MediaWireWorld: American journalist held in Ukraine, journalists kicked out of Egyptian courtroom

Ukraine

American journalist Simon Ostrovsky was captured in Eastern Ukraine, Brian Ries reported on Tuesday for Mashable. Ostrovsky is a reporter for VICE News. On Wednesday, Matt McAllester reported in Time that Time’s Berlin correspondent, Simon Shuster, and four other journalists were also detained on Monday but were later released.

The journalists were traveling in a car in the separatist-held town of Slavyansk when they were stopped at a checkpoint by armed separatists, said Shuster, who is now in the city of Donetsk. Shuster, a Ukrainian photographer and a British photojournalist for VICE left Slavyansk the morning after their detention. A Russian photographer who was part of the group chose to stay in Slavyansk.

On Wednesday, Taylor Berman reported about Ostrovsky for Gawker.

A spokeswoman for a pro-Russian militia in eastern Ukraine confirmed on Wednesday that the group has detained Vice News journalist Simon Ostrovsky on suspicion of spying and other “bad activities.”


Here’s VICE’s statement:

“VICE is aware of the situation and is in contact with the United States State Department and other appropriate government authorities to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague, Simon Ostrovsky.”

Egypt
Reporters covering the trial of Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were kicked out of the Egyptian courtroom, Jordan Chariton reported for TV Newser on Tuesday.

The expelled journalists who hung around were eventually let back in the courtroom under the order they don’t speak with the imprisoned journalists–who are locked in cages during the trial–when courtroom recess take place.

On Wednesday, John Lyons reported in The Australian that the three journalists will remain in jail until May 3, “ironically, World Press Freedom Day.”

Greste said that it was another day of “meaningless” prosecution evidence.

“The case turns to be an abuse against journalism and freedom of speech,” he said during a recess.

Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, who was Al-Jazeera’s Cairo bureau chief, told AFP: “If these are the evidences, we should see all journalists in the world on trial.”

Russia
On Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to veto a bill that would impose on bloggers “the same restrictions as traditional media in Russia.”

The bill would apply to blogs with more than 3,000 daily visitors. As with other laws recently adopted in Russia, the language of the bill is broad and open to wide-ranging interpretation and selective implementation by government agencies. It bans bloggers from using their platforms for “committing crimes, divulging state secrets, publishing extremist materials, as well as propagating pornography, the cult of violence, and cruelty,” according to local press reports. They would also be banned from using swear words, the news agency Itar-Tass reported.

The bill would also require the bloggers to publish their real names and contact details, news reports said. They would be allowed to publish only confirmed information and could be punished for distributing “unchecked facts,” the news website Lenta reported. Punishment for violating the law would range from a fine of up to 500,000 rubles (US$14,000) to suspension of blogging activities for up to 30 days.

Finally, on what we think is William Shakespeare’s birthday (450!), he made a few front pages around the world, thank you Newseum, including Liechtensteiner Volksblatt, from Schaan, Liechtenstein.

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