of the
          independent Sunday newspaper The Standard, and Ray Choto, chief reporter for the same
          newspaper. Mark Chavudunka was arrested on 12 January 1999 by the military police in Harare
          and allegedly detained incommunicado for six days. According to the source he was accused of
          having published an article on 10 January 1999 with regard to the arrest of 23 military officers
          for plotting a coup in December 1998. Ray Choto was reportedly arrested on 19 January 1999
          by the police. Both journalists have reportedly sustained serious injuries as a result of torture
          during their detention at the military police station. Despite the fact that both journalists were
          released on bail on 21 January 1999, they are still facing charges under the Law and Order
          Maintenance Act for “publishing false reports”.
          Observations
          200. The Special Rapporteur regrets that no reply has yet been received from the Government
          on the case in question.
          Palestine
          Communication sent
          201. On 12 October 1999, the Special Rapporteur sent ajoint urgent action with the
          Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the detention of
          Mr. Maer al-Dessouki, ajournalist with the independent Al'Quds educational television station.
          According to the source, Mr. al-Dessouki was arrested on 15 September 1999 by Palestinian
          Security Services agents and was reportedly accused of “possessing material inciting against the
          Palestinian National Authority”. According to reports, his arrest was related to his having hosted
          a programme on 12 September 1999 in which Palestinians whose family members had not been
          included in the previous week's prisoner release by Israel criticized the Palestinian Authority.
          Observations
          202. The Special Rapporteur regrets that no reply has been provided by the Palestinian
          Authority and hopes to receive one soon.
        
          
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          V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
          203. While the Special Rapporteur notes with satisfaction a growing tide in favour of human
          rights and that almost all Governments seem to be upholding the sanctity of the principles of
          freedom of opinion and expression, he at the same time finds innumerable cases of great
          violations of human rights.
          204. The Special Rapporteur cannot help but view with dismay the contents of the
          communications received in the past year. It is clear from them that the rights to freedom of
          opinion, expression and information are violated, almost as a matter of routine, in States with
          widely different political systems and institutional frameworks for governance. There are
          countries where these rights do not enjoy even the minimum protections and guarantees set out
          in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political
          Rights and associated international human rights instruments. In this regard, the Special
          Rapporteur encourages all States that have not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and
          Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to do
          so. Furthermore, he again urges all Governments to scrutinize their domestic legal systems with a
          view to bringing them into line with international standards governing the right to freedom of
          opinion and expression. Particularly with regard to the issue of national security, the Special
          Rapporteur urges all Governments to review not only laws specifically intended to protect
          national security but also ordinary criminal laws which may be used to infringe the rights to
          freedom of opinion and expression and to information. The criminal justice and the police
          systems also need to be overhauled to ensure greater justice and fairness from the police. The
          Governments may also consider the feasibility of setting up national human rights commissions
          and positions of ombudsman where these institutions do not exist.
          205. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur strongly urges all Governments to ensure that press
          offences are no longer punishable by terms of imprisonment, except in cases involving racist or
          discriminatory comments or calls to violence. In the case of offences such as “libelling”,
          “insulting” or “defaming” the head of State and publishing or broadcasting “false” or “alarmist”
          information, prison terms are both reprehensible and out of proportion to the harm suffered by
          the victim. In all such cases, imprisonment as punishment for the peaceful expression of an
          opinion constitutes a serious violation of human rights.
          206. As regards information, particularly information held by Governments, the Special
          Rapporteur strongly encourages States to take all necessary steps to ensure the full realization of
          the right to access to information. The Special Rapporteur proposes to undertake a comparative
          study of the different approaches taken in the various regions and countries in this regard. He
          also commends to the Commission on Human Rights the Principles on Freedom of Information
          Legislation that were developed by Article 19 (see annex II); he further requests the Commission
          to endorse these principles in the resolution it will adopt at its fifty-sixth session.
          207. As regards the impact of new information technology on the right to freedom of opinion
          and expression, the Special Rapporteur considers it of pre-eminent importance that they be
          considered in the light of the same international standards as other means of communication and
          that no measures be taken which would unduly restrict freedom of expression and information; in
          case of doubt, the decision should be in favour of free expression and the free flow of
        
          
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          information. With regard to the Internet, the Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate that on-line
          expression should be guided by international standards and be guaranteed the same protection as
          is awarded to other forms of expression.
          208. In this context, he also recommends that all reasonable steps be taken to promote access
          to the Internet. For instance, Governments should promote an economic and regulatory
          environment which encourages the extension of telecommunication lines to rural and other
          previously under-serviced areas. Wherever possible, government information should be made
          available through the Internet.
          209. Concerning the link between the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the
          rights of women, the Special Rapporteur expresses his great concern at the continuing silencing
          of women by various devices. Discriminatory rules and conventions continue to bolster
          entrenched patriarchal attitudes. In stark manifestation of male chauvinism, women are
          harassed. But it is at the same time encouraging to note that a spirit of change is building up with
          women's movements appearing even in highly conservative and religious societies. Education
          continues to improve. Women's participation in the workforce has increased. Women's actions
          to improve their political influence are gathering momentum. Efforts are being made to win
          adequate representation in Government at the national and local levels. Claims are being made
          to senior government posts. The Special Rapporteur urges Governments to take all necessary
          steps to remove formal and cultural obstacles to the exercise by women of their right to freedom
          of expression, including the right to receive information, and ultimately to give effect to all their
          rights. In light of the importance of freedom of expression and its relationship to the struggle
          against violence against women, the Special Rapporteur is of the view that a special effort should
          be made to gather and analyse more information along the lines described in the present report.
          The Special Rapporteur would like to reiterate his hope to be able to prepare a report jointly with
          the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, to be submitted to the Commission on
          Human Rights next year. In this regard, he invites submissions by Governments,
          intergovernmental organizations and specialized agencies, as well as non-governmental bodies.
          210. In regard to the continuing pattern of violations of the right to freedom of opinion and
          expression of human rights defenders, the Special Rapporteur recommends to Governments to
          take steps to implement the provisions of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of
          Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized
          Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
        
          
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          Annex I
          INTERNATIONAL MECHANISMS FOR PROMOTING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
          The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the
          Representative on freedom of the media of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
          Europe (OSCE) and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression of the Organization of
          American States (OAS) met for the first time in London on 26 November 1999 under the
          auspices of Article 19:
          - We recall that freedom of expression is a fundamental international human right
          and a basic component of a civil society based on democratic principles;
          - Independent and pluralistic media are essential to a free and open society and
          accountable government. Respect for freedom of the media in the States
          members of our organizations, although very different from country to country,
          leaves much to be desired;
          - Certain Governments have continued to exert and allow impermissible pressure
          on the media in their respective countries. The levels of harassment might be
          different but the general aim is the same: to suppress pluralism and open debate
          on issues of concern to citizens;
          - Freedom of expression is not only a fundamental human right in and of itself, but
          it has ramifications for economic development as well. The media has a
          “corrective” function by bringing to the public's attention corruption and
          inequitable practices. The absence of free media can lead to economic stagnation
          and improper practices by both Governments and businesses;
          - Implicit in freedom of expression is the public's right to open access to
          information and to know what Governments are doing on their behalf, without
          which truth would languish and people's participation in Government would
          remain fragmented;
          - The media should refrain from any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred
          that constitutes incitement to violence or to any other similar action;
          hi many countries laws are in place, such as criminal defamation laws, which
          unduly restrict the right to freedom of expression. We urge States to review these
          laws with a view to bringing them into line with their international obligations;
        
          
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          - We affirm that States must ensure an effective, serious and impartial judicial
          process, based on the rule of law, in order to combat impunity of perpetrators of
          attacks against freedom of expression.
          Abid Hussain Freimut Duve
          United Nations Special Rapporteur on OSCE Representative
          freedom of opinion and expression on freedom of the media
          Santiago Canton
          OAS Special Rapporteur on
          freedom of expression
        
          
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          Annex II
          THE PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO KNOW: PRINCIPLES ON
          FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LEGISLATION
          June 1999
          Principle 1. Maximum disclosure
          Freedom of information legislation should be guided
          by the principle of maximum disclosure
          The principle of maximum disclosure establishes a presumption that all information held
          by public bodies should be subject to disclosure and that this presumption may be overcome only
          in very limited circumstances (see principle 4). This principle encapsulates the basic rationale
          underlying the very concept of freedom of information and ideally it should be provided for in
          the Constitution to make it clear that access to official information is a basic right. The
          overriding goal of legislation should be to implement maximum disclosure in practice.
          Public bodies have an obligation to disclose information and every member of the public
          has a corresponding right to receive information. Everyone present in the territory of the country
          should benefit from this right. The exercise of this right should not require individuals to
          demonstrate a specific interest in the information. Where a public authority seeks to deny access
          to information, it should bear the onus ofjustifying the refusal at each stage of the proceedings.
          In other words, the public authority must show that the information which it wishes to withhold
          comes within the scope of the limited regime of exceptions, as detailed below.
          Definitions
          Both “information” and “public bodies” should be defined broadly.
          Information includes all records held by a public body, regardless of the form in which
          the information is stored (document, tape, electronic recording and so on), its source (whether it
          was produced by the public body or some other body) and the date of production. The
          legislation should also apply to records which have been classified, subjecting them to the same
          test as all other records.
          For purposes of disclosure of information, the definition of public body should focus on
          the type of service provided rather than on formal designations. To this end, it should include all
          branches and levels of Government, including local government, elected bodies, bodies which
          operate under a statutory mandate, nationalized industries and public corporations,
          non-departmental bodies or “quangos” (quasi non-governmental organizations), judicial bodies
          and private bodies which carry out public functions (such as maintaining roads or operating rail
          lines). Private bodies themselves should also be included if they hold information whose
          disclosure is likely to diminish the risk of harm to key public interests, such as the environment
          and health. Intergovernmental organizations should also be subject to freedom of information
          regimes based on the principles set down in this document.
        
          
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          Destruction of records
          To protect the integrity and availability of records, the law should provide that
          obstruction of access to, or the wilful destruction of records is a criminal offence. The law
          should also establish minimum standards regarding the maintenance and preservation of records
          by public bodies. Such bodies should be required to allocate sufficient resources and attention to
          ensuring that public record-keeping is adequate. In addition, to prevent any attempt to doctor or
          otherwise alter records, the obligation to disclose should apply to records themselves and not just
          the information they contain.
          Principle 2. Obligation to publish
          Public bodies should be under an obligation to publish key information
          Freedom of information implies not only that public bodies accede to requests for
          information but also that they publish and disseminate widely documents of significant public
          interest, subject only to reasonable limits based on resources and capacity. Which information
          should be published will depend on the public body concerned. The law should establish both a
          general obligation to publish and key categories of information that must be published.
          Public bodies should, as a minimum, be under an obligation to publish the following
          categories of information:
          - Operational information about how the public body functions, including costs,
          objectives, audited accounts, standards, achievements and so on, particularly
          where the body provides direct services to the public;
          - Information on any requests, complaints or other direct actions which members of
          the public may take in relation to the public body;
          - Guidance on processes by which members of the public may provide input into
          major policy or legislative proposals;
          - The types of information which the body holds and the form in which this
          information is held; and
          - The content of any decision or policy affecting the public, along with reasons for
          the decision and background material of importance in framing the decision.
          Principle 3. Promotion of open government
          Public bodies must actively promote open government
          Informing the public of their rights and promoting a culture of openness within
          Government are essential if the goals of freedom of information legislation are to be realized.
          Indeed, experience in various countries shows that a recalcitrant civil service can undermine
          even the most progressive legislation. Promotional activities are, therefore, an essential
        
          
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          component of a freedom of information regime. This is an area where the particular activities
          will vary from country to country, depending on factors such as the way the civil service is
          organized, key constraints to the free disclosure of information, literacy levels and the degree of
          awareness of the general public. The law should require that adequate resources and attention
          are devoted to the question of promoting the goals of the legislation.
          Public education
          As a minimum, the law should make provision for public education and the
          dissemination of information regarding the right to access information, the scope of information
          which is available and the manner in which such rights may be exercised. In countries where
          newspaper distribution or literacy levels are low, the broadcast media are a particularly important
          vehicle for such dissemination and education. Creative alternatives, such as town meetings or
          mobile film units, should be explored. Ideally, such activities should be undertaken both by
          individual public bodies and a specially designated and adequately funded official body - either
          the one which reviews requests for information, or another body established specifically for this
          purpose.
          Tackling the culture of official secrecy
          The law should provide for a number of mechanisms to address the problem of a culture
          of secrecy within Government. These should include a requirement that public bodies provide
          freedom of information training for their employees. Such training should address the
          importance and scope of freedom of information, procedural mechanisms for accessing
          information, how to maintain and access records efficiently, the scope of whistle-blower
          protection, and what sort of information a body is required to publish.
          The official body responsible for public education should also play a role in promoting
          openness within Government. Initiatives might include incentives for public bodies that perform
          well, campaigns to address secrecy problems and communications campaigns encouraging
          bodies that are improving and criticizing those which remain excessively secret. Another
          possibility is the production of an annual report to Parliament and/or parliamentary bodies on
          remaining problems and achievements, which might also include measures taken to improve
          public access to information, any remaining constraints to the free flow of information which
          have been identified and measures to be taken in the year ahead.
          Public bodies should be encouraged to adopt internal codes on access and openness.
          Principle 4. Limited scope of exceptions
          Exceptions should be clearly and narrowly drawn and
          subject to strict “harm” and “public interest” tests
          All individual requests for information from public bodies should be met unless the
          public body can show that the information falls within the scope of the limited regime of
          exceptions. A refusal to disclose information is not justified unless the public authority can
          show that the information meets a strict three-part test.
        
          
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          The three-part test :
          - The information must relate to a legitimate aim listed in the law;
          - Disclosure must threaten to cause substantial harm to that aim; and
          - The harm to the aim must be greater than the public interest in having the
          information.
          No public bodies should be completely excluded from the ambit of the law, even if the
          majority of their functions fall within the zone of exceptions. This applies to all branches of
          Government (that is, the executive, legislative and judicial branches) as well as to all functions of
          Government (including, for example, functions of security and defence bodies). Non-disclosure
          of information must be justified on a case-by-case basis.
          Restrictions whose aim is to protect Governments from embarrassment or the exposure of
          wrongdoing can never be justified.
          Legitimate aims justifying exceptions
          A complete list of the legitimate aims which may justify non-disclosure should be
          provided in the law. This list should include only interests which constitute legitimate grounds
          for refusing to disclose documents and should be limited to matters such as law enforcement,
          privacy, national security, commercial and other confidentiality, public or individual safety, and
          the effectiveness and integrity of Government decision-making processes.
          Exceptions should be narrowly drawn so as to avoid including material which does not
          harm the legitimate interest. They should be based on the content, rather than the type of the
          document. To meet this standard exceptions should, where relevant, be time-limited. For
          example, the justification for classifying information on the basis of national security may well
          disappear after a specific national security threat subsides.
          Refusals must meet a substantial harm test
          It is not sufficient that information simply fall within the scope of a legitimate aim listed
          in the law. The public body must also show that the disclosure of the information would cause
          substantial harm to that legitimate aim. In some cases, disclosure may benefit as well as harm
          the aim. For example, the exposure of corruption in the military may at first sight appear to
          weaken national defence but actually, over time, help to eliminate corruption and strengthen the
          armed forces. For non-disclosure to be legitimate in such cases, the net effect of disclosure must
          be to cause substantial harm to the aim.
          Overriding public interest
          Even if it can be shown that disclosure of the information would cause substantial harm
          to a legitimate aim, the information should still be disclosed if the benefits of disclosure
          outweigh the harm. For example, certain information may be private in nature but at the same
        
          
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          time expose high-level corruption within Government. In such cases, the harm to the legitimate
          aim must be weighed against the public interest in having the information made public. Where
          the latter is greater, the law should provide for disclosure of the information.
          Principle 5. Processes to facilitate access
          Requests for information should be processed rapidly and fairly
          and an independent review of any refusals should be available
          A process for deciding upon requests for information should be specified at three
          different levels: within the public body; appeals to an independent administrative body; and
          appeals to the courts. Where necessary, provision should be made to ensure full access to
          information for certain groups, for example those who cannot read or write, those who do not
          speak the language of the record, or those who suffer from disabilities such as blindness.
          All public bodies should be required to establish open, accessible internal systems for
          ensuring the public's right to receive information. Generally, bodies should designate an
          individual who is responsible for processing such requests and for ensuring compliance with the
          law.
          Public bodies should also be required to assist applicants whose requests relate to
          published information, or are unclear, excessively broad or otherwise in need of reformulation.
          On the other hand, public bodies should be able to refuse frivolous or vexatious requests. Public
          bodies should not have to provide individuals with information that is contained in a publication,
          but in such cases the body should direct the applicant to the published source.
          The law should provide for strict time limits for the processing of requests and require
          that any refusals be accompanied by substantive written reasons.
          Appeals
          Wherever practical, provision should be made for an internal appeal to a designated
          higher authority within a public authority who can review the original decision.
          In all cases, the law should provide for an individual right of appeal to an independent
          administrative body from a refusal by a public body to disclose information. This may be either
          an existing body, such as an Ombudsman or Human Rights Commission, or one specially
          established for this purpose. In either case, the body must meet certain standards and have
          certain powers. Its independence should be guaranteed, both formally and through the process
          by which the head and/or board is/are appointed.
          Appointments should be made by representative bodies, such as an all-party
          parliamentary committee, and the process should be open and allow for public input, for example
          regarding nominations. Individuals appointed to such a body should be required to meet strict
          standards of professionalism, independence and competence, and be subject to strict
          conflict-of-interest rules.
        
          
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          The procedure by which the administrative body processes appeals against requests for
          information which have been refused should be designed to operate rapidly and cost as little as is
          reasonably possible. This ensures that all members of the public can access this procedure and
          that excessive delays do not undermine the whole purpose of requesting information in the first
          place.
          The administrative body should be granted full powers to investigate any appeal,
          including the ability to compel witnesses and, importantly, to require the public body to provide
          it with any information or record for its consideration, in camera where necessary and justified.
          Upon the conclusion of an investigation, the administrative body should have the power
          to dismiss the appeal, to require the public body to disclose the information, to adjust any
          charges levied by the public body, to fine public bodies for obstructive behaviour where
          warranted and/or to impose costs on public bodies in relation to the appeal.
          The administrative body should also have the power to refer to the courts cases which
          disclose evidence of criminal obstruction of access to or wilful destruction of records.
          Both the applicant and the public body should be able to appeal to the courts against
          decisions of the administrative body. Such appeals should include full power to review the case
          on its merits and not be limited to the question of whether the administrative body has acted
          reasonably. This will ensure that due attention is given to resolving difficult questions and that a
          consistent approach to freedom of expression issues is promoted.
          Principle 6. Costs
          Individuals should not be deterred from making
          requests for information by excessive costs
          The cost of gaining access to information held by public bodies should not be so high as
          to deter potential applicants, given that the whole rationale behind freedom of information laws
          is to promote open access to information. It is well established that the long-term benefits of
          openness far exceed the costs. In any case, experience in a number of countries suggests that
          access costs are not an effective means of offsetting the costs of a freedom of information
          regime.
          Differing systems have been employed around the world to ensure that costs do not act as
          a deterrent to requests for information. In some jurisdictions, a two-tier system has been used,
          involving flat fees for each request, along with graduated fees depending on the actual cost of
          retrieving and providing the information. The latter should be waived or significantly reduced
          for requests for personal information or for requests in the public interest (which should be
          presumed where the purpose of the request is connected with publication). In some jurisdictions,
          higher fees are levied on commercial requests as a means of subsidizing public interest requests.
        
          
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          Principle 7. Open meetings
          Meetings of public bodies should be open to the public
          Freedom of information includes the public's right to know what the Government is
          doing on its behalf and to participate in decision-making processes. Freedom of information
          legislation should therefore establish a presumption that all meetings of governing bodies are
          open to the public.
          “Governing” in this context refers primarily to the exercise of decision-making powers,
          so bodies which merely proffer advice would not be covered. Political committees - meetings of
          members of the same political party - are not considered to be governing bodies.
          On the other hand, meetings of elected bodies and their committees, planning and zoning
          boards, boards of public and educational authorities and public industrial development agencies
          would be included.
          A “meeting” in this context refers primarily to a formal meeting, namely the official
          convening of a public body for the purpose of conducting public business. Factors that indicate
          that a meeting is formal are the requirement of a quorum and the applicability of formal
          procedural rules.
          Notice of meetings is necessary if the public is to have a real opportunity to participate
          and the law should require that adequate notice of meetings is given sufficiently in advance to
          allow for attendance.
          Meetings may be closed, but only in accordance with established procedures and where
          adequate reasons for closure exist. Any decision to close a meeting should itself be open to the
          public. The grounds for closure are broader than the list of exceptions to the rule of disclosure
          but are not unlimited. Reasons for closure might, in appropriate circumstances, include public
          health and safety, law enforcement or investigation, employee or personnel matters, privacy,
          commercial matters and national security.
          Principle 8. Disclosure takes precedence
          Laws which are inconsistent with the principle of maximum
          disclosure should be amended or repealed
          The law on freedom of information should require that other legislation be interpreted, as
          far as possible, in a manner consistent with its provisions. Where this is not possible, other
          legislation dealing with publicly held information should be subject to the principles underlying
          the freedom of information legislation.
          The regime of exceptions provided for in the freedom of information law should be
          comprehensive and other laws should not be permitted to extend it. In particular, secrecy laws
          should not make it illegal for officials to divulge information which they are required to disclose
          under the freedom of information law.
        
          
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          Over the longer term, a commitment should be made to bring all laws relating to
          information into line with the principles underpinning the freedom of information law.
          In addition, officials should be protected from sanctions where they have, reasonably and
          in good faith, disclosed information pursuant to a freedom of information request, even if it
          subsequently transpires that the information is not subject to disclosure. Otherwise, the culture
          of secrecy which envelopes many governing bodies will be maintained as officials may be
          excessively cautious about requests for information, to avoid any personal risk.
          Principle 9. Protection for whistle-blowers
          Individuals who release information on wrongdoing -
          whistle-blowers - must be protected
          Individuals should be protected from any legal, administrative or employment-related
          sanctions for releasing information on wrongdoing.
          “Wrongdoing” in this context includes the commission of a criminal offence, failure to
          comply with a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice, corruption or dishonesty, or serious
          maladministration regarding a public body. It also includes a serious threat to health, safety or
          the environment, whether linked to individual wrongdoing or not. Whistle-blowers should
          benefit from protection as long as they acted in good faith and in the reasonable belief that the
          information was substantially true and disclosed evidence of wrongdoing. Such protection
          should apply even where disclosure would otherwise be in breach of a legal or employment
          requirement.
          In some countries, protection for whistle-blowers is conditional upon a requirement to
          release the information to certain individuals or oversight bodies. While this is generally
          appropriate, protection should also be available, where the public interest demands, in the
          context of disclosure to other individuals or even to the media.
          The “public interest” in this context would include situations where the benefits of
          disclosure outweigh the harm, or where an alternative means of releasing the information is
          necessary to protect a key interest. This would apply, for example, in situations where
          whistle-blowers need protection from retaliation, where the problem is unlikely to be resolved
          through formal mechanisms, where there is an exceptionally serious reason for releasing the
          information, such as an imminent threat to public health or safety, or where there is a risk that
          evidence of wrongdoing will otherwise be concealed or destroyed.