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by Uta Melzer preface by Richard N.

Winfield introduction by Peter Preston

World Press Freedom Committee of Freedom House publication sponsored by Ringier AG

The World Press Freedom Committee is a coordination group of national and international news media organizations. It has 43 affiliates on six continents and is dedicated to: News media free of government interference A full and free flow of news Practical assistance to media needing it For more information about WPFC, please consult our web site, www.wpfc.org Funding of this publication, by Ringier AG, Zurich, Switzerland Country maps by permission of The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C. Press freedom ratings by Freedom House Editor of the publication: Ronald Koven Other WPFC publications on this subject include: Insult Laws: An Insult to Press Freedom, Study of More Than 90 Countries and Territories by Ruth Walden, 286 pages, 2000 Hiding From the People, How insult laws restrict public scrutiny of public officials, What can be done about it, 18 pages, 2000 Its a Crime: How Insult Laws Stifle Press Freedom, 2006 Status Report edited by Marilyn Greene, 306 pages, 2007 The Right to Offend, Shock or Disturb, A Guide to Evolution of Insult Laws in 2007-2008, by Carolyn R. Wendell, 156 pages, 2009 Those publications and copies of this book may be obtained by contacting: World Press Freedom Committee 1301 Connecticut Ave. NW, 6th floor Washington, D.C. 20036, USA or 133, avenue de Suffren 75007 Paris, France Published by the World Press Freedom Committee 2010

Table of Contents
Biographical Notes/Acknowledgments Preface: How Political Elites Have Captured a Blunt Instrument by Richard N. Winfield 1

Introduction: Traders on the Strand: Role-Switchers of the Libel High St. by Peter Preston 4 World Trends in 2009 By Uta Melzer Europe France Ireland Italy Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Turkey United Kingdom Former Soviet Union Azerbaijan Belarus Georgia Kazakhstan Russia Uzbekistan Sub-Saharan Africa Botswana Burundi Cameroon Democratic Republic of Congo Ethiopia Gambia Ivory Coast Mauritania Niger Rwanda Senegal

8 12 14 18 21 23 27 30 34 37 41 44 46 50 53 55 58 63 66 68 71 73 75 78 81 83 88 91 94 97

Sierra Leone Uganda Zimbabwe Latin America/Caribbean Argentina Brazil Colombia Cuba Ecuador Mexico Peru Uruguay Venezuela Asia-Pacific Afghanistan Cambodia China Fiji India Indonesia Malaysia Maldives Singapore Thailand Vietnam Middle East/North Africa Algeria Bahrain Egypt Iran Iraq Kuwait Lebanon Libya Morocco Sudan Tunisia United Arab Emirates Yemen

100 105 111 114 116 118 120 123 125 128 130 132 134 136 138 141 145 148 150 153 159 162 163 165 170 176 178 182 186 189 193 197 199 201 203 210 212 215 217

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES Uta Melzer is an Austrian-born lawyer trained in the United States and admitted to the New
York Bar in 2001. She worked at the International Press Institute in Vienna from 2007 to 2009, concentrating on press freedom issues in Africa. She worked earlier as an attorney, researcher and manager in Europe and the United States. Her work has included reviewing appeals for an appellate court in New York and evaluating claims for an international tribunal in Switzerland. Melzer has degrees from Brown University in Rhode Island in international relations and George Washington University law school in Washington, D.C.

Peter Preston edited The Guardian in London for nearly 20 years, before becoming Editorin-Chief of The Guardian and Observer. He is now Co-Director of the Guardian Foundation, which helps train journalists all over the world. Preston is a former Chairman of the International Press Institute. Before becoming editor, he served The Guardian as a war correspondent, political reporter, education writer and diary editor and ran two major departments. He currently writes a weekly page on media issues and a weekly column for The Observer. He is an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford.

Richard N. Winfield was Chairman of the World Press Freedom Committee from 20062010. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Freedom House. He was the general counsel of the Associated Press for more than 30 years, as a partner and US First Amendment specialist at the law firm of Rogers & Wells. Since the mid-1990s, he has led the media law reform programs of the American Bar Association/Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative in former Soviet bloc countries. The International Senior Lawyers Project, which he co-founded in 2000, has continued and expanded this work to Algeria, China, Japan and Turkey. Since 2002, Winfield has taught comparative mass media law and American media and Internet law at the Law Schools of Columbia and Fordham Universities. He also taught European history and US diplomatic history at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The World Press Freedom Committee is grateful to the organizations and colleagues who helped generously with their data and guidance in helping us prepare this study. The Belarusan Association of Journalists, the Glasnost Defense Foundation of Moscow, the Maharat Foundation of Beirut, Serbian lawyer Slobodan Kremenjak and Prof. Blent Algan of the Ankara University law faculty were particularly generous in reply to requests for information and clarification about legislation. We are also grateful to member groups of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) on whose data we relied. They included the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Article 19, Bianet of Turkey, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Human Rights Watch. Thanks are also due to Javier Sierra, WPFCs Insult Law Campaign Director, for his precious aid and guidance.

PREFACE How Political Elites Have Captured a Blunt Instrument by Richard N. Winfield National courts in Europe, and certainly the European Human Rights Court, place an unusually high value on protecting the honor and dignity of persons who find themselves on the receiving end of insults. A robust jurisprudence has developed that criminally punishes the insulter in the name of vindicating the honor and dignity of the insulted. One explanation lies in Europe's historical and hierarchical preoccupation with protecting the privileged status of the nobility. In the 20th Century, however, that preoccupation with protection was leveled down and broadly democratized. Another more widely held explanation points to the horrors of the Holocaust and the wanton assaults on humanity by the totalitarianisms of Fascism and Communism. Laws and courts must accordingly be engaged to insure that Europe never again suffers similar barbarisms. Given its history in the 20th Century, it is hard to challenge Europe's preoccupation with creating effective legal mechanisms to punish the insulter and protect the vulnerable, all in the service of ennobling human honor and dignity. Art. 130 of the Russian Penal Code, a typical insult statute, defines insult as the "denigration of the honor and dignity of another person, expressed in indecent form." If the insult is uttered in a "public speech, in a public performance, or in the mass media," the fine and term of hard labor is doubled. Unlike the law that governs defamation, the defense of truth is not ordinarily available to an alleged insulter attempting to justify his statement. Thus, when the late Joerg Haider, the former Governor of Carinthia, notorious for his Nazi sympathies, was labeled a Trottel (idiot) by the Austrian journalist Gerhard Oberschlick, Haider successfully obtained a criminal conviction against Oberschlick under Austria's insult law. (The conviction was later nullified by the European Human Rights Court). At trial, however, Oberschlick was effectively denied the right to prove that Haider was just that, an idiot. Herr Haider's criminal prosecution of Oberschlick illustrates a larger truth. Politicians like Haider have seized on insult laws as blunt instruments to silence their critics in the press. The fact that insult laws were enacted in the first place to protect the weak and defenseless seems to have escaped the attention of politicians like Haider. To suggest that insult laws have been hijacked by the political class is an understatement. To scan the names and political and

governmental positions of the thousands of claimants described in the pages of this year's survey is to conclude that insult law prosecutions have become the province of the politically connected. No insult seems too insignificant to embolden a public official to prosecute. To illustrate, several years ago the dissenting Armenian editor Nikol Pashinyan was confronted by two court employees in his office. They demanded that he turn over to them some editorial documents. "Get out of here, goats!" was Pashinyan's response. The offended court officials criminally prosecuted Pashinyan under Armenia's porous insult law and obtained a conviction. A Parisian bystander at a parade uttered the words "hoo hoo" as President Charles de Gaulle passed by. "Hoo hoo" merited a conviction for insult. What can explain the paper-thinness of politicians' skins that impels them to prosecute at the slightest hint of an insult? As a class, are politicians more sensitive to slights? Probably not since, to varying degrees, politics is more of a contact sport than a civilized academic debate. Since intramural political discourse is so often raucous and ill-mannered, the only logical explanation must lie in seeing prosecutions of the press under insult laws as control mechanisms. These prosecutions are thus not so much legitimate devices to vindicate lost honor and dignity as mechanisms to punish and intimidate dissenting voices in the press. How else can one explain the phenomenon of a politician like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a deputy in the Russian Parliament and leader of the chauvinistic Liberal Democratic Party? He has brought hundreds of insult and criminal defamation prosecutions against the press. If a journalist accurately quotes a source characterizing his politics as "fascist" or "fascist populist," the journalist can be sure he will be prosecuted. Any appraisal of insult laws that fails to recognize that they disproportionately serve to empower political elites to stifle debate cannot be seen as realistic. Insult laws, even if naively enacted to protect human rights, have been perversely inverted by political abuse to suffocate the human right of freedom of expression.

INTRODUCTION Traders on the Strand: Role-Switchers of the Libel High St. by Peter Preston LONDON -- Say what you think, write what you believe to be true, and in more than 160 nations round the world you can still -- in practice or glum theory -hear the sound of prison doors slamming shut. We call the instruments of legal repression that threaten press or personal freedom "insult laws." But that always, to me, sounds too much like name-calling in a school playground. In reality, we're dealing with criminal defamation, criminal libel, the fatally easy tools of government power when someone awkward has to be locked away or intimidated into silence. And this year in particular has shown how desperately difficult it remains to give freedom a chance. The faster information flows around the Worldwide Web, the more desperate the efforts to staunch it become. China and Google wrestle in Yangtze mud. But every step forward also reveals new problems and new challenges. Welcome, then, to the "libel tourism capital of the world," also known as London, England, its civil courtrooms in the Strand bursting with intimidatory business. The good news is that Britain's Labor government gave a useful lead last year by scrapping the old (defunct) laws of criminal libel. The still better and unrolling news is that Britain's new coalition government is (more or less) lined up to push through some wider libel reforms. But the bad news is that government isn't the enemy here. The people who are fighting hardest to preserve the status quo -- or, at least, its money-raising aspects -- are lawyers themselves. Politicians, in short, aren't the problem. It's the men in wigs (and the solicitors handing them briefs) who resist change line by line -- and actually threaten to start legal proceedings against Her Majesty's Government when they don't get what they want. And it's lawyers, again, who cause most of the grief to journalists trying to do their job. They don't send anyone to prison, to be sure. They deal only in fines and costs. But it needs to be said clearly that the threat of losing huge sums of money is almost as oppressive for a struggling newspaper as the threat of the editor spending three months in jail. Either eventuality is unacceptable. Both chill debate and stifle free expression. Some of the special shortcomings of English libel law, of course, are known far and wide to journalists who worry about legal constraints. They know that, essentially, a defendant is guilty until declared innocent, that you have to prove

what you wrote was true from scratch, whilst a plaintiff need prove nothing. They know that the plaintiff doesn't need to prove that what was written has damaged his or her reputation either, because such damage, unexamined, is taken as read. They know that contingency fee arrangements (no-win, no-fee) have, until very recently, allowed lawyers to double their money when they win a case -- or, more likely, forced settlement before the courtroom doors open. And they know that libel justice is available virtually on demand to litigants whose connection with England ranges from vestigial to virtually non-existent: Russian oligarchs suing Russian state TV, Ukrainians suing Ukrainians, Tunisians suing Dubai news channels, Saudis suing Americans, Icelanders suing Danes. No matter who you are and where you are, so long as you can contrive a slender link to Britain -- say a Danish article translated into English on your web site -then it's Open Sesame on the Strand. Danes and Icelanders can commence legal battle. And your chance of issuing a writ, incidentally, has also been long sustained by what's called the Duke of Brunswick rule (established 1849 after the Duke's butler traveled to England from Paris to find a copy of an old newspaper which had carried a libelous piece about His Grace published some 17 years previously). Every fresh download has been a fresh window of suing opportunity. What's not so well known, though, is the brutal costs of such litigation. The Article 19 organization and International PEN, who've been orchestrating a vibrant reform campaign in Britain, reckon that the most expensive libel action in recent years cost 3,243,980 (about US$4,866,000) and that the average cost of the top 20 most expensive cases was 753, 676 (about US$1,130,000). Chances of success? Almost zero. Of 259 cases taken to the High Court, the defendants won not a single one. Reasons to fight? Getting closer to zero, too: In 2008, as recession bit, 61 per cent of libel proceedings ended before they began via a statement in open court. And what is even less well known -- except to editors in trouble -- is how small, and therefore incestuous, the libel bar can seem. There are only a very few big specialist legal firms who can be involved with a libel case. Some make a speciality of launching high profile suits. They, in turn, employ barristers to argue the case at trial. But sometimes -- indeed, very much too often -- those same barristers have worked on the offending newspaper's side in some previous case. The libel bar is so tiny that everyone keeps busy arguing, for or against year in, year out. One moment, as client, you're telling your Queens Counsel how much you can afford to keep fighting the case he's pursuing on your behalf;

the next you're facing that same barrister in a trial where he's the enemy -- and knowledge of how far your resources can stretch is vital to his whole strategy. It's an introverted, tight little world, making a fortune in fees and costs -- and superintended, to all intents and purposes, by a single expert judge, who used to be a libel silk himself (the one, as a matter of fact, who appeared for the plaintiffs in my final court case as editor of The Guardian). No wonder those who wander unwary into this world soon grow cynical. No wonder that, under pressure for change, those on the inside also defend themselves and their patch with ferocious diligence. If the Government wants to lower contingency fees to 10 per cent from 100 per cent, then the House of Lords soon splutters and delays before giving in. If wider reform is on the cards, then the lobbying grows more intensive as well. The contest again (please note) is not Government against the rest, or indeed one party against another: it is politicians and editors seeking democratic change, against lawyers who believe that they have to win to keep their fees mountain intact. It is a battle for privileged survival. How did events take such an unlikely turn? What prompted the politicians to side with their supposedly despised adversaries, journalists, against some of the leaders of the legal profession? One short, bitter word: shame. The British public does not, in the main, revere the newspapers it still buys in large quantities. See from those libel case figures which way juries of ordinary men and women tilt when they have to decide. But this same public recoils when it sees other members of the public -- doctors, academics -- on the sharp end of events, too. It sympathizes with a British cardiologist sued in the United Kingdom by an American company over his criticisms (in America) of its heart implant trials. It watches aghast as Simon Singh, an eloquent science writer finds himself sued near to financial destruction by the British Chiropractic Association for questioning chiropracty's worth. It observes a distinguished Swedish professor's ordeal when he questions the value of lie detector machines that have cost our Ministry of Pensions nearly 2.5 million (about US$3,750,000). It believes that the balances here have slipped out of kilter -- and so more than 40,000 ordinary citizens sign a petition demanding change. Politicians overseas add to that shame, moreover. An American author, Rachel Ehrenfeld, writes a book about terrorism financing. It's published in New York. A Saudi billionaire decides to sue her -- but not in New York, not in America -because the First Amendment gets in the way. Here is, then, in the Strand, a Britain where only 23 copies of the Ehrenfeld book have been sold online. And the victory, the fines and the suppression of the book come easily. But can that judgment be implemented in New York, where America's freedoms are

protected? Can you dodge between jurisdictions in a trice? The New York State Assembly thinks not. It passes a law that makes foreign libel judgments nonenforceable (unless England passes a First Amendment of its own). The US Congress, as well as California, Florida and Illinois, move in a similar direction. In sum, one country's democratic politicians say to another country's democratic politicians that their libel regime stinks. England's ministers feel the shame and take the hint. Reform, via a weighty judicial report and a promised Act of Parliament consigning the Duke of Brunswick to history, begins to unroll. It's not victory for the campaigners. The balance of the law, and much else, is still weighted against simple freedoms. But there is a tide of events as well as a tide of opinion here. There is progress. Think of that progress as you read about Uzbekistan, Morocco or Malaysia in the pages that follow. Don't forget that criminal libel is merely libel with added jail time, doled out as necessary. Observe that if the law of libel itself could be made more uniform, more concerted, more hemmed it by international treaties of freedom and justice that already exist, then our globalized world of reporting and opinion, by TV, press or Internet, would be far more securely based. See what can be achieved when Joe Public raises his eyes and sees what, in practice, libel law often dictates. And remember that reform has still many self-interested enemies, whilst an idiotic word out of place, a crass concoction, an obvious lie, does maximum damage in the court that of course matters most -- the good old court of public opinion.

World Trends in 2009 by Uta Melzer During 2009, authorities the world over increased efforts to contain the Internet, particularly in the Middle East, Asia and post-Soviet states. In Kazakhstan, a new media law subjected all forms of web content to existing restrictive legislation on expression, including criminal libel. The Belarusan Prosecutor Generals Office said it would vigorously enforce media laws on the Internet because of the many complaints it received about web content. In Indonesia, defamation on the Internet was made subject to greater restrictions than that published in traditional media. The Iranian government initiated a new crime unit specifically to monitor the Internet for insults and lies. In Vietnam, regulations extending existing restrictions to the web helped authorities clamp down on bloggers. The soaring popularity of social networking sites both empowered citizens and made them more vulnerable. Irans citizen journalists provided vital information when a post-election crackdown largely silenced the traditional media. In China, a blogger detained on defamation charges sparked a successful campaign for his release by posting a message about his ordeal on Twitter. But with everyday communication increasingly taking place in cyberspace, even teenage boorishness was subjected to prosecution, with an Indonesian adolescent charged for calling another girl a dog on Facebook. The years developments offered little comfort to those concerned by politicization both of journalism and the law. From Thailand to Burundi, courts adjudicating defamation cases served as venues for adversaries to fight out political disputes. In India, journalists were charged for possessing Maoist leaflets. Elections elicited more prosecutions in Iran, Algeria and Tunisia. Irreverence remained dangerous. In Uganda, Morocco and Turkey, journalists were prosecuted for cartoons and satirical fairly tales. In Brazil, a newspaper reporter was informed that he risked a large fine if he did not stop his references to an actress who said she was offended by his wordplay on her chastity. Other cases could be mistaken for ill-placed humor. In Thailand, an aspiring author was jailed for insulting the Crown Prince in a book that reportedly sold fewer than a dozen copies. The writing on the wall literally caused trouble for a student in Cambodia, charged after painting his home with slogans against his forced eviction. In Brazil, a U.S. journalist was slapped with a civil defamation suit for critical comments about a plane crash in which he himself was a passenger.

Elsewhere, some curious expert testimony might also have been amusing, if not for serious consequences for those involved. In Turkey, a journalist was convicted following expert witness testimony that walking in a wolf-like manner could be seen as insulting in some parts of the country. Uzbekistans first female documentary filmmaker was charged with defamation after a panel of experts concluded that her portrayals of village life suggested that the country was stuck in the Middle Ages. While Thailands notorious lse majest laws protecting the monarchy resulted in harsh sentences, kings and emirs proved sensitive elsewhere, too, including Morocco, Kuwait and Bahrain. Reports of rulers ill health were particularly unwelcome. African presidents also took offense at such news. Journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Nigeria were charged over stories on presidential health problems. Authorities demonstrated that, to silence journalists, defamation and insult laws need not lead to convictions. From Mexico to Algeria to Uzbekistan, they served as justifications for summonses and detentions of pesky reporters. In Lebanon, they proved handy for potential litigants seeking to encourage the media to avoid particular topics. In Egypt, such laws provided a basis for authorities to shutter publications or for printers close to the government to remove allegedly illegal material. Prosecutions for insults to religions, religious beliefs and religious figures remained plentiful in parts of Asia and the Middle East. Lawsuits for hisba -harm to society through failure to uphold religious principles -- were on the rise. But they often seemed actually to have little to do with religion. In Egypt and Morocco, targeted articles included calls for political reform and allegations of corruption in the ruling family. This reinforced concerns that the continuing international campaign by Islamic countries to criminalize defamation of religion might also silence legitimate political and social criticisms. As spokesman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Pakistan called for new international legal standards to prohibit religious stereotyping, speaking in overly broad and vague terms of forbidding material that negatively stereotypes, insults, or uses offensive language on matters regarded by followers of any religion or belief as sacred or inherent to their dignity as human beings. The issue echoed in a UN Human Rights Council resolution, co-sponsored by Egypt and the United States and expressing concern that incidents of racial and religious intolerance, discrimination and related violence, as well as of negative racial and religious stereotyping of religions and racial groups continue to rise

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around the world. It urged member-states to take effective measures against such incidents. Human rights groups stressed anew that such broad language risks restrictions on freedom of expression. Legal reform efforts continued all over the globe. Some failed. Indonesias Constitutional Court upheld a law imposing Draconian penalties, including prison sentences of up to six years, for criminal defamation on the Internet. A challenge to Sierra Leones defamation laws was defeated. New penal codes introduced in Rwanda, Burundi and Cambodia criminalized at least some forms of defamation and insult. Not all the news was bleak. The United Kingdom and the Maldives abolished criminal defamation entirely. Ireland did, too, but was widely criticized for simultaneously criminalizing blasphemy. Uruguay decriminalized some forms of insult and made the remaining insult and defamation provisions harder to prosecute. In Argentina, prison sentences were barred as possible penalties for criminal defamation. Other developments underscored that decriminalizing defamation and insult is merely the first of several layers of needed legal reform. Laws prohibiting offenses similar to insult and defamation -- such as sedition, false news and misinformation -- were widely enforced. Hefty civil damages for defamation were imposed or under judicial consideration in Brazil, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia and the United Arab Emirates. In the United Kingdom, aggressive action against the BBC and The Guardian newspaper finally shook a public long inured to claims of legal harassment by tabloids. Meanwhile, from Peru to Rwanda to Serbia, journalists undertaking serious inquiries continued to be punished as if they were involved in the transgressions of tabloid journalism, to which authorities eagerly pointed to justify tough laws used to restrict serious journalism.

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EUROPE
France Ireland Italy Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Turkey United Kingdom

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Developments in the European Union were not uniform in 2009. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, made important progress, while others, like Slovakia, seemed headed in the opposite direction. Britain took the lead against defamation laws, both criminal and civil. First, it abolished various offenses criminalizing libel. Then, a domestic scandal over efforts to silence two of the countrys most respected news outlets helped spur review of British civil defamation laws, long criticized as unduly plaintifffriendly encouragements to libel tourism. Ireland also decriminalized defamation, but that was overshadowed by penalization of blasphemy. In France, the enthusiasm for decriminalization -- sparked by rough police treatment of a journalist arrested on defamation charges in late 2008 -- appeared to wane. At years end, two radio reporters were due in court in a defamation case brought by a prominent industrialist close to President Nicolas Sarkozy. In a case started in 2001, a Spanish appeals court dismissed as dangerous if not harmful defamation charges by a politician angered by unflattering coverage. Media advocates hoped the European Human Rights Court would rule similarly on two Spanish civil laws used against a reporter and her editor for an article tying Moroccos Royal Family to a drug trafficking case. A ruling was pending. There was dismay in Italy and Slovakia. Angered by racy coverage of his alleged affairs, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi filed a civil suit against an Italian daily and announced plans to sue French and British outlets. Slovakias public figures were even more litigious. Prime Minister Robert Fico, the former Justice Minister and current Supreme Court President initiated large numbers of civil suits, and courts awarded growingly large damages. In Slovenia, criminal defamation laws continued to serve as tools for public figures to pressure journalists. Former Prime Minister Janez Jansa persuaded a Ljubljana prosecutor to charge a Finnish journalist with criminal defamation for a documentary linking Jansa to alleged bribery. Turkish authorities and courts showed eagerness to prosecute news media. Numerous journalists were pursued on a variety of charges, including insult and an only slightly watered down version of Turkeys notorious Art. 301, originally criminalizing alleged insults against Turkishness and slightly modified to cover insults against the Turkish nation. The EUs Enlargement Commissioner pinpointed Turkeys poor press freedom record as a major obstacle to its EU membership. U.M.

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FRANCE
Population: 62.3 million Press Freedom Rating: Free The controversial November 2008 arrest of journalist Vittorio de Filippis continued to stoke debate about what constitutes proper punishment for defamation. De Filippis, the former managing editor of the daily newspaper Libration, was arrested, handcuffed and subjected to body searches in connection with a libel suit by the founder of an Internet service provider. De Filippis is not the author of the articles in question, but potentially liable as then-managing editor of the publication. In January, President Nicolas Sarkozy indicated in a speech to magistrates that he favored decriminalizing defamation. By the end of the year, however, no concrete proposals had been made. Meanwhile, in May, a Paris appeals court quashed the indictment and arrest warrant against De Filippis, concluding that the conditions of his arrest were disproportionate to the offense. In a decision issued in October, the European Court of Human Rights concluded that damages imposed on two French journalists for public defamation violated their right of free expression (see Brunet-Lecomte et Tanant v. France, No. 12662/06). Philippe Brunet-Lecomte and Loc Tanant, editor and journalist for the magazine Objectifs Rhne Alpes, appealed to the Court after being found guilty of violating Arts. 29 and 32 of the 1881 Press Law (public defamation of a private person). Proceedings against them were based on a complaint by a plaintiff, only referred to by the Court as C., who served as a Member of Parliament, deputy mayor of a city, and chairman of the board of a regional savings bank. At issue was a November 2000 front-page article on an investigation of allegations of malfeasance at the bank by that person. The European Human Rights Court found that the journalists presented the information objectively, including by quoting excerpts of the investigative reports and citing comments on the investigation by the individual at issue, as well as by stating only that he was suspected of wrongdoing, not that he was guilty. It concluded that the verdict placed unacceptable limits on their free speech rights. The Court stressed that the article covered a topic of public interest about a public official, and that the limits of acceptable criticism are broader than when discussing a private matter.

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On Dec. 15, two journalists for France Inter public radio appeared before the Paris Correctional Tribunal on defamation charges against them by businessman Vincent Bollor based on a report titled, Cameroon, Black Empire of Vincent Bollor, broadcast in March. Benot Collombat conducted the report, aired during a show presented by Lionel Thompson. It included several interviews with Cameroonians who spoke of the Bollor industrial familys strong presence in Cameroon. The next hearing was scheduled for March 2010. Also in December, the members of the Collectif pour une depenalisation du delit doutrage (Collective to Depenalize the Infraction of Contempt, or CODEDO), an association seeking abolition of the crime of outrage, submitted a national petition on the matter to President Sarkozy. At least one member of the group faces such charges. In July, a prosecutor appealed the acquittal of Jean-Claude Lenoir, vice-chairman of an organization that supports refugees, for contempt of a law enforcement service. The charges against Lenoir were over his participation in a 2008 demonstration for Afghan refugees in Calais. An appeals court was expected to rule within eight to ten months. Relevant Laws Law on Freedom of the Press of 1881 Frances Law of July 29, 1881 on Freedom of the Press, prescribes punishments for insult to the President, public officials, and foreign dignitaries. There have been modest reforms in recent years. For example, the Guigou Law in 2000 abolished prison terms for press offenses such as defamation and insult. The offense of insulting a foreign head of state, formerly prohibited by Art. 36 of the law, was repealed in 2004. Yet, some of the offenses have been expanded in recent years, with the law now stipulating stiffer penalties, including imprisonment, for defaming or insulting individuals for their race, religion, sexual orientation or physical disability. Art. 23 specifies that those who directly provoke another to commit a crime or misdemeanor will be punished as accomplices. This applies to provocations carried out by various means, including by speech, cries or threats made in public places or at public meetings, in writing, printed materials, drawings, engravings, paintings, insignia, images or any other medium for writing, words or images, sold or distributed, offered for sale or displayed in public places or at public meetings, by bills or posters exposed to public sight, or any form of public communication by electronic means. Art. 26: Offense of the President of the Republic by a means enumerated in Art.23 is punishable by a fine of 45,000 euros (approx. US$58,500).

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Art. 27: prohibits publication, distribution or reproduction of false or fabricated news, or news wrongly attributed to third parties, where this is done in bad faith and the news undermines or is susceptible to undermining public peace. A fine of 45,000 euros (approx. US$58,500) applies. Where the false news is likely to undermine the discipline and morale of the army or hinder the nations war efforts, the fine may total 135,000 euros (approx. US$175,500). Art. 29: Any allegation or imputation of an act that undermines the honor of, or esteem towards, the person or body to which the act is attributed, constitutes libel. The publication or reproduction of such an allegation or imputation is punishable, even where made in the form of a question or if it targets a person or body not specifically named, if their identification is possible by the terms of the speech, cries, threats, writings or printed material, placards or posters. Art. 30: provides that defamation of the courts, armed forces, established bodies and public administrations, by one of the means listed in Art. 23, is punishable by a fine of 45,000 euros (approx. US$58,500). Art. 31: The penalties listed in Art. 30 apply to defamation directed at the following individuals because of their functions or positions: one or more ministers, one or more members of either House of Parliament, a public official, one who holds or exercises public authority, a minister of religion paid by the State, a citizen temporarily or permanently assigned a public service or mandate, a juror or a witness, because of his testimony. Art. 32: Defamation committed toward private individuals by one of the means listed in Art. 23 will be punished by a fine of 12,000 euros (approx. US$15,600). Defamation committed by the same means toward a person or group of persons because of their origin or their ethnic, national, racial or religious membership will be punished by imprisonment of one year and/or a fine of 45,000 euros (approx. US$58,500). The same punishment applies to defamation against a person or group because of gender, sexual orientation or physical disability. Art. 33: Insult by the same means against the entities or persons listed in Arts. 30 and 31 is punishable by a fine of 12,000 euros (approx. US$15,600). Insult by the same means against private individuals, where not preceded by provocation, is also punishable by 12,000 euros (approx. US$15,600). Where the same targets a person or group of people because of their origin or membership of an ethnic, national, religious or racial group, their gender, sexual orientation or physical disability, the applicable punishment consists of six months imprisonment and a fine of 22,500 euros (approx. US$29,250).

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Art. 35: The truth of the defamatory fact, solely if it relates to their functions, can be established by normal means in cases of allegations against established bodies, the armed forces, public administrations and against all of the persons listed in Art. 31. The truth of defamatory or insulting allegations may also be established against directors or administrators of any industrial, commercial or financial enterprise that publicly seeks (investments through) savings and loans. The truth of defamatory facts may be proven, except: a) When the allegation concerns the persons private life; b) When the allegation refers to facts that are more than 10 years old; c) When the allegation refers to a fact that constitutes an infraction that has been amnestied or is subject to the statute of limitations, or when the conviction was expunged through rehabilitation or review. Art 37: Public contempt of ambassadors or plenipotentiaries, envoys, chargs d'affaires and other diplomatic agents accredited to the Republic of France is punishable by a fine of 45,000 Euros (approx. US$58,500). Art. 48: (1) In case of insult or defamation of the courts and other bodies listed in Art. 30, prosecution shall take place only after they have deliberated in a general assembly and have requested prosecution, or, if the body has no general assembly, upon complaint by the head of the body or of the minister to whom the body is attached. (2) In case of insult or defamation of one or more members of either House of Parliament, prosecution shall take place only upon the complaint of the person or persons concerned. (3) In case of insult or defamation of public officials, those entrusted with public authority or the agents of public authority other than ministers, and of citizens entrusted with a public service or mandate, prosecution shall take place either upon their complaint or automatically upon the complaint of the minister to whom they are attached. (4) In case of defamation of a juror or witness, as provided in Art. 31, prosecution shall take place on the complaint of the juror or witness who claims he was defamed. (5) In case of offense of heads of state, or insult of foreign diplomats, prosecution shall take place after their request to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and its referral by him to the Minister of Justice.

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IRELAND
Population: 4.5 million Press Freedom Rating: Free Ireland enacted legislation in 2009 that was widely hailed as bringing progressive reform to the countrys defamation law. But it was also heavily criticized as antiquated for enacting a provision criminalizing blasphemy. The Defamation Act of 2009, passed in July, abolished criminal defamation, only allowing civil courts to deal with defamation. It also outlined factors to consider when imposing defamation damages, a welcome change after Ireland was criticized by the European Human Rights Court for not providing proper direction to juries on the matter. The law came into force in January 2010. Yet, Section 36 of the Act introduced blasphemy as an offense. Many commentators said this would hamper open, critical discussion of religion. Miklos Haraszti, the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, hailed the decriminalization of defamation but noted, [a]s welcome as the Irish reform is . . . introducing a renewed version of the antiquated crime of blasphemy is a step backward and sends the wrong signal to the international community. Some analysts suggested the provision may have been motivated not by efforts to placate Irish Christians, but by concerns about offending Muslims. Others noted that the move was out of step with the Irish position in intergovernmental fora, where Ireland has consistently opposed the Organization of Islamic Conferences calls to criminalize defamation of religions. The government defended the move as mandated by the Constitution, which provides that publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter is an offense which shall be punishable in accordance with law (Art. 40(6)(1)(i)). The Supreme Court has in the past dismissed prosecutions based on this provision because it found the offense not to be clearly defined. According to Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, a legal void needed to be filled. Some, including the Constitutional Review Group and the Irish Parliaments Joint Committee on the Constitution, have recommended that the issue be resolved instead by deleting the constitutional provision, but the government this past year showed little interest in that approach.

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Relevant Laws The Defamation Act of 2009 abolished the Defamation Act of 1961, which imposed prison sentences for malicious, knowingly false, obscene and blasphemous libel. Defamation Act of 2009: A defamatory statement is defined in Section 2 as a statement that tends to injure a persons reputation in the eyes of reasonable members of society. Section 6(2) of the Act defines defamation as the publication, by any means, of a defamatory statement concerning a person to one or more than one person (other than the first-mentioned person). Plaintiffs may ask courts to issue declaratory judgments deeming the statement at issue defamatory; orders to publish corrections; and orders prohibiting the publication of the defamatory statement. In addition, plaintiffs may seek damages. Section 31 outlines factors to be considered in determining the amount of damages to be imposed. These include: (a) the nature and gravity of any allegation in the defamatory statement concerned, (b) the means of publication of the defamatory statement including the enduring nature of those means, (c) the extent to which the defamatory statement was circulated, (d) the offering or making of any apology, correction or retraction by the defendant to the plaintiff in respect of the defamatory statement, (e) the making of any offer to make amends under Section 22 by the defendant, whether or not the making of that offer was pleaded as a defense, (f) the importance to the plaintiff of his or her reputation in the eyes of particular or all recipients of the defamatory statement, (g) the extent (if at all) to which the plaintiff caused or contributed to, or acquiesced in, the publication of the defamatory statement, (h) evidence given concerning the reputation of the plaintiff, (i) if the defense of truth is pleaded and the defendant proves the truth of part but not the whole of the defamatory statement, the extent to which that defense is successfully pleaded in relation to the statement, (j) if the defense of qualified privilege is pleaded, the extent to which the defendant has acceded to the request of the plaintiff to publish a reasonable statement by way of explanation or contradiction, and (k) any order made under Section 33, or any order under that section or correction order that the court proposes to make or, where the action is tried by the High Court sitting with a jury, would propose to make in the event of there being a finding of defamation.

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Section 32 (additional types of damages): 1. Where, in a defamation action: (a) the court finds the defendant liable to pay damages to the plaintiff in respect of a defamatory statement, and (b) the defendant conducted his or her defense in a manner that aggravated the injury caused to the plaintiffs reputation by the defamatory statement, the court may, in addition to any general, special or punitive damages payable by the defendant to the plaintiff, order the defendant to pay to the plaintiff damages (in this section referred to as aggravated damages) of such amount as it considers appropriate to compensate the plaintiff for the aggravation of the said injury. 2. Where, in a defamation action, the court finds the defendant liable to pay damages to the plaintiff in respect of a defamatory statement and it is proved that the defendant: (a) intended to publish the defamatory statement concerned to a person other than the plaintiff, (b) knew that the defamatory statement would be understood by the said person to refer to the plaintiff, and (c) knew that the statement was untrue or in publishing it was reckless as to whether it was true or untrue, the court may, in addition to any general, special or aggravated damages payable by the defendant to the plaintiff, order the defendant to pay to the plaintiff damages (in this section referred to as punitive damages) of such amount as it considers appropriate. Section 35 abolishes the common law offenses of defamatory libel, seditious libel and obscene libel. Section 36 (blasphemy): 1. A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding 25,000 euros (approx.tUS$362,500). 2. For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if: (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage. 3. It shall be a defense to proceedings for an offense under this section for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value in the matter to which the offense relates.

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ITALY
Population: 60 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free In Italy, several high-profile defamation proceedings, both civil and criminal, made headlines in 2009. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi seemed eager to rely on such laws to silence unwelcome coverage. Numerous news reports of alleged extramarital affairs, dalliances with prostitutes and involvement with an underage woman prompted a strong reply by Berlusconi. In late August, he filed a defamation suit against the Italian daily La Repubblica after it repeatedly published ten questions relating to his alleged antics (and vowed to continue until they were answered). Berlusconi sought 1 million euros in damages (about US$1.3 million). His attorney also announced legal action against the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur for an article headlined, Sex, Power and Lies. Berlusconi also reportedly asked his lawyers to evaluate possible lawsuits against British publications. There seemed to be growing public outrage in 2009 over the longstanding accusations of Berlusconis interference in news coverage. In October, there was a large demonstration for press freedom in Rome (estimated by officials at 60,000 and by the organizers at 300,000). There was positive news for American journalist Alexander Stille. The author of The Sack of Rome, he was prosecuted for criminal defamation based on a complaint by Fedele Confalonieri, chairman of one of Berlusconis owned media companies. Confalonieri reportedly objected to a statement that his appointment illustrated how closely the Prime Minister has mixed his business and private lives, along with Stilles reference to an investigation in which Confalonieri had been cleared. Stille was acquitted in February. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 594 provides that anyone who offends the honor or dignity of a person shall be punished by imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to 516 euros (about US$670). This may be increased to up to one year in jail and a fine of 1,032 euros (about US$1,340) if the offense involves attributing a specific fact. The penalty may be increased if the offense is committed in the presence of several persons.

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Art. 595 provides that anyone who, when communicating with more than one person, harms the reputation of another, and the case is not covered by the preceding article, shall be punished with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 1,032 euros (about US$1,340). When the offense consists of attributing a specific fact, the penalty provides for imprisonment up to two years or a fine of up to 2,065 euros (about US$2,685). If the offense is committed via the press or any other means of publicity, or at a public demonstration, the penalty consists of imprisonment of six months to three years or a fine of no less than 516 euros (about US$670). The law further provides that the penalty shall be increased if the offense targets a political, administrative or judicial body, or one of their representatives. Art. 278 specifies that anyone who offends the honor or prestige of the President of the Republic shall by punished with imprisonment ranging from one to five years. Art. 291 prohibits publicly vilifying the Italian nation. Offenses are penalized with a fine ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 euros (about US$1,300-6,500). Art. 292 provides that insulting the national flag or another State emblem is punishable by a fine ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 euros (about US$1,300-6,500). When the offense is committed at a formal ceremony or public event, the fines are increased to 5,000 to 10,000 euros (about US$6,500-13,000).

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SERBIA
Population: 7.8 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Defamation and insult are no longer punishable by prison terms in Serbia. However, they remain criminal offenses even under the new Penal Code, introduced in January 2006. Related charges -- including insulting the State -- still carry jail terms. Civil defamation suits are also a problem. While these reportedly meet growing public popularity because of pervasive tabloid journalism, human rights workers are also often targeted over their investigations into war crimes On 30 March 2009, a court imposed a fine of 1 million Serbian dinars (approx. US$15,000) against journalist Dragana Kocic and Timosenko Milosavljevic, editor-in-chief of the daily Narodnih Novina. They were convicted of defamation for an article referring to the indictment of a former military official. They have appealed. Nataa Kandi, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Law Fund, was prosecuted for libel. In February, the Belgrade-based Fourth Municipal Court found her guilty of civil libel against Tomislav Nikoli, a politician of the former Socialist Party of Serbia, for her presentation of findings of an investigation into war crimes. On June 20, the Belgrade District Court overturned the decision. But the same month, members of the Serbian police forces trade union filed some 12 lawsuits against her. Biljana Kovaevi Vuo, chairperson of YUCOM, a human rights organization, also faced defamation charges. Proceedings against her began in 2005, initiated by the subject of a book, The Case of Civil Servant Aleksandar Tijani, published by YUCOM. In February 2009, the Belgrade First Municipal Court upheld the defamation charge but dismissed all other charges against her as having passed the statute of limitations. Tijani is Director General of RTS, Serbian state television. He claimed 8.5 million dinars (about US$130,000) damages. In June, the European Human Rights Court concluded that sentences imposed in 2003 and 2004 on Zeljko Bodrozic and Vladislav Vujin violated their freedom of speech. The two journalists, who formerly worked for the Kikindske newspaper, were convicted of criminal defamation and insult for two

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satirical articles -- one criticizing recent criminal defamation convictions of journalists in Serbia and another calling a controversial historian an idiot and a fascist for his views on national minorities. The European Human Rights Court concluded that the first case involved a matter of public interest and that the second concerned comments acceptable in free debate of an issue of general interest. Under the law then applicable, the two journalists could have been jailed if they had failed to pay the fines. In September, controversial amendments to the Public Information Law prompted media concern. There were no direct changes to defamation provisions, but the amendments introduced the possibility for publishers or broadcasters to be prosecuted in commercial courts for defamatory material. The amendments provide that if news media allege a suspects guilt before conviction, the publisher or broadcaster may be heavily fined. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 170 (Insult): 1. Whoever insults another person, shall be punished with a fine ranging from 20 to 100 daily salaries or a fine ranging from 40,000 to 200,000 dinars (about US$600-3,000). 2. If the offense specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article is committed through the press, radio, television or other media or at a public gathering, the offender shall be punished with a fine ranging from 80 to 240 daily salaries or a fine ranging from 150,000 to 450,000 dinars (about US$2,240-6,700). 3. If the insulted person returns the insult, the court may punish or remit punishment of both parties or one party. 4. There shall be no punishment of the perpetrator for offenses specified in Paragraphs 1-3 of this Article if the statement is given within the framework of serious critique in a scientific, literary or art work, in discharge of official duty, journalistic tasks, political activity, in defense of a right or defense of justifiable interests, if it is evident from the manner of expression or other circumstances that it was not done with the intent to disparage. Art. 171 (Defamation): 1. Whoever expresses or disseminates untruths regarding another person that may harm his honor or reputation, shall be punished with a fine ranging from 50 to 200 daily salaries or a fine ranging from 100,000 to 400,000 dinars (about US$1,500-6,000). 2. If the offense specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article is committed through the press, radio, television or other media or at a public gathering, the offender shall be punished with a fine. 3. If the expressed or disseminated untruths have resulted in serious

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consequences for the injured party, the offender shall be punished with a fine ranging from 120 to 360 daily salaries or a fine from 500,000 to 1 million dinars (about US$7,500-15,000). Art. 172 (Dissemination of Information on Personal and Family Life): 1. Whoever relates or disseminates information of anyones personal or family life that may harm his honor or reputation, shall be punished with a fine or imprisonment up to six months. 2. If the offense specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article is committed through press, radio, television or other media or at a public gathering, the offender shall be punished with a fine or imprisonment up to one year. 3. If what is related or disseminated resulted or could have resulted in serious consequences for the injured party, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years. 4. The offender shall not be punished for relating or disseminating information on personal or family life in discharge of official duty, journalistic profession, defending a right or defending justifiable public interest, if he proves the truth of his allegations or if he proves reasonable grounds for belief that the allegations he related or disseminated were true. 5. Truth or falsehood of related or disseminated information from the personal or family life of a person may not be evidenced, except in cases specified in Paragraph 4 of this Article. Art. 173 (Spoiling the Reputation of [Serbia]): Whoever publicly ridicules [Serbia] or its member states, their flag, coat of arms or anthem, shall be punished with a fine or imprisonment up to three months. Art. 174 (Spoiling the Reputation of a Nation, National/ Ethnic Groups): Whoever publicly ridicules a nation, national or ethnic group living in [Serbia], shall be punished with a fine or imprisonment up to three months. Art. 175 (Spoiling the Reputation of a Foreign State or International Organization): 1. Whoever publicly ridicules a foreign state, its flag, coat of arms or anthem, shall be punished with a fine or imprisonment up to three months. 2. The penalty specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article shall be imposed on whoever publicly ridicules the United Nations Organization, International Red Cross or other international organization of which Serbia is a member. Art. 176 (Impunity for Criminal Offenses in Arts. 173-175): There shall be no punishment of the perpetrator for offenses specified in Arts. 173-175 if the statement is given within the framework of serious critique in a scientific, literary or art work, in discharge of official duty, performing journalistic duties,

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political activity, in defense of a right or defense of justifiable interests, if it is evident from the manner of expression or other circumstances that it was not done with intent to disparage or if he proves the truth of his allegations or that he had reasonable grounds to believe that what he said or disseminated was true. Art. 177 (Prosecution for Offenses against Honor and Reputation): 1. Prosecution for offenses specified in Arts. 170-172 hereof is undertaken by private action. 2. If offenses specified in Arts. 170-172 hereof are committed against a deceased person, prosecution is instituted by private action of the spouse of the deceased or person cohabiting with the deceased, lineal descendant, adoptive parent, adopted child, or the deceased persons sibling. 3. Prosecution for criminal offense specified in Art. 175 hereof is undertaken upon approval of the Public Prosecutor.

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SLOVAKIA
Population: 5.4 million Press Freedom Rating: Free Relations between the media and government remained hostile, and public figures increasingly turned to civil defamation lawsuits to settle their disputes. A broadly written right of reply law introduced in 2008 provided an additional source of harassment. One of the most notorious litigants was Stefan Harabin, Justice Minister until June and now President of the Supreme Court. In March, Petit Press, publisher of the daily SME, was ordered to pay him 33,000 euros (about US$43,000), for a story on a 1985 case involving a Catholic priest. As a judge, Harabin wrote a report, on the basis of which the priest was sentenced to two years in jail. SME mistakenly reported that Harabin issued the judgment himself. In June, Harabin sent letters to several publishers, including of the SME, Pravda, Plus Jeden De and Plus 7 Dn, proposing out-of-court settlements for alleged injury to his honor and reputation. Harabin claimed that articles in 2008 and 2009 in those publications wrongly portrayed him as being tied to organized crime. He demanded 200,000 euros (about US$260,000) from each publisher. Commentators noted that Harabin did not answer the articles when originally published, and made no efforts to publish a correction or reply under the Press Code of 2008. The Association of Periodical Press Publishers, representing Slovak newspapers and magazines, called the sums demanded disproportionate. In September, a court ordered the 7 Plus Company, publisher of the weekly Plus 7 Dn, to pay Harabin approximately 31,000 euros (about US$40,000) for a 2005 article about anti-corruption officers searching for the judge at the Supreme Court after he failed to respond to a summons. The article also discussed the judges career, noting that he was first proposed for the Supreme Court by the Slovak National Party, but that he kept his post thanks to support from the Slovak Democratic Left party. The ruling that Harabin should be awarded damages concluded that the article hurt his reputation because it suggested that he depends on support by political parties, which runs counter to his obligation to be politically independent.

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Prime Minister Robert Fico was also litigious. Although many of his lawsuits targeted tabloids, even cartoons proved taboo. In September, Fico pursued the SME for publishing a cartoon of a doctor telling him that the pain he felt in his spine was a phantom pain, suggesting that he is spineless. He sought 33,000 euros (about US$43,000) compensation. The 7 Plus Company, ordered to pay the Prime Minister more than 70,000 euros (about US$90,00) in several different suits, was another major target. Other public officials also sued aggressively. In June, Ringier, the publisher of the daily Novy Cas, was ordered to pay 20,000 euros (about US$26,000) in damages to Jan Slota, chairman of the Slovak National Party, for an article about his past. The article indicated that Jan Slota was arrested in 1970 with a friend, Jozef Rendek, for trying to cross the border between Austria and thenCzechoslovakia. The article also said Rendek later become involved with a gang that carried out thefts and at least one armed robbery. The first lawsuit was filed under a controversial right of reply, enacted as part of the 2008 Press Act. It obligates print media to publish replies of anyone who feels their reputation has been infringed by a published article. Refusals to print such replies can trigger fines of up to 5,000 euros (about US$6,500). Ostensibly introduced to protect ordinary citizens against harm from false accusations, it was seen by many commentators as another way for public figures to discourage critical media coverage. In June, the Inspectorate for the Environment filed a civil complaint against the SME after it refused to print a response to a column under the right of reply law. The article in question criticized the government agency in connection with a garbage site built outside the capital of Bratislava. Relevant Laws Penal Code While civil defamation suits have been the main threat to Slovakian media. defamation remains a criminal offense under Section 373 of the Penal Code of 2006. It provides for prison terms of up to two years, up to eight years in cases of severe harm. Defamation of a nation, race, ethnic group, or religious belief is a separate offense under Section 423, providing for up to three years jail. Press Law of 2008 Section 8 (Right of Reply) 1. If a periodical or agency news service contains a statement of fact that impinges on the honor, dignity or privacy of a natural person, or the name or good reputation of a legal entity, from which the person or entity can be precisely identified, the person or entity has the right to demand publication of a

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reply. The publishers of periodicals and press agencies must publish the reply free of charge; right of correction is not affected hereby. 2. A demand for the publication of a reply must be delivered to the publisher of the periodical or the press agency within 30 days of the date of the issue of the periodical or the issue of the agency news service that contained the statement , otherwise the right of reply shall expire. 3. A demand for publication of a reply must be delivered in written form and must be signed by the person making the demand. The demand for publication of a reply must contain the name and date of the issue of the periodical or the date of the issue of the agency news service that contained the statement , a description of the statement of fact stating how it impinges on the honor, dignity or privacy of the natural person, or the name or good reputation of the legal entity. The demand for publication of a reply must include the written text of the reply. The reply must be proportionate in length to the text containing the [contested] statement of fact and the value judgment arising from it; the reply is proportionate in length if it does not exceed the length of the said text. 4. The publisher of a periodical must publish a reply within three days of the date of receiving the demand for publication of the reply or in the next issue of the periodical prepared after the delivery of the demand for publication of the reply. A press agency must publish a reply within three days of the date of receiving the demand for publication of the reply. 5. Publishers of periodicals and press agencies must publish replies as written by the person demanding publication of the reply, in the same periodical or agency news service, in an equivalent position and the same format as the published statement of fact and with the label reply followed by the name and surname of the natural person or the name of the legal entity demanding publication of the reply; the label reply and the name and surname of the person or the name of the entity demanding publication of the reply must be published in the same format as the title of the text containing the statement of fact. No related text containing a value judgment may be published with the reply, nor in any other place in the issue of the periodical or the agency news service. 6. The publishers of periodicals and press agencies are not obliged to publish replies if: a) the demand for publication of the reply does not have the particulars specified in Subsection 3, b) the reply is directed against a statement of fact published with the demonstrable prior consent of the person demanding publication of the reply, c) they published a reply at the request of any of the persons listed in Section 10(5)* and complied with conditions for publication of a reply in this Act. *Section 10(5) provides that [a]fter the death of a natural person, the right of correction, right of reply or right of supplementary information shall belong to persons who are close.

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SLOVENIA
Population: 2 million Press Freedom Rating: Free While convictions under Slovenias criminal insult and defamation laws are rare, the laws remain a tool to pressure journalists, who are often threatened with litigation. In 2009, an effort by former Prime Minister Janez Jansa to use these laws against a Finnish journalist created a stir. In June, the public prosecutor charged Magnus Berglund with two counts of criminal defamation after he produced a documentary linking Jansa to bribes allegedly accepted from a Finnish arms dealer. The September 2008 documentary in question was aired in both Finland and Slovenia. When the Finnish government refused to intervene, Jansa pressed for prosecution in the District Court of Ljubljana. Berglund was not in Slovenia when the charges were filed, but he risks up to six months in prison if convicted. Meanwhile, an Italian businessman filed civil defamation charges against newspaper Dnevnik, and in August obtained an injunction forbidding the paper to continue writing about his possible involvement in corruption. In October, however, an appeals court overturned the gag order, concluding that it violated freedom of speech on a subject of public interest. These developments followed several efforts in 2008 to silence the media with threats of litigation, including an attempt by a city mayor to pursue criminal defamation charges against journalist Biserka Karneza Cerjak for an article on the mayors business activities, and a call by a group of Slovenian citizens for filing of criminal defamation charges against journalists who initiated a 2007 petition alleging government interference with the Slovenian media. Neither of those cases resulted in prosecutions. The countrys reputation with respect to its defamation and libel laws was also marred by legislative changes introduced in 2008, expanding liability for these offenses by deeming both the authors and their editors or their publishers liable for any violations. Relevant Laws Chapter 18 of Slovenias Penal Code outlines eight crimes against honor and reputation of both individuals and the Republic. Prison sentences remain

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possible sanctions for all offenses, with the maximum sentence of two years imposed for grave defamation. Where the offense is committed via public media, the court may also require publication of the judgment in that media. Defendants can avoid punishment when the offense was provoked by indecent or brutal conduct of the person at issue, or by apologizing for, or retracting, the statements in court. Prosecution is generally initiated upon a petition by a private person, or upon a motion by the state body or official or military person in question. When the person in question has died, the law permits certain close relatives to request prosecution. Art. 169 (Insult): 1. Whoever insults another, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to three months. 2. If the offense under the preceding paragraph has been committed through the press, radio, television or other means of public information or at a public assembly, the perpetrator shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to six months. 3. Whoever expresses words offensive to another in a scientific, literary or artistic work, in a serious piece of criticism or in the exercise of official duty, in performing of journalists' profession, in the course of political or other social activity or in the defense of justified benefits, shall not be punished, provided that the manner of expression or other circumstances indicate that his expression was not meant to be derogatory. 4. If the injured person has returned the insult, the Court may punish both parties or one of them or may remit the punishment. Art. 170 (Defamation): 1. Whoever asserts or circulates anything untruthful about another person which is capable of damaging his honor or reputation and which he knows to be false, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to six months. 2. If the offense under the preceding paragraph has been committed through the press, radio, television or other means of public information or at a public assembly, the perpetrator shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to one year. 3. If that which has been untruthfully asserted or circulated is of such a nature that it may bring about grave consequences for the damaged person, the perpetrator shall be punished by imprisonment of up to two years. Art. 171 (Injurious Accusation): 1. Whoever asserts or circulates anything about another person capable of causing damage to the honor or reputation of that person shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to three months.

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2. If the offense under the preceding paragraph has been committed through the press, radio, television or other means of public information or at a public assembly, the perpetrator shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment up to six months. 3, If what has been asserted or circulated is of a nature that it may bring about grave consequences for the defamed person, the perpetrator shall be punished by a fine of by imprisonment of up to one year. 4. If the perpetrator proves either the truth of his assertions or that he had reasonable grounds to believe in the truthfulness of what was asserted or circulated, he shall not be punished for injurious accusation but may be punished either for insult (Art. 169) or for reproach of a criminal offense with the intention to disparage (Art. 173). 5. If whoever asserts or circulates for another person that he has committed a criminal offense for which a perpetrator is prosecuted ex officio, then the truthfulness that a damaged person has committed a criminal offense may only be proved by means of a final judgment. Other evidence may be allowed to prove only when prosecution or trial before a court are not possible or permitted. 6. If the injurious accusation asserting that the damaged person has committed a criminal offense, for which the perpetrator is prosecuted ex officio, has been committed in circumstances under the third paragraph of Art. 169 of the present Code, the perpetrator shall not punished for injurious accusation even without the existence of a final judgment when he can prove that he had a justified reason to believe in the truthfulness of what he had been asserting or circulating. Art. 172 (Exposure of Personal and Family Circumstances: 1. Whoever asserts or circulates any matter concerning the personal or family life of another person capable of injuring that person's reputation, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to three months. 2. If the offense under the preceding paragraph has been committed through the press, radio, television or other means of public information or at a public assembly, the perpetrator shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to six months. 3. If what has been asserted or circulated is of a nature to bring about grave consequences for the damaged person, the perpetrator shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to one year. 4. Except in cases under the fifth paragraph of this Article, it shall not be permitted to prove truthfulness or untruthfulness of what is asserted or circulated about the personal or family life of another person. 5. Whoever asserts or circulates any matter concerning the personal or family life of another person in the exercise of official duty, political or other social activity, the defense of any right or the protection of justified benefits, shall not be punished, provided that he proves either the truthfulness of his assertions or

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that he had a reasonable ground for believing in the truthfulness of what was asserted or circulated. Art. 173 (Alleging a Criminal Offense with the Intention to Disparage): 1. Whoever with the intention to disparage alleges that another person has committed a criminal offense or has been convicted for the same, or whoever communicates such a fact to a third person with the same intention, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to three months. 2. If the offense under the preceding paragraph has been committed through the press, radio, television or other means of public information or at a public assembly, the perpetrator shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to six months. Art. 174 (Disparagement of the Republic of Slovenia): 1. Whoever publicly commits any of the offenses under Arts. 169-173 of the present Code against the Republic of Slovenia or against the President of the Republic with respect to the exercise of his office, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to one year. 2. The same punishment shall be imposed on anyone who has publicly desecrated the flag, coat of arms or national anthem of the Republic of Slovenia. Art. 175 (Disparagement of a Foreign Country or International Organization): 1. Whoever commits in public any of the offenses under Arts. 169-173 of the present Code against a foreign country, its head of state or its diplomatic representative in the Republic of Slovenia, or whoever publicly desecrates the flag, coat of arms or national anthem of a foreign country, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to one year. 2. The same punishment shall be imposed on anyone who has committed a criminal offense against an international organization recognized by the Republic of Slovenia or against its representative or its insignia. Art. 176 (Disparagement of the Slovene Nation or National Communities): Whoever publicly commits any of the offenses under Arts. 169-173 of the present Code against the Slovene Nation or against the Hungarian or Italian National Communities living in the Republic of Slovenia, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment of up to one year.

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SPAIN
Population: 45 million Press Freedom Rating: Free Criminal insult laws, including provisions explicitly protecting the Royal Family, remain in force in Spain and were applied against journalists as recently as 2007. Yet, a strongly worded decision in 2009 by the Spanish National Court, a high court with national jurisdiction, gave cause for optimism. The court decision brought to an end an eight-year long effort to punish the newspaper El Mundo for coverage unflattering to a public figure. In 2001, editor Javier Caravallo wrote an article about the possible involvement of Manuel Chaves, then-President of the Andalusian Autonomous Region, in espionage spying on the head of a savings institution. After El Mundo published the story, Chaves pursued both Caraballo and Francisco Rosell, editor-in-chief of El Mundos Andalusian Edition, for criminal defamation. He demanded the equivalent of US $3 million in damages and the stiffest possible jail term. The World Press Freedom Committee intervened for Caravallo and Rosell in late 2007, stressing that both the jurisprudence of the European Court and the recommendations of the UN Commission on Human Rights support the concept that public officials should expect more, and not less, scrutiny and criticism from the rest of society. The court agreed and dismissed the charges. Chaves appealed to the Spanish National Court. In late 2009, the court confirmed the lower courts ruling. It called the information involved truthful and of undeniable public interest, and described the charges as dangerous if not harmful to justice. Francisco Rosell wrote in appreciation of the WPFCs timely and fundamental support to stop this assault on freedom of expression. Meanwhile, continued efforts for vindication by Jos Luis Gutirrez, a Spanish journalist sued for insulting then-King Hassan II of Morocco in 1995, highlighted problematic civil legislation that threatens free speech. In January, the World Press Freedom Committee, along with six other groups, filed a brief at the European Human Rights Court after Gutirrez appealed in 2007. The journalist was taken to court in 1996 in Spain after Diario 16, the newspaper where he was then the chief editor, printed an article on the seizure of a truck with five tons of hashish in a Spanish port. The truck belonged to the Moroccan Royal Crown. Both the reporter Rosa Mara Lpez, and Gutirrez

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were found guilty, even though the article was accurate. Gutirrez was convicted under the press law of 1966, which holds liable the author, editor and publisher. The comments to the European Court, by WPFCs general counsel, Kevin Goldberg, call for abolition of the two civil laws used against the journalists -the 1982 Protection of Honor, Privacy and Right to a Respectful Image Law and the 1966 Press and Printing Law. They stress that public figures should have less, not more, protection from alleged insult than ordinary citizens, and that laws against criticism of officials have no place in democratic society. WPFCs amicus curiae brief was endorsed by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Association of Broadcasting, the International Federation of the Periodical Press, the International Press Institute, the Inter American Press Association and the World Association of Newspapers, all members of the Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 205: Calumny consists of accusing someone of a crime with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth. Art. 206: Calumny is punishable by six months to two years imprisonment or a fine, of six to 24 months if spread with publicity, or, in other cases, with a fine, of four to ten months [wages]. Art. 207: Someone accused of the crime of calumny shall be exempt from all penalties by proving the criminal act that had been imputed. Art. 208: Insult consists of an action or expression that lessens the dignity of another person, damages his reputation or lowers his proper esteem. Only those insults which, by their nature, effects and circumstances, are considered serious by the public shall constitute a crime. Injuries that consist of the imputation of acts that are not considered serious, are not crimes except when they have been carried out with knowledge of their falsity or reckless disregard for the truth. Art. 209: Serious insults done with publicity are punishable by a fine of six to 14 months [wages], and in other cases, by a fine of three to seven months [wages]. Art. 210: Someone accused of insult shall be exempted of responsibility by proving the truth of the imputations when they are directed against public officials for acts concerning the exercise of their duties or referring to criminal acts or administrative violations.

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Art. 211: Calumny or insult will be considered to have been done with publicity when spread by the print media, broadcasting or any other medium with similar effect. Art. 212: In the cases referred to in the previous article, sole liability will be with the individual or the corporation that is the proprietor of the information medium through which the calumny or insult was spread. Art. 490(3): Calumny or insult of the King, or any of his ancestors or descendants, of the Queen Consort or the consort of the Queen, of the Regent or any member of the Regency, or of the Heir Apparent to the Crown, in the exercise of his or her duties or because of those duties, is punishable by six months to two years imprisonment if the calumny or insult is grave, or a fine of six to 12 months [wages] if the calumny or insult is not grave. Art. 491: 1. Calumnies and insults against any of the persons mentioned in the previous article and outside the terms of that article shall be punished with a fine of four to 20 months [wages]. 2. Use of the image of the King or of any of his ancestors or descendants, or of the Queen Consort or the consort of the Queen, or of the Regent or of any member of the Regency, or of the Heir Apparent, in a manner that damages the prestige of the Crown is punishable by a fine of six to 24 months [wages]. Art. 496: Anyone who gravely insults Parliament or a Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Community, while in session, or any of its committees while carrying out public acts, shall be punished by a fine of 12 to 18 months [wages]. The exemptions provided in Art. 210 apply. Art. 504: 1. Calumny, insult or grave threats to the Government of the Nation, the General Council of Judicial Power, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, or the Council of Government or the Superior Court of Justice of an Autonomous Community shall be punished by a fine of 12 to 18 months [wages]. The exemptions provided in Arts. 207 and 210 apply to calumny and insult covered in this paragraph. 2. Those who insult or seriously threaten the Armies, Classes or Corps and Security Forces shall be punished with a fine of 12 to 18 months [wages]. The exemptions provided in Art. 210 apply to insults covered by this paragraph.

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TURKEY
Population: 74.8 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Judicial harassment of journalists is common in Turkey, where a number of laws restrict freedom of speech. According to a monitoring report produced by Istanbul-based BIA, between January and June alone, 235 persons were on trial for offenses based on expression, 117 of them journalists. Many of the charges were based on anti-terror legislation and provisions penalizing incitement to hatred and hostility, spreading propaganda and discouraging military service Insult remained a common charge. Between April and June, 18 persons were on trial for violating Art. 301, still a potent tool for curbing speech after halfhearted amendments introduced in May 2008 changed the provision to target insults against the Turkish nation, rather than the previous offense of insulting Turkishness. Numerous proceedings were pending. Journalists Ahmet Sami Belek and Sahin Bayar, of the newspaper Gnlk Evrensel, continued to face charges under Art. 301, for a piece published in August 2007. The news article recounted allegations by six persons who said they were tortured in a police station in Esenyurt. Six journalists remained on trial, also under Art. 301, for denigrating the military forces. They all published articles about an 11-yearold boy shot to death by security forces. Mustafa Kemal Celik, Aytekin Dal, Mehmet Sadik Aksy, Mehmet Resat Yigiz, Nedim Arslan and Mustafa Seven were previously acquitted of attempting to influence the trial. Charges under Art. 301 were also still pending against writer Temel Demirer, who faced up to two years in prison if convicted of denigrating the Turkish Republic. Demirer was charged based on oral statements at a meeting protesting the January 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, himself convicted earlier under Art. 301. Demirer said that Dink was not only murdered because he was Armenian, but also because he told the truth about the genocide that happened in this country. As of 2009, the Justice Minister had permitted proceedings to continue against the writer, but the Second Ankara Criminal Court of First Instance suspended the proceedings until the responsible administrative court approved or canceled the authorization to continue the case.

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Hrant Dinks murder still stirred controversy. In January, a prosecutor decided to drop charges against the mayor of one of Istanbuls municipalities, for permitting persons at Dinks funeral to hold placards with slogans such as We are all Armenian. A local columnist sought prosecution under Art. 301. Organizers of a campaign demanding an apology for the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915 were less fortunate. The Ankara prosecutors office refused to charge the campaigners, but a criminal court overruled that decision, prompting the prosecution to seek Justice Ministry permission to proceed. In March, Perihan Magdens prison sentence was reduced to a fine. The journalist was found guilty earlier of insulting songwriter Arif Sirin and singer Ismail Trt in two articles criticizing a video clip of theirs praising Dinks murder. In the articles, Magden accused Arif of fascism. She intended to take her case to the European Human Rights Court. Several cases showed the risk of satire. Yakup nal, of the Sarky Sesi newspaper, was pursued for three years, accused of insult via the media for a series of articles, presented as fairy tales about a fictional town, titled Mayor Pinokyo and 9 dwarves, The local mayor and two councilmen filed charges. There were several hearings in 2009. nal faces up to 25 years jail if convicted. Cartoonist Ibrahim zdabak was charged with insult via the media under Art. 125 of the Penal Code after a newspaper published his cartoon depicting the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals as an owl. The cartoon showed the prosecutor saying, Huguk! Huguk! Huguk! -- similar to the word for law (Hukuk). On March 24, the cartoonist was acquitted. Editor Melih Kaskar faced criminal charges filed by President Abdullah Gl and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, after his newspaper, Milas nder, printed jokes sent by readers, calling them dishonorable. Kaskar stood trial during 2009 and faced up to 32 months jail if convicted of insult via the media. In April, a Kurdish politician, Mahmut Alinak, was tried for insult over a letter he sent to Prime Minister Erdogan saying he had deceived the people of Kars. Alinak was convicted earlier of insulting Erdogan. In that case, his prison sentence was reduced to community service, planting and caring for 500 trees. In Southeastern Turkey, a father and son both faced prosecution under the insult laws. First, Haci Bogatekin, the father, was tried for insult, slander and attempting to influence justice after he alleged threats by a prosecutor who questioned him for an article on a religious leader. He was held 109 days before

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being freed, pending consideration of his case by a new court after he alleged the original judge was hostile. His son, zgr Bogatekin, of the local Gerger Firat newspaper, covered his fathers detention, and claimed he was held illegally. He described the prosecutor and police officers as grinning during a hearing on his fathers detention and as walking in a wolf-like manner. The prosecutor filed charges against zgr. The case was heard by the same judge who had been removed from his fathers case. An expert witness testified that zgrs description of the prosecutor could be seen an insult. On May 13, zgr Bogatekin was convicted and sentenced to 14 months and 17 days jail. He planned to appeal. That did not end matters. In November, Haci Bogatekin was sentenced in absentia to 26 months in another case. He was convicted of insult for a February 2008 article claiming local officials tried to force his paper to shut down. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 125 (Defamation): 1. A person who makes an allegation of an act or concrete fact undermining or attacking another persons honor, reputation, dignity or prestige shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of three months to two years or a judicial fine will be imposed. Where an insult was made in the absence of the victim, the act must have been witnessed by at least three persons for a conviction. 2. If the act is committed by means of an oral, written or visual message addressing the victim, the perpetrator shall be sentenced to the penalties above. 3. If the offense of defamation is committed in the following circumstances, the minimum sentence imposed is one year: a) against a public official or a person performing a public service and the allegation is connected with his public status or the public service he provides; b) because of the expression, changing, or efforts for expansion of, ones religious, political, social or philosophical beliefs, thoughts and opinions, or ones compliance with religious rules and prohibitions; c) through mentioning the holy values of the religion of which the person is a member. 4. When the defamation is committed publicly, the penalty shall be increased by one-sixth. 5. In case of insults to public officials working on a committee, because of their duties, the offense shall be deemed to have been committed against all committee members. Art. 130 (Defamation of a Deceased Person): Anyone who commits, according to the testimony of at least three persons, the offense of defamation of the memory of a dead person shall be imprisoned for a term of three months to

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two years, or punished by a judicial fine. If the offense is committed in public it shall be increased by one sixth. Art. 299 (Insulting the President of the Republic): 1. A person who defames the President of the Republic shall be imprisoned for a term of one to four years. 2. The penalty to be imposed shall be increased by one sixth if the offense is committed publicly. Art. 300 (Insulting the Symbols of State Sovereignty): 1. A person who denigrates through tearing, burning or by similar means, and publicly, the Turkish flag shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of one to three years. This provision is applicable to any kind of signs bearing the white crescent and star on red field that, as stipulated in the Constitution, are used as the indicators of the sovereignty of the State of the Republic of Turkey. 2. A person publicly insulting the National Anthem shall be punishable with a penalty of imprisonment of six months to two years. 3. If the crime defined in the present paragraph is committed by a Turkish citizen in a foreign country, the penalty shall be increased by one third. Art. 301 (as of 8 May 2008) (Denigrating the Turkish Nation, the State of the Turkish Republic, the Institutions and Organs of the State): 1. A person who publicly denigrates Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the Government of the Republic of Turkey or the judicial bodies of the State shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of six months to two years. 2. A person who publicly denigrates the military or security structures shall be punishable according to the first sub-clause. 3. Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime. 4. Prosecution under this article are subject to approval by the Justice Minister. Law on Crimes Committed Against Atatrk (Law No. 5816): Anyone who publicly insults or curses the memory of [Turkish Republic founder] Atatrk shall be imprisoned with a sentence of between one and three years. If the crimes outlined in the first Article are committed by a group of two or more individuals, or publicly, or in public districts or by means of the press, the penalty imposed will be increased by a proportion of one half.

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UNITED KINGDOM
Population: 61.6 million Press Freedom Rating: Free After years of advocacy, criminal sedition and libel laws were finally abolished in the United Kingdom in 2009. Although the country has become notorious for its plaintiff-friendly civil defamation laws, the move was nonetheless hailed as a welcome development, sending a worldwide signal that such laws are inappropriate in modern democracies. A parliamentary committee announced in late 2008 that it would evaluate the possibility of reform to the countrys libel and sedition laws (as well as its privacy laws). By July, UK Justice Minister Lord Bach and Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Justice, took the lead, announcing proposed amendments to the Coroners and Justice Bill to repeal the laws criminalizing defamatory libel, obscene libel, sedition and seditious libel. The proposed amendments were presented to the House of Commons by Member of Parliament Even Harris, who is also on the board of the Article 19 organization. The bill was enacted Nov.12, abolishing the offenses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The changes do not apply in Scotland. The development was a largely symbolic victory, given that criminal libel prosecutions have long been unheard of in Britain. Nonetheless, it raised hopes that countries that actually apply their criminal defamation laws would be pressed to abolish them. Meanwhile, Britains civil defamation laws were subjected to considerable scrutiny. Foreign governments increasingly expressed frustration about the United Kingdoms reputation as perhaps the leading libel tourism destination -- thanks to several features that make litigation particularly plaintiff-friendly, such as requiring defendants to prove the falseness of the plaintiffs cases, and obliging the plaintiffs merely to show potential, not actual, damages. Several U.S. states have introduced legislation allowing their courts to refuse to enforce libel judgments imposed by British courts. California passed such a law in October. Domestically, too, there was increased skepticism, triggered largely by the Trafigura scandal. In that case, a London-based oil trading company was accused of using a subcontractor to dump hazardous waste near Abidijan, capital

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of Ivory Coast. Thousands fell ill there. BBC News and The Guardian newspaper both covered the story, and were slapped with defamation lawsuits. There was a major public uproar after the Trafigura company sought an injunction prohibiting The Guardian from covering a parliamentary question on the matter. Change appeared imminent. Lord Chancellor Jack Straw ordered an in-depth review in 2009 of civil defamation laws. He set up a body to evaluate the possibility of reform. While efforts had seemed to stall in the leadup to Britains general elections of May 2010, the new British government later announced that it would press for change by bringing forward a Defamation Bill in the 2011/2012 parliamentary session. Law Lord Anthony Lester took the lead in reform efforts, introducing a bill to increase the burden on plaintiffs to demonstrate harm and strengthen protection for those reporting on issues of public interest, among other reforms.

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FORMER SOVIET UNION


Azerbaijan Belarus Georgia Kazakhstan Russia Uzbekistan

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Countries in the region were heavily criticized for restricting free speech. While much commentary focused on impunity for violence against journalists, aggressive use of criminal defamation and insult laws also caused concern. Criminal defamation proceedings were so routine in Azerbaijan that even a human rights campaigner used them against critical media coverage. Sports journalists were also hauled into court. Foreign critics have long urged authorities to amend the laws, and local media groups were also called late in 2009 for Parliament to make changes. Apparently aware of strong opposition, their demands were largely limited to eliminating prison terms as penalties. In Uzbekistan, the prospect of prison terms stirred fears over allegations of brutal mistreatment in the countrys notorious jails. A 67-year-old independent journalist jailed on defamation charges claimed he was stripped, beaten and threatened during pretrial detention. A woman documentary filmmaker was charged with defaming and insulting the Uzbek people for portrayals of village life that authorities said had depicted Uzbekistan as a place where people live in the Middle Ages. In Russia, public officials both high and low regularly turned to defamation and insult laws -- both criminal and civil -- to take journalists to court. Litigants in 2009 included regional mayors, a State Duma representative, the President of Chechnya, and Stalins grandson. While prison sentences remained a real threat, increasingly, large fines and damages were also imposed. In Kazakhstan, slated to preside as chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010, fines in defamation lawsuits were so large that they threatened to bankrupt publications. A new Kazakh media law explicitly extended potential liability to the Internet under all the existing laws restricting freedom of expression, including criminal libel. New laws brought more restrictions elsewhere. In Belarus, a Law On Mass Media introduced a speedy procedure for shutting down media outlets, based on minor legal violations. It provided that journalists could be prosecuted for publishing statements by political parties or NGOs that discredit Belarus. Criminal defamation appeared to be less of a problem in other ex-Soviet countries. Armenian journalists struggled largely with arbitrary broadcast licensing and with physical attacks. Criminal defamation was abolished by Georgia in 2004. But the de facto government of the breakaway region of Abkhazia continued to impose criminal sanctions for the offense. U.M.

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AZERBAIJAN
Population: 8.8 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free The Penal Code is used aggressively to inhibit free speech, and the countrys draconian legislation has often drawn international scrutiny. In August 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed concern over Azerbaijans defamation laws in its conclusions on its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Council. noted reports of a pattern of harassment and criminal libel suits against journalists and urged legal reform It said laws should contain a proper balance between the protection of a persons reputation and freedom of expression. The Council stressed the need for a balance between information on the acts of so-called public figures, and the right of a democratic society to be informed on issues of public interest. Miklos Haraszti, the Freedom of the Media Representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, called for legal reform in a letter to Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in November. That month, a conference organized by the Council of Europe and the Azerbaijani Press Council urged the government not to use criminal defamation laws against the media. Domestic groups also raised their voices. The Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety (IRFS) repeatedly expressed concern over imprisonment of journalists for criminal defamation. On July 2, a roundtable at the Media Rights Institute focused on reform of the countrys defamation law. Participants indicated that a petition for reform was gathering steam. Press Council Chairman Aflatun Amashov reportedly appealed to the Speaker of Parliament to include discussion of suggested amendments -- primarily to remove jail terms as a possible sanction -- at the next session of Parliament. Recommendations by six local media groups were submitted to Parliament in October. On April 7, two journalists got stiff criminal defamation and libel sentences. Asif Merzili, chief editor of Tezadlar, was sentenced to a year in prison, and his colleague Zumrud Mammedova to six-months corrective labor. Charges were brought by Azerbaijan International Universitys head for a series on him. On appeal two days later, the journalists were ordered freed and had their case sent back to a lower court. The plaintiff failed to appear.

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There was some positive news. Several journalists benefited from an amnesty March 17. It covered thousands of prisoners, largely convicted of non-violent crimes, under or over particular ages, or close to completing their sentences. They included Ali Hasanov, former chief editor of Ideal, a pro-government newspaper. He was released April 11, a month shy of ending a six-month sentence imposed in November 2008 for criminal defamation and slander. He was convicted on a complaint by Sabira Makhumudova for two Ideal articles claiming she was tied to a prostitution ring. Hasanov distanced himself from the paper upon release, indicating he would no longer work there. His fellow editor, Nazim Guliyev, was also charged for criminal defamation in late 2008 but went into hiding. He was arrested the same month Hasanov was released. On May 22, Guliyev was sentenced to six months in prison, even though Makhumudova indicated she wanted to withdraw her complaint. Guliyev vowed to appeal. In January 2010, he was convicted on unrelated charges, including hooliganism, and sentenced to terms of more than 13 years. On July 22 Azerbaijans National Press Day -- Faramaz Novruzoglu (llahverdiyev) and Sardar Alibeyli (Aliyev), respectively chief editor and deputy editor of Nota newspaper, were sentenced to three months jail for criminal defamation. Their colleague Ramiz Tagiyev got a suspended six-month sentence. Tahmasib Novruzov, a union chairman, filed an initial lawsuit against the three journalists in March, for articles on him between February and March. A district court ordered Nota to print a retraction and apology, which it did. But Novruzov replied with another criminal defamation suit based on the retraction. Both the journalists and Novruzov appealed the July verdict to the Baku Appellate Court, respectively seeking annulment of the verdict and an increase in the penalty. The journalists remained free pending the outcome. On Oct. 8, the Baku Appellate Court upheld the verdict and sentences against Alibeyli and Novruzoglu. Tagiyev was sentenced to six months corrective labor. The original sentence on Novruzov was passed just two days after Alibeyli got a seven-month suspended sentence in separate criminal defamation proceedings, initiated in Nizami District Court by army officials for articles that allegedly damaged their dignity and reputation. Alibeyli was also fined ordered 4% of his salary. Both he and the plaintiffs appealed. The Baku Appellate Court on Oct. 9 amended the penalty to a four-month prison sentence against Alibeyli. Even human rights activists used the laws. In July, human rights advocate Chingiz Ganizade filed suit against Faramaz Novruzoglu, editor-in-chief of the Milletim newspaper, over a series of articles alleging human rights defenders had concealed information about torture and other criminal acts in prisons. In

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August, Novruzoglu requested a government-paid lawyer for his defense against the defamation and insult suits, being heard by the Narimanov District Court. A suit alleging insult and defamation continued against sports writer Natig Mukhtarli and Zahir Azamat, head of the FANAT.AZ web site, which covers sports. During August, a district court held several hearing on the case, filed by Mais Masimov, president of the Khazar-Lankaran Football Club, over comments in Mukhtarlis column about Masimovs management of the club. On Oct. 8, Mukhtarli was sentenced to one year in prison and Azamat to six months, and both were ordered to pay 20% of their monthly salaries to the clubs president during their imprisonment. A European Human Rights Court decision in December 2008 prompted the annulment of libel and insult convictions against Rovshan Kabirli and Yashar Agazade, the editor-in-chief and a staff member of the Mukhalifat newspaper. They were convicted in May 2003, and sentenced to five months in prison, based on an article on the countrys wheat mafia. They were convicted but not jailed, thanks to an amnesty. On Oct. 29, a court canceled their sentences and ordered that they be compensated for moral damages and court expenses. A number of other suits were pending. In October, the Yasamal District Court considered a suit by Sheykul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, head of the Caucasus Muslims Department, against the newspaper Gundalik Baki Pashazade accused the paper of insulting his honor in an article on narcotics trafficking. The same court in November considered a suit by Interior Minister Ramil Usubov against the newspaper Femida 007 for allegedly insulting the honor of the police and libeling him in articles accusing him of robbery and plunder. Meanwhile, Eynulla Fatullayev, chief editor of the newspapers Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan, remained in jail and faced new charges. Fatullayev was convicted of insult and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in April 2007. He was later convicted of several other offenses, including inciting national or religious hatred and tax evasion. Fatullayev has appealed to the European Human Rights Court, which began reviewing his case in 2009. But, in late December, he was charged with narcotics possession after prison guards claimed they found heroin on him, which the journalist vehemently denied. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 147 (Slander): 1. Slander is the distribution of obviously false information that discredits the honor and dignity of any person or undermines his reputation in a public

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statement, or in materials circulated in the public domain or the mass media. It is punishable by a fine of 100 to 500 nominal financial units, or by community service for up to 240 hours, or by corrective labor for up to one year, or imprisonment for up to six months. 2. Slander combined with an accusation of committing serious or especially serious crime is punishable by corrective labor for up to two years, or restriction of liberty for up to two years, or imprisonment of up to three years. Art. 148 (Insult): Insult is the deliberate humiliation of a persons honor and dignity, expressed in unacceptable terms in a public statement or in materials circulated in the public domain or the mass media. It is punishable by a fine of 300 to 1,000 nominal financial units, or community service for up to 240 hours, or by corrective labor for up to one year, or imprisonment for up to six months. Art. 283.1 (Incitement of national, racial or religious enmity): Actions aimed at inciting national, racial or religious enmity, at debasing national dignity, as well as at restricting citizens rights or establishing their superiority on the basis of their national, racial or religious affiliation, committed publicly or through the use of mass media, is punishable by a fine ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 nominal financial units, or restriction of liberty for up to three years, or imprisonment from two to four years. Art. 323 (Humiliation of the honor and dignity of the President of Azerbaijan): 1. Humiliating the honor and dignity of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic in a public statement, a product circulated publicly or through the use of mass media, is punishable by a fine of 500 to 1,000 nominal financial units, or corrective labor for up to two years, or imprisonment for the same term. 2. Where such acts are connected to accusations of the commission of a serious crime, these are punishable by imprisonment from two to five years. Art. 324 (Offensive Action Against the National Flag or State Emblem of the Azerbaijan Republic): Offensive actions against the national flag or the state emblem of the Azerbaijan Republic is punishable by a restriction of liberty for up to two years, or imprisonment for up to one year.

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BELARUS
Population: 9.6 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free While the countrys repressive media environment has long drawn criticism, a new Law On Mass Media, enacted in February 2009, prompted new concern. It introduced speedy procedures to close news media for minor infractions, regulated online media, and specified that journalists could be pursued for printing statements by political parties or NGOs that discredit Belarus. On March 31, Leanid Svetsik, a founder of Nasha Viasna, a human rights association, was charged with criminal defamation of the President, as well as incitement of religious or ethnic hatred. Commentators indicated that the charges were likely based on his human rights efforts, including legal aid to victims of abuse by authorities and support to victims of neo-Nazi groups. In August, the Prosecutor Generals Office announced that vigorous enforcement of media laws on the Internet had become necessary after many complaints over web-based content. It said libel allegations were particularly plentiful. Opposition members expressed fear that enforcement would target their publications, which the prosecutors office denied. Access to web-based, non-state media has been increasing in Belarus. Svetlana Kalinkina, head of the Internet publication Belarusian Partisan, suggested that authorities felt threatened by the mushrooming of web-based social networks. In September, Svyatoslav Sementsov, a gay rights activist, 25, and president of TEMA, a non-profit group, was summoned to KGB Headquarters in Gomel and told he would be prosecuted under the Penal Code, including for defaming Belarus abroad (prohibited by Art. 369-1 of the Penal Code). The KGB officers indicated that such a charge could be based on his dissemination of information on hate crimes related to sexual orientation, allegedly exploited by international human rights groups. He faced another charge under Art. 1931-1, prohibiting organizing activities for an unregistered group. Sementsov estimated that the investigation could last three months to five years. He said officers offered to drop the charges if he agreed to work for them. Civil defamation proceedings also remained a threat. In January, for example, two persons associated with Sportivnaya Panorama, a newspaper

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founded by the Sports Ministry, filed a libel suit against Press-ball, an independent sports newspaper, seeking more than 60,000,000 Belarus rubles (approx. US$24,000) in damages. The claim was based on an article in the newspaper titled, In Order to Steal a Billion, Someone Has To Earn It First, as well as on reader posts to the newspapers web forum. The Central District Court of Minsk initially dismissed the claim, but the plaintiffs appealed. The countrys criminal defamation and insult laws received considerable international scrutiny during 2009. On June 23, the Council of Europes Parliamentary Assembly passed a resolution (No. 1671) on Belarus, calling for the government to abolish the overly restrictive penal laws on defamation, in particular the offense of making false negative statements about the Republic of Belarus and its state organs. The European Parliament also spoke out against the countrys criminal defamation laws, pinpointing Art. 367 (defaming the President), Art. 368 (insulting the President), and Art. 369-1 (Defamation of Belarus) as special problems. From Sept. 20-24, several international media and press freedom groups conducted a mission to Belarus. The groups issued a statement welcoming purportedly reduced pressure on the media, but noted that more meaningful, lasting improvement is needed. The text -- signed by Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, International Federation of Journalists, International Media Support, International Press Institute and others -- called for various changes of laws, including amending the Penal Codes provisions on defamation. Instead, proposed legislation threatened to facilitate defamation prosecutions. On Dec. 30, President Alexander Lukashenko acknowledged that the government was drafting a bill to require all web users to be identified, whether they accessed the Internet at home or at Internet cafs. Relevant Laws Constitution Art. 28 says everyone is entitled to protection against unlawful interference with his honor and dignity. Art. 79 forbids insults to the President. Electoral Code The electoral code prohibits insulting or defaming the honor and dignity of official persons, presidential and parliamentary candidates. Penal Code Art. 188: 1. The dissemination of fabrications that discredit another person [and are]

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known to be unfounded, committed within one year of administrative prosecution for defamation or insult, is punishable by community service, or a fine, or corrective labor for up to one year, or detention for up to three months, or limitation of freedom for up to two years. 2. Defamation contained in a public speech, or in a printed or publicly performed work, or in the mass media, or defamation accusing [someone] of committing a serious or very serious crime, is punishable by a fine, or corrective labor for up to two years, or detention for up to six months, or limitation of freedom for up to three years, or a prison sentence of up to two years. Art. 189: 1. Deliberate degradation of the honor and dignity of an individual, expressed in an indecent manner, committed within one year of administrative prosecution for defamation or insult is punishable by community service, or a fine, or corrective labor for up to one year, or limitation of freedom for up to two years. 2. An insult made in a public speech, or in a printed or publicly performed work or in the=mass media is punishable by a fine, or corrective labor for up to two years, or detention for up to three months, or limitation of freedom for up to three years, or a prison sentence for up to two years. Art. 367: Defaming the President of the Republic of Belarus applies to any public pronouncement, printed or publicly displayed work, or in the media and may draw a fine, correctional labor of up to two years, or imprisonment of up to four years. If the convicted individual has previously been found guilty of defamation, the maximum possible prison sentence is five years. Art. 368: Insulting the President of the Republic of Belarus stipulates that a public insult would draw a fine or two years imprisonment. If the convicted person has previously been found guilty of insult, the maximum possible prison term is three years. Art. 369: criminalizes insult of a representative of the authorities. Possible punishment includes a fine, correctional labor or deprivation of liberty for up to three years. Art. 369-1: criminalizes discrediting the Republic of Belarus vis-a-vis foreign states and foreign or international organizations, defined as knowingly giving false information about the Belarusan State or its organs or for providing a foreign state, foreign or international organization with knowingly false information on the political, economic, social or military situation in Belarus.

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GEORGIA
Population: 4.3 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Although media in Georgia are occasionally threatened and harassed by authorities, criminal defamation was abolished in 2004. But it remains a criminal offense in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, officially still part of Georgia but with its own legal system. It is recognized only by Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela. On Sept. 21, Anton Kriveniuk, a journalist for Segodnia.ru, a Russian web site, was convicted of libeling Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh. He got a three-year suspended prison sentence. The conviction was based on an article, titled Great Abkhazian Fraud: Railroad-Credit-Road Metal, criticizing Bagapsh and other authorities over a proposed Russian-funded railway project. Relevant Laws Georgia abolished criminal defamation in 2004, when it repealed Art. 148, which penalized the offense with correctional labor of up to one year. That same year, it enacted a media law that delineates certain principles applicable to the civil offense of defamation. According to the NGO Penal Reform International, Abkhazias de facto criminal code is the Penal Code of the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia of 1961, with some amendments. The de facto Abkhaz parliament is reportedly developing its own criminal code. Law on Freedom of Speech and Expression Art. 13 imposes civil liability for defamation of a private person if the plaintiff proves that the accused made a statement that contained an essentially false fact related directly to the claimant, and publication of this false fact damaged the claimant. Art. 14 distinguishes defamation of public figures. It specifies that civil liability for defamation of a public person applies where the plaintiff proves that the accused made a statement that contained an essentially false fact related directly to the claimant, that publication of this false fact damaged the claimant, and that the publication was made with advance knowledge that the statement was false or with reckless disregard leading to the publication of the false fact.

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Art. 15 outlines defenses to allegations of defamation, providing that no liability attaches where a person establishes that her or she: a) took reasonable steps to verify the accuracy of the information but was unable to prevent the mistake, and took active measures to restore the defamed individuals reputation; b) the purpose of the publication was to protect a legitimate societal interest that outweighed the damage done by the defamatory publication; c) the claimant consented to the publication; d) the publication represented a proportionate response to an earlier statement made by the claimant; e) the publication constituted a fair and accurate report of an event of public interest. Art. 16 provides that an individual will not be held liable for defamation if the individual was not, and could not have been, aware that they disseminated a defamatory statement. Art. 17 provides restrictions on what kind of measures can be imposed on those found guilty of defamation. Publishing information about the court verdict may be required; apologies cannot be imposed; and, where, a correction or retraction does not sufficiently compensate the victim, the guilty party may be required to pay compensation of actual and/or moral damages. Art. 18 provides that individuals targeted by clearly ill-founded defamation claims that were initiated to unlawfully restrict free speech and expression may be awarded reasonable monetary compensation. Art. 19 requires plaintiffs to institute lawsuits within 100 days of becoming acquainted of the allegedly defamatory statement, or within 100 days after they could have become acquainted with it.

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KAZAKHSTAN
Population: 15.6 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free With Kazakhstan slated to take over the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010, its human rights record -including respect for press freedom -- came under considerable scrutiny. In early January, 22 member groups of IFEX urged Parliament to make various changes in Kazakhstans media laws, including decriminalization of libel. Instead, a new law extended liability. It had several amendments to media laws, designated all forms of web content as so-called Internet resources and subjected them to all existing laws, including criminal libel. Many organizations, including the OSCE, objected. But President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed it in July. It came into force Aug. 2. Meanwhile, journalists continued to face judicial libel and insult law suits. In February, a court ordered Victor Miroshnichenko, of the Vremya newspaper, to pay 254,600 Kazakh tenge (approx. US$1,690) for libel. A police official brought the suit in September 2008, over an article implicating him in bribery. In August, freelance journalist Vadim Kuramshin started a hunger strike after a decision to parole him was rescinded. Kuramshin was sentenced to three years and ten months in jail for libel in September 2006. The conviction was based on an article about a dispute between a farmer and villagers. Civil suits seeking disproportionate libel damages caused concern. Member of Parliament Romin Madinov sued Taszhargan, an independent weekly in Almaty, and one of its journalists over an article on a rise in bread and grain prices that noted that the deputy also owned several granaries. A first ruling fined the author and newspaper 3 million Kazakh tenge (approx. US$20,000). In February an appeals court raised it to 30 million Kazakh tenge (approx. US$200,000). The newspaper indicated that, if enforced, the verdict would shut it down. The Committee to Protect Journalists later reported that Taszhargan was indeed forced to close. Its owner reportedly faced charges for failure to pay. In September, another independent weekly, the Respublika-Delovoye Obozreniye, was ordered to pay 60 million Kazakh tenge (about US$400,000) in libel damages to a state-owned bank after it reported on state action to rescue the bank. Its print run was confiscated and its presses shut down.

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Penal Code Art. 129 (Libel and Slander): 1. Libel, that is the distribution of deliberately false information which is defaming to the honor and dignity or another person, or which undermines his reputation, shall be punished by a fine in an amount from 100 up to 250 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for up to two months, or by engagement in public works for from 120 up to 180 hours, or by correctional labor for up to one year. 2. Slander which is contained in a public speech, or in a publicly displayed work, or in mass information media, shall be punished by a fine in an amount from 200 up to 500 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from two to five months, or by engagement in public works for from 180 up to 240 hours, or by correctional labor for from one year up to two years, or by restriction of freedom for up to two years, or detention under arrest for up to six months. 3. Slander combined with an accusation of a person in the commission of a grave or an especially grave corruption crime, shall be punished by restriction of freedom for up to three years, or deprivation of freedom for the same period. Art. 130 (Insult): 1. An insult, that is the debasement of the honor and dignity of another person, expressed in an obscene form, shall be punished by a fine up to 100 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for up to one month, or by engagement in public works for up to 120 hours, or by correctional labor for up to six months. 2. An insult contained in a public speech, or in a publicly demonstrated work, or in the mass information media, shall be punished by a fine from 100 up to 400 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from one to four months, or by engagement in public works for up to 180 hours, or by correctional labor for up to one year, or by restriction of freedom for the same period. Art. 317 (Outrage against the State Flag, the State Coat of Arms, or the State Hymn of the Republic of Kazakhstan): Outrage against the State Flag, the State Coat of Arms, or the State Hymn of the Republic of Kazakhstan, shall be punished by a fine of 200 to1,000 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from two to ten months, or by restriction of freedom for up to two years, or by detention under arrest for from three to six months, or by imprisonment for up to one year. Art. 318 (Infringement of Honor and Dignity of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Impeding His Work): 1. A public insult or other infringement upon the honor and dignity of the

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President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, shall be punished by a fine in an amount from 200 up to 700 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from two to seven months, or by engagement in public works for from 180 up to 240 hours, or by correctional labor for up to one year, or by detention under arrest for up to five months, or by imprisonment for up to one year. 2. The same act committed with the use of the mass information media, shall be punished by a fine in an amount from 500 up to 1,000 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from five to ten months, or by correctional labor for from one year up to two years, or by detention under arrest for up to six months, or by imprisonment for up to three years. Art. 319 (Degrading Honor and Dignity of a Deputy, Impeding His Work): 1. A public insult to a deputy of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan when he is executing his deputy obligations or in relation to the execution of them, shall be punished by a fine in an amount from 100 up to 500 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from one to five months, or by engagement in public works for up to 180 hours, or by correctional labor for up to one year, or by restriction of freedom for the same period, or by detention under arrest for up to four months. 2. The same act committed with the use of the mass information media shall be punished by a fine in an amount from 300 up to 800 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from three to eight months, or by correctional labor for from one to two years, or by restriction of freedom for up to two years, or by detention under arrest for up to six months, or imprisonment for up to two years. Art. 320 (Insulting a Representative of the State Authorities): 1. A public insult of a representative of the state authorities when he is executing his service duties or in relation to their execution shall be punished by a fine in an amount from 100 up to 400 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from one to four months, or by engagement in public works for up to 180 hours, or by correctional labor for up to one year, or by restriction of freedom for the same period, or by detention under arrest for up to three months. 2. The same act committed with the use of mass information media shall be punished by a fine in an amount from 300 up to 700 minimum monthly wages, or in an amount of wages or other income of a given convict for from three to seven months, or by correctional labor for up to two years, or by restriction of freedom for up to two years, or by detention under arrest for up to six months, or by imprisonment for up to one year.

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RUSSIA
Population: 140.9 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free In Russia, where journalists are often targeted with a wide variety of legal charges, criminal insult and defamation proceedings remained plentiful. Officials were particularly litigious throughout 2009. A United Russia Party member and Republic of Bashkortostan representative filed a criminal defamation complaint (based on Art. 129 of the Penal Code) against reporter Rimma Urazbakhtina in May. Andrei Nazarov, a State Duma representative, claimed Urazbakhtina and her editor defamed him in an article on the news portal Mediakorset. Nazarov reportedly linked Bashkortostyans Prime Minister Rail Sarbayev to the killing of a prosecutor. Nazarovs complaint sought a prison term for the journalist. Also in May, the Chelyabinsk Central District Court ordered journalist and local politician Vladimir Filichkin to pay a fine of 300,000 rubles (about US$9,945) and 100,000 rubles (approx. US$3,315) in moral damages to Alexei Vaganov, a regional prosecutor. Filichkin was convicted of slander and falsely reporting a crime. The charges against him were based on an address by Filichkin to the Russian President and prosecutor general, accusing Vaganov of abuse of office, including corruption. A regional court in Lipetsk in June convicted Nikolai Sokolov, editor-inchief of regional newspaper Fakti s Argumentami, of defamation (under Art. 129 of the Penal Code) and insulting a state official (under Art. 319 of the Penal Code). He was ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 rubles (about US$330). The charges were based on a complaint by a regional mayor, Viktor Sokovykh, who claimed that several articles published in 2007 and 2008 insulted his dignity. The articles reportedly criticized Sokovykh and accused him of budgetary fraud. The journalists conviction came after a commission of linguistic and criminal experts concluded that the articles contained obscenities. Sokolov challenged the committees independence. In August, prosecutors in Abakan, southern Siberia, filed criminal defamation charges against editor Mikhail Afanasyev. The charges were based on a blog entry by Afanasyev and two colleagues in Novy Fokus, an online magazine, questioning the official death toll provided for an explosion at a

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hydroelectric plant in Khakassia. Afanasyev, who was accused of slandering the regional authorities and the plant management, faced up to three years in prison. His colleagues were not charged. In September, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov filed a civil suit against human rights advocate Oleg Orlov, for 10 million rubles (approximately US$330,000) damages. The suit was based on statements by Orlov linking the Chechen leader to the murder of Orlovs colleague earlier that year. On Oct. 7, a Moscow court convicted Orlov and ordered him to pay Kadyrov the equivalent of $2,300 damages and to issue a retraction. Orlov planned to appeal. The prosecution also planned to file criminal charges against Orlov. A suit by the grandson of Josef Stalin received much attention in October. Yevgeny Dzhugashvili claimed that Anatoly Yablokov, of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, libeled Stalin in an article accusing the leader of ordering the massacre of Polish officers at Katyn in 1940. The court rejected the claim, which sought a retraction, public apology and monetary damages. On Nov. 26, the Kirovsky District court of Kazan sentenced Irek Murtazin, of the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies, to 21 months in a penal colony for offenses including defamation. Murtazin had worked in the press office of Tartarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev. Murtazin was charged in two separate cases. One was based on his book on Shaimiyev, in which he alleged there was pervasive corruption. The other was initiated after he erroneously reported on his blog that the President had died. After the cases were joined, he was convicted of defamation under Art. 129 and inciting hatred, but he was acquitted on a privacy-related charge. Murtazin indicated he would appeal. In its concluding observations on the countrys implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern that media professionals continue to be subjected to politically motivated trials and convictions, and in particular, that . . . the arbitrary use of defamation laws has served to discourage critical media reporting on matters of valid public interest. It called on the government to decriminalize defamation and cap damages in civil suits. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 129. Defamation: 1. Defamation, that is the spreading of deliberately falsified information that denigrates the honor and dignity of another person or undermines his reputation, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 50 to 100 minimum wages, or in

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the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of up to one month, or by compulsory works for a term of 120 to 180 hours, or by corrective labor for a term of up to one year, or by corrective labor for a term of up to one year. 2. Defamation contained in a public speech or in a publicly performed work, and mass-media libel, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 100 to 200 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of one to two months, or by compulsory works for a term of 120 to 180 hours, or by corrective labor for a term of one year to two years, or by arrest for a term of three to six months. 3. Defamation accusing a person of committing a grave or especially grave crime shall be punishable by restraint of liberty for a term of up to three years, or by arrest for a term of four to six months, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to three years. Art. 130. Insult: 1. Insult, that is the denigration of the honor and dignity of another person, expressed in indecent form, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 100 to 200 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of up to one month, or by compulsory works for a term of up to 120 hours, or by corrective labor for a term of up to six months. 2. Insult contained in a public speech, in a publicly performed work, or in mass media, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of up to 200 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of up to two months, or by compulsory works for a term of up to 180 hours, or by corrective labor for a term of up to one year. Art. 297. Contempt of Court: 1. Contempt of court, expressed as an insult of trial participants, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 100 to 200 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of one to two months, or by compulsory works for a term of 180 to 240 hours, or by arrest for a term of two to four months. 2. The same deed, expressed as an insult of a judge, juror, or any other person participating in the dispensation of justice, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 200 to 500 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of two to five months, or by corrective labor for a term of one to two years, or by arrest for a term of four to six months. Art. 298. Libel of a Judge, Juror, Prosecutor, Investigator, a Person Conducting Inquests, Bailiff, or Officer of the Court: 1. Libel against a judge, juror, or any other person taking part in the dispensation

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of justice, in connection with the examination of cases or materials in court, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 200 to 500 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of two to five months, or by corrective labor for a term of one to two years, or by arrest for a term of three to six months, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to two years. 2. The same deed, committed against a prosecutor, investigator, a person conducting inquests, bailiff, or officer of justice, in connection with a preliminary investigation or with the execution of a court's sentence or decision, or any other judicial act, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 100 to 200 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of one to two months, or by corrective labor for a term of up to two years, or by arrest for a term of three to six months, or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to two years. 3. Deeds stipulated in the first or second part of this Article, and joined with the accusation of a person of committing a grave or especially grave crime, shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to four years. Art. 319. Insult of a Representative of Authority: Public insult of a representative of authority during the performance of his official duties, or in connection with the performance thereof, shall be punishable by a fine in the amount of 50 to 100 minimum wages, or in the amount of the wage or salary, or any other income of the convicted person for a period of up to one month, or by compulsory works for a term of 120 to 180 hours, or by corrective labor for a term of six to twelve months. Federal Law No. 114-FZ of 25 July 2002, Law on Counteracting Extremist Activities: Since July 2006, the Anti-Extremism Law includes, in the categories of extremist activities specified in Art. 1, knowingly false accusations of extremism aimed against anyone holding an official position in the Russian Federation, or a subject of the Russian Federation, while on official duty or in connection with his/her official duties. Art. 8. Warning of the Inadmissibility of Distribution of Extremist Materials and Accomplishment of Extremist Activity through Mass Media: In the event of distribution through the mass media of extremist materials or exposure of facts, testifying of the presence in its activity of signs of extremism, the director and (or) editorial staff (chief editor) of the given mass media source authorized by a government body having registered the given source of mass information, or the federal body of executive power in the sphere of print, television or radio broadcasting and means of mass communication, or the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, or a proper subordinate prosecutor, will issue a warning in writing on the inadmissibility of such actions

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or such activity with an indication of the concrete foundations for issuance of the warning, including the committed violations. In the event that it is possible to adopt measures to eliminate the admissible violations, the warning letter will also establish a time frame for elimination of the noted violations, consisting of not less than ten days from the day of the issuance of the warning. The warning may be appealed in court according to the established order. In the event that a warning has not been appealed in court in the established order or has not been declared illegal by a court, or if during the time frame established by the warning, measures have not been adopted to eliminate the committed violations serving as the basis for pronouncement of the warning, or if within 20 months from the day of pronouncement of the warning, new facts are exposed which testify to the presence of signs of extremism in their activity, the respective provider of mass information will be subject to discontinuance of activity, in the order established by the Federal Law. Art. 11. Responsibility of Mass Media Providers for the Distribution of Extremist Materials and Conduct of Extremist Activities: Distribution of extremist materials and conduct of extremist activity through mass media is prohibited in the Russian Federation. In the event envisioned in part three of Art. 8 of the present Federal Law, or in the event of conduct of extremist activity through mass media, bringing about violation of the rights and freedoms of persons or citizens, causing harm to personality, health of citizens, environment, social order, national security, property, legal economic interests of physical and (or) legal entities, society and government, or creating a realistic threat of causing such harm, the activity of the respective provider of mass information may be discontinued by court order on the basis of the declaration of the authorized government body of executive power in the sphere of print, television or radio broadcasting and means of mass communication, or the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation or a proper subordinate prosecutor. Consistent with the goal of preventing the continued dissemination of extremist material, a court may enjoin the printing of issues of periodic publication or circulation of audio- or video recordings or programs, or the issuance of corresponding tele-, radio- or video programs, in the order established for adopting such measures according to the provision of a suit. A court decision is grounds for confiscation of unrealized portions of circulation of a mass media production containing material of extremist nature from places of storage, wholesale or retail trade.

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UZBEKISTAN
Population: 27.5 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free In January, Kushodbek Usmonov, an independent journalist, 67, was arrested for hooliganism. Authorities amended the charges to accuse Usmonov of defamation and insult. Relatives were not allowed to visit him during his pretrial detention, prompting concerns of coercion. At his trial in Asaka, Usmonov testified that he was stripped, beaten and threatened with rape It was unclear whom he was accused of defaming or insulting, but human rights groups noted that Usmonov had repeatedly criticized high-ranking police officials. He was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison in March. Throughout the year, human rights groups expressed concern over the health of Yusuf Jumaev, sentenced in 2008 to five years in a penal colony for a variety of offenses, including insult. The poet and dissident had called in 2007 for the President to resign. His relatives, rarely allowed to visit him, claimed that guards constantly mistreated him, inflicting burn wounds and denying him food. In early 2010, photojournalist and documentary filmmaker Umida Akhmedova was charged with defaming and insulting the Uzbek people in her work, which included photos of village life and a documentary about pressure on women to abstain from sex before marriage. The charges followed a police investigation, initiated in late 2009, accusing Akhmedova of portraying the country as a place where people live in the Middle Ages. These developments rendered particularly ominous a series of interrogations in January 2010. Over three days, six journalists were called to the Tashkent prosecutors office, where an assistant prosecutor interrogated them. The assistant subsequently telephoned several of the journalists, to confirm certain information in files about them from the Uzbek Foreign Ministry and the National Security Service. Several of the journalists indicated that the assistant also accused them of insulting the government. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 139 prohibits disseminating false, defamatory information. Where an offender has previously received an administrative penalty for this offense, the

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applicable penalty consists of a fine up to 50 minimum monthly wages or correctional labor of up to two years. Under aggravated circumstances, the offender shall be punished by imprisonment of up to three years. If the offense is committed in a printed or otherwise copied text, or via mass media, the penalty consists of a fine ranging from 50 to 100 minimum monthly wages or correctional labor of two to three years, arrest of up to six months, or imprisonment of up to six years. Art. 140 criminalizes insult, defined as intentional grievous degrading of the honor and dignity of a person. Where an offender has previously received an administrative penalty for this offense, the applicable punishment consists of a fine of up to 50 minimum monthly wages or correctional labor of up to one year. If the insult is committed via a printed or other copied text, or the mass media, the applicable punishment consists of a fine of 50 to 100 minimum monthly wages or correctional labor of one to two years. Where the insult is aimed at someone in connection with their performance of a professional or civil duty, or a repeat offender is involved, the applicable penalty consists of a fine of 100 to 150 minimum monthly wages, correctional labor of two to three years, or arrest of up to six months. Art. 158 prohibits various offenses against the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, including public affront or denigration via printed or other mass media. This is punishable by correctional labor of up to three years, arrest up to six months, or imprisonment of up to five years. Art. 215 prohibits disrespecting the State flag, emblem, or anthem of the Republic of Uzbekistan or the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The offense is punishable by a fine of up to 25 minimum monthly wages, correctional labor of up to three years, or arrest of up to three months.

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SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Botswana Burundi Cameroon Democratic Republic of Congo Ethiopia Gambia Ivory Coast Mauritania Niger Rwanda Senegal Sierra Leone Uganda Zimbabwe

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Criminal insult and defamation charges were common in 2009. Six Gambian journalists were imprisoned on criminal defamation and sedition charges for a statement criticizing President Jammehs comments about a murdered editor. In Uganda, where a constitutional review of the countrys libel laws was pending, a court seeking to avoid suspension of a trial against a journalist charged with libel simply changed the charges to publication of false news. Ethiopian authorities used a longstanding practice of reviving old criminal cases against bothersome reporters. In neighboring Eritrea, dozens of journalists were held without charge. Those who could fled the country. Zimbabwean journalists were repeatedly brought to court for statements likely to undermine public confidence in law enforcement. Constant delays were used to prolong proceedings. In Cameroon, on the contrary, justice was hasty. Two journalists were convicted in summary military proceedings without being informed of the charges. Four Cameroonian editors were held in prison in 2009. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the trial of a police officer accused of violently threatening a journalist was interrupted so the journalist could be jailed on defamation charges by another officer. Legal reforms brought little relief. In Burundi and Rwanda, new laws retained criminal penalties for defamation and insult. In Senegal, insult and defamation laws were aggressively applied more than five years after President Abdoulaye Wade had pledged to repeal criminal penalties for press offenses. The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists was so frustrated by Supreme Court delays in addressing its challenge to the Public Order Act of 1965 that it repeatedly extended a news blackout on the courts. More positively, a Nigerian appeals court barred the late President Umaru YarAdua from filing criminal defamation charges against a paper for reporting on his illness. The court ruled that presidential immunity from prosecution would deprive the defendants of a proper defense. Civil lawsuits seeking exorbitant fines were a growing threat. In Tanzania, a court reportedly ordered a weekly to pay the more than US$2 million damages for tying a Member of Parliament to corruption. In Kenya, a fine against a publication sued by a former Member of Parliament was wildly out of line with the maximum amount allowed by the civil defamation laws. U.M.

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BOTSWANA
Population: 1.9 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free In Botswana, most of the news centered on a controversial new Media Practitioners Bill, which introduced a regulatory body for the media. While prosecution for insult and defamation are relatively rare, developments indicated that existence of laws criminalizing the offenses could have chilling effects. In March, the editor of UB Horizon, a university newspaper, admitted several articles were deemed too politically sensitive and were deleted. The faculty member in charge of the publication reportedly said two articles -- about unrest and a call for the Vice Chancellor to resign -- raised libel concerns. In June, President Ian Khama dropped efforts to pursue the Sunday Standard newspaper for defamation. The President had brought charges over a report that he was aware of the shooting of a suspected criminal by security guards. He denied it but abandoned proceedings in the interests of the nation. Relevant Laws Penal Code (1964) Art. 50 (Seditious Intention): is defined as, among other things, the intention to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the person of the President or the Government of Botswana as established by law; to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Botswana. Art. 51 (Seditious Offenses): provides that any person who.utters any words with a seditious intention . . . prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication . . . imports any seditious publication, unless he has no reason to believe that it is seditious, is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years; and any seditious publication shall be forfeited to the State. The article bans possessing seditious publications, and specifies that printing machines used to print such materials may be seized or temporarily confiscated. Art. 60 (Defamation of Foreign Princes): Any person who, without such justification or excuse as would be sufficient in the case of the defamation of a

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private person, publishes anything intended to be read, or any sign or visible representation, tending to degrade, revile or expose to hatred or contempt any foreign prince, potentate, ambassador or other foreign dignitary with intent to disturb the peace and friendship between Botswana and the country to which such prince, potentate, ambassador or dignitary belongs, is guilty of an offense. Art. 90 (Offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace): 1. Any person who in a public place or at a public gathering uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior is guilty of an offense and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months. 2. In this section, public gathering means any meeting, gathering or concourse, whether in a public place or otherwise, which the public or any section of the public or more than 15 persons are permitted to attend, whether on payment or otherwise, and includes a procession to or from a public place. Art. 91 (Insults relating to Botswana): Any person who does any act or utters any words or publishes any writing with intent to insult or to bring into contempt or ridicule: a) the Arms or Ensigns Armorial of Botswana; b) the National Flag of Botswana; c) the Standard of the President of Botswana; d) the National Anthem of Botswana; is guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding 500 pula (approx. US$75). Art. 93 (Abusive, obscene or insulting language on President and others): Any person who in a public place or at a public gathering uses abusive, obscene or insulting language in relation to the President, any other member of the National Assembly or any public officer is guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding 400 pula (approx. US$60). Art. 192 (Definition of criminal defamation): Any person who, by print, writing, painting, effigy, or by any means otherwise than solely by gestures, spoken words, or other sounds, unlawfully publishes any defamatory matter concerning another person, with intent to defame that other person, is guilty of the offense termed criminal defamation. Art. 193 (Definition of defamatory matter): Defamatory matter is matter likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or likely to damage any person in his profession or trade by an injury to his reputation.

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Art. 194 (Definition of publication): 1. A person publishes defamatory matter if he causes the print, writing, painting, effigy or other means by which the defamatory matter is conveyed to be so dealt with, either by exhibition, reading, recitation, description, delivery, or otherwise, that the defamatory meaning thereof becomes known or is likely to become known to either the person defamed or any other person. 2. It is not necessary for criminal defamation that a defamatory meaning should be directly or completely expressed; and it suffices if such meaning and its application to the person alleged to be defamed can be collected either from the alleged defamation itself or from any extrinsic circumstances, or partly by the one and partly by the other means. Art. 195 (Definition of unlawful publication): Any publication of defamatory matter concerning a person is unlawful within the meaning of this Division, unless: a) the matter is true and it was for the public benefit that it should be published; b) it is privileged on one of the grounds hereafter mentioned in this Division. Art. 196 outlines circumstances in which publishing defamatory matter is absolutely privileged, such as when the material is published under authority of the President or in the National Assembly. In such cases, falsity and bad faith are not considered relevant. Art. 197 specifies circumstances in which publishing defamatory matter is conditionally privileged, meaning it is privileged if also published in good faith, and the parties involved were under a legal, moral or social duty to publish/receive the publication. Arts. 198 and 199 specify when publishing a defamatory matter shall not be deemed to have been committed in good faith, and outlines circumstances in which good faith is presumed.

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BURUNDI
Population: 8.3 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Much of the news in 2009 involved the shutdown, in late November, of a network of almost 150 civil society organizations operating in the country. The move sent an ominous signal to those courageous enough to speak out about Burundis problems. Meanwhile, a new Penal Code, adopted April 22, retained criminal penalties for defamation and insult. Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, editor of Net Press, a news web site, was acquitted and released from jail in March, six months after being arrested on criminal defamation charges in September 2008. The charges were based on an article on the Presidents expenses during a visit to the Beijing Olympic Games, which governmental representatives claimed erroneously doubled the amount President Pierre Nkurunziza was given for the trip. Alexis Sinduhije, a journalist turned political leader, was also released from prison in March. A former radio station director, he founded the opposition Movement for Security and Development in late 2007. He was arrested in November 2008 and charged with insulting the President, apparently based on a document found in his home. Sinduhije was then sentenced to two and a half years of imprisonment. He was released in March after a judicial panel concluded that the charges were unsubstantiated. Sinduhije had served four months of his sentence when released. Relevant Laws November 2003 Media Law (Law no. 1/025): Art. 50: Notwithstanding the relevant sections of the Penal Code, a publisher, editor or journalist who publishes information that insults the head of state or is defamatory or insulting to a public or private individual, shall be punished by a term of imprisonment of six months to five years and a fine of 100,000 to 300,000 Burundi francs (approx. US$82-247). The penalty is harsher than that imposed in the Penal Code. Penal Code (April 2009) Art. 251 provides that, anyone who maliciously and publicly imputes a specific fact to another, of a nature so as to affect the persons honor or esteem or expose the person to public contempt, shall be punished by imprisonment of one month to one

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year and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 Burundi francs (approx. US$8-82), or only one of these penalties. Art. 252 provides that anyone who publicly insults another person shall be punished by imprisonment of one month to one year and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 Burundi francs (approx. US$8-82), or only one of these penalties. Art. 378 prohibits contemptuous words, gestures, threats or acts against a person in public service, in the course of or in connection with the performance of his or her duty, which are abusive, defamatory and likely to impair the dignity of his or her public function. Art. 379 provides that insult against the Head of State is punishable by a prison term of six months to five years and a fine of 10,000 to 50,000 (approx. US$8-41). Art. 381 specifies that, where the insult is addressed to the Head of State, a parliamentarian, a government official, a magistrate, an officer or agent of public authority or law enforcement officials in the course of or in connection with the exercise of their duties, the perpetrator is punished by six months to two years in prison and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Burundi francs (approx. US$41-82), or one of these penalties. When the insult takes place at a meeting or a public meeting or during a court hearing, the penalties consist of six months to three years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 to 200,000 francs (approx. US$41-164), or one of these penalties. Art. 383 prohibits publicly insulting, defacing or destroying the flag or national symbol of the Republic of Burundi. Punishments range from two months to five years imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 to 50,000 Burundi francs (approx. US$841), or one of these penalties.

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CAMEROON
Population: 19.5 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Journalists in Cameroon have long been subject to aggressive prosecution under the countrys libel and defamation laws. In 2009, four editors were in jail for critical reporting, making Cameroon Africas second largest jailer of journalists. On Jan. 7, Lewis Medjo, editor of La Dtente Libre, a weekly, was convicted of spreading false news and sentenced to three years in jail. The court also fined him 2 million CFA francs (approx. US$4,500). It was over a piece claiming that President Paul Biya pressed a Supreme Court judge to retire early. Jailed in September 2008 and in ill health, Medijo was detained pending appeal. Meanwhile, three other editors arrested in late 2008 awaited trial. Michel Mombio of L'Ouest rpublicain magazine, Flash Zacharie Ndiomo of Zenith magazine, and Armand Ondoa(of Rgional magazine were held in Nkondengui Central Prison in Yaound, on a number of charges, including insulting a government official and attacking the honor of a high ranking official. Two journalists were convicted of complicity of insult and breaching national defense secrecy in summary proceedings before a military court, without being informed of the charges. Jacques Blaise Mvi and Charles Ren Nw, both editors at the weekly La Nouvelle, were each sentenced to five years in prison and fined 500,000 CFA francs (approx. US$1,000). The complaint was apparently initiated by the former defense minister over articles critical of his performance. The editors were free pending appeal. In December, Jean-Bosco Talla, publisher of the weekly Germinal was convicted of insulting the President, for publishing excerpts of a book claiming that before his presidency President Biya engaged in a homosexual act. Talla received a one-year suspended prison sentence, was fined 3 million CFA francs (approx. US$6,500) and court costs of several hundred dollars. Relevant Laws Penal Code Section 152: 1. Defines contempt as any defamation, abuse or threat conveyed by gesture,

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word or cry uttered in any place open to the public, or by any procedure intended to reach the public. 2. Applies the same defenses to contempt that apply to defamation, including legislative and judicial privilege, privilege for accurate reports of legislative and judicial proceedings, and fair comment and criticism. 3. Provides a four-month statute of limitations. Section 153: 1. Contempt of the President or Vice-President of the Republic, of any person exercising the whole or a part of their prerogatives, or of any foreign head of state, punishable by one to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of 20,000 to 20 million CFA francs (approx. US$45-45,000). 2. Contempt of any head of government, or of any foreign minister of a foreign government, or of a diplomatic representative accredited to the government of the Republic, punishable by six months to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of 20,000 to 20 million CFA francs (approx. US$45-45,000). 3. Truth is not a defense. Section 154: Contempt (a) of any court, any of the armed forces, or any public body or public administration; or (b) in relation to his office or position, of any member of a government or assembly, federal or federated, or of any public servant, punishable by ten days to one year imprisonment and/or a fine of 20,000 to 20 million CFA francs (approx. US$45-45,000). Truth is a defense in defamation cases. Sections 305, 306: A general criminal defamation law, defining defamation as factual imputations that injure a persons honor or reputation. A number of defenses, including truth under certain circumstances, and absolute and qualified privileges, are recognized. Defamation of the dead is punishable if the intent is to injure the honor or reputation of a living spouse or heirs. Punishment is six days to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of 5,000 to 2 million CFA francs (approx. US$10-4,500), halved for non-public defamation, doubled for anonymous defamation. Section 307: 1. Abuse, defined as publicly using, without provocation, any insulting expression, or contemptuous gestures or words, or invective without imputation of fact, is punishable by five days to three months imprisonment and/or a fine of 5,000 to 100,000 CFA francs (approx. US$10-230). 2. A complaint by the injured party or his representative is needed for prosecution. 3. Four-month statute of limitations. 4. Applies to abuse of the memory of a deceased person if the intent is to injure the honor or reputation of a living spouse or heirs.

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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO


Population: 66 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo continued to face a large number of threats, most of them violent. Yet, judicial prosecution also remained common. Nsimba Embete Ponte, editor of L'Interprte, was released from prison Jan. 7. He was convicted of insulting the head of state and sentenced for 10 months in November 2008. The charge was over a series of articles on President Joseph Kabilas health. Ponte, first detained in March 2008, served the full sentence when he was freed. In February, the Postal, Telephone and Telecommunications Service (PTT) issued a message to heads of Bukavus radio and TV stations, warning of administrative and legal penalties should they continue to broadcast messages that could create confusion and misunderstanding about government actions. Later that month, Congoweb TV correspondent Bienvenu Yay was sentenced to six months in prison for slandering former provincial governor Jos Makila. Yay was also ordered to pay the equivalent of US$2,500 in damages. The verdict was based on an article claiming the governor was placed under house arrest after an investigation involving the misappropriation of funds to pay teacher salaries. The governor denied that such a measure was ever imposed on him. On July 27, an appellate court confirmed the verdict and sentence. Also in February, defamation charges were finally dropped against Bwamputu Akienzin Zphyrin, a correspondent for RTNC, a public broadcaster based in western Congo. Zphyrin had been fighting the charges since December 2008, initiated by the former director of the broadcaster, after it aired a segment on the directors termination. The court deemed the charges unfounded and dismissed the proceedings. A sequence of events in July underscored the justice systems questionable priorities. Claude Kasongo, a journalist for an Eastern-based community radio station, was arrested during the military trial of a police officer accused of violently threatening the journalist. Kasongo was taken to another court and then jailed in Kindu Central Prison, based on defamation charges initiated by another police officer -- an officer alleged to have been involved in the threats made

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against the journalist. The defamation proceedings were unrelated to the incident at issue in the military trial. In September, the countrys broadcast regulator suspended two radio journalists, Serge Mwamba and Fils Baende, for one month. The two were accused of broadcasting harmful and hateful remarks about a local governor after the stations owner (also a Member of Parliament) alleged on air that the governor had misused public funds. In November, agents of the National Intelligence Agency detained and threatened Maurice Lutendero, a Kasindi-based reporter for Radio Ishango Kasindi. Lutendero, who had questioned an increase in utility rates, was accused of denigrating President Kabilas public works efforts. He was in detention as of early December. Relevant Laws 2004 Code of Ethics for Journalists Art. 5: bans insults, defamation, allegations, alteration of documents, twisting of facts and misrepresentations. The section also bans incitement of hatred -ethnic, religious, regional, and racial -- and any other form of support for negative values in the media. 1996 Press Law (No. 96-002) Art. 10: specifies that all writings may be disseminated by the press, so long as these do not undermine public order, morals, or the honor and dignity of individuals. Art. 77: prohibits insulting the Head of State. Art. 78: includes in the definition of treason knowingly participating in an effort to demoralize the army or the public in the goal of national defense. Penal Code* Art. 74: Anyone who maliciously and publicly imputes to another person a specific fact, of a nature as to undermine the honor or esteem for that person, or expose that person to public contempt, shall be punished by imprisonment of eight days to one year and a fine, or one of these penalties. Art. 75: Anyone who publicly insults a person shall be punished by imprisonment of eight days to two months and a fine, or one of these penalties. Art. 76: Punishment consisting of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine, or only one of these penalties, will be imposed on:

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1. anyone who makes a slanderous denunciation, in writing or verbally, to a judicial authority or a public officer with authority to act thereon; 2. anyone who makes to another person, in writing or verbally, slanderous accusations against his subordinate. Art. 77: Insults not addressed in the preceding section shall be punished by imprisonment of eight days and a fine, or only one of these penalties. Art. 136: 1. Anyone who, with words, facts, gestures or threats, insults a member of the Bureau Politique [since abolished], a member of the National Assembly, of government or the Constitutional Court, in the exercise or because of the exercise of their functions, is punishable by imprisonment of six to 12 months and a fine, or only one of these penalties. 2. Anyone who, with words, facts, gestures or threats, insults a member of a court or a tribunal, a public minister, a senior army or police officer, or a governor, in the exercise of because of the exercise of their functions, is punishable by imprisonment of three to nine months and fine, or one of these penalties. 3. Anyone who, with words, facts, gestures or threats, insults other authorities or the police force, in the exercise of because of the exercise of their functions, is punishable by imprisonment of seven to 15 days and a fine, or one of these penalties. Art. 137: Insults committed against constitutional bodies are punishable in the same manner as those committed against the members of such bodies. *The Penal Code, enacted in 1940, specifies possible penalties in zaires, the countrys former currency. It does not appear to have been updated since then. This translation therefore omits the penalty amounts in the original text.

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ETHIOPIA
Population: 85.8 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free In Ethiopia, cases centered on sweeping anti-terrorism legislation that introduced tough prison sentences for loosely defined offenses. But arbitrarily enforced defamation charges were also brandished. In February, editor Wosenseged Gebrekidan of Harambe was jailed for almost three weeks for criminal libel, although a 2008 measure banned such pretrial detention. It was reportedly for a 2007 piece on low local voting turnout. In August, a court imposed one-year prison sentences on editors Ibrahim Mohamed Ali, of the Salafiyya weekly, and Asrat Wedajo, of the since defunct Seife Nebelbal. Some charges were reportedly based on a 1992 press law invalidated by a 2008 proclamation. The exact nature of the convictions was difficult to ascertain. The Committee to Protect Journalists said Ibrahim Mohamed Ali was held on a 2007 defamation charge, for a guest piece criticizing a head scarf restriction in public schools. Asrat Wedajo was reportedly jailed for 2004 false news on rights violations of the Oromos tribe. Relevant Laws The Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation (No. 590/2008) entered into force in December 2008. It repealed the Press Proclamation No. 34/1992. Section 41(2) provides that, in an action for defamation through mass media the court may award, with regard to gravity of the moral damage, compensation up to 100,000 birr (about US$7,500). Section 43 (7) provides that prosecutions for defamation and false accusation against persons or private organizations through the mass media shall be instituted and conducted by private plaintiffs. The section explicitly excludes prosecutions for false accusation and defamation against the constitutionally established legislative, executive or judicial authorities. Penal Code (2005) Art. 244 (Attacks against the State and National and other Emblems): 1. Whoever, by word or by deed or in any other way, abuses, insults, defames or

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slanders the State in public, is punishable with simple imprisonment for not less than three months or with a fine not less than 500 birr (US$38). The act of defamation, slander, abuse or insult is deemed to be committed as defined under Arts. 613 and 615. 2. Whoever, maliciously, or with contempt or any other similar intent, publicly tears down, sets on fire, destroys, injures, defaces, insults or in any other way abuses an officially recognized national emblem, such as the flag or insignia of Federal Ethiopia or the Regional States, is punishable with simple imprisonment for not less than three months or fine. Art. 264 (Insults to Foreign States): 1. Whoever in any way publicly abuses, insults, defames or slanders by word of mouth or by deed, a foreign State, either directly or in the person of its Head, of one of its constituted authorities, of one of its accredited diplomatic representatives or of one of its official representatives or delegates in the territory of Ethiopia, is punishable with simple imprisonment or fine. 2. In grave cases, especially in a case of slander, simple imprisonment shall be for not less than three months. Art. 265 (Insults to the Official Emblems of Foreign States): Whoever, out of ill will, hatred, contempt or other improper motives tears down, destroys, defaces, insults or in any other way abuses the emblems of sovereignty of a foreign State with which Ethiopia maintains peaceful relations, particularly its insignia or national flag publicly hoisted by an official representative of such State, is punishable with simple imprisonment or fine. Art. 266 (Insults to inter-State Institutions): Whoever publicly insults the representatives or the official emblems of an inter-State institution or organization of which Ethiopia is a member, is liable to the punishment provided for under Art. 265. Art. 449 (Contempt of Court): 1. Whoever, in the course of a judicial inquiry, proceeding or hearing: a) in any manner insults, holds up to ridicule, threatens or disturbs the Court or a judge in the discharge of his duty; or b) in any other manner disturbs the activities of the Court, is punishable with simple imprisonment not exceeding one year, or a fine not exceeding 3,000 birr (approx. US$225). The Court may deal with the crime summarily. 2. Where the crime is not committed in open Court but while the judge is carrying out his duties, the punishment shall be simple imprisonment not exceeding six months, or fine not exceeding 1,000 birr (approx. US$75).

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Art. 613 (Defamation and Calumny): 1. Whoever, addressing a third party, imputes to another with the intent to injure his honor or reputation, an act, a fact or a conduct, where the allegation accords with the truth, is punishable, upon complaint, with simple imprisonment not exceeding six months, or fine. Statements made concerning a crime of which a person has been found guilty, has duly served the sentence or has been granted pardon or amnesty, with intent to injure his honor or reputation, shall be considered as defamation and are punishable under the preceding Article. 2. Where the defamatory imputations or allegations constituting the injury to honor or reputation are false and are uttered or spread with knowledge of their falsity, the criminal is punishable upon complaint, for calumny with simple imprisonment for not less than one month, and fine. 3. Where the criminal has acted with deliberate intent to ruin the victim's reputation, he shall be punished, upon complaint, with simple imprisonment for not less than three months, and fine. 4. Where the imputation or allegation is false and made negligently, it is punishable, upon complaint, with simple imprisonment not exceeding one year, or fine. Art. 615 (Insulting Behavior and Outrage): Except in cases where it is punishable as a petty offense (Art. 844), anyone directly addressing the victim, or referring to him, offends him in his honor by insult or injury, or outrages him by gesture or in any other manner, is punishable, upon complaint, with simple imprisonment not exceeding three months, or fine not exceeding 300 birr (approx. US$23). Art. 618 (Special Cases Aggravating the Crime): 1. Where the defamation or calumny, insult or outrage, has been deliberately committed against a public servant in the discharge of his official duty, or in relation thereto, the criminal is punishable, upon complaint: a) with simple imprisonment not exceeding six months, and a fine not exceeding 1,000 birr (approx. US$75) in cases of insult or outrage; b) with simple imprisonment from one month to one year, and a fine in cases of defamation; or c) with simple imprisonment for not less than three months, and a fine in cases of calumny; or d) with simple imprisonment for not less than six months, and a fine, in cases of a deliberate act to ruin the victims reputation. 2. Nothing in this Article shall affect the special provisions relating to injury to the honor of the State (Art. 244), to insults to foreign States and inter-State institutions (Arts. 264 and 266), to insults to a military superior (Art. 297) and to contempt of Court (Art. 449).

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GAMBIA
Population: 1.7 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free In March, Halifa Sallah, minority leader of Gambias National Assembly and publisher of the independent paper Foroyaa was arrested and charged with three criminal offenses, including publishing with seditious intent.. The charges followed a February press conference, organized by Sallah, on human rights abuses in Gambia. After pleading not guilty, he was granted bail March 11, but the conditions were so severe -- including 1 million dalasis (about US$37,600) and guarantees by three high-ranking service officers -- that he could not satisfy them. Sallah was released March 19 after the prosecutor dropped the charges in the interest of peace and justice. In May, President Yahya Jammeh warned outspoken Imam Baba Leigh he risked jail if he kept criticizing his government. The President accused the imam of misleading the public and banned media from airing material by him. In June, Abdulhamid Adiamoh, managing editor of Today, a private daily, was detained after printing a story erroneously claiming two government officials had been fired. The editor was held although the paper retracted the story a day later. He faced prosecution for publishing false news, entailing up to six months jail, a fine of up to 250,000 dalasis (approx. US$9,700), or both. Later in June, six Gambian journalists faced prosecution for reprinting a Gambian Press Union (GPU) statement criticizing President Jammehs televised comments about Deyda Hydara, editor of The Point, shot dead in 2004. Emil Touray (GPU secretary general and assistant editor at Foroyaa), Sarata Jabbi Dibba (GPU vice president and senior reporter for The Point), Pa Modou Faal (GPU treasurer and senior reporter at The Point), Sam Sarr (editor of Foroyaa), and Pap Saine and Ebou Sawaneh (publisher and editor of The Point, respectively) were arrested June 15. Abubakar Saidykhan, a Forayaa reporter, was jailed for trying to photograph Sam Sarrs arrest. He was freed in late July. The six journalists were granted bail June 22 but were rearrested and brought before the High Court, which remanded them to custody July 3. The trial took place throughout July. Charges included criminal defamation, publishing with seditious intention, and conspiring to commit those offenses. All were found

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guilty Aug. 6 by High Court Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle. The court sentenced each to two years prison and fines of 500,000 dalasis (approx. US$19,500). Defense counsel Lamin Camara intended to appeal, calling the charges unconstitutional. The journalists were held at Banjuls notorious Mile Two prison. Conditions were specially hard for two of them. Pap Saine was said to suffer heart trouble, and Sarata Jabbi-Dibba had a seven-month-old baby when convicted. President Yammeh pardoned the journalists, reportedly in a humanitarian gesture for Ramadan. They were freed Sept. 3. Pap Saine faced more legal troubles. In July, authorities revived unrelated charges of printing false information in a January article on staff changes at Gambias Washington embassy. Relevant Laws Two rounds of amendments to the countrys Penal Code (in 2004 and 2005) increased penalties for seditious intention and seditious publication, prohibited by Sections 51 and 52, respectively. Seditious intention is broadly defined, and includes intention to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the President, administration of justice or government of Gambia, or against its inhabitants. Promoting feelings of ill will and hostility amongst different segments of Gambias population is also punishable. The law does, however, provide that such statements may be deemed non-seditious if they were meant to show that the President was misled or mistaken, or were meant to promote the remedying of wrongs in government or society. Section 52 covers conspiracy to act with seditious intent, uttering seditious words, as well as seditious publication (which includes printing and selling such publications). Anyone guilty of such an offense must pay a fine between 50,000 and 250,000 dalasis (approx. US$1,950-9,700) or be imprisoned for no less than one year. Offenders may also be both imprisoned and required to pay the fee. Finally, any seditious publication involved in the offense shall be forfeited to the State. The same punishment applies to anyone found, without lawful excuse, to possess any seditious publication. Defamation is a criminal offense under Section 178 of the Penal Code, and, since July 2005, is similarly punishable by a fine ranging from 50,000 to 250,000 dalasis (approx. US$1,950-9,700), imprisonment of one year or more, or both. Conspiracy to commit criminal defamation is an offense under Section 368. Section 181 provides the same punishment as that for criminal defamation for the offense of publishing or broadcasting false information.

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IVORY COAST
Population: 21.1 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free In March, journalist Nanankoua Gnamanteh was charged with offending President Laurent Gbagbo in an article entitled Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, The article, published in Le Repre, alleged that malfeasance such as embezzlement and government infringement on human rights was impeding development in the struggling nation. Gnamanteh was arrested March 20, and appeared in court four days later. On March 31, he and Eddy Ph, the newspapers managing editor, were convicted of offending the head of state. Fines of 20 million CFA francs (approx. US$45,000) were imposed on each. The newspaper was also suspended for eight editions. Gnamanteh was released after the verdict, with the judge rejecting the prosecutions claim that he was not a professional journalist and therefore subject to imprisonment. The newspaper appealed, and indicated that it would continue publishing pending the appeal. In October, another publication published by Le Rveil, which also publishes Le Repre, was sanctioned for defamation. Le Nouveau Rveil was ordered by the media regulatory body (Conseil national de la presse) to pay damages of 5 million CFA francs (approx. US$11,300) for a story questioning a trip to China by Prime Minister Guillaume Soro. That same week, members of a student group ransacked the publications office after requesting that it publish their reply to an article about them that they deemed defamatory. Relevant Laws A press law introduced in December 2004 (Law 2004-643) abolished prison sentences for press offenses, imposing large fines instead. However, journalists have nonetheless since been sentenced to jail for offenses, including defamation, under the Penal Code. Press Law (2004-643) Art. 68 specifies that press offenses are not punishable by imprisonment. Art. 72 lists offenses that punishable by judicial seizure of copies of the publication in question. These offenses include insulting the President, Prime Minister, and foreign heads of state.

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Art. 74: The offense of insulting the President of the Republic consists of any defamatory allegation involving his public or private life that affects his honor or dignity. Proceedings may be initiated by the prosecutor without prior complaint by the President. Art. 75: In cases of insult of the Prime Minister or presidents of institutions, the proceedings may not be initiated by the prosecution without prior complaint by the aggrieved party. Art. 76: In cases of insult of foreign heads of state and governments, the proceedings may not be initiated by the prosecution without prior complaint by the aggrieved party. Art. 77: The offenses outlined in Art. 72 (1-3,9) and in the Arts. 73, 74, 75 and 76 are punishable as follows: in cases of insult or contempt, fines range from 1020 million CFA francs (approx. US$22,600-45,000); in other cases, fines range from 5-15 million CFA francs (approx. US$11,300- 34,000). Art. 78: All allegations or imputations of fact that affect the honor or esteem of the individual or body to whom the fact is imputed constitute defamation. The direct publication or reproduction of the allegation or imputation is punishable even if made in the form of a question or it targets a person or body not expressly named, where their identification is possible by the terms of the offending discussion, cries, threats, drawing, film, writing, printed material or posters. Every outrageous expression, term of contempt or invective that does not impute any facts constitute insult. Art. 79: Defamation of courts, tribunals, the armed forces, constitutional courts or public administrations is punishable by a fine ranging from 5-15 million CFA francs (approx. US$11,300-34,000). Art. 80: Defamation of one or more members of government, National Assembly members, or citizens charged with a temporary or permanent public mandate or service, jurors or witnesses due to their given testimony, by reason of their function, is punishable by the fines outlined in the preceding article. Art. 81: Defamation of a group of people who belong, by origin, to a particular race, ethnic group, tribe or religion, is punishable by a fine ranging from 5-15 million CFA francs (approx. US$11,300-34,000). Defamation of individuals is punishable by 5-15 million CFA francs (approx. US$11,30034,000). Art. 82: Publication of false information is punishable by a fine ranging from

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5-10 million CFA francs (approx. US$11,300-22,600). Art. 83: Insult against bodies or persons specified in Arts. 79, 80 and 81 is punishable by a fine ranging from 5-15 million CFA francs (approx. US$11,300-34,000). Insult against individuals is punishable by a fine from 5-15 million CFA francs (about US$11,300-34,000). Penal Code (1981) Art. 173: Publication, dissemination, disclosure, or reproduction by any means whatever, of false news, fabricated or falsified pieces, or falsely attributed to others, is punishable by imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of 500,000 to 5 million CFA francs (approx. US$1,130-11,300), if it results or can result in disobedience to laws, affronts public morals or discredits institutions or their functions. If the publication, dissemination, disclosure or reproduction is made in the press, the following will be liable under the penalties outlined in the preceding paragraph as principle authors: managers or co-managers or editors, or printers, sellers, distributors or those who display the material. When managers, co-managers or editors are involved, the authors will be pursued as accomplices. Art. 174: Anyone who, by gesture, cries, threats, in writing, image, printed material, document, sign or poster, or by any other means of sound or of a visual nature, be it in a public place or a place open to the public, by any means permitting audio or visual contact with the public, directly provokes theft, murder, looting, arson or destruction of buildings, or any of the infractions specified in this present chapter, shall be punished: 1. in case the provocation is followed by an infraction, by the same penalty applicable to those committing the infraction; 2. in case the provocation is not followed by an infraction, by imprisonment of one to five years and a fine ranging from 300,000 to 3 million CFA francs (approx. US$680-6,800). Art. 199: Defamation, insult or threats carried out in the circumstances outlined in Art. 174, toward a group of people who belong by origin to a particular race, ethnic group or religious group, is punishable by a penalty of imprisonment of one month to one year, and a fine ranging from 100,000 to 1 million CFA francs (approx. US$226-2,260). If the infraction is committed in the press, radio or television, these penalties are doubled. Art. 243: Anyone who, in circumstances indicated in Art. 174, offends the

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President of the Republic, will be punished by imprisonment of three months to two years and a fine of 300,000 to 3 million CFA francs (approx. US$6806,800), or one of these penalties. Art. 244: Anyone who, in circumstances indicated in Art. 174, publicly offends a foreign head of state or government, will be punished by imprisonment of three months to two years and a fine of 300,000 to 3 million CFA francs (approx. US$680 to 6,800), or one of these penalties. Art. 245: Insult committed in circumstances indicated in Art. 174 toward plenipotentiaries, envoys, chargs d'affaires and other diplomatic agents accredited by or on mission for the government of Ivory Coast is punishable by imprisonment of 15 days to one year and a fine of 100,000 to 1 million CFA francs (approx. US$226-2,260), or one of these penalties. Art. 246: Anyone who, with malicious intent, contempt or similar sentiment, in a public place, open or exposed to the public, destroys, degrades or offends the national emblem or the national coat of arms, is punishable by a penalty of imprisonment of one month to two years and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 CFA francs (approx. US$45-450), or one of these penalties. Ripping, destroying, degrading or offending emblems or coat of arms of foreign nations used at a public ceremony or flown publicly by an official representative of the nation at issue, accredited by the government of the Republic, is punishable by the same penalty. Art. 247: Offending the President of the National Assembly, the President of the Economic and Social Council or the President of the Supreme Court, in the circumstances specified in Art. 174, is punishable by imprisonment of one month to two years and a fine of 200,000 to 2 million CFA francs (approx. US$450-4,500). Art. 248: Offending, in the exercise of their functions or because of the exercise thereof, a member of government, deputy, member of the Economic and Social Council or a magistrate of the Supreme Court, in the circumstances specified in Art. 174, is punishable by imprisonment of 15 days to two years and a fine of 100,000 to 1 million CFA francs (approx. US$226-2,260). Art. 249: Offending, in the circumstances specified in Art. 174, a judicial or administrative magistrate other than those covered by the preceding article, a juror or an assessor, in the exercise of their functions or because of the exercise thereof, is punishable by imprisonment of eight days to two years and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 CFA francs (approx. US$45-450).

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Art. 250: If the insult defined in Arts. 247, 248 and 249 are committed during an official ceremony, an assembly or a court hearing, imprisonment shall range between one and three years. Arts. 117 and 118 do not apply. Art. 251: Insult committed in the circumstances indicated in Art.174 and against any public officer in the sense of Art. 223*, in the exercise of their functions or in connection with the exercise thereof, is punishable by imprisonment of 15 days to three months and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 CFA francs (approx. US$23-226), or one of these penalties. Art. 252: Anyone who, in the circumstances indicated in Art. 174, looks to cast discredit on a judicial decision or act, in a manner that affronts the authority or independence of justice, will be punished by imprisonment of one to six months and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 CFA francs (approx. US$23-226), or one of these penalties. In addition, the judge may impose banishment on the guilty party. Art. 254: If the infractions outlined in the present section are committed in the press, the second paragraph of Art. 173 applies. *Art. 223 specifies that the term public officer includes all magistrates, state functionaries, public or ministerial officials, agents, officers in the armed forces, police officers, and anyone charged even occasionally with a public service or mission.

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MAURITANIA
Population: 3.3 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free In March, a court order shut down the news web site Taqadoumy for 24 hours, based on complaints that it contained defamatory information that undermined national unity. The sites editor, Abou Abbass Ould Brahim, was also detained for three days. His arrest sparked a demonstration by fellow journalists, several of whom were roughed up by the police. There was some positive news, with journalist Abdel Fettah Ould Abeidna released from prison in April, after a pardon of some 70 prisoners by Gen. Ould Abdel Aziz. The editor of the weekly Al Aqsa, Abeidna was serving a one-year sentence for criminal libel of a businessman, whom he accused of involvement in the international drug trade. The editor had been in detention since November 2008 after being extradited from Dubai. There were more arrests of journalists later in 2009. In June, Taqadoumy news director Hanevy Ould Dehah was arrested on a complaint by a presidential candidate, who alleged that an article on his supposedly lavish expenditures was defamatory. Dehah was later charged instead with other offenses, including violating public decency. He was sentenced to six months in jail. As of early January 2010, he was still in jail although he had served the full sentence. Authorities again targeted the web site in September, arresting Djibril Diallo, a contributor. He was released on bail after three days in custody. He was questioned on an article claiming Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi was involved in the coup that brought Mauritanias government to power. Relevant Laws Penal Code (1983) Art. 204: criminalizes insulting administrative and judicial magistrates or jurors in the exercise of their functions. Whether by words, writing, drawings not rendered public, insults that undermine the honor of such individuals are punishable by imprisonment of 15 days to two years. If expressed during a court session, the penalty is increased to imprisonment of two to five years. Art. 205: specifies that insults committed in the same set of circumstances, but communicated by gestures, threats or throwing objects, are punishable by

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imprisonment of one to six months, or, where committed during a court session, by imprisonment of one month to two years. Art. 206: prohibits insults by any means against all ministerial officers or agents, or citizens charged with public duties, during the exercise thereof. Such insults are punishable by imprisonment of ten days to one month, and a fine of 5,000 to 30,000 ouguiya (approx. US$19-115), or only one of these penalties. Art. 207: provides that, any insult committed against a police commander is punishable by imprisonment of 15 days to three months, and may also be punished by a fine of 5,000 30,000 ouguiya (approx. US$19-115). Art. 208: criminalizes publicly casting discredit on a judicial decision, by acts words or writings, in a manner as to undermine the authority or independence of a judicial authority. It is punishable by imprisonment of one to six months, and a fine of 5,000 to 200,000 ouguiya (approx. US$19-760), or one of these penalties. Where committed by the press, the punishments outlined in Art. 263 apply. Art. 263: imposes a punishment of imprisonment of one month to two years and a fine of 5,000 to 150,000 ouguiya (approx. US$19-570) on anyone who creates or holds, for purposes of dealing, distributing, renting or displaying; imports or causes to be imported, displayed or transported for the same purpose; displays or projects in public, sells, rents or sells or leases; offers, even at no cost or not in public, in any form whatsoever, directly or indirectly; distributes or submits for distribution by any means, any prints, writings, drawings, posters, engravings, paintings, photographs, films, stencils, emblems or other immoral objects or images. Anyone convicted under this section may also be prohibited, for up to six months, from carrying out managerial functions at businesses that publish, print and distribute journals and periodicals. Art. 267: addresses recidivism, specifying that, where someone is convicted under Arts. 263 to 266 and within five years commits another infraction, they are subject to double the prison term set in Art. 263, and a fine of up to 600,000 ouguiya (approx. US$2,280). A prohibition on exercising the functions specified in Art. 263 also applies; the relevant court may reduce this to no less than six months. Art. 306: Any person who commits an offense against public decency or Islamic morals, or violates holy places or assists in their violation, and if this act does not figure in crimes subject to Ghissassi or Diya, [restitution paid to the victim

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of a crime or the victims family] is punishable by imprisonment of three months to two years and a fine of 5,000 to 60,000 ouguiya (approx. US$19228). This section also prohibits apostasy, punishable by death in case there is no repentance. Art. 348: Anyone who, by any means whatsoever, makes a false accusation against one or more individuals, to judicial or police, or any other authority with power to act thereon, or to superiors or employers of the individual, shall be punished by imprisonment of six months to five years and a fine of 10,000 to 200,000 ouguiya (approx. US$38-760). Art. 349: All other insults or outrageous expression that are not both serious and public give rise only to less serious penalties (peines de simple police), or sentences imposed by magistrate or police courts).

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NIGER
Population: 15.3 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free President Mamadou Tandjas efforts to secure constitutional changes permitting him to seek a third term produced a turbulent year for Niger, accompanied by aggressive prosecution of the media. On Jan. 23, police arrested Boussada Ben Ali, managing editor of the independent newspaper L'Action on a complaint by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. Boussada was charged with disseminating false information likely to disturb public order for an article in LAction accusing the minister of corruption in connection with two contracts. Niamey magistrates court sentenced Feb. 6 Boussada to three months jail and a 50, 000 CFA francs (approx. US$110) fine. Boussada has been frequently been prosecuted for his writings. He faced criminal defamation charges in November 200, and received a suspended twomonth sentence for an article claiming that a cabinet minister supported the Touareg movement that has been fighting for more rights in the northern part of the country. The minister later admitted the allegation and fled the country. On April 1, a televised comment by Elhaj Idi Abdou resulted in charges against him and the director and editor-in-chief of the private Dounia Media Group, which aired the program. Abibou Garba and Seyni Amadou were arrested and detained at the Criminal Investigations Department a few days after airing the broadcast in which Abdou accused French President Nicolas Sarkozy of visiting the country to pursue business interests rather than for an official state visit. All three men were charged with broadcasting false information. On April 6, Ali Soumana, publisher of Le Courrier, was arrested over charges by the director of a state-owned water company. An earlier article in his paper claimed the companys business partners included a corrupt Chinese company blacklisted by the World Bank. Soumana was released the next day, but faced prosecution for defamation and publishing false information. Abdoulaye Timogo, editor-publisher of Le Canard Dchain, was arrested Aug. 1, for televised comments on his publications coverage of a corruption case against former Prime Minister Hama Amadou. He was charged with casting discredit on a judicial ruling, and, on Aug. 18, sentenced to three

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months in prison. Timogo, who was initially held in the capital of Niamey, was transferred to a remote prison after contracting malaria. On Oct. 26, an appeals court reduced his term to two months he had already served, and he was immediately released. Eight publishers of leading weeklies were interrogated in the capital by police on Aug. 1, after publishing a document indicating that President Tandjas son, Hadia Doulaye Tandja, and a journalist with ties to the Presidents family, got large kickbacks from a uranium mining company. Two of the publishers interrogated, Abdoulaye Timogo of Le Canard Dchan and Ali Soumana of Le Courrier, were later taken into custody over a separate libel case involving allegations against the Justice Minister. They were due before court on Aug. 5. The other publishers interrogated were Moussa Aksar of L'Evnement, Zakari Alzouma of Opinions, Abard Mouddour Zakara of L'Actualit, Omar Keita Lalo of Le Rpublicain, Ibrahim Souley of L'Enquteur, and Assane Sadou, of Le Dmocrate. On Sept. 23, Ibrahim Soumana Gaoh, editor of the weekly Le Tmoin was arrested on defamation charges, over an article alleging that former Communications Minister Mohamed Ben Omar was involved in financial misdeeds connected to privatization of a local telecommunications company. Gaoh was granted bail nine days later, after his publication apologized to Omar. Relevant Laws Press Law No. 99-67 (Dec. 20, 1999) Art. 45: Persons are punished as accomplices to a crime or tort if, by writings, sold or distributed printed matter, printed matter exhibited or displayed to the public or disseminated by any means, they have directly incited the wrongdoer to commit the action. This applies even where the incitement is only followed by an attempted crime. Art. 49: Publishing, disseminating or reproducing, by any means whatever, false news, fabricated, falsified or wrongly attributed to a third party, made in bad faith, and that disturb public order or are susceptible of disturbing it, shall be punished by imprisonment of one to two years and a fine of 100,000 to 1 million CFA francs (approx. US$222-2,220). Art. 50: Allegations or imputations of facts that undermine the honor or esteem of a person or body to whom the fact is imputed constitutes defamation. Publishing or reproducing such an allegation or imputation is punishable, even if expressed in the form of a question or targets a person or body not expressly named, where their identification is possible because of the terms used in the

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incriminating statements, cries, threats, writings or printings, signs or posters. All outrageous expression, contemptuous or terms of invective that do not involve the imputation of a fact constitute insult. Art. 51: Defamation by one of the means of communication enumerated in Arts. 45 and 53, toward courts, armed forces, internal security forces, constituted bodies or public administrations shall be punished by imprisonment of six months to one year and a fine of 100,000 to 500,000 CFA francs (approx. US$222-1,110). Art. 52: Defamation by the means specified in the preceding article against one or more members of government, members of the National Assembly, a public officer, a trustee or officer of public authority, a citizen temporarily or permanently charged with a public service or mandate because of their public functions -- or a juror, or a witness because of their testimony, is punishable by the same penalties specified in the preceding article. Defamation committed against such individuals in connection with their private lives is punishable under Art. 54.* Art. 53: Defamation of persons by a means enumerated in Art. 45 is punishable by imprisonment of one month to one year and a fine of 10,000 to 500,000 CFA francs (approx. US$22-1,110). Defamation by the same means of a group of people identified in the preceding article, but who belong by origin to a particular ethnic group, region, or religion, and if the defamation has the aim of inciting hatred among citizens or inhabitants, is punishable by imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,000,000 CFA francs (approx. US$222-2,220). Art. 54: Insult of the bodies or persons identified in Arts. 52 and 53 is punishable by imprisonment of three months to one year and a fine of 10,000 to 500,000 CFA francs (approx. US$22-1,110), or only one of these penalties. Insult committed in the same way against persons, if not preceded by provocation, is punishable by imprisonment of one month to three months and a fine of 10,000 to 500,000 CFA francs (approx. US$22-1,110), or only one of these penalties. (Note: different penalties apply where the insult is also committed against members of particular ethnic, regional or religious groups and the goal is to incite hatred.) *The original text specifies that Art. 54 applies. This could be a mistake. A more logical reference would be to Art. 53, defamation of private persons.

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RWANDA
Population: 10 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free After much discussion and delay, a revised Media Bill was introduced in May. It contained several amendments by President Paul Kagame after consultation with media representatives. The new law, replacing the Press Law of 2002, was enacted Aug. 12. It retained criminal penalties for defamation. In August, the High Media Council, the countrys statutory regulatory body, requested the Information Minister to suspendthe tabloid Umuseso. The Council based its request on an article comparing President Kagame to Rwandas former President, accusing Kagame of technological dictatorship. The High Media Council considered this to be defamatory both of President Kagame and of the Republic of Rwanda. It was unclear whether the Information Minister would follow the request. The publisher of Umuseso argued that it was inappropriate since the article was merely an expression of opinion. In November, editor Jean Bosco Gasasira, of Umuvugizi, was convicted of defamation and invasion of privacy over an article alleging a love affair between a prosecutor and the head of the National Council of Women. Gasasira was fined 10,000 Rwandan francs (approx. US$20) for defamation, and 1 million Rwandan francs (approx. US$2,000) for invasion of privacy. He was also ordered to pay damages and legal costs of 3 million Rwandan francs (approx. US$6,000). Proceedings against him were initiated days after Information Minister Louise Mushikiwabo threatened several publications, including Umuvugizi, at a press conference. Gasasira was tried under the Press Law of 2002 and could have been imprisoned for one year just for defamation. He was acquitted of insult and abuse. His publication was not ordered shut down, as the prosecution had requested. In December, another publication faced legal trouble for reporting on an alleged love affair of the minister of cabinet affairs and the mayor of the capital of Kigali. The minister complained to the Media Council, and management of Umuseso was called to the Council and to court over the story. Prosecutors interrogated Didas Gasana, the weeklys deputy editor, for more than five hours in mid-December. He was charged with criminal defamation in early January 2010.

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Relevant Laws The Press Law of 2002 was replaced by a new Media Law in August. The old law outlawed defamation and insult, including against the head of state, and called for application of maximum penalties under the Penal Code. The new Media Law also penalizes offenses such as contempt of the head of state, and still permits prosecution of journalists under the Penal Code. Penal Code Art. 187: Anyone who publicly insults one of the individuals specified in the preceding article* shall be punished by imprisonment of three months to three years and a maximum fine of 5,000 francs (about US$9), or one of these penalties. Art. 188: Anyone who removes, destroys, damages, defaces or insults a hoisted or publicly displayed flag or insignia of a foreign state, shall be punished by imprisonment of three months to two years and a maximum fine of 2,000 francs (less than US$5), or one of these penalties. Art. 234: Insulting by words, gestures, threats, writings or drawings, a member of the assembly with legislative powers, in the exercise of his mandate or in connection with the exercise thereof, a minister or a judicial or administrative magistrate, an agent of authority or the police, or any other person charged by a ministry with a public service, in the exercise of their functions or in connection therewith, is punishable by imprisonment of one month to one year and a fine of 200 to 5,000 francs (less than US$1-9), or one of these penalties. If the insult occurs in a legislative assembly, or a hearing before a court or a tribunal, the penalties are doubled. Insult against the head of state is punishable by imprisonment of two to five years and a fine of 2,000 to 10,000 francs (less than US$5-18), or one of these penalties. Art. 241: Publicly and maliciously removing, destroying, damaging, replacing or insulting the flag or the official insignia of the Republic shall be punished by imprisonment of two months to five years and a fine of 5,000 to 20,000 francs (about US$9-36), or one of these penalties. Art. 391: Maliciously and publicly imputing a specific fact to a person, which is of a nature to affect the honor of, or esteem of, the person, or exposes the person to public scorn, is punishable by imprisonment of eight days to one year and a fine of 1,000 to 10,000 francs (about US$2-18), or one of these penalties.

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Art. 392: Publicly insulting a person is punishable by imprisonment of eight days to two months and a fine not exceeding 5,000 francs (about US$9), or one of these penalties. Art. 393: Whoever expresses, by public defamation or insult, aversion or hatred against a group of people who belong, by their origin, to a particular race, religion, or commits an act of a nature to provoke such aversion or hatred, shall be punished by imprisonment of one month to one year and a fine not exceeding 5,000 francs (about US$9), or one of these penalties. [The article also prohibits other offenses based on anothers ethnicity, race, religion, nationality or region of origin.] Art. 394: A slanderous accusation, by any means whatsoever, is punishable by imprisonment of six months to three years and a fine of 1,000 to 20,000 francs (about US$2-36), or one of these penalties, if made to: 1. a judicial or administrative authority, or public officers who have the authority to act thereon; 2. supervisors or employers of the denounced person. Art. 395: Defamation or insult of a person in circumstances not addressed in the preceding articles is punishable by imprisonment of a maximum of eight days and a maximum fine of 1,000 francs (about US$2), or one of these penalties. *Art. 186 refers to foreign heads of state, members of a foreign government, representatives, officers or officials of another state or of intergovernmental organizations, or a family member of any of these, during their stays in Rwanda.

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SENEGAL
Population: 12.5 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free More than five years after President Abdoulaye Wade pledged to repeal criminal penalties for press offenses, including defamation, insult and defamation laws are still aggressively pursued against journalists. Much of the years news involved El Malick Seck, managing editor of 24 Heures Chrono, a private, Dakar-based newspaper. Seck was initially sentenced to three years in prison in September 2008, after publishing an editorial accusing President Wade and his son, Abdoul Karim Wade, of money laundering. He was convicted of several charges then, including insulting the head of state, and remained in prison pending appeal. In December 2008, Seck was again convicted of defamation, this time for an article he wrote about Interior Minister Sheikh Tidiane Sy, and sentenced to another 6 months imprisonment. A large fine was also imposed. Later that month, Seck and a fellow reporter got a suspended one-year sentence in yet another libel case, filed by a Culture Ministry official. In January 2009, an appeals court confirmed the three-year sentence imposed on him in September 2008. The President later pardoned the journalist, and Seck was freed April 24. The pardon did not cover the two remaining cases. In June, Papa Samba Diarra, managing editor of Week-End magazine, and Mame Sye Diop, a reporter there, were convicted of defaming Aida Mbodji, a National Assembly deputy speaker, in an article that called her a dishonest politician. They were sentenced to three months in prison and fined 10 million CFA francs (approx. US$21,000) each. Mamdiambal Diagne, a publisher of the magazine, was acquitted. The two journalists were freed pending appeal. Mamdiambal Diagne was again subjected to legal harassment July 13, when a state prosecutor tried to resurrect an old case against the publisher, appealing a 2006 magistrate court decision that acquitted Diagne of criminal charges against him. The case was based on a 2004 article claiming President Wade manipulated the judiciary. But an appeals court confirmed his acquittal July 20. In September, two journalists were charged with several criminal offenses, including defamation and publishing false news, after they covered alleged corruption in the local distribution of seeds in Kaolack. Papa Samba Sne of

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L'As and Abdou Dia of Radio Futurs Mdias were freed on bail Sept. 30, after 12 days in custody. Charges were filed against them by a regional governor. The journalists were arrested the very day President Wade formally asked the Prime Minister to reinitiate talks with the media on decriminalization. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 254: Offense to the President of the Republic by one of the means listed in Art. 248 [public communications, including writings and printed materials] is punishable by imprisonment of six months to two years and/or a fine of 100,000 to 1.5 million CFA francs (approx. US$218-3,260). Art. 255: Publication, distribution, disclosure or reprinting by any means whatever of false news, fabricated articles, falsified or falsely attributed to third parties, is punishable by imprisonment for one to three years and a fine of 100,000 to 1.5 million CFA francs (approx. US$218-3,260) when the publication, distribution, disclosure or reprinting, whether or not done in bad faith, . . . casts discredit on public institutions or their functioning. The same penalties will be incurred when the publication, distribution, disclosure or reprinting would have been likely to produce the same consequences. Art. 258: Every allegation or imputation of a fact that undermines the dignity or esteem of the individual or body against whom the fact is imputed constitutes defamation. When it is done by one of the means cited in Art. 248, it is punishable even if it is expressed as a question or if it is aimed at a person or a body that is not explicitly named but whose identification is possible from the terms of the speech, cries, threats, writings or printed materials, placards or posters. Every gravely offensive statement, every term of scorn, whether it is related to the origin of a person or not, every invective that does not contain an imputation of a fact constitutes an insult. Art. 259: Defamation committed by one of the means listed in Art. 248 against the courts and tribunals, the army and the public administrative units is punishable by four months to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of 200,000 to 1.5 million CFA francs (approx. US$436-3,260). Art. 260: Defamation by the same means and because of their functions or positions against one or more members of the government, one or more deputies of the National Assembly, a civil servant, a guardian or agent of public authority, a citizen permanently or temporarily assigned a public service or commission, a juror or witness because of his testimony is punishable by the same punishment. Defamation against the same persons concerning their private life is covered by the following article.

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Art. 261: Defamation committed against private individuals by one of the means listed in Art. 248 is punishable by three months to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of 100,000 to 1 million CFA francs (approx. US$218-$2,180). Defamation committed by the same means against a group of individuals not designated in the preceding article, but who by their origin belong to a race or an established religion, is punishable by two months to two years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA francs (approx. US$109-$1,090), where its purpose is to incite hatred among citizens or inhabitants. Art. 262: Insult committed by the same means against bodies or individuals indicated in Arts. 259 and 260 is punishable by one to three months imprisonment and/or a fine of 20,000 to 100,000 CFA francs (approx. US$44-$218). Insult committed in the same manner against private individuals, when it was not preceded by provocation, is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of two months and/or a fine of 20,000 to 100,000 CFA francs (approx. US$44-$218). If the insult has been committed against a group of individuals who belong by their origin to a race or to an established religion with the goal of inciting hatred among citizens or inhabitants, the maximum penalty will be imprisonment for six months and a fine of 500,000 CFA francs (approx. US$1,090). Art. 263: Arts. 260, 261 and 262 will be applicable to defamations and insults directed against the memory of the dead only in those cases where the authors of these defamations or insults intended to attack the honor or esteem of the living heirs, spouses or sole legatees. Whether or not the authors of the defamations or insults intended to attack the honor or esteem of living heirs, spouses or sole legatees, the latter will be entitled to use, in either case, the right of response. Art. 265: Insult committed publicly against foreign Heads of State, heads of foreign governments and the ministers of foreign governments is punishable by six months to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of 100,000 to 1.5 million CFA francs (approx. US$218-3,260). Art. 266: Grave offense committed publicly, while they are fulfilling their functions, against ambassadors and plenipotentiary ministers, envoys, chargs daffaires or other diplomatic representatives accredited by the Government of the Republic is punishable by three months to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of 100,000 to 1 million CFA francs (approx. US$218-2,180).

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SIERRA LEONE
Population: 6 million Press Freedom Status: Partly Free Sylvia Blyden, publisher of the Awareness Times, was charged with publishing false news over an article on an alleged extramarital affair of President Ernest Bai Koroma. In late May, a court in Freetown set bail at 50 million leones (approx. US$16,000). Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) continued a drive to decriminalize defamation. In June, it decided to stop covering the judiciary for five days, to protest the Supreme Courts delay in ruling on a challenge to the Public Order Act of 1965, filed by the SLAJ. A month later, it extended the blackout indefinitely, noting that the Constitution calls for a decision within three months. In November, the Supreme Court rejected the challenge, filed by the SLAJ in early 2008. The court concluded that the prison terms provided for in the legislation do not violate the 1991 Constitution, and that they do not form an imminent threat to the media. Relevant Laws The Public Order Act of 1965 Section 26 (False Defamatory Libel): Any person who maliciously publishes any defamatory matter knowing the same to be false shall be guilty of an offense called libel and liable on conviction to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding 1,000 leones* or both. Section 27 (Defamatory Libel): Any person who maliciously publishes any defamatory matter shall be guilty of an offense called libel and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 700 leones or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine and imprisonment. Section 28 (Plea of Truth): 1. On the trial of an offense of libel against Sections 26 or 27, the accused having pleaded such plea as hereinafter mentioned, the truth of the matters charged may be inquired into, but shall not amount to a defense, unless it was for the public benefit that the said matters charged should be published; and to entitle the accused to give evidence of the truth of such matters charged as a

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defense to such charge it shall be necessary for the accused in pleading to the said charge, to allege in writing the truth of the said matters charged in the manner now required in pleading a fair comment and justification to an action for a defamation and further to allege in writing that it was for the public benefit that the said matters charged should be published and the particular fact or facts by reason whereof it was for the public benefit that the said matters charged should be published to which plea the prosecutor shall be at liberty to reply generally, denying the whole thereof. 2. Where the alleged libel contains several charges, and the accused fails in proof of the truth of any one of the matters alleged in it, or where the alleged libel is general and the accused fails to prove so much of the plea under this section as would justify the libel, the Court shall find the accused guilty, and it shall be competent for the Court, in pronouncing sentence, to consider whether the guilty of the accused is aggravated or mitigated by the said plea, and by the evidence given to prove or disprove the same. 3. The matter charged in the alleged libel complained of by such charge shall be presumed to be false, and the truth thereof shall in no case be inquired into in the absence of such plea as mentioned in Subsection 1. 4. In addition to such plea it shall be competent to the defendant to plead a plea of not guilty. 5. Subject to the provisions of this section, nothing in this Part contained shall take away or prejudice any defense under the plea of not guilty which is now competent to the defendant to make under such plea to any charge brought under Sections 26 or 27. Section 29 (Publication Absolutely Privileged): No person shall be criminally liable for the publication of defamatory matter in the following cases: a) where the matter is published by the Governor General or by Order of the Governor General in any official document, Gazette, or proceeding; or b) where the publication is made in a petition to the Governor General or to a Minister; c) where the publication takes place in any proceeding held before or under the authority of any court by law established or under any Act or Order or under the authority of the Governor General or of a Minister; or d) where the publication takes place in any official report made by a person appointed to hold an inquiry under the authority of any Act or Order or of the Governor General or a Minister; or e) where the matter is published concerning a person subject to military discipline for the time being and relates to his conduct as a person subject to such discipline, and is published by some person having authority over him in respect of such conduct; or f) where the publication is contained in any communication between Ministers,

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Ministries and public officers, members of the Armed Forces; public officers and members of the Armed Forces; members of the Armed Forces, public officers in the course of their respective duties. Section 30 (Cases Where Publication is Conditionally Privileged): No person shall be criminally liable for the publication of a defamatory matter in the following cases: a) where the defamatory matter consists of an extract from, or an abstract of, a petition to, or a Gazette or document published by or under the authority of, the Governor General or a Minister and the publication is made without express malice to the person defamed; or b) where the defamatory matter constitutes, in whole or in part a fair report, for the information of the public, of any proceeding of any Court, whether preliminary or final; or of any public proceeding of any body constituted or authorized to hold such proceeding, by any Act or Order or of any public meeting so far as the public is concerned in the matter published if, in every case the publication is made without express malice to the person defamed; or c) where the publication is for the information of the public at the request of any Minister or public officer, or where the defamatory matter is any notice or report issued by a department of Government or public officer, for the information of the public, and where in every such case the publication is made without express malice to the person defamed; or d) where the defamatory matter consists of fair comment whether on any matter the publication of which or on any report which, is referred to in Sections 26 to 29 or in this Section; or e) where the defamatory matter consists of fair comment upon the public conduct of any person in public affairs, or upon the public conduct of any person employed in the public service in the discharge of his public duties, or upon the character of any such persons so as it appears by such conduct; or f) where the defamatory matter consists of fair comment on any published book or other literary production, or any composition or work of art, or performance publicly exhibited, or any subject; or of the character of the author of such book, production, composition, work of art, or the person exhibiting such performance, so far as their characters may appear therefrom respectively; or g) where the publication is in good faith for the purpose of seeking remedy or redress for any private or public wrong or grievance from a person who has or is reasonably believed by the person publishing to have, the right to remedy or redress such wrong or grievance; or h) where the publication is made in good faith by a person having any lawful authority over another, and is made by him in the course of a censure passed by him on the conduct of that other, in matters to which such lawful authority relates; or i) where the publication is made on the invitation of the person defamed; or

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j) where the publication is made in order to answer or refute some other defamatory matter published by the person defamed, concerning the person making the publication; or k) where the defamatory matter constitutes an answer to inquiries made of the person publishing it, relating to some subject as to which the person by whom or on whose behalf the inquiry is made, has, or on reasonable grounds is believed by the person publishing to have, an interest in knowing the truth, and if the publication is made in good faith for the purpose of giving information in respect of that matter to that person; or l) where the defamatory matter constitutes information given to the person to whom the defamatory matter is published with respect, to some subject as to which he has, or is on reasonable grounds believed to have, such an interest in knowing the truth, as to make the conduct of the person giving the information reasonable in the circumstances: Provided that as regards paragraphs h), i), j) and k), the person making the publication honestly believes the matter published is relevant to the matter the existence of which may excuse the publication of defamatory matter, and the manner and extent of the publication do not exceed what is reasonably sufficient for the occasion; and as regards paragraph l) that the defamatory matter is relevant to the subject therein mentioned; and that it is either true or is made without malice to the person defamed and in the honest believe, on reasonable grounds, that it is true. Section 31 (Protection of Innocent Sellers): The sale by any person of any book, pamphlet, or other printed or written matter or, of any number or part of any periodical is not a publication thereof for the purposes of this Part, unless such person knows that such book pamphlet or written matter, or number or part, contains defamatory matter; or, in the case of any part or number of any periodical that such periodical habitually contains defamatory matter. Section 32 (Publication of False News): 1. Any person who publishes any false statement, rumor or report which is likely to cause fear or alarm, to the public or to disturb the public peace shall be guilty of an offense and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 300 leones or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months, or to both such fine and imprisonment. 2. Any person who publishes any false statement, rumour or report which is calculated to bring into disrepute any person who holds an office under the Constitution, in the discharge of his duties shall be guilty of an offense and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 500 leones or to imprisonment not exceeding two years or both. 3. Any person who publishes any false statement, rumor or report which is likely

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to injure the credit or reputation of Sierra Leone or the Government shall be guilty of an offense and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 300 leones or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both. 4. This section shall not apply to any defamatory matter exempted under the provisions of Section 30. 5. It is no defense to a charge under this section that the person charged did not know or did not have reason to believe that the statement, rumor or report was false, unless he proves that before he communicated such statement, rumor or report, he took reasonable measures to verify the accuracy of this statement, rumor, or report. Section 33 (Seditious Libel): 1. Any person who: a) does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act with a seditious intention; or b) utters any seditious words; or c) prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication; or d) imports any seditious publication, unless he has no reason to believe that it is seditious, shall be guilty of an offense and liable for a first offense to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to a fine not exceeding 1,000 leones or to both such imprisonment and fine, and for a subsequent offense shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding seven years, and every such seditious publication shall be forfeited to the Government. *The monetary penalties imposed under these sections all amount to less than US$1, which is inconsistent with the fines levied on journalists in recent years. However, the legislation does not appear to have been formally amended.

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UGANDA
Population: 32.7 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Simmering tension between President Yoweri Musevenis government and Buganda, one of the countrys four historical kingdoms, turned violent in September when police stopped Bugandas monarch from visiting a town in an area the monarch claims as his territory. More than 20 persons died in the resulting riots, and journalists were often caught up in the violence. Several radio stations were shut down, accused of inciting violence. Journalists were also aggressively prosecuted for critical coverage throughout the year, including for sedition and criminal libel. The Supreme Court has not yet addressed a challenge to the countrys libel law filed by four journalists in 2007, after they were targeted in a suit by an official. The suit was suspended pending the outcome of their challenge. Moses Akena, a journalist for the Monitor charged with libel in early August, had no such luck. Akena petitioned the court to suspend his trial pending a decision by the Supreme Court, but the Court instead amended the charges the journalist to allege publication of false news. That offense, however, was reportedly struck down by the Supreme Court in 2004. Akena planned to appeal. In September, journalist Kalundi Serumaga was arrested, beaten by police officers and prosecuted for sedition -- all for comments critical of the government during a television interview. He was freed on bail. A cartoon of President Museveni, suggesting possible fraud in the 2011 election, had serious consequences for several editors at the magazine The Independent. Police interrogated Managing Editor Andrew Mujuni Mwenda, Editor Charles Bichachi and Assistant News Editor Joseph Were for several hours, then charged Mwenda and Bichachi with sedition. They were freed on bail Sept. 23. Mwedna already faced several other charges, including sedition. Another reporter became a target of police harassment for his writings in December. Angelo Izama, contributor to the Daily Monitor and a radio reporter, was summoned by police four times in two weeks, and questioned at length. By early January 2010, he had been told not to leave the country and faced possible

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prosecution for allegedly defaming the President. The investigation against him was based on an article addressing fears of possible violence during the 2011 elections. Reporters Without Borders reported that the harassment followed a statement by the President singling out the coverage of the Daily Monitor. Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, known for filing defamation suits against journalists through Libyas embassies, filed a case in Uganda. Richard Tusiime, editor-in-chief, and Francis Mutazindwa, news editor of the tabloid Red Pepper, were charged with criminal defamation of a foreign prince, for a story on an alleged relationship between Qaddafi and Best Kemigisha, Queen Mother in the Tooro Kingdom, with its own traditional ruler. The editors were charged with violating Section 53 of the Penal Code in mid-February, and faced up to two years jail. The suit sought the equivalent of US$1 billion damages. Relevant Laws Penal Code Section 39 (Seditious intention): 1. A seditious intention shall be an intention: a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the person of the President, the Government as by law established or the Constitution; b) to excite any person to attempt to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter in state as by law established; c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice; d) to subvert or promote the subversion of the Government or the administration of a district. 2. For the purposes of this section, an act, speech or publication shall not be deemed to be seditious by reason only that it intends: a) to show that the Government has been misled or mistaken in any of its measures; b) to point out errors or defects in the Government or the Constitution or in legislation or in the administration of justice with a view to remedying such errors or defects; c) to persuade any person to attempt to procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter as by law established. 3. For the purposes of this section, in determining whether the intention with which any act was done, any words were spoken or any document was published was or was not seditious, every person shall be deemed to intend the consequences which would naturally follow from his or her conduct at the time and in the circumstances in which he or she was conducting himself or herself. Section 40 (Seditious offenses): 1. Any person who:

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a) does or attempts to do or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act with a seditious intention; b) utters any words with a seditious intention; c) prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication; d) imports any seditious publication, unless he or she has no reason to believe, the proof of which shall lie on him or her, that it is seditious, commits an offence and is liable on first conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding 50,0000 shillings (approx. US$22,700) or to both such imprisonment and fine, and for a subsequent conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years. 2. Any person who, without lawful excuse, has in his or her possession any seditious publication commits an offence and is liable on first conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding 30,000 shillings (approx. US$13,600) or to both such imprisonment and fine, and on a subsequent conviction to imprisonment for five years. 3. Any publication in respect of a conviction under subsection 1. or 2. shall be forfeited to the Government. 4. It shall be a defense to a charge under subsection 2. that if the person charged did not know that the publication was seditious when it came into his or her possession, he or she did, as soon as the nature of the publication became known to him or her, deliver the publication to the nearest administrative officer or to the officer in charge of the nearest police station. Section 50 (Publication of false news): 1. Any person who publishes any false statement, rumor or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace commits a misdemeanor. 2. It shall be a defense to a charge under subsection if the accused proves that prior to publication, he or she took such measures to verify the accuracy of such statement, rumor or report as to lead him or her reasonably to believe that it was true. Section 53 (Defamation of foreign princes): Any person who, without such justification or excuse as would be sufficient in the case of the defamation of a private person, publishes anything intended to be read, or any sign or visible representation, tending to degrade, revile or expose to hatred or contempt any foreign prince, potentate, ambassador or other foreign dignitary with intent to disturb peace and friendship between Uganda and the country to which such prince, potentate, ambassador or dignitary belongs, commits a misdemeanor. Section 122 (Writing or uttering words with intent to wound religious feelings): Any person who, with the deliberate intention of wounding the

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religious feelings of any other person, writes any word, or any person who, with the like intention, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of any other person or makes any gesture or places any object in the sight of any other person, commits a misdemeanor and is liable to imprisonment for one year. Section 179 (Definition of libel): Any person who, by print, writing, painting, effigy or by any means otherwise than solely by gestures, spoken words or other sounds, unlawfully publishes any defamatory matter concerning another person, with intent to defame that other person, commits the misdemeanor termed libel. Section 180 (Definition of defamatory matter): 1. Defamatory matter is matter likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing that person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or likely to damage any person in his or her profession or trade by an injury to his or her reputation. 2. It is immaterial whether at the time of the publication of the defamatory matter the person concerning whom such matter is published is living or dead. 3. No prosecution for the publication of defamatory matter concerning a dead person shall be instituted without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Section 181 (Definition of publication): 1. A person publishes a libel if he causes the print, writing, painting, effigy or other means by which the defamatory matter is conveyed to be so dealt with, either by exhibition, reading, recitation, description, delivery or otherwise, that the defamatory meaning thereof becomes known or is likely to become known to either the person defamed or any other person. 2. It is not necessary for libel that a defamatory meaning should be directly or completely expressed, and it suffices if such meaning and its application to the person alleged to be defamed can be collected either from the alleged libel itself or from any extrinsic circumstances or partly by the one and partly by the other means. Section 182 (Definition of unlawful publication): Any publication of defamatory matter concerning a person is unlawful within the meaning of this Chapter, unless: a) the matter is true and it was for the public benefit that it should be published; or b) it is privileged on one of the grounds mentioned in this Chapter. Section 183 (Absolute privilege of defamatory matter): 1. The publication of defamatory matter is absolutely privileged, and no person shall in any circumstances be liable to punishment under this Code in respect of such publication, in any of the following cases:

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a) if the matter is published by the President, the Government or Parliament; b) if the matter is published in Parliament by the Government or by any member of that Parliament or by the Speaker; c) if the matter is published by order of the President or the Government; d) if the matter is published concerning a person subject to military, naval or air force discipline for the time being, and relates to his or her conduct as a person subject to such discipline, and is published by some person having authority over him or her in respect of such conduct, and to some person having authority over him or her in respect of such conduct; e) if the matter is published in the course of any judicial proceedings by a person taking part in them as a judge, magistrate, commissioner, advocate, assessor, juror, witness or party to the proceedings; f) if the matter published is in fact a fair report of anything said, done or published in Parliament; or g) if the person publishing the matter is legally bound to publish it. 2. Where a publication is absolutely privileged, it is immaterial for the purposes of this Chapter whether the matter is true or false, and whether it is or is not known or believed to be false and whether it is or is not published in good faith; but nothing in this section shall exempt a person from any liability to punishment under any other Chapter of this Code or under any other written law in force in Uganda. Section 184 (Conditional privilege of defamatory matter): The publication of defamatory matter is privileged if it is published in good faith and: a) if the relation between the parties by and to whom the publication is made is such that the person publishing the matter is under some legal, moral or social duty to publish it to the person to whom the publication is made or has a legitimate personal interest in so publishing it; b) if the matter published is in fact a fair report of anything said, done or shown in a civil or criminal inquiry or proceeding before any court; except that if the court prohibits the publication of anything said or shown before it, on the ground that it is seditious, immoral or blasphemous, the publication thereof shall not be privileged; c) if the matter published is a copy or reproduction, or in fact a fair abstract, of any matter which has been previously published, and the previous publication of which was or would have been privileged under Section 183; d) if the matter is an expression of opinion in good faith as to the conduct of a person in a judicial, official or other public capacity or as to his or her personal character so far as it appears in such conduct; e) if the matter is an expression of opinion in good faith as to the conduct of a person in relation to any public question or matter, or as to his or her personal

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character so far as it appears in such conduct; f) if the matter is an expression of opinion in good faith as to the conduct of any person as disclosed by evidence given in a public legal proceeding, whether civil or criminal, or as to the conduct of any person as a party, witness or otherwise in any such proceeding or as to the character of any person so far as it appears in any such conduct as mentioned in this paragraph; g) if the matter is an expression of opinion in good faith as to the merits of any book, writing, painting, speech or other work, performance or act published or publicly done or made, or submitted by a person to the judgment of the public or as to the character of the person so far as it appears therein; h) if the matter is a censure passed by a person in good faith on the conduct of another person in any matter in respect of which he or she has authority, by contract or otherwise, over the other person or on the character of the other person, so far as it appears in such conduct; i) if the matter is a complaint or accusation made by a person in good faith against another person in respect of his or her conduct in any matter, or in respect of his or her character so far as it appears in such conduct, to any person having authority, by contract or otherwise, over that other person in respect of such conduct or matter, or having authority by law to inquire into or receive complaints respecting such conduct or matter; or j) if the matter is published in good faith for the protection of the rights or interests of the person who publishes it or of the person to whom it is published, or of some person in whom the person to whom it is published is interested. Section 185 (Good faith defined): A publication of defamatory matter shall not be deemed to have been made in good faith by a person, within the meaning of Section 184, if it is made to appear either: a) that the matter was untrue and that he or she did not believe it to be true; b) that the matter was untrue and that he or she published it without having taken reasonable care to ascertain whether it was true or false; or c) that in publishing the matter, he or she acted with intent to injure the person defamed in a substantially greater degree or substantially otherwise than was reasonably necessary for the interest of the public or for the protection of the private right or interest in respect of which he or she claims to be privileged. Section 186 (Presumption of good faith): If it is proved on behalf of the accused person that the defamatory matter was published under such circumstances that the publication would have been justified if made in good faith, the publication shall be presumed to have been made in good faith until the contrary is made to appear, either from the libel itself, or from the evidence given on behalf of the accused person or from evidence given on the part of the prosecution.

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ZIMBABWE
Population: 12.5 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Zimbabwes media environment is notoriously restrictive. The elections of March 2008 and its aftermath triggered particularly aggressive persecution of journalists, both foreign and domestic. Reporting without accreditation was one of the most common charges. While a power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe, of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), and Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), brought some improvement, journalists continued to face many threats. The number of lawsuits involving criminal defamation and insult charges appeared to be waning. This was at least in part because authorities found other similar charges to use against critical journalists. Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, criminalizing statements likely to undermine public confidence in law enforcement, was a charge repeatedly used against critics. Vincent Kahiya and Constantine Chimakure, editors of the Zimbabwe Independent, were arrested in May 2009 and prosecuted under that Section, for a story identifying law enforcement agents involved in past abductions of MDC and civic activists. They indicated plans to challenge the provisions constitutionality. In March 2009, the editor and a reporter for The Chronicle, a Bulawayobased publication, were charged both with criminal defamation and under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Editor Brezhnev Malaba and reporter Nduduzo Tshuma were the first state journalists charged under the media laws. General Manager Sithembile Ncube was also charged. The suit was over a February article alleging corruption at the Grain Marketing Board, with the defamation charge focusing on an allegation that an unidentified senior police officer was a protector of GMBs manager. The World Press Freedom Committee expressed concern over the developments in a letter to Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Mugabe. Trial was repeatedly delayed. In 2008, The Standard newspaper, its editor Davison Maruziva, and Prof. Arthur Mutambara, leader of an MDC faction, were tried over an editorial by

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Mutambara criticizing various aspects of the March presidential elections. They were also charged under Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Beatrice Mtetwa, who represented the professor, argued that the proceedings breached the Southern African Development Communitys Electoral Guidelines. Mutambara was granted bail of Z$20 billion (then approx. US $28) and ordered to surrender the title deeds to his home. Maruziva was also released after posting bail. Hearings were repeatedly delayed. A prominent media lawyer was pursued. In May 2008, Harrison Nkomo was charged with undermining the authority or insulting the President for allegedly telling a government staffer, Michael Mugabe (in fact, the Presidents nephew), he should tell his father to resign. Nkomo was bailed and charged under Sections 33 and 41 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Charges were later dropped. Relevant Laws The Public Order and Security Act (2002) previously criminalized publishing inaccurate information, information prejudicial to the state, and insulting the President. According to the Public Order and Security Amendment Act (2007), these provisions have been repealed since the offenses are included in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (effective July 2006) Art. 31: Publishing or Communicating False Statements Prejudicial to the State: This article imposes liability on anyone, inside or outside Zimbabwe, who publishes or communicates a wholly or materially false statement, with the intention or realizing there is a real risk or possibility of undermining public confidence in a law enforcement agency, the prison service or the defense forces of Zimbabwe, regardless of whether it actually undermines that confidence. Similarly, regardless of intent or awareness of consequences, this article imposes liability on anyone who publishes or communicates a wholly or materially false statement that undermines public confidence in the agencies specified above, if the person knows the statement to be false, or does not have reasonable grounds for believing it to be true. Offenders are considered guilty of publishing or communicating a false statement prejudicial to the State and liable to a fine up to or exceeding level 14* (Z$5 million) imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both. Art. 33: Undermining Authority of or Insulting President: This Article prohibits public, intentional statements about the President or an acting President with the knowledge or realizing that there is a real risk or possibility

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that the statement is false and that it may engender feelings of hostility toward, or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President or an acting President, or the Presidents office. The law specifies that statements include acts or gestures. It also criminalizes abusive, indecent or obscene statements about the President or the Presidents office. Persons convicted of such offenses are guilty of undermining the authority of or insulting the President, and subject to penalties consisting of a fine up to level 6* (Z$400,000), imprisonment for up to one year, or both. Art. 95: Criminal insult: This article provides that any person who, by words or conduct, seriously impairs the dignity of another person, is guilty of criminal insult, if the offender intended to impair the others dignity, or realized there was a real risk or possibility that this would occur. It must be proven that the plaintiff actually felt insulted or degraded as a result. In case of conviction, the offender is liable to a fine up to level 6* (Z$400,000), imprisonment for up to one year, or both. Art. 96: Criminal Defamation: This article prohibits publishing statements, with the intent to harm anothers reputation, and knowing they are false or realizing there is a real risk or possibility that they are false. It is sufficient for the published statement to create a real risk or possibility of causing harm to the others reputation. Offenders are subject to a fine up to level 14* (Z$5 million), imprisonment for up to two years, or both. This article further specifies that a court may consider several factors to decide whether the statement at issue is sufficiently serious to constitute a crime, including the extent to which the accused has persisted with allegations in the statement, the extravagance of any allegations in the statement, the nature and extent of publication of the statement, whether and to what extent the interests of the State or any community have been detrimentally affected by the publication. Art. 177: Undermining of police authority: This article prohibits false statements with the intention, or realizing there is a risk or possibility, of engendering feelings of hostility, contempt, ridicule or disesteem toward a police officer or the police force. Offenders are subject to a fine up to level 7* (Z$800,000), imprisonment of up to two years, or both. *These fines are specified in a schedule attached to the Act. Given the redenomination (and inflationary volatility) of Zimbabwes currency in February 2009, it is unclear what amounts would actually be imposed.

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LATIN AMERICA/ CARIBBEAN


Argentina Brazil Colombia Cuba Ecuador Mexico Peru Uruguay Venezuela

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There was much reform of insult (desacato in Spanish) and criminal defamation laws, including in Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. Yet, elsewhere, particularly Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba, restrictions remained severe. Continued litigiousness by public figures suggested there is much room for improvement. Uruguay amended its press law and Penal Code to tighten the definition of desacato, abolish the offense of insulting foreign heads of state, and introduce public interest-based defenses for criminal defamation and insult defendants. The law drafted by civil society and media,was backed by the President. In Argentina, a bill submitted by President Kristina Kirchner dropped prison terms for desacato. This followed a 2008 ruling by the Inter-American Human Rights Court overturning a journalists desacato conviction. Fines of up to 30,000 Argentine pesos (about US$7,500) remained possible under the new legislation. Several constitutional courts made encouraging rulings. Brazils Federal Supreme Court repealed a press law of the former military dictatorship. It allowed longer prison terms than the Penal Code. In Colombia, the Constitutional Court struck down a restriction on publishing information about court decisions. Mexicos Supreme Court ruled that the press law of Guanajuato State gave undue protection to reputations of officials. This contrasted with intolerance of criticism. In Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico, plaintiffs included presidents, parliamentarians, mayors and officials. Judges were also litigious. In Colombia, allegedly inadequate published corrections prompted a judge to get three-day jail sentences and fines against journalists. In Ecuador, an editor sued by a judge he accused of corruption was sent to maximum security prison and faced a civil suit of US $400,000. Civil defamation suits were increasingly used as alternatives to criminal proceedings, including in Argentina and Brazil. Brazilian law, which sets no limit on possible damages, was particularly threatening. An outspoken journalist reportedly faced more than a dozen suits during the year. In one case, he was ordered to pay more than his publications annual gross income. In Venezuela and Ecuador, rhetoric and penalties remained tough. Venezuelas Attorney General introduced a bill with prison terms for broadly defined press crimes. A Venezuelan blogger faced serious charges for an entry criticizing life under President Chavez. Ecuadorian President Correa told a joint press conference with Chavez that he will call for a regional monitoring body to protect governments from the press. With more than 20 journalists still jailed in Cuba on security charges, the protection envisaged seemed clear. U.M.

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ARGENTINA
Population: 40.2 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free The country continued to move toward decriminalizing defamation, with the government amending the Penal Code to remove prison sentences for the offenses of defamation and insult. President Kristina Kirchner introduced the changes in September, to follow up a May 2008 ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, urging legislative reform. In that case, the court overturned a one-year prison sentence and fine imposed on journalist Eduardo Kimel for criminal defamation, based on his criticism of a judge in the investigation of a 1976 slaying of three priests and two seminarians. Fines up to 30,000 Argentine pesos (about US$7,800) remain possible. But Art. 112, penalizing ambiguous defamation, was entirely eliminated. Also, defamation offenses outlined in Arts. 109, 110 and 113 are now excluded in case of expressions referring to matters of public interest. The changes, approved by the Chamber of Deputies in late October, and by the Senate Nov. 18, was promulgated Nov. 27 as Law 26,551. The World Press Freedom Committee, which submitted an amicus curiae brief in Kimels case in 2007, hailed the development as a historical landmark in the Western Hemispheres press freedom jurisprudence in a letter to Senate leader Julio Csar Cleto Cobos. It noted drawbacks, however, that even a revised Art. 111 keeps the burden of proof on the defendant and that exclusion of expressions referring to matters of public interest leaves the door open to potential abuse by plaintiffs who challenge the public scope of any matter. Need for change of the law was underlined in August, when a high intelligence official filed libel suits against an editor and the board chief of the newspaper La Nacin of Buenos Aires. Bartolom Mitre and Julio Saguier were accused of insulting the official in two editorials on the investigation of a 1994 attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association 1994. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 109 now provides that defamation or falsely accusing a particular person of committing a specific crime that is grounds for a public trial, shall be punished by a fine from 3,000 to 30,000 Argentine pesos (about US$780-7,800). It also

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specifies that under no circumstances shall expressions relating to matters of public interest constitute defamation. Art. 110 now specifies that anyone who intentionally dishonors or discredits someone else shall be sanctioned with a fine of 1,500-20,000 Argentine pesos (about US$390-5,180). It also specifies that under no circumstances shall expressions relating to matters of public interest constitute insults to honor. Art. 111 provides that a defendant, in cases where the expressions are in no way related to matters of public interest, may only prove the truth of the accusations at issue in the following cases: 1. If the fact attributed to the offended person should have led to a penal trial; 2. If the plaintiff were to request proof of the accusations directed at him. In these cases, if the truth of the accusations is proved, the defendant would be exempt from punishment. Art. 113 provides that anyone who publishes or reproduces, by any means, the offensive statements at issue made by another person, will be punished as the author of the material. However, this is only the case if the content was not substantially accurately attributed to the relevant source. This section also now specifies that under no circumstances will expressions relating to matters of public interest constitute a crime. Art. 114: When the libel or slander has been spread in the capital and national territories through the press, its authors shall be subject to the sanctions of this code and the judge or court shall order, as requested by the accuser, that the editors insert in their respective printed matter or newspapers, at the expense of the guilty party, the text of the sentence or a repudiation. Art. 115: Defamation professed by the civil parties, in briefs, speeches or reports produced before the courts and not publicized, shall be subject only to corresponding disciplinary corrections. Art. 116: When defamation is reciprocal, the court may, according to the circumstances, declare both or one of the parties exempt from sanction. Art. 117 provides that someone guilty of insult or defamation is exempt from punishment if he or she publicly recants, either before answering the complaint or in the act of doing so. It now also notes that retraction does not signify the accused has conceded guilt.

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BRAZIL
Population: 193.7 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Brazils Federal Supreme Court annulled on April 30 a 1967 press law left over from the military dictatorship tin power from 1964 to 1985. The law contained many problematic provisions, including some that permitted higher prison sentences than specified by the Penal Code for defamation and insult. In February 2008, the Supreme Court had at first suspended these 22 out of a total of 77 articles of the press law. It was no longer being applied on the federal level since it conflicted with the 1988 Constitution, but it was still being used against journalists in some states. The Supreme Court had last extended the suspension of the questionable provisions in February 2009. Yet, the Penal Code still contains criminal penalties for defamation and insult. A journalist in the state of Acre was briefly imprisoned on an earlier defamation conviction in December. Antnio Muniz, a local TV commentator and newspaper columnist, was convicted in 2002 of defaming a federal senator, but his one-year prison sentence was suspended at the time. He was imprisoned in 2009 after allegedly failing to adhere to the conditions of his sentence, but he was freed after two days. Civil defamation suits were often used against journalists. With no set limit on possible damages, these placed considerable pressure on the media. In July, for example, a court in the northern state of Para ordered Luiz Flavio Pinto to pay approximately US$15,000 for defaming Romulo Maionara, a deceased local businessman. His two sons filed the suit over a 2005 article in Pintos magazine, Jornal Pessoal, implicating their father in smuggling activity. The journalist indicated that the amount came to more than a year of the publications annual gross income. Pinto is no stranger to such suits; he was being pursued in more than a dozen defamation cases, both civil and criminal. Even lighter topics risked triggering severe sanctions. Also in July, a civil court in Rio de Janeiro prohibited Jos Simo, of the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, from making further references to an actress who was offended by a wordplay on her chastity. Simo was told he would face a fine of some US$5,000 if he disobeyed the order.

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Later in the year, a U.S. journalist was slapped with a civil defamation lawsuit seeking 500,000 reals (approx. US$279,850) in damages. Joe Sharkey, a freelancer, was sued for critical comments he allegedly made about the crashof a plane on which he was a passenger. The suit was initiated by a private citizen who accused Sharkey of offending Brazils dignity. Sharkey, who received the complaint in September, insisted he was not the author of the allegedly defamatory comments posted on a web site. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 138: Calumny, defined as falsely imputing the commission of a crime to someone, is punishable by six months to two years in prison, and a fine. Art. 139: Defaming someone by imputing to him a fact offensive to his reputation is punishable by three months to one year in prison, and a fine. Art. 140: Insulting someones dignity or decorum is punishable by one to six months in prison or a fine. Where the insult refers to race, ethnicity, religion, place of origin, advanced age or disability, the punishment ranges from one to three years in prison and a fine. Art. 141: The penalties stipulated in this chapter are increased by one third, where the crimes are committed: 1. against the President of the Republic, or a foreign head of state; 2. against a public official, by reason of his carrying out his duties; 3. in the presence of several persons, or via a medium facilitating the dissemination of calumny, defamation or insult; 4. against a person more than 60 years old or a disabled person, except in the case of insult. Art. 331: Insulting a public official in the exercise of his duties or as a result of them is punishable by a fine or six months to two years in prison.

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COLOMBIA
Population: 45.7 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Several journalists were taken to court after persons they allegedly insulted indicated they were dissatisfied with corrections published in response to complaints. Daniel Coronell, magazine columnist and director of TV network Canal Uno, was sued by a local businessman after Canal Uno aired a story suggesting he had ties to the drug trade. The businessman obtained a court order requiring Coronell (and a newspaper that published the same allegations) to issue a correction, which he did. An appeals court that later confirmed that decision and ordered the station to publish a second identical correction. When Coronell refused, a court issued an arrest warrant for him in March for contempt of court. The order further called for Coronell to be detained for three days and to pay a fine of about US$850. In a similar case, Alejandro Santos, editor of Semana magazine, was pursued by a judge over an article that allegedly damaged his honor. After Santos published a correction that the judge deemed inadequate, the magistrate took the editor to court. It sentenced him to three days in prison and a fine. But the Constitutional Court overruled that order in March, saying that courts may not require media outlets to publish corrections in the exact form the courts prefer. That decision did not help two other journalists who published allegedly unsatisfactory corrections, one of whom angered the same person who pursued Santos. In August, a criminal court ordered the arrest of Rodrigo Pardo, director of Cambio magazine, after the same judge complained about a correction by the magazine. The correction concerned the judges claim he was defamed in an earlier article linking him to the drug trade. In December, a court ordered the three-day detention of Mauricio Vargas, reporter for thenewspaper El Tiempo for publishing a correction the court deemed unacceptable. The correction, issued in an article titled Escobar Failed to Silence Us, contained changes to an earlier article criticizing the judge. Other cases languished for years. Edinson Lucio Torres, who writes a blog and appears on a radio broadcast in Bolvar, had faced insult charges since late 2006 by a senator, Javier Cceres Leal. He filed suit after Torres reported that

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the parliamentarian was suspected by the prosecutors office of links to paramilitary groups. The prosecutors office decided to charge Torres, who is also the local head of the Polo Democrtico Party, with insult under Art. 220 of the Penal Code, but declined to pursue malicious representation charges, under Art. 221. Since, hearings have been delayed repeatedly with no explanations for the many postponements. A Constitutional Court ruling in July came down on the side of free speech over that of protecting honor. The court held Art. 224 of the Penal Code to be unconstitutional. It concerns publishing information on cases regarding where judicial rulings have been handed down. The article limits the information that may be published when an individual is absolved of wrongdoing, or the case against them is dropped, even when the statements in question are true. As a result, those accused of defamation in such cases could not defend themselves by proving that the information was truthful. The court concluded that this prohibition disproportionately favored the defense of honor. Relevant Laws Penal Code (Law 599 of 24 July 2000) Art. 220 (Insult): A person who makes dishonorable imputations against another shall be punished by imprisonment from one to three years, and a fine of 10 to 1,000 times the legal monthly minimum wage. Art. 221 (Malicious Representation/Calumny): A person who falsely imputes to another conduct that is, under law, considered a crime, shall be punished by imprisonment of one to four years and a fine of 10 to 1,000 times the legal monthly minimum wage. Art. 222 (Indirect Insult and Malicious Representation) provides that those who publish, reproduce or repeat anothers insult and malicious representations are subject to the penalties prescribed in the preceding articles. Art. 223 (Circumstances Affecting Penalty Severity) specifies that, when the offenses prohibited in this section are committed via social media or other means of collective disclosure, or at a public gathering, the applicable penalties are increased by one sixth to one half. When committed in a letter directed solely to the victim or only in that persons presence, the applicable penalties are reduced up to one half. Art. 224 (Exemption from Liability) provides that those accused of the offenses above are exempt from liability if they prove the truth of their imputations. It adds that this exemption does not apply in two situations: 1. in cases where the imputation concerns punishable conduct for which the

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person has been acquitted, or regarding which an investigation or proceedings were terminated (except where this occurs because of the statute of limitations);* 2. the imputation involves conduct relating to a persons sexual life, marital or family life, or crimes against freedom or sexual formation. Art. 225 (Retractions) provides that an offender will not be held liable if he or she voluntarily retracts the statements in question, before a judgment in the first instance has been issued, if the retraction is published at the cost of the responsible party, and in the same media and with the same characteristics as the imputation at issue. No criminal action may be initiated if the retraction or correction is publicly made before the victim files a complaint. *As noted above, the Constitutional Court in 2009 declared this provision unconstitutional.

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CUBA
Population: 11.2 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Cuba remained one of the worlds leading jailers of journalists and editors, with more than 20 in prison. While a large majority were jailed on security-related charges, developments in 2009 showed that insult and defamation laws continued as a threat. In May, Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernndez, director of the independent news agency Habana Press, was sentenced to three years in prison for disrespecting authority (desacato). He was accused of having shouted antigovernment slogans in public Local sources suggested that his reporting on social issues may actually have triggered the charges. Media organizations also reported that Hernndez was denied legal representation during his summary trial and that he faced possible further charges of distributing enemy propaganda. The journalist already served a one-year sentence based on a desacato conviction in 2005, after having reported on a gathering of democracy activists. Relevant Laws Penal Code Art. 144.1 prohibits insulting, defaming or otherwise offending, verbally or in writing, the dignity or decorum of a public authority or official, or their agents or assistants, in the exercise of their functions or because of the exercise thereof. Desacato is punishable by imprisonment of three months to one year or a fine. When the offense targets the President of the State Council or of the National Assembly, members of the State Council or the Council of Ministers, or National Assembly deputies, the penalty is imprisonment for one to three years. Art. 204 provides that anyone who publicly defames, denigrates or belittles the institutions of the Republic, political organizations, the countrys masses, the nations heroes and martyrs, shall be punished by imprisonment of three months to one year or a fine. Art. 318 defines defamation as imputing to another, before third parties, dishonorable conduct, deeds or characteristics that may damage their reputation,

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lower their social standing or the publics opinion, or expose them to losing the trust required for their employment, profession or social function. The offense is punishable by imprisonment of three months to one year or a fine. Art. 319 prohibits calumny, defined as knowingly disseminating false facts that discredit another person. It is punishable by imprisonment of six months to two years or a fine. If the defendant acknowledges, in court, the falsity of the claims, the penalty may be reduced. Art. 320 provides that anyone who purposely, in writing or with words, via drawings, gestures or acts, offends anothers honor, shall be punished by imprisonment of three months to one year or a fine.

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ECUADOR
Population: 13.6 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Much of the news centered around journalist Milton Nelson Chacaguasay, editor of the weekly La Verdad. Sentenced to ten months in prison for defaming a judge, Chacaguasay was initially jailed in November 2008. Silvio Castillo, the judge on whose complaint the conviction was based, claimed the journalist had accused him of corruption in a report printed in 2007. Chacaguasay insisted the report was written by someone who was not connected to the newspaper, and who had paid for it to be published. The journalist was placed in a maximum security prison in Quito. The World Press Freedom Committee expressed concern over that case and another (see below) in a March 23 letter to President Rafael Correa Delgado. It noted that both cases appeared to involve journalists who were victims of revenge by two public officials who felt too uncomfortable with the journalists work. Noting that Ecuadorian journalists gamble their freedom every time they fulfill their duty to inform the public, WPFC urged the President to decriminalize defamation, calumny and libel. The letter coincided with a request for parole by Chacaguasay to the Social Rehabilitation Directorate in March. Chacaguasays parole application was successful, and he was freed in May. But he was back in prison in July, apparently after a court issued a new verdict on the same offense for which he had been imprisoned. The new sentence required him to serve four months in prison. Meanwhile, Silvio Castillo also initiated civil proceedings against Chacaguasay in April, seeking US$400,000 damages. Chacaguasay was targeted in at least one other proceeding. A former prosecutor sued him over an article suggesting he had ties with someone who committed financial fraud that victimized thousands of Ecuadorians. Chacaguasay was reportedly sentenced to 30 days in prison in that case and has appealed. The other case cited by WPFC in its letter to the President involved Freddy Aponte Aponte, a reporter for Radio Luz y Vida, sentenced to six months in prison on a defamation complaint by a former mayor. Jos Bolvar Castillo

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accused Aponte of verbal aggression for allegedly accusing him of being a thief. A local court initially rejected the claim, but an appeals court overruled it. Aponte served three months before being released in January 2010. In March, a member of Parliament threatened the newspaper El Universo with a suit for what she said was lying shamelessly. Betty Amores, of the Alianza Pas Party, was reportedly angered by an article criticizing proposed changes to Ecuadors social security law. In August, President Correa requested that TV station Teleamazonas be shut down for three months, for airing a recording of a conversation between him and members of Congress about changes to the countrys Constitution. The President claimed the clandestine recording violated the countrys Broadcasting Law Regulations, which prohibit reproducing secret or unauthorized videos or tape recordings that affect the right to privacy and honor of those taped. He also insisted the recordings undermined national security. The Secretary General of Communications reportedly indicated that the incident may qualify as an administrative offense, and that a fine but not suspension of broadcasting could be in order. The President also showed distrust of news media at a joint press conference with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Correa indicated that he would call on the Union of South American Nations to create a regional monitoring body to protect governments from the press. Relevant Laws Penal Code Changes to the Penal Code were enacted in March, but none altered existing provisions on calumny, insult and defamation. Art. 489 specifies that calumny is the false accusation of a crime, and that insult is any other expression made to discredit, dishonor or disparage another person, or any other action carried out for the same purpose. Art. 490 differentiates between serious and minor insults. Serious insults include imputations of a vice or moral fault that can considerably prejudice the victims reputation, credit or interests, while minor insults are defined as those that attribute to others deeds, nicknames or physical defects that do not compromise the victims honor. Art. 491 provides that calumny is punishable by imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine, if it was committed at a meeting or public place, or in the presence of more than ten persons; by means of writings, printed or not, fixed

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images or emblems, distributed or sold, offered for sale or exposed to public view, or, where non-published writings are involved, if they are sent or communicated to others, including letters. Art. 492 specifies that, those who make calumnious statements privately, or in the presence of fewer than ten persons, are subject to punishment of one to six months in prison and a fine. Art. 493 provides that calumny of authorities is punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine; and that insults of authorities that do not qualify as calumny but are serious are punishable by prison of six months to two years and a fine. Art. 495 provides that a person guilty of grave but non-calumnious insult, by word or deed, in writing, imaging technique or emblem, in any of the circumstances specified in Art. 491, is punishable by imprisonment of three to six months and a fine; and, in the circumstances outlined in Art. 492, by imprisonment of up to three months and a fine. Art. 501 provides that those guilty of any kind of insult, not covered by the previous articles, by damaging anothers reputation, through communication with several persons, or individually, will be punished as perpetrators of defamation. The applicable penalty consists of three months to one year of prison and a fine.

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MEXICO
Population: 109.6 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Journalists in Mexico operate in an often threatening and violent media environment. Scores faced physical harassment and attack for their reporting during 2009, including by public figures disgruntled by unflattering coverage. In addition, even two years after these offenses were decriminalized at the federal level, defamation and insult-based legal proceedings also continued to pose problems for news media. In January, an editor and a reporter at Contralnea magazine were arrested and charged with insulting authorities in Jalisco State, for reporting about alleged corruption in contracts between a state-owned petroleum company and consortium Grupo Zeta Gas. Police officers also raided the magazines office before the journalists arrest. Miguel Badillo Cruz and Ana Lilia Prez Mendoza already faced several civil suits byPenal Code, but insult to public authorities is still criminalized.) A critical article by a professor at the Universidad Autnoma de Sinaloa, in northern Mexico, prompted a strong response in April from the administration. A local newspaper published the article, in which political science Prof. Ana Luz Ruelas Monjardn questioned a decision to incorporate local preparatory schools into the university. The day the article appeared, the university issued a decree creating a committee to punish on professors and students found to have damaged the schools reputation with defamatory comments, insults and lies. Shouting out the days news about a mayoral candidate in central Mexico triggered the repeated detention of a newspaper hawkeer there. While selling copies of Boletinformativo, Telsforo Paz Luna yelled out the days news, which reported that Green Party member ngel Garca was accused of paying festival attendees to jeer other candidates. Paz Luna was arrested and held for several hours, but pressure from local residents resulted at first in his release. A few hours later, however, he was rearrested, taken to the prosecutors office, and accused of defaming Garca. Paz Luna was held overnight and ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 pesos (approx. US$395) before his release.

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In June, Mauricio Fernndez Garza, the National Action Party mayoral candidate in a northern municipality, filed a defamation suit against Ramn Alberto Garza Garca, editor of the Reporte ndigo, an online magazine, for posting audio footage of Fernndez Garza allegedly telling a group of voters about working out a public security plan with a local drug cartel. Garza did not deny the existence of the recording, but claimed that his comments were taken out of context on the Reporte ndigo web site. On June 17, the Mexican Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional a provision of the 1951 Press Law of Guanajuato State, protecting the reputation of public officials. The Inter American Press Association quoted the court ruling that the rights to reputation and privacy of public officials are in general less extensive and enduring when freedom of expression is involved, due to the importance of the capability that the news media and public opinion in general need to exhaustively scrutinize the activities of government employees and officials. The decision overturned a conviction and three-year prison sentence imposed on newspaper editor Jos Sacramento Orozco Herrera for undermining the reputation of a local mayor by implicating him in the misuse of public funds. Relevant Laws Defamation and insult were decriminalized at the federal level in 2007, when the offenses were removed from the Federal Penal Code. State governments were required to follow suit, but this had not yet happened in a large number of states. According to the Article 19 organization, as of 2009, 21 Mexican states continue to criminalize defamation. They were Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, State of Mxico, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Len, Puebla, Quertaro, San Luis Potos, Sonora, Tabasco, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Yucatn and Zacatecas. In the State of Baja California Sur, for example, Art. 342 of the states Penal Code imposes prison sentences of up to six years for defamation. In Tabasco, Art. 166 of the states Penal Code provides that defamation is punishable by six months to three years in prison. Other states have made considerable progress. In Chiapas, for example, penalties for defamation were increased in 2004, but the offense was removed from the Penal Code in 2007.

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PERU
Population: 29.2 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free 2009 was difficult for Peruvian journalists, who were often subjected to violent threats and assaults for their reporting. While many of the judicial proceedings that targeted the media were based on charges of incitement to violence, criminal defamation laws continued as a threat. The conviction of Magaly Medina, a controversial TV society reporter, and her producer, Ney Guerrero Orellana, received much attention. The two were convicted in October 2008 for defaming soccer star Paolo Guerrero, in a piece alleging that he spent the night drinking before an important game. Medina and Orellana were sentenced to five and three months in prison, respectively, and ordered to pay damages of about US$25,000. President Alan Garca Prez advocated Medinas release, and, in December 2008, an appeals court confirmed the verdict but reduced the sentence to a suspended term of two years. She was freed that same month. The Institute of Press and Society (IPYS) later filed a complaint with the District Magistracy Control Office against the judge who imposed the original sentence. IPYS stressed that it did not condone the reporters conduct but expressed concern that imposing a prison sentence was a dangerous precedent. The former manager of the countrys social security system (EsSalud), Renzo Lpez Lin, appeared particularly intolerant of scrutiny. In September, the transmitter of the TV station Canal 19 was shut down, ostensibly because of money owed to Lin, who owns the building in which the transmitter was set up. Local commentators noted, however, that Canal 19 had recently aired a segment accusing Lin of irregular dealings with a private clinic run by his brother. More repercussions followed. In October, Lin filed a criminal defamation suit against journalist Nancy Alarcn Chong, who had broadcast the piece on Canal 19. The journalist reportedly provided audio and video recordings to substantiate her report, and Lin was dismissed. In August, Judge Aristteles lvarez Lpez, head of the Magistrates Control Office in northeastern Peru, accused a newspaper of defamation and twice requested it to publish corrections pf an article on him. La Repblicas article claimed that the judge had failed to follow his official duties, and cited

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documents from a judicial resolution and statements by the head of a civil court to support the claim. The newspaper refused to correct the article, instead republishing the judicial resolution and standing by its statements. Such defiance may become more difficult. The same month, Perus former Interior Minister, Mercedes Cabanillas, submitted to Parliament a bill (l2971/2008-CR) to subject all media to a broadly defined right of correction. The bill would guarantee a right to a correction for anyone affected by inaccurate or insulting statements published in the media. Both facts and opinions would fall under the requirement, and the media would be obliged to issue corrections within three days, as opposed to ten days under the current law. Penal Code Peru abolished the crime of desacato (previously prohibited by Art. 374, which imposed prison sentences for offending public officials) in May 2003, at least partly thanks to pressure from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. However, insult, calumny and defamation remain criminal offenses. Art. 130 provides that anyone who offends or insults another person with words, gestures or actions, shall be punished with community service of ten to 40 days or with a fine. Art. 131 specifies that anyone who falsely attributes a crime to another person shall be punished with a fine. Art. 132 prohibits defamation, defined as attributing to a person a deed, quality or conduct that can prejudice the persons honor or reputation, in front of several persons, together or separately, but in a manner that permits the news to be spread. The applicable penalty consists of imprisonment of up to two years and a fine. Where the defamatory communication refers to the offense outlined in Art. 131, the applicable penalty consists of imprisonment between one and two years and a fine. Where the offense is committed in a book, the press or any other medium of communication, the penalty consists of imprisonment of one to three years and a fine. Art. 133 outlines several acts that do not qualify as insult or defamation, including statements made in the context of legal proceedings, literary, artistic or scientific critiques, or commentaries or information that contain unfavorable opinions about a public official in the performance of his or her duties.

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URUGUAY
Population: 3.4 million Press Freedom Rating: Free The House of Representatives passed a bill June 10 reforming Uruguays press law and Penal Code. The Senate had passed the bill in January. The legislative initiative followed a September 2007 agreement between Uruguay and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, after that body criticized a criminal defamation conviction of journalist Carlos Dogliani. As noted below, the changes tighten the definition of insult of public authorities, abolish the offense of insulting foreign heads of state, and introduce public interest-based defenses for those accused of criminal defamation and insult of certain persons. In a June letter to Dr. Roque Arregui, President of Uruguays House of Representatives, the World Press Freedom Committee welcomed the changes as a decisive step for press freedom not only in Uruguay but throughout the Western Hemisphere. The developments did not help Alvaro Alfonso, a journalist convicted of criminal defamation in May, for statements about a Congressmans supposed collaboration with the military dictatorship. Carlos Tutz, the leader of the Communist Party, initiated proceedings against the journalist soon after his book, Secrets of the Communist Party of Uruguay, was published. Alfonso wrote that Tutz identified fellow party members while he was imprisoned. The court imposed no prison sentence on Alfonso, but ordered that the conviction be placed on his criminal record. The journalist has appealed. Relevant Laws Penal Code Recent changes altered the language of Arts. 138, 173 and 336. Art. 138, which previously outlawed crimes against the life, physical integrity, liberty or honor of foreign heads of state or their diplomatic representatives, no longer contains language forbidding insults to honor. The old law imposed prison sentences of two to nine years for such offenses.

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Art. 173, which prohibits insult of public authorities, now applies only where the authority of public officials is damaged by way of real offenses executed in the presence of the official or in the place where the official carries out his or her functions, or by way of open disobedience to the legitimate mandate of a public official. It no longer specifies that shouting offensive gestures qualifies as insult, and instead notes that nobody shall be punished for expressing disagreement with an authoritys mandate. Art. 336, which previously outlined narrow circumstances in which truth could be asserted as a defense to defamation and slander charges, now states that defendants shall be exempt from liability where their expression covers matters of public interest, involving both public officials and public persons who, because of their profession or activity, enjoy a social relevancy, or any person who has chosen to be involved in public affairs. The exemption does not apply when it is proven that there was actual malice in insulting a person or violating a persons privacy. Art. 333 provides that anyone who attributes a certain fact to a person that, if true, could give rise to legal or disciplinary proceedings against him or expose him to public hatred or contempt, shall be punished with four months to three years of imprisonment, or a fine. Art. 334 provides that anyone who, beyond the cases envisioned in the preceding article, offends in any way by word of mouth, in writing or by deed the honor, rectitude or decorum of a person, shall be punished with three to 18 months of imprisonment, or a fine. Art. 335 specifies that the above crimes are regarded as more serious, with a consequent increase in penalties, if they are committed in public documents, in writings, drawings or paintings disseminated publicly or exposed to the public.

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VENEZUELA
Population: 28.6 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Venezuelan news media have long faced difficulties with the authorities, and 2009 was no exception. While the main threats to freedom of expression involved physical harassment and interference with licenses, defamation and insult charges also posed problems. In July, the Venezuelan Attorney General introduced a bill to impose prison terms for press crimes, defined as acts that would include undermining social peace, institutional stability or public morals. The bill included language imposing prison terms of two to four years for releasing false news, where this causes serious public disorder, fear and anxiety or damages the states interests. Alexis Marrero, a blogger critical of President Hugo Chavez, was informed in late July that an arrest warrant had been issued for him. He was called in earlier by the prosecutor and told he was under investigation for various offenses, including propagating war and contempt of the President. The charges were reportedly based on a blog entry where he spoke of many difficulties faced by the Venezuelan public. Marrero was also detained briefly in February, for posting signs encouraging voters to reject proposed constitutional amendments abolishing term limits for the President and other officials. Francisco Pancho Prez, veteran columnist for the newspaper El Carabobeo, faced defamation prosecution in the state of Carabobo. The reporter was called to a district attorneys office in late October, and informed that Mayor Edgardo Parra had accused him. The charge involved a column on claims of the mayors nepotism. The DAs office indicated then that it had not concluded charges were warranted. It was expected to decide within six months. Relevant Laws Penal Code (2005) Art. 147 penalizes offending, in writing, speech, or by any other means, the President of the Republic (or whoever is fulfilling the Presidents duties). The punishment consists of imprisonment of six to 30 months if the offense is considered serious, and of three to 15 months if considered minor. When the offense is committed in public, the penalty is increased by one third.

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Art. 148 penalizes the same offense against the Vice President, any of the Supreme Court justices, a Cabinet Minister, state governor, National Assembly deputy, the metropolitan mayor, National Electoral Council rector, the Ombudsman or the Attorney General, the Comptroller General, or any members of the Military High Command. The applicable penalties are half of those specified in the preceding article, and one third when mayors are targeted. Art. 442 specifies that anyone who, communicating with others, accuses another person of a specific act that exposes the person to public contempt or hatred, or offends his honor or reputation, shall be punished with imprisonment of one to three years and a fine. If committed in a public document or in writings, in drawings displayed or released to the public, or by other means or forms of publicity, the penalty ranges from two to four years imprisonment and a fine. Art. 444 prohibits offending the honor, reputation or dignity of another person in communications with other people. The offense is punishable by imprisonment of six months to one year, and a fine. When the offense is committed in the presence of the offended person, even if that person is alone, or by way of any written media that the offender has directed, or in a public place, the penalty may be increased by one third. It may be increased by one half if the offended party is present when the communication receives publicity. When the offense is committed by the means specified in Art. 442, the applicable penalty consists of imprisonment of one to two years and a fine. Art. 445 provides that the offense outlined in Art. 444 will be punished by 15 to 45 days imprisonment where it targets any person lawfully charged with a public service, in that persons presence and by reason of his or her public service. Where publicity is involved, the penalty may range from one to two months imprisonment.

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ASIA/ PACIFIC
Afghanistan Cambodia China Fiji India Indonesia Malaysia Maldives Singapore Thailand Vietnam

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With online media growing exponentially, the Internet became a main battleground. While small victories in some countries gave some reason for optimism, unvarnished commentary prompted tough crackdowns. In China and Indonesia, defamation proceedings often targeted lone bloggers or citizens exposing local malfeasance. Some relied on the web to spread word of their persecution, with occasionally surprising results. In China, the detention of blogger Guo Baofeng on defamation charges sparked a hugely popular -- and successful -- campaign for his release, after he managed to post a call for help via Twitter. In Indonesia, the story of a mother of two slapped with both civil and criminal defamation charges for a critical e-mail about her hospital treatment caused an uproar. The courts issued several contradictory decisions before dismissing the charges late in the year. Bloggers in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam faced severe repercussions for critical postings. In the last few months of 2009, Vietnamese authorities sentenced nine bloggers to several years in jail for alleged anti-state propaganda, using new regulations extending the offense online. In Malaysia and Thailand, critical comment about monarchs remained taboo. Thailands notorious lse majest law, which provides up to 15 years in prison for offending the King, was used against journalists, academics, writers and bloggers. Just criticizing the law itself triggered charges. More than 2,000 web sites were blocked for violating the law, with the Justice Minister ominously estimating that some 10,000 sites carried illegal material. In Malaysia, six bloggers accused of insulting the Sultan of Perak faced criminal charges. Legal reform in the region was patchy. The Maldives decriminalized defamation. In Cambodia, a new Penal Code no longer punishes general defamation with imprisonment, but jail remains possible for insults of public officials and the King. Indonesias Supreme Court, which had previously struck down several insult provisions, upheld an article of the Information and Electronic Transactions Law that provides for sentences of up to six years for criminal defamation on the Internet, penalizing online defamation more severely than via traditional media. U.M.

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AFGHANISTAN
Population: 28.1 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Much of the news involved Parwez Kambakhsh, student and part-time journalist for the Jahan-e-Naw newspaper. Kambakhsh, who is in his early twenties, was arrested in 2007 and charged with blasphemy and distribution of texts defamatory of Islam, for allegedly writing and e-mailing to friends an article critical of the Korans portrayal of women. Kambakhsh initially received the death penalty, after a trial that reportedly lasted only for minutes. In October 2008, an appeals court confirmed the conviction but reduced the penalty to 20 years in prison. In a widely criticized move, the Supreme Court upheld that sentence in February 2009, apparently without informing the journalists attorney or permitting him to file arguments on his behalf. Kambakhsh insisted he had merely downloaded the material from a web site, and The Independent of London later reported it had identified the reports author as an Iranian woman living in Europe. Meanwhile, Kambakhshs brother Yaqub Ibrahimi expressed concern that the proceedings were in fact retaliation against him for critical articles about local human rights abuses for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. In September, after Kambakhsh had spent almost two years in custody, news emerged that the young reporter was secretly pardoned by President Hamid Karzai a few weeks earlier. Kambakhsh reportedly then left the country out of concerns for his safety. Another journalist, Ghows (Ghaws) Zalmai, was sentenced to 20 years in jail in early 2009, found guilty of blasphemy for having translated the Koran into Dari. The court concluded that the translation, which was not accompanied by the original Arabic text, improperly modified the Koran. The ruling was reportedly based on Islamic Sharia law. In January, police raided the office of Payman, a daily, and interrogated seven of its staff members. Nazari Paryani, an editor, was subsequently detained for eight days, and faced possible legal charges for an allegedly blasphemous story in the paper. The story, downloaded from a web site, contained comments

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casting doubt on various prophesies, including those by the Prophet Mohammed; Paryani insists it was published mistakenly. A few weeks later, in early March, the publication decided to shut down, citing increasing harassment and interference. Fahim Kohdamani, a television reporter for Emroz, a private station, was held for four weeks on defamation and insult charges. According to Reporters Without Borders, the charges were brought after the Iranian ambassador requested that Kohdamani be prosecuted for insulting various Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The accusations were reportedly based on comments Kohdamani made during a segment about a book by Ayatollah Khomenei, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. After his release in April, Kohdamani indicated that he was questioned about his views of the religious leader by the prosecutors office. At the time of his release in April, the charges against him had not been dropped. Relevant Laws Afghanistans legal environment consists of a complex mix of sources of authority, including civil and penal codes, Islamic Sharia law, and tribal and customary law. The Constitution specifically provides that, where the Constitution or other laws do not address a given situation, courts shall adjudicate matters under Hanafi jurisprudence, one of Sunni Islams four schools of jurisprudence. Mass Media Law The law has been repeatedly amended. The latest draft amendments were approved by the Parliament in May 2007 but vetoed by President Karzai in December of that year. By September 2008, Parliament voted to override the veto. But, according to the State Department, the amendments have not yet been enacted as of late 2009. If enforced, they would impose additional restrictions on content, including a prohibition on propagating religions other than Islam. Art. 31 of the current version of the law prohibits mass media publication of subjects contrary to principles of Islam and offensive to other religions and sects, or that lead to dishonoring and defamation of individuals. Penal Code of 1976 Art. 241 prohibits publicly insulting the Afghan nation, flag or state symbol. The offense is subject to prison terms of one to five years. Art. 242 specifies that insulting the President is punishable by one to five years in prison. When the insult is in the Presidents presence, the applicable prison penalty ranges from five to 15 years.

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Art. 243 prohibits insulting foreign heads of state and official representatives of foreign states in connection with their duties. The offense is punishable by imprisonment of 24 hours to one year, or a fine. Art. 246 imposes imprisonment of three months to one year, a fine, or both, for insulting the Grand Assembly, Parliament, government, the armed forces, courts or other state authorities. Arts. 248 and 294 both prohibit publicly insulting public officials in connection with or during the performance of their duties. The offense is punishable by imprisonment of three to six months, a fine, or both. Art. 346 defines defamation as the public attribution of a certain incidence to someone else, which, if true, would degrade the person in the eyes of the people. The applicable punishment consists of imprisonment from one to two years, a fine, or both.

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CAMBODIA
Population: 14.8 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free In Cambodia, prosecutions based on defamation and related laws continued to be common. A new Penal Code brought some welcome changes, such as abolishing imprisonment as possible punishment for general defamation. However, insult and defamation targeting public officials remained punishable by imprisonment. In June, a court sentenced Hang Chakra, publisher and editor-in-chief of the newspaper Khmer Machas Srok to one year in prison and fined him 9 million riel (approx. US$2,170) for disinformation and dishonoring public officials. The charges were over articles alleging corruption by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An. The editor was tried under the UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) criminal code, not the Press Law of 1995, which does not provide for prison terms and imposes lower fines. In November, King Norodom Sihamoni aked Prime Minister Hun Sen to amnesty the editor. Also in June, a student who sprayed critical slogans on his own house was charged with defamation. Soung Sophorn lived in one of 4,000 households evicted to make room for private developers. His slogans criticized the government for the evictions. He was fined 5 million riel (approx. US$1,200). Journalist Sam Dith avoided prosecution only by writing a letter of apology to Prime Minister Hun Sen and promising to stop publishing the newspaper Moneaksika Khmer (Khmer Conscience). Dith was charged with criminal offenses in 2008, for an article alleging the Foreign Minister had ties to the Khmer Rouge. Charges were finally dropped July 8. Also in July, Moeung Son, head of the Khmer Civilization Foundation, was pursued for asserting that lighting at the Angkor Wat temple would damage its walls. He was convicted of disinformation and sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of 15 million riel (approx. US$3,600). Son fled the country. An article quoting an opposition politicians criticism of Cambodian military service led to proceedings both against the politician and two journalists. In September, Kevin Doyle and Neou Vannarin, respectively editor-in-chief and reporter at the Cambodian Daily, were convicted of defamation and each fined

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the equivalent of US$1,000. Ho Vann of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party was charged with defamation but acquitted for lack of evidence. Relevant Laws Penal Code T he National Assembly adopted a new Penal Code Oct. 12. In a draft published by the Article 19 organization, the new Penal Code criminalizes defamation and insult but abolishes prison terms for some violations. Art. 305: Public Defamation: Any allegation or slanderous charge that undermines the honor or reputation of a person or an institution constitutes defamation. Defamation by one of the following means is punishable by a fine of 100,000-10 million riel (approx. US$24-2,400): 1. in speeches, by any means whatever, announced in a public place or in a public meeting; 2. in writing or sketches by any means whatever, circulated in public or exposed to the view of the public; 3. by any means of audiovisual communication intended for the public. Art. 306: Defamation in Media: Defamation committed in the media is subject to the press law. Art. 307: Public Insult: Any insulting expression, scornful term or other verbal abuse that does not amount to a slanderous charge constitutes an insult. Insult by one of the following means is punishable by a fine of 100,00010 million riel (approx. US$24-2,400): 1. in speeches, by any means whatever, announced in a public place or in a public meeting; 2. in writing or sketches by any means whatever, circulated in public or exposed to public view; 3. by any means of audiovisual communication intended for the public. Arts. 308, 446: Insult in Media: Insult in the media is subject to the press law. Art. 445: Insulting the King: Insulting the King entails prison of one to six months, and a fine of 100,000-10 million riel (approx. US$24-2,400), when committed: 1. in speeches, of any kind whatever, pronounced in a public place or in any public meeting; 2. in writing or sketches, of any kind whatever, distributed in public or exposed to public view.

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Art. 447: Additional Penalties: Categories and Duration: For the offenses in the present Chapter, the following additional penalties may be pronounced: 1. deprivation of certain civil rights, definitively or for not more than five years; 2. prohibition against pursuing a profession , definitively or for not more than five years; 3. prohibition against taking residency for not more than ten years; 4. prohibition against leaving the territory of the Kingdom of Cambodia for not more than five years; 5. for a convicted foreigner, prohibition against entering or taking residency in the territory of the Kingdom of Cambodia definitively or for not more than five years; 6. confiscation of any instruments, materials or any objects used to commit the offense or that were intended to commit the offense; 7. prohibition against possessing or carrying a weapon, definitively or for not more than five years; 8. posting the decision imposing the sentence for not more than two months; 9. publication of the decision imposing the sentence in the newspapers; 10. broadcasting the decision imposing the sentence by all means of audiovisual communication for not more than eight days. Art. 511: Elements of Insult and Penalties to be Imposed: The use of words, gestures, writings, sketches or objects that undermine the dignity of a person constitutes an insult. Insult of a civil servant or a citizen entrusted with a public mandate by election into office or during the occasion of performing his/her function is punishable by imprisonment ranging from one day to six days and a fine of 1,000 riel-100,000 riel (approx. US$0.24-$24). Art. 529: Insulting a Judge: Insult, as specified in Art. 511 of this Code, against a judge in office or during the exercise of his/her functions, is punishable by imprisonment from six days to one month and a fine from 10,000-100,000 riel (approx. US$2-24). If such insult is committed in a court hearing, it is punishable by imprisonment ranging from one month to three months and a fine of 100,000-500,000 riel (approx. US$24-120). 1995 Press Law Art. 10: If any person believes that any article or text, even if the meaning of the article or text is implied, or any picture, drawing or photograph in any publication is false and harms his/her honor or dignity, that person has the right to demand a retraction from or the right to reply to the publisher of the statement and the right to sue on charges of defamation, libel, or humiliation that harms his/her honor or dignity. A retraction or reply shall be published within seven days or in the next issue after receiving a demand of retraction or reply.

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In the case of a public figure, any false allegations or imputations which the journalist publishes or reproduces with malicious intent against such public figure is defamation and is prohibited. If in following a complaint by a plaintiff in a civil action the court determines that any publication is false, it may then order the press outlet to publish a retraction, pay compensation, or publish a retraction and pay compensation. A retraction that the press outlet has been obliged to publish shall be on the same page and with the same size of type as the text believed to have affected the honor or dignity of the person who demands the retraction. The court may also impose a fine of 1 million-5 million riel (approx. US$240-1,200). In addition, in cases in which a judgment is made under the above paragraph the court may order the posting of its decision at specified locations and the publication of its judgment in one or more newspapers at the expense of the accused, not to exceed a maximum of 1 million riel (approx. US$240). In all cases, the owner, the editor and journalist shall be jointly liable for payment of damages to the victims. Art. 13: The press shall not publish or reproduce false information that humiliates or subjects to contempt national institutions. Such publication may be penalized by a fine of 2 million-10 million riel (approx. US$480-2,400). Art. 14: This article forbids publishing anything that may affect the good customs of society, including degrading pictures that compare particular human beings to animals. Violations are punishable by a fine of 1 million to 5 million riel (approx. US$240-1,200).

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CHINA
Population: 1.34 billion Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Journalists and bloggers in China are constantly prosecuted for their writings, but proceedings are usually based on charges other than defamation, particularly subverting state power, undermining the social order or incitement to separatism. Defamation lawsuits are plentiful but are largely pursued in civil courts. However, the criminal defamation proceedings that were initiated in 2009 sparked heated debates in the country, particularly among increasingly vocal netizens frustrated by local government misconduct. This produced some surprising results. In March, Wang Shuai spoke out in his blog against local authorities in his home town of Lingbao City, accusing them of encouraging drought to bring down property values. Local police officers in response traveled all the way to his residence in Shanghai 1,200 kilometers, or 750 miles, away, to arrest him in early March. Accused of criminal defamation, Wang Shuai was first detained for three days in Shanghai, then returned to Lingbao, and held for another five days. He was released on bail, reportedly after being forced to sign a confession. His family was also said to have been forced to cut down all the fruit trees on their property, reducing its value. Wang Shuais ordeal was widely publicized and prompted a large public outcry. This spurred action by provincial authorities, who issued a public apology, suspended several police officers, and paid compensation of about US$115 to Wang Shuai. Wu Baoquan, a nutritionist, similarly criticized local officials for improperly depressing the price of land bought from peasants. In 2007, officials in Ordos, in Mongolia, also responded by traveling 1500 kilometers (almost 1,000 miles) to detain him. After his release, Wu Baoquan continued to post information about the issue on the web, and had contacts with a journalist investigating the matter. He was charged with criminal defamation in 2008 and convicted in October that year of distorting facts and posting comments online that hurled abuse and defamed others and the government. He was sentenced to one year in prison.

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Wu Baoquans appeal prompted a retrial, but he was convicted again in early 2009, and his sentence was doubled to two years. His ordeal was also widely publicized, forcing formal review of his case in April. Although his conviction was ultimately confirmed, his sentence was reduced by six months. Wu Baoquan indicated that he would file no further appeals, and was expected to be released on Oct. 28. The entire proceedings were criticized by some members of the legal profession, who noted that they were initiated on behalf of the public (instead of a specific individual), meaning that there should have been a showing of a serious threat to social stability or national interest, which was not produced. A defamation case against Deng Yonggu, a forestry bureau employee who published an Internet post called his superiors scum, led to an unusual outcome. A Pengxi County court in Sichaun Province convicted Yonggu of slander in July, but imposed no penalty on him. Many believed the case was filed against him because he had publicly accused local officials of defrauding the central government over the extent of damage by the May 2008 earthquake. A rather dramatic sequence of events unfolded in July in Mawei District, Fuzhou. On July 15, police detained six individuals who had posted online criticisms of the handling of an alleged gang rape resulting in the death of a local woman. Guo Baofeng (also known as Peter Guo), a well-known blogger, was one of the persons arrested and held for suspected defamation. When attornies requested to see them, the police initially refused, claiming that state secrets were involved. During their detention, the bloggers were asked to sign confessions admitting defamation in return for their release. Police officers also contacted some family members, urging them to press the detainees to confess. Guo Baofeng, who regularly posts on Twitter, technically blocked in China, was able to send two brief messages on the site before police confiscated his mobile phone. The first read, I have been arrested by Mawei police, SOS, the second: Pls help me, I grasp the phone during police sleep. His sister and contacts quickly spread the message online, asking individuals to call for Guos release by mailing postcards with the message, Guo Bofeng, your mother is calling you back home for dinner! (a popular expression that had recently become an Internet phenomenon in China). The campaign was hugely popular, and, within 16 days, Guo was released. In a message to shanghaiist.com, he acknowledged the power of public pressure, noting Of course, the release of me is totally the result of efforts made by all of netizens from home and abroad. Without them, the result would have been quite different. None of the other bloggers arrested in the case were then released.

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Although these developments prompted much speculation about increased room for critical debate, other commentators felt it was premature to celebrate. Acknowledging that the positive outcomes signaled growing willingness by citizens to stand up to local officials, legal commentators noted that the outcomes showed the power of publicity, rather than growth of the rule of law. Relevant Laws Constitution (1982) Art. 38 (Freedom from insult): The personal dignity of citizens of the Peoples Republic of China is inviolable. Insult, libel, false accusation or false incrimination directed against citizens by any means is prohibited. Penal Code Art. 105: () Whoever instigates the subversion of the political power of the state and overthrow the socialist system by spreading rumors, slandering, or other ways are to be sentenced to not more than five years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, control, or deprivation of political rights; the ringleaders and those whose crimes are grave are to be sentenced to not less than five years of fixed-term imprisonment. Art. 246: Those openly insulting others using violence or other methods or those fabricating stories to defame others, if the case is serious, are to be sentenced to three years or less in prison, put under criminal detention or surveillance, or deprived of their political rights. Those committing crimes mentioned above are to be investigated only if they are sued, with the exception of cases that seriously undermine social order or the states interests. Art. 250: Persons directly responsible for publishing materials that discriminate against or insult minority nationalities, if the case is serious and results in grave consequences, are to be sentenced to three years or less in prison, or put under criminal detention or surveillance. Art. 299: Whoever purposely insults the national flag, national emblem of the PRC in a public place with such methods as burning, destroying, scribbling, soiling, and trampling is to be to be sentenced to not more than three years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, control or deprived of political rights.

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FIJI
Population: 849,000 Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free It was a tough year for Fijian journalists. Triggered by a court ruling calling the countrys interim military government illegal, a clampdown on the media resulted in a string of deportations foreign journalists and severe censorship of those who remained. The situation was precarious even before the April court ruling. An earlier court decision had validated the 2006 military coup that brought Commodore Frank Bainimarama to power as head of an interim military government. When the Fiji Times published a letter to the editor criticizing that court decision, the newspaper was prosecuted for contempt of court. It published an admission of guilt and offered to pay costs, but the Attorney General pressed the court for a higher penalty. The court complied on Jan. 22, ordering the newspaper to pay a fine of 100,000 Fijian dollars (approx. US$53,000). Editor-in-chief Netani Rika was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years, and publisher Rex Gardener was initially placed on the equivalent of one-year probation (a good behavior bond). A few days later, however, Gardener was told he was a prohibited immigrant and ordered to leave the country. In March, a senior military official complained in a press release that the Fiji Times did not adequately cover the military and its achievements. That month, Rikas home was attacked with kerosene-filled bottles, and his car vandalized. The Daily Post newspaper, which printed the same letter as the Fiji Times, also faced contempt of court charges. A hearing was scheduled for early April, but the case was postponed after the paper withdrew its original guilty plea. On April 9, the High Court ruled the military regime unconstitutional. President Ratu Josefa Iloilo declared a state of emergency, dismissed the Court, annulled the Constitution and said there would be no elections for five years. Bainimarama was reappointed interim Prime Minister. On April 11, Bainimarama decreed that no coverage critical of the government would be allowed. Information officers were placed at news outlets to enforce the order. Within days, several foreign reporters were deported. Others were detained for

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several days. When some newspapers reacted by publishing blank pages, their editors were summoned. Foreign and local reporters alike were told they must practice the journalism of hope. Visas for foreign journalists were openly conditioned on how they had reported on Fiji in the past and on whether they would report accurately and responsibly, apparently a warning to avoid criticizing the military regime. The emergency regulations were repeatedly renewed, and the clampdown showed no signs of ending. In November, an Australian professor was detained hours after making critical comments on radio and deported soon thereafter. Relevant Laws Fijis Penal Code, which included broadly worded restrictions on seditious publication, was replaced by a Crimes Decree in early 2010. A new media decree was also being developed. Interim Public Emergency Regulations introduced in April 2009 -- initially for 30 days -- were repeatedly renewed and were still in place at the end of 2009. Public Emergency Regulations Section 16: Control of Broadcast and Publications 1. Where the Permanent Secretary for Information has reason to believe that any broadcast or publication may give rise to disorder and may thereby cause undue demands to be made upon the police or the Armed Forces, or may result in a breach of the peace, or promote disaffection or public alarm, or undermine the Government and the State of Fiji, he or she may, by order, prohibit such broadcast or publication. 2. In order to give effect to Subsection 1. above any broadcaster or publisher upon direction by the Permanent Secretary for Information must submit to him or her all material for broadcast or publication material before broadcast or publication. 3. Any person or entity which fails in any way whatsoever to comply with the provisions of this section may be ordered by the Commissioner of Police or Officer Commanding upon advice from the Permanent Secretary for Information to cease all activities and operations.

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INDIA
Population: 1.2 billion Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free In January, B.V. Seetaram and his wife, both executives at Chitra Publications, were detained in Udupi, Karnataka State, while traveling through the area. The arrest was apparently based on two-year-old defamation charges. Just a month earlier, Seetarem had filed a complaint with the Press Council of India, alleging politically motivated interference with the distribution in the region of his companys main publication, the newspaper Karavali Ale. Authorities in Gujarat State in August banned a book deemed defamatory of Vallabhbhai Patel, Indias first Interior Minister. The author, Jaswant Singh, was also expelled from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India's main opposition party, in power in Gujarat. A government official told Agence France Press that the book, titled Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence, was banned because it contains defamatory references to Vallabhbhai Patel," adding, No one can show him in bad light. In September, Reporters Without Borders protested the Indian governments five-month delay in approving a visa request for Hasnain Kazim, a German journalist of Indian origin, appointed as South Asia correspondent of the German weekly Der Spiegel. Indian diplomats apparently conceded that the delay was because of Kazims overly critical reporting on India. He had made his visa request on April 7. Reporter Laxman Choudhury of the newspaper Sambad was detained in late September on sedition charges in Gajapati, Orissa State, after he was found with Maoist leaflets. Choudhury had written about alleged ties between the local police and organized crime, prompting concerns over retaliation. Local journalists indicated that Maoists regularly mailed leaflets to them. Choudhury was freed on bail in early December, but charges were continued. On Oct. 25, police in Tamil Nadu State arrested A.S. Mani, editor of Naveena Netrikan, a Tamil magazine, on charges of defamation. They were based on a complaint by a local contractor, who claimed he was defamed in an article alleging corruption in contract awards and interference with the appointment of police and other government officers. Mani was also charged

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with various other offenses, including promoting enmity between different groups and causing public fear or alarm. He was held at first in Madurai central prison, but moved to a prison in Chennai after claiming harassment. On Nov. 27, Mani was released on bail and continued to face charges. Civil proceedings were also used to silence critics. In Januray, blogger Sebastian Rodrigues was pursued by Fomento, a mining company, for critical posts about the adverse effects of mining in Goa State. The companys vice president of communications filed a complaint in Calcutta High Court, seeking the equivalent of US$125,000. Even an award-winning film became a target. In January, a representative of slum dwellers filed a defamation suit against the director and an actor of the movie Slumdog Millionaire, alleging that the film referred to Indians as dogs and otherwise unfavorably depicted slum dwellers. Relevant Laws In 2006, the Supreme Court noted the growing tendency to file unjustified criminal defamation charges to obtain quicker or more favorable settlements, particularly in business circles (There is also an impression that if a person could somehow be entangled in a criminal prosecution, there is a likelihood of imminent settlement, it said in a ruling on Indian Oil Corp. v. NEPC (2006)). Penal Code Art. 124A (Sedition): Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine. Art. 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs): Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished by up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine. Art. 298 (Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person): Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places,

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any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. Art. 499 (Defamation): Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person. Art. 500 (Punishment for defamation): Whoever defames another shall be punished by up to two years imprisonment and/or a fine. Art. 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory): Whoever prints or engraves any matter, knowing or having good reason to believe that such matter is defamatory of any person, shall be punished by up to two years imprisonment and/or a fine. Art. 502 (Sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter): Whoever sells or offers for sale any printed or engraved substances containing defamatory matter, knowing that it contains such matter, shall be punished by up to two years imprisonment and/or a fine. Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act of 1971 (as amended, 2005) Section 2 (Insult to Indian National Flag and Constitution of India): Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. The law provides that repeat offenders shall be punished by imprisonment of no less than one year.

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INDONESIA
Population: 230 million Press Freedom Status: Partly Free Civil defamation suits with exorbitant damages in Indonesia got much attention. The Indonesian Supreme Court ruled April 16 that Time magazine need not pay a US$106 million damages sought by the estate of ex-President Suharto for alleged defamation. Criminal defamation remained a problem. Criminal defamation and libel proceedings continued against Upi, former Metro TV Makassar correspondent and an activist involved in efforts to decriminalize press offenses. On Jan. 30, police in South Sulawesi forwarded to the local prosecutor its investigatory findings in his case. Upi was pursued for statements to protest former regional police chief Sisno Adiwinoto's public encouragements of Indonesias press law. In September, a district court dismissed the charge against the journalist and ordered his release. On May 5, Indonesias Constitutional Court upheld as constitutional Art. 27(3) of the Information and Electronic Transactions Law (Law No. 11 of 2008) (IET), which provides for prison sentences of up to six years and a fine of up to 1 billion rupiah (almost US$100,000) for criminal defamation on the Internet. That makes defamation on the web subject to greater punishment than in traditional media. Soon after, use of the law against a private citizen sparked public outcries. Prita Mulyasari, 32 and a mother of two, sent an e-mail to several colleagues, criticizing her treatment by two doctors at the Omni International Hospital. The e-mail was seen by others, and the hospital filed civil and criminal defamation charges against her. Mulyasari was convicted in the civil suit, and ordered to pay 262 million rupiah (approx. US$26,000). An appeals court upheld the verdict but reduced the fine to 204 million rupiah (approx. US$20,000). Prosecutors added charges under the IET law and detained Mulyasari, who stayed in jail for three weeks. She was released June 4, but the case was continued. The proceedings caused such outrage that on June 9 the spokesman of the Information and Communications Ministry reportedly told a news agency that the public need not fear to use telecommunications services or to communicate

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electronically, saying that privacy regulations protected them. A Facebook campaign garnered 345,000 supporters, and soon both the President and all other presidential candidates spoke in Mulyasaris support. On June 25, the Tangerang District Court dismissed all charges against her, ruling that the IET law was not to come in force until April 2010. (That ruling is contradicted by the laws Art. 54(1), which states that it is effective on its enactment date, April 21, 2008.) Although the charges included others not based on the IET law, the court concluded that the faulty indictment should be dropped but noted that the prosecution was free to submit a new one. The dismissal was subsequently overturned by the Banten High Court, however. The appeals court noted that the criminal defamation charges could only be revoked by the plaintiff within three months of filing the original complaint -not possible since the hospital had brought suit nearly a year earlier. In December, the Tangerang District Court acquitted Mulyasari on all charges, but prosecutors planned to appeal. Meanwhile, a fundraising campaign to help Mulyasari pay the damages in the civil suit raised much more than the penalty. The new law may yield even more drastic results. The police chief in Bogor said he lacked authority to stop an investigation of a criminal defamation complaint against an 18-year-old girl who called a friend a dog on Facebook. In August, he said evidence sufficed to forward the case for prosecution. In July, two kiosk owners were convicted of criminal defamation over letters they sent to newspapers. Khoe Aseng Seng Seng wrote his letter after discovering that his kiosk was built on land belonging to the local administration and not to a private company, as he had thought for 16 years. Kwee Winny Meng Luan also sent a letter warning readers about buying property from the company. Both were charged under Art. 311 of the Penal Code, and sentenced to one year of probation. Commentators noted both that the company had failed to seek redress by first publishing a response in the newspapers, and that in fact the newspaper, and not the letter writers, were liable under Indonesias press law. The company also filed a civil suit against Aseng, but it was dismissed. A human rights activist was questioned by police and faced criminal defamation charges for comments allegedly made about the 2004 murder of a prominent lawyer. Usman Hamid, a member of a fact-finding team to investigate the death, was said to have shouted Murder! during the trial of Muchdi Purwopranjono, a senior intelligence official ultimately acquitted of the murder charges. Muchdi later filed criminal defamation charges, upon which Jakarta police investigated Hamid in September.

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Events in December illustrated the chilling effect of criminal defamation and insult laws. The countrys censorship board announced Dec. 1 that it had decided to censor the film Balibo, a movie about the alleged murder of six journalists by Indonesian soldiers in East Timor in 1975. Several government representatives, including for the Defense Ministry and the armed forces commander spoke for the decision, arguing the film casts the military and the country in a bad light. Planned screenings at the Jakarta International Film Festival and the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club were then cancelled, with the organizers indicating they feared possible legal action. Relevant Laws During the past three years, Indonesias Supreme Court abolished as unconstitutional several insult provisions: Arts. 134, 135 and 136 (insulting the President or Vice President) and Arts. 154 and 155 (prohibiting public declarations of feelings of hostility, hatred or contempt toward the government and broadcasting such feelings). However, a number of provisions remain with criminal penalties for insult and defamation. Penal Code Art. 142: Deliberate insult to a ruling king or another head of a friendly state shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of five years or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs.* Art. 142a: Any person who violates the national flag of a friendly state shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of four years or a maximum fine of 3,000 rupiahs. Art. 143: Intentional insult against a representative of a foreign power to the Indonesian Government in his capacity, shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of five years or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs. Art. 144: 1. Any person who disseminates, openly demonstrates or puts up a writing or portrait containing an insult against a ruling king or another head of a friendly state or against a representative of a foreign power to the Indonesian Government in his capacity, with intent to make the insulting content public or to enhance the publicity thereof, shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of nine months or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs. 2. If the offender commits the crime in his profession and during the commission of the crime, two years have not yet elapsed since an earlier conviction on account of a similar crime has become final, he may be deprived of the exercise of said profession. Art. 207: Any person who with deliberate intent in public, orally or in writing,

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insults an authority or a public body set up in Indonesia, shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of one year and six months or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs. Art. 208: 1. Any person who disseminates, openly demonstrates or puts up a writing or portrait containing an insult against an authority or public body set up in Indonesia with intent to give publicity to the insulting content or to enhance the publicity thereof, shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of four months or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs. 2. If the offender commits the crime in his profession and during the commission of the crime two years have not yet elapsed since an earlier conviction of the person by reason of a similar crime has become final, he may be deprived of the exercise of said profession. Art. 310: 1. The person who intentionally harms someones honor or reputation by charging him with a certain matter, with the obvious intent to give publicity thereof, shall, being guilty of defamation, be punished by a maximum imprisonment of nine months or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs; 2. If this takes place by means of writing or portraits disseminated, openly demonstrated or put up, the principal shall, being guilty of libel, be punished with a maximum imprisonment of one year and four months or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs. Art. 311: Any person who commits the crime of slander or libel in case proof of the truth of the charged fact is permitted, shall if he does not procure said proof and the charge has been made against his better judgment, being guilty of calumny, be punished by a maximum imprisonment of four years. Art. 312: Proof of the truth of the charged fact shall only be permissible in the following cases: 1. if the judge deems the examination of the truth necessary to judge the allegation of the accused that he has acted in the general interest of for his necessary defense; 2. if an official is charged with the commission of an act in the exercise of his office. Art. 313: The proof referred to in Art. 312 shall not be permissible if the charged fact cannot be presented except upon complaint and no complaint has been made. Art. 314: If the defamed person has been declared guilty of the charged fact by judicial verdict that has become final punishment by reason of calumny shall be excluded.

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If the defamed person has been acquitted of the charged fact, by judicial verdict that has become final, said verdict shall be considered as perfect proof of the untruth of the fact. If proof against the defamed person by reason of the fact charged to him, a criminal prosecution has been initiated the prosecution by reason of calumny shall be suspended until the verdict on the charged fact has become final. Art. 315: A defamation committed with deliberate intent which does not bear the character of slander or libel, against a person either in public, orally or in writing, or in his presence orally or by battery, or by a writing delivered or handed over, shall as simple defamation, be punished, by a maximum imprisonment of four months and two weeks or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs. Art. 316: The punishments laid down in the foregoing articles of this chapter may be enhanced by one third, if the defamation is committed against an official during or on the subject of the legal exercise of his office. Art. 317: Any person who with deliberate intent submits or causes to submit a false charge or information in writing against a certain person to the authorities, whereby the honor or reputation of said person is harmed, shall, being guilty of calumnious charge, be punished by a maximum imprisonment of four years. Deprivation of the right mentioned in Art. 35 first to thirdly [these cover: the right to hold office/specific offices; the right to serve with the armed forces; and the right to vote or be voted for in elections] may be pronounced. Art. 318: 1. Any person who with deliberate intent by some act falsely cast suspicion upon another person of having committed a punishable act, shall, being guilty of calumnious insinuation, be punished by a maximum imprisonment of four years. 2. Deprivation of the rights mentioned in Art. 35 first to thirdly may be pronounced. Art. 319: Defamation, punishable under this chapter, shall not be prosecuted except on complaint by the person against whom the crime has been committed, except in the case of Art. 316. Art. 320: 1. Any person who in respect of a deceased person commits an act that, if the person would still be alive, would have been characterized as libel or slander, shall be punished by a maximum imprisonment of four months and two weeks or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs. 2. This crime shall not be prosecuted than upon complaint by either one of the

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blood relatives or persons allied by marriage to the deceased in the straight line or sideline to the second degree, or by the spouse. 3. If by virtue of matriarchal institutions the paternal authority is exercised by another than the father, the crime may also be prosecuted upon complaint by this person. Art. 321: 1. Any person who disseminates, demonstrates openly or puts up a writing or portrait of defamatory or for a deceased -- slanderous contents with intent to give publicity to the defamatory or slanderous contents or to enhance the publicity thereof, shall be published by a maximum imprisonment of one month and two weeks or a maximum fine of 300 rupiahs. 2. If the offender commits the crime in his profession and during the commission of the crime two years have not yet elapsed since an earlier conviction of the person by reason of a similar crime has become final, he may be deprived of the exercise of said profession. 3. This crime shall not be prosecuted except upon complaint by the persons indicated in Art. 310 and the second and third paragraph of Art. 320. Law No. 11/2008 on Electronic Information & Transactions Art. 27 (3): Anyone who intentionally and without the right to do so distributes and/or transmits and/or allows the accessing of electronic information and/or electronic documents that have defamatory content and/or slander reputation. Art. 45: Anyone who satisfies the stipulations referred to in Art. 27 (1),(2), (3), or (4) shall be punished by up to six years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of 1 billion rupiahs (approx. US$100,000). *The fines specified in the Penal Code today equal less than US$1. However, according to the Article 19 organization, the provisions of the civil law permitting civil defamation suits do not include any limitations on possible damages in such cases.

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MALAYSIA
Population: 27.5 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free In Malaysia, various legal provisions protecting the reputation of the monarchy caused concern. A political crisis in the northern state of Perak fueled aggressive prosecution of journalists. Those who avoided legal action often faced other forms of harassment, including threatening mail and police interrogations. In Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, one of the nine regional sultans who rule the Federation on a rotating basis, made a controversial decision favoring the Barisan Nasional, part of the ruling National Front, even though it made a weak showing in general elections. In February, Karpal Singh, chairman of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), advocated judicial review of the decision, prompting a number of threats, mob actions and police reports against him. In mid-March, the government charged him with violating Section 4 (1)(b) of the Sedition Act, prohibiting seditious words. Karpal pleaded not guilty and was freed on bail. He faces a maximum sentence of three years and/or a fine of up to 5,000 ringgits (approx. US$1,400). Some 45 prosecution witnesses were expected to testify in his trial starting Aug. 12. Also in February, blogger Jed Yoong was interrogated over her criticism of the monarchy after a club associated with the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the dominant force in the National Front, filed a complaint with the police. Later that month, blogger Ahiruddin Attan, President of the National Alliance of Bloggers, was questioned by police over comments about the monarchy posted on his site. On March 13, a crackdown against online criticism of the Sultan of Perak led to insult charges against six bloggers. A week later, a local businessman and his lawyer wife were charged for criticizing the Sultan on a web site. Proceedings were based on Section 233(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA), banning improper use of facilities or network service, etc. and on the Penal Code. Azrin Mohd Zain, one of the bloggers, pleaded guilty and was fined 10,000 Ringgits (about US$2,800). He could face five months in prison if he fails to pay. The others decided to take their cases to trial, and faced maximum fines of 50,000 ringgits (approx. US$13,800) or up to one year in prison.

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Khalid Mohd, former editor of Utusan Malaysia, a Malay daily, was repeatedly threatened for an article he wrote in May accusing non-Malays of claiming their rights too assertively. Many readers and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) politician S. Samy Vellu called for legal action against him under the Sedition Act. Raja Petra Lamarudin, founder-editor of Malaysia Today, was charged under the Sedition Act and with criminal defamation under the Penal Code for an article implicating the Deputy Prime Minister, the Defense Minister and the ministers wife in the murder of a Mongolian national. The editor was said to have gone into exile, but later reports indicated that he never left Malaysia. Relevant Laws Penal Code Section 499 (Defamation): Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read or by signs, or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person, intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person. Explanation 1 - It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person if living, and is intended to be hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives. Explanation 2 - It may amount to defamation to make an imputation concerning a company, or an association or collection of persons as such. Explanation 3 - An imputation in the form of an alternative, or expressed ironically, may amount to defamation. Explanation 4 - No imputation is said to harm a persons reputation, unless that imputation directly or indirectly, in the estimation of others, lowers the moral or intellectual character of that person, or lowers the character of that person in respect of his caste or of his calling, or lowers the credit of that person, or causes it to be believed that the body of that person is in a loathsome state, or in a state generally considered as disgraceful. Section 500 (Punishment for Defamation): Whoever defames another shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both. Section 501 (Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory): Whoever prints or engraves any matter, knowing or having good reason to believe that such matter is defamatory of any person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.

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Section 502 (Sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter): Whoever sells or offers for sale any printed or engraved substance, containing defamatory matter, knowing that it contains such matter, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both. The Sedition Act (1948) Criminalizes any speech with a seditious tendency. The concept is broadly defined to include tendencies that bring into hatred or contempt or . . . excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government or the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State; those that raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State; promote feelings of ill will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia; or question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by he provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Arts. 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution. The law does provide that, an act, speech, words, publication or other thing shall not be deemed to be seditious by reason only that it has a tendency . . . to show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures. Those found guilty may be jailed for up to three years or fined 5,000 ringgit (approx. US$1,400). In addition, newspapers containing seditious matter may be suspended by the court for up to one full year. The Defamation Act (1957) Provides civil remedies for defamation. It has been used aggressively to sue almost every newspaper and television station. Suits of up to 100 million ringgits (approx. US $27 million) have been filed against the media.

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MALDIVES
Population: 309,000 Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free At the beginning of the year, reports that the new Prosecutor General felt obliged to apply the countrys criminal defamation laws -- which his predecessor had refused to do -- caused concern. Yet, this was followed by the Maldives becoming one of the few countries to decriminalize defamation during 2009. In April, Prosecutor General Ahmed Muiz announced that he had a duty to enforce the whole Penal Code, including provisions criminalizing defamation, in Arts. 150 to 166. The announcement came as press freedom groups noted an increase in efforts to bring such charges. In one such case, Hameed Abdul Kareem, former editor of the magazine Manas, was prosecuted for an article questioning the independence of the former Chief Justice. Local and international media groups protested the developments. They soon received support from a crucial ally -- President Mohamed Nasheed, who spoke out in favor of strengthening press freedom and called for turning defamation into a purely civil law matter. The government formally proposed the change, in a bill first presented to the Social Affairs Committee, which opposed the proposed amendments. Nonetheless, on Nov. 23, the Peoples Majlis, the countrys parliament, voted 34 to 7 to abrogate five articles of the Penal Code that criminalize defamation.

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SINGAPORE
Population: 4.7 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Many high-profile defamation lawsuits have been brought in past years against international news media by Singapores political leaders. These have largely been brought in civil courts, and have regularly resulted in heavy fines. In March, the High Court ruled that the Attorney General could initiate contempt of court proceedings against Melanie Kirkpatrick, a deputy editor for the Wall Street Journal, over several editorial pieces and a letter from an opposition leader, which addressed the countrys judiciary. The publication itself had already been sued over the same articles, and fined 25,000 Singapore dollars (approx. US$16,250), in late 2008. On Oct. 7, the Singapore Appeals Court affirmed a September 2008 ruling that the weekly Far Eastern Economic Review defamed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew, his father and the countrys former Prime Minister. The Far Eastern Economic Review had appeale the High Court ruling in May. The ruling was over an interview with the Secretary General of Singapore Democratic Party, who questioned government handling of a scandal involving a charity. In November, the publication agreed to pay the Lees 405,000 Singapore dollars (approx. US$290,000) damages and legal costs. The 63-year old weeklys declining finances led it to switch to become a monthly in December 2009. Relevant Laws Penal Code Section 499 (Defamation): Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs, or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person, intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person. Possible penalties include imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine. The explanatory notes accompanying the Penal Code note that defamation of a deceased person is possible, that an imputation expressed ironically can amount to defamation, and specify that harm will only be found where an

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imputation lowers the moral or intellectual character of that person, or lowers the character of that person in respect of his calling, or lowers the credit of that person, or causes it to be believed that the body of that person is in a loathsome state, or in a state generally considered as disgraceful. Sedition Act The Sedition Act prohibits, among others, acts that have seditious tendency, the uttering of seditious words, as well as the publishing, sale or distribution of seditious publications. Seditious tendency is broadly defined to include a tendency to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government or the administration of justice, and to raise discontent or disaffection among the citizens or residents of Singapore. First-time offenders face a fine of up to 5,000 Singapore dollars (about US$3,600), imprisonment of up to three years, or both. The Defamation Act (1957, 1997) provides civil remedies for defamation.

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THAILAND
Population: 67.8 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Thailand has seen an increase in the number of persons charged under the countrys tough lse majest laws, which outlaw insulting, defaming or threatening the King or the royal family since 2007. The situation has further deteriorated since a new government came to power in December 2008. Many of those charged are denied bail during police investigations, leading to long pretrial detentions. Web sites were subjected to particularly close scrutiny. In early January, Ranongruk Suwanchawee, the new Information and Communication Technology Minister, indicated that blocking web site content offensive to the monarchy was a crucial government policy. He indicated the government had already blocked 2,300 web sites, and was targeting 400 others. Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga estimated that some 10,000 web sites violated the law. Also in January, Harry Nicolaides, an Australian writer, was sentenced to three years in prison for lse majest. He was found to have defamed the Crown Prince in his novel, Verisimilitude. It sold fewer than ten copies. Nicolaides got a royal pardon Feb. 19, and left Thailand. In February, Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a Thai-British political science professor at Bangkoks Chulalongkorn University and a prominent activist, was charged for writing A Coup for the Rich, a critical book on the 2006 military coup in Thailand. He later fled the country. In a speech before the local journalists association in March, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva acknowledged that the lse majest laws have sometimes been misused for political purposes, but rejected the possibility of change, citing the need to protect the monarchys reputation. In April, Suwicha Thakhor, a Thai engineer, was convicted of lse majest for photographs he posted on his blog. He was sentenced to ten years in prison. Thakor had been in custody since his January arrest and was swiftly fired from his job after charges were filed.

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The aggressive prosecution prompted a joint appeal to the Thai government in May by 32 human rights and press freedom organizations urging it at least to abolish prison sentences for lse majest. The appeal appeared to have little effect. In August, a new police task force was created specifically to monitor web sites, to identify those allegedly committing lse majest. The police lieutenant in charge of the task force indicated that he was encouraged to strictly enforce the law. On June 30, Laksana Kornsilpa, a private citizen, filed a lse majest complaint, claiming that the board of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) had attempted to undermine the monarchys credibility. She complained about the sale of DVD copies of a speech at the club by a former minister. She considered it insulting to the monarchy. She also noted that the FCCT had translated into English allegedly defamatory statements by two leaders of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship. The Economist magazine was censored for reporting the story. Distribution of its July 4 edition was blocked. Its Dec. 6, 2008 issue had been withheld earlier over an article on the monarchys role in the Thai political crisis. A harsh sentence was imposed on Daranee Chancheonsilapakul, also known as Da Torpedo, a political activist prosecuted for a speech at a 2008 rally. In August, Daranee was convicted on three counts of lse majest and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Her trial was closed to the public. The Kings health was taboo, triggering several national security-based charges late in the year. The Offenses Relating to Computers Act 2007 treats lse majest as a national security issue. Two securities traders with blogs were charged for writing about the Kings ill health after he was hospitalized with inflamed lungs. Charges against them were at least partly based on suggestions that they meant to profit from the resulting stock market fall. Another blogger was also pursued for writing on the royal health and its possible ill effect on the stock market. Thassaporn Rattawongsa, a doctor, was arrested Nov. 18 and accused of posting inaccurate information that threatened national security. While criticizing or simply writing about the King was fraught, even critical discussion of the lse majest law was banned. In October, blogger Nat Sattayapornpisut was held for two weeks for sending links to a British blogger who has campaigned for the laws repeal. He was not immediately charged, but, as of the end of 2009, continued to face prosecution. Broader defamation charges also posed a threat. Sondhi Limthongkul, media tycoon and co-leader of the Peoples Alliance for Democracy, was convicted of

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defamation and sentenced to two years in prison for comments on his televised talk show about an ex-Deputy Prime Minister. Sondhi alleged the politician was implicated in a lottery scandal and that he had shielded a revenue official from prosecution for failing to enforce a tax case. Thaiday Dot Com Co., the TV shows producer, and the editor of a newspaper that published the comments, were also convicted and fined. Its editor, Khuntong Lorseriwanich, was sentenced to one year in prison. A day later, an appeals court upheld an earlier defamation verdict against Sondhi, over comments alleging that a former Deputy Transport Minister belonged to a group linked with Communists. Sondhi was initially sentenced to two years in prison for these comments, but that was reduced to six months. Relevant Laws Laws protecting the reputation of the monarchy have a long tradition in Thailand, and have been enshrined in every version of its Constitution. The 2007 Constitution provides that the King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action. Lse majest is an offense under the Penal Code, punishable by three to 15 years in prison. Thailands police chief also has the power to ban import of any publication deemed to contain lse majest or contrary to public order or good morals. Under Thai law, anyone may file a police complaint against someone he or she deems to have defamed the monarch or others in the royal family. The Offenses Relating to Computers Act of 2007 addresses topics such as hacking and the distribution of pornography. Section 14 prohibits entering information into a computer system that constitutes an offense related to national security. It is punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 100,000 baht (approx. US$3,000), or both. Section 20 permits authorities to seek court orders prohibiting distribution of information via a computer that could affect national security or contrary to public order or good morals. Since lse majest offenses are treated as national security violations, these provisions allow authorities to block sites deemed insulting to the monarchy. They have been used ggressively against bloggers. General defamation is also an offense under the Penal Code. It is punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to 20,000 baht (approx. US$600), or both. Since 1992, when the statement is published or broadcast to a wider audience, the maximum penalties are two years prison and a fine of 200,000 baht (approx. US$6,000). For newspapers, liability is now limited to authors. Editors and publishers are no longer liable for defamation by their reporters.

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Penal Code Section 112: Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir Apparent or the Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years. Section 118: Whoever commits any act against the flag or any other emblem symbolizing the State with the intent to deride the Nation shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding two years or fined up to 4,000 baht (approx. US$120), or both. Section 133: Whoever defames, insults or threatens the Sovereign, his Queen or her Consort, the Heir Apparent or head of a foreign State shall be punished with imprisonment between one to seven years or a fine between 2,000 to 140,000 baht (approx. US$60-4,100), or both. Section 134: Whoever defames, insults or threatens a foreign representative accredited to the Royal Court shall be punished with imprisonment between six months to five years or a fine between 1,000 to 10,000 baht (approx. US$30300), or both. Section 135: Whoever commits any act against the flag or other emblem symbolizing a friendly foreign State with intent to deride such State shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding 4,000 baht (approx. US$120), or both. Section 136: Whoever insults any official in the due exercise of his functions or by reason of the due exercise of his functions shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding 20,000 baht (approx. US$600), or both. Section 198: Whoever insults the court or the judge in a trial or adjudication of a case, or obstructs the trial or adjudication of the court, shall be punished with imprisonment of four to seven years or fined between 2,000 and 14,000 baht (approx. US$60-420), or both. Section 326: Whoever imputes anything to the other person before a third person in a manner likely to impair the reputation of such other person or to expose such other person to hatred or contempt is said to commit defamation and shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or fined not exceeding 20,000 baht (approx. US$600), or both. Section 327: Whoever imputes anything to a deceased person before a third

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person, such imputation being likely to impair the reputation of the father, mother, spouse or child of the deceased or to expose such person to hatred or contempt, is said to commit defamation and shall be liable to the same punishment as provided in Section 326. Section 328: If the offense of defamation is committed by means of publication of any document, drawing, painting, motion picture, picture, or letters made visible by any means, gramophone record or any other recording instruments, or by broadcasting or by propagation by any means, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding 200,000 baht (approx. US$6,000). Section 329: Whoever, in good faith, expresses any opinion or statement 1. by way of self-justification or defense, or for the protection of a legitimate interest; 2. in the status of an official in the exercise of his functions; 3. by way of fair comment on any person or thing subject to public criticism; or 4. by way of fair report of the open proceedings of any court or meeting, shall not be guilty of defamation. Section 330: In the case of defamation, if the person prosecuted for defamation can prove that the imputation made by him is true, he shall not be punished. But he shall not be allowed to prove truth if such imputation concerns personal matters and such proof will not be of any interest to the public. Section 393: Whoever insults another person in his presence shall be imprisoned for up to one month or fined up to 1,000 baht (approx. US$30), or both.

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VIETNAM
Population: 88.1 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Free speech has long been tightly curbed in Vietnam. Offenders risk grave punishment, including the death, for crimes such as subversion. In 2009, authorities repeatedly turned to Art. 88 of the Penal Code, which imposes prison sentences for conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, broadly defined to include distorting or defaming the administration. Bloggers were targeted particularly often. Journalist and Internet writer Huynh Nguyen Dao (also known as Huynh Viet Lang) was released in February, after two and a half years in prison for violating Art. 88. Dao was prosecuted for circulating political material on the web. Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh was arrested in August, after writing about a Chinese mining project in the country as well as on Chinas claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. She was reportedly accused under Art. 258 of the Penal Code (abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state), but later released. In October, eight bloggers were convicted and sentenced to prison under Art. 88. Pham Van Troi, sentenced in Hanoi, received a four-year term. Six were sentenced in Haiphong: Nguyen Xuan Nghia to six years; Nguyen Van Tuc to four years; Nguyen Van Tinh and Nguyen Manh Son to three and a half years each; Ngo Quynh to three years; and Nguyen Kim Nhan to two years. The posts in question included calls for more pluralism and respect for human rights, and criticisms of the Vietnamese governments restraint over Chinese claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Vu Van Hung, a teacher and Internet writer, was also sentenced. He was arrested in September 2008 for displaying a banner in Hanoi advocating multiparty democracy. Van Hung was detained for months before being formally charged under Art. 88. He was sentenced to three years in prison, plus three years probation. Van Hung reportedly went on a hunger strike after the verdict. His family has since expressed strong concerns for his health. Meanwhile, Pham Thanh Nghien, an independent journalist, had been held since late 2008, also reportedly under Art. 88. Nghien is a member of Bloc 8406, a pro-democracy network. She was harassed and beaten by police for her human rights work, then arrested after trying to organize a protest of such

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harassment. Nghiens family had not been allowed to visit her in prison since her arrest. As of December, she still awaited trial. The media crackdown continued in early 2010. In January, blogger Nguyen Tien Trung was sentenced to seven years in prison, plus three years house arrest. He was arrested in July 2009 and long held incommunicado, prompting fears of coercion. Trung, founder of the Association of Young Vietnamese for Democracy, was ultimately charged under Art. 88, reportedly over his prodemocracy activities, as well as a letter on government education policies. Le Cong Dinh, an attorney well-known for representing human rights advocates and bloggers, was arrested in June 2009. Officials soon announced that he was charged under Art. 88 for reporting distorted facts to foreign news agencies and defaming Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Dinh has written for a wide range of web sites, and has also been featured on BBC and Radio Free Asia. In early 2010, he was convicted under Art. 79 (subversion), and sentenced to five years in prison and three years house arrest upon release. Three other human rights activists (Nguyen Tien Trung, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, and Le Thang Long) were convicted of the same offense in January 2010, and received prison sentences ranging from five to 16 years. All four were accused of activities for the banned Democratic Party of Vietnam, including posting articles critical of the government on the web. Relevant Laws Regulations introduced in December 2008 prohibit blogs from covering or linking to content that opposes the State, undermines social order, reveals state secrets or undermines the honor and dignity of its citizens. Vietnamese Information Minister Do Quy Han has reportedly said blogs must not deal with politics, religion or social issues. Since October 2008, the Administration Agency for Radio, Television and Electronics Information monitors Internet content. The National Assembly ratified changes to the Penal Code in August 2009. Expected to be pomulgated in early 2010, they abolish the death penalty for some offenses. But they do not include changes in speech-related offenses. Penal Code Art. 79: Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the peoples administration (subversion): Those who carry out activities, establish or join organizations with the intent to overthrow the peoples administration shall be subject to the following penalties: 1. Organizers, instigators and active participants or those who cause serious

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consequences shall be sentenced to between 12 and 20 years of imprisonment, life imprisonment or capital punishment; 2. Other accomplices shall be subject to between five and 15 years of imprisonment. Art. 88: Conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: This article prohibits committing the following acts against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: a) Propagating against, distorting and/or defaming the peoples administration; b) Propagating psychological warfare and spreading fabricated news in order to foment confusion among people; c) Making, storing and/or circulating documents and/or cultural products with contents against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Penalties range from three to 20 years imprisonment. Art. 122: Slander 1. Those who trump up or spread stories knowing them to be fabricated in order to infringe upon the honor or damage the legitimate rights and interests of other persons or fabricate claims of committed crimes against others and wrongly denounce them before the competent agencies shall be subject to warning, noncustodial reform for up to two years or a prison term ranging from three months to two years. 2. Where the crime is committed in one of the following circumstances, the offenders shall be sentenced to imprisonment ranging from one to seven years: a) In an organized manner; b) Abusing their positions and powers; c) Against more than one person; d) Against their own grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers or persons who teach, nurture, look after, educate and/or medically treat them; e) Against persons who are performing their official duties; f) Slandering other persons about committing very serious or particularly serious crimes. 3. Offenders may also be subjected to a fine ranging from 1 million to 10 million dong (about US$54-540), a ban from holding certain posts, practicing certain occupations or carrying out certain jobs for one to five years. Art. 258: Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens: 1. Those who abuse the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of belief, religion, assembly, association and other democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens, shall be subject to warning, non-custodial reform for up to three years or a prison term ranging from six months to three years.

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2. Where the offense is committed in serious circumstances, the offenders shall be sentenced to imprisonment ranging from two to seven years. Art. 276: Affronting the national flag or national emblem: Those who deliberately affront the national flag and/or the national emblem shall be subject to warning, non-custodial reform for up to three years or a prison term ranging from six months to three years. Art. 319: Insulting or assaulting commanders or superiors 1. Those who, in working relationships, seriously hurt the dignity and honor of or assault commanders or superiors, shall be subject to non-custodial reform for up to three years or a prison term ranging from three months to three years. 2. Where the commission of the crime causes serious, very serious or particularly serious consequences, the offenders shall be sentenced to imprisonment ranging from two years to seven years. Art. 329: Making false reports: 1. Those who intentionally make false reports, causing serious consequences, shall be subject to non-custodial reform for up to three years or a prison term of three months to three years. 2. Where the commission of the crime causes very serious or particularly serious consequences, the offenders shall be sentenced to two to seven years of imprisonment. Decree No. 97/2008 of August 28, 2008, On the Management, Provision and Use of Internet Services and Electronic Information on the Internet Art. 6. Prohibited Acts: 1. Abusing the Internet for the purposes of: (a) Opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, undermining national security and social order and safety; destroying the all-people great unity bloc; spreading propaganda on wars of aggression; sowing hatred and conflict between nations, ethnic groups and religions; spreading propaganda on and inciting violence, obscenity and debauchery, crime, social evils, superstition; and destroying national fine customs and traditions; (b) Disclosing state secrets and military, security, economic, foreign relation and other secrets as prescribed by law; (c) Spreading information that distorts, slanders and hurts the prestige of organizations, the honor and dignity of citizens; Circular No. 07/2008 of December 13, 2008, Ministry of Information and Communication Guidelines Regarding Decree No. 97/2008, Aug. 28, 2008: Section 3. Prohibited acts in Art. 6, Decree No. 97 on the supply of information on blogs are specified as follows:

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3.1. Taking advantage of blogs for providing, transmitting or creating direct links to information that violates the provisions of Art. 6, Decree No. 97. 3.2. Creating blogs in the name of other individuals or organizations; illegally using blogs of other individuals; providing untrue information that infringes upon lawful rights and interests of other organizations and individuals. 3.3. Disseminating press, literary and art works and publications that violate the press and publication laws. Decree No. 51/2002 of April 26, 2002: Detailing the Implementation of the Press Law (Dec. 28, 1989) and the Law Amending and Supplementing a Number of Articles of the Press Law (June 12, 1999): Art. 5 outlines matters not to be covered by the press. It provides that, under Art. 10 of the original press law, the following matters must not be published or broadcast: 1. Press, artistic or literary works or documents in contravention of law, with contents opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and undermining the entire peoples unity bloc. 3. Photos without clear captions or which affect the concerned individuals prestige or honor (except for photos giving information on public meetings or collective activities, working sessions, art performances, sports and physical training, wanted persons, open court hearings or defendants in serious cases who are serving court sentences).

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MIDDLE EAST/ NORTH AFRICA Algeria Bahrain Egypt Iraq Kuwait Lebanon Libya Morocco Sudan Tunisia United Arab Emirates Yemen

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In the Middle East and North Africa, modern and traditional continued to clash. Bloggers, activists and journalists testing limits of acceptable criticism faced strong resistance, often in the name of respect for royalty and religion. Particularly in Morocco, Kuwait and Bahrain, it remained best not to cover kings and emirs, whether over their health, their powers, or a relatives violent reaction to a traffic stop. Photos of royals need not be risqu to be risky. In Kuwait, a publication was prosecuted for challenging readers to spot seven differences between two photos of the Emir. A poll on Moroccan King Mohammeds rule prompted authorities to seize some 100,000 copies of two weeklies, bizarrely since it showed 91 per cent satisfaction with the Kings rule. In Bahrain, authorities blocked more than 1,000 web sites, purportedly over pornography. Rights groups indicated that anything remotely critical of the King or Islam was also blocked. Libyas Muammar Qaddafi seemed to expect similar reverence, launching lawsuits worldwide to defend his honor, including in Morocco, over stories about his son convicted of abuses in Switzerland. Serial litigation against select journalists or publications was common. In Egypt, a parliamentarian filed more than a dozen suits against one editor. In Iraqs Kurdish region, suits against news media were rampant, with just one outlet reportedly slapped with 18 actions, largely by government and party officials. In Algeria, a freelancer was due in court in mid-October in one of 16 suits. An Egyptian editor was taken to court five times in the first three months 2009. In Iraq, where assassination had seemed more of a threat than suing, journalists saw growth in defamation cases as a sign of progress. In Yemen, a special press court was set up for transgressions -- often for insulting the President. Bloggers highlighted topics avoided by mainstream media, and so were frequent legal targets. In Egypt, several languished in jail. In Iran, a blogger jailed for insulting religious leaders and for anti-State propaganda was found dead in dubious circumstances. He was one of dozens of bloggers and journalists arrested in post-electoral unrest in Iran, now a leading world jailer of journalists. Cases grew involving the vague offense of hisba -- harm to society through failure to foster religious principles. In Morocco, a journalist faced a hisba suit for accusing two of King Mohammeds relatives of corruption. In Egypt, a court reversed hisba conviction of a sociologist for calling on the United States to use its aid programs to press for political reform. Local rights groups warned that such suits have become a major tool against journalistic outspokenness. U.M.

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ALGERIA
Population: 34.9 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Algeria has long been a difficult place for journalists, but interference increased in 2009, during presidential elections in April. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was reelected to a third term. On March 3, a court in Mascara fined journalist Abdelouahab Souag, of El Watan, 50,000 dinars (approx. US$700) for defaming a Muslim cleric. Souag was fined 20,000 dinars (approx. US$280) and ordered to pay the imam 30,000 dinars (approx. US$415). Proceedings were over two articles, published in 2006 and 2008, on a ban allegedly imposed by the imam on a local religious ceremony, and his attacks on journalists he deemed insufficiently patriotic. Souag appealed. In late March, Reporters Without Borders protested the harassment of Omar Belhouchet, editor of El Watan, who was reportedly summoned by the police 14 times in a matter of days. Belhouchet was questioned over defamation allegations, but commentators believed the effort was meant to intimidate the editor at the start of the presidential election campaign. Belhouchet faced further harassment in May, when he was required to appear in court on allegations of defamation by the former CEO of Air Algeria. The criminal charges were over publication of a statement by the head of the airlines union. The prosecutor demanded Belhouchet be fined 50,000 dinars (approx. US$700) if convicted. Other editors also faced what appeared to be serial harassment. Nedjar El Hadj Daoud, editor of Al Waha, was sentenced to six months in jail in mid-May, after a court in Ghardaa confirmed two earlier rulings against him. Proceedings were based on a 2006 article critical of two officials. Daoud had been jailed briefly in early March, in connection with a six-month prison sentence in a 2005 defamation case, but he was released after a few days for medical reasons. That conviction was for an article on a local government employee who had allegedly tried repeatedly to rape female co-workers. It was not clear when or whether Daoud would be required to serve the remaining sentence for that conviction. Al Waha, known for exposing government corruption, is no stranger to legal harassment. The only newspaper in the south of Algeria, it was temporarily

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banned in 2006. Daoud has been targeted in more than 60 lawsuits. He has also survived several attempts on his life, including a stabbing by unidentified assailants in early 2009. In early May, Nouri Benzenine, a former correspondent for Echourouk El Youmi, was convicted of defamation over an article on gasoline trafficking. A Maghnia-based court sentenced him to two months in jail and a fine of 50,000 dinars (approx. US$700). Proceedings were initiated with a complaint by a regional senator, who was reportedly not actually named in the article. Benzenine said he was unaware of the charges before his actual conviction. Critical journalists from other countries were simply prevented from entering Algeria, or quickly sent home. Yahya Bentahar, a Moroccan journalist, was deported in mid-July upon arrival at the airport. His editor had been told that the publication Assahrae Al Ousbouiya could send a reporter, but the journalist was interrogated by airport security officials and forced to fly home after he refused to hand over his files. On July 16, a Tbessa-based court imposed a six-month prison sentence on Rabah Lamouchi, a correspondent for Al Nahar newspaper, for alleged defamation and working without accreditation. His editor insisted that the journalist was properly accredited. The journalist was working on a story on local security forces. He was detained June 9 and held pending outcome of proceedings. Hafnaoui Ghoul, a freelance journalist and human rights activist, was due in court in mid-October in one of 16 suits pending against him. The governor and two other officials of Djelfa, northern Algeria, accused Ghoul of several offenses, including criminal defamation and insult, for articles on corruption in the local administration as well as conditions in an area prison. The other 15 cases against him were all filed by officials.

Relevant Laws Both the 1990 Information Law and the Penal Code impose criminal penalties for defamation and insult. Amendments to the Penal Code in 2001 increased some applicable penalties. Penal Code Art. 144: Anyone who insults, with the intent to affront the honor or respect of their authority, a magistrate, public official or officer, police officer in the exercise of their duties or in connection therewith, by words, gestures, threats, drawings or writings even not rendered public, is punishable by imprisonment of

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two months to two years and a fine of 1,000 to 500,000 dinars (approx. US$147,000), or one of these penalties. When the insult is committed against one or more magistrates or associate judges at a court or tribunal hearing, imprisonment ranges from one to two years. Article 144b: Any person who offends the President in an expression deemed offensive, insulting or defamatory, be it orally, in drawings, declarations or through the support of any other electronic, computer or information means is punishable by imprisonment of three months to one year and a fine of 50,000 to 250,000 dinars (approx. US$ 7,000-35,000), or one of these penalties. In case of recidivism, applicable penalties are doubled. Art. 144b(1): When the infraction is committed in a daily, weekly or other publication, legal proceedings will be undertaken against the author of the insult, the managers and editors of the publication, as well as the publication itself. In this case, the authors of the infraction are punishable by imprisonment of three months to one year and a fine of 50,000 to 250,000 dinars (approx. US$7,00035,000), or one of these penalties. The publication would incur a fine of 500,000 to 2,5 million dinars (approx. US$70,000-350,000. In case of recidivism, penalties are doubled. Art.144b(2): Offending the Prophet or the principles and tenets of Islam, in writing, a drawing, by declaration or any other means, is punishable by imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 dinars (approx. US$7,000-14,000), or one of these penalties. Art. 146: These penalties in Arts. 144b and 144b.1 also apply in cases of offenses against the Parliament, courts, the ANP (National Popular Army) and any other public institution or constituent body. In case of recidivism, penalties are doubled. Art. 160b: Voluntary and public tearing or profaning of national emblems is punishable by imprisonment of five to ten years. Art. 296: Every allegation or imputation of a fact that undermines the honor of the person or body to whom the fact is imputed is defamation. The direct publication or reproduction of such allegation or imputation is punishable, even if it is expressed in the form of a question, or targets a person or body not expressly named, where the identification is possible from the expressed comment, threat, writing, printed material, or poster. Art. 297: every outrageous expression, term of contempt or invective that does not contain an imputation of fact is an insult.

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Art 298: Defamation of private individuals is punishable by imprisonment of five days to six months and a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 dinars (approx. US$7007,000), or one of these penalties. Defamation with the intent to incite hatred among citizens or inhabitants, directed toward one or more members of an ethnic group, a group espousing a particular doctrine or any religion, is punishable by imprisonment of one month to one year and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 dinars (approx. US$1,400-14,000), or one of these penalties. Art. 298b: All insults committed against one or more members of a particular ethnic group, a group espousing a particular doctrine or any religion, are punishable by imprisonment of five days to six months and a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 dinars (approx. US$700-7,000), or one of these penalties. Art. 299: All insults committed against one or more individuals is punishable by imprisonment of six days to three months and a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 dinars (approx. US$700-7,000), or one of these penalties.

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BAHRAIN
Population: 791,000 Press Freedom Rating: Not Free In February, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, former head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was aggressively prosecuted after a speech on human rights and politics. Alkhawaja was prohibited from traveling and charged with various offenses, including broadcasting false and malicious statements and spreading provocative propaganda related to internal affairs that could cause damage to the public interest. According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the charges carry prison sentences of up to ten years. Lamees Dhaif of the newspaper Al Waqt faced legal proceedings for a series critical of the Bahrain court systems handling of family law cases. Dhaif was called in March 5 by the prosecutors office and informed she was being charged as a citizen under the Penal Code, rather than as a journalist, meaning the more lenient press law would not apply. After Dhaif protested, the prosecution later agreed to press charges under the press law. Rola Al-Saffar and Ibrahim Al-Demistani, president and secretary of the Bahrain Nursing Association, respectively, faced criminal defamation charges for newspaper articles allegedly smearing officials at a public hospital. Senior hospital staffers filed suit. Al-Saffar and Al-Demistani complained of nurses working conditions. Bahrains unions often face penal charges for publicizing their concerns. The prosecutors office summoned Abdulhasan Bu-Hussain, of Al wasat, in a defamation case by the Civil Service Bureau (CSB). Bu-Hussain, a former CSB executive, wrote a series of articles in late 2008 detailing how various CSB regulations and practices violate Bahrains Constitution. He was not the only journalist of the Al wasat newspaper to irk the CSB in 2009. Reporter Maryam al-Sherooqi was charged with insulting and degrading the CSB for articles on discriminatory hiring practices. Husain Sabt and Radhi Al-Mowsawi, journalist and editor at the Al Waqt newspaper, respectively, were summoned by police in March for a complaint on a story that an official at the Bahrain Labor Market Regulatory Authority had resigned in a corruption scandal at the agency.

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Sabt was subsequently charged with defamation, under both the Press Code and the Penal Code. According to the prosecutors office, Sabt failed to appear in court in late June. Sabt denied having been notified of the proceedings. The issue was apparently resolved, and Sabt was due in court again in October. In September, Noor Husain, a business student, had a semester of her academic record revoked by the University of Bahrain after she distributed leaflets criticizing certain of its regulations. A committee was set up to deal with her activity, which the university viewed as constituting abuse to the university and its administration. Husain was questioned at length about her political affiliations, and the committee concluded that punitive measures were warranted, particularly because she did not show remorse. A pattern of unofficial censorship of taboo topics emerged toward the end of 2009. First, Ali Saleh, a well-known journalist in Bahrain who last wrote a column for the Albilaad newspaper, was suspended after an order from the Royal court, apparently for writing critically about the Kings democratic reform efforts. A month later, in December, staff members of the newspaper were told by their editors no longer to cover critical stories on particular institutions or projects initiated by the King or his son. Relevant Laws The 2002 Press Code (Law 47/2002) prohibits criticizing the head of state, insulting Islam, and publishing news detrimental to individuals dignity. Lawmakers have for years discussed possible amendments, and changes finally introduced in 2008 eliminated prison sentences for most offenses outlined in the law. But prosecution under the Penal Code of 1976, which provides for more severe penalties, remains a possibility. Penal Code Art. 174: A punishment of imprisonment for a period of no more than two years and a fine not exceeding 200 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$530), or either penalty, shall be imposed on any person who produces or possesses, with the intent of trading, distributing, posting or displaying, any pictures designed to cause offense to the countrys reputation, whether by a presentation that is contrary to the truth, giving an improper description, presenting unbecoming aspects or by any other method. The same penalty shall be imposed on any person who imports, exports, copies deliberately either personally or through others any of the above for the aforesaid purpose, or any person who advertises such materials, displays them for sale, or trades therein, even in a secretive manner; and on any person who provides such items directly or indirectly, even free of charge and in any manner

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whatsoever. The same penalty shall be imposed on whoever distributes or delivers such materials for distribution by any means. In case of a recurring offense, the punishment shall be both imprisonment and payment of a fine without prejudice to the provisions of Art. 76 (which outlines applicable penalties in aggravating circumstances). Art. 214: A prison sentence shall be imposed on anyone who offends the Emir of the country, the national flag or emblem. Art. 215: A punishment of imprisonment for a period of no more than two years or a fine of no more than 200 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$530) shall be imposed on any person who offends in public a foreign country or international organization based in the State of Bahrain, or its president or representative. The same penalty shall apply to a person who offends such organizations flag or official emblem. Legal action alleging this crime shall only be brought upon the written request of the Justice Minister. Art. 216: A penalty of imprisonment or payment of a fine shall be imposed on anyone who offends by any method of expression the National Assembly, other constitutional institutions, the army, courts of law, authorities or government agencies Art. 222: A punishment of imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months and a fine not exceeding 50 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$130) shall be imposed on any person who offends, with the use of signs, statements, writings or by any other method, a civil servant or officer entrusted with a public service during or by reason of carrying out the duties of his office or service. The punishment shall be imprisonment of no less than three months or a fine of at least 50 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$130) if the offense takes place during the convening of a court sitting and is aimed at the panel of judges or against its members. Art. 244: A punishment of imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding 100 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$260) shall be imposed on anyone who prejudices by way of publication the status of a judge, his prestige or his authority with respect to any legal action. Art. 309: Imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding 100 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$260) shall be imposed on any person who commits an offence by any method of expression against one of the recognized religions, or ridicules the rituals thereof.

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Art. 364: A punishment of imprisonment for a term of no more than two years or a fine of no more than 200 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$530) shall be imposed on any person who by any method of publication accuses another of having committed an act that renders the individual liable for penalty or subject to contempt. The punishment shall be imprisonment and a fine, or either penalty, if the offense is committed against a public servant during or because of or by reason of discharging his duties, or if it affects ones honor or puts families into disrepute or if it is understood to be intended for attaining an illegal goal. If the offense is perpetrated by way of a newspaper or other publication, this shall be considered an aggravating circumstance. Art. 365: A punishment of imprisonment for a period of no more than two years and a fine of no more than 100 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$260), or either penalty, shall be imposed on any person who insults another by any method of publication so as to affect his honor or integrity without making a specific accusation against him. If the insult is perpetrated by way of a newspaper or other publication, this shall be considered an aggravating circumstance. Art. 366: A prison sentence for a period not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding 50 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$130) shall be imposed if the defamation or insult is committed through the telephone or without provocation against the victim and presence of a third party. The penalty shall be a fine not exceeding 50 Bahraini dinar (approx. US$130) if the offense is committed without provocation against the victim and in the presence of a third party. If the offense is committed in the cases mentioned in the above two paragraphs against a public servant during, by reason of or on the account of discharging his duties, or if such offense effects ones honor or puts families into disrepute or if it is understood to be intended for attaining an illegal goal, this shall be regarded as an aggravating circumstance.

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EGYPT
Population: 83 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Much of the years defamation news involved Yasser Barakat, editor-in-chief of the Al-Mogaz newspaper. According to a monitoring report by the Forum for Development and Human Rights, during the first three months of the year alone, Barakat was hailed into court five times. In June, a criminal court sentenced the editor to six months in prison for a 2007. article deemed to be insulting to Mostafa Al-Bakry, a Member of Parliament The court also levied a fine of 20,000 Egyptian pounds (approx. US$3,500) on Barakat. The MP has filed more than a dozen other suits against the editor. Bloggers remained a popular target. On Jan. 20, a misdemeanor court fined blogger Mohammed Mabrouk 2,500 Egyptian pounds (approx. US$450) for his postings about a chemical company. They questioned the companys disposal of hazardous substances and its treatment of employees. Continued detention of Karim Amer also sparked widespread criticism. Amer, a local blogger, was sentenced in February 2007 to four years in prison for blogs, deemed to have insulted President Hosni Mubarak and Islam. On March 23, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) concluded that his detention was arbitrary and violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In late September, his appeal was set for Oct. 20. Human rights groups expressed hope for his release by Nov. 5, when he would have served three-quarters of his prison term. But his final appeal was rejected in December, meaning he would stay in jail until November 2010. There was some positive news. On May 20, a misdemeanor court dismissed a Hisba case filed in 2007 against Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, director of the Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies. (Hisba lawsuits allow private persons to file cases against fellow citizens accused of failing to uphold religious principles.) Dr. Ibrahim was accused of broadcasting false information that harmed the nation. He was previously sentenced to two years in prison in another Hisba case, brought by a Member of Parliament for articles he wrote calling on the U.S. government to use aid to press for political reform in Egypt. On May 25, an appeals court also reversed that decision.

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The developments sparked cautious optimism among human rights activists, including the Arabic Network for Human Rights (ANHRI), which provided Dr. Ibrahims legal representation. According to the organization, Hisba suits had recently become powerful tools against outspoken Egyptian journalists. Censorship of publications and programs deemed insulting to officials was also common. In January, Al-Ahram Press refused to print an edition of Sout alUmmah, an opposition weekly, until an article deemed insulting to the President was removed. The article, titled Those Who Brought Egypt Disgrace, criticized President Mubarak and Egypts position on Gaza. Al-Ahram Press, which prints three quarters of the Egyptian press, has developed a reputation for monitoring content unfavorable to the government. A poem prompted authorities to seek revocation of the license of the magazine Ibda'e in early April. An administrative court ordered the revocation after finding that the poem Shorfat Laila Morad was insulting to God. The magazines issue with the poem had already been confiscated. In September, Information Minister Anas Al Fiqy banned a comedy program, the Hokuma Show (Cabinet Show) for criticizing Prime Minister Ahmed Nazeef and other government officials. In October, the newspaper Al Balagh Al Gadid was closed by the Supreme Press Council, over a complaint filed by the Attorney General, claiming it had published false news defaming local artists. Press freedom groups complained that the order was not based on a court finding of defamation. Also that month, police arrested Tamer Azab for involvement with a Facebook group that accused a local television station of violating intellectual property rights. After Tarek Nour, the station owner, filed suit alleging insult and libel, Azab was arrested without warrant and detained. He was released Oct. 28, and claimed he was abused in detention. Charges against him were later changed to disturbance of others. Relevant Laws The 1996 Press Law was amended in 2006, but the amendments themselves contained many qustionable provisions. The Penal Code also facilitates suppression of expression. Penal Code Art. 80(d) provides for imprisonments of six months to five years, a fine, or both, for any Egyptian who deliberately disseminates abroad false and tendentious information, statements or rumors on the internal situation in the

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country, with the aim of weakening confidence in its economy or undermining its stature or prestige, or who carries out any activity aimed at damaging the national interest of the country. Art. 98 criminalizes contempt of religion. Subsection f) specifies confinement for a period of not less than six months and not exceeding five years, or a fine of not less than 500 [Egyptian] pounds (approx. US$88) and not exceeding 1,000 pounds (approx. US$176) shall be the penalty inflicted on whoever makes use of religion in propagating, either by words, in writing, or in any other means, extreme ideas for the purpose of inciting strife, ridiculing or insulting a heavenly religion or a sect following it, or damaging national unity. Art. 102 allows detention and imposition of a fine on anyone who deliberately diffuses news, information/data, or false or tendentious rumors, or propagates exciting publicity, if this is liable to disturb public security, spread fear among the people, or cause harm or damage to the public interest. Art. 179 criminalizes and allows detention for insulting the President. Art. 181 penalizes individuals who vilify the king or president of a foreign country. The penalty is fixed at between six months and five years in prison, or a fine of 5,000 to 20,000 Egyptian pounds (approx. US$880-3,520) for the editor and 10,000-30,000 pounds (approx. US$1,760-5,280) for the journalist. Art. 184 provides for imprisonment, a fine ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 Egyptian pounds (approx. US$880-1760), or both for anyone who insults the People's Assembly or the Shura Council or other statutory bodies, the army or the courts or authorities or public interests." Art. 201 prohibits using a place of worship to criticize administrative decisions or existing laws and regulations. Art. 308 imposes a minimum prison sentence of six months on journalists whose writings comprise an attack against the dignity and honor of individuals, or constitute an outrageous smear on the reputation of families.

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IRAN
Population: 74.2 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free News media were particularly hard hit after the disputed result of the presidential election in June 2009, with several press freedom organizations noting that Iran had become the worlds largest jailer of journalists. Alleged offenses were often difficult to determine, but insult law charges were often used against journalists. Blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi died in ambiguous circumstances in a Tehran prison in March. Mirsayafi was jailed in Evin Prison in February, convicted of insulting religious leaders and propagating against the state. He was sentenced to more than two years in prison, and faced further charges when he died. Mirsayafi denied that his blog on Persian culture was political. Charges against him were based on comments about several religious figures, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Authorities insisted he had committed suicide, but family members and an imprisoned doctor contested that. In July, authorities suspended the newspaper Sedai Edalat, over a poem allegedly insulting Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of Irans Islamic Republic. In September, Ali Asguar Jamali, an activist doctor who also runs a blog (Dr Social Democrat) was reportedly arrested for undermining national security by insulting government officials. A Web Crime Unit was created in November to monitor the Internet for insults and lies. This caused widespread concern that it was meant to suppress the kinds of messaging that helped mobilize opinion during and after the presidential election. December was a particularly difficult month for news media. That month, Hengameh Shahidi, an advisor to unsuccessful presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi, contributor to various newspapers and also a blogger, was sentenced to six years and three months in prison. She was arrested in late June, and reportedly held in solitary confinement for almost two months and subjected to tough interrogation. Her sentence involved several charges, including insulting the President. She was also accused of participating in riots. She denied that, contending that she attended some demonstrations as a journalist and advisor. She was freed on bail and planned to appeal.

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Mohammad Nourizad, a blogger who previously wrote for the governmentcontrolled newspaper Kayhan, was also arrested in December. The journalist, who began criticizing the government after the presidential elections, faced charges of insulting authorities and anti-regime propaganda. On Dec. 16, Kurdish journalist Sedigh Minaee, of the Aso Weekly, was put on trial on several charges, including insulting authorities. The same day, Issa Sahar-Khiz, a journalist imprisoned in July, was taken to court on various charges, including insulting the Supreme Leader. Several conservative news sources were also targeted that month. Jahannews, run by a parliamentary deputy who distanced himself from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the post-election turmoil, was charged with insulting the President. Alef news, also tied to a Member of Parliament, faced the same charges. It has been critical of Ahmadinejad in recent years. Finally, the web site Ayandenews was blocked, as of early December, also for allegedly insulting government officials. Blogger Mohammad Pour Abdullah, arrested in January 2009 and detained since, was sentenced in December to six years in prison for offenses including anti-government publicity. Charges were reportedly based on his blogs on prison conditions and government interrogation methods. Relevant Laws Press Law of 1986 Art. 3: The press has the right to publish opinions, constructive criticisms, suggestions and explanations of individuals and government officials for public information while duly observing the Islamic teachings and the best interest of the community. Note: Constructive criticism should be based on logic and reason and void of insult, humiliation and detrimental effects. Art. 6: The print media are permitted to publish news items except in cases when they violate Islamic principles and codes and public rights as outlined in this chapter: 1. Publishing atheistic articles or issues that are prejudicial to Islamic codes, or, promoting subjects which might damage the foundation of the Islamic Republic; 5. Encouraging and instigating individuals and groups to act against the security, dignity and interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran within or outside the country; 7. Insulting Islam and its sanctities, or offending the Leader of the Revolution and recognized religious authorities (senior Islamic jurisprudents); 8. Publishing libel against officials, institutions, organizations and individuals in

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the country or insulting legal or real persons who are lawfully respected, even by means of pictures or caricatures; 9. Committing plagiarism or quoting articles from the deviant press, parties and groups which oppose Islam (inside and outside the country) in such a manner as to propagate such ideas (the limits of such offenses shall be defined in an executive bylaw). Note: Plagiarism means intentional ascription of all or a considerable part of the works and words of others to oneself, even in the form of translation. Art. 26: Whoever insults Islam and its sanctities through the press and his/her guilt amounts to apostasy, shall be sentenced as an apostate and should his/her offense fall short of apostasy he/she shall be subject to the Islamic Penal Code. Art. 27: Should a publication insult the Leader or Council of Leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran or senior religious authorities, the license of the publication shall be revoked and its managing director and the writer of the insulting article shall be referred to competent courts for punishment. Art. 30: Publication of any article containing slander and libel and use of invective language and derogatory allegations, etc., against individuals is prohibited and the guilty managing director shall be referred to judiciary authorities for punishment. Legal proceedings will follow if the injured party lodges a complaint against such offenses. However, should the plaintiff withdraw his/her complaint, prosecution would stop at whatever stage it may be. Art. 31: Publication of articles that threaten to harm or disgrace a person or disclose his/her confidential affairs is prohibited and the guilty managing director shall be subjected to judicial authorities and punished according to the Islamic Penal Code. Penal Code Art. 500: Anyone who propagates in whatever manner against the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran or in favor of groups or organizations that oppose the system shall be sentenced to imprisonment of three months to one year. Art. 513: Anyone who insults the Islamic sanctities or any of the imams is subject to execution if the insult amounts to speaking disparagingly of Prophet Mohammed. Otherwise, the penalty consists of imprisonment of one to five years.

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Art. 514: Anyone who in any way insults the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, or the Supreme Leader of the country, shall be sentenced to imprisonment of six months to two years. Art. 608: Insults, such as swearing, or using profane language, if not punished based on the haad of malicious accusations, should be punished by flogging of up to 74 lashes or a fine. Art. 609: Anyone who insults any of the leaders of the three branches of government, presidential deputies, ministers, any of the members of parliament, or any ministry staff, or any other state employees, due to their duties, shall be punished by imprisonment of three to six months, flogging (74 lashes) or a fine. Art. 697: Anyone who through the printed press or other media falsely accuses someone of an offense or crime shall be sentenced to imprisonment of one month to one year or flogging of up to 74 lashes (unless the punishment is specified in haads). Art. 698: Anyone who in order to hurt someone else or to create unease in public or official minds publishes false information in the form of letter, complaint, report, or by means of the press, shall be imprisoned from two months to two years or be flogged (74 lashes).

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IRAQ
Population: 30.7 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free As the security situation gradually improved in the country, media organizations reported that harassment by authorities, including through litigation, had become the top concern for Iraqi journalists. In early February, a court in Sulaymaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan ordered Shwan Muhammad, the former editor-in-chief of Awene (The Mirror), an independent newspaper, to pay a 3 million dinar (approx. US$2,570) fine for defaming a tribal leader in an article published anonymously in late 2006. Muhammad faced further charges for refusing to reveal the name of the author. Several other suits were reportedly pending against Awene. In December, the publications new editor-in-chief, Asos Hardi, was honored by the World Association of Newspapers with the 2009 Gebran Tueni Award, for an Arab editor or publisher for leadership in press freedom and for high professional standards. In March, a court in Iraqi Kurdistan imposed fines of 10 million dinars (approx. US$8,600) and 3 million dinars (approx. US$2,570) on the independent newspaper Hawlati and its former editor-in-chief, Abid Aref, respectively. They were convicted, under Art. 9 of the 2008 Press Law, of defaming Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, for printing a translation of an article by an American think tank. The article, which questioned the U.S. governments relations with Iraqi Kurdistan, alleged that Talabani and Massoud Barzani, President of Iraqi Kurdistan, had corruptly enriched themselves. Only Talabani filed suit. The Committee to Protect Journalists noted the frequency of litigation against news media in Iraqi Kurdistan, with Hawlati alone facing 17 other suits, largely filed by government and party officials. There was some good news. In June, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dropped his complaint against Kitabat, an Iraqi news web site based in Germany. AlMaliki had earlier told the web site that he sought 1 billion dinars (approx. US$860,000) damages for an article accusing his chief of staff of nepotism. In August, a court ordered Iraqi satellite broadcaster Al-Sharqiya to pay a 100 million Iraqi dinar (approx. US$86,000) fine for slandering the Iraqi

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militarys top spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, by misquoting him. The broadcaster had reportedly cited him saying detainees freed by the United States would be rearrested by Iraqi authorities. Al-Moussawi insisted he had merely stated that their files would be reviewed as part of an investigation into recent bombings in Iraq. Early release of Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist famous for throwing his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush at a press conference, made headlines in September. Bush had ducked and was not hit. Al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting a foreign head of state on an official visit. In April, an appeals court altered the charge to insulting a foreign head of state and reduced Al-Zaidis sentence to one year. He was freed three months early. When freed, he alleged he was brutally mistreated in jail. In November, a Baghdad court found that The Guardian newspaper of Britain defamed Prime Minister al-Maliki in an article describing his government as increasingly authoritarian. It imposed a fine of 100 million Iraqi dinars (approx. US$86,000) on the London daily. The article, titled Six years after Saddam Hussein, Nouri al-Maliki tightens his grip on Iraq, quoted three members of the intelligence services, who said the Prime Ministers governing style was becoming more autocratic. In early 2010, the Article 19 organization and the International Federation of Journalists filed a joint amicus curiae brief to the appeals court scheduled to review The Guardians appeal. Relevant Laws The Publications Law of 1968 (No. 206) includes provisions prohibiting publication of materials offensive to the government. In July, the Iraqi government introduced a bill to abolish those provisions. Penal Code Art. 202: Anyone who publicly insults the Arab community or the Iraqi people, or any section of the population or the national flag or the State emblem, is punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years or by detention. Art. 225: Any one who publicly insults the President or his representative is punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven years or by detention.* Art. 226: Anyone who publicly insults the National Assembly or the government or the courts or the armed forces or any other constitutional body or the public authorities or official or semi-official agencies or departments is punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven years of detention or a fine.

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Art. 227: Any person who publicly insults a foreign state or any international organization having an office in Iraq, or that countrys Head of State or its representative in Iraq, or its flag or national emblem when it is displayed in accordance with Iraqi law, is punishable by a period of detention not exceeding two years plus a fine not exceeding 200 dinars (approx. US$.20). Art. 229: Anyone who insults or threatens an official or other public employee or council or official body, in the execution of their duties or as a consequence of those duties, is punishable by a period of detention not exceeding two years or by a fine not exceeding 200 dinars (approx. US$.20). The penalty will be a period of detention not exceeding three years plus a fine or one of those penalties if such insult or threat is directed at a judge or legal or administrative court or council carrying out a legal function in the execution of their duties or as a consequence of those duties. Art. 372: The following are punishable by a period of detention not exceeding three years or by a fine: 1. Anyone who attacks the creed of a religious minority or pours scorn on its religious practices. 4. Anyone who prints or publishes a book sacred to a religious minority and deliberately misspells the texts so that the meaning of the text is altered or who makes light of its tenets or teachings. 5. Any one who publicly insults a symbol or a person who constitutes an object of sanctification, worship or reverence to a religious minority. Art. 433: 1. Defamation is the public imputation to another of a particular matter that, if true, would expose such person to punishment or cause him to be scorned by society. Anyone who defames another is punishable by detention plus a fine or by one of those penalties. If such defamation is published in a newspaper or publication or other press medium, it is considered an aggravating circumstance. 2. Such person is not permitted to establish the proof of his imputation unless that imputation is directed at a public official or agent or public deputy or he is carrying out an act in the public interest or if such imputation is connected with the office or employment of the aggrieved person but if he establishes the proof of all imputations made, then there is no offense. Art. 434: Insult is the imputation to another of something dishonorable or disrespectful or the hurting of his feelings, and that does not include an imputation of a particular matter. Anyone who insults another is punishable by a period of detention not exceeding one year plus a fine not exceeding 100 dinars (approx. US$10) or by one of those penalties.

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If such insult is published in a newspaper or publication or medium it is considered an aggravating circumstance. Art. 435: If the defamation or insult is directed at the victim in private or during a telephone conversation or if it is sent to the victim in writing or communicated to him by other means, the penalty will be a period of detention not exceeding six months plus a fine not exceeding 50 dinars (approx. US$5) or by one of those penalties. Art. 436: 1. It is not an offense if a complainant or his representative defames or insults the other party orally or in writing while defending his rights before a court, investigating authority or other body, as long as it is within the necessary limits of his defense. 2. There is no penalty for any person who has defamed or insulted another while in a state of anger following an unjust assault on him by such other person. * In June 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority issued Order 7, stipulating that the third version of the Penal Code of 1969 would be the countrys applicable criminal law. The third version was enacted in 1984. In addition, the order suspended certain provisions, including Section 225, which imposes prison penalties for insulting the President. Furthermore, it specified that certain legal proceedings required written permission from the CPA; these included those involving offenses prohibited in Sections 226 (insulting governmental entities, court or armed forces), 227 (insulting foreign representatives), and 229 (insulting a public official). Iraqi Kurdistan Iraqi Kurdistans Press Law (Decree No. 24 of 2008) specifies that fines ranging from 1 million to 5 million dinars (approx. US$860-4,300) may be imposed on any journalist and editor-in-chief who publishes material that, among others, insults religious beliefs or religious symbols, or constitutes libel, slander, or defamation (Art. 9). Journals may be fined between 5 million and 20 million dinars (approx. US$4,300-17,160) for the same offenses.

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KUWAIT
Population: 3 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free Kuwait is often cited as one of the more progressive countries in the region in respect to freedom of expression. Yet, criticizing the ruling Emir has long been considered as crossing the red line, and insulting God or the Prophet Mohammed is also illegal. In December 2008, Nasrah Alshamery, a Kuwaiti-born Australian citizen, was detained at the Kuwait airport after immigration officials accused her of insulting the ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. Several family members were also arrested but freed on bail. In early 2009, she was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. She appealed, and her sentence was suspended. She was said to have health problems, including diabetes, and was freed in June. Alshamery had been in Kuwait on vacation with her family. After her release, she denied ever insulting the Emir, claiming that immigration officials became hostile when she refused to denounce her Australian passport. She also claimed she was beaten and sometimes denied food during her incarceration. In April, a former Member of Parliament was arrested for describing Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah, a senior member of the Al-Sabah family, as unfit and too weak to be Prime Minister. Daifallah Buramia, a deputy until Parliament was dissolved in March, was charged with denigrating the ruler. In May, a Kuwait City criminal court convicted Sheikh Sabah Mohamed AlSabah, chief editor of the daily newspaper Al Shehid of insulting the Emir. AlSabah was given a choice of paying 2,000 Kuwaiti dinars (approx. US$7,000) and a suspended sentence, or not paying and getting a three-year sentence. The case was over a riddle printed by the paper in September 2008, with two photos of the Emir. It challenged readers to spot seven differences between them. Editor Al-Sabah belongs to the royal family. Also in May, three security officers were pursued for filming and distributing to their colleagues a video allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed. The officer who spoke the allegedly insulting words was sentenced to six months in jail in July. An appeals court reversed the conviction in August. The other two officers had been acquitted, and the appeals court confirmed that ruling.

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Video-taped remarks about the Prime Minister sparked charges against lawyer/journalist Muhammad Abd al-Qadir al-Jasim in November. Al-Jasim, founder of the online journal Mizan, was charged with libel and slander by the Prime Minister, who was not present at the private social gathering where the comments were allegedly made. Al-Jasim faced a two-year term. Relevant Laws The 2006 Law of Publications Chapter 3 Art. 19: It is prohibited to publish what may touch God, the Prophets, the Companions of the Prophet, the citizens, or the principles of the Islamic doctrine by slander, sarcasm, calumny in writings, drawings, photos or any other means of expression listed in the present law. Art. 20: It is forbidden to make direct and forward criticism to the person of the Emir, and any words attributed to Him shall be by virtue of a written authorization from the Emiri Council. Art. 21: It is forbidden to publish what may: 1. Demean or disdain the state Constitution. 2. Offend or demean the magistrates or the members of the Attorney Generals office or what is considered an offense to the integrity and impartiality of the magistracy or what the courts or investigation authorities decide to keep secret 7. Touch the dignity, life or religious beliefs of the persons and incite to hatred or demean any of the society classes, or spread information about their financial situations, or disclose a secret that affects their reputation, wealth or trade name. 8. Interfere in the private life of the functionary or [anyone] charged with a public service, or attributing untrue words or acts including defamation or insult to his person. Art. 27: Without prejudice to any severer punishment stipulated by another law, the editor-in-chief and the articles writer or author shall be punished: 1. If the journal publishes what is forbidden in Art. 19 by imprisonment for one year maximum and a fine ranging between 5,000 and 20,000 dinars (approx. US$17,500-70,000) or by one of both punishments; 2. If the journal publishes what is forbidden in Art. 20 by a fine ranging between 5,000 and 20,000 dinars (approx. US$17,500-70,000); 3. If the journal publishes what is forbidden in Art. 21 by a fine ranging between 3,000 and 10,000 dinars (approx. US$10,500-35,000). The Penal Code (1960) also outlaws insults to the Emir, and imposes criminal penalties for libel and slander.

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LEBANON
Population: 4.2 million Press Freedom Rating: Partly Free In November, Simon Abou Fadel, a reporter for the newspaper Al-Kalima, was charged with insulting President Michel Suleiman for saying on television that he was insufficiently involved in seeking a unity government. According to the International Press Institute, a director of MTV, which aired the comments, said it was the first time the President had used the law. IPI, which conducted a mission to Lebanon in October, reported that journalists expressed concern over continued use of criminal defamation laws. Local journalists indicated that such proceedings usually resulted in out-of-court settlements or informal agreements, avoiding prison terms for journalists. But some said they worry that the prospect of penalties encourages self-censorship. Relevant Laws Law Decree No. 104 (June30, 1977) Art. 2 provides that publications that publish erroneous or false articles or news must publish replies or corrections submitted to them. Art. 3 specifies that, where the erroneous or false news may disturb the public peace, the responsible individual shall be punished by detention of six to 18 months, a fine of 500,000 to 1.5 million Lebanese pounds (approx. US$3301,000), or both. Where the erroneous or false news concerns natural or legal persons, and does not disturb the public peace, the plaintiff must initiate proceedings. The applicable penalty consists of detention of three to six months, a fine ranging from 300,000 to 1 million Lebanese pounds (approx. US$200-665), or both --in addition to any damages awarded the plaintiff in a tort action. Art. 17 specifies that, where the decree does not address the situation in question, general penal law applies to cases of defamation, insult and contempt; however, the applicable statute of limitations shall be three months for residents of Lebanon and six months for foreign residents, from the date of publication. Art. 22 provides that defaming or insulting civil servants because of their duties is punishable by detention of one to six months, a fine of 300,000 to 500,000 Lebanese pounds (approx. US$200-333), or both. When repeat offenders are

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involved, the court may not levy a penalty lower than specified in this section.* When the defamation or insult targets a public official, the applicable penalty consists of detention ranging from three months to one year, a fine between 500,000 and 1 million Lebanese pounds (approx. US$333-665), or both. Offenses that target a sitting judge are punishable by detention ranging from one to two years. When repeat offenders are involved, the court may not impose a lower penalty than those specified in this section.* Art. 23 provides that, where material is published that undermines the dignity of the President of the Republic, or is defamatory toward the President of the Republic or a president of a foreign nation, proceedings may be initiated, even without a claim by the prejudiced individual. The prosecutor may confiscate the material in question before transferring the matter to the relevant court. The court may impose penalties consisting of detention of two months to two years, a penalty ranging from 50 million to 100 million Lebanese pounds (approx. US$33,250- 66,500), or both. This section specifies that in no circumstances may the imposed detention last less than one month, and the imposed fine less than the minimum amount set out in this section.* Art. 25 applies to published material that defames any of the countrys recognized religions, provokes religious or racial animosity, disrupts public order or exposes to danger the States security, sovereignty, unity or borders, or Lebanons relations with a foreign country. In such cases, the prosecutor has the right to confiscate the offending material and refer it to a competent court. The court may impose penalties consisting of detention of one to three years, a fine ranging from 50 million to 100 million Lebanese pounds (approx. US $33,250-66,500), or both. The section specifies that in no circumstances may the imposed detention last less than two months, and the imposed fine less than the minimum amount set out in the section.* *The Lebanese legal system in some cases permits courts, in light of mitigating circumstances, to levy penalties less than minimums prescribed by laws.

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LIBYA
Population: 6.4 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Human rights organizations have in recent years cautiously welcomed an apparent increase in press freedom in Libya. However, this year Human Rights Watch reported that somewhat more critical coverage had also brought more arrests and charges for defamation and insult. Libyan embassies continued to file defamation suits behalf of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi during 2009 including in Morocco and Uganda (which see). In October, Mohamed al-Sareet was pursued for covering a protest by women claiming sexual harassment at a state-run center. After al-Sareets article was published on Jeel Libya, a London-based news web site, he was interrogated by both police and at the General Prosecutors office, which subsequently charged him with criminal defamation. Several of the demonstrators later denied they were harassed. Another web site, Libya al Youm, which posted photos of the demonstration, reported that they retracted under official pressure. However, subsequent reports indicated that charges against al-Sareet were dropped after taped conversations confirmed his claims. Jamal el-Haji, a writer, was arrested Dec. 9, seven months after he filed a complaint with the Justice Secretary about abuse he said he suffered during his two-year incarceration. The writer also spoke out about oppression in the country in statements aired on BBC World in September. Two months later, he was summoned in connection with a criminal defamation complaint apparently already filed in June. In early December, he was placed in pretrial detention. In a subsequent statement, the prosecutors office indicated that it initiated charges after investigating el-Hajis complaint and concluding that it had no basis. Relevant Laws While several laws assert the right to free expression, they attach conditions to this right, including that all expression must be in the public interest and the principles of the Revolution (Constitutional Declaration of 1969), within the framework of the principles, values and objectives of society (Law No. 76 of 1972 on Publications), and not in violation of the peoples authority or for personal motives (Law No. 20 of 1991 on the Promotion of Freedom).

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Penal Code (1953) Talk of amending the Penal Code began as early as 2003. According to Human Rights Watch, a committee including judges, lawyers and academics, prepared a draft of a new code in early 2009. The Basic Peoples Congresses were expected to start discussing the proposal in December. After such discussions, the new code would come into force only if approved by the General Peoples Congress. Human Rights Watch reported that the draft included some improvements, such as eliminating some provisions imposing the death penalty for certain offenses. However, it also noted that the new draft contained articles that impose prison sentences for offending public officials and insulting Qaddafi. According to segments of the law published by the UNODC, the current Penal Code includes several provisions that impose harsh penalties for insult. Art. 178 provides that disseminating or conveying incorrect, exaggerated or disturbing news or rumors about Libyas internal affairs that could damage its reputation or undermine confidence in it abroad is punishable by life imprisonment. The article also provides that engaging in any other form of activity that may be injurious to the interests of the country is subject to the same penalty. Art. 195 prohibits insulting the peoples power*, all judicial, defense or security organizations, as well as publicly insulting the Libyan people or the State emblem or flag. Violations are punishable by imprisonment. Committing what may be regarded as an attack against the Great Fateh [Sept. 1, 1969] Revolution or its leader is also prohibited, and punishable by imprisonment. Art. 220 specifies that publicly insulting the dignity of a foreign head of state while that person is in Libya is punishable by imprisonment of up to five years. Art. 221 provides that publicly insulting foreign representatives accredited by the Libyan government, because of or during the performance of their duties, is also subject to imprisonment of up to five years. *The countrys political system of local and national peoples congresses.

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MOROCCO
Population: 32 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free On March 26, a Casablanca court sentenced Ali Anouzla and Jamal Boudouma, managing editor and publishing director of the independent daily AlJarida al-Oula, respectively, to two-month suspended jail terms each and a fine of 200,000 dirhams (approx. US$25,440) for defamation and insulting the judiciary. The suit was filed by Khalil Hachemi Idrissi, publisher of the newspaper Aujourd'hui Le Maroc, who criticized Al-Jarida al-Oula for reporting on an incident in which a relative of King Muhammad VI shot at an officer who stopped his car. Boudouma replied satirically to Idrissis view, and Idrissi sued the paper for defamation in September 2008. In January, a court fined it 160,000 dirhams (approx. US$20,285). It subsequently reprinted the article, with an editorial on the verdict. Idrissi filed a second suit, alleging both defamation and insulting the judiciary. Anouzla was to appeal the March verdict. In late June, a Casablanca court convicted three independent publications of publicly harming and injuring the dignity of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Mohamed Brini and Mokhtar al-Ghizeawy, both of Al-Ahdath AlMagrebia, Rachid Niny and Younes Meskini, of Al-Massae, and Ali Anouzla, editor of Al-Jarida Al-Oula, were all implicated in the suit brought by the Libyan Embassy in Rabat. Their publications were each ordered to pay fines of 100,000 dirhams (about US$12,700) and damages of 1 million dirhams (about US$127,000) to Qaddafi. Charges were over several articles on Qaddafi and his family, including one accusing his son and daughter-in-law of assaulting their household staff, and one quoting a former official who comparing Qaddafis views to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavezs. Local commentators suggested the verdict was politically motivated, noting Moroccos strong economic/political ties to Libya. On June 24, rights activist Chekib el-Khayari, president of the Association for Human Rights in the Rif, was sentenced to three years in prison. He was convicted on charges, including gravely insulting state institutions, over alleging public officials links to drug trafficking. He was also fined 750,000 dirhams (approx. US$95,530).

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In July, representatives of relatives of the royal family filed suit against Edris Shehtan, editor of the weekly Al Michaal and Mustafa Idary, who heads a Khneifera-based human rights organization, for hesba (insults to God harmful to Islamic society). The suit, by the Association of the Amahzoun Mouha Ou Hammou Family, was over an interview with Idary accusing two relatives of the King of corruption. It sought a fine of 1 million dirhams (approx. US$127,000). In October there were several suits against journalists covering the royal family. A court sentenced Driss Chahtan, managing editor of Al Michaal, to one year in prison, and two journalists at the publication (Mostafa Hiran and Rashid Mahameed) to three months for intentionally publishing false information on the Kings health. The newsmen were fined 5,000 dirhams (approx. US$635). On Oct. 26, Ali Anouzla , editor of Al Jarida Al Oula, and Bouchra Eddou (Daou), a reporter for the publication, received one-year and three-month suspended sentences, respectively, also for false reports on the royal health. The articles in question suggested the King was too ill to attend certain meetings. A cartoon of Prince Moulay Ismails wedding sparked two actions against Taoufiq Bouachrine, publisher of the Akhbar al-Youm newspaper, and Khalid Gueddar, the cartoonist. They were convicted of failing to accord due respect to a member of the royal family. Each got a three-year suspended prison sentence and was fined 3 million dirhams (approx. US$380,000). A separate suit by the Interior Ministry accused them of attacking an emblem of the kingdom. They were again convicted, and got further one-year suspended sentences. They were fined 100,000 dirhams (about US$ 12,800). The publication was closed. Foreign publications reprinting the cartoon were also temporarily banned. In December, blogger El Bachir Hazzam got a four-month sentence for posting a press release by students criticizing suppression of protests in a village. He was reportedly convicted of spreading false information about human rights that undermined the kingdoms image. Several other incidents suggested that any coverage at all of the royals is dangerous. In February, 20 policemen raided Al Ayam after it sought permission to publish a photo of the royal family. In August, more than 100,000 copies of the weekly magazines TelQuel and Nichane were seized while they were going to press with an opinion poll on the first ten years of Mohammed VIs reign. The seizure was said to have lacked legal basis and was widely commented on as strange since the poll showed more than 91% satisfaction with the King.

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Relevant Laws Although calls continued to further reform the Press Code, there were no changes in 2009. Until recently, courts have mostly imposed fines, not prison terms, for defamation and insult. Developments during the year underscored the continued threat of the jail sentences provided for in the Press Code. The Penal Code also carries problematic provisions, including Art. 263, penalizing gravely offending state institutions. Press Code (2002) Art. 29: Import of journals and periodicals printed outside Morocco may be banned by the Ministry of Communication if those publications undermine Islam, the monarchy, territorial integrity, respect for the King or public order. The Prime Minister may ban publication of foreign journals and periodicals printed in Morocco for the same reasons. If this is intentional, sale, distribution or reproduction of journals or periodicals is punishable by imprisonment from six months to three years, and a fine of 1,200 to 50,000 dirhams (US$152-6,350). The copies of the journals or periodicals shall be seized, and, in case of conviction, the judgment will order their confiscation and destruction. Art. 38: Those who directly provoke the author(s) to commit an act defined as a crime or misdemeanor, by speech, cries or threats made in public places or meetings, in writing, printed matter sold, distributed, offered for sale, or displayed in public places or meetings, by placards or posters in public view, or by the various available audiovisual or electronic means, are punishable as accomplices of an act defined as a crime or misdemeanor, if the incitement results in action. This provision also applies if the incitement is followed only by an attempted crime. Art. 41: Any offense by the means specified in Art. 38, against His Majesty the King, the royal princes and princesses, is punishable by imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 dirhams (approx. US$1,270$12,700). The same penalty may apply where the publication of a newspaper or writing undermines the Islamic religion, the monarchical form of government or the territorial integrity. In case of a conviction under this article, suspension of the newspaper or publication may be pronounced in the same judicial decision, for a period of no more than three months. Such a suspension will not affect the labor contracts into which the operator has entered, said operator continuing to be bound by all existing contractual or legal obligations. The court may pronounce in the same decision the ban of the newspaper or publication.

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Art. 42: Publishing, disseminating or reproducing, in bad faith and by any means, particularly those outlined in Art. 38, false news, allegations, inaccurate facts, fabricated or falsified pieces attributed to third parties, that disrupt public order or provoke public fear, is punishable by imprisonment from one month to one year, a fine of 1,200 to 100,000 dirhams (US$152-12,700), or both. The same acts are punishable by one to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 1,200 to 100,000 dirhams where the publication, dissemination or reproduction may shake the discipline or morale of the military. Art. 44: Any allegation or imputation of a fact that undermines the honor of or esteem for the persons or constituted bodies to which the fact is imputed constitutes defamation. Any offensive utterance, expression of contempt undermining personal dignity, or invective involving no allegations of fact constitutes an insult. Any direct publication or reproduction of that defamation or insult is punishable, even if posed in the form of a question or if directed against a person or constituted body not expressly named but which is identifiable from the terms of the incriminated speech, cries, threats, writings or publications, placards or posters. Art. 45: Defamation of the courts, tribunals, the army, navy or air force, constituted bodies, or the government of Morocco, by one of the means specified in Art. 38, is punishable by imprisonment of one month to one year, a fine of 1,200 to 100,000 dirhams (approx. US$152-$12,700), or both. Art. 46: The same penalties may be applied in cases of defamation by the same means against persons due to their function as minister(s), officer, trustee or agent of public authority, and all persons charged with a temporary or permanent public function or mandate, an assessor or a witness for giving testimony. Defamation of these persons concerning their private lives is punishable by the penalties provided in Art. 47 hereunder. Art. 47: Defamation against persons by one of the means specified in Art. 38 is punishable by a term of imprisonment of one month to six months, by a fine of 10,000 to 50,000 dirhams (approx. US$1,270-$6,350) or both. Art. 48: Insult committed by the same means of bodies and persons designated in Arts. 45 and 46 is punishable by a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 dirhams (approx. US$6,350 -$12,700). Insult by the same means against private individuals is punishable by a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 dirhams (approx. US$635 -$6,350), when the insult was not provoked. Art. 49: The truth of a defamatory fact, solely when it is in relation to an official function or duty, may be established by normal channels in cases of allegations

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against constituent bodies, the army, navy or air force, government and against the persons listed by Art. 46. The truth of defamatory or insulting allegations may also be established against directors or administrators of any industrial, commercial or financial enterprise that solicits savings or credit from the public. Those designated as legally responsible for the publication must before publication hold evidence establishing the published facts. The truth of defamatory facts may always be proven, except: a) when the allegation concerns the private life of the person, b) when the allegation refers to facts that are more than ten years old, c) when the allegation refers to an amnestied infraction that has been amnestied or subjected to the statute of limitations or that has been expunged by rehabilitation or reversal. Art. 50: Any republication of an allegation that has been ruled defamatory shall be deemed to have been made in bad faith, unless the person responsible proves the contrary. Art. 51: Anyone who transmits, through the post and telegraph service or by other electronic means, open correspondence containing defamation, either against individuals or against constituted bodies or persons enumerated in Arts. 41, 45, 46, 52, and 53, shall be punished by a maximum term of imprisonment of one month, a fine of 1,200 to 5,000 dirhams (approx. US$152-$635) or both. If the correspondence contains an insult, that transmission will be punishable by a term of imprisonment of six days to two months and a fine of 200 to 1,200 dirhams (approx. US$25-$152). Where the facts at issue are those specified in Art. 41, the punishment shall be imprisonment of one to six months and a fine of 1,200 to 5,000 dirhams. Art. 51 bis: Anyone who has published allegations, facts or photographs infringing the private life of a third person is punishable with a term of imprisonment of one to six months, a fine of 5,000 to 20,000 dirhams (approx. US$635-$2,500) or both. Art. 52: Offensive statements in public against the persons of chiefs of State and their dignity, chiefs of government, and foreign ministers of foreign countries are punishable by a term of imprisonment of one month to one year and a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 dirhams (approx. US$1,270-$12,700) or solely one of those penalties. Art. 53: Offenses committed publicly against the person and dignity of a foreign diplomatic or consular agent officially accredited or assigned to Our Majesty are punishable by a term of imprisonment of one to six months, a fine of 5,000 to 30,000 dirhams (approx. US$635-$3,820) or both.

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Art. 57: No suits for defamation, insult or contempt will be admitted for accurate accounts of legal debates produced in good faith nor of statements or writings introduced before the courts. Nevertheless, judges who rule on the substance of the cases may strike from the record insulting, contemptuous or defamatory statements and sentence those responsible to payment of damages. Judges may, in such circumstances, impose injunctions on lawyers and even suspend them. Such a suspension may not exceed one month, or three months if the offense is repeated within a year. Defamations unrelated to the cases at hand may nevertheless be the subject either of criminal or of civil suits by the parties if their right to bring suit has been maintained by the courts, and third parties may in any case bring civil suits. Art. 58: In case of a conviction, the court may, in the cases provided for by Arts. 39, 40,41, 52 and 53, order the confiscation of the writings or publications, placards, posters that have been seized and may order the seizure, removal or destruction of all the copies placed on sale, distributed or displayed to the public. The removal or destruction may be restricted to just parts of the seized copies. Art. 71: The prosecution will be undertaken in accordance with applicable procedure before the competent court, except for the following changes: 1. In case of defamation of private individuals provided for under Art. 47 of this law and in the case of insult provided for under Art. 48, Para. 2, prosecution will be undertaken solely on the basis of a complaint by the defamed or insulted person; 2. In case of insult or defamation against the courts, tribunals or other bodies enumerated in Art. 45, the prosecution will be undertaken solely on the basis of a decision to prosecute made by them in plenary deliberations, or if the body does not have a plenary instance, upon the complaint of the person to whom the body is responsible; 3, In case of insult or defamation against members of our government, prosecution will be undertaken either on the basis of a complaint by the interested parties or of one made to the Prime Minister for transmission to the Minister of Justice; 4. In case of insult or defamation of officials or of persons holding public authority, prosecution will be undertaken on the basis of their complaint or of the government authority to whom they are responsible, addressed directly to the Minister of Justice; 5. In case of defamation of an assessor and of a witness, prosecution will be undertaken solely on the basis of a complaint by the assessor or by the witness; 6. In case of offense or contempt under Arts. 52 and 53 of this law, prosecution will be undertaken either at the request of the offended or outraged party, or at that persons request addressed to the Prime Minister or the Foreign Minister;

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7. In case of infringement of the private life of private persons under Additional Art. 51 herein, prosecution will be undertaken solely on a complaint by the person against whom the allegations or false statements of fact were made. Art. 73: The accused must prove the truth of the defamatory facts in accordance with Art. 49 above, within 15 days after notification of the citation, serve the prosecutor or the plaintiffs home, with 1, the facts of which he intends to prove the truth, 2. supporting documents, and 3. the names, professions, and addresses of the witnesses through whom he intends to prove his case.

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SUDAN
Population: 42.2 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Media organizations reported that censorship was pervasive as Sudan prepared for historic national elections in 2010. Although President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir in September ended prior censorship, journalists worried that certain topics, such as the International Criminal Court and continued violence in Darfur and South Sudan, would remain taboo. In a March letter to President al-Bashir, the World Press Freedom Committee expressed concern for Alhaj Warrag, chief editor of the newspaper Ajras ElHurriyya. Arrested March 19 after announcing plans to travel to Germany, he was told he would stay in prison until he honored obligations set in criminal defamation proceedings in 2007. Warrag replied that he had offered to do so but was told by the court there was no rush. His newspaper is one of Sudans few independent publications and is often harassed and censored. WPFC urged the President to exercise his power to start the process that grants the immediate release and exoneration of Mr. Warrag and to put in place the necessary measures that will allow a free and independent media to fulfill its duty to keep the public informed. He was reportedly released within four days and soon allowed to travel to abroad. The case of Lubna Al Hussein, a female journalist convicted of violating Sudans decency laws for wearing trousers, sparked widespread foreign comment. When fellow female reporter Amal Habbani, editor of the column Tiny Issues in the Ajrass Al Horreya newspaper, expressed support for Al Hussein in an article titled Lubna, a Case of Subduing a Womans Body, she also faced repercussions. The public order police filed suit against Habbani under Art.159 of the Penal Code, which prohibits defamation and sought a fine of 10 million Sudanese pounds (approx. US$4.4 million). Relevant Laws Sudans Parliament passed a new press law (Law of Sudan on Press and Printed Press Materials) in June, replacing the controversial 2004 Press and Publications Act. The new law was widely criticized for subjecting the press to a council closely tied to the President, imposing annual licensing, and allowing courts to levy unlimited fines (but no jail terms) for such broadly defined offenses as religious agitation and disrespecting public morals.

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Penal Code (1991) Art. 116 (Insult of Public Servant During Judicial Proceedings): Whoever intentionally insults a public servant while performing judicial proceedings shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, with a fine, or both. Art. 125 (Insulting Religious Beliefs): Whoever by any means publicly abuses or insults any religion or its beliefs or sacred symbols or seeks to incite contempt or scorn against its followers shall be punished with imprisonment for up to six months, a fine or with flogging of up to 40 lashes. Art. 157 Qadhf (Accusation of Unchastity): Whoever imputes to any honorable living or dead person by express words, implicitly, by writing or via indicative signs accusations of Zina or Sodomy or illegitimacy commits Qadhf. Art. 158 provides that, if the penalty of Qadhf lapses for any reason specified in the section, the offender may be punished by the penalty for defamation. Art. 159 (Defamation): 1. A person is said to commit the offense of defamation when the person publishes, states or conveys to another, by any means, facts relating to a certain person or an evaluation of his manners with the intent to harm his reputation. 2. A person shall not be deemed to have intended to harm someones reputation in any of the following cases: a) If his act is within the course of any judicial proceedings to the extent necessary, or in a publication of these proceedings. b) If he or any other person has a lawful complaint or interest to protect and this cannot be achieved without ascribing the facts or the correction of the specific behavior. c) If his act relates to a person nominated to a public office or is in public office and was meant to remedy such persons capacity or performance to the extent needed. d) If his act is within the context of advice to the person who deals with such person or in the public interest. e) If the ascription of facts is made in good faith to a person who is well known for such acts . 3. Any person who commits the offense of defamation shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, with a fine or both. Art. 160 (Wrong and Abuse): Whoever directs wrong or abuse toward any person, and this does not amount to Qadhf or defamation, with the intent of insulting him, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month, flogging of up to 25 lashes, or a fine.

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TUNISIA
Population: 10.2 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free Attacks on the media in Tunisia multiplied in 2009 as the country prepared for October presidential elections in which President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali secured a fifth term in office in an unsurprising landslide victory. Many journalists were physically harassed and intimidated and several also subjected to judicial persecution. In September, local police in southern Tunisia accosted human rights activist and journalist Abdallah Zouari, who had recently been freed after 11 years in prison and another seven in exile. Although technically free, he was placed under surveillance by state security, prompting him to write a protest letter to the Interior Ministry. When he tried to mail the letter, police detained him and ordered him to sign an affidavit saying he would refrain from writing articles defaming the state and threatening its security. He refused and was released late in the evening that same day. On Oct. 29, journalist Slim Boukhdhir was kidnapped and beaten by unidentified persons soon after appearing on a BBC program about President Ben Alis re-election, in which he had also spoken of the use of criminal defamation laws to silence journalists. A day later, journalist Taoufik Ben Brik was arrested on several charges, including defamation and assault, over an alleged altercation with a woman after their cars collided. Brik, an outspoken critic of the regime who has in the past been imprisoned for his writings, was taken to a jail outside Tunis. He suffers from Cushings Syndrome. There was concern he would not have access to necessary medical treatment during his incarceration. On Nov. 26, he was sentenced to six months in prison. The conviction did not include the original defamation charge, focusing instead on assault and breach of public decency. In early November, blogger Fatma Riahi, who writes the blog Fatma Arabica, was repeatedly summoned, interrogated and temporarily detained by security agents. After her home was searched and her computer seized, she was held for libel, over accusations she was in charge of another blog, Deba Tunisie, may be the author of cartoons published under a pseudonym. She was released Nov. 7, but she said she believed she might be summoned again.

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Khadija Arfaoui, an academic and blogger, was convicted of maliciously publishing false news likely to disrupt public order in July. The charge was over a message on her Facebook page about child kidnapping. Arfaoui, tried in absentia, was sentenced to eight months in prison. She planned to appeal. Relevant Laws Press Code of 1975 (last amended in 2006) Art. 48: Insult of the President (by means of the press or any other intentional form of propagation) is punishable by one to five years imprisonment and a fine of 1,000 to 2,000 Dinars (approx. US $780-1,560). Insult of an authorized religion is punishable by three months to two years imprisonment and a fine of 100 to 2,000 dinars (approx. US$80-1,560). Art. 49: The publication, dissemination or the reproduction, by whatever means, of false news, fabrications, falsifications, if made in bad faith, causing disorder to the public order or being susceptible to doing so, is punishable by imprisonment of two months to two years and a fine of 100 to 2,000 dinars (approx. US$80-1,560), or one of these penalties. Art. 50: Defamation consists of any public allegation or imputation of a fact that constitutes an attack on the honor or esteem of the individual or constituent body against whom the fact is imputed. Publication directly or by means of reproduction of such an allegation or imputation is punishable, even if it is done in a form that leaves it open to doubt or question or if it is aimed at an individual or body not expressly named but whose identification is possible by the terms of the speech, cries, threats, written or printed materials, placards, drawings or posters that are called into question. Art. 51: Defamation committed via the press or any other intentional mode of propagation against the courts and tribunals, the armed forces, constituent bodies or the government is punishable by imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of 120 to 1,200 dinars (approx. US$94-940). Art. 53: Defamation of individuals by one of the means specified in Art. 42 (via the press or other means of intentional propagation) shall be punishable by 16 days to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of 120 to 1,200 dinars (approx. US$94-940), or one of these penalties. Defamation committed by the same means against a group of persons not specified in the present article but who belong by origin to a particular race or religion shall be punishable by one months to one years imprisonment and a fine of 120 to 1,200 dinars (approx. US$94-940), if its object is to stir up hatred among citizens or inhabitants.

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Art. 54: All outrageous expression, terms of contempt or invectives, that do not involve the imputation of a fact, constitute an insult. Insult by one of the means specified in Art. 42 (via the press or other means of intentional propagation) towards constitutional bodies or persons specified in Arts. 51 et seq., (see above), if not preceded by provocation, is punishable by imprisonment of 16 days to three months and a fine or 120 to 1,200 dinars (approx. US$94-940). The pronounced penalty cannot be lowered under the minimum specified in the preceding paragraph. The maximum imprisonment penalty will be one year and the maximum fine 1,200 Dinars, where the insult is committed by the same means, towards a group of persons who belong by origin to a particular race or religion and the objective is to incite hatred amongst citizens and inhabitants. Art. 58: Any reprinting of an imputation that has been judged to be defamatory will be considered to have been done in bad faith absent proof of the contrary. Art. 59: Insult committed publicly towards foreign heads of state and members of government are punishable by imprisonment of three months to one year and a fine of 120 to 1,200 dinars (approx. US$94-940), or one of these penalties. Art. 60: Insult committed publicly towards heads of missions and other diplomatic agents accredited by the Tunisian government is punishable by imprisonment of 16 days to one year and a fine of 120 to 1,200 dinars (approx. US$94-940), or one of these penalties.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES


Population: 4.6 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free A draft law that went through several steps of the legislative process caused alarm by news media. The draft did contain several favorable provisions, such as affirming journalists right to protect their sources. Moreover, the law was intended as part of the civil code, meaning no criminal penalties were attached to the offenses it outlined. Yet, the draft law failed to abolish laws prohibiting scrutiny of public figures. It threatened to introduce massive financial penalties for such offenses, so large they could banrupt publications. It would outlaw disparaging government officials and the royal family, punishable by fines up to 5,000,000 dirhams (approx. US$1.35 million). By the end of the year, the UAE legislature, the Federal National Council, had passed the law, but it had not yet been signed by President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Other developments during 2009 showed how threatening such a law might be. On July 2, an appeals court upheld a decision to suspend the newspaper Emarat Alyoum and fine its editor, for deliberately publishing false and inappropriate information. The story in question claimed that race horses owned by the royal family were given steroids. Editor Sami al-Araimi was to pay 20,000 dirhams (approx. US$ 5,400), and have his paper shut for 20 days. Meanwhile, an appeal by the owner and the editor of the Hetta.com news web site proceeded. A first hearing was scheduled for mid-October. Inas Al Bourini, the owner, and Ahmed Mohamed bin Gharib, his editor, were convicted of several offenses, including defamation, under the Penal Code, the publication law, and the Cyber-Crime Law. They were fined 20,000 dirhams (approx. US$ 5,400). The suit was filed by state-controlled Abu Dhabi Media Company, over an article alleging corruption and embezzlement at a station the company owns. Relevant Laws Penal Code of 1987 It criminalizes printing material that causes moral harm (Art. 372) and defamation (Art. 373). The International Research & Exchanges Boar, notes that possible penalties include two year jail terms and fines of 20,000 dirhams (approx. US$5,400).

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Federal Law No. 15 of 1980 Concerning Publications and Releases Art. 70: Direct and forward criticism of the person of the State President or the governors of the emirates is forbidden. Art. 71: The release of what may include provocation or offense to Islam or to the regime in the country, or may damage higher interests of the state or the basic rules of society, shall be prohibited. Art. 76: It is forbidden to publish what may bring shame to an Arabic or Islamic state or any other friendly state. It is also forbidden to publish what may trouble relations between the state and other Arabic, Islamic or friendly states. Art. 77: It is forbidden to publish what may include a false accusation of the Arabs or a perversion of their civilization or tradition. Art. 79: It is forbidden to publish news, photos or comments concerning the secrets of the private life or family secrets of individuals, even if they are true, if such diffusion affected the concerned person. It is also forbidden to publish what may include the disclosure of a secret that affects a persons reputation, wealth or trade name, or what may intend to threaten him or force him to pay money, do a favor for a third party or deprive him of his freedom to work. Art. 84: It is forbidden to contest the work of a public functionary or a person of a public parliamentary capacity or charged with a public function with defamation. The writer is exempt from liability if it is proved that he in good faith believed that the facts attributed to such an individual were true and that this belief was reasonable. Art. 86: Anyone who violates . . . Arts. 71 to 85 of the present law shall be punished by imprisonment ranging from one month to six months, a fine ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 dirhams (approx. US$270-1,360), or only one of these. In addition to the punishment stipulated in the previous paragraph, the court shall, depending on the situation, order the suspension of the journal or closure of the show house for up to one month. Art. 89: Anyone who violates Art. 70 of the present law shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of six months to two years, a fine ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 dirhams (approx. US$1,360-2,700), or only one of these. The journals editor-in-chief shall be punished by the penalty in the previous paragraph. The court shall, in addition to the punishment in both paragraphs previously mentioned, order the journals suspension for up to six months.

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YEMEN
Population: 23.6 million Press Freedom Rating: Not Free It was a tough year for Yemens media. Violent unrest in the South brought increased pressure from the government. Then, a special press court was set up in the capital of Sanaa in May. The government insisted this it was necessary to apply expertise in media matters, but news media viewed the development as yet another effort to curb freedom of expression. The courts rulings appeared to confirm the fears, with work bans becoming an increasingly common penalty for defamation and insult. In February, Fahd al Qarni, a singer and comedian, was charged with insulting President Ali Abdullah Saleh, over tapes he produced in 2006, with traditional music including lyrics criticizing the government. Al Qarni was previously convicted of insult in 2008, but pardoned by the President. In May, an appeals court upheld an order banning Khalid Salman, editor-inchief of al-Thawri, from running newspapers for one year, and forbidding Naif Hassan, editor-in-chief al-Sharee, from writing for newspapers, also for one year. The two were previously convicted of offending the military. In November, a journalist and the editor of Al-Masdar were convicted of defamation for an editorial criticizing the President. The press court sentenced (in absentia) Muneer Al-Mawari, who is based in Washington, D.C., to two years in prison for defaming the President, and permanently banned him from practicing journalism in Yemen. Samir Jubran, the editor, got a suspended oneyear sentence, and was banned from contributing to Al-Masdar for one year. AlMawaris editorial had slammed the President for targeting journalists who expose corruption, instead of the allegedly corrupt persons. The media crackdown showed no signs of abating. In early 2010, Anisa Osman (Othman), a reporter for the Al-Wasat newspaper, became the first female journalist in Yemen sentenced to prison for insulting the President. Osmans conviction was over two editorials in 2007 that expressed support for another imprisoned journalist. She was sentenced to three months in prison and barred from journalistic work for one year. A fine was also imposed on her editor, Jamal Amer.

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Relevant Laws 1990 Press and Publications Law (No. 25) Art. 103: Persons employed in radio, television and written journalism and especially those employed in responsible positions in radio and television journalism, owners and editors-in-chief of newspapers, owners of printing presses and publishing houses and journalists, shall abstain from printing, publishing, circulating or broadcasting: a) Anything which prejudices the Islamic faith and its lofty principles or belittles religions or humanitarian creeds. d) Anything which leads to the spread of ideas contrary to the principles of the Yemeni Revolution, prejudicial to national unity or distorting the image of the Yemeni, Arab or Islamic heritage e) Anything which undermines public morals, prejudices the dignity of individuals, or the freedom of the individual by way of smears and defamation. j) Advertisements containing texts or pictures that are inconsistent with Islamic values and public ethics, defame or libel individuals, attack the rights of others or mislead the public Art. 104: Without prejudice to any more severe penalty under another law, any person who contravenes the provisions of this law shall be subject to a fine not exceeding 10,000 riyals (approx. US$ 50) or a period of imprisonment not exceeding one year. Art. 106: The court may order the imposition of any of the following supplementary penalties: a) Prohibition of continued practice of the profession of journalism, circulation and printing of newspapers and printed materials or of the import, export, renting or sale of cinema films at the exhibiting of artistic compositions or any other of the professions covered by the provisions of this law for a period not exceeding one year. b) Confiscation. Art. 107: A newspaper or printed material may, by a decision of the Minister or his deputy, be seized by administrative action if it has been printed, issued or circulated in violation to the provisions of this law. The matter shall be brought before the courts to rule on whether the material seized should be confiscated. The person concerned has the right to appeal to the courts against the decision of seizure and to claim compensation. The Penal Code (Republican Decree, Law No. 12 for 1994, Concerning Crimes and Penalties) imposes prison sentences for insulting public employees (Art. 172, up to one year), and the President (Art. 197, up to two years).

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World Press Freedom Committee Affiliates American Society of Newspaper Editors, Reston, Virginia American Women in Radio and Television, Inc. McLean, Virginia Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Asociacin de Diarios Colombianos (Andiarios), Bogota, Colombia Asociacin de Editores de Diarios Espaoles, Madrid Asociacin de Entidades Periodsticas Argentinas, Buenos Aires Association of Hungarian Journalists, Budapest Associated Press Broadcasters, New York City Associated Press Managing Editors, New York City Association for Women in Communications, Alexandria, Virginia Bloque de Prensa-Venezuela, Caracas Brazilian Newspaper Association, Brasilia Canadian Newspaper Association, Toronto Central and Eastern European Media Centre-Warsaw Commercial Radio Australia, Sydney Commonwealth Press Union Trust, London Czech Publishers Association, Prague Freedom Forum, Washington, DC Freedom House, New York City Glasnost Defense Foundation, Moscow Hong Kong Journalists Association, Hong Kong International Association of Broadcasting, Montevideo, Uruguay International Press Institute, Vienna International Womens Media Foundation, Washington, DC National Association of Broadcasters, Washington, DC National Conference of Editorial Writers, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania National Federation of Press Women, Arlington, Virginia National Newspaper Association, Columbia, Missouri National Press Club of Canada, Ottawa Netherlands Association of Newspaper Editors Newspaper Association of America, Arlington, Virginia The Newspaper Guild-CWA, Washington, DC Nihon Shinbun Kyokai (Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Assn.), Tokyo North American Broadcasters Association, Toronto Organisation Camerounaise pour la Libert de la Presse, Douala, Cameroon Overseas Press Club, New York City Pacific Islands News Association, Suva, Fiji Pakistan Press Foundation, Karachi, Pakistan Press Foundation of Asia, Manila Radio-Television News Directors Association, Fredericksburg, Virginia Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Arlington, Virginia Sociedad Dominicana de Diarios, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Society of Professional Journalists, Indianapolis, Indiana