International brief ~ Legal NGO urges Nepal to revoke media law D. Wes Rist at 5:20 AM ET
[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's international brief, the International Commission of Jurists [advocacy website] has issued a report [PDF text] urging the Nepal government [official website] to revoke the recently approved media ordinance [JURIST report] as contrary to the Nepalese Constitution [text] and Nepal's international human rights obligations. The report questions the intent of the legislation, alleging that its true purpose is to suppress critical journalism rather than lawfully regulate the media industry. The ICJ praised two recent decisions by the Nepal Supreme Court [official website] requiring the Nepalese government to wait before implementing the full provisions of the ordinance, but urged the Court to take proactive steps and declare the legislation unconstitutional. Read the ICJ press release [PDF text]. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Nepal [JURIST news archive]. Nepalnews.com has local coverage.
In other international legal news ...
White farmers in Zimbabwe [government website] have won a court battle against land reform actions initiated by President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] that will allow them to keep farming equipment they own even if their land has been seized under new constitutional powers [JURIST report] granted to the government. According to a press release by the Commercial Farmers Union [advocacy website], courts in the capital city of Harare ordered the Masvingo Farm Equipment and Materials Committee (MFEMC) to return seized farm equipment to white farm owners whose land had been seized. The MFEMC was set up by Mugabe to seize all equipment and materials on the land of seized farms as property of the state. The court ruled that the land reform authorized by the constitution did not include the seizure of private property belonging to the owners of seized land. It is unclear if the MFEMC will comply with court ruling, as Mugabe has threatened previously to ignore court decisions with which he does not agree. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive]. Zim Online has local coverage.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] has called on the wealthier nations of the world to be willing to change trade and agriculture laws to reflect "the changing economies of the 21st century" and to give true meaning to the current talks taking place at the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference [official website] in Hong Kong. In a statement delivered Tuesday, Annan said that the practice of subsidizing large portions of agricultural business interests in developed nations was directly related to the continued difficulty experienced by developing nations in trying to receive fair market value for their own agricultural products. Various NGO and advocacy groups like UK-based Christian Aid [advocacy website] have recommended that developing nations walk out of the WTO talks [press release] rather than accept a deal more likely to cause overall harm to their economies if they give in to demands by developed nations for opening their markets to competition by already developed service providers. Read the transcript of Annan's remarks. JURIST's Paper Chase has continuing coverage of the World Trade Organization [JURIST news archive]. The UN News Centre has more.
An audit conducted by international consulting firm Ernst and Young [corporate website] cleared employees of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization [official website] of criminal corruption allegations made by various news media outlets. The report concluded that while there were areas of practice in the organization that needed reform and updating with modern accountability practices, there was no evidence to "conclude that certain employees of WIPO and third parties concerned might have committed any fraud or dishonest acts." Read the WIPO press release. The UN News Centre has more.
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