News Headlines Thursday August 7th 2003
AFGHAN COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCES ON JOURNALISTS
Afghanistan's Supreme Court has upheld death sentences for two reporters who were found guilty of blasphemy.
Editor Sayeed Mahdawi and Ali Reza Payam sparked outrage in Afghanistan after an article headlined 'Holy Facism' appeared in the weekly Aftab magazine in which top leaders were accused of misappropriating Islam. Arrest warrants have been put out for the two journalists who are currently in hiding.
TEN CHINESE REPORTERS BEATEN BY GUARDS
A Chinese journalist is in critical condition after he and nine others were beaten by security guards in the eastern city of Nanjing, a weekend paper reported.
The incident happened on August 1 after a group of reporters who were rudely denied entry to an invitation-only education meeting, demanded answers from the province's education bureau.
Security guards at the bureau refused to let them in and a scuffle broke out when photographers started to take photos. Several reporters were then forced into an elevator and beaten, while three were detained in rooms for 40 minutes before the city police arrived, the paper said.
AUSSIE PM SAYS GOVERNMENT NOT TO BLAME FOR ABC CUTS
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said it was not the government's fault that the national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was cutting popular programmes.
"We haven't cut the ABC's budget," Howard told a local radio station. The ABC said it would have to cut jobs and programming in order to shave A$26.1m off its annual budget as it had failed to secure extra funding from the government.
FORMER EDITOR DROPS MURDOCH LEGAL FIGHT
A former senior New York Post editor who claims executives forced her out of her job has dropped her $8m discrimination case against the paper.
Maralyn Matlick, who rose to Sunday editor in 25 years at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid, claimed she was dismissed from her job in February 2002 because managers wanted a leadership team of Australian and British men.
However, she has now accepted an undisclosed amount of severance pay in exchange for dropping the suit.
NEWSPAPER OWNERSHIP LAWS MAY CHANGE
The Korean government is considering revising the law to restrict the ownership of newspapers.
The change is part of the President Roh Moo-hyun's plan to wrest back editorial independence from owners and advertisers.
"President Roh Moo-hyun basically believes that newspapers should not be owned by an individual or a family in order to best control their influence and social responsibility," a government official said.
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ATTACKS TOGO
The Togolese government has been attacked by human rights group Article 19 for suppressing journalists.
The group said that legislation introduced in the last year has been used to arrest and detain journalists who were critical of the government.
New laws have been introduced on press cards and criminal prohibitions have been strengthened to crackdown on the spreading of 'false news' and defamation.