News Headlines - Wednesday October 08, 2003
IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN REPORTER'S DEATH
An Iranian intelligence official has denied beating to death a Canadian journalist who was arrested after taking photographs of the notorious Evin prison, where political prisoners are held.
Zahra Kazemi, 54, a Canadian photojournalist of Iranian descent, died after the arrest this summer, from a fractured skull and brain haemorrhage.
An initial inquiry revealed that she had received a heavy blow during the first 72 hours of questioning. She was taken to hospital where she slipped into a coma and died on July 10.
On the first day of his trial at a court in the capital, Tehran, Reza Ahmadi, 42, an intelligence ministry employee, denied murder. "I strongly reject these (charges)," he told the court.
The case has caused a huge row between Iran's reformist cabinet and the judiciary who are both denying responsibility for the death.
The case and Iran's inability to discover what really happened have also damaged relations between Iran and Canada.
NUJ CALLS FOR REDUCTION IN JOURNALISTS' STRESS AFTER REPORTER'S DEATH
The UK's National Union of Journalists (NUJ) called for an improvement in the way media organisations treat their staff in the wake of the suicide of James Forlong.
The former Sky News journalist was found dead at his home in Hove, East Sussex, at the weekend. He had allegedly killed himself after losing his job for faking a report during the Iraq war.
The NUJ said four journalists had died as the result of stress in the past 18 months.
Former BBC foreign correspondent Martin Bell said that Forlong's faking of the Iraq story "says something about the pressures of television news".
Forlong was praised by former colleagues as an "honest, decent man and a fine journalist" who had made "one mistake".
US RESTRICTS JOURNALISTS AT GUANTANAMO BAY
Journalists are being asked to sign up to new "ground rules" before being allowed into Guantanamo Bay, the US-run detention centre for suspected terrorists.
The restrictions prohibit journalists from questioning detainees about an ongoing investigation into the arrests of a Muslim chaplain and two interpreters.
"Asking questions or perspectives about ongoing and/or future operations or investigations can result in restricted access … removal from the installation, and/or revocation of DoD (Department of Defence) press credentials," the statement read.
FRENCH JOURNALIST ARRESTED IN SENEGAL
A French journalist for Radio France Internationale was almost deported from Senegal after she interviewed a separatist leader.
"I don't know what's happening. I don't know what I'm being accused of," Sophie Malibeaux shouted to other journalists as officials bundled her into a vehicle to take her to Dakar for questioning.
But then, just as she was to board a return flight to Paris, the government withdrew the deportation order, giving no explanation.
CNN TAKES CAUTIOUS APPROACH TO ARABIC CHANNEL
US cable giant CNN said it had no plans to immediately launch an Arabic-language version of its 24-hour news channel, but confirmed such a move was on the cards.
"We certainly have aspirations, but setting any sort of schedule at this stage would be wishful thinking," said Chris Cramer, managing director of CNN International.
"For any move to localise our content, there has to be a justification. And this has to be matched by resources. Nobody gives us any money to do whatever we want - our advertising people have to earn it."
NBC REPORTERS TO PUBLISH WAR STORIES
War reporters for US network NBC News are to tell their Iraq stories in a book and DVD package.
Journalists will relive their experiences, thoughts and fears during the first few weeks after the US launched an invasion of Iraq and several hundreds journalists were embedded within US military units.
Part of the proceeds of the project; Operation Iraqi Freedom; 22 Historic Days in Words and Pictures, will be donated to the family of NBC staffer David Bloom who died of a blood clot while covering the war.
It is NBC's second book of Iraqi war stories.
CONCERN FOR KIDNAPPED JOURNALISTS HEIGHTENS
Concerns have been raised about the safety of two Indonesian journalists who have been held hostage by rebels for more than three months.
Ersa Siregar, a senior reporter for Indonesia's privately owned RCTI television station and Ferry Santoro, an RCTI cameraman, were captured by the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) on June 29 as they travelled to a scheduled interview.
They never arrived and their current whereabouts are unknown. Siregar is also in poor health, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.
On July 3, Tengku Mansur, a spokesman for GAM in East Aceh, announced the organisation was holding the journalists, their driver, and two civilians on suspicion that they were working with the Indonesian military (TNI).
"We call on GAM leaders to release Siregar and Santoro immediately and without conditions," said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper.
RADIO JOURNALIST THREATENED WITH POLITICAL VIOLENCE
A journalist on a Colombian radio station claimed he was the target of political violence.
Fernando Marimón, director of the news programme Mundial, which airs on Radio Vigía de Todelar station, in Cartagena, northern Colombia, was threatened while his programme was on air.
His colleague Femberto Muñoz López said he received a call threatening Marimón, saying: "He had better stop talking about this shit. If he does not shut up, we will shut him up."
The call came at the same time he had been speaking out against an upcoming national referendum and criticising members of congress who support it.