Ruling elite, generals, judges, media figures held accountable worldwide | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Ruling elite, generals, judges, media figures held accountable worldwide

Pakistan Press Foundation

This case that had eventually led to the impeachment of Clinton on December 19, 1998 by the US House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in a 21-day Senate trial that had started on January 7, 1999.

After his trial, Clinton said he was “profoundly sorry” for the burden his behavior imposed on Congress and the American people. A woman, Paul Jones also alleged Clinton of sexual harassment. According to “The Washington Post,” As governor of Arkansas, former president Bill Clinton allegedly “propositioned [Paula Jones] and exposed himself to her in a Little Rock hotel room.”

Clinton never admitted to the sexual-harassment charges when the Paula Jones case was resurrected in the public eye during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Clinton’s wife Hillary was subjected to a smear campaign ahead of the 2008 US Presidential campaign. As “The Times” of UK had reported on November 22, 2007,” The anonymous e-mails and letters began dropping into inboxes and through front doors this summer. One claimed that Hillary Clinton was having a lesbian affair with Huma Abedin, her beautiful aide.”

In his article “Snarls, smears and innuendo for Hillary Clinton as attack dogs get ready for the fray,” writer Tom Reid had mentioned the “the foulest swamp of electoral dirty tricks in America.”

A US writer Edward Klein had earlier written a controversial book “The truth about Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President” about the Secretary of State’s private life, terming her a lesbian.

Reviewing the contents of this book, “The New York Times” had written on July 31, 2005 that the writer had relied too much on nasty personal comments about Senator Clinton provided by anonymous sources.

In his article “The Truth About Hillary’: Many a Dubious Revelation,” The New York Times writer Joe Queenan had further written:” What I am saying is that if Klein purposely set out to write the sleaziest, most derivative, most despicable political biography ever, he has failed both himself and his readers miserably.”

On March 22, 2011 an Israeli court had awarded a seven-year sentence to the country’s former President, Moshe Katsav, on rape charges.

According to Al-Jazeera TV, the judges had also handed the former Israeli leader a two-year suspended sentence and ordered him to pay a fine.

President Katsav was convicted in December 2010 of rape, sexual harassment, indecent acts and obstruction of justice, following a four-year scandal that had rattled Israel.

The maximum sentence for rape in Israel is 16 years behind bars.

Apart from accusations of corruption etc, the sitting Italian Premier, Silvio Berlusconi, is also confronted with a host of sex scandals, which also led to his divorce in 2009. In 2009, Berlusconi was accused of having an illicit relationship with a girl called Noemi Letizia, though he had denied it vehemently.

The Italian Press, including the famous newspapers “la Republica” and “Avvenire” had also printed a lot of truth and gossip about the Premier’s friendship with a woman named Palazzo Grazioli, his ‘paid associations’ with a retired actress Patrizia D’Addario and a Bulgarian actress Michelle Bonev.

And then came the teenage Moroccan belly dancer and alleged prostitute, Karima El Mahroug alias Ruby Rubacuori, who claimed in November 2010 to have been given $10,000 by Berlusconi at ‘nude parties’ at his private villas.

According to a BBC report, although Berlusconi’s trial had begun on April 6 this year, it was adjourned till May 31 because neither the Italian Premier nor the alleged underage prostitute, Karima, was in court.

The BBC said, “Berlusconi faces up to 15 years in jail if found guilty. Over the weeks and months ahead, 20,000 pages of evidence will be presented and about 40 women will be called as witnesses.”

On June 16, 1998 the former Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega appeared in court to claim parliamentary immunity against sex abuse charges brought by his stepdaughter.

The BBC reported: “Mr Ortega, who was accompanied by his wife Rosario Murillo, said the accusations were a plot to undermine him. He presented documents to the judge showing his membership of the National Assembly and his immunity from prosecution. His stepdaughter, 30-year-old Zoilamerica Narvaez, said Mr Oretega repeatedly abused her from the age of 11.”

Former Zimbabwean President Canaan Banana was also arrested on charges of sodomy, following allegations made during the murder trial of his former bodyguard. Banana was found guilty of 11 charges of sodomy, attempted sodomy and indecent assault in 1998. He denied all charges, terming them “pathological lies.”

President Banana was sentenced in January 1999 to 10 years in jail, but he actually served six months in an open prison before being released in January 2001.

Former US Vice President Al Gore was accused by a US media outlet “The National Enquirer” on its website that he had ‘unwanted’ sexual contact with a massage technician in October 2006. Though Gore’s attorneys had denied the allegations, police detectives did sniff around a lot for evidence after the massage practitioner’s lawyer had reported to Portland police that the former US Vice President had sexually assaulted her in his hotel room.

Anwar Ibrahim, the former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, was sentenced to nine years for sodomy in 2000. In 2004, the Federal Court reversed his conviction and he was released due to contradictions in the prosecution’s case. In July 2008, he was again alleged of sodomising one of his male aides.

A four-time US Senator Bob Packwood had allegedly harassed 29 women. According to CBS News, the US Senate was able to prove 17 of the 29 incidents and Packwood had to resign.

On April 7, 2010, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had fired one of his aides amid a sex scandal. According to the CNN, “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had fired his chief of staff despite an inquiry into a sex scandal that cleared the second-in-command of wrongdoing. Rafiq Husseini was accused of using the power of his office to extract sex from a female job seeker.

The scandal had erupted in February (2010) after a video was made public allegedly showing Husseini undressing in a bedroom and calling for a woman to join him in bed. The president fired Husseini at the recommendation of a committee that Abbas created to look into the allegations.”

In April 2009, US President Obama’s half brother, Samson Obama, was stopped from entering UK after lying to police over sex allegations.

“The Daily Mail,” in its April 12, 2009 edition had stated,” The half-brother of President Barack Obama was refused an entry visa to Britain after lying to police officers about an accusation of sexual assault. The deception occurred in November when Samson Obama, who lives in Kenya, was in Britain staying with his mother, who lives in Berkshire.

He was questioned by police about the alleged assault, which he denied but during the investigation he used a false name and he later received a police caution. When he applied for another visa, hoping to visit Britain last week, he was refused.”

The news was embarrassing to the US President, who had given his younger half-brother a personal tour of the White House in January 2009, when he had attended the historic inauguration.

The Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, was under probe by the Swedish police since August 2010 for his alleged involvement in two sexual encounters.

Assange appealed a February 2011 decision by English courts to extradite him to Sweden for questioning in relation to a sexual assault investigation.

A two-day British High Court hearing is scheduled to start on July 12; and till then he remains on bail.

In 2006, famous US comedian and actor Bill Cosby was reported to have settled a lawsuit with a woman alleging he had sexually assaulted her. The woman claimed that Cosby assaulted her at house in early 2004 after giving her some blue pills, which rendered her semiconscious, and that the comedian molested her.

Late singer Michael Jackson was first accused of child sexual abuse in 1993. His passion for having sex with children resurfaced in 2003, for which he was tried and later acquitted.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor-turned-Governor of California, also faced allegations of having sex with a woman at a gymnasium.

A 2001 article in “Premiere” magazine described many instances in which Schwarzenegger had fondled a female interviewer.

Boxing Champion Mike Tyson was convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman. He served three years of his six-year sentence.

Sex scams have also disgraced over a dozen Indian politicians. In 2009, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Narayan Dutt Tiwari had to quit for his immorality.

In 2009 again, a Smajawadi party leader Azam Khan was alleged by top actress Jaya Prada of distributing her fake nude pictures. Jaya was contesting polls at that time and had emerged victorious.

In 2008, Manmohan Samal, Minister for Revenue in Orissa, had to relinquish charge after he was found guilty in a similar scandal.

In 2005, Sanjay Joshi of the Bharatia Janata Party was caught ‘red handed’ while he was in the middle of a merry-making act.

In 2003, Amarmani Tripathi, then cabinet minister of Uttar Pradesh, was jailed for murdering his girl friend, Madhumita Shukla.

In 2003, Harak Singh Rawat, a former revenue minister of Uttarakhand state, was found guilty.

In 1997, PK Kunjalikutty, a Kerala politician and in 1998, JB Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Orissa, were reported for their alleged involvement in similar cases.

In 1978, Suresh Ram, the son of the then Indian Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram, was also found involved in an act of adultery.

According to the website of the prestigious “Forbes” magazine, Prince Victor Emmanuel, son of Italy’s last king, was arrested in 2006 for his involvement in a crime ring that recruited prostitutes for a casino in Switzerland.

According to the “Forbes” magazine:” Political sex shenanigans as tabloid fodder date back to at least 1963, when Britain’s Secretary of State for War John Profumo attempted to cover up his affair with a showgirl, who had also been cavorting with a Soviet intelligence officer.

The incident caused outrage in the UK and put a serious dent in the government of Prime Minister Harold MacMillan.”

Forbes adds that Willie Knuckles, a senior Liberian minister and chief of staff to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, had to resign in 2007 after a national newspaper had published a nude photo of him.

Forbes also cited the example of an Indonesian politician Yahya Zaini, who had resigned in 2006 after a video clip of him frolicking nude with his country’s pop singer Maria Eva was circulated on the Internet.

The eminent US magazine further had further stated that in August 2007, China’s Finance Minister Jin Renqing, was reportedly ousted for his alleged involvement in a sex scandal.

In 2006, European Commission Vice President Gunter Verheugen’s nude photographs with his chief of staff, Petra Erler, were published by a German magazine.

Innumerable US Senators like Barney Frank, James McGreevey, Jesse Jackson, Gary Condit, Eliot Spitzer, Jay Reynolds, Gerry Eastman Studds, Frederick Richmond, Neil Goldschmidt, Neil Goldschmidt, Joseph Waggonner and Jerry Springer etc have also been fined, convicted and thrown out in similar incidents.

Global journalists held accountable for wrongdoings:

A few years ago, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had tried to unmask the beneficiaries of the Ministry of Information’s secret fund, but the matter was somehow hushed up.

In countries like India, China and United Kingdom, ugly faces in media have never been treated as sacred cows and the long arm of law has often clutched them in case of any felony.

This research piece might pinch many of this correspondent’s friends and foes in the profession due to its timing, but fact has it that recently in April 2016, a US federal judge had sentenced journalist Matthew Keys to two years in prison after he was convicted last year of three counts of conspiracy and criminal hacking.

In March 2016, a journalist was sentenced to five years in a Saudi Arabian prison for “insulting the rulers of the country” and “ridiculing Islamic religious figures,” British newspaper “The Independent” had reported.

Alaa Brinji was convicted by Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism court for tweets he had posted in support of Saudi Arabian women’s right to drive cars, human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience.

Not so long ago in November 2012, two senior journalists at an esteemed Indian television channel “Zee News” were arrested on charges of extortion.

The BBC online edition of November 27, 2012 had stated: “Sudhir Chaudhary, head of news, and Samir Ahluwalia, head of business at the channel, are accused of trying to extort millions of dollars from the Indian business firm Jindal Group. They are alleged to have sought cash in exchange for not running reports on a coal scam linked to the firm. Both the journalists and the channel have vehemently denied the charges. Zee News called the arrests “a crude and direct attack on the freedom of the press”.

The BBC had further written: “They have threatened to launch a defamation case against Naveen Jindal – managing director of the Jindal Group and a politician with the governing Congress Party – who, along with his officials, made the complaint. The two journalists are accused of asking Jindal officials for about $18m (£11m) in exchange for suppressing news reports about the firm’s alleged links to a high-profile corruption scandal involving the allocation of coal mining concessions. The officials say they secretly filmed the meetings, and released the footage last month.”

In 2007, the jail term of a Chinese journalist Meng Huaihu was extended by a local court to 12 years from the previous seven-year sentence.

He was accused of bribery and of extorting money from private companies using the threat of negative news reports.

Meng Huaihu was the former Bureau Chief for the “China Commercial Times,” a Beijing-based business paper published by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

The court had ruled that since the journalists were actually performing a public duty, therefore, Bureau Chief Meng was guilty of the common executive offense of bribery, a far more serious crime than extortion.

Journalist Meng was quietly removed from his position in 2005 after allegedly trying to force an advertising contract from China Petroleum and Chemical Company by threatening to write a negative news report.

In May 2009, another Beijing reporter was facing up to seven years jail after he had allegedly accepted money from two whistleblowers with a tip off on airport construction quality.

Fu Hua, a former “China Business News” reporter, had been charged with accepting 30,000 yuan ($4,400) from two employees of Changchun Longjiapu Airport in 2005.

The alleged bribers— Zhang Guangtao, then deputy director of airport construction and Li Shen, Zhang’s subordinate,-had offered money to reporter Fu to expose “problems” on their projects.

Speaking to the prestigious “China Daily,” journalist Fu said he had only accepted 15,000 yuan and insisted the money was not a bribe. Fu said he did not know why he had been charged with accepting a 30,000 yuan bribe.

He alleged police had tortured him until he said he accepted 40,000 yuan – a confession he later withdrew.

And now look at the other side of the coin.

Not long ago, some top-ranking employees of the “News of the World,” once the biggest selling English language newspaper in the world, were sent behind the bars in the United Kingdom.

The newspaper was consequently closed down.

“The News of the World” was the same newspaper that had alleged three Pakistani cricketers (Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir) in August 2010 of spot-fixing during Pakistan’s 2010 tour of England.

Before its closure on July 7, 2011 this 1843 newspaper had gained a lot of notoriety for its cheque-book journalism.

It was often discovered attempting to buy stories about private affairs of key politicians, celebrities and high-profile criminals.

In 2006, this newspaper was accused of illegally gaining access to hundreds of mobile phone voicemail accounts across England. It had hired private investigators for this purpose.

In April 2011, attorneys for the victims alleged that as many as 7,000 people had their phones hacked by the News of the World.

One hacked voicemail account had belonged to Milly Dowler, then missing, but later found to have been murdered.

The paper’s editor, Andy Coulson, had resigned two weeks earlier but was arrested on July 8, 2011.

The publication’s former executive editor Neil Wallis was handcuffed on July 15, 2011 and another former editor, Rebekah Brooks, held in custody on July 17, 2011.

The paper’s royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, was also jailed for four months and so were other reporters like Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup.

Even the paper’s owner and an eminent global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch was accused of pressurizing the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to hush up the probe in his “Phone-hacking scandal.”

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