Chinese President Xi Jinping today figured in a US press censorship list,which also included an al-Qaeda linked Syrian terror group,Muslim Brotherhood supporters and Pakistan’s Baloch armed groups.
Myanmar President Thein Sein marked an exit from the list of ‘Predators of Freedom of Information’ for the year 2013 for his country’s efforts towards press freedom in recent times.
The list was released today by ‘Reporters Without Borders’ (RWB) on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day.
The updated list of 39 ‘predators of freedom of information’ includes state heads,politicians,religious leaders,militias and criminal organisations involved in censoring,imprison,kidnap,torture and killing journalists and other news providers.
“These predators of freedom of information are responsible for the worst abuses against the news media and journalists,” RWB Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said.
“They are becoming more and more effective. In 2012,the level of violence against news providers was unprecedented and a record number of journalists were killed,” Deloire added.
The five new ‘predators’ that have been added to the list include new Chinese President Xi,Syrian Jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra members and supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,Pakistan’s Baloch armed groups and Maldives’ religious extremists.
Four ‘predators’ who have marked an exit are former Somali information and communications minister Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed,Burmese President Thein Sein,the ETA group and the Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces.
“It is no surprise that Xi Jinping his predecessor Hu Jintao’s place as predator. The change of person has not in any way affected the repressive system developed by China’s Communist Party,” RWB said in a statement.
In Pakistan,Baloch armed groups,including Balochistan Liberation Army,Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch Musallah Defa Army,have turned the south-western province of Balochistan into one of the world’s most dangerous regions forjournalists,it said.
“Consisting of armed separatist groups and opposing militias created to defend the central Pakistani government,they have spread terror in the media and created information “black holes.” “Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are also on the predators list because of their abuses against the media,” the statement said.
Ever since the army mutiny that overthrew President Mohamed Nasheed in the Maldives in 2012,extremist religious groups have tried to use their power to extend their influence,said the Reporters Without Borders. “They have become more aggressive as the July 2013 presidential election approaches,intimidating news media and bloggers and using freedom of expression to impose a religious agenda while denying this freedom to others,” it said.
Reporters Without Border said installed as president in March 2011,Thein Sein no longer figures as a predator of freedom of information. “Under his presidency,the military junta has disbanded and all jailed journalists and bloggers,including Democratic Voice of Burma’s 17 video-journalists,have been freed,” it said.
“In 2012,prior censorship was abolished and many exile media began operating openly inside the country. The first privately-owned daily newspapers appeared in early 2013,” the statement said. Among others in this list include the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the its Supreme Leader,Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.