2012 deadliest year on record for journalists

Updated 20 December 2012
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2012 deadliest year on record for journalists

More journalists were killed doing their job in 2012 than in any year since monitoring started 17 years ago, with Syria and Somalia seeing a particularly heavy toll, Reporters Without Borders said yesterday.
Eighty-eight journalists were killed, a third more than last year, as security forces in various conflict zones cracked down on a new crop of citizen journalists attempting to document their activities, the Paris-based rights group said.
“The high number of journalists killed in 2012 is mainly due to the conflict in Syria, the chaos in Somalia and to violence by the Taleban in Pakistan,” Christophe Deloire, the head of RSF, said.
Those responsible for mistreating or killing journalists, photographers and cameramen usually face no punishment, creating a sense of impunity which encourages further violence, he added.
Meanwhile, Turkey has more jailed reporters than China, Eritrea, Iran or Syria, making it “the world’s biggest prison for journalists,” RSF said.
The report adds to a growing chorus of criticism from Western governments and rights groups of the EU candidate’s jailing of journalists, most of whom are kept in pretrial detention.
Repressive laws, broad and vague legal provisions and a paranoid judiciary were to blame for the high number of arrests, RSF said, and only a complete overhaul of Turkey’s anti-terrorism law and other legal articles could change this.


Malaysia reopens grisly murder case linked to former PM Najib

Updated 15 sec ago
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Malaysia reopens grisly murder case linked to former PM Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have reopened an investigation into the grisly murder of a young Mongolian woman in 2006 which has been linked to the country’s ousted leader, reports said Friday.
Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives near Kuala Lumpur.
The murder was the most shocking aspect in a scandal involving allegations that an associate of recently toppled Prime Minister Najib Razak arranged huge kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002.
The case captivated Malaysia for years and there have long been allegations that Najib — defense minister at the time of the deal — and his wife Rosmah Mansor were involved. They have steadfastly denied the claims.
Two government bodyguards were convicted of the killing and sentenced to death. One subsequently fled to Australia, where he is in detention, and maintains he was ordered by “important people” to carry out the murder.
Altantuya’s father visited Malaysia this week. He met new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who backed re-opening the investigation, and lodged a fresh police report about the murder.
“I can confirm we are reopening investigations,” national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun was cited as saying by The Star newspaper.
“We will conduct our duties without fear or favor.”
Eric Paulsen, head of local rights group Lawyers for Liberty, said that Najib should be among the new witnesses to be interviewed by the police.
“We want to know why Altantuya was killed and who ordered her killing,” he said.
Malaysians broke the six-decade stranglehold on power of Najib’s coalition at elections last month, and voted in a reformist alliance headed by 92-year-old Mahathir.
Altantuya was the mistress of Najib’s associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, and was alleged to have demanded a cut in the submarine deal for translating during negotiations.
Abdul Razak was cleared in 2008 of abetting the murder.
The bodyguard who fled to Australia, Sirul Azhar Umar, recently said he is willing to assist any new government investigation into the case, a potential major breakthrough.