December 24, 2003 - Pakistani Court Bails Two French Journalists
KARACHI, Pakistan - A Pakistani court today bailed two French journalists after they started a hunger strike. The two, Mr. Marc Epstein and Mr. Jean-Paul Guilloteau, had been arrested for working in a region of Pakistan to which their visa allegedly did not give them access.
According to Pakistani state-controlled media, the journalists were producing a story concerning outlawed Taliban rebels inside Pakistan. Any criticism that the government here is not doing enough to combat terrorism has been met with arrest and detention. Both men were each ordered to pay $1,750 bail. Their next court appearance will be on January 10, 2004. Read the original story here.
November 20, 2003 - British Tabloid Reporter Breaches Palace Security
LONDON, UK - A reporter working for the British tabloid, the Daily Mirror, has apparently breached Buckingham Palace security and gained a job as a Royal footman. Mr. Ryan Perry apparently lied on his job application and become employed in the Royal household.
The Daily Mirror splashed the news of the fraud across 15 pages of its paper yesterday. In it, Mr. Perry boasted he had free run of the palace, including the bedrooms of the Queen, her family and the visiting US President George Bush and his wife, Laura. His duties reportedly including bringing members of the British Royal family their breakfasts every morning and delivering turndown chocolates to the guest quarters of Mr. Bush and his wife. Buckingham Palace announced today it was considering legal action against the newspaper.
November 20, 2003 - TV Ownership Limits Still Debated
WASHINGTON, DC, USA - Lawmakers here are continuing to negotiate the contentious issue of television station ownership limits, a debate that has raged since the original proposal was made close to six months ago.
As a large, end-of-session spending bill made its way through the US House of Representatives and Congress, several members of both legislative bodies have decided to include a provision that would block the Federal Communications Commission's proposal to allowing media companies to own stations watched by 45 percent of their market. The current limit is 35 percent. Attaching small -- but important -- provisions to bills that are expected to pass without objection is a long-standing, and frequently used tactic by the lawmakers, and is intended to force the president into signing legislation that contains some provisions with which he disagrees.
November 15, 2003 - Portuguese Journalist Released
LISBON, Portugal - A journalist who was abducted at gunpoint yesterday was released today, apparently unharmed. Mr. Carlos Raleiras, a correspondent with Lisbon-based radio TSF was held for approximately 35 hours, many of them in the trunk of a car. According to TSF, its journalist was freed after intense negotiations by British soldiers who control the sector of Iraq from which Mr. Raleiras was abducted. According to the correspondent, several gunman were responsible for his capture from a media convoy in southern Iraq. Besides the trunk of a car, Mr. Raleiras was also held in several safe houses in the immediate area.
November 14, 2003 - TSF Correspondent Kidnapped in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Mr. Carlos Raleiras, a correspondent for TSF, has been kidnapped while traveling in a media convoy in southern Iraq.
Mr. Raleiras had been in Iraq for only a short time after entering the country through a Kuwait-side border crossing. Another Portuguese journalist was shot in the leg during Mr. Raleiras' abduction, and seven more Portuguese journalists escaped injury and capture. The group of nine embedded journalists had traveled to Basra to report on a contingent of Portuguese police officers who just arrived in Iraq to help with ongoing peacekeeping operations.
October 30, 2003 - Prensa Libre Journalists Freed
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala - Four Prensa Libre journalists that had been abducted earlier this week by ex-members of the country's paramilitary were released late yesterday afternoon.
Reporter Fredy Lopez was treated for his injuries at a local hospital and has been released; all hostages are also being treated for emotional shock. According to our sources close to the scene, a representative from SEPAZ negotiated the release of the hostages on behalf of the government.
October 30, 2003 - Activist's Wife Detained For Publishing Magazine
HAVANA, Cuba - The Associated Press has reported that Ms. Claudia Marquez, the wife of political activist Osvaldo Alfonso, was detained briefly yesterday by local authorities.
According to Ms. Marquez, she was officially cautioned by police to stop publishing the magazine "De Cuba". The magazine was once produced and written by some of the jailed dissident writers and political activists -- including her husband. Mr. Alfonso was sentenced to 18 years in jail. Editorial director, Ricardo Gonzalez, and editorial advisor, Raul Rivero, were among 75 independent journalists, activists and others arrested and sentenced to long jail terms earlier this year.
October 26, 2003 - Journos Held Hostage by Paramilitary
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala - Four reporters from Guatemala's Prensa Libre newspaper were seized by ex-paramilitary members today and were being held hostage. The hostage takers are reportedly demanding that the government pay them wages for their military service in the 1980s.
Mr. Fredy Lopez, a reporter for Prensa Libre, and Mr. Emerson Diaz, a staff photographer were snatched early today in Libertad. The two were there to cover a planned demonstration by the former paramilitaries. Instead, they were seized and subsequently held hostage.
A helicopter carrying two negotiators as well as two other Prensa Libre reporters was dispatched to the area, with the mission to win the release of Mr. Lopez and Mr. Diaz. Instead, the paramilitaries seized the other two journalists: reporter Alberto Ramirez Espada and photographer Mario Linares.
October 24, 2003 - Newsday Names New Staff Editors
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Newsday has announced is has promoted Mr. Richard Galant to the post of managing editor/news. Until his promotion, Galant was the news magazine's deputy managing editor. In a related announcement, columnist Mr. Les Payne was named New York editor. At the same time, Ms. Phyllis Singer was made the paper's first assistant managing editor for content development, Alex Martin was named as Newsweek's new assistant managing editor for features; and Ms. Debby Krenek was promoted to the news organization's first cross-media editor.
October 23, 2003 - Three Photographers go to Trial for Diana Pics
PARIS, France - Three celebrity "paparazzi" photographers will go on trial in Paris tomorrow. Freelance photographer Mr. Eric Chassery, Mr. Jacques Langevin a staff photographer with the Sygma/Corbis agency, and Mr. Christian Martinez of the Angelis agency each face one year prison terms and Euro $50,000 fines.
The three were charged for taking pictures at the scene of the 1997 car crash that killed Princess Diana, her boyfriend, Mr. Dodi Fayed and driver Mr. Henri Paul. According to witnesses, celebrity photographers on motorcycles were chasing the princess and Mr. Fayed after they left the Ritz Hotel in their Mercedes on August 31, 1997. All photographers -- including another five who were at the scene -- had their film seized by Paris police. None of the photos has ever been published.
October 23, 2003 - Spanish Judge Bails Al-Jazeera Reporter
MADRID, Spain - A judge here has bailed an Al-Jazeera reporter who was arrested seven weeks ago on charges of being a member of a Spanish al-Qaida terror cell.
A defense attorney for Mr. Tayssir Alouni introduced a doctor's report attesting to the fact that the 48-year old journalist has a history of heart trouble. According to an Al-Jazeera spokesman, Mr. Alouni's release was expected later today or tomorrow.
Mr. Alouni, who possesses both Spanish and Syrian citizenship, is a well-known war correspondent who most recently served as Al-Jazeera's Kabul correspondent during the recent Afghanistan war. He was also one of the few journalists allowed by the former Taliban regime to operate freely in Taliban-controlled regions.
October 2, 2003 - Media Bill Speeds Through Italian Parliament
ROME, Italy - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's center-right government passed a bill in the lower house of parliament today that critics say will directly benefit his multi-billion Euro media empire.
The bill, which is yet to pass the Italian government's upper house, allows Mr. Berlusconi's Mediaset company to hold onto all three of its main TV channels. Earlier court rulings had required the billionaire to sell off one of his channels. Critics have pointed out the Prime Minister's direct control over Mediaset and his indirect control of RAI -- Italy's state-run broadcaster -- means that the Prime Minister controls approximately 90 percent of all media outlets in the country.
September 26, 2003 - Author, Actor, George Plimpton Dies
NEW YORK, NY, USA - The easy going and well-known self deprecating author and actor, George Plimpton has died of undisclosed causes in his New York apartment. He was 76 years old.
Mr. Plimpton was the author of several bestselling books including "Paper Lion", "Bogey Man", "Out of My League" and `"Shadow Box". The books were based largely on his experiences as what he called a "participatory journalist". Rather than blindly extol the greatness of the National Football League, for example, he became a Detroit Lion for a brief time to experience what it would be like to live the life of an NFL player. When he climbed into the boxing ring with Archie Moore, he wrote about the experience in "Shadow Box".
In 1953, Mr. Plimpton founded and edited The Paris Review, a quarterly writers' journal that published the work of emerging writers. His interviewing style and his impressive lineup of emerging and eclectic writers such as Philip Roth, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and Jack Kerouac kept the journal going for decades. An accomplished actor, staring in movies such as Good Will Hunting, L.A. Story and Reds, Mr. Plimpton recently voiced a role in the popular Simpsons TV show. He is survived by his second wife and a total of four children.
September 25, 2003 - Reuters CEO calls for US report on dead cameraman
LONDON, UK - Mr. Tom Glocer, head of the Reuters worldwide news service, has openly questioned the "haphazard" handling of a American investigation into the killing of one its cameraman working in Iraq.
Mr. Glocer has openly criticized the investigation and has sent an open letter to US Attorney General Rumsfeld. In the letter, Mr. Glocer states he is deeply dismayed that neither Reuters nor Mr. Mazen Dana's family has been kept told about the military investigation into the Reuters cameraman's death. Mr. Dana was shot by an American soldier on August 17. Click here to read our earlier coverage on this incident.
September 25, 2003 - Bomb At Baghdad Hotel Hosting NBC Kills Guard
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Police here have reported that a large bomb has exploded outside a hotel where NBC has its Baghdad offices. The explosion killed a Somali security guard, injured a Canadian soundman and shattered windows for blocks.
According to police, the bomb was placed just outside the al-Aike Hotel but did little damage to the hotel building. Soundman David Moodie was injured by flying glass and required several stitches to close his wounds.
September 18, 2003 - Canadian Journalists Rally for National Reporters' Day
WASHINGTON, DC, USA - Hundreds of Canadian journalists and others have signed a petition to proclaim October 9 as National Reporters' Day in Canada. The date was picked to commemorate the birthday of Ms. Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photographer killed while in Iranian police custody of police after taking pictures of a Tehran prison uprising. The petition can be found at www.petitiononline.com/Reporter/petition.html.
You can read our original coverage of Ms. Kazemi's death below or clicking here. You can also read about the Canadian government's reaction to the photographer's killing below or by clicking here.
September 11, 2003 - ABC News Personnel Facing Smuggling Charges
In response to an exposé that showed just how easy it would be to smuggle depleted uranium into Los Angeles from Jakarta, Indonesia, the US Department of Homeland Security has threatened to charge several ABC News personnel with breaking US Customs laws.
This is the second embarrassing incident in as many years for US Customs caused by ABC News. A year ago today, the news organization demonstrated how easy it was smuggle in depleted uranium -- a necessary component for making a so-called "dirty bomb". As part of an ABC NEWS investigation, a suitcase containing 15 pounds of depleted uranium, shielded by a steel pipe with a lead lining, traveled through seven European countries and arrived in the United States without being detected. At the time, the story greatly embarrassed the US government which vowed to increase security at the country's ports.
According to sources close to the government investigation, various agents of the federal government are assisting the US Attorney's Office in Los Angeles in the preparation of a criminal complaint against ABC News for its latest test. The final decision to prosecute, however, rests with US Attorney General John Ashcroft.
September 3, 2003 - Appeals Court Strikes Down FCC Proposals
The Third US District Court of Appeals has blocked the application of a new federal law that would have allowed a single media conglomerate to own TV stations reaching more than 45 percent of America's TV audiences.
The changes proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in June were thought by many independent broadcasters (as well as many industry watchers) to be far more generous to the large TV networks at the expense of small, independent operators.
In July, the US House of Representative voted overwhelmingly to block the FCC proposals which both the chairman of the regulator (Michael Powell, son of US Secretary of State, Colin Powell) and the Bush administration had been promoting. The proposal now goes to the Senate.
August 17, 2003 - Reuters Cameraman Shot Dead Near Baghdad
LONDON, UK - A British cameraman working for Reuters News Service was shot and killed by US soldiers today while filming outside a Baghdad prison.
According to Reuters, Mr. Mazen Dana, 43, was filming outside Abu Ghraib prison when he was shot. The videotape found in Mr. Dana's camera showed two US tanks coming toward him. At least two military rounds were subsequently fired, apparently from the US tanks, and cameraman Dana fell to the ground fatally wounded.
A US military spokesman named Captain Frank Thorp later said its tank crews had mistook Dana's video camera as a shoulder-fired missile launcher and took action against him. Other journalists and cameramen filming around the prison disputed this explanation, saying that Mr. Dana had earlier identified himself as a reporter and had received permission from soldiers to film in the area.
August 14, 2003 - NY Times Reporter and Photographer Cited by US Coast Guard
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Corey Kilgannon, a New York Times reporter and Librado Romero, a New York Times photographer were cited by the US Coast Guard for breaching a posted security zone. The two journalists and a small boat operator were arrested when they were spotted near New York's busy Kennedy International Airport.
According to The Times, the journalists were following up on an earlier story about three lost fishermen who washed ashore at the airport a few days ago. The fishermen claimed they wandered around the airport's runways looking for help for almost an hour undetected by police or airport security. Apparently embarrassed by the earlier breach, a Coast Guard spokesman said each journalist could get up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
August 13, 2003 - Journalist Convicted of Sodomy
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - A district court here has sentenced a local reporter, Mr. Ruslan Sharipov, to 5-1/2 years in jail for engaging in homosexual sex, having sex with minors and running a brothel.
Sharipov, who is openly gay and leads an independent group that focuses on media freedom, has been a thorn in the side of government authorities and has been reportedly been detained, beaten and questioned by police on numerous occasions. His conviction is widely being interpreted as politically motivated silencing aimed at media and press who question the government's alleged human rights abuses.
August 8, 2003 - Editor Sir Edward Pickering Dies
LONDON, UK - Sir Edward Pickering, former executive vice chairman of Times Newspapers, died today. He was 91. According to News International, Rupert Murdoch's newspaper conglomerate for whom Sir Edward worked, the editor died in his sleep at his London home.
Edward Pickering was born on May 4, 1912, in Middlesbrough, England, and began work as a reporter in the small town. He later became the chief sub-editor of the Daily Mail at the age of 26, later joining the Daily Mirror as editorial director. In 1981, Mr. Murdoch named Sir Edward as a director of Times Newspapers Holdings. Subsequently, he became executive vice chairman of Times Newspapers.
August 7, 2003 - Legal Challenges Continue on FCC Ruling
WASHINGTON, DC, USA - Legal challenges to a Federal Communications Commission overhaul of media ownership rules emerged yesterday, with the proposed regulations under fire both for allowing too few and too many mergers.
The filings with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia were triggered by the publication of the FCC's final rules in the Federal Register two days ago. The regulations are set to go into effect on September 4.
July 27, 2003 - Al Jazeera Says its Reporter and Driver Arrested
DOHA, Iraq - Arab TV network Al Jazeera said that US soldiers had arrested its correspondent and driver in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul while they filmed an attack on American troops.
The Al Jazeera network has been widely criticized by the American government for its biased reporting of the Iraqi war. The US government has also called Al Jazeera's editorial ethics into question as a result of the network's airing of the sensational Osama bin Laden video and audio tapes.
July 25, 2003 - 60 Minutes' Producer Dies at 34
NEW YORK, New York, USA - Trevor Nelson, a producer for the CBS-based "60 Minutes" died on yesterday from meningitis. He was 34.
According to CBS, Mr. Nelson produced 20 on-air pieces for the popular news and affairs show, 15 of which were subsequently broadcast. Executive producer, Don Hewitt, said Nelson was so talented that he "...thought one day he might be the executive producer of this broadcast." Previously, Nelson worked at Christian Science Monitor Radio before joining CBS News in 1996.
July 24, 2003 - UN Commission on Human Rights Suspends RSF
NEW YORK, NY, USA - The United Nations has removed Reporters Without Borders's (RSF) special consultative status, apparently in retaliation to the media watchdog's staged demonstration concerning the appointment of Libya to chair the UN's human rights commission.
In a move widely seen as payback, the official request to remove RSF's special status came from Cuba, a country that come under fire from the media watchdog due to its recent round up, detention, imprisonment and alleged torture of native reporters. Reporters Without Borders can be reached on the Web at www.rsf.fr.
July 23, 2003 - US Government Dismisses FCC Reforms
WASHINGTON, DC, USA - The US House of Representatives voted earlier today to prevent the FCC's new regulations that would have allowed existing media corporations from owning more than one TV station and one newspaper in a given market. The House's surprise vote flew in the face of its own Republican leaders -- and a veto threat from US President Bush.
Opponents of the FCC proposals held the new rendering would give existing broadcast corporations -- already judged by many to have too much power -- still more domination in their respective markets.
July 23, 2003 - Canadian Government Recalls Ambassador Over Reporter's Death
Ottawa, ON, Canada - The Canadian government has announced it is recalling its ambassador to Iran to protest the unexplained death of a Canadian reporter by Iranian police.
The Iranian government has admitted Ms. Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photographer working on a story in Tehran, was beaten by police. After her beatings, Ms. Kazemi was moved to a Tehran hospital where she succumbed to her numerous injuries.
Mr. Stephan Hachemi, Ms. Kazemi's son, is fighting a local Iranian order that calls for the reporter to be buried in Iran. Mr. Hachemi wants his mother's body returned to Canada where it can undergo an unbiased autopsy and possible evidence gathered.
July 18, 2003 - US White House Apparently Trashes ABC Journalist
Washington, DC, USA - Media watchdogs here condemned the trashing of well known ABC correspondent, Jeffrey Kofman, apparently in retaliation for a negative news segment about the Iraq war. Mr. Kofman, a Toronto native who now works for ABC News in Miami, found his name on a controversial (and much-sued) Web site called the Drudge Report last week under the headline: "ABC News Reporter Who Filed Troops Complaint Story -- Openly Gay Canadian".
Mr. Kofman, formerly a reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and openly gay, apparently sparked the ire of the US White House while doing a story about the ongoing military action in Iraq. Kofman interviewed several members of the US Third Infantry Division who were extremely upset about not going home as the army had promised months ago.
Kofman's report also called into question the leadership skills of President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other White House staffers. When asked by Kofman what the battle weary soldiers would tell the Defense Secretary if he were here in Iraq, one soldier volunteered, "If Donald Rumsfeld was here, I'd ask him for his resignation". The piece was aired earlier this week on ABC World News with Peter Jennings and subsequently on ABC's Good Morning America.
Matt Drudge, the operator of the Drudge Web site was subsequently quoted by the Washington Post as saying White House replacement spokesperson Scott McClellan provided detailed information about Mr. Kofman. The White House has since denied having anything to do with the "leak" but it seems to illustrate the efforts being made behind the scenes to stifle any media dissent of the Iraqi war and resulting occupation.
July 16, 2003 - Iran Officials Confirm Kazemi Killed in Custody
TEHRAN, Iran - Government officials here confirmed that freelance photographer, Ms. Zahra Kazemi, died while in police custody. Numerous reports have suggested she died from a skull fracture after being beaten with a shoe by her Iranian interrogators.
Ms. Kazemi reportedly fell into a coma and was later jailed at a nearby prison. Three days later, she was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness. Canadian officials continue to investigate the murder. Mr. Stephan Hachemi, her only son, has gone on record as saying his mother "won't be buried in the land of the people who murdered her."
July 14, 2003 - The New York Times Names Bill Keller Executive Editor
NEW YORK, NY, USA - The New York Times has announced it has named Bill Keller as executive editor of The Times effective the end of this month. Mr. Keller will take over from interim executive editor Joseph Lelyveld.
Mr. Keller is currently an Op-Ed columnist and senior writer for The New York Times Magazine. According to a news release, Mr. Keller joined The New York Times in 1984 as a domestic correspondent based in the paper's Washington bureau.
July 13, 2003 - Iran Orders Probe Into Photographer's Death
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's president today ordered an investigation into the death of Ms. Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photographer allegedly beaten into a coma by police. Ms. Kazemi was arrested and taken into police custody for taking pictures of a Tehran prison. She was 54 years old.
Ms. Kazemi, who held both Canadian and Iranian citizenship, died on Friday in a Tehran hospital after suffering a brain injury allegedly caused by police beatings. She had been in police custody since June 23 and Canadian government officials as well as friends who visited Ms. Kazemi in hospital reported she was unconscious and had severe cuts and bruises about her face, neck and head.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien publicly expressed his sympathy to Kazemi's family and has instructed his country's Iranian ambassador to meet with the Iran's foreign minister concerning the incident.
July 9, 2003 - Laos Government Frees Two Journalists
VIENTIANE, Laos - The Laotian government has announced today it will free two European journalists and their American/Laotian interpreter. All three had recently been sentenced to 15 years in jail by a closed court in connection with the death of a village security guard in the northern part of this country.
French cameraman Vincent Reynaud, Belgian photojournalist Thierry Falise, and the Reverend Naw Karl Mua, an interpreter who is a citizen of both the United States and Laos were put on a flight to Bangkok last night by government officials.
Human rights organizations as well as journalist groups had condemned the jail terms as a heavy-handed intimidation tactic to curb reporting on an insurgency in northern Laos. The two European journalists had been in-country filming the Hmong rebels' fight against the Communist ruled government.
July 6, 2003 - Another British Journalist Killed in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq - British journalist Richard Wild was shot and killed on a Baghdad street corner yesterday. His killer quickly fled into the crowded streets and disappeared. Mr. Wild was 24 years old, and had been in-country for only two weeks.
According to witnesses, Mr. Wild was on his way to research a story about Iraq's recently looted Natural History Museum. A man stepped up behind him and fired a single round into the reporter's head, killing the young man instantly. Including Mr. Wild's murder, at least 16 reporters, cameramen and other journos have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war on March 20 -- approximately one per week.
July 4, 2003 - India Delays Cable TV Deployment
NEW DELHI, India - The Indian government today announced it has postponed the deployment of a new cable TV system for the residents of New Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. Dubbed the "Conditional Access System", the system has come under fire for being more costly for the majority of the 12 million TV viewers affected.
According to India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the CAS will go live on September 1st, rather than the planned introduction date of July 15th. This, the ministry said, will give time for a comprehensive advertising program to "educate" viewers as to the benefits (and additional hardware requirements) of the new system.
July 3, 2003 - Laotian Government May Free European Reporters
VIENTIANE, Laos - Representatives from the Laotian government have hinted they may free two European reporters and one Hmong /American interpreter if their respective governments petition to have their 15-year sentence commuted in a murder case which was closed to reporters and other media.
French cameraman Vincent Reynaud and Belgian videographer Thierry Falise, both freelancers, and their interpreter, the Reverend Karl Mua, were convicted and sentenced for the killing of a Laotian man. The reporters say they were in-country with their Hmong-American interpreter to cover a battle between government-backed troops and fighters from the ethnic Hmong minority.
July 3, 2003 - American Reporter Found Dead at Home
SALT LAKE CITY, UT, USA - Police have launched an investigation into the death of a popular newspaper reporter after she was found dead by her husband yesterday morning. According to Salt Lake City police, there was sufficient evidence to call Ms. Norma Wagner's death "suspicious" although the husband is not a suspect in the incident.
Prior to her work at the Desert Morning News as a staff reporter, Ms. Wagner worked for The Salt Lake Tribune where she won awards for her investigative stories on domestic violence and high-speed police chases in Utah. Ironically, she was dismissed from The Tribune in 2001 after she was arrested for DWI following a hit-and-run accident involving a road worker.
June 30, 2003 - Australian Journalist Injured in Iraq Attack
FALLUJAH, Iraq - Australian Jeremy Little, a sound technician working for NBC News, was struck and injured today, apparently by a rocket-propelled grenade launched by troops loyal to Saddam Hussein. Working as an embedded journalist, Mr. Little was traveling in a modified Humvee vehicle called an Avenger Air Defense Vehicle, when he came under fire.
A US Centcom statement said Mr. Little was evacuated to a nearby combat support hospital and was in stable condition. Soldiers traveling with Mr. Little in the same vehicle escaped the attack uninjured, according to US military sources.
June 25, 2003 - Journalists Released in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan- After spending one week in jail for writing articles that allegedly defame the Islamic religion, two reporters were released today by the government.
Sayed Mahdawi, chief editor of the weekly newspaper Aftab, and his Iranian deputy, Ali Riza Payam, were held responsible for a June 11 article suggesting the Muslim world had not made "progress" in 1,400 years. The article further suggested that warlords who control Afghanistan's northern regions are building palaces on the backs of their poor and oppressed citizens. President Hamid Karzai, whose provisional government is backed by the US military, ordered the two journalists released but made it a point to say they will still face trial.
June 23, 2003 - Author Leon Uris Dies
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Leon Uris, author of the best-selling "Exodus", "Trinity", "Mila 18" and "QBVII" has died of apparent natural causes in his home in Shelter Island, a community close to New York City. He was 78.
Although "Exodus" wasn't his first novel, the book published in 1958 catapulted the young Jewish immigrant into fame and fortune. The 600-page tome chronicles the plight of European Jews from around 1900 to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. Although Uris failed English three times and never graduated from high school, he served in the US Marine Corps during World War II. After the war, he began his formal writing career, first writing magazine articles and then moving to novels. He married three times and had two children.
June 21, 2003 - Veteran Writer George Axelrod Dies of Heart Failure
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA - Industry veteran George Axelrod, who wrote block-busting plays such as "The Seven Year Itch" and "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter" and screenplays for classic movies such as "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "The Manchurian Candidate," died today, reportedly of heart failure. He was 81.
June 19, 2003 - Jeffrey Archer to be Paroled in July
LONDON, UK - The Parole Board for England and Wales has announced that Jeffrey Archer, the disgraced novelist and former Member of Parliament, will be freed next month. Archer has served more than half of his four-year prison term after being convicted of perjury in a 1987 libel case.
A few months ago, Archer, author of best sellers such as "Kane & Abel" and "The Prodigal Daughter," again caused controversy by announcing he was writing a book about his time in prison. Government officials were concerned Archer's book might breach prison confidentiality if it named specific prisoners or their crimes.
June 18, 2003 - Oprah Revives Book Club
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Oprah Winfrey has reinstated her famous book club with an announcement today that John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" will be added immediately.
In April 2002, Ms. Winfrey announced she was ending her club because she didn't have sufficient time every month to read enough books to make an appropriate selection. This February she reversed herself and announced she would be restarting her club -- but focusing on older, less contemporary writers.
Shortly after naming "East of Eden" her latest book club pick, the novel reportedly jumped to the second best-selling position on Amazon.com after J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". Penguin Group USA, the publisher of "East of Eden", has reportedly ordered a new printing of 600,000 units. According to Penguin, "East of Eden" usually sells between 40,000 to 50,000 copies annually.
June 17, 2003 - Star Photos Auction Raises 65,000 Euros
PARIS, France - The second annual auction aimed at raising money to help Reporters Without Borders provide help for imprisoned or tortured journalists around the world has raised 65,000 Euros.
RSF auctioned off several disposable cameras filled with personal photos taken by well-known sports and entertainment celebrities. The Star Photos event was sponsored this year by French actress Sophie Marceau, a former "Bond girl" and supported by a number of organizations including the French Ministry of Culture and Communication; the French TV program "Tout le monde en parle"; the weekly current events magazine "Paris-Match"; the radio station RTL2; Color Club; and others. Reporters Without Borders can be reached on the Web at www.rsf.fr.
June 11, 2003 - Retired Newscaster David Brinkley Dies
NEW YORK, NY, USA - David Brinkley, a man who helped define TV news broadcasting for over 50 years, died today at the age of 82. According to ABC News, Brinkley died in his home from complications of a fall suffered recently.
Mr. Brinkley was one-half of the famous Huntley-Brinkley anchor team on NBC News, moving to ABC later in his career. Brinkley won an astonishing 10 Emmy awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards and, in 1992, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.
June 5, 2003 - Editorial Shakeup at The New York Times
NEW YORK, NY, USA - The New York Times has named Joseph Lelyveld as interim executive editor, replacing Howell Raines who resigned as executive editor. In the same announcement, the paper's managing editor, Gerald M. Boyd, also resigned but will not be immediately replaced.
The announcement has apparently come as a result of the Times' investigation into the Jayson Blair scandal. According to the New York Times, Mr. Blair, one of its staff reporters who has since resigned, plagiarized and fabricated many of his bylined stories over the years. On May 11, The Times published a 7,500-word essay detailing what it called Mr. Blair's "frequent acts of journalistic fraud."
June 2, 2003 - FCC Votes to Relax Press and Media Ownership Rules
WASHINGTON, DC, USA - The head of the Federal Communications Commission announced the regulatory organization has voted to relax rules restricting media and newspaper ownership. Existing media conglomerates can now purchase additional television stations, radio stations and a even own a large newspaper -- all in the same city.
Republican FCC Chairman Michael Powell, whose father is Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that the loosening of ownership restrictions had been necessary in light of the widespread penetration of the Internet, cable/broadband and satellite news sources.
According to the ruling, a single media company can now own TV stations that reach 45 percent of American households rather than the previous 35 percent. Owners of the three major TV networks and newspaper giants such as the Tribune Company and Gannett Inc. lobbied Powell to ease restrictions, while smaller broadcasters (and reportedly, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans) had lobbied against it. Read an update to this story.
June 1, 2003 - Japanese Photographer Jailed for Airport Explosion
AMMAN, Jordan - Hiroki Gomi, a Japanese photographer who apparently packed a live explosive in his hand luggage where it exploded, killing one security guard and injuring several bystanders, was sentenced to 18 months in prison today.
Gomi, who works for Japan's Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, reportedly took the live cluster bomb from the Iraqi battlefield and packed it as a souvenir. The device showed up on an X-ray of carry-on baggage and detonated as the security guard checked Gomi's bag. The photographer testified he thought the cluster bomb had been deactivated.
May 29, 2003 - Chinese Newspaper Fires Reporter Over Story
BEIJING, PRC - A Chinese newspaper has fired a staff reporter and reprimanded two editors after an article appeared in the China Youth Daily that proved embarrassing to local government officials.
The article, reportedly written by staffer Chen Jieren, claimed that 10 percent of female university students in Wuhan work as prostitutes. The paper later retracted the story and published an apology, saying its original story "did not have any basis." If true, however, the story would suggest that thousands of young women are paying their tuition bills with the proceeds of prostitution.
May 28, 2003 - Reuters Zurich Bureau Closed Due To Anthrax Scare
ZURICH, Switzerland - The Zurich newsroom of Reuters news service was evacuated today when a mysterious white powder was discovered inside a mailed envelope. Three employees of the bureau were sent to hospital for possible Anthrax exposure.
According to Zurich city police, the envelope was apparently sent from an address inside Switzerland. Although police say the envelope likely contained nothing dangerous, it will take several days before a laboratory analyzes the powder. Police suggested the attack may have been prompted to garner attention for anti-G8 protesters. This weekend, leaders of the G8 countries are set to meet in Evian, France, adjacent to the Swiss city of Geneva.
May 13, 2003 - US Prosecutors Ask Paper For Details About Blair
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Federal prosecutors have reportedly asked The New York Times for details about the paper's now-disgraced staff writer, Jayson Blair. According to The New York Times, Mr. Blair appears to have repeatedly plagiarized or fabricated material in his published articles.
Today, the paper's publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., its executive editor, Howell Raines, and its managing editor Gerald Boyd were to hold a town hall-style meeting with the paper's reporters and editors. Some staffers at the paper have asked upper management to explain why Mr. Blair had been allowed to remain at the Times when earlier stories he had written while working on the paper's metro desk also allegedly contained significant irregularities.
May 4, 2003 - British Cameraman Shot Dead In Israel
London, UK - The Foreign Office has called for a full investigation into the fatal shooting of an award-winning British journalist by Israeli troops. Cameraman James Miller, who was working at night photographing an army operation in the southern Israeli town of Rafah, was shot dead by an Israeli soldier in a tank.
An Israeli army spokesman said the death occurred during a military operation to demolish houses close to the Egyptian border. According to the army, many houses in the area provide end-points for weapons smuggling into Israel using a series of complex tunnels. The army's position is that the military vehicles came under fire from anti-tank weapons and soldiers merely returned fire to protect themselves.
Other journalists in the area, however, have provided conflicting reports of Miller's death. One cameraman claimed that members of Miller's crew were waiving a white flag and walking towards the tank when it opened fire.
May 3, 2003 - Japanese Photographer Held in Airport Blast
AMMAN, Jordan - A 36-year old photographer has been detained in Amman, Jordan, after an explosion that killed a customs official and injured another three others nearby.