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News Headlines Monday August 4th 2003
US JOURNALIST FREED BY INDONESIANS AFTER ONE DAY IN JAIL
A US freelance journalist jailed for 40 days by the Indonesian government for visa violations has been freed after only one day in prison.
William Nessen was released after being detained longer than the period of sentence following his arrest in the Aceh province.
The military government initially said it suspected the New Yorker of spying for the rebels, who have been fighting since 1976 for an independent homeland, on the northern tip of Sumatra.
Nessen was convicted of not reporting his whereabouts to authorities and listing an old home address on his visa. The 46-year-old was arrested on June 24 when he turned himself in to the Indonesian army after travelling for three weeks with the Free Aceh Movement rebels. His lawyer said he planned to leave the country as soon as a flight became available.
ETHNIC MINORITY NUMBERS FALL IN US BROADCAST NEWSROOMS
A new survey has claimed the numbers of ethnic minorities working in local TV and radio stations across the US has declined, but more women are fulfilling senior executive roles.
Ethnic minorities now comprise 18.1% of local television news staff, down from 20.6% last year.
While in local radio, minorities hold 6.5% of the jobs, down from 8%, the survey from the Radio-Television News Directors Association said.
The association's president Barbara Cochran said: "We are very disappointed that the percentage of minorities fell this year in the nation's local broadcast newsrooms."
But according to the survey women are continuing to make great strides in TV news management, holding a record 26.5% of the news director jobs.
AUSTRALIAN ABC AXES JOBS AND CONTENT TO SAVE A$ 26.1M
The state-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is slicing A$26.1m off its annual budget this year, signalling cuts that will affect up to 100 jobs and impact on the format of news, sports and its multimedia offerings.
ABC managing director Russell Balding said the ABC board approved the cuts after the broadcaster failed to secure extra funds from the government.
As well as closing two digital channels and axing its midday news programme, the broadcaster will slice A$ 530,000 off its live sports programme, ditch an intern programme for young journalists, reformat the foreign correspondents programme and cut funding to its radio and online divisions.
MALAWIAN RADIO JOURNALIST SACKED AFTER AIRING OF AL-QAEDA INTERVIEW
A Malawian journalist has been sacked from an Islamic radio station for broadcasting an interview with the wives of five alleged al-Qaeda members, who were deported from the country last month.
Lameck Masina, chief reporter of Radio Islam, was dismissed after he defied orders from his bosses not to air the interview in which the women revealed details of a meeting they held with President Bakili Muluzi after the arrest of their spouses.
Station manager Hub-Eddin Abbakar said Masina had recorded an interview with the women in which they spoke of a meeting with the president at his private residence.
The five alleged members of Osama bin Laden's network - a Sudanese, two Turks, a Saudi and a Kenyan - were flown to Sudan last month.
The expulsion of the five in a joint operation by US and Malawian intelligence agents sparked violent demonstrations by Malawi's Muslim minority and strong protests from humans rights groups which demanded to know where the detainees had been taken.