Although Naveen Soorinje is still in jail, there may be some good news. Today, 86 days after his arrest, the state cabinet in Karnataka decided to withdraw charges against him.
Although Naveen Soorinje is still in jail, there may be some good news. Today, 86 days after his arrest, the state cabinet in Karnataka decided to withdraw charges against him.
The New York Times reported Thursday that, after four months, it has expelled what it believes to be China-based hackers from its computer system and has, so far, kept them from breaking back in. The paper said a group had been "infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees." The paper linked the attacks to a Times investigation, published in October, finding that the relatives of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao "had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings."
New York, January 31, 2013--Appellate courts in Brazil should overturn a decision ordering journalist Lúcio Flavio Pinto to pay more than $200,000 in damages in connection with a libel suit, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist, who was initially found liable in late 2012, lost an appeal in a ruling publicized on January 23.
The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is quick to brand critics as "terrorists," and that's one of the main reasons that Turkey was the world's worst jailer of the press when CPJ conducted its recent census of imprisoned journalists. This week, the prime minister and two pro-government newspapers applied the label once again to critics, illustrating the extremely difficult climate confronting any Turkish journalist who challenges official positions.
In the last year, CPJ has documented a disturbing trend of attacks against the press in Tajikistan: the frequent blocking orders that the State Communications Agency has issued to local Internet service providers. Delivered in most instances via text message, the orders urge the ISPs to block nationwide access to local and international news websites that criticize President Emomali Rahmon and his authoritarian policies, and publicize issues like widespread government corruption and rising unemployment.
CPJ assists record number of journalists in 2012
CPJ's Journalist Assistance program provided support to a record number of journalists in 2012. The organization assisted at least 195 reporters, editors, and photographers from across the globe with legal, financial, medical, exile, and family support.
Journalists from East Africa continued to be some of the most vulnerable, according to CPJ research. Almost half of the cases supported by CPJ worldwide came from Somalia, which topped the list with 55 journalists who received assistance. Twelve journalists were killed in 2012 in Somalia, all of them in targeted murders, CPJ research shows. No journalist murders have been prosecuted in the country since 1992.
Click here to find out more about CPJ's Journalist Assistance program.
Lau Tzu once said: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In Nepal, getting to that first step has been a tumultuous process. Tomorrow, a court in the western district of Dailekh is expected to formally begin hearings in the 2004 murder case of journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa.
New York, January 30, 2013--Iraqi authorities should immediately release an international journalist who has been held without charge for a week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Nadir Dendoune, a French-Australian journalist of Algerian descent, was arrested on January 23 in Baghdad, according to local press freedom organizations and an Agence France-Presse report citing the journalist's family members, colleagues, and an official from the French consulate.
An increase in press freedom violations last year created a surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases for CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who received support during the year came from East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the last year:
One result of President Rafael Correa's high-profile campaign to demonize the country's private media can be seen on the desk of José Velásquez, news manager at Teleamazonas, a private Quito television station often critical of the government. Among the documents piled high on his desk are lawsuits, which used to be a rare thing. Encouraged by Correa, who has personally sued newspapers and journalists, Velásquez says, the subjects of Teleamazonas news reports are now filing between two and five lawsuits per month against the station.
New York, January 29, 2013--The conviction today of a former high-ranking Ukrainian police official in the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze is a long-overdue step, but justice will not be fully served until all of the perpetrators are held responsible, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Gongadze, founder and editor of the critical news website Ukrainska Pravda, was the first online journalist worldwide to be murdered for his work, according to CPJ research.
Black January commemorations in Colombo have become an annual event. Tuesday's demonstration was the second. The protest aims to recall the series of killings and attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka in recent years, many of them occurring in Januaries past. All of them have gone untried and unpunished, sustaining the country's perfect record of impunity for those who want to silence media by murder.
A small number of journalists reporting from Syria have recently interviewed prisoners of war under highly coercive circumstances. In doing so, they have ignored the protections that are due to prisoners under international humanitarian law, or IHL.
New York, January 28, 2013--At least 14 journalists affiliated with reformist news outlets were arrested in Iran on Saturday and Sunday in the largest crackdown on the press since 2009, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Iranian authorities to immediately release all journalists in custody and halt their practice of imprisoning critical journalists.
Is Irina Khalip, the prominent Belarusian journalist, free to travel? President Aleksandr Lukashenko, whose government prosecuted her on bogus charges of creating mass disorder, says that she is. That Khalip has not, the president said, shows that she would prefer to be known as a "victim of the regime." Of course, this all seems strange considering that Khalip's sentence requires her to be home by 10 p.m. daily.
New York, January 28, 2013--Authorities in Nepal should ensure the safety of more than 20 journalists who fled the western district of Dailekh on Thursday after receiving death threats from individuals they said were supporters of the ruling Maoist party, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At least five news outlets have been forced to halt operations as a result, news reports said.
On December 2, CPJ sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requesting an explanation for airstrikes on media facilities during the November 2012 military action in Gaza. The strikes damaged two media buildings and killed and injured a number of journalists. Israeli officials said the military targeted terrorist infrastructure, but provided no explanation of how such a determination was made.
Dear President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud: We are writing to express our concern about a Somali journalist who has been imprisoned since January 10 for interviewing a woman who claimed she was raped by government soldiers. We are also concerned by recent statements you made in Washington indicating your administration will not tolerate negative coverage by the local press. We urge you to ensure the journalist is released immediately and to follow up on your commitment to create a task force to investigate Somalia's unsolved journalist murders.
The French army is often called la Grande Muette, or "the Great Silent." The war in Mali confirms the French military's well-deserved reputation of being secretive about front-line actions. "Locking the information is more in the culture of the French army than of the U.S. army," says Maurice Botbol, director of La Lettre du Continent. In the first two weeks of military operations against Islamist militant groups in Mali, the French army has released only a blurry video of an air attack at an undisclosed location.
On the second anniversary of Egypt's January 25 revolution, Hosni Mubarak's footprints are still present in many areas of the public sphere--and media are no exception. President Mohamed Morsi needs to cease using Mubarak-era tactics of silencing his critics with criminal charges such as defamation.
Abuja, Nigeria, January 24, 2013--An appellate court in Benin should overturn the conviction and toss out a prison sentence handed to the director of a private television station last week in connection with a broadcast of a press conference in September in which a former presidential adviser criticized President Boni Yayi, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, January 24, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the threats and acts of intimidation against journalists in Nepal during Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai's visit on Wednesday to the western district of Dailekh.
New York, January 24, 2013--A Thai court sentenced news editor and political activist Somyot Prueksakakasemsuk to 11 years in prison on Wednesday for two articles the court ruled had insulted the Thai monarch, a criminal offense under the country's strict lѐse majesté law. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the harsh sentencing and calls for the journalist's immediate and unconditional release.
When the story is so important but the risks are so high, journalists must keep safety at the forefront of their thinking. That's especially true for freelancers who often do not have the support of a large news organization. Preparation, peer networking, and smart planning can help improve the odds of not only surviving hostile situations but succeeding in one's work.
Three years ago, on January 24, 2010, columnist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda vanished on his way to work to cover the final campaigning in Sri Lanka's bitterly contested presidential election. He has not been heard from since. The pro-opposition website he worked for, Lanka eNews, has been repeatedly attacked, its offices hit with arson, its staff arrested and harassed, its editor driven into exile in England.
As pundits debate how Barack Obama will tackle guns, climate change, immigration, and the debt ceiling in his newly inaugurated second term, press freedom advocates are left questioning how the U.S. president will handle another, no-less-controversial issue: the treatment of whistleblowers and officials who leak information to the media.
Two soldiers beat Laolu Harolds, assistant editor of the daily Nigerian Tribune, on January 8, 2013, while he attempted to take pictures of soldiers demolishing local shops in Oyo state, according to news reports. The soldiers were affiliated with the government's demolition task force team, the reports said.
With Turkey recently in the spotlight because of its press freedom record--including dishonorable distinction as the world's worst jailer of journalists--many international observers wonder how Ankara will overcome its image crisis and whether it will choose to resolutely base its broad strategic ambitions on the respect of global standards of press freedom. A new report to be officially launched in Brussels tomorrow by Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Ankara and senior Turkey scholar at Carnegie Europe and the Open Society Foundation, "Press freedom in Turkey," underscores the importance of the issue. As Pierini recently told CPJ, "What kind of state and of society does Turkey want to be? To what league of nations does it want to belong?"
January 22, 2013, Istanbul, Turkey--Turkish authorities should halt their practice of jailing journalists on vague anti-terror charges and allow the local press to report freely without fear of imprisonment or harassment, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Nairobi, January 22, 2013--Kenyan authorities must hold to account soldiers with the General Service Unit, Kenya's paramilitary force, in connection with their reported assault of two journalists on Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Some news which appears to be good from China, and some that isn't: Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen has been moved to a women's prison where conditions are not as harsh, according to his friends and associates at the Switzerland based group Filming for Tibet. They say that Wangchen has been transferred to the Qinghai Provincial Women's Prison, the main prison for women in China's Qinghai province. He had been held at the Xichuan labor camp in Siling, in eastern Tibet.
What is the humanitarian function of journalism in wartime? How does international humanitarian law protect journalists? Why is impunity the most important challenge facing journalists working in conflict zones?
New York, January 18, 2013--An Al-Jazeera reporter was killed by a sniper in the city of Daraa today, the station reported, the second journalist fatality in Syria in as many days.
New York, January 18, 2013--An international journalist was killed by a sniper while covering fighting in Aleppo in Syria on Thursday, according to local and international press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on all sides of the conflict to stop targeting journalists and allow them to report freely within the country.
Debay, a Belgian-born French journalist, was based in Aleppo, where he covered clashes between the Syrian army and opposition forces in the city for his online newsmagazine Assaut (Assault), according to news reports. A veteran military correspondent, he contributed reports for the French military magazine Raid, and had written several books about military conflicts.
Nairobi, January 18, 2013--A veteran producer for the Shabelle Media Network was gunned down today in Mogadishu, the fifth Shabelle journalist killed in 13 months. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns this murder and calls on Somali authorities to not only investigate, but to follow up on the investigative task force on journalist murders that was promised by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud in November.
Unidentified assailants shot Shabelle producer Abdihared Osman Aden at around 7 a.m. today while he was walking to work in the Wadajir district of the capital, according to local journalists and news reports. The journalist, who was shot at least three times, died at a local hospital, the sources said.
New York, January 17, 2013--Tajik authorities must lift their order blocking domestic access to at least three news websites that have reported critically about issues such as energy shortages, rising unemployment, and human rights abuses, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The order, which also applied to Facebook, is at least the fourth such ban since the beginning of 2012.
At 8 o'clock Tuesday morning roughly 50 Burundian journalists silently marched around the courthouses in the capital, Bujumbura, and the offices of the justice minister, protesting the imprisonment of their colleague, Hassan Ruvakuki.
"They sentenced him to three years without following the law," said Patrick Nduwimana, one of the protest organizers and the interim director of local private radio station Bonesha FM. A week earlier, on Tuesday, January 8, an appeals court in Burundi had sentenced Ruvakuki, a reporter for Bonesha FM and the French government-backed Radio France Internationale, to three years imprisonment for "working with a criminal group."
Greek journalists are on the alert since five small bombs exploded Friday on the doorsteps of the homes of several journalists in Athens. Although the makeshift devices only damaged the buildings' entrances and no one was hurt, the attacks appear to be warning shots in a tense social context where journalists are increasingly in the firing line.
New York, January 15, 2013--Israeli soldiers prevented journalists from covering the eviction of a Palestinian campsite in the West Bank on Sunday, according to news reports and local press freedom organizations. The journalists worked for international news outlets including The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, CNN, and Al-Jazeera, as well as local media including Raya FM radio station and Palestine TV, according to the same sources.
New York, January 15, 2013--Authorities should drop the criminal defamation charges against an editor in Morocco who reported that a government official had ordered champagne to his hotel room while on a taxpayer-funded trip outside the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The official has disputed the account.
Abuja, Nigeria, January 15, 2013--Nigerian authorities should determine the motive behind the murder of an editor on Saturday and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, January 15, 2013--Authorities in Bangladesh must immediately investigate Monday's stabbing of a blogger in Dhaka, determine the motive, and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Abuja, Nigeria, January 14, 2013--At least four journalists were reported injured by police while covering an anti-government protest in Togo's capital, Lomé, on Thursday, according to news reports. Several of the journalists, along with local press freedom group SOS Journalistes en Danger, said police had targeted a group of reporters with tear gas and rubber bullets in an effort to prevent them from covering the demonstrations, the reports said.
Two unidentified men shot Renato Machado Gonçalves as he was returning home with his family at night on January 8, 2013, in the city of São João da Barra, in northern Rio de Janeiro state, according to news reports. Machado's six-year-old niece was also injured in the attack, the reports said. Machado died later at a local hospital, news reports said.
New York January 11, 2013--Egyptian authorities are continuing a stream of criminal prosecutions against journalists, despite President Mohamed Morsi's recent pledge to allow free speech. At least three more criminal cases proceeded this week, on top of four that CPJ documented earlier this month.
Police, emergency workers, and at least three journalists were killed in a bomb blast on January 10, 2012, that occurred 10 minutes after an initial explosion near a billiards hall in Quetta, capital of Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province, according to news reports and CPJ sources.
Nairobi, January 11, 2013--Somali authorities should immediately release a freelance journalist who has been in custody in Mogadishu since Thursday for interviewing a woman who claimed she was raped by government soldiers, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, January 11, 2013--Hong Kong's government should withdraw a proposed regulation that would limit journalists' access to information about business leaders, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bogotá, January 10, 2013--Venezuelan authorities announced late Wednesday that they had launched an investigation against a private TV station that had aired reports questioning the legality of postponing the inauguration of President Hugo Chávez. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the government to immediately drop this politicized investigation and to end its persistent harassment of Globovisión, the country's only TV station critical of the government.
New York, January 10, 2013--At least two journalists were killed and two others seriously injured when a bomb went off near a billiards hall in Quetta, capital of Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province, as the journalists were reporting on an explosion that was set off there just minutes earlier, according to local journalists and news reports. Dozens of other people were reported killed in the double bombing, for which the militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility.
Bangkok, January 9, 2013--At least five independent bloggers were sentenced today to harsh jail terms in Vietnam, according to local and international news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns this move and calls on Vietnamese authorities to reverse the charges on appeal and release the bloggers.
I remember sitting with a Yahoo employee in 2009, talking about the lack of protective encryption on Yahoo's Web mail accounts. Like many, the employee had been caught up in the news of how Iranians were using the Internet to document and protest the presidential elections in that country, and had grown worried about the possibility of governments intercepting Yahoo customer's emails without due process. As an immigrant from a repressive regime, he told me, he was aware of how much danger this posed. He said he was going to raise the topic internally.
There is cautious optimism among China media watchers this morning over the news that a deal has been struck between censors and protesting journalists at China's Southern Weekly news magazine, which is also known as Southern Weekend. The journalists will not face reprisals for their protest, and propaganda authorities will not repeat the editing stunt (which transformed a pro-reform New Year editorial into a tribute to the Communist Party) that sparked the dispute, according to The Associated Press.
New York, January 9, 2013--A Kuwaiti court sentenced an online journalist to prison on Monday for insulting the ruling family on social media, according to news reports. Ayyad al-Harbi was ordered to begin serving the two-year jail sentence immediately, news reports said.
Nairobi, January 9, 2013--A journalist was found murdered in northwestern Tanzania on Tuesday, three days after he went missing from his home, according to local journalists and local reports.
New York, January 9, 2013--Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should bring to account soldiers involved in a raid on a radio station in the eastern town of Kabambare, and the arbitrary detention and beating of two of the station's journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, January 9, 2013--Bahraini authorities should drop charges they have filed against a photojournalist in connection with his coverage of anti-government protests in April, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Abuja, Nigeria, January 9, 2013--Gambian authorities should immediately release Abdoulie John, a journalist who has been detained without charge in Banjul since Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. John has been harassed by the Gambian National Intelligence Agency since early December, news reports said.
John, editor of the online news website Jollof News and a contributor to The Associated Press, was summoned for questioning at the headquarters of the NIA at around 2 p.m. on Monday, Lamin Jahateh, a representative of the Gambia Press Union, who was with John at the time, told CPJ. John was questioned for about three hours, he said. Emil Touray, president of the union, told CPJ that the agents took John to his home where they conducted a search, before returning him to custody.
In a ruling that lasted five minutes, a new judge appointed to the Ethiopian Court of Cassation in the capital, Addis Ababa, rejected on January 8, 2012, an appeal filed on behalf of award-winning journalist Reeyot Alemu, according to local journalists.
New York, January 8, 2013--Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai today publicly criticized the arrest of five of his party members who stand accused of the 2004 murder of radio journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the arrests and calls on the prime minister to allow due process to take its course.
Nairobi, January 8, 2013--An appeals court in Burundi today dropped terrorism charges against jailed journalist Hassan Ruvakuki and reduced his sentence from life to three years in prison, according to local journalists and news reports.
A journalist in Astana, the capital, said in a press conference on January 4, 2013, that he had staged his own disappearance in December to attract government attention to ongoing abuses in the country, according to news reports. Local journalists and press freedom organizations condemned the act, which they said caused "great damage" to the Kazakh press.
Even though members of the Karnataka state government have provided broad assurances that they will drop charges against Naveen Soorinje, the young journalist remains imprisoned two months after he was arrested for exposing an assault on women by Hindu extremists. Welcome to Incredible India, where a journalist can be locked up for documenting a crime against women even as millions express outrage over medieval mindsets following the fatal gang rape of a Delhi student in December.
In the past few days, Chinese journalists and their supporters have launched startlingly direct opposition to Communist Party rule, protesting a heavy-handed move by Guangdong's provincial propaganda department to unilaterally replace a Southern Weekly editorial on constitutionalism with pro-Party bromides. Defying censors' directives, media organizations around the country continue to post messages of support of Southern Weekly reporters who have gone on strike and called for the dismissal of provincial propaganda chief Tuo Zhen. It is the 21st century equivalent of carrying placards through Tiananmen Square.
Nairobi, January 7, 2013--Malawian authorities must immediately investigate the reported assault of a radio journalist who said he was punched by a business leader angered by an interview question.
New York, January 7, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns continued harassment and threats against staff of The Journal News after the New York state-based daily published an interactive map that identified local gun permit holders. CPJ calls on authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly and take all appropriate law enforcement action.
Several journalists reported being attacked in the aftermath of Ghana's contested presidential elections on December 7, 2012, according to CPJ interviews, news reports, and local press freedom organizations.
Vietnam's crackdown on independent bloggers hit a new low in recent days with reports of sexual violence perpetrated by state officials against a prominent online reporter.
New York January 4, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in India to refrain from pressing charges against a media group that televised an interview with the companion of the Delhi rape victim who died last week. The December 16 case has garnered global attention.
Nairobi, January 4, 2013--Authorities in South Sudan have been holding two state broadcast journalists without charge since Tuesday, according to local journalists and media reports. The journalists were picked up in a sweep of arrests following protests and ethnic clashes last month in the northwestern town of Wau in Western Bahr el Ghazal State.
Staffers at the Guangdong-based Southern Weekly magazine have publicly expressed their outrage at the heavy handed intervention of propaganda officials who unilaterally rewrote a New Year's editorial calling for improved constitutional rule in China. A piece extolling the virtues of the Communist Party ran in its place. Sixty staffers posted an open letter to the provincial government accusing propaganda officials of "raping" the paper's editorial procedures, The Associated Press reports. Apparently, the editorial was changed by censors after the magazine had closed and was being readied for the printer. Staff did not know of the changes until the piece appeared in print and online.
On December 18, 2012, a judge convicted editor El Malick Seck of weekly news magazine L'Exclusif of criminal defamation over a column critical of Sidy Lamine Niasse, the chief executive of private media group Walf, according to news reports.
Malaysian crime reporter Ang Kean Siang, a journalist at the local Guang Ming Daily Chinese-language newspaper, was physically attacked on December 30, allegedly by members of a local civilian voluntary patrol unit, after taking pictures of a woman who appeared to have fallen to her death from an apartment building in Penang state's Georgetown city, according to local reports.
New York January 3, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a series of investigations into independent Egyptian newspapers on accusations of insulting the president or reporting false news. Some newspapers and media professionals face formal charges in connection to their critical reporting, according to news reports.
The fleeting nature of YouTube's availability in Pakistan this weekend--the site, which has been banned in the country since September, was unblocked for a whole three minutes--is only the latest emblem of Islamabad's erratic and confounding approach to Internet censorship. Those who have been hoping for less opaque tactics apparently are in for disappointment.
New York, January 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Nigeria's State Security Service (SSS) to return laptops and cell phones confiscated from two journalists who were illegally detained for more than a week without charge.
New York, January 2, 2013--The family of U.S. freelance journalist James Foley today publicized the reporter's abduction in Syria on November 22. The family, which had previously asked that the kidnapping not be disclosed, launched a public campaign to seek his release.