THIRTY NATIONS RATIFY COPYRIGHT TREATY
A treaty that brings world copyright law into the digital age by protecting authors on the Internet will take effect March 6, the United Nations reported in December.
The treaty received the necessary ratifications from 30 countries and is one of two accords negotiated by 160 nations five years ago to protect against piracy on the Internet, according to The Associated Press.
The second treaty, which mirrors the former, is the first global accord to protect the rights of recording artists and producers. With 28 ratifications, it is close to crossing the 30-country threshold, said Kamal Idris, director-general of the U.N.’s World Intellectual Property Organization.
The two treaties will allow “composers, artists, writers, and others to use the Internet with confidence to create, distribute, and control the use of their works within the digital environment,” he said.
Negotiators said the treaties were essential in an age where digital copies of music can be made almost instantaneously anywhere by computer.
THAI JOURNALIST KILLS RIVALS AND SELF
A journalist in Thailand fired gunshots at rival reporters over allegations of bribe-taking, killing three before ending his own life with a bullet in the forehead, police said.
Police Capt. Sombat Sripon said three other journalists and a lawyer were wounded in the Nov. 17 shooting on a floating restaurant in Mukdahan, 400 miles northeast of Bangkok.
Sripon identified the gunman as Paibul Boontod, 58, president of the Mukdahan provincial journalists association.
One of those killed was Suchart Chanchanawiwat, an editor of Chao Mukdahan, a local biweekly newspaper that had published several articles accusing an unidentified group of local journalists of taking bribes and extortion.
The report had caused a rift between two groups of journalists in the province, according to The Associated Press.
Thailand has one of the most active and free presses in Southeast Asia, but intimidation of reporters and corruption remains a serious problem, particularly in the provinces, the AP reported.
Haitian journalists seek refuge after killing
A mob stoned and hacked to death a journalist in the same town where opposition members have faced off against government supporters.
The group ambushed Brignol Lindor, news director of Radio Eco 2000, on Dec. 3, as he was on his way to another job as a customs official near the town of Petit-Goave, 40 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, according to Police Chief Alix Alexandre.
“We don’t know if it was politically motivated,” Alexandre said.
Junol Casimir, a Radio Eco 2000 journalist, said that his co-worker was killed by supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas Family Party. Casimir said Lindor had received death threats from Aristide supporters after inviting opposition leaders to speak on his radio show.
The Lavalas Family Party denied it encouraged violence, according to The Associated Press.
Radio Eco 2000 ceased newscasts after reporting on Lindor’s assassination. In mid-December, journalists who feared for their lives sought refuge in foreign embassies following an alleged coup attempt that led supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to attack reporters.
RUSSIAN JOURNALIST CONVICTED OF TREASON
A military court convicted Russian navy captain Grigory Pasko of high treason on Dec. 25, handing down a four-year jail term for passing state secrets to Japan.
Reuters reported that Pasko and his defense team were stunned by the decision. They had expected the military journalist to be cleared at the retrial of his case, which has highlighted concerns about media freedom.
In his final address to the court hearing the second treason trial against him, Pasko said he was critical of his country but had not betrayed it.
He was charged with high treason in the form of espionage for divulging state secrets on the combat-readiness of Russia’s Pacific Fleet to Japanese media, according to The Associated Press.
In 1999, he was acquitted of the treason charges, but found guilty on lesser charges of abuse of office. Pasko had sought a full acquittal and appealed the verdict. Prosecutors also appealed the verdict.
Pasko and his supporters said that the charges were retribution for his reports of alleged environmental abuses by the navy, which included dumping radioactive waste into the sea.