March 2013


A civil defense officer carries the body of a young victim a mall fire during a funeral in Doha on May 29, 2012. Hearings to determine criminal responsibility for the fire are underway. (Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed)

In the past month, officials in both the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have prevented journalists from reporting on important court proceedings. But it is not too late to allow the press to cover these crucial cases.

Indian policemen beat an opposition activist during a protest outside the Odisha state chief minister's office in Bhubaneswar, India, on March 25. (AP/Biswaranjan Rout)

Anyone who has been to India or is familiar with the country knows how chaotic it can be: from the congestion on the streets of Delhi to the messy way in which democracy functions. And for journalists, covering the chaos of India can be risky business. This week alone, Indian law enforcement officials assaulted two journalists covering demonstrations in different corners of the country.

New York, March 28, 2013--An appellate court in Cameroon should overturn the defamation conviction and jail sentence handed to a newspaper editor on Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, March 28, 2013--Pakistani authorities should determine the whereabouts of a Baluch journalist living in Karachi who was last seen on March 24, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Lewis receives a lifetime achievement award in 2009. (CPJ)

Remembering Tony Lewis

CPJ mourns the death this month of Anthony Lewis, one of the organization's founding board members and a recipient of its 2009 Burton Benjamin Award for lifetime achievement. Lewis passed away on March 25.

"Back in 1981, when CPJ was being formed and its board of directors assembled, Tony Lewis ... was one of the first people we approached," Michael Massing, CPJ's co-founder and board member, wrote in the CPJ Blog. "At the time, CPJ was an idea without money, office, or staff, but Tony at once saw the value of such an organization and signed on. His presence on CPJ's board and masthead helped give the organization immediate credibility; his devoted participation was invaluable as we expanded in size and mission over the next 30 years."

Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah is surrounded by supporters as he leaves the prosecutor general's office in Cairo on Tuesday. (AP/Mostafa Darwish)

The government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi continues to escalate its offensive against journalists. Details of the most recent case, in which an arrest warrant was issued for blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah for inciting "aggression" against members of the Muslim Brotherhood, show how low the government is willing to go in order to silence its critics.

Sun Media reported that one of its journalists was briefly detained by police for photographing a government building in Malé, the capital, on March 26, 2013. The media group is based in the Maldives and covers local and world news for online, print, and radio.

In the most tightly controlled countries, the media is told what they are allowed to report on and what topics are taboo. Anything related to the leader's health or his family is generally in the latter category. The resulting information vacuum can lead to rumors and uncertainty.

Seleka fighters cruise a neighborhood in Bangui. (AFP/Sia Kambou)

New York, March 26, 2013--At least two news outlets were raided in the Central African Republic on Sunday when rebel groups ousted the president from power, according to news reports and local press freedom groups.

New York, March 26, 2013--The BBC announced today that it has suspended all radio broadcasts in Sri Lanka following what it called "continued interruption and interference" by a national broadcaster in the country.

Foreign Minister of Ecuador Ricardo Patiño speaks about human rights during the Organization of American States general assembly in Washington, D.C., on March 22. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

By reaffirming the autonomy and independence of the regional human rights system and rejecting attempts to neutralize the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its special rapporteur for freedom of expression, the Organization of American States (OAS) chose last week to discard proposals that would have made citizens throughout the hemisphere more vulnerable to abuses.

The OAS extraordinary assembly, held at the organization's headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Friday, adopted a resolution by which the 35 member states ratified the ability of the commission to continue receiving voluntary contributions. Analysts and human rights advocates say the decision was a blow to countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, known as ALBA, which have been pushing to preclude outside funding for the IACHR.

Nairobi, March 26, 2013--An appellate court judge in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on Monday upheld the criminal conviction of an editor who is serving a one-year prison sentence in connection with an opinion column, according to local journalists.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is signaling a intensified crackdown on human rights organizations. (AP/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky)

Recent statements by Vladimir Putin and Russian Member of Parliament (MP) Aleksey Mitrofanov, as well as raids on human rights organizations, signal that the threat hanging over civil society and freedom of expression in Russia has become reality. Since Putin returned to presidential office in May, the Kremlin has passed a series of restrictive laws and provisions, but until recently authorities had not acted upon many of them.

Protests outside the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters last week have led to escalating threats against the press and a siege on Sunday of Cairo's Media Production City. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

New York, March 25, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the violent siege on Sunday of the Media Production City, a complex housing numerous private news outlets in Cairo, an episode that followed a series of inflammatory anti-press comments by President Mohamed Morsi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Blog | CPJ, USA
Lewis receives a lifetime achievement award in 2009. (CPJ)

Back in 1981, when CPJ was being formed and its board of directors assembled, Tony Lewis, who died today at age 85, was one of the first people we approached. As the author of books such as Gideon's Trumpet, as a widely read columnist for The New York Times, and as an outspoken defender of press freedom, he seemed a natural choice for the board. At the time, CPJ was an idea without money, office, or staff, but Tony at once saw the value of such an organization and signed on. His presence on CPJ's board and masthead helped give the organization immediate credibility; his devoted participation was invaluable as we expanded in size and mission over the next 30 years. 

Reporters surround Beatrice
Mtetwa as she exited a courthouse today. (ZLHR/Kumbirai Mafunda)

Beatrice Mtetwa, a tenacious lawyer who has won accolades for stubbornly defending journalists and others persecuted by Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, regained her freedom today after a hellish week that began on March 17 when she was arrested and charged with the criminal offense of "defeating or obstructing the course of justice."

V.K. Anand, lawyer for Ram Singh, a man on trial for the gang rape and killing of a 23-year-old student aboard a New Delhi bus, addresses the media outside a hospital in New Delhi on March 11 after Singh was found dead in prison. (AP/Saurabh Das)

In a welcome move, Indian media will finally be allowed to cover court proceedings in the rape case that shook India's conscience. On Friday, the Delhi High Court lifted a gag order on media covering the ongoing trial of those accused of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in December. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Subsequent to the publication of this report, questions were raised about the veracity of the account given by the primary sources. CPJ has published two follow-up reports detailing those questions, which raise doubts as to whether a killing took place as described. CPJ continues to monitor the case.


Nairobi, March 25, 2013--Somali authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist who was shot dead on Sunday evening in Mogadishu, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Black smoke rises from burning buildings in Meikhtila, where Buddhists and Muslims have clashed since Wednesday. (AFP/Mantharlay)

Bangkok, March 25, 2013--Violent mobs have threatened journalists covering communal riots in central Burma and destroyed their reporting materials, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to make the security of journalists working in the violence-hit area a top priority.

New York, March 25, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release on bail of Naveen Soorinje, a television reporter jailed for more than four months after documenting a large-scale assault on a group of young women in Karnataka state. CPJ considers the pending criminal charges to be baseless and retaliatory, and calls on authorities to drop them immediately.

This week in Mogadishu, Abdiaziz Abdinuur, left was freed from prison, but Mohamed Ali Nuxurkey was killed in a bombing that injured three other journalists. (AFP, Raxanreeb)

"He's free! He's free!" a friend of mine from Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, shouted down the phone line on Sunday. For a fleeting second I did not know whom he referred to, given the high number of journalists imprisoned in the Horn region of Africa--but then it dawned on me: Abdiaziz Abdinuur had finally found justice. The 25-year-old freelance reporter was arrested on January 10 in Mogadishu for the most incomprehensible alleged crime: conducting an interview.

Dear Minister: We are writing to express our concern about the arrest on Sunday of award-winning human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa and her subsequent detention by police in defiance of an order issued by a high court judge. We believe this invalidates the criminal proceedings instituted against her on Wednesday and constitutes an affront to the constitution and legal system of your country.

Lagos, Nigeria, March 21, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Wednesday's ruling by Togo's Constitutional Court to reject repressive amendments to a media law that granted the state-run media regulator sweeping powers of censorship.

In a joint statement today, leading international press freedom and human rights groups, including CPJ, condemned the ongoing repression of journalists and rights activists in Azerbaijan and urged authorities to address the issue immediately.

Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo has criticized the press in the past. (The Nation)

Kenya has passed peacefully through its election period, but questions still hang over the legitimacy of presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta's victory--as well as over the future of the country's media coverage. During polling, challenges arose for both local and international media, and they have not subsided. For the foreign press, it is now unclear how to get accreditation to report in the country. Local journalists are worried about the rise of self-censorship, and freedom of expression advocates are concerned by plans for vague regulations on hate speech.

Several journalists and news outlets covering political unrest in the capital, Conakry, were attacked in late February and March 2013, according to local journalists and news reports.

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (left) and Anibal Cavaco Silva, president of Portugal, in Lisbon in 2009. (AFP/Joao Cortesao)

Portuguese journalists are increasingly concerned by Angola's growing investment and influence in their country. Buoyed by petrodollars and diamonds, powerful Angolan interests have been indulging in a buying spree in their former colonial power. Angolan capital invested in Portugal increased 35 times in the past decade, according to news reports. In a process often acidly described in Lisbon as a form of "reverse colonization," Angolans have gobbled up not only significant chunks of Portugal's banking, telecommunications, and energy companies, but also invested in the Portuguese media sector. 

New York, March 19, 2013--During his trip to the region this week, U.S. President Barack Obama should call on Israeli authorities to return the equipment of an independent broadcaster that was seized more than a year ago, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

(Boukary Daou)

Lagos, Nigeria, March 19, 2013--A journalist in Mali was charged on Monday with incitement to mutiny and publishing false information in connection with his publication of an article that was critical of a former coup leader, according to news reports.

Boukary Daou, a top editor for the daily Le Républicain, has been in custody since March 6, according to news reports. He was held incommunicado by State Security for eight days before being handed over to the Judicial Investigation Brigade of the police. If convicted, the journalist faces a maximum prison sentence of three years and fine of 150 million CFA francs, Assane Koné, editor-in-chief of Le Républicain, told CPJ. His lawyers have filed a petition seeking his release on bail pending trial. His next court date is scheduled for April 16, Koné said.

New York, March 19, 2013--At least 14 journalists were attacked by police and supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group outside the group's headquarters in Cairo on Saturday and Sunday, according to news reports and local journalists.

Ukrainian nationalist activists disrupted a book presentation in Kiev on March 14, 2013, and attacked journalists and other individuals present, according to news reports.

An Iraqi journalist walks past a wall of photos of journalists killed during the Iraq War. (AP/Samir Mizban)

The U.S.-led war in Iraq claimed the lives of a record number of journalists and challenged some commonly held perceptions about the risks of covering conflict. Far more journalists, for example, were murdered in targeted killings in Iraq than died in combat-related circumstances. Here, on the 10th anniversary of the start of the war, is a look inside the data collected by CPJ.

Daniel Pearl. (AFP)

New York, March 18, 2013--Pakistani authorities announced today that they have apprehended a militant who was allegedly involved in the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Karachi, according to news reports.

"As with every journalist murder, any and all perpetrators in the slaying of Daniel Pearl must be prosecuted and punished," said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz. "In order to curb growing impunity in Pakistan, it is imperative that authorities send the strongest possible signal that acts of anti-press violence will not go unpunished."

Globovisión's employees work at the station's main studio in Caracas. The broadcaster's owner has accepted a buyout offer. (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

If the proposed sale of Globovisión, the single remaining TV station critical of the Venezuelan government, is finalized next month, the broadcaster will almost certainly become less combative and could eventually turn into another government mouthpiece, according to news reports, local journalists, and analysts.

New York, March 18, 2013--An appellate court in Azerbaijan should overturn the baseless convictions of two journalists charged with inciting mass disorder, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

A journalist shouts at police during a peaceful sit-in to protest recent repressive amendments to a media law. (AFP/Daniel Hayduk)

Lagos, Nigeria, March 18, 2013--Togolese police on Thursday fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse journalists protesting new censorship authority granted to the government media regulator, according to news reports and local journalists.

New York, March 18, 2013--A member of Russia's parliament has used his public Twitter account to threaten two journalists with the independent daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, according to news reports.

Nairobi, March 18, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by a recent directive from authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region banning local broadcasters from airing content produced outside the region.

Dear OAS Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Ahead of the assembly of the Organization of American States on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges you to oppose any attempts to debilitate the regional human rights system. The failure of member states to preserve the autonomy and independence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its special rapporteur on freedom of expression would make citizens throughout the hemisphere more vulnerable to human rights violations and represent a blow to democracy in the Americas.

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez. (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

Having broken through one long-standing barrier, Yoani Sánchez, the pioneering figure in Cuba's independent blogosphere, is looking to smash another. "It seemed like an impossible dream, but here I am," Sánchez told a gathering today at CPJ's New York offices. After being denied travel authorization at least 20 times in the past, Sánchez is in the midst of her first trip abroad in a decade. And now, Sánchez said, she plans to launch a new publication upon her return to the island nation. Though the project is still in conception, she hopes the result will be modern and innovative in look and content, carrying everything from comprehensive sports coverage to critical opinion columns.

In this YouTube screenshot, supporters of independent media demonstrate at the press conference where owners of Stan.kz announced its shutdown. (YouTube/Respublika Kz)

A blocked website; reporting equipment confiscated; a newsroom sealed; and reporters denied information from state agencies: these things together spelled the end of Stan.kz, a local, independent Internet-based broadcaster which for two years had tirelessly reported on developments in Kazakhstan. "We are forced to shut down the Stan.kz newsroom," Bauyrzhan Musirov, owner of parent Stan Production Company, said at a press conference Wednesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan's main city. 

Journalists in Islamabad demonstrate against journalist murders and the lack of security surrounding the press. (Reuters/Faisal Mehmood)

Representatives from 40 Pakistani and international press groups, development organizations, and media houses came together in Islamabad last week to discuss ways to better protect local journalists at risk of violence, and means to combat the virtually perfect record of impunity that assailants enjoy in this country. It's none too soon. Three journalists have died already in Pakistan this year, and more than 40 have been killed over the past decade. About two dozen have been targeted for murder. On the eve of the March 6-7 conference, members of an ARY Television news crew were shot and beaten by thugs in Hyderabad. The attack attests to the dangerous situation in Pakistan where journalists routinely face threats from an array of sources; where reporters working on dangerous beats have little protection; and where law enforcement response to anti-press attacks is nearly nonexistent.

Egyptian journalists, besieged by punitive lawsuits and under threat, agree that under President Mohamed Morsi "there is no press freedom, only the courage of journalists," as editor Ibrahim Eissa put it. What they can't agree on is--in a climate of freewheeling, mutable media--who exactly is a journalist? 

News stands in Mali are empty as journalists strike. (news.abamako.com)

Mali's press has endured one attack too many.

Since the coup d'état of March 22, 2012, CPJ has documented a staggering 62 anti-press violations across Mali. Journalists and media houses have become ready targets of attacks, threats, intimidation, assassination attempts, arbitrary arrests, detentions, and censorship by separatist and Islamist militant groups and government security forces alike. 

Protesters demonstrate against Sonando's imprisonment outside an appeals court in Phnom Penh. (AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy)

New York, March 14, 2013--Mam Sonando, a leading independent journalist in Cambodia, is scheduled to be released from prison later this week after an appeals court reduced his 2012 conviction on inciting rebellion to a lesser charge and cut his initial 20-year jail term.

The Al-Watan offices were vandalized and set on fire on Saturday. (AFP/Al-Watan)

New York, March 14, 2013--Journalists have come under attack in three separate episodes amid protests in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, in at least two of which police were said to be assailants. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks and calls on authorities to hold all those responsible to account.

New York, March 13, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the jail sentence handed to a journalist in Turkey and calls on authorities to overturn the ruling on appeal.

New York, March 13, 2013--Authorities in Bangladesh must immediately investigate attacks on a journalist's car and a local press club that occurred within a day of each other, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The attacks took place amid massive politicized strikes and demonstrations that have swept the country.

 Dinesh Choudhary was attacked after reporting on illegal tobacco sales. Above, chewable tobacco is displayed at a roadside vendor near New Delhi. (AP/Saurabh Das)

New York, March 13, 2013--A journalist and his family were attacked with acid Tuesday in India's western state of Maharashtra, allegedly in connection with his reporting on illegal tobacco sales, according to local media.

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to bring to your attention the deteriorating climate of press freedom in Azerbaijan, which undermines your government's commitments to press freedom and human rights, mars the country's international image, and obstructs the transparency of the upcoming October presidential vote in which you reportedly plan to seek re-election. We call on you to start reversing this trend and allow the press to report freely without fear of imprisonment, attacks, or politicized lawsuits.

New York, March 12, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the prison sentence issued Friday to Yaco Martínez, director of the daily La Nación in the province of Carchi. Martínez was convicted of defaming a former governor with an article published in his newspaper, according to news reports.

Nairobi, March 12, 2013--Somali police attacked and obstructed more than a half-dozen journalists who were seeking to cover a rape trial in Mogadishu on Saturday, as authorities continue to struggle in meeting law enforcement and free expression demands in sexual assault cases. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks and calls on authorities to hold the officers accountable.

For more than six years the Committee to Protect Journalists has been working with freedom of expression advocates, investors, and giant Internet companies to promote online freedoms. Absent from the discussions under the umbrella of the Global Network Initiative have been the telecommunications companies--vital gateways to the Internet for journalists and bloggers, particularly in much of the global South. Today things have changed.

New York, March 12, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's nine-year prison sentence handed to Avaz Zeynally, chief editor of the independent Azerbaijani daily Khural, and calls for justice in the case. 

A court in the city of Adana released Özlem Ağuş, reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), from prison on February 25, 2013, pending a trial, DIHA reported. The journalist was imprisoned on March 6, 2012, on charges that included membership in the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, which the government designated a terrorist group.

The shifting dynamics of censorship and control

As Xi Jinping takes office as president of China, the citizenry he governs is more sophisticated and interconnected than any before, largely because of the Internet. A complex digital censorship system--combined with a more traditional approach to media control, such as jailing journalists--keeps free expression in check. Repressive regimes worldwide look to China as a model, but Beijing's system of control is increasingly endangered. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists


Journalist Liu Jianfeng worked in China’s state-controlled media for nearly two decades. Eventually, frustration with the system and pressure from his colleagues prompted him to quit. He continues to report on public issues such as land grabs, and hopes to find a new model for investigative journalism in China. Jonah Kessel reports. (11:10)

Read our accompanying special report, “Challenged in China,” on the shifting dynamics of censorship and media control.

Preface

By David Schlesinger

There is nothing like reading a report on China and the media to highlight the mass of contradictions that is the country today.

1. Beyond censors' reach, free expression thrives, to a point

By Sophie Beach

On March 24, 2012, investigative journalist Yang Haipeng posted on his Sina Weibo microblog a story he had heard that alleged a link between Neil Heywood, an English businessman who had been found dead in a Chongqing hotel, and Bo Xilai, the powerful Chongqing Communist Party chief. His post is widely recognized as the first significant public mention of a connection between the two men and it spread like wildfire online before being deleted the next day. A month later, Yang’s Sina Weibo account, which had 247,000 followers, was shut down.

2. Although not explicit, legal threats to journalists persist

By Madeline Earp

Even as China’s virtual landscape buzzes with criticism of social injustices, government policy, and propaganda directives, independent journalism and expression are still perceived by the Communist Party as explicit political threats. Authorities also exploit vague legal language to prosecute dissenters based on published content, or bypass due process altogether, holding critics without charge or without notifying family members.

3. Made in China: Models for media and censorship

By Danny O’Brien and Madeline Earp

As the founding editor, in 2005, of the Liberian online investigative news site FrontPage Africa, Rodney Sieh has fought off lawsuits, imprisonment, and death threats. In the face of such pressures, he has still managed to expand the website into one of Liberia’s best-selling daily newspapers, making him a leading figure in both new and traditional news media in the country. It’s not surprising then, that he was one of 17 prominent African journalists and publishers invited by the Chinese government to a three-week “News and Publishing Seminar in Developing Countries” last August in Beijing.

4. CPJ's Recommendations

CPJ offers the following recommendations to Chinese authorities and the international community.

Over the past 10 years, China’s media environment has been transformed by the explosion of the Internet and, since 2010, the phenomenon of weibo, or microblogs, which now have more than 309 million users. Click through the slideshow to see how Internet use has evolved.

China consistently imprisons dozens of journalists, usually under anti-state laws. The makeup of the prisoners has evolved with the rise of the Internet and as ethnic minorities are increasingly targeted amid unrest in prominently Tibetan and Uighur regions. Below, click on years and categories to see the journalists jailed from 2002-2012 and to group them by media, ethnicity, and charges.

Andy Wong/AP

Chinese censors worked overtime to squelch reports of the downfall of former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife on murder charges. But savvy journalists and Internet users stayed with the story and soon it commanded international headlines. Click through the timeline to see how a tightly censored story still made news in China.

Lagos, Nigeria, March 11, 2013--Authorities in Mali must investigate an attack on a critical radio journalist that came two weeks after he received threats warning him to resign from the station, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, March 11, 2013--A Ukrainian journalist reportedly held by rebel forces in Syria since October is free, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and news reports citing the journalist's relatives. Most news reports characterized Anhar Kochneva as having fled her captors, but few details were reported about the circumstances.

Bogotá, Colombia, March 11, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Colombian authorities to investigate an attack on a journalist who had denounced political corruption and the activities of leftist guerrilla groups in the region. Juan David Betancur received a letter bomb in the mail on Thursday that failed to explode and did not injure him, according to news reports.

A supporter of Raila Odinga, a presidential candidate who was defeated last week by Uhura Kenyatta. (AFP/Jennifer Huxta)

Amid a tense presidential election, Kenyans have avoided a repeat of the deadly violence that followed the vote in 2007, when half a million people were uprooted and more than 1,000 people were killed. Still, the situation today is fraught. Ethnic identity dominates the nation's political divisions--and those same loyalties can undermine solidarity in the press corps.

New York, March 11, 2013--Authorities in the Philippines should bring to justice the perpetrators responsible for a March 6 attack on a freelance journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

A security guard confronts a photographer at the entrance of the compound where Liu Xia lives in Beijing December 10, 2010, after her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Reuters/David Gray)

Hong Kong, March 11, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Friday's attack in Beijing on two Hong Kong journalists outside the home of Liu Xia, the wife of jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Guards stand outside Alassema TV station in Tripoli. (AFP/Mahmud Turkia)

New York, March 8, 2013--Gunmen stormed the offices of a television station in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Thursday amid a protest outside the station's studios, according to news reports. The gunmen abducted at least five journalists and media workers, the reports said, although all were released within 24 hours.

New York, March 8, 2013--Brazilian authorities must immediately investigate today's murder of a journalist and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Twenty-one people have been arrested for a wave of crimes that included 11 murders (six of which were committed against police officers), the abduction for hours of five employees of El Siglo de Torreón newspaper, the murder of a mayoral candidate, and attempted murder of a current mayor in a large metropolitan area in central Mexico, according a senior federal official. 

Carlos Lauría, left, and Mauri König meet Brazil's chief justice, Joaquim Barbosa, on Wednesday as part of a CPJ mission to Brazil. (Supreme Federal Tribunal)

"Leave me in peace. Wallow in your garbage," Brazilian Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa said in a rage when a reporter with one of the leading national newspapers, O Estado de Sao Paulo, tried to ask him a question Tuesday at a meeting of the National Council of Justice in Brasilia, the capital. Stunned by Barbosa's reaction, the journalist demanded an explanation. "You are a clown," was the response he received from the president of Brazil's highest court.

Today marks International Women's Day. Hashtags like #IWD and #InternationalWomensDay have been trending on Twitter. Among the twitterati who voiced their support for women's rights was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He tweeted: 

New York, March 7, 2013--Iranian authorities have banned three reformist news outlets and arrested four journalists in the past two days, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Iranian government's continuing attempts to stifle the press in the run-up to the presidential elections in June and calls on authorities to immediately halt their campaign of harassment against the media.

Gunmen shot at the offices of the daily El Diario de Juárez and the television station Channel 44 in Ciudad Juárez early in the morning of March 6, 2013, according to news reports. The attacks resulted in slight material damage to the buildings, but no injuries.

Absalom Kibanda was beaten by three unidentified men on Tuesday. (Absalom Kibanda)

Nairobi, March 7, 2013--Authorities in Tanzania must immediately investigate a vicious attack on a veteran journalist in Dar es Salaam, the capital, on Tuesday night, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Istanbul-based McClatchy correspondent Roy Gutman has been honored for his reporting from Srebrenica to Baghdad. But he can't get a visa for Iran. He blames the U.S. government, at least in part. 

(Boukary Daou)

New York, March 6, 2013--State security agents in Mali detained an editor today in connection with his newspaper's publication of an open letter criticizing a financial package awarded to a former coup leader, according to news reports and local journalists.

Six agents of State Security, Mali's intelligence agency, arrested Boukary Daou, a top editor for the daily Le Républicain, in the capital, Bamako, according to Assane Koné, the paper's editor-in-chief. Koné told CPJ that several journalists went to the agency's headquarters to inquire about Daou, but officials denied having him in custody. Local journalists and news reports, which cited an unnamed Malian security official, later confirmed the journalist's detention.

News accounts reported that Jalal Mohamed al-Jamal, manager of the local news website Al-Awamia, was freed from prison on March 5, 2013. It was unclear why the journalist, who was jailed without charge for more than a year, had been released.

Hassan Ruvakuki, seen here after his release from prison today. (RFI)

Nairobi, March 6, 2013--Burundian authorities today released Hassan Ruvakuki, a reporter who has been imprisoned for 16 months on charges related to his interview with a rebel leader. The circumstances of the release were not immediately clear, and the Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to vacate Ruvakuki's conviction and prison sentence.

New York, March 6, 2013--Ukrainian authorities must apprehend the assailants who brutally attacked an independent editor on Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, March 6, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Tuesday's attack on Carmen Andrea Rengifo, a correspondent for the Colombian TV station RCN, by crowds who had gathered in Caracas to mourn the death of President Hugo Chávez. CPJ calls on authorities to investigate the assault immediately.

Veteran investigative journalist Wang Keqin left his job at a prominent Chinese newspaper on February 25, 2013. An Agence France-Presse report citing two journalists who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal said that Wang was pressured into leaving by management at the Economic Observer.

In front of the Parliament building in Islamabad on January 28, journalists demonstrate a spate of recent killings. (Reuters/Faisal Mahmood)

Owais Toheed, head of ARY News, cancelled his speaking slot for Wednesday at the conference I'm attending in Islamabad. Organized by UNESCO, the Open Society Foundations, Intermedia, and International Media Support, the meeting's title says it all: International Conference on Safety and Security of Journalists in Pakistan. The reason Toheed couldn't attend is because he was tearing toward Hyderabad, where one of ARY's investigative camera crews was attacked earlier today. 

New York, March 5, 2013--The Sri Lankan Defense Ministry says it wants to identify sources who provided information to the UK-based broadcaster Channel 4 for a new documentary alleging that government forces committed war crimes during the country's long civil conflict, The Divaina, a Sinhala-language daily, reported today. In response, the producer issued a statement saying that no "resident anywhere in Sri Lanka helped us with this film."

On February 11, three unidentified assailants attacked and beat Victor Nedosvetey, editor of the regional newspaper Nepravilnaya Gazeta, in the city of Naryan-Mar, capital of Russia's northwestern Nenets Autonomous District, his news outlet reported.

Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to the press on election day. (AP)

Journalists could be seen rushing from polling station to polling station Monday to see long queues of determined Kenyan voters in what was apparently a largely peaceful election, according to the Deputy Director of Kenya's statutory media council, Victor Bwire. But leading up to the vote, many journalists worked in a climate of fear; and many of them say they are still wary that, once results are in, they will face attacks and other challenges such as they experienced in the aftermath of the last presidential election in 2007.

In a letter she passed from Gebze women's prison outside Istanbul, Fusün Erdoğan, founder and director of the leftist broadcaster Özgür Radyo, details circumstances of her arrest, imprisonment, and politicized criminal charges. Erdoğan founded the broadcaster in 1995, and worked as its director until September 8, 2006--the day when plainclothes police agents detained her in the city of Izmir, she writes in the letter. She has been locked up ever since.

New York, March 5, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an attack on Saturday against a pregnant journalist covering a land dispute in East Kalimantan province, Indonesia. CPJ calls on authorities to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation that leads to the apprehension of all those who participated in the brutal assault, which the journalist said had led to a miscarriage.

Mexico City, March 5, 2013--Mexican authorities must identify the motive in the weekend murder of a news website editor in Chihuahua state and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, March 5, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of freelance journalist Billy Six, held by Syrian authorities for two and a half months. Syrian authorities handed Six over to Russian diplomats today who helped him leave the country.

"We are relieved that Billy Six has been released safely and can return home," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "Our hope is the families of all journalists missing and kidnapped in Syria will soon have reason to celebrate as well. We call on all parties to assist in finding and releasing all missing journalists in Syria."

A Bahraini anti-government protester carries a sign with the picture of a jailed photographer during a march in Karranah, Bahrain, on Friday. (AP/Hasan Jamali)

The Bahraini press, like almost everything else in the island country, is sharply divided. If the government would take steps to strengthen press freedom instead of restricting access, then much of this divide could be bridged.

New York, March 4, 2013--Iranian authorities arrested another journalist this weekend as part of a broad crackdown aimed at intimidating the press before Iran's presidential election in June. Mohammad Javad Rouh, editor for the reformist monthly magazine Mehrnameh, was arrested in his home in Tehran on Sunday, according to news reports.

New York, March 4, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Chinese authorities to bring criminal charges against assailants who attacked a German TV crew in the city of Sanhe, approximately 30 miles east of Beijing.

Nairobi, March 4, 2013--Sunday's decision by an appellate court in Mogadishu to uphold the conviction of a freelance Somali journalist in connection with his interview of a reported rape victim prolongs a miscarriage of justice and is a direct assault on press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, March 4, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a decision by Nigeria's media regulatory body to shut down a radio station in connection with a broadcast that questioned the local government's motives in an anti-polio vaccination program.

A military court in the city of Ashkelon extended the detention of Mohammad Saba'aneh, a Palestinian cartoonist for Al-Hayat al-Jadida, on February 28, 2013, for a second time, according to news reports. His detention was extended for eight days, Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported citing the cartoonist's lawyer.

Zenzele Ndebele is released after being detained by police for several hours. (Kucaca Phulu)

Nairobi, March 1, 2013--Authorities in Zimbabwe have stepped up their crackdown on independent news coverage in the country by raiding the production studios of a radio station and confiscating radios distributed by nongovernmental organizations, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

March 1, 2013, New York--Pakistani authorities should investigate today's murder of a journalist in the country's restive Baluchistan province, determine the motive, and apprehend the perpetrators immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Bangkok, March 1, 2013--Draft legislation designed to govern the media in Burma threatens to reverse fragile press freedom gains recently achieved under President Thein Sein's democratic reform program, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, February 2013

CPJ launches 2013 edition of Attacks on the Press

An unprecedented rise in the number of journalists killed and imprisoned in the past year coupled with restrictive legislation and state censorship is jeopardizing independent reporting in many countries, according to Attacks on the Press, CPJ's yearly assessment of global press freedom released on February 14.

Launched at a live-streamed press conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, CPJ's flagship publication was covered by media around the world, including The New York Times and the U.K.'s Guardian. The newest edition of Attacks also features CPJ's new Risk List, which identifies the 10 places where the organization documented the most significant downward trends in 2012.