May 2013

Case   |   Peru

Peruvian journalist convicted in criminal defamation case

Alcides Peñaranda Oropeza, editor of the Peruvian daily and magazine Integración, was sentenced on May 21 in the city of Huaraz to a two-year suspended prison sentence and 10,000 soles (US$$3,662) in damages on charges of criminally defaming Cesar Álvarez Aguilar, governor of the northern Ancash region, according to news reports.
May 31, 2013 4:59 PM ET

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Case   |   Peru

Journalist who reported on crime attacked in Peru

Peruvian journalist Jorge Alberto Moncada Mino was attacked by unidentified assailants in the city of Chiclayo in the northern department of Lambayeque on May 24, according to news reports. Moncada, who reports for the daily El Ciclón de Chiclayo and Radio Caliente, was entering a store near his home to buy bread when two men got out of a vehicle and beat him with the butt of a gun and a wrench. The journalist was hospitalized with several bone fractures and wounds to his abdomen and head. 

Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, May 2013

Gunman sentenced in murder of Philippine journalist

CPJ has extensively covered the case of radio journalist Gerardo Ortega, who was killed in January 2011 in the Philippines, and has provided non-financial support for the Ortega family. Through our Global Campaign Against Impunity and the new digital component Speak Justice: Voices Against Impunity, CPJ has also pressured the Philippine government to break the country's silencing circle of impunity.

On May 7, a man who said he was paid the equivalent of US$250 to kill Ortega was sentenced to life imprisonment. But CPJ's work does not stop with this conviction. Too often we have seen low-level hit men tried and sentenced, while powerful political figures remain outside the grasp of the law.

May 31, 2013 3:52 PM ET

Blog   |   Italy

With Panorama jail sentences, Italy's libel law under fire

"Incredible," "staggering," "enormous," "out of time"--the expressions of outrage have been flying in Italy since a Milan magistrate sentenced to prison three journalists for the weekly magazine Panorama. On May 24, Andrea Marcenaro and Riccardo Arena were each condemned to a one-year jail term for a 2010 article discussing Palermo magistrate Francesco Messineo's alleged family connections to the mafia. The editor-in-chief of the center-right news magazine, Giorgio Mule, was sentenced to eight months in jail for "having failed to check the article." The three journalists must also pay 20,000 euros (US$26,000) in compensation to the defendant.

Blog   |   Swaziland

Bheki Makhubu raises freedom flag in Swaziland

After high school, Bhekitemba Makhubu's father wanted him to study for a law degree. He refused, insisting on following in his father's footsteps as a journalist. Now, aged 43, he doesn't regret his choice, but besides his job as editor of the privately owned monthly magazine, The Nation, he is also studying for a law degree. On April 17, the Swaziland high court sentenced Bheki Makhubu, to two years imprisonment or a fine of US$20,000 for comments published in The Nation about the head of the country's supreme court. On a recent visit to Cape Town he spoke to CPJ about Swaziland's media environment, what motivates him, and the upcoming election. The interview has been edited for length.

May 31, 2013 10:30 AM ET

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Letters   |   Qatar

CPJ urges Qatar to reconsider cybercrime bill

Dear Prime Minister Hamad: We are writing to express our concern about the cybercrime bill approved by the cabinet on Wednesday, which would restrict online expression on news websites and social media. We ask you to postpone its submission to the Shura Council and consult with media, legal, and human rights representatives to ensure that its provisions do not infringe on freedom of expression.

May 30, 2013 6:14 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia holds reporter covering evictions in dam region

New York, May 30, 2012--Ethiopian authorities have detained since Friday a reporter who sought to interview people evicted from their homes in a region where the government is building a contentious hydro-electric dam on the Blue Nile, according to a news report and the reporter's editor. The Committee to Protect Journalists said today that the case highlights authorities' disregard for the rule of law and its systematic efforts to suppress news critical of government officials.

May 30, 2013 6:07 PM ET

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Blog   |   Venezuela

Globovisión quickly eases combative stance after sale

Leopoldo Castillo, center, pauses during his daily broadcast  of 'Alo Ciudadano' Tuesday on Globovisión. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

That didn't take long.

Nine days after the pro-opposition TV station Globovisión was sold to businessmen rumored to have close ties to the Venezuelan government, the station's new leader was welcomed to Miraflores Palace for a cordial sit-down with President Nicolás Maduro.

Statements   |   Pakistan

Justice consistently eludes slain Pakistani journalists

May 30, 2013--On the second anniversary of the murder of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to continue investigating and find his killers. An official commission of inquiry concluded in January 2012 that the perpetrators in Shazahd's case were unknown, and there has been no further movement in the investigation.

May 30, 2013 2:33 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Uganda

Monitor, Red Pepper closures spark protests in Uganda

A journalist is obstructed from reporting on the protest outside the offices of the Monitor. (Facebook)

Nairobi, May 29, 2013--Ugandan police on Tuesday assaulted and detained several journalists who were among a crowd of demonstrators protesting the government's closure of four independent news outlets, according to news reports and local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists said today that the police actions only highlight the government's continuing effort to suppress information concerning a supposed assassination plot.

"Having silenced news outlets for coverage of a critical public issue, Ugandan authorities are now trying to suppress protesters who want to call attention to the censorship," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "The indefinite closure of these media outlets serves as a daily reminder that the government wants to deny its citizens important sources of news and information."

Alerts   |   Singapore

Singapore imposes licensing fees on news websites

New York, May 29, 2013--Singapore's plan to impose licensing fees on news websites will further stifle the press in the city-state's already claustrophobic media atmosphere, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Thailand

First step to justice in Fabio Polenghi's killing

A memorial to Polenghi (Reuters)

EDITOR'S NOTE: A court in Thailand ruled today that Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi was shot and killed by a bullet fired by a soldier during a government crackdown on street protesters on May 19, 2010.  The inquest ruling established the circumstances surrounding his death but failed to apportion blame to any individual military commanders or politicians in power at the time.

Elisabetta Polenghi, Fabio's sister, indicated after the trial that she will pursue criminal charges to bring those directly responsible for her brother's death to account. CPJ Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin was in attendance at today's verdict and at an evening press conference with Elisabetta Polenghi at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Thailand. The following are excerpts of Crispin's statement at the press conference:

Alerts   |   Bolivia

CPJ condemns ransacking of radio station in Bolivia

Bogotá, Colombia, May 28, 2013--An attack on a community radio station in central Bolivia constitutes a politically motivated attempt to censor its news coverage, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today as it called on authorities to investigate and apprehend the attackers.

Alerts   |   Pakistan

Pakistan must determine motive behind killing of reporter

New York, May 28, 2013--Pakistani authorities should identify the motive behind the fatal shooting of a local crime reporter and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda

Press freedom: Challenge of changing words into deeds

(Pan African Parliament)

The Pan African Parliament's (PAP) launch of a media freedom campaign through a "Dialogue on Media Freedom in Africa" in mid-May marks an important and welcome starting point. For too long, media freedom has been divorced from the debate around development and democratization when it has an integral role to play in promoting transparency, underpinning good governance, and enabling citizens to make informed decisions.

Blog   |   China

Anxiety for jailed Tibetan filmmaker as release nears

CPJ recognized jailed Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen in 2012. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

In a better world, it is usually a time for joy when a prisoner nears his or her release date. Jailed Tibetan journalists and their families do not live in that world. They live in a crueler place, where freedom is a distant mirage that might never be reached, and exhaustion or death is the reality.

May 24, 2013 11:57 AM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

In Colombia, 'bacrim' pose new press threat

Colombian police display weapons confiscated during a raid on a criminal gang in the town of Tarazá. (Reuters/Fredy Amariles)

Next to the mayor's office in the northern Colombian town of Caucasia sits a monument to government dysfunction: a half-built public library with broken windows, a water-stained floor, and rusting reinforcement rods protruding from concrete pillars.

Alerts   |   Turkey

Blogger sentenced to jail for insulting prophet

Istanbul, May 24, 2013--Turkish authorities should reverse on appeal the jail term handed down this week to a Turkish Armenian author and blogger who was convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Turkey

Hrant Dink murder to be retried, but concerns remain

A protester holds up a photo of Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink in Istanbul. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)

A decision last week in the murder case of Hrant Dink will lead to a retrial, but Dink's supporters are still not satisfied. The ruling on May 15 by Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals in Ankara acknowledged that there was a criminal conspiracy to murder the ethnic Armenian journalist, but stopped short of opening the way to a deeper investigation into potential involvement by Turkey's powerful institutions.

Blog

Medill digital security guide helps fill journalism void

As the pace of technological innovation increases, several groups try to ensure journalists are offered tips on digital security. (AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand)

One day, every journalism school in the United States and beyond will offer a full three-credit, 15-week course in digital safety, along with more advanced classes. But that day has not yet come. Only a year ago, Alysia Santo reported in the Columbia Journalism Review that no American journalism school offered formal digital safety training. A number of groups, including CPJ, have tried to fill the void with digital security guides. This week, the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University added to the resource stockpile with the publication of a guide that I've written, Digital Security Basics for Journalists.

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

Pakistan's Endangered Press
And the Perilous Web of Militancy, Security, and Politics

More than 20 journalists have been murdered in reprisal for their work in Pakistan over the past decade. Not one case has been solved, not a single conviction won. This perfect record of impunity has fostered an ever-more violent climate for journalists. Fatalities have jumped in the past five years, and today, Pakistan ranks among the world’s deadliest nations for the press. The targeted killings of two journalists—Wali Khan Babar in Karachi and Mukarram Khan Aatif in the tribal areas—illustrate the culture of manipulation, intimidation, and retribution that has led to this killing spree. A CPJ special report by Elizabeth Rubin



May 23, 2013 12:01 AM ET

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Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

Introduction

By Bob Dietz

At least 42 journalists have been killed—23 of them murdered—in direct relation to their work in Pakistan in the past decade, CPJ research shows. Not one murder since 2003 has been solved, not a single conviction won. Despite repeated demands from Pakistani and international journalist organizations, not one of these crimes has even been put to a credible trial.

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

1. The Murder of Wali Khan Babar

On January 13, 2011, Wali Khan Babar, a 28-year-old correspondent for Geo TV, was driving home after covering another day of gang violence in Karachi. Babar was an unusual face on the airwaves: Popular and handsome, he was a Pashtun from Zhob in Baluchistan near the border with Afghanistan. For Geo, it was a rare boon to have a Pashtun in Karachi, and so the station planned to send him abroad for training to become an anchor.

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

Sidebar: Verbatim: Threats, Promises, and Fears

“No half-hearted police measures or words of consolation from the highest offices in the land will suffice in the aftermath of the brutal treatment meted out to journalist Umar Cheema of The News.”

Editorial in the newspaper Dawn condemning the September 2010 abduction and beating of Cheema. Intelligence agents were suspected in the attack. No arrests were made.

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

2. A Death in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

On the evening of January 17, 2012, a year and four days after Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar was gunned down on a busy street in Karachi, Mukarram Khan Aatif, a senior journalist in the tribal region of Pakistan, was offering evening prayers at a mosque near his home in Shabqadar. Two men approached and fired three times, shooting him in the chest and head. One of the bullets passed through Aatif and injured the imam as well. Aatif was pronounced dead at the hospital that night.

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

Sidebar: For VOA Reporters, a Difficult Balance

The Taliban’s claim that they murdered Voice of America reporter Mukarram Khan Aatif because he failed to present their perspective in his stories was deeply troubling—if not terrifying—to the local reporters of the U.S. government-funded news agency.

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

3. Intimidation, Manipulation, and Retribution

A couple of years ago, Hamid Mir, Najam Sethi, Umar Cheema, and other prominent figures in the news media began going public with the threats they were receiving from intelligence agencies. It was a risky calculation, but the silence, they reasoned, encouraged intimidation and allowed impunity to persist.

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

Sidebar: ‘In case something happens to me’

Seven months before his murder, Asia Times Online reporter Saleem Shahzad was summoned to a meeting with Rear Adm. Adnan Nazir, director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate’s media wing. During the October 17, 2010, meeting, Shahzad said, he was pressured to retract a story the agency considered embarrassing and urged to disclose his sources for the piece.

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

Conclusion

The murder of Saleem Shahzad in May 2011 galvanized journalists across Pakistan in a way that few other events have. For a short time their power as a “union” was felt. They secured a commission of inquiry. They named ISI officers who had threatened Shahzad and many other journalists. They detailed those encounters in a public record available on the Internet. The resulting report offers a series of promising recommendations, saying in part:

Reports   |   Pakistan

Roots of Impunity

Appendix

Journalists Killed 2003-2012: Motive Confirmed

CPJ research has determined that 42 journalists were killed in Pakistan in direct relation to their work from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2012. An additional 12 journalists were killed in unclear circumstances during the time period. Capsule reports on each death follow, beginning with cases in which CPJ has confirmed a work-related motive.


Reports   |   Multimedia, Pakistan

Video: Roots of Impunity

The unsolved murders of three Pakistani journalists reflect a government that is not guaranteeing the rule of law or fundamental human rights. CPJ's Bob Dietz narrates. Animation by Dave Mayers and production by Dana Chivvis

Read our accompanying special report, "Roots of Impunity," which examines the culture of anti-press violence in Pakistan.

Blog   |   Internet

Facebook joins Global Network Initiative

With more than a billion users, Facebook is not only the biggest global social network but also an increasingly important forum for journalists. In some repressive countries it has even served as a publishing platform for journalists whose newspapers or news websites have been closed down. That is why journalists and bloggers should note today's news that after a year of standing on the threshold, Facebook has decided to step inside the Global Network Initiative tent.

Blog   |   South Sudan

Q&A with an editor of South Sudan's Juba Monitor

Police arbitrarily arrested Michael Koma, the managing editor of South Sudan's daily Juba Monitor, on May 2 and detained him for four days following the publication of an article critical of the deputy security minister. A veteran journalist, Koma has experienced firsthand the poor state of press freedom within Africa's newest country. CPJ spoke with him briefly this week.

Letters   |   South Sudan

Press must be able to work freely in South Sudan

Dear President Salva Kiir Mayardit: We are writing to express our deep concern about the deteriorating state of press freedom in your country. In the past six months, CPJ has documented several cases of attacks, intimidation, and detention of journalists by security agents in South Sudan and we are concerned that this harassment has led to self-censorship and even exile among the local press corps. We urge you to use the power of your office to ensure that journalists are allowed to work freely without harassment and censure from state security officials.

Blog   |   Burma, USA

Premature praise for Burma's press reforms

U.S. President Barack Obama and President Thein Sein of Burma meet in the White House. (AFP/Saul Loeb)

Burmese President Thein Sein made a historic visit to the White House on May 19, the latest in a series of high-level symbolic exchanges between the two nations. While Thein Sein has been regularly commended by U.S. officials for his broad democratic reform program, President Barack Obama's praise this week overlooked a significant backtracking on promised media-related reforms.

Alerts   |   Iran

In Iran, news coverage stifled amid election controversy

New York, May 21, 2013--Internet access has slowed, critical websites have been blocked, and several journalists have been summoned back to prison in Iran as the country's Guardian Council made a key decision today barring two leading candidates from the presidential election. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the broad efforts to deny Iranian citizens information in the run-up to the June vote.

Alerts   |   USA

CPJ alarmed by U.S. Justice scrutiny of Fox News reporter

New York, May 21, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports of a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the newsgathering activities of a Fox News reporter, which come a week after revelations that the government seized phone records of The Associated Press.

Alerts   |   Uganda

Police raid news outlets in media crackdown in Uganda

Police stand outside the offices of the Daily Monitor. (Daily Monitor)

Nairobi, May 21, 2013--Ugandan police surrounded the Kampala offices of two private newspapers for seven hours on Monday, barring access to the premises, disabling printing presses, and effectively halting publication indefinitely, according to news reports. The police said they had search warrants to find documents related to a letter written by an army official that described an assassination plot.

Letters   |   USA

CPJ board protests secret seizure of AP phone records

Dear Attorney General Holder and Deputy Attorney General Cole: CPJ's board of directors rarely has seen the need to raise its collective voice against U.S. government actions that threaten newsgathering. Today, however, we write to vigorously protest the secret seizing of phone records of The Associated Press. The overly broad scope of the subpoena and the lack of notification to the AP represent a damaging setback for press freedom in the United States and set a terrible example for the rest of the world.

Alerts   |   Iraq

Iraqi journalist threatened for reporting on corruption

New York, May 21, 2013--Iraqi authorities must launch an investigation into a May 14 episode in which a group of armed men raided the home of a journalist and briefly abducted his brother. The journalist, Azhar Shallal, had recently written about alleged corruption.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists attacked at Kiev rally; police fail to intervene

Journalists in Kiev protest police officers' failure to intervene in an assault against two reporters. A demonstrator holds a photo of a man said to have been among the assailants. (Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

New York, May 20, 2013--Several assailants beat two reporters covering an opposition protest outside Ukrainian Interior Ministry headquarters in Kiev on Saturday in view of police officers who failed to intervene, according to local and international press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the beating and the inaction of police, and it calls on authorities to hold both assailants and officers fully accountable under the law.

Blog   |   USA

Goodale: Pentagon Papers have lessons for AP case

James Goodale speaks at the luncheon at CPJ's offices. (CPJ/Sumit Galhotra)

Forty-two years ago next month, The New York Times published the first of the Pentagon Papers, a trove of classified documents on U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, sparking a landmark legal case on press freedom.

Blog   |   Turkey

News blackout deepens Turkey press freedom doubts

The mother of a victim of a bombing in Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border mourns during her funeral. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

When twin car bombs shook the district of Reyhanli in Turkey's southeastern province of Hatay near the Syrian border last Saturday, killing at least 51 people and wounding dozens of others, a local court issued a gag order on all news coverage of the attack. The ban was unprecedented in scope and in the way by which it came about.

May 17, 2013 3:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain

Bahrain's "Blogfather" emerges from hiding

Ali Abdel Imam (AP/Hasan Jamali)

For two years, Bahrainis have been asking "Where is Ali Abdel Imam?" And now finally, they have an answer.

The prominent opposition blogger suddenly emerged from hiding last week, announcing he had been granted asylum in the United Kingdom, news sources reported. 

He had not been heard from since March 17, 2011, when he cryptically tweeted, "I get tired from my phone so I switched it of no need for rumors plz." The Bahraini government had just declared a state of emergency, as massive reform protests rocked the island country. Abdel Imam, who had already been arrested twice before for his work, feared the government would arrest him again in an impending crackdown. So when they came for him the following day, Abdel Imam made sure he wasn't there. He had not been heard from since--until last week.

Letters   |   Ethiopia, USA

At AU summit, Kerry should speak out for a free press

Dear Mr. Secretary: We are writing to bring to your attention the deteriorating state of press freedom in Ethiopia, where you will attend this year's African Union Summit. A vibrant press and civil society is fundamental to hold governments accountable and to ensure long-term development and stability. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, we ask that you include the issue of press freedom in your discussion of the challenges that Africa will face in the next half-century.

Blog   |   Turkey, USA

Turkey's press freedom must be on Obama-Erdoğan agenda

When President Obama meets with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyp Erdoğan today, he needs to deliver the message that Turkey's failure to improve its record on press freedom is eroding the country's strategic relationship with the United States and sabotaging its regional leadership ambitions, CPJ's executive director, Joel Simon, and Reporters Without Borders' director general, Christophe Deloire, write in an opinion piece in Foreign Policy.

May 16, 2013 2:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

Transparency, accountability at stake in Manning trial

On June 3, when the long-anticipated court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning begins in Fort Meade, Md., journalists will crowd the courtroom. But at some point the press and the public likely will be ordered out while confidential testimony--including from State Department officials and active military personnel-- is heard. If the pre-trial proceedings are any indication, the press will also be denied access to written submissions deemed sensitive. 

May 16, 2013 11:58 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Nepal

In Nepal, press faces litigation for critical coverage of courts

New York, May 16, 2013--Judicial authorities in Nepal should stop targeting outlets of the Kathmandu-based Kantipur Publications and dismiss a case filed against the organization and one of its journalists that accuses them of contempt of court, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Authorities discover plot to kill Colombian journalist

Bogotá, May 15, 2013--Colombian authorities must bring to justice all those responsible for an alleged plot to assassinate a journalist and two political analysts who had been investigating links between local politicians and organized crime, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Kenya

Kenyan press face hostile work environment, study finds

The working environment for journalists and media workers in Kenya is increasingly hostile, with at least 91 percent of journalists at local media outlets having faced security threats in the course of their work, a new study has revealed. The harassment of and attacks against journalists, with nearly 40 percent coming from politicians, indicates a need for urgent attention from both state and non-state actors if press freedom is to be guaranteed in the country.

Blog   |   Uganda

In Uganda, media muzzled over alleged Muhoozi project

Gen. David Sejusa (Facebook)

While Uganda's politicians and social media are abuzz over a sensational letter reportedly written by a top security official about a high-level assassination plot, police have dutifully harassed the mainstream press in a bid to suppress the chatter.

Blog   |   Liberia

Liberian press boycotts Sirleaf over aide's comments

Liberian newspapers protest threatening remarks by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's security chief. (Wade Williams/FrontPage Africa)

Most governments, even repressive ones, at least give lip service to supporting freedom of the press--especially on World Press Freedom Day, May 3. But in Liberia this month, Othello Daniel Warrick, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's chief security aide, shocked local journalists by threatening them and calling them "terrorists" at a public event to mark the occasion, according to news reports and local media groups.

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan extends criminal defamation to Internet speech

New York, May 14, 2013--Azerbaijani parliament's approval to extend criminal defamation laws to include Internet speech is a serious setback for press freedom in a country that severely curtails free expression already, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ calls on President Ilham Aliyev to veto the bill.

Blog   |   Iran

Video: CPJ panel on Iran, with Jon Stewart, Maziar Bahari

Check out the full video of "Censorship and Power in Iran," a panel discussion on imprisoned journalists in Iran that was held on May 8 at the School of Visual Arts in New York. The panel, featuring Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari and CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon and moderated by political satirist Jon Stewart, was followed by a lively Q&A.

The discussion followed a special screening of Bahari's film, called "Forced Confessions," and a short video, called "Iran's Journalists in Chains" about the deterioration of press freedom in the country.

May 14, 2013 10:57 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China, reporter's death sparks questions on censorship

Twenty-four-year-old Bai Lu was just four days into her new job as a journalist at the Urumqi Evening Post when she was killed. She and her colleague, Chen Aiying, were struck by a bulldozer while reporting at a major construction project on April 18 in the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang province. Chen was seriously injured.

Alerts   |   Cameroon

Cameroon shuts down station over secessionist interview

The staff of Foundation Radio (Fomunyoh Foundation)

New York, May 13, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the closure of an independent radio station on April 22 in retaliation for its broadcast of an interview that authorities said incited secessionism.

Blog   |   Thailand

Small attack on Thai newspaper has large implications

A Red Shirt protester holds a portrait of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at a rally in Bangkok on May 8. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

To head off rising tensions between supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and cartoonist Somchai Katanyutanan, who faces possible criminal defamation charges for critical comments he posted on his personal Facebook page, Thailand's government has to make sure police fully investigate this weekend's attack on Thai Rath, the country's largest circulation daily newspaper. The government's public sensitivity to expression such as Somchai's has spurred recent political violence in Thailand, including threats against journalists. 

Case   |   Egypt

In Egypt, journalists face prosecution, attacks, detention

The editor-in-chief of the daily Al-Watan, Magdy el-Galad, and a reporter for the paper, Ahmed el-Khatib, were referred to a criminal court on May 8, 2013, for publishing a "false report that could disturb public peace," according to news reports.

Statements   |   Pakistan

CPJ condemns Pakistan's expulsion of Times reporter

New York, May 10, 2013 - The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Pakistan's interim government to reverse its decision to expel New York Times bureau chief Declan Walsh from the country. The order comes on the eve of national elections that will bring about the first successful change of civilian government in Pakistan's history.

May 10, 2013 5:18 PM ET

Blog   |   Mexico

What's risky? In Mexico's twin cities, journalists don't know

The letter "Z," painted on a hill in the state of Coahuila, refers to the Zetas drug cartel. (Reuters/Tomas Bravo)

The Durango state governor was on his way to meet with reporters. Before he arrived, the reporters huddled to decide the question of the moment. It seemed obvious: Why had a former mayor been arrested the day before in what clearly seemed to be a political move? "That was the only question," a reporter said later. "Did the governor have the ex-mayor arrested? Because, behind that move, you can feel a crackdown coming against the opposition." Yet, this reporter added, "It was too dangerous to ask. No one was brave enough."

Blog   |   Iran

Jon Stewart, Maziar Bahari, and #FreeIranPress

CPJ joined with the PEN American Center and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on Wednesday night to host a film screening and panel discussion on the deterioration of press freedom in Iran. Moderated by political satirist Jon Stewart, the panel featured Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari and CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. CPJ and our followers live-tweeted the event, which we have curated below using the social networking tool Storify.

Alerts   |   Russia

Russia charges suspect in Igor Domnikov murder

(Novaya Gazeta)

New York, May 8, 2013--Today's arrest in Moscow of a local businessman suspected of organizing a brutal attack that led to the death in 2000 of investigative reporter Igor Domnikov is a long-overdue step toward justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. Russian authorities must now ensure that all of those involved in planning the attack are brought to justice, CPJ said.

May 8, 2013 5:11 PM ET

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Reports   |   Iran

As election nears, Iran's journalists are in chains

Iran continues to jail dozens of journalists, stifling critical news coverage and commentary. Crucial links to the international community have been cut off as the June presidential vote approaches. A CPJ special report by Sherif Mansour 

Reports   |   Iran, Multimedia

Video: Iran's journalists in chains

Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti died from abuse suffered in Evin Prison. In this video, produced by IranWire in cooperation with CPJ, Beheshti's mother describes the anguish she has endured and asks for support for all the other journalists and political prisoners being held in Iran. In all, 40 journalists were jailed as of April 2013, a testament to the iron grip the government has on news and commentary.

May 8, 2013 4:51 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Philippines

Gunman sentenced, masterminds free in Ortega slaying

Ortega family

New York, May 8, 2013--A man who said he was paid the equivalent of US$250 to kill Philippine radio journalist Gerardo Ortega, left, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2011 murder, according to news reports and the victim's family. The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined with Ortega family in calling for the arrests of the suspected masterminds.

May 8, 2013 4:49 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe journalists charged after military-MDC story

Cape Town, South Africa, May 8, 2013--Police in Harare have filed criminal charges against two Zimbabwean journalists on accusations they published "false statements prejudicial to the state" in a story about behind-the-scenes discussions between military leaders and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. 

Blog   |   Iran

Slideshow: Iran's journalists in chains


Editorial cartoons play a principal role in every newspaper and magazine in Iran, providing news, analysis, and satire in visual form. Since the presidential elections in 2009, when Iranian authorities launched an intense crackdown against journalists, civil society activists, and lawyers, many political cartoonists began to leave Iran. Those who stayed have adjusted their work to be more ambiguous, to communicate their message while attempting to evade government censorship and arrests.

Blog   |   Russia

CPJ, others urge John Kerry to raise rights in Russia

In advance of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Moscow this week, Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Committee to Protect Journalists sent him a letter to call attention to the ongoing crackdown in Russia on non-governmental organizations--including those that support press freedom and freedom of expression. 

May 6, 2013 6:03 PM ET

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Blog   |   Nigeria

Nigeria's impunity ranking: The facts don't lie

Nigeria's press freedom record is on the decline.

For the first time since 2008, when CPJ began publishing its annual Impunity Index, Nigeria has made the list of the "worst nations in the world for deadly, unpunished violence against the press."

Blog   |   Burundi

Burundi reporter shot by police for seeking information

Patrick Paggio
Niyonkuru is recovering from a bullet wound to the arm. (Courtesy Patrick Paggio
Niyonkuru)

Burundi's government took unusually swift action last week in response to the police shooting of a radio reporter, after the journalist sought information at a roadblock in the capital Bujumbura where market vendors were allegedly being "taxed" for passage. Perhaps the shooting could have been averted if authorities had bothered to discipline officers involved in previous attacks on journalists.

Blog   |   Brazil

In Brazil, awakening 'Rodrigo Neto in each of us'

Rodrigo Neto was killed after investigating possible police involvement in a series of local murders. (Diário Popular)

One month after their colleague Rodrigo Neto was gunned down on the street after eating at a popular outdoor barbecue restaurant, the journalists of Vale do Aço, Brazil, were indignant. Denouncing a sluggish investigation and the possibility of police involvement in the murder, they strapped black bands to their wrists in a sign of solidarity, put on T-shirts bearing Neto's name, and took to the streets to demand justice. Six days later, Walgney Assis Carvalho, a photographer who claimed to have knowledge of the crime, was shot twice in the back by a masked assassin as he sat at a fish restaurant. The journalists of Vale do Aço are still indignant, but now they are terrified.

Blog   |   Brazil, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia

In Index, a pattern of death, a roadmap for solutions

Activists protest impunity in journalist murders in the Philippines. (AFP/Noel Celis)

Gerardo Ortega's news and talk show on DWAR in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, went off as usual on the morning of January 24, 2011. Ortega, like many radio journalists in the Philippines, was outspoken about government corruption, particularly as it concerned local mining issues. His show over, Ortega left the studios and headed to a local clothing store to do some shopping. There, he was shot in the back of the head. His murder underlines the characteristics and security challenges common to many of the killings documented as part of CPJ's new Impunity Index: A well-known local journalist whose daily routines were easily tracked, Ortega had been followed and killed by a hired gunman. He had been threatened many times before in response to his tough political commentary, a pattern that shows up time and again on CPJ's Impunity Index.

Alerts   |   Guatemala

Guatemalan outlet harassed after critical reporting

New York, May 2, 2013--The Guatemalan news outlet elPeriódico has been targeted in a series of cyberattacks as it published stories alleging corruption in President Otto Pérez Molina's administration. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to investigate immediately and put an end to the harassment.

Letters   |   Ethiopia, Gambia, Nigeria, Somalia

CPJ calls on African Union to uphold press freedom

Dear Chairperson Zuma: We ask that you mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2013, by calling for the release of all journalists imprisoned in Africa and appealing for justice in the murders of journalists killed in the line of duty.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

In Eskinder case, politicized verdict undermines Ethiopia

New York, May 2, 2013---In response to today's ruling by Ethiopia's Supreme Court to uphold an 18-year prison sentence imposed on award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega and reject his appeal, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement: 

"This ruling trivializes the serious crime of terrorism, upholds a politically motivated travesty of justice, and lessens Ethiopia's international standing," CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita said. "As a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Ethiopia should comply with its obligations under international law and its own constitution and release Eskinder unconditionally. The persecution of Eskinder and other journalists is the hallmark of a regime fearful of the opinions of its citizens."

May 2, 2013 11:31 AM ET

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Blog   |   UK

Responding to Hacked Off

Some years back during a visit to the Gambia--the West African nation ruled by a thin-skinned and mercurial president, Yahya Jammeh--I holed up in the sweltering Interior Ministry and pressed officials to release imprisoned journalists and ease up on the country's brutal media crackdown. The officials resisted, arguing that the press in Gambia was "reckless and irresponsible," that it made unfounded accusations, published falsehoods, and destroyed people's lives, and therefore the government had no choice but to step in and impose order and regulation.

May 1, 2013 12:19 PM ET

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