Nairobi, December 31, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Zambia to thoroughly investigate accusations that a well-known rhumba musician attacked a freelance photographer on Friday at a concert in Lusaka, the capital.
China's mounting crackdown on online news dissemination took an extra step today, when the country's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, its de facto legislative body, announced new requirements on Internet service providers and mobile phone companies to identify their users. The new rules would potentially allow ISPs and the authorities to more closely tie real identities to posts and commentary on micro-blogging sites like Weibo, as well as connect text messaging and mobile phone conversations to individuals.
Istanbul, December 28, 2012--Turkish authorities on Thursday released Soner Yalçın, owner and publisher of the ultranationalist-leftist news website Odatv, from prison for the duration of his trial, according to news reports. Yalçın, who has been jailed since February 2011 on anti-state charges, could be re-arrested and jailed if he is convicted.
New York, December 28, 2012--Burmese authorities' decision to allow private daily newspapers to resume publication is a welcome change to a policy that has stifled press freedom in the country for decades, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
The most recent paper produced by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford, "Media Freedom in post-war Sri Lanka and its impact on the reconciliation process<," does a great job of cataloging the abuse Sri Lankan journalists continue to face after the decades-long civil conflict with Tamil secessionists ended in May 2009.
2012: A year of reporting dangerously
Over the past several months, we documented in CPJ Impact
violations of press freedom around the world and the efforts we made to combat
them. This edition features highlights from 2012, when CPJ stepped in and
advocated for journalists and news outlets at risk across the globe, from the
armed conflict in Syria to targeted murders in Somalia.
Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed, government spokesman and censor-in-chief of the Red Sea nation, has been invisible in the past few weeks. The total absence of any independent press in Eritrea has allowed the government to maintain complete silence in the face of mounting questions and surging Internet rumors of his defection.
It was on November 17 that U.K.-based Eritrean opposition news website Assena first reported, citing unnamed sources, that Ali had sought asylum in Canada. Ten days later, Madote, a pro-government site, dismissed the Assena report and claimed, citing unnamed witnesses who reported by phone, that Ali was "seen walking in the capital and discussing with citizens."
New York, December 27, 2012--Kazakh authorities must do their utmost to determine the whereabouts and ensure the safety of journalist Tokbergen Abiyev, who has been missing since December 20, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Online journalist Houssein Ahmed Farah spent more than three months in jail in Djibouti before an appeals court finally released him in November--after his defense requested bail three times, Houssein said. His crime? Officially nothing. "It appears to have been an arbitrary arrest because there is still no evidence on file," Houssein told me. He said he was accused of distributing identity cards for the opposition, but he has not been charged with a crime.
For the safety of journalists and other people on the streets protesting injustice, Indian police must begin in earnest to address how they respond to demonstrations. One journalist died covering protests that have been taking place across the country following the gang rape of a 23-year old female medical student on a Delhi bus on December 16. The government's response to these protests, in which more than 100 people have been injured, has raised eyebrows across the world.
Istanbul, December 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack on December 16 on Rohat Emekçi, a news anchor and producer with the pro-Kurdish Gün Radio station in Diyarbakir province, in southeast Turkey.
Abuja, Nigeria, December 26, 2012--Nigerian authorities must immediately release two journalists who have been detained since Monday and allow a third journalist who has fled into hiding to return to his home and work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
In pre-dawn raids on Monday, about 40 armed security agents arrested Aliyu Saleh, a reporter with Al-Mizan, a weekly Hausa-language newspaper, and Musa Muhammad Awwal, the paper's editor, at their homes in Rigasa in the northern state of Kaduna, according to news reports. The agents also confiscated the journalists' phones and money and briefly detained the journalists' wives, news reports said.
New York, December 24, 2012--Indian authorities must immediately investigate the death of a cameraman who was fatally shot by police on Sunday while covering protests against the sexual assault of women. The Associated Press identified the journalist as Dwijamani Singh, a reporter for the news division of the satellite-distributed Prime News channel that covers northeast India. Other reports have provided different spellings of Singh's name.
Assailants stormed the premises of Nepal Republic Media, a media company in the capital, Kathmandu, on December 20, 2012, attacking journalists and vandalizing the offices, according to news reports. Police arrested several of the attackers, who have identified themselves as members and supporters of the rightwing Shiv Sena Nepal party.
Dear President Nazarbayev: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the ongoing crackdown against dozens of news outlets that appears aimed at driving national independent and opposition media in Kazakhstan into extinction.
Exiled Somali journalists living in Nairobi were struck with disbelief this week when daily newspapers published a statement by the Department of Refugee Affairs ordering all Somali refugees to move to refugee camps. "The refugees, particularly those living in urban centers, are contributing to insecurity in the country," the statement read. The acting commissioner for refugee affairs, Badu Katelo, said aid agencies including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) must stop providing aid to those outside the camps.
New York, December 21, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a series of censorship measures imposed this month by media regulators in Guinea against three popular current affairs talk shows stemming from news commentary critical of officials.
Several police officers in Dhaka, the capital, beat and briefly detained two photographers on December 11, 2012, as they covered clashes between police and supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, according to news reports.
On December 18, 16 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) wrote an open letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn calling for the immediate release of the independent journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who was condemned in July to 18 years in prison under the country's tough 2009 anti-terrorism legislation.
London, December 19, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed that two attacks against journalists in Northern Ireland have taken place over the past week. On Friday, a pipe bomb was left at the door of the home of freelance press photographer Mark Pearce. On Monday, Adrian Rutherford, a reporter with the daily Belfast Telegraph, was attacked by a gang while covering Loyalist protests in East Belfast.
New York, December 19, 2012--CPJ is deeply concerned by sedition charges leveled against Mahmudur Rahman, the acting editor and majority owner of the Bengali-language pro-opposition daily Amar Desh and the paper's publisher, Alhaj Hasmat Ali. The two were charged after publishing news stories based on leaked transcripts of conversations between a lawyer and the lead judge of Bangladesh's war crimes tribunal.
Abuja, Nigeria, December 18, 2012--State security agents in Southeast Nigeria blocked a reporter from filing a story Saturday evening about the status of a governor who hasn't been seen for several months. The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned this act of crude censorship.
At about 11:30 p.m. local time Saturday, seven plainclothes men accosted Ozioma Ubabukoh, a reporter with private media group Punch Newspapers, at the entrance of his home in Trans-Ekulu in the southeastern state of Enugu, according to local journalists and news reports. Ubabukoh told CPJ the men identified themselves as agents of Nigeria's State Security Service (SSS) and seized his telephone before ordering him to take them into his home. Two of the men threatened to "rough him up" if he didn't cooperate, Ubabukoh said.
South Africa is in the midst of one of its most important political events--the ruling African National Congress's Mangaung elective conference, which takes place once every five years to shape policy and elect new leadership. Because of the power of the ANC as South Africa's leading political party, the conference holds not only the future of the party in its hands, but also the future of South Africa.
New York, December 18, 2012--Brazilian authorities must immediately provide protection to journalist Mauri König, who went into hiding on Monday after receiving death threats related to his reports on police corruption, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Dear Prime Minister Singh: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by Indian authorities' continued abuse of a colonial-era sedition law to stifle freedom of expression. CPJ calls on your government to begin taking action toward repealing the law, section 124A in the Indian penal code, which Indian lawmakers have deemed punitive and outdated.
Syrian violence contributed to a sharp rise in the number of journalists killed for their work in 2012, as did a series of murders in Somalia. The dead include a record proportion of journalists who worked online. A CPJ special report
Syrian leaders tried to impose a media blackout on the country's civil war. They failed. As CPJ's Dahlia El-Zein reports, foreign journalists responded by smuggling themselves into the country, while Syrians picked up cameras and uploaded videos online. They all did so at extreme risk. (4:13)
Murder is the leading cause of work-related deaths among journalists worldwide--and this year was no exception. But the death toll in 2012 continued a recent shift in the nature of journalist fatalities worldwide. More journalists were killed in combat situations in 2012 than in any year since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records.
Almost half of the 67 journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were targeted and murdered for their work, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The vast majority covered politics. Many also reported on war, human rights, and crime. In almost half of these cases, political groups are the suspected source of fire. There has been no justice in a single one of these deaths.
There are many complex reasons why Brazil has become a dangerous place to practice journalism. I will cite two possible explanations for the increase in deaths of journalists in the country, where seven journalists have been confirmed killed for the work over the past two years. First, the press is producing more investigative reports on government and police corruption, the misdeeds of politicians, organized crime, and human rights violations. Journalists are killed in reprisal for this type of reporting. The second explanation has to do with impunity. The lack of thorough investigations for these crimes has created a feeling amongst the perpetrators that they will not be identified or punished.
New York, December 17, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for a retrial of a key defendant in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. The defendant, a former senior police official, was sentenced Friday in a deal that Politkovskaya's family and colleagues fear will not ultimately identify the crime's true masterminds.
Moscow City Court wrapped up the two-day, closed trial of former police Lt. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who was originally charged with organizing the 2006 killing of the prominent Novaya Gazeta correspondent but, under a deal he cut with investigators, was tried only for being an accomplice. According to the deal, Pavlyuchenkov was obligated to fully confess his role in the murder and name its mastermind, Novaya Gazeta said. The journalist's family and colleagues say Pavlyuchenkov did not fulfill those conditions, but their appeals to invalidate the deal were denied.
Police detained freelance reporter Moctar Barry on November 15, 2012, in the central town of Sévaré, after he returned from reporting on events in Gao, an Islamist-occupied city in the northern half of Mali, local journalists said.
New York, December 17, 2012--Iraqi security forces shut down two broadcast outlets on Friday for alleged administrative violations, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Iraqi authorities to allow the stations to resume broadcasting immediately.
In the eight years since unidentified assailants shot and killed Deyda Hydara of the Gambia, no one has been held to account. The late 2004 murder of Hydara, an immensely respected editor, columnist, and press freedom advocate known for his criticism of President Yahya Jammeh's repressive media policies, became a rallying point for Gambian journalists and the human rights community--a symbol of the violent means by which activists and journalists are silenced and of the impunity that envelops acts of intimidation, ranging from arson to torture and murder.
New York, December 14, 2012--Israeli soldiers assaulted four Palestinian journalists and forced them to strip naked at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday, according to news reports. Two of the journalists worked for Reuters, and two for local Palestinian news outlets, the reports said.
For most of its almost-150-year history, the meetings of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations' communications standards body, have been rather predictable affairs.
Back in November 2010, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a leaked video that appears to show men in Sri Lankan military uniforms executing bound prisoners, the camera panning across a series of bodies laid out in a ditch. Family and friends identified one of those bodies as that of Tamil Tiger TV newscaster Shoba, also known as Isaipriya. If authenticated, the video could constitute evidence that Isaipriya was murdered. It would be one step toward accountability in a long string of unsolved murders of journalists in Sri Lanka. It would also be evidence of war crimes that are said to have been committed during the final phases of the 27-year civil war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE. But disputes have ensued between the United Nations, which claims the video is authentic, and the Sri Lankan government, which claims that it is fake.
Abuja, Nigeria, December 12, 2012--A state prosecutor in the city of Bamenda in Cameroon has threatened to file defamation charges against an editor if he does not reveal his sources for a series of articles, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to immediately stop the harassment against Aaron Kah and allow him to report freely.
Worldwide tally reaches highest point since CPJ began surveys in 1990. Governments use charges of terrorism, other anti-state offenses to silence critical voices. Turkey is the world’s worst jailer. A CPJ special report
The imprisonment of journalists hit a record high in 2012, driven by the growing use of anti-terrorism charges to silence critical voices. This video, a centerpiece of CPJ's new Free the Press campaign, details the plight of imprisoned journalists worldwide and describes how international advocacy can make a difference in winning the freedom of jailed reporters, editors, photojournalists, and bloggers. (4:40)
Cuba, historically one of the world's worst jailers of journalists, has returned to CPJ's prison census after a one-year absence. Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a reporter for the independent news agency Centro de Información Hablemos Press, was imprisoned in September after he started looking into why an international shipment of medicine was allowed to go bad, according to news reports.
Turkey has no business being the world's leading jailer of journalists. But the numbers don't lie. With 49 journalists imprisoned for their work, according to CPJ's annual worldwide prison census, released today, Turkey holds more individuals behind bars than Iran (45), China (32), or Eritrea (28). How did Turkey find itself in this situation? Unlike the other countries that top CPJ's imprisoned list, Turkey has a relatively open and vibrant media. It is an emerging democracy, a NATO member, and a candidate for European Union integration.
Among the 232 journalists imprisoned around the world are Rwandan editors Agnès Uwimana and Saidati Mukakibibi, who are serving years-long terms on charges they defamed the president, Paul Kagame, and incited violence. Their crime? The women had published a series of stories in 2010 on several sensitive issues the Kagame government doesn't want scrutinized. The articles criticized government agricultural policy, examined the July 2010 murder of journalist Jean-Léonard Rugambage, described the falling-out between Kagame and two now-exiled military leaders, probed divisions within the army, and pushed for justice for ethnic Hutus killed in the 1994 genocide. The editors have exhausted domestic appeals, but now a team of defense lawyers is pursuing a complaint with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights on grounds that Rwanda violated its obligations to ensure freedom of expression and the right to fair trial.
Abuja, December 10, 2012--Authorities in Nigeria must immediately investigate Sunday's attack on a journalist by a state governor's security operatives and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 10 Human Rights Day in commemoration of the adoption and proclamation two years earlier of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year, on this day, the U.N. chooses one right to highlight and advocate. This year, Human Rights Day is focused on the right of all people to make their voices heard. This is not possible when journalists worldwide are being murdered.
A media buyout in Taiwan which would put independent news outlets critical of China into the hands of a pro-Beijing media tycoon is cause for concern for the island's press. Jimmy Lai, the outspoken mogul behind Hong Kong-based Next Media and the Apple Daily tabloid, is selling his Taiwan holdings to a group of businessmen that includes Tsai Eng-meng, whose China Times Media group is supportive of China, according to local and international news reports.
"I remain hopeful that I will one day see the sun once more--not through the barred window of my prison cell but as a free man." -Azimjon Askarov
Today, on International Human Rights Day, CPJ and close to 20,000 supporters are calling on the governments of China and Kyrgyzstan to release two journalists imprisoned for reporting on minorities' grievances and human rights violations.
There is an absolutely terrific seven-part special report by The News on Sunday on Pakistan's problem with the killing of journalists and the impunity surrounding their deaths. It's written by and for Pakistanis, with compelling direction from Adnan Rehmat of Intermedia Pakistan--and not only describes and analyzes the problem, but offers approaches to potential solutions.
New York, December 7, 2012--CPJ condemns a series of attacks on journalists covering protests in Cairo over the proposed constitution and calls on authorities to investigate the assaults and bring an immediate end to the anti-press violence. At least five journalists were struck by rubber bullets, leaving one in critical condition, and several others were assaulted, according to news reports.
Abuja, December 7, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns censorship of Beninese private television station Canal 3 and defamation charges against its director for coverage of a corruption scandal involving aides of President Boni Yayi, who appears to have pressured the media regulator into taking action against the station.
Mexico City, December 7, 2012--Mexican authorities must immediately release a freelance Romanian photojournalist who was detained on Saturday while covering a protest related to the presidential inauguration, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, December 6, 2012--Authorities should immediately investigate Wednesday's murder of a journalist in Russia's volatile North Caucasus and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Two unidentified men shot Kazbek Gekkiyev, 28, in the head three times while he was returning home from work with his friend at around 9 p.m. in Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, according to local and international news reports. The gunmen asked Gekkiyev his name before they shot him and then fled in a getaway vehicle, according to the state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta. The journalist's friend was unharmed, news reports said.
New York, December 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Monday's criminal convictions of three Cameroonian journalists who tried to investigate a purported government memo that suggested corruption in the management of a state oil company. One of the defendants said he was tortured in custody, while a fourth journalist accused in the case died in custody.
New York, December 6, 2012--A court in Kazakhstan has banned an independent news outlet on charges of extremism, a ruling that comes within weeks of the country's election to the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to news reports. Dozens of other independent and opposition news outlets face similar charges that could result in their being shut down.
The tortured and decapitated body of 39-year-old María Elizabeth Macías Castro was found on a Saturday evening in September 2011. It had been dumped by the side of a road in Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican border town ravaged by the war on drugs. Macías, a freelance journalist, wrote about organized crime on social media under the pseudonym "The Girl from Laredo." Her murder, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, was the first in which a journalist was killed in direct relation for reporting published on social media. It remains unsolved.
New York, December 5, 2012--Malian authorities should immediately return the passports and equipment seized from two international Al-Jazeera journalists who were detained for more than two days over the weekend for attempting to cross into militant-controlled territory, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, December 4, 2012--The proposed Egyptian constitution would impose several new restrictions on press freedom--including the creation of a new government regulator and new governmental authority to shut media outlets--while doing nothing to halt the criminal prosecution of journalists, which was a hallmark of the Hosni Mubarak regime, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ supports the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate's call to President Mohamed Morsi to withdraw the proposal from the referendum scheduled for December 15.
New York, December 4, 2012--All sides of the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo should halt attacks on journalists and media outlets, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today after a radio station was attacked and taken off the air.
In October, two gunmen shot Shabelle Media Network reporter Mohamed Mohamud as he left a mosque one evening; he died from the gunshot wounds less than one week later. Several members of the Somali armed forces who happened to be at the scene opened fire on his assailants, local journalists said, but Mohamed's killers have still not been identified.
New York, December 3, 2012--Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should lift the suspension imposed on Saturday on the United Nations-sponsored broadcaster Radio Okapi in the capital, Kinshasa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Security agents assaulted Sylvie Ndinga, video journalist for the private broadcaster MNTV, and detained Yvon Le Pape, a reporter for the same station, in Brazzaville, the capital, on September 17, 2012, according to local journalists and news reports.
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu: The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned that Israeli airstrikes targeted individual journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip between November 18 and 20. Journalists and media outlets are protected under international law in military conflict.
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