Press freedom in the news 9/15/08

The kidnapping and subsequent death of four Iraqi journalists in Mosul on assignment for Al-Sharqia TV is the subject of numerous stories from the weekend and this morning. Both AP and Reuters released stories updating the situation. Voice of America also had coverage. The Los Angeles Times has an entry on its “Babylon and Beyond” blog about the deaths as well as the general dangers and difficulties facing journalists trying to cover the conflict in Iraq. CNN covered the story and highlighted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s call for the Iraqi military to fully investigate the case.

The New York Times has a story about filmmaker Andrew Berends’ return to the United States after a 10-day detention in Nigeria. The article quotes CPJ’s Tom Rhodes: “We work on cases like this in Africa every week. And I’ve never seen a response or reaction as impressive as Andrew’s colleague Aaron Soffin.”

A planned protest against the media crackdown occurring in Mayalsia is a major topic on the Hong Kong-based Asia Sentinel Web site this morning. The article quotes CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon‘s condemnation of the crackdown and the arrests of Malaysian journalists: “The Malaysian government has taken its repression of dissenting voices to a new level today. We call on the Malaysian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Tan Hoon Cheng. Malaysian newspapers should also be free to publish without threat of suspension,” Simon said.