JOURNALISTS THREATENED AND HARASSED -
DEPRIVED OF FREEDOM FOR 18 HOURS
INFRINGEMENTS OF PRESS FREEDOM
INNSBRUCK, Austria -- The political editor and the diplomatic writer of SAST REPORT were deprived of their freedom for 18 hours on 07 AUGUST 2001 at 20:30 UTC by 2 perpetrators, one of them pretending to be a Jesuit and to be living at the Jesuitenkolleg, Sillgasse 2, in Innsbruck, the other claiming to be from the property management. The journalists had written about troop movements in the Middle East and were only hours from a meeting with a key source whose insider guidance was vital to Sast Report's groundbreaking coverage of 100 missing nuclear weapons.
After 18 hours they were released. However, under heavy pressure, they did not reveal their sources.
In the same building 2 Palestinians were also deprived of their freedom for 11 hours. The older one claimed to have been tortured.
The journalists had to leave all their press items, the equipment and most of their personal belongings there. Needless to mention, that once again the entry to the new office was denied.
"Such an attitude from a representative of the catholic church is not acceptable," noted Sachsenmaier. "This is the 5th time that notes, films and the journaux were confiscated by the state, political parties or a religious group in Austria without a warrant."
This procedere is internationally perceived as despicable and has always been seen as unconstitutional by the Supreme Courts, and raises questions about civil liberties in that country.
The journalists said -- some days before, they had the feeling they had broken through the access door of government information which was closed to journalists from independent press.
SITUATION TOUJOURS TENDUE POUR LA PRESSE EN AUTRICHE
Up to now, ninety-six months later, the journalists are still barred from entering the premises preventing them from doing their jobs in normal conditions.
Giving anyone the power to ban journalists from practising their profession is particularly worrying and strictly against the Austrian State Treaty of 1955.
It is mainly the international press being targeted here, who are simply no longer able to carry out their work as usual and provide the voters with a reliable picture of the constellations of authority in the complex political landscape. An uninformed voting public, meanwhile, risks reelecting criminals, bullies, psychopaths, lunatics, corrupt officials and illusion-selling politicians.
This reflects an obvious intention to intimidate those media that criticise the smoke blowing government most severely and are not willing to accept any censorship of the press.
Those responsible should go back on their decision rapidly. The people of this nation, have both the need and the right to be thoroughly informed on critical issues.
= CLEARING THE AIR =
Founded 13 years ago SAST REPORT has revolutionized news coverage in the western world, presenting uncensored reporting and open debate on political issues. In the process, the daily has frequently angered corrupt leaders and is subject to constant harassment, attacks and lootings.
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FEAR, TERROR AND LOOTING