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Home arrow newsitems arrow Free Press NGO RSF (f. FIDH) v.Director Bernard to EF: Daphne Murder Enquiry Incident+Journalism Now

Free Press NGO RSF (f. FIDH) v.Director Bernard to EF: Daphne Murder Enquiry Incident+Journalism Now

Written by ACM
Sunday, 10 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/EU-Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to an "Eurofora"s Question, the New v. Director-General of the International Press Freedom Watchdog "Reporters withOut Borders" (RSF), Lecturer at the prestigious "Sciences Po" University in Paris, and Experienced former Long-Time CEO at the International Federation of Human Rights' Leagues (FIDH), Antoine Bernard, denounced the fact that "Legitimate Doubts" are Now Casted upon the Fate of a Controversial criminal Investigation, by the Maltese Authorities, on the Murder of Web-News Journalist Daphne Caruana-Galicia, according to Recent Developments, (See, among others, also : ..., + ..., + ..., etc).

 

Antoine Bernard denounced, in this regard, a Recent Incident, concerning a Key Judge involved in that Enquiry in Malta, which Dangerously touched upon a matter Denounced on 2018 by the CoE as the Main Risk of Corruption amidst Judges throughout its 47 Member States, (See Infra).


+ On this Key Occasion, he even Highlighted some very Interesting Building-Blocks for a New Definition of real Journalism, Nowadays, (more Near to ECHR, IACHR, and CoE's Experts and Committee of Ministers' Views), , as it is Inspired also by Daphne's real, recent and Dramatic Affair, (Comp., among others, f.ex. : ... + ..., etc).


---------------------------------------------


Bernard had been Invited to EU Parliament in Strasbourg in order to give a Lecture at an event on the occasion of which were Distributed lavish Books on EU's Annual Prize "Zacharov" for Freedom of Thought and Expression, awarded to Exceptional Personalities, around the World, who Dared Take Risks and/or Sacrifice their Freedom and/or Life in Struggling for People's Human Rights against various forms of severe Oppression.


----------------------------


 - In "Eurofora"s Question to Bernard,


after expressing the Hope that his extensive relevant Experience as former Long-Time CEO of the International Federation of Human Rights' Leagues (IFDH), just before becoming, Earlier this Year (2018), the New v. Director of Press Freedom Watchdog "Reporters without Borders" (RSF), would really Help to Boost much needed Effective Protection of all Journalists' Liberty and Safety,


we Reminded the Fact that, the Brutally Murdered Journalist Daphne, by a Bomb Explosion, just out of her Family Home, recently last Autumn, (to whom EU Parliament decided to Dedicate its Press Conference Room in Strasbourg, after a Proposal by its New President Antonio Tajani), had been notoriously Hindered (as her Sons Denounced to "Eurofora" also in Strasbourg : See ..., and a Reading of her Publications easily Proves), and systematically Censored, at her previous Media of the Establishment, where she used to hold a Weekly Column in the Past, (mainly by Threats to Refuse Government-sponsored and/or Other Public Sector's Paid  "Adds"), so that she was Obliged to set up Her Own WebNews "NoteBook" at the Internet, whese she was Alone to Publish Critical NewsReports on her own Name, thereby Dangerously Exposing her own Person and Family to all, various Risks, (Comp. f.ex., aussi : ..., etc).


+=> Therefore, we Asked Bernard, whether such Recent and Tragic Events, inspired him the Need, (particularly in Popular Modern Communication Technologies' Societies, in the Present Era of Internet, which had Started for Web-Journalists as Early as "Since the very Beginning of the World Wide Web, Already from the Middle of 1990ies^" : Comp., f.ex., "Drudge Report", "WND", and/or "Eurofora" co-Founder's "EIW" 1st cooperative European/International WebNews outlet experiment, Published from Strasbourg on Early 1996, in English, French and Spanish, etc), to eventually make Evolve and UpDate the very Definition of Real "Journalism",


>>> in order, at last, to clearly Drop a "Too Fiscal" Deformation, mainly "Depending on the ...Percentage of Money that someone might be Paid f.ex. by a Commercial Businessman who Bought a Newspaper, a TV Chanel, or a Local Radio, etc, for his own selfish Interests", (as unfortunately is still the case in a Few Countries, Contrary to Others, who have come Closer to much more Serious, Legitimate and Democratic Approaches of Journalism Nowadays), so that it may soon Come Near to the European Court of Human Rights' relevant case-law (Based on Article 10), as well as to the Inter-American Human Rights Court's two Historic, Landmark plenary Decisions dating so Early as, Already Since ...1985, and even to CoE's Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law PanEuropean Organisation's Top Experts and Committee of Ministers', much Better Definitions,


which, basically, Focus on whether the concerned Persons have really Dedicated themselves into Regularly Searching, Analysing and Publishing Original News on Serious Issues of General Interest to the Society, (according to elementary Press Deontology Principles : Comp., inter alia, also, f.ex. : ..., ..., etc).


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 - "Journalist-Blogger Daphne Caruana-Galicia, (was) Murdered on October 16, 2017, in Malte", Bernand reminded, citting her Name in Full, in his Reply to "Eurofora"s Question.


- Her "The Mobilisation of her 3 Children, Andrew, Mathieu and Paul, who are naturally accompagnied (also) by RSF, is mainly seeking Justice".

- "We are Following with Extreme Attention, at the RSF, and Together with EU Parliament, the Developments in the Investigation, in view of eventual Prosecution, in Malta".


- As "it's the Duty of Maltese Authorities, We are Expecting that an Independent Investigation Results into Identifying the Suspects, those who Committed that Murder, including the Instigators, Whoever they might be, results, in a Judicial Procedure which is naturally fair, but Imposes Sanctions to the Authors of that Murder, and provides Just satisfaction to its Victims".


- "RSF followed, with Attention the Latest, Recent EU Parliament's Mission, which has just taken place only a Few Days Ago, and expressed a certain Number of "Concerns, regarding the Obstacles on the Way that this Investigation is going".


 + "RSF has, in particular, Underlined, just 3 Days ago, that we feel Extremely Concerned, as the Judge in charge of this Enquiry, and who had Declared his Determination to Advance all the way through, up to the End, - and who was, even more, the Only One to do so, since All Other Mechanisms of Enquiry, had been Interrupted, Freezed, and/or Suspended -this Judge who had won the Trust of all those who Expected for Justice to be done, (Suddenly), was Awarded the Benefit of a (Career) Promotion, withOut having Asked for it, and even withOut being able to Refuse it (sic !)".

 

By a Coincidence, that Strange Move surfaced Shortly after CoE's Anti-Corruption Watchdog, "GRECO"'s Latest Annual Report, Published Recently in Strasbourg, Denounced the Fact that such "Career" issues were, nowadays, the Number 1, Greatest Risk for Corruption of Judges  throughout its 47 Member States, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/daphnepressfreedomandcorruption.html).


=> Nowadays, "in Consequence, there is a Legitimate Doubt, casted upon the Maltese Authorities, concerning the Fate Reserved for the Investigation on the Murder of Daphne Caruana - Galicia".


 - But, at any case,  - "We (RSF) will Never, Never Give up, Until the full Elucidation on all those Responsible for her Murder !", the International Press Freedom Watchdog's new v.Director Stongly Vowed, in Conclusion of his Reply to "Eurofora"s relevant Question.


-------------------------------------


 + Moreover, as far as "Eurofora" Question's 2nd aspect was concerned, on Nowadays' Definition of real Journalism, (Comp. Supra), Bernard afterwards Returned Back to Stress, in substance, that it should Better be near to the World Famous, French Writer/Philosopher "Albert Camus" well known Motto that as he had Characteristically written : - <<Journalism is to point the Pencil at where it Hurts !>>


 - "That's the Definition of real Journalism, that You were Asking for !", RSF's New v.Director Added, in his Responses to "Eurofora", Later-on, while also Reminding the relevant ECHR's "case-law, Since 1976 Already, about the Human Right to Publish even Critical News, which are not always "Favourably received or regarded as Inoffensive or as a matter of Indifference", But, on the Contrary, might "Offend, Shock or Disturb", while deserving to be protected for Pluralist Public Debate "in a Democratic Society", (Comp., among Many Others, also, f.ex. "Handyside v. the UK", etc).

+ Naturally, this has to go, "Together with" the Historic "Declaration of Munich", on Press Deontology, "of course, with an Adequate Up-Date", the Experienced, former Long Time CEO of FIDH and currently new v.Director of "Reporters without Borders", went on to Spontaneously tell "Eurofora" later on, (Comp. inter alia, also "Eurofora"s relevant Links, f.ex. at : http://www.eurofora.net/deontology.html, etc)

++ In this regard, Bernard also showed Interest for Aidan White's (the Experienced former Long-Time Secretary General of the European/International Federation of Journalists, HQ in Brussels, CoE's Top Expert, and now Head of the "Ethical Journalism Network"), Past and Current, relevant Work, particularly on guaranteing elementary Traditional Journalism's Legal Protection to WebNews Authors committed to respect Press Deontology. And he promised to have a look for Comment to a relevant, key "Eurofora"s Publication's Ideas, precisely on a landmark relevant Article Published by Aidan White in CoE's 2015 Book about "Journalism at Risk", together with an Original Interview of his Successor, the New Secretary General of the European Federation of Journalists, Ricardo Gutierrez, as well as an Original Analysis of Inter-American Human Rights Court's (IACHR) Historic 2 "Unanimous" Decisions on the Legal Definition of Journalism, taken as Early as, Already since 1985.

 

By an incredible Coincidence, they had been clearly Evoked by a CoE's Top Expert during an important International Conference on "Ending Impunity for Crimes against Journalism", just the Week Before an Armed Gang of Monstruous ISIL's Islamist Terrorists Cowadly Targetting innocent Civilian People with Machine Guns and/or Bombs, Killed more than a Hundred of Defenseless Victims at the "Bataclan" a.o. Attacks on the 13th of November 2015 : I.e. precisely on the Day of the 30th Anniversary of the above-mentioned, Historic IACHR's Unanimous Decisions ! (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/iachrcoebookandefjsgonjournalismdefinition.html, etc). It's also an UnForgetable Fact that, already from the outset, the 1st ever Target of ISIL's Coward Killers aiming at defenseless Civilian People in France, was, precisely, a kind or Critical Journalism, practiced by atypical "Charlie Hebdo" Weekly Authors, back on January 7, that Same Year (2015)...                

 

(../..)


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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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