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Egyptian court lets Al Jazeera journalists speak but not go free

Al Jazeera journalists in cagesAn Egyptian court held its fourth session Monday in the criminal case against three Al Jazeera journalists accused of fabricating news and running a terror cell on behalf of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. But when the prosecution failed for the third time to provide the key video evidence against the journalists, the judge instead dramatically entertained bail for the reporters, who have been held since Dec. 29.

In the end, bail was _ again _ denied. But the judge’s decision to let the defendants address the court directly was unprecedented in the Egyptian judicial system, even if it did not lead to their provisional release.


Spanish journalists freed in Syria after six-month ordeal

Spanish journalists freedTwo Spanish journalists kidnapped in northern Syria last September were freed by their captors on Saturday night, ending a six-month ordeal in the hands of an extremist Islamist group that continues to hold more than 40 other western hostages.

Javier Espinosa, a veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El Mundo, and Ricardo García Vilanova, a freelance photographer working with him, were handed over to Turkish authorities near the Syrian town of Tal Abiyad, not far from where they were seized 194 days ago.


Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

Matt GaetzFlorida journalists are speaking out after their state's legislature passed a proposal making it far more difficult to report on cases involving the controversial Stand Your Ground law.  

Florida's Stand Your Ground law has repeatedly made national headlines because of its role in the deaths of teenagers Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. On Thursday, the Florida House passed an NRA-backed proposal that includes an amendment which would expand the Stand Your Ground defense to those who fire warning shots to deter potential attacks. The bill also allows for the expunging of records in Stand Your Ground cases where charges were eventually dropped. The bill is now headed to the Florida Senate.


Swedish journalist shot dead in Afghanistan

Nils HornerSwedish journalist Nils Horner was gunned down Tuesday in an assassination-style killing, raising questions about the safety of foreigners in Afghanistan.

Horner, 51, worked for Swedish Radio and had both Swedish and British nationalities. According to Col. Najibullah Samsour, a senior police official, Horner was talking to a security guard outside a restaurant about a story he was working on, when a two men dressed in "traditional clothing" walked up to him and one of them shot him in the face with a pistol.


Caged Al Jazeera journalists appear in Egypt court, see trial adjourned

Al Jazeera journalistsThe trial of three Al Jazeera English journalists jailed in Egypt has been adjourned until March 24 and the defendants remain in jail on charges of spreading false news and belonging to a "terrorist group."

Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who have been held for more than two months, appeared in court for the second time on Wednesday when witnesses for the prosecution were heard.


FCC ditches 'Critical Information Needs' study of newsrooms

FCCA study of how journalists actually gather news is being halted, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission says.

A spokesman said Friday the Critical Information Needs study was aimed at finding barriers to entry into the news business, not at trying to monitor and control how journalists do their work, The Hill reported. But he said the FCC will find some other way to study the issue.

"The commission will reassess the best way to fulfill its obligation to Congress to identify barriers to entry into the communications marketplace faced by entrepreneurs and other small businesses," he said.


Al Jazeera calls for global support of detained staff

jailed al jazeera staffAl Jazeera is calling for a Global Day of Action to demand the immediate release of four of its journalists who have been locked up in Egypt's prisons for months.

People in more than 30 cities will express their solidarity and support on Thursday, with public events taking place in Sydney, Manila, Islamabad, Doha, Amman, Nairobi, Ankara,  Berlin, London, Rio, Montreal, Washington and San Francisco.

"Al Jazeera hopes through the attention of the world’s media and partners, pressure can be brought to bear on the Egyptian authorities to hasten the release of Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Abdullah Al Shamy by reminding them in a united voice, that journalism is not a crime," the media network said in a release on Wednesday.


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