December

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December 2007

Contents

Democracy Alerts/Appeals
Women's Learning Partnership Condemns Arrests of Iranian Women's Rights Activists
Arab Program for Human Rights Activists Defends Egyptian Poet
Observers Dismayed at Further Delay in Trial of Ethiopian Activists
National Peace Council Criticizes Mass Arrests and Government Action against International Humanitarian Organizations in Sri Lanka

Announcements and Events
United Nations Democracy Fund Calls for Funding Applications
Rotary World Peace Fellowship now Accepting Applications
Call for Nominations: 2008-9 King Baudouin International Development Prize
Burmese Doctor wins 2007 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award
Demonstration for Burma Organized in Norway
Call for Workshop Proposals: 11th AWID International Forum on Women's Rights and Development
Singapore Democratic Party to Chair Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Lawyers Receives Freedom Defenders Award

Civic Education
Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy Produces Video on Democracy Schools in Indonesia

Civil Society Strengthening
CIVICUS Releases Report on Restrictions on Civil Society in Uzbekistan
CIVICUS Issues First Compliance Report on International NGO Accountability Charter
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative Expands Its Programs

Economic Reform and the Business Sector
Kurdish Business Agenda Launched in Iraq

Elections
Zimbabwe Releases Mobile Voter Registration Report

Gender Issues and Sexual Minority Rights
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women Marked in Bangladesh
Asian Women Seek to Apply UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in the Region

Human Rights, Equality and Access to Justice
Kenyan National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Created
New Manual on Human Rights and Service-Learning Released
Pontis Foundation and Jan Langos Foundation Announce International Jan Langos Prize
Zimbabwe Human Rights Organizations Lobby African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
Inter-Parliamentary Union Condemns Violence in Zimbabwe
New Tactics in Human Rights Holds Discussion on Mobile Phones and Human Rights

Labor Unions and Worker Rights
International Trade Union Confederation Conducts 2007 Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights

Media, Freedom of Expression and Communication Technology
Center for International Media Assistance Releases Reports on Media Assistance
Andrei Piontkovsky Awarded "Journalism as a Deed" Prize from Andrei Sakharov Center
International Women's Media Foundation Seeks Nominations for 2008 Awards
Pakistan Tightens Restrictions on Information Access
Pakistan Press Foundation Hosts Gender in Journalism Award 2007
Civil Society Groups Demand Access to Internet Technology in Africa
Journalist Wins Award for Coverage of Human Rights Abuses in the Balkans
NGO Condemns Attacks against Journalists in Zimbabwe
Article 19 Presents Mixed Review of Freedom of Expression in Indonesia

Political Parties and Political Leadership
Update on Political Events in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Young People's Political and Civic Participation
Call for Applications: CIVICUS Youth Assembly 2008

World Movement Participating Networks, Organizations and Individuals Mentioned in this Issue

 

Democracy Alerts/Appeals

Women's Learning Partnership Condemns Arrests of Iranian Women's Rights Activists
The Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP) has issued a statement condemning the recent increase in arrests of women’s rights activists.  On December 1, 2007, Jelveh Javaheri was imprisoned in Iran and charged with inciting public opinion, propaganda against the state, and publication of false information on the Web site of the One Million Signatures campaign, an effort to end discriminatory laws against women.  On November 18, 2007, Maryam Hosseinkhah was arrested in Tehran and charged with “acting against Iran’s national security” and publishing false information on the Web sites of the Women’s Cultural Center and the One Million Signatures Campaign.  This is the second time she has been arrested this year.  A few days before her arrest, the Women’s Cultural Center Web site was shut down by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the Judiciary.  The Leadership Council on Human Rights was one of many human rights groups to condemn the arrest.  Two other members of the One Million Signatures Campaign, Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi, have also been arrested recently.  In addition, Delaram Ali was sentenced to 2 years 6 months in prison and 10 lashes for her participation in a peaceful protest for women’s rights in June.

To sign the One Million Signatures petition, go to: www.we4change.info/spip.php?article19

For the press release from Women’s Learning Partnership, go to: www.learningpartnership.org/advocacy/alerts/iranwomenarrests0307

Arab Program for Human Rights Activists Defends Egyptian Poet
The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (APHRA) is concerned over the dual attack on freedom of expression by the government of Egypt and Islamic groups.  An Egyptian poet, Helmi Salem, was accused by the Al-Azhar Islamic Research Assembly of blasphemy for a poem entitled “The Balcony of Laila Mourad” that he published in a magazine.  The Ministry of Culture removed all copies of the magazine from stores.  Salem faces legal proceedings.  APHRA calls on the Egyptian government to protect human rights as outlined in universal human rights conventions and the Egyptian Constitution.  It also calls on Al-Azhar to stop interfering with freedom of expression.

Go to: www.wmd.org/democracynews/1207demnews2.pdf

Observers Dismayed at Further Delay in Trial of Ethiopian Activists
In Ethiopia, Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie were supposed to hear the verdict of their case on November 11, 2007, but the decision has been postponed until December 24 because one of the judges had to be replaced.  Bekele and Demissie were charged with “outrage against the constitution and constitutional order” following the May 2005 parliamentary elections in Ethiopia.  They are the last two accused in the treason trial that involved 131 politicians, journalists, organizations, and civil society leaders.  Civil society groups, such as CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Global Call to Action Against Poverty, call these postponements unacceptable and an infringement on Bekele’s and Demissie’s right to a fair and swift trial.

Go to: www.civicus.org/new/default.asp

National Peace Council Criticizes Mass Arrests and Government Action against International Humanitarian Organizations in Sri Lanka
The National Peace Council of Sri Lanka (NPC) is calling on the government of Sri Lanka to halt mass arrests and follow legal procedures in response to violence in the country.  Hundreds of Tamils were recently arrested in Colombo, and it is likely the mass arrests were in response to two recent bombings in the city.  The mass arrests infringe on the right of Tamils to reside where they choose to, and they also impact individuals’ employment opportunities.  NPC also calls for humane treatment of prisoners, public lists of those in custody, and access to prisoners by family members and legal aid organizations.  Also, the Sri Lankan Government recently accused UNICEF and Save the Children in Sri Lanka (SCSL) of supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a militant nationalist organization.  NPC is concerned that these allegations will discredit organizations that provide essential aid in the north and east of the country.  The organizations are charged with working with the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), which has been banned in the U.S. and Sri Lanka for raising funds for the LTTE.  UNICEF and SCSL did work with TRO, at the Sri Lankan Government’s request, but ceased once the link between TRO and the LTTE was discovered.  NPC worries that these allegations will compromise both the work and safety of UN and NGO personnel in the country, which will end up hurting the most vulnerable segments of Sri Lankan society.

Go to: www.peace-srilanka.org/media_statements_detail.php?id=174

 

Announcements and Events

United Nations Democracy Fund Calls for Funding Applications
The United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) has opened its second round of funding applications for projects that aim to promote and strengthen democracy.  UNDEF is the world’s largest provider of democracy assistance.  In the first round of project selection in 2006, a total of $36 million was disbursed to 125 projects.  The thematic categories for applications are: strengthening democratic dialogue and support for constitutional processes; civil society empowerment; civic education, voter registration and strengthening of political parties; citizen’s access to information; human rights and fundamental freedoms; and accountability, transparency, and integrity.  Applications must be submitted online, in either English or French.  The deadline for applications is December 18, 2007.

Go to: www.un.org/democracyfund

Rotary World Peace Fellowship now Accepting Applications
The Rotary Club is now accepting applications for its World Peace Fellowship.  The fellowship allows participants to purse a master’s degree in conflict resolution, peace studies, international relations, and related fields.  Fellows study at one of the following Rotary Centers: Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA (joint Rotary Center); International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan; Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina; University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England; University of California, Berkeley, USA; and University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.  The application and selection process includes the club, district, and world levels.  Since the process begins at the club level, individuals should contact their local Rotary Club for details regarding deadlines and application procedures.

Go to:
www.rotary.org/en/StudentsAndYouth/EducationalPrograms/RotaryCentersForInternationalStudies/Pages/ridefault.aspx

Call for Nominations: 2008-9 King Baudouin International Development Prize
The King Baudouin Foundation is seeking nominations for its International Development Prize.  The prize is awarded every two years to individuals or to organizations that contribute to the development of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.  The 150,000 euro prize will be awarded in spring 2009 at the Royal Palace in Brussels.  The deadline for nominations is February 1, 2008.

Go to: www.kbprize.org/index.html?current=1&page=1&page2=1&lang=en

Burmese Doctor wins 2007 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award
The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy recently announced that Dr. Cynthia Maung is the winner of the 2007 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award.  Dr. Maung operates the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand, near the Thai-Burmese border.  In addition to free medical care, her clinic provides job training, social services, health education, child protection services, and community building activities to create a community based on respect for life and human rights.  Dr. Maung left Burma as a refugee in 1988 during the government crackdown and established the clinic in Mae Sot.  Her clinic now has five physicians, 140 health workers, and 100 support staff, and it sees around 200 patients a day.  The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy hosts the coordinating office of the World Movement’s network, The World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA).

Go to: www.tfd.org.tw/english/HTML/ADHRA_2007_nomination.html

Demonstration for Burma Organized in Norway
On December 10, 2007, Rafto, Burmese Exiles in Bergen, Amnesty International Norway, and Redd Barna organized a mass demonstration in support of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and political prisoners of conscience in Burma.  December 10th is also International Human Rights Day and the day that the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony takes place in Oslo.  The demonstration included placing peace wishes on a Christmas tree in Bergen and appeals and songs in support of the prisoners of conscience in Burma.

Go to: www.rafto.no/DesktopModules/ViewAnnouncement.aspx?ItemID=332&Mid=42

Call for Workshop Proposals: 11th AWID International Forum on Women's Rights and Development
The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) is seeking proposals for sessions at their International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development to be held in South Africa in November 2008.  The theme of the conference will be “The Power of Movements.”  The women’s movement has historically been a strong example of the power and effectiveness of movements, but attention has recently shifted away from movements towards project-centered approaches.  AWID hopes to bring together over 1,500 activists to examine past movements and discuss how to build stronger women’s movements around the world.  The deadline for submitting proposals is January 28, 2008.

Go to: www.awid.org/forum08/call_for_proposals.html

Singapore Democratic Party to Chair Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats
For the first time since it was established, the Singapore Democratic Party took over the Chairmanship of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), a regional network of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia. The chairmanship hand over ceremony took place on December 12.  On behalf of CALD members, outgoing chairman, Senator Frank Drillon of the Liberal Party of the Philippines, expressed unwavering support to the SDP, and its leader Dr. Chee Soon Juan, for its struggle for democracy in Singapore.  At its executive meeting following the conference, CALD outlined a series of democracy-building activities for 2008 throughout Asia. The Executive decided that Neric Acosta, Secretary General of the Liberal Party of the Philippines, will continue acting as CALD Secretary General for the upcoming period.

For more information on the chairmanship hand over, go to: www.singaporedemocrat.org/articlecald_SDPchair1.html

For World Movement democracyalerts issued on behalf of Dr. Chee, go to: www.wmd.org/democracyalerts/cheeSoonJuan.html

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Lawyers Receives Freedom Defenders Award
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) was recently awarded the first Freedom Defenders Award, issued by the US Department of State.  Arnold Tsunga, the executive director of ZLHR, accepted the award on behalf of the organization at a special ceremony held on December 10 in Washington, DC.  US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice instituted the award to honor foreign activists and/or nongovernmental organizations that demonstrate outstanding commitment to advancing liberty and courage in the face of adversity.

Go to: www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2007/12/96688.htm

 

Civic Education

Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy Produces Video on Democracy Schools in Indonesia
In November, The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) released a documentary on democracy schools in Indonesia entitled “Clever People Can’t Remain Silent.”  NIMD has recently partnered with the Indonesian Community for Democracy to create Democracy Schools in Indonesia, which train young politicians and social activists in democratic values and practices.  Since 2004, Democracy Schools have been set up in five provinces and 350 students have completed the program.

Go to: www.nimd.org/default.aspx?menuid=14&type=newsitem&contentid=449&special

 

Civil Society Strengthening

CIVICUS Releases Report on Restrictions on Civil Society in Uzbekistan
On December 13, CIVICUS released a report looking at restrictions on civil society in Uzbekistan.  According to the report, with the impending presidential election, most civil society organizations have been closed, and those activists who continue to work face harassment, threats to their families and even prison time.  The report tracks the rapid development of civil society in Uzbekistan during the early 1990s to its systematic dismantling over the last five years.  It critically examines what it identifies as civil society’s internal weaknesses – over-reliance on foreign funding and lack of community support – as well as government efforts to undermine civic space, including restrictive NGO laws, bans on foreign funding, and the intimidation and even imprisonment of activists.  The report points to the 2003 rose revolution in Georgia and the subsequent color revolutions in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan as a main impetus for state restrictions on civil society.  The Uzbek government saw local NGOs and foreign agencies behind the revolutions and, in an effort to prevent the revolutionary spirit from spreading, passed strict controls on foreign funding and registration of international NGOs.

Go to: www.civicus.org/csw/Uzbekistan.Report.FINAL.pdf

CIVICUS Issues First Compliance Report on International NGO Accountability Charter
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation recently released its first compliance report that acts as a self-diagnosis of CIVICUS policies with respect to the International NGO Accountability Charter and identifies those areas in which improvements can be made.  As a result of this self-diagnosis, CIVICUS is planning to streamline its governance structure, improve its monitoring and evaluation capacity, and conduct an environmental impact assessment.  The charter was launched in 2006 with the aim of improving transparency and accountability in the NGO sector.  Charter principles include respect for universal principles, independence, responsible advocacy, effective programs, non-discrimination, transparency, good governance, ethical fundraising, and professional management.

To read the CIVICUS Compliance Report, go to: www.ingoaccountabilitycharter.org/cms/cmsfiles/civicus.pdf

For more information on the Charter, go to: www.ingoaccountabilitycharter.org

Foundation for Human Rights Initiative Expands Its Programs
The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) has been instrumental in the development of nongovernmental organizations in Uganda, and now includes programs on capacity building.  FHRI has been conducting paralegal training in Uganda for the past 12 years, and participants have gone on to form many community based organizations in the field of human rights education.  In Spring 2007, FHRI expanded its training to include capacity building programs for these organizations.  The training focused on agenda setting, building strategic partnerships, organization management, and organization development.  165 people have attended this program from organizations, such as Pastoral Women Alliance to Break Cultural Chains, Action for Human Rights and Civic Awareness, Rwenzori Peace Bridge and Reconciliation, and the Uganda Paralegals Society.

Go to: www.wmd.org/democracynews/1207demnews16.pdf

 

Economic Reform and the Business Sector

Kurdish Business Agenda Launched in Iraq
A coalition of Kurdish business associations recently presented its business agenda to the Kurdistan Regional Government.  With the support of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), representatives of key industries met to develop the Kurdistan Business Agenda.  It is the first of its kind in Iraq, and it calls for cooperation between the government and the private sector on issues such as weak infrastructure, the underdeveloped financial sector, and inadequate worker skills.

Go to: www.cipe.org/Iraq

 

Elections

Zimbabwe Releases Mobile Voter Registration Report
The Zimbabwean government conducted a mobile voter registration exercise from October 26 to November 15, 2007.  This was the second in a series of voter registration exercises.  The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) issued a report midway through the exercise on the status of voter registration efforts.  ZESN found that the event had not been sufficiently publicized and that many individuals were unaware that the program was taking place in their towns.  There were also many logistical problems ranging from lack of film to take pictures for photo IDs to running out of ID numbers.  It was also noted that political leaders were not taking an active role in encouraging their supporters to register.  On a positive note, the registration process was peaceful and individuals were not intimidated during the process.  ZESN also recently launched a new Web site that now includes discussion forums, a photo gallery, a search engine, the latest news reports, and downloadable reports and publications.

Go to: www.zesn.org.zw

 

Gender Issues and Sexual Minority Rights

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women Marked in Bangladesh
Odhikar, a nongovernmental organization in Bangladesh, marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 by organizing a meeting to discuss the situation of women in Bangladesh.  Thus far in 2007, 403 women have been the victims of rape, and 106 women have been victims of acid throwing.  Participants discussed the need for practical access to justice in order for existing laws to have any real impact.  The meeting also highlighted the need for social awareness, proper education, economic emancipation, and due process of law in the fight to end violence against women.

Go to: www.wmd.org/democracynews/1207demnews19.pdf

Asian Women Seek to Apply UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in the Region
Twenty women from countries in Asia recently met in Thailand for a workshop sponsored by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) entitled “UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Making it Work in Asia.”  The workshop focused on women’s issues that arise in armed conflict resolution, and how civil society groups can use UNSC Resolution 1325  (UNSCR 1325) in their work.  Out of all of the participants, only one third had used UNSCR 1325, and only one group, the Women’s League of Burma, has been able to get a UN Security Council discussion of their issues under the Resolution.  UNSCR 1325 was passed in 2000 to address women’s issues in conflict situations and to add a gender perspective to UN peace-keeping missions.  The Resolution is difficult to use in Asia because many Asian governments do not classify armed conflict situations as such, so that international humanitarian law does not apply and the conflicts are not internationalized.

Go to: www.forum-asia.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1303&Itemid=32

 

Human Rights, Equality and Access to Justice

Kenyan National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Created
A Human Rights Defenders workshop, held recently in Nairobi, Kenya, focused on regional and international instruments related to human rights defenders, risk assessment, security management, emerging laws and jurisprudence with respect to human rights, and the psychosocial aspects of human rights work.  As a result, the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders was created.  This organization brings together Habiba International Women and Youth Affairs, Migori Human Rights Network, Teachers Association for Human Rights/Kenya Human Rights Commission, Maasai Women Development Organiztion, Mombasa Human Rights Network, Horn of Africa Development Initiative, Yiaku People’s Association, and Minority Women in Action/Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya.  The Coalition will also become a member of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network.

Go to: www.wmd.org/democracynews/1207demnews21.pdf

New Manual on Human Rights and Service-Learning Released
Human Rights Education Associates (HREA), in cooperation with Amnesty International, recently published a manual on human rights and service-learning.  The manual covers human rights issues in the areas of environment, poverty, discrimination, children’s rights to education and health, and law and justice.  It includes lesson plans and tips for incorporating service projects into human rights curricula.

Go to: www.hrea.org/service-learning

Pontis Foundation and Jan Langos Foundation Announce International Jan Langos Prize
On the commemoration of Human Rights Day, the Pontis Foundation and the Jan Langos Foundation announced the Annual International Jan Langos Prize for solidarity and defense of human rights.  The first prize went to Karel Schwarzenberg, Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, for his persistent and relentless effort to defend human rights and uphold this legacy in foreign affairs.  The awarding of the Prize is also recognition of Jan Langos’ life work toward this goal even before 1989 from the other side of the Iron Curtain.  In his generation, Jan Langos, a former anti-communist dissident who served as Czechoslovak Interior Minister after the fall of communism in 1989, was the personification of relentless and consistent resistance to the communist system as a manifestation of evil and lack of freedom.  The International Jan Langos Prize is awarded to figures of local resistance to oppressive regimes and their security forces, as well as to notable figures of European civil societyand foreign affairs who contribute to the fight for human rights and liberty.  In addition to the International Jan Langos Prize, the Jan Langos Foundation also plans to begin awarding the Jan Langos Prize for Slovakia in 2008.  Nominations can be sent to: Jan Langos Foundation, Medena 13, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia.

Go to: www.sme.sk/video/?id=2136&st=1

Zimbabwe Human Rights Organizations Lobby African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) presented reports at the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) which was held in Republic of Congo – Brazzaville in November.  The report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum drew attention to the shrinking democratic space and restrictions being placed on civil society in Zimbabwe.  ZLHR highlighted the continued human rights violations in Zimbabwe to counteract the positive statement presented by the Republic of Zimbabwe.  The MISA report documents repression of the media and infringements on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Go to: www.achpr.org/english/_info/news_en.html

Inter-Parliamentary Union Condemns Violence in Zimbabwe
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) recently adopted a resolution concerning acts of police violence in Zimbabwe.  The resolution cites several instances of police brutality, including against two former members of Parliament.  The resolution calls on the Parliament of Zimbabwe to exercise its oversight function and hold the executive branch more accountable with respect to investigations of human rights violations by the police and the conduct of law enforcement agencies in general.

Go to: www.wmd.org/democracynews/1207demnews25.pdf

New Tactics in Human Rights Holds Discussion on Mobile Phones and Human Rights
New Tactics in Human Rights recently hosted an online discussion forum on how civil society organizations can use mobile phones to enhance their work.  Practitioners from Africa Interactive (East Africa), Voices of Africa project, kiwanja.net, FrontlineSMS, Center for Migrant Advocacy Philippines, Journalists for Children and Women Rights and Protection of Environment (JCWE), Interaction Belfast, and MobileActive.org were available to answer questions and offer suggestions.  To go along with the discussion is a handbook published by Amnesty International – Netherlands entitled “Sending Out an SMS,” which examines using mobile technology to take action against torture.

Go to: www.newtactics.org/en/announcements/using-mobile-phones-action

 

Labor Unions and Worker Rights

International Trade Union Confederation Conducts 2007 Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights
The International Trade Union Confederation recently conducted its 2007 Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights, and found that the number of people killed as a result of their trade union activities has risen from 115 in 2005 to 144 in 2006.  Seventy-nine trade unionists were killed in Colombia in 2006, making it the deadliest country for trade unionists.  The survey also notes continuing problems in Asia and Africa with respect to arrests and dismissals of trade unionists.  This year started off inauspiciously, with 137 people killed and 1,700 wounded during protests by trade unionists in Guinea in January and February.

Go to: http://survey07.ituc-csi.org/getcontinent.php?IDContinent=0&IDLang=EN

 

Legislative Development and Assistance

Centre for Democratic Institutions Conducts Training Workshop for Papua New Guinea Parliament
The Centre for Democratic Institutions (CDI) in Australia recently conducted a workshop on the role of parliamentary committees for the Parliament of Papua New Guinea.  The focus of the training was to teach members and parliament staff how committee work can be a way of connecting with constituents and getting the community involved in the political process.  Participants learned how the committee system works in the New Zealand and Solomon Islands parliaments.  They also participated in exercises on designing, conducting, and reporting on an inquiry report to Parliament.  Forty committee members participated, along with a large number of parliamentary officers.

Go to: www.cdi.anu.edu.au/png/2007_11_PNG_PRO_NatParl_Cttees_Wkshop.htm

 

Media, Freedom of Expression and Communication Technology

Center for International Media Assistance Releases Reports on Media Assistance
The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the National Endowment for Democracy recently announced the publication of two new reports authored by International Development Consultant Peter Graves on topics related to the field of media assistance.  U.S. Public and Private Funding of Independent Media Development Abroad,authored by Graves and edited by Angela Stephens, CIMA senior coordinator, provides a snapshot of U.S. public and private funding of media development assistance across the globe. Drawing upon the results of a 2007 survey designed by Graves and interviews and research, the report estimates that U.S. public and private funding of media development is at least $142 million a year.  Independent Media’s Vital Role in Development, also written by Graves,examines the cross-sector impact of media on political, social, and economic systems worldwide. The report provides examples of the benefits provided by independent media in a variety of settings.  These and other CIMA reports are available on CIMA’s Web site.   Also on the site is a comprehensive bibliographic database of resources with information on over 600 reports, articles, books, and manuals related to the media assistance field.

For U.S. Public and Private Funding of Independent Media Development Abroad, go to: www.ned.org/cima/CIMA_US Public and Private Funding of Media Development.pdf

For Independent Media’s Vital Role in Development, go to: www.ned.org/cima/CIMA_Media's Vital Role in Development_Report.pdf

For other CIMA reports and its bibliographic database, go to: http://cima.ned.org

Andrei Piontkovsky Awarded "Journalism as a Deed" Prize from Andrei Sakharov Center
Andrei Piontkovsky has been awarded the 2007 “Journalism as a Deed” Prize from the Andrei Sakharov Center in Moscow for a series of publications in the online publication grani.ru.  Mr. Piontkovsky was specifically applauded for his political analyses.  The prize is awarded to Russian authors of publications analyzing socially significant problems in an in-depth, honest, pro-democratic and human rights-friendly manner.  Previous awardees include murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Go to: www.grani.ru/Society/Law/m.131225.html

International Women's Media Foundation Seeks Nominations for 2008 Awards
The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) is seeking nominations for its 2008 “Courage in Journalism Awards” and its “Lifetime Achievement Award.”  The “Courage in Journalism Awards” honor women journalists who have demonstrated extraordinary strength of character in pursuing their profession under difficult or dangerous circumstances, such as government oppression, political pressure, physical danger, or other intimidating obstacles. The “Lifetime Achievement Award” recognizes a woman journalist who has a pioneering spirit and whose determination has paved the way for future generations of women in the media.  Nominations for the 2008 awards will be accepted by the IWMF until March 1, 2008.

Go to: www.iwmf.org/press/10282

Pakistan Tightens Restrictions on Information Access
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), reported that the import of satellite dishes and antennae has been restricted in Pakistan.  The import of satellite dishes and antennae must now be approved by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority, which is the entity also responsible for administering the other anti-media ordinances that have come along with President Pervez Musharraf’s emergency decree made on November 3.  Mainstream television and radio are still off the air, along with international news services such as Al Jazeera, BBC, and CNN, although Fox TV and Sky TV have been able to resume broadcasting.  Peaceful protests against the media crackdown continue in Pakistan, and on November 15 the PFUJ and the IFJ organized a Global Day of Action to encourage the international media community and governments around the world to put increased pressure on Pakistan to lift the media restrictions.

Go to: http://ifj.org/default.asp?Index=5502&Language=EN

Pakistan Press Foundation Hosts Gender in Journalism Award 2007
The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) recently awarded its 2007 Gender in Journalism Award.  The recipients were Faiza Ilyas for an article in Weekly Review and Fauzia Shaeen for an article in Dastak.  At the awards ceremony, speakers commented on the current state of emergency in Pakistan.  Justice Mrs. Majida Rizvi stated that journalism and the judiciary were the main targets of the emergency rule.  Speakers also highlighted the role of the media in civil society and the work that PPF has done to empower women in the field of journalism.

Go to: www.pakistanpressfoundation.org/useractivitiesdetails.asp?uid=1286

Civil Society Groups Demand Access to Internet Technology in Africa
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) organized a conference entitled “Civil Society Workshop on Open Access to ICT Infrastructure in Africa” in October in Rwanda.  The conference was meant to coincide with the Connect Africa Summit also being held in Rwanda.  A statement was issued by APC, the Open Society Institute for West Africa (OSIWA), the Collaboration for ICT Policy in Eastern and Southern Africa (CIPESA), the Kenyan ICT Action Network (KICTANet), the African Internet Service Providers Associations (AfrISPA), and the Rwanda Research and Education Network (RERN).  The statement called for increased attention to consumer demands for technology, the development of an environment suitable for private sector investment, government action to fill gaps in national network coverage, and regional coordination in ICT policy.

Go to: www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=5262405

Journalist Wins Award for Coverage of Human Rights Abuses in the Balkans
Seki Radoncic received the 2008 South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO) Award for Mutual Cooperation in South East Europe.  Radoncic is the author of several books about illegal police activity in Montenegro, such as “Black Box,” ‘Behind the Mask,” and “Fatal Freedom,” which was the basis for the film “Karneval.”  He also regularly contributes to newspapers throughout the Balkans.  Radoncic helped found the Montenegrin Helsinki Committee.

Go to: www.seemo.org/content/view/52/87/

NGO Condemns Attacks against Journalists in Zimbabwe
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) condemns the assault and harassment of journalists on November 18, 2007 outside the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Party headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe.  MDC has also condemned the attacks and restated its commitment to a free and independent press.  At a meeting with MDC leaders on November 21, 2007, MISA-Zimbabwe urged the party to talk to their supporters and explain to them the importance of the media in the democratic reform process.  Meanwhile, the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe reports that Zimbabwe private newspapers are in jeopardy.  The government recently ordered independent newspapers to cut their prices, but the costs of these newspapers are not subsidized as are those of state-run media.  CEOs have warned that they will not be able to cover costs, and many independent newspapers thus risk shutting down as a result of this government order.  This move by the government is seen as a way to restrict freedom of the press in Zimbabwe.

Go to:  www.wmd.org/democracynews/1207demnews36.pdf

Article 19 Presents Mixed Review of Freedom of Expression in Indonesia
Article 19 recently released its Universal Periodic Review report on freedom of expression in Indonesia.  The report notes that progress has been made in the decriminalization of some defamation provisions and in the reduction of violence against journalists, but argues that there is still much work to be done.  Article 19 recommends that defamation should be completely decriminalized, adequate resources be allocated so that all instances of violence against journalists can be investigated, improvements in working conditions for journalists be made, a revision of broadcasting regulations be implemented to bring them in line with international standards, and that right to information legislation be enacted.

Go to: www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/indonesia-unhrc-sub.pdf

 

Political Parties and Political Leadership

Update on Political Events in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) recently issued a report on political events in Bosnia and Herzegovina in response to recent actions by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the resignation of the Council of Ministers Chairman in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The report focuses on the negative impact that Milorad Dodik and Haris Silajdžić are having on politics and stability in the country.

Go to: www.ifimes.org/default.cfm?Jezik=En&Kat=09&ID=327

 

Young People's Political and Civic Participation

Call for Applications: CIVICUS Youth Assembly 2008
The CIVICUS Youth Assembly will be held in Glasgow, Scotland in June 2008.  The theme of the assembly is participation in civil society.  In addition, delegates to the Youth Assembly will also participate as full delegates in the CIVICUS World Assembly and will have the chance to interact with some of the world’s leading NGOs.  The Youth Assembly is open to individuals aged 18-25.

Go to: www.rnw.org.uk/CIVICUS2008.aspx

 

World Movement Participating Networks, Organizations and Individuals Mentioned in this Issue

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