April 2012

Blog   |   Libya, Security

For conflict journalists, a need for first-aid training

After photographer Tim Hetherington, seen here in Libya, died in April 2011, friend Sebastian Junger started an organization to train freelancers in battlefield first aid. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly)

Stop the bleeding. It's a critical and fundamental step in aiding a journalist or anyone wounded in conflict. Hemorrhage is the number one preventable death on the battlefield. And yet large numbers of journalists covering wars and political unrest all across the world are untrained in this life-saving skill. It doesn't need to be that way.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Body of Mexican journalist found beaten, strangled

The body of Regina Martínez Pérez was found in her home on Saturday. (Reuters)

New York, April 30, 2012--Authorities must immediately investigate the murder of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez Pérez, determine the motive, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

The body of Martínez was found in her home on Saturday evening in Xalapa, the capital of the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, according to news reports. She had been badly beaten around the face and ribs and had been strangled to death, news reports said. The state attorney general, Amadeo Flores Espinoza, said in a news briefing that it appeared her TV, cellphones, and computer had been stolen.

April 30, 2012 4:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Blind lawyer spurs news blackout in China

News of blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng has been censored for months. International news reports of his escape last week from incarceration in his home in Linyi, Shandong--apparently to U.S. protection, although his whereabouts remain unclear--has only intensified that censorship. That is unlikely to stop discussion among those familiar with Chen's case.

April 30, 2012 4:20 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Togo

In Togo, police assault journalists, confiscate equipment

Police spray tear gas at protesters Friday at Togo's Independence Plaza. (ANC Togo)

New York, April 30, 2012--Togolese police attacked and confiscated the equipment of two journalists filming an anti-government march in the capital, Lomé, on Friday. Civil society activists and human rights advocates had gathered for the demonstration on the occasion of Togo's 52nd Independence Day, local journalists said.

April 30, 2012 4:06 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Montenegro

Journalist sentenced to jail for libel in Montenegro

New York, April 30, 2012--The appeals court in Montenegro must overturn a libel verdict and four-month jail sentence given to journalist Petar Komnenic, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The Montenegrin authorities, who are seeking to join the European Union, decriminalized libel after the journalist's original conviction, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Malaysia

Journalists assaulted, detained during rally in Malaysia

Police officers stand guard during Saturday's protest. (Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad)

Bangkok, April 30, 2012--Security forces attacked several journalists Saturday while cracking down on a rally in Kuala Lumpur, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists rejects the government's claims that police acted with restraint and calls for an independent investigation into the attacks.

Blog   |   Internet, Thailand

Verdict postponed in landmark Thai Internet freedom case

Earlier today, press and human rights groups from around the world heard that the decision in the case of Chiranuch "Jiew" Premchaiporn, the manager of Thai online news site Prachatai, was being delayed yet another month. Chiranuch is charged under Thailand's Computer Crime Act for 10 counts of not deleting apparently anti-monarchy comments on Prachatai's online discussion boards.

Alerts   |   Syria

Syrian regime continues its crackdown on journalists

New York, April 27, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Syria's continued detention of at least 13 journalists and press freedom activists--and perhaps several more--and calls on authorities to release them immediately. In many instances, authorities have not disclosed the health, whereabouts, or charges filed against the detainees.

Blog   |   Liberia

Liberian journalist Mae Azango on cold threats, hot stories

Mae Azango compared going into a hiding with hanging in a bat cave. (CPJ/Sheryl Mendez)

Mae Azango was not surprised when the Liberian police failed to help when she began receiving threats of violence in response to an article she had written about female genital cutting that was published on in FrontPage Africa on March 8. She had previously reported critically on the police, including a case of police brutality against the mother of a rape victim. "I was doing hot stories on them so they were not happy with me," Azango proudly states.

April 27, 2012 5:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kazakhstan

Journalist as a threat to Kazakhstan's national security

Police stand guard outside a court where defendants accused of participating in December's deadly clashes in Zhanaozen are on trial in the Caspian port city of Aktau March 28. (Reuters/Vladimir Tretyakov)

In a reply to CPJ's protest letter regarding the politicized imprisonment of journalist Igor Vinyavsky, Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office said the prosecution wasn't retaliatory nor related to his journalism. CPJ publicly appealed to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev after his country's security service, the KNB, raided Vinyavsky's newsroom and apartment, confiscated reporting equipment, and imprisoned the journalist for two months. The KNB also harassed and interrogated Vinyavsky's family and local journalists who protested against his incarceration.

April 27, 2012 11:55 AM ET

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Letters   |   Ecuador

Ecuador should scrap new media bill, draft new one

Dear Mr. Cordero: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about a new Ecuadoran communications bill currently under debate in the National Assembly that would roll back press freedom by promoting self-censorship and restrictions on criticism of public officials.

Alerts   |   Nigeria

CPJ condemns attacks on newspaper offices in Nigeria

Police officers stand in front of ThisDay newspaper in Abuja, which was bombed earlier today. (AFP/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

New York, April 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns bombings today targeting two of the offices of ThisDay newspaper in Nigeria. At least nine people were killed and more than a dozen wounded in the attacks, for which the Islamist militant sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, CPJ, Egypt, El Salvador, Security, Syria, USA

Why journalists need new ways to stay safe

Gang members at a prison in Izalco shortly after a government-brokered truce. (Reuters/Ulises Rodriguez)

After the Salvadoran online newsmagazine El Faro exposed a secret government deal with criminal gangs last month, its staff faced repercussions that illustrate the new and complicated risks facing journalists worldwide. El Faro's report, which said the government provided more lenient treatment of imprisoned gangsters in exchange for the groups' agreement to slow down their murderous practices, addressed one of the most sensitive topics facing journalists today--crime and its many interconnections with government.

Alerts   |   Cambodia

Cambodian activist killed while helping journalists

Unspoiled swaths of Koh Kon province have been deforested, a story that has proved extraordinarily sensitive. (Reuters/Samrang Pring)

New York, April 26, 2012--Cambodian authorities should thoroughly investigate a violent confrontation that led to the deaths of a police officer and an activist who was taking two journalists to a logging site said to be illegal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Impact

CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, April 2012

CPJ launches Journalist Security Guide

CPJ launched the Journalist Security Guide recently, which provides reporters with concrete steps to minimize the dangers of digital and physical reporting. In the guide, Danny O'Brien, CPJ's Internet advocacy coordinator, and Frank Smyth, CPJ's senior security consultant, discuss the threats facing journalists and outline the relevant steps journalists should take in considering their safety.

The guide, which was created in consultation with prominent journalists such as Sebastian Junger, Umar Cheema, and Carolyn Cole, includes six videos and also features guidelines on protecting digital information, preparing for armed conflict, covering organized crime, and mitigating the risk of sexual violence.

To continuously present journalists with up-to-date security information, CPJ is also launching the Journalist Security Blog, a platform that features posts by CPJ and guest bloggers on safer mobile use, first-aid training courses, and new ways to ensure journalist safety. 

The Journalist Security Guide is available online in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. It can also be downloaded in e-reader, iBook, and pdf formats.  

April 26, 2012 10:47 AM ET

Alerts   |   China

Boxun news site attacked amid Bo Xilai coverage

Boxun News website was attacked after reporting on the scandal involving Bo Xilai. (AFP/Frederic J. Brown)

New York, April 25, 2012--The U.S.-based, Chinese-language news website Boxun has come under two crippling denial-of-service attacks in the past week as the outlet sought to report on the unfolding murder and corruption scandal involving former senior Communist Party leader Bo Xilai. The attacks forced Boxun to change its hosting company twice, the site's founder and editor Watson Meng told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Meng, who spoke to CPJ from his home in North Carolina, said he had not been able to trace the source of the denial-of-service attacks but believed they were in reprisal for Boxun's reporting on Bo Xilai and his ally Zhou Yongkang, the Communist Party's security chief, whose political fate has also been the subject of speculation this month. The first attack, on Friday, was so severe that it not only threatened Boxun but its entire hosting service, name.com. Denial-of-service attacks overload host servers with external communications requests, thus preventing websites from functioning. 

Alerts   |   Jordan

Jordanian journalist arrested over critical article

New York, April 25, 2012--Jordanian journalist Jamal al-Muhtaseb has been detained since Monday on antistate charges after publishing an article alleging misconduct by the Royal Court, according to news reports. Al-Muhtaseb's sister, the author of the article, was also arrested but was released the same day, news reports said.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, USA

Afghan journalist's death must lead to better combat rules

Wednesday, the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) released its report, "Death of an Uruzgan Journalist: Command Errors and Collateral Damage," by Kate Clark on the July 2011 shooting death of journalist Omaid Khpalwak. Clark's details on how Khpalwak died corroborate and then go beyond the investigation already conducted by the U.S.-led NATO forces who were responsible. Her report was important to write, and is important to read.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka: Protecting Peiris, hounding victim's family

The magistrate's hearings into the January 24, 2010, disappearance of opposition journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda continue at a tortuously slow pace. A correspondent in Colombo shared the details of the April 24 hearing, where Eknelygoda's wife, Sandhya, and the couple's two teenage sons continue to press for any news of Prageeth. The family's attorney said he may have to press Sri Lanka's Appeal Court to order former Attorney General Mohan Peiris to testify about the comments he made at the U.N. Committee Against Torture on November 9, 2011, in Geneva. The government has ignored the January 2012 ruling by the Court that Peiris could be called in as a witness.

April 25, 2012 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist Décio Sá assassinated

Décio Sá (O Estado do Maranhão)

New York, April 24, 2012--Brazilian political journalist and blogger Décio Sá was shot and killed Monday night in the city of Sao Luis in northeastern Brazil, according to news reports. The journalist was sitting in a bar waiting for a friend when an unidentified man entered, walked to the bathroom, and shot Sá six times before fleeing the scene with a motorcyclist who was waiting outside.

Sá, 42, wrote about politics for 17 years for the local newspaper O Estado do Maranhão and on his personal blog, Blog do Décio, which was one of the most widely read in the state, press reports said. Sá's blog was known for critical reporting on politicians and corruption, according to Cezar Scanssette, a journalist with O Estado do Maranhão. Due to the nature of his reporting, the journalist had "many enemies," Scanssette told CPJ. Scanssette said he was not aware of Sá receiving any threats.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Three Colombian journalists flee homes in recent months

New York, April 23, 2012--Three provincial Colombian radio journalists have been forced to flee their homes in the past few months after receiving death threats from illegal armed groups. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on authorities to ensure their safety.

Alerts   |   Bahrain

Bahrain cracks down on news around Formula One races

Police check journalist IDs outside the Formula One races on Sunday. Authorities have restricted and suppressed journalists in the run-up to the races. (AP/Hassan Ammar)

New York, April 23, 2012--Bahraini authorities, intent on suppressing coverage of the restive political conditions that were a backdrop to the Formula One Grand Prix in Manama on Sunday, arrested at least seven international journalists who were seeking to report on anti-government demonstrations, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Another Pakistan attack, this one online

The Friday Times in Lahore has come under cyberattack. Earlier Friday, its website could not be accessed.

Najam Sethi, the paper's editor, told CPJ that someone has "launched an attack on the websites of both The Friday Times and Vanguard Books [the book publishing and distribution company that owns the Times]. A tsunami of killer spams and log-ins have clogged the sites and blocked them."

Blog   |   India

Indian justice grinds slowly, but not so finely

First, a bit of history: In 2008, CPJ reported:

The high court in the western state of Gujarat defended the media, rebuking a prosecutor for demanding state regulation of newspaper content. The prosecution sought restrictions after the Ahmedabad police commissioner filed sedition charges against a Times of India editor and reporter, and a Gujarat Samachar photographer.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Murtaza Razvi, and what should come next

Murtaza Razvi (Dawn.com)

The ceremony for Murtaza Razvi was held in Karachi Friday. Even as more details of the killing of one of the Dawn Media Group's most senior journalists emerge, it's difficult to discern a motive. Several Pakistani media quoted an anonymous police official as saying, "We are investigating into the matter but it is a case of murder because his hands were tied and his body bore torture marks and he had apparently been strangled to death" with a belt. The official said police are waiting for the postmortem report.

April 20, 2012 12:12 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Kazakh journalist in surgery after being shot, stabbed

New York, April 19, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's attack on a reporter in Kazakhstan and calls on authorities to immediately investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Unidentified assailants shot and stabbed Lukpan Akhmedyarov, a journalist with the independent newspaper Uralskaya Nedelya, in Uralsk, a city in western Kazakhstan, as he returned home from work at around 10:30 p.m., Akhmedyarov's chief editor, Tamara Eslyamova, told CPJ today. Eslyamova said the journalist was in surgery late today.

Blog   |   Internet, Pakistan

Pakistani court says website blocking violates constitution

When CPJ covered the Pakistani government's attempt to build a massive censorship system for the country's Internet in February, we noted a key problem with such huge blocking systems: they are, at heart, democratically unaccountable.

Blog   |   CPJ

Internet giants submit to external free expression scrutiny

Journalists and bloggers in authoritarian countries have their work cut out thwarting governments that try to restrict their writing and reporting. The last thing they need to worry about is the provider of their publication platform helping authorities with censorship or surveillance. Cue the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a voluntary grouping of Internet companies, freedom of expression groups, progressive investors, and academics. 

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Several reporters assaulted, one hospitalized in Baku

Idrak Abbasov was hospitalized Wednesday. (IRFS)

New York, April 18, 2012--Azerbaijani authorities must promptly investigate and bring to justice perpetrators of today's brutal assault in Baku on five independent reporters, including award-winning journalist Idrak Abbasov, who is now hospitalized, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Blog   |   Bahrain

CPJ in joint call for release of bloggers, activists in Bahrain

Police used sound grenades Wednesday to disperse an anti-government rally demanding the release of human rights activists in Manama. (Reuters/Darren Whiteside)

CPJ is among 50 organizations that have signed a joint letter to Bahrain's king calling for the release of detained bloggers, activists, and human rights defenders and to drop all charges that violate the right to peaceful expression ahead of the Formula One motor racing event to be held in Manama on April 22.

Letters   |   Brazil

Brazil must be leader on impunity, free expression

Dear President Rousseff: We are writing to bring to your attention recent actions taken by the Brazilian government that contradict your expressed commitment to guarantee freedom of expression and make human rights a priority in the country. While we recognize that the Brazilian authorities have made strides in bringing journalist killers to justice in recent years, we ask that you assert global leadership to ensure that the fundamental right of freedom of expression is afforded to all.

April 18, 2012 1:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

Statute of limitations, the challenge for Colombian justice

The issue of impunity affects all Colombian citizens' access to real justice; it is not only a problem for crimes against journalists. Several human rights bodies and non-governmental organizations agree that Colombia dwells in a striking situation of impunity, especially concerning crimes committed during the ongoing armed conflict.

Blog   |   Cuba, Journalist Assistance, Spain

Expelled from Cuba jails, journalists languish in Spain

Ricardo González Alfonso (left) and Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez at a press conference in Vallecas in July 2010. (AFP/Dominique Faget)

In 2010, following midsummer negotiations between the Catholic Church and the government of President Raúl Castro, Cuban authorities began releasing imprisoned journalists, sending them into forced exile with their families. In April 2011, the last of more than 20 journalists arrived in Spain. They had been granted liberty and respite, and were promised support from Spanish authorities while they settled into the new country. But almost two years after the first crop of journalists arrived in Spain, the four who remain in the country are living under extremely difficult conditions, struggling even to feed themselves.

Blog   |   Cuba, Journalist Assistance, Spain

Cubans exiled in Spain: Integration or disintegration?

Ricardo González Alfonso (AFP)

Desperate realities call for hope. It is not just a game of words, because you don't play with hunger and the future (my own and my family's). It is about going deeper into another version of circumstances. And seeing the rainbow where others see a gloomy sun and a stubborn and relentless rain.

I am writing this declaration of optimism now that the Spanish government has withdrawn the financial aid that it had provided us, when in the summer of 2010, directly from the Cuban jails, we arrived as former prisoners of conscience along with others there just by coincidence, or not.

April 17, 2012 10:08 AM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Multimedia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Video: Getting Away With Murder


CPJ's María Salazar-Ferro names the 12 countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Where are leaders failing to uphold the law? Where are conditions getting better? And where is free expression in danger? (4:46)

Read CPJ's 2012 Impunity Index. And visit our Global Campaign Against Impunity and see how you can help.

April 17, 2012 12:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, CPJ, India, Pakistan

Brazil, Pakistan, India fail test on journalist murders

At a protest against the murder of a journalist in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a sign reads: "Enough of violence, exclusion and impunity." (AP/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Brazil, Pakistan, and India--three nations with high numbers of unsolved journalist murders--failed an important test last month in fighting the scourge of impunity. Delegates from the three countries took the lead in raising objections to a U.N. plan that would strengthen international efforts to combat deadly anti-press violence.

Blog   |   Mexico

Amid Mexican impunity, paper in the crossfire

The offices of El Siglo de Torreón after the November 2011 attack. (Courtesy El Siglo de Torreón)

It was 3 o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, when a car stopped in front of the offices of El Siglo de Torreón, the most widely read newspaper in the northern Mexican states of Coahuila and Durango. The driver pulled the vehicle onto the shoulder, stepped out, poured gasoline on it, and lit it on fire. From another car, AK-47 shots were fired at a window in the newspaper's offices across the street.

The attack lasted less than five minutes, enough time to complete the job without disturbance. Fortunately, the doors were locked and the staffers who remained inside were in the printing room, protected from the assault. We never found out who torched the car or shot at the windows. That November 15, we received calls from all types of authorities as well as promises of a thorough investigation that never happened.

April 17, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Pakistan's response to UNESCO shows true colors

Journalist Hayatullah Khan, shown in the picture above surrounded by his family, was killed in 2006. (AP/Abdullah Noor)

In case there was any doubt about the stance of Pakistani authorities on the murder of journalists, UNESCO's 28th biennial session offered an instructive insight. In addition to discussing the U.N. Draft Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity during the meeting, held in Paris in March, member states were to report on judicial inquiries into the killings of journalists from 2006 to 2009. Pakistan was among 17 countries that did not respond to the request. It was also one of three countries that refused to discuss the UNESCO draft, intended to take legislative measures to combat attacks on the press. This was a reflection of our sad state of affairs.

Blog   |   Pakistan

With impunity, more danger ahead for Pakistani press

Pakistani journalists rally against the killing of their colleague Mukarram Khan Atif. No arrests have been made in the case. (AP/Mohammad Sajjad)

Pakistani journalists are under threat, and the public is paying the price. The most recent report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan includes a detailed chapter on freedom of expression, which ties growing suppression to rising incidence of violence and threats against news media. Not coincidentally, Pakistan sits near the top of CPJ's Impunity Index and other the global lists of most dangerous countries for reporters.

Alerts   |   Iran

Iranian regime continues to crack down on press

New York, April 17, 2012--Sustaining their years-long campaign against the press, Iranian authorities have sentenced one journalist to prison and summoned another to serve a jail term, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to release imprisoned journalists who are being held away from their families and in deprivation.

Alerts   |   China

Chinese Internet crackdown on Bo Xilai rumors continues

New York, April 13, 2012--Chinese authorities should halt their censorship of Web content in the aftermath of senior politician Bo Xilai's dismissal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Internet officials in China have deleted at least 210,000 online posts and shut down as many as 42 websites since mid-March for allegedly spreading rumors, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday.

Alerts   |   Kenya

Two Kenyan journalists threatened for their reporting

New York, April 13, 2012--Kenyan authorities must investigate threats made against two journalists who covered a police raid on a supermarket, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. One of the journalists was also threatened in relation to another story he published.

Alerts   |   Yemen

Armed men attack Yemeni journalist in Sana'a

Yemeni journalist Mohammed al-Maqaleh was attacked and threatened by armed men on Saturday. (AFP/Mohamed Huwais)

New York, April 12, 2012--Prominent Yemeni journalist Muhammad al-Maqaleh was assaulted by armed men affiliated with a tribal group while visiting a government official's house, the journalist told the Committee to Protect Journalists today. Al-Maqaleh has widely reported on the activities of tribal groups in Yemen.

Blog   |   China

Chinese censors target tomatoes amid Bo Xilai scandal

(AP/Muhammed Muheisen)

Chongqing hotpot = King of the Southwest = King Who Pacifies the West = Minister of Yu = Tomato

What do these words have in common? They are all coded references to Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Communist Party leader in southwestern Chongqing, and they were all censored in China on Tuesday, according to the Berkeley-based China Digital Times website. Bo was removed from his post in March, and state media reported Wednesday he had been suspended from the governing Politburo and Party Central Committee. Propaganda officials censored speculation about Bo's downfall and its implications for political stability, so Internet users adopted terms like the ones above to avoid triggering keyword filters. Now these, too, have been blacklisted, according to China Digital Times. Will this senseless battle to hide information ever end?

April 11, 2012 2:42 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tunisia

Police attack Tunisian journalists covering protest

Police attacked journalists and clashed with protesters in a Martyrs' Day demonstration on Monday. (AFP/Fethi Belaid)

New York, April 10, 2012--Tunisian authorities must immediately investigate attacks against journalists covering a Martyrs' Day protest in the Tunisian capital on Monday, the first series of anti-press attacks that the Committee to Protect Journalists has documented in three months, CPJ said today.

Alerts   |   Indonesia

Gunmen fire on plane, kill Indonesian journalist

New York, April 10, 2012--Gunmen opened fire on a small plane landing at an airport in Mulia, a town in Indonesia's restive Papua region, on Sunday, killing a journalist and injuring four others, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Indonesian authorities to launch an immediate investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

Blog   |   Internet, UK

UK surveillance plan must be watched carefully

When journalists make enemies in high places, they become vulnerable to the powers those figures wield. One such power is the state's capacity to wiretap and obtain personal records from communications companies. From Colombia's phone-tapping scandal to last year's case of Gerard Davet--a Le Monde reporter whose phone records were obtained by the French intelligence service in apparent violation of press freedom laws--state surveillance has a long history of being misused against reporters.

Blog   |   CPJ, France, Italy, Romania, Russia, Turkey, UK, Ukraine

Defending the European Court of Human Rights

Judges hear a case in the European Court of Human Rights. More than 60,000 people sought the court's help in 2011. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

The European Court of Human Rights is a victim of its success. In 2011, more than 60,000 people sought its help after exhausting all judicial remedies before national courts. But now, some member states of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe are pushing for reforms of the prestigious institution and are pointing at the number of cases to make their argument. Instead of enhancing the court's capacity to deal with the backlog of cases, their moves would clip the court's prerogatives and undermine a citizen's capacity to defend his most fundamental rights.

Alerts   |   Lebanon, Syria

In Lebanon, cameraman killed by Syrian gunfire

Lebanese cameraman Ali Shaaban was killed in Syria today. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

New York, April 9, 2012--Syrian security forces shot and killed a Lebanese cameraman today as he was working in the northern Lebanese town of Wadi Khaled near the Syrian border, according to the journalist's employer and news reports citing Lebanese officials. The cross-border death comes on the same day that Syrian security forces fired shots into a refugee camp near the Turkish border, injuring several people, news reports said.

Blog   |   USA

In Boston, journalist Moloney battles to protect sources

In December 2002, the U.N. Tribunal charged with prosecuting war crimes in the former Yugoslavia ruled that Washington Post reporter Jonathan Randal could not be compelled to provide testimony in the case of a Bosnian Serb official accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing."If war correspondents were to be perceived as potential witnesses for the Prosecution," the Tribunal noted, they "may shift from being observers of those committing human rights violations to being their targets." As a result of that ruling, war correspondents enjoy some immunity against compelled testimony at the international level. But this is not necessarily the case in the United States.

Blog   |   Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea's press silent on unrest in Mali, Syria

People walk near a portrait of Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang along a street in Malabo. (Reuters/Luc Gnago)

While Mali remains in global headlines with a March 22 military coup and rebel claims of an independent state, citizens in Equatorial Guinea are kept in the dark about the crisis unless they have access to international media, CPJ has gathered from interviews with journalists and a government spokesman.

Blog   |   Cuba

Remembering Cuba's Du Bouchet Hernández

Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández (Juan
Carlos Herrera Acosta)

On Wednesday morning, exiled Cuban journalist Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández took his own life, according to reports in the Cuban exiled media. He was the last of more than 20 Cuban journalists to be released from prison and sent to Spain following July 2010 talks between the government of Cuban President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church. Du Bouchet Hernández, who reported opposition political news, endured inhumanity at home and, ultimately, suffered hardship in exile.

April 6, 2012 2:32 PM ET

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Letters   |   Nepal

CPJ urges Nepal to adopt free press recommendations

Dear Prime Minister: The International Fact Finding and Advocacy Media Mission to Nepal that met with you in February has finished its review of specific provisions from the country's draft constitution that the Constituent Assembly will finalize by May 28. As one of the groups on the mission, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges you to encourage the assembly to incorporate the group's recommended changes before the constitution is finalized. The review and recommendations pertain to freedom of expression, the right to information, and freedom of the press.

Blog   |   El Salvador

El Salvador government pledges to protect El Faro

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes denies that his government has engaged in negotiations with gangs to lower the rate of homicides. (AP/Luis Romero)

"El Salvador is committed to guaranteeing the safety of El Faro and its staff so they can continue their investigative work," David Rivas, spokesman for President Mauricio Funes Cartagena, told CPJ in a recent phone conversation. The government's pledge came after groundbreaking reporting by the digital newspaper about secret negotiations in which local gangs, known as Maras, said they would limit murders in exchange for official concessions, like having imprisoned gang members transferred to lower-security prisons.

Blog   |   Sudan

In Sudan, a new strategy to censor the press

Journalists with Al-Tayar protest government censorship of their paper. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Sudanese authorities have a long history of closing newspapers and silencing journalists. But the government security agents who carry out official censorship have launched a new strategy this year that focuses on economic impoverishment--leaving newspapers more vulnerable than ever.

Blog   |   Liberia

In Liberia, journalist Mae Azango moves a nation

The story that ignited controversy, generated threats, and forced a government to take a stand.

Liberian journalist Mae Azango's courageous reporting on female genital mutilation, which made her the target of threats and ignited international controversy, has forced her government to finally take a public position on the dangerous ritual. For the first time, Liberian officials have declared they want to stop female genital mutilation, a traditional practice passed down for generations. Involving the total or partial removal of the clitoris, the ritual is practiced by the Sande secret women's society. As many as two out of every three Liberian girls in ten out of Liberia's 16 tribes are subjected to the practice, according to news accounts. 

Alerts   |   Somalia

Fourth Somali journalist killed since year began

New York, April 5, 2012--Somali authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist who worked for the country's leading independent broadcaster and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Mahad Salad Adan was the fourth journalist killed in Somalia since the beginning of the year.

Alerts   |   Somalia

In deadly Mogadishu blast, 10 journalists wounded

Medical personnel help a man wounded in the explosion in Mogadishu today. (AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

New York, April 4, 2012--At least 10 journalists were reported injured, several of them seriously, when a bomb ripped through Somalia's newly reopened national theater in Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. The blast, for which the militant insurgent group Al-Shabaab took responsibility, killed several people, including two of the nation's top sports officials, news reports said.

Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Palestinian Authority detains, questions two journalists

New York, April 4, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Palestinian Authority's recent anti-press actions in which one journalist was detained for a week for reporting on alleged corruption and spying and a second was questioned over a critical article and his posts on social media. These actions occurred despite the Authority's recent announcement of a press freedom award that it claimed would reward "quality and daring material."

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Blogger fights terror charges as Ethiopian leader praised

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at a conference in London in February. Western governments are hesitant to press Ethiopia on human rights abuses. (AP/Jason Reed)

Last week in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, while Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was making a speech about Africa's growth potential at an African Union forum, a journalist who his administration has locked away since September on bogus terrorism charges was presenting his defense before a judge. Eskinder Nega has been one of the most outspoken critics of Meles' domestic leadership over the past two decades and has suffered imprisonment, intimidation, and censorship for it.

Blog   |   Pakistan

A Pakistani 'sword of Damocles' in the making?

Given that it is usually punishable by death, "treason" is a dangerous word to bandy about. When it is applied to journalists, it is even more worrisome. We've seen that in Sri Lanka, which is in the throes of a backlash against a U.N. resolution on past human rights abuses. (See "Amid Sri Lankan denial, threats rise for journalists.") Photographs of journalists who have been critical of Colombo, their faces barely obscured, have been shown on television; one broadcast even repeatedly used the picture of a journalist's daughter, according to the Network for Rights media support group. 

Alerts   |   China

In China, website restrictions after politician's ouster

Authorities have suspended the comments feature on the Chinese microblog site Weibo, seen here, as a punishment for 'allowing rumors to spread.' (AFP/Mark Ralston)

New York, April 2, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by Chinese authorities' recent clampdown on the Internet after rumors circulated about politician Bo Xilai's dismissal from the Communist Party leadership in Chongqing. In recent days, authorities have shut down several microblog sites and detained and targeted Internet users.

April 2, 2012 4:15 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Syria

Syria detains, reportedly tortures videographer

Ali Mahmoud Othman ran the Baba Amr media center, seen here, where Colvin and Ochlik were killed in February. (AFP)

New York, April 2, 2012--A prominent Syrian videographer who ran the media center in Baba Amr where two foreign journalists were killed in February has been detained since Wednesday, according to news reports

Ali Mahmoud Othman was initially held at a military intelligence unit in Aleppo and is believed to have been tortured, Paul Conroy, a photographer for The Sunday Times, said in an interview with the U.K.'s Channel 4. Activists were cited in news reports giving the same information. Conroy and other reports said Othman was transferred to Damascus over the weekend.

Alerts   |   Uganda

Uganda police truck hits journalist filming Besigye

Ugandan police on Saturday towed opposition leader Kizza Besigye's car with him inside. (Daily Monitor)

New York, April 2, 2012--A Ugandan reporter who was knocked off a motorcycle by a police tow truck on Saturday while covering the arrest of opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been hospitalized for his injuries, according to local journalists. He was the sixth journalist attacked by security forces in the last 10 days, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Blog   |   Burma

Wary about Burma? So are others

Amid the rush to see changes in Burma as an inexorable move toward full democracy--Aung San Suu Kyi's electoral victory over the weekend is certainly cause for hope--CPJ has maintained a healthy skepticism about media reform in Burma. Shawn Crispin's "In Burma, press freedom remains an illusion," posted on Friday, is the most recent example of our thinking on the subject.  

April 2, 2012 1:57 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Peru

Peruvian journalist's defamation conviction overturned

New York, April 2, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes a recent decision by a Peruvian appeals court to overturn the criminal defamation conviction against a journalist who reported on local corruption.

Letters   |   Azerbaijan

In Azerbaijan, crackdown on press as contest nears

Dear President Aliyev: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by the recent wave of journalist imprisonments in Azerbaijan. With at least six journalists currently behind bars, Azerbaijan is now among the top 10 global jailers of the press, ahead of Uzbekistan and just behind Ethiopia, according to CPJ research. This crackdown comes in the run-up to Eurovision, the international song contest that Baku is hosting in May, which will gather journalists from more than 40 participating countries and fix the world's eyes on Azerbaijan.

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