A group of persons with disabilities attacked Alhasane Bah, a journalist with the media group L'independent-Le Democrate, on July 4, 2013, as he attempted to photograph the group attacking another person with disabilities, according to news reports. The attack occurred near the Faycal Mosque in Donka district.
An identified State Security Service agent publicly flogged a reporter on July 3, 2013, while he was on an official visit to the Benue State Government House to deliver a press invitation to the state governor's chief of staff, according to news reports.
Bangkok, July 31, 2013--Authorities in the Philippines must identify the motive behind the murders of two journalists on Tuesday and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Both reporters were columnists for the Aksyon Ngayon weekly tabloid newspaper.
Concern over government surveillance of journalists has washed up on the faraway shores of New Zealand, with a report in the country's Sunday Star this week asserting that the military there, with help from U.S. intelligence, spied on an investigative journalist who had been critical of its activities in Afghanistan.
It is increasingly difficult to document violations against the press in Syria, let alone hold those responsible to account. It has always been hard to verify facts within the country. But now, the sheer number of violations and the expanding list of violators have become admittedly overwhelming.
New York, July 30, 2013--Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, whose leak of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks sparked a military court-martial that raised alarms about the chilling effect on the press, was convicted today on six counts of violating the Espionage Act, along with theft and other charges, but was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, according to news reports. The case has become emblematic of U.S. authorities' aggressive crackdown on leaks of secret information.
Cape Town, July 30, 2013--Zambian authorities should stop blocking access to critical news websites and halt their harassment of journalists accused of working with the websites, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today after reports emerged of widening government obstruction.
Journalist Lohé Issa Konaté has been imprisoned in Burkina Faso since he was convicted in October of criminal defamation over articles in private weekly L'Ouragan alleging corruption and abuse of power at the office of the public prosecutor. In May, an appeals court rejected his appeal and upheld the 12-month sentence, according to defense counsel Halidou Ouedraogo. Now, after exhausting all domestic legal remedies, Konaté has filed a complaint with the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in Tanzania.
New York, July 29, 2013--Federal authorities in Ukraine should take over the investigation into today's brutal attack on a TV journalist who had regularly reported on allegations of corruption in the regional police force, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Sergei Ostapenko, a reporter for Irta, suffered a broken jaw and other injuries in the attack outside his apartment building in Lugansk, eastern Ukraine, according to news reports.
With Zimbabwe elections days away, the fight over access to the airwaves has intensified. The media environment has loosened slightly compared with previous years, but most Zimbabweans still lack access to independent sources of news, including radio. One person familiar with obstacles to broadcasting is Zenzele Ndebele, editor of Radio Dialogue, a community radio station based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, founded in 2001.
New York, July 26, 2013--The Hamas-led government in Gaza on Thursday shut down the local offices of Al-Arabiya and the Palestinian news agency Maan after accusing the outlets of publishing "false" news, according to news reports.
New York, July 25, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports that numerous Turkish journalists, including the leading columnist Yavuz Baydar, have been fired or forced to resign from news outlets in apparent retaliation for their independent coverage of anti-government demonstrations that swept the country.
New York, July 25, 2013--Several journalists have reported being harassed, censored, or attacked over the past week in Egypt, according to news reports and local journalists. The incidents come as Egyptian authorities have announced their intentions to abolish prison terms for insult charges.
Chinese censors have cracked down on blogger Zhu Ruifeng, an apparent signal that there are limits to the government's tolerance for citizens assisting with the exposure of corrupt officials.
On July 16, one day after the Beijing-based blogger and founder of an anti-corruption website published corruption allegations about the chief secretary of Jinjiang city in Fujian province, his online presence disappeared.
New York, July 24, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release on Tuesday of Yemeni freelance journalist Abdulelah Hider Shaea, who had been imprisoned for almost three years on anti-state charges.
Shaea was released yesterday after President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued a pardon, which also stipulated that the journalist could not leave Sana'a, the capital, for two years, state news agency Saba and other news sources reported.
Dear President Obama: We are writing to express our concern about the deteriorating press and Internet freedom situation in Vietnam ahead of your Thursday meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang. We ask that in your discussions you insist on the progress of freedom of expression-related issues as a precondition for broadening Vietnam's diplomatic, economic, and strategic relations with the United States.
I've been making the rounds of journalists and organizations in Kabul for the last several days. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been asked to come up with a support plan for journalists after next year's presidential elections, the drawdown of international troops, and an expected reduction in international aid.
Speaking at a U.N. Security Council discussion about the protection of journalists, Associated Press Executive Editor and CPJ Vice Chair Kathleen Carroll remembered the 31 AP journalists who have died reporting the news and whose names grace the Wall of Honor that visitors pass as they enter the agency's New York headquarters. Most were killed covering war, from the Battle of the Little Big Horn to Vietnam to Iraq. But around the world, Carroll noted, "most journalists who die today are not caught in some wartime crossfire, they are murdered just because of what they do. And those murders are rarely ever solved; the killers rarely ever punished."
New York, July 23, 2013--Authorities in Bangladesh should immediately investigate the role of a member of parliament in a physical altercation with two journalists on Saturday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At midnight on Monday, the French news website Mediapart complied with the Versailles court of appeal which last week ordered the site to withdraw articles referring to the Bettencourt recordings--the secret tapings of Liliane Bettencourt, the richest woman in France, by her butler. Mediapart as well as the newsweekly Le Point had been sued for violation of privacy by the Bettencourt family and by the L'Oréal heiress' legal tutor and fund manager, Patrice de Maistre. Le Point withdrew its articles on Friday.
Reporting from Catatumbo, a region in northern Colombia dominated by guerrillas and drug traffickers, has always been challenging. But working conditions for journalists have seriously deteriorated amid nearly two months of anti-government protests pitting thousands of angry peasant farmers against soldiers and riot police.
New York, July 22, 2013--Two assailants on Sunday severely beat Oleg Bogdanov, a Ukrainian journalist who has been subjected to an escalating series of attacks in recent months that have included threats and an arson attack on his car, according to news reports.
Curbing the flow of information during heightened periods of tension has become routine business by authorities in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Access to mobile Internet service was suspended Thursday after violent protests erupted in the state. Although the service was restored late that night, the episode is another example of the government's heavy-handed tactics.
Bangkok, July 22, 2013--A new decree aimed at regulating Internet-related information and services in Vietnam represents a significant new danger to online journalists and bloggers, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The decree was signed into law on July 15 and will be implemented on September 1, according to news reports.
Much has been made recently about the digital surveillance of journalists--and rightly so--but physical surveillance remains a key tactic of security forces, law enforcement, and private entities. These operatives are monitoring journalists, gathering intelligence on them, and potentially obstructing journalists' work or putting them at risk.
New York, July 19, 2013--A Dutch journalist and her husband reported missing in Yemen in June have appeared in a video, pleading for their lives and asking for their captors' demands to be met. Judith Spiegel, a Yemen correspondent for Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and her husband, Boudewijn Berendsen, were abducted by an unknown group in the second week of June, the Dutch station reported on Tuesday.
When Star-FM launched on June 25, 2012, it was the first time in 30 years that Zimbabweans, who have known no other radio besides the state-controlled Radio Zimbabwe, had the chance to call in to a radio station to express their views.
New York, July 18, 2013--A number of Egyptian journalists have been barred from covering public press conferences and several others have been detained in recent days amid the country's highly polarized political and news media atmosphere, according to news reports.
Mexico City, July 18, 2013--Mexican authorities should conduct an open and thorough investigation into the murder of a crime reporter whose body was found on Wednesday in Oaxaca City, the capital of Oaxaca state, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Alberto López Bello had been badly beaten and shot, government officials told CPJ.
Nairobi, July 18, 2013--Two Somali journalists were wounded, one critically, when they came under fire on Wednesday while covering the aftermath of a landmine explosion in the southern port city of Kismayo, according to news reports and local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for an immediate and thorough investigation.
New York, July 18, 2013--Russian authorities must free on appeal the anti-corruption blogger and opposition activist Aleksei Navalny, who was convicted on politicized charges of embezzlement today and sentenced to five years in prison, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. Navalny was jailed immediately after the verdict was announced, according to news reports.
CPJ today joined an unprecedented coalition of leading Internet companies and civil liberty activists in the United States to press Washington to be more open about its massive and controversial surveillance programs.
I'm in Kabul for several days, making the rounds of journalists' organizations and media houses. My brief is to see what, if anything, can be done to protect journalists after the withdrawal of NATO troops during and after 2014. But "post-2014" has much different connotations for the Afghans with whom I've spoken or been in email correspondence. They see post-2014 as the period that follows national elections. With foreign troops increasingly staying close to their bases, Afghans are fully aware their future is in their own hands.
As Sri Lanka prepares to host the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November, some journalists have wondered whether they will be able to access the summit given the island nation's abysmal press freedom record.
New York, July 17, 2013--As a court prepares to review the case of Belarusian journalist Irina Khalip on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on local authorities to end their persecution of Khalip and allow her return to a free life.
New York, July 17, 2013--A Bloomberg correspondent working in Sudan has reported being threatened and assaulted after being detained arbitrarily by authorities in late June. Michael Gunn told CPJ that he fled the country on July 2 fearing for his life.
Cape Town, South Africa, July 17, 2013--Zambian authorities should stop their ongoing harassment of the Zambian Watchdog, a site that reports on alleged government corruption, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police arrested another journalist they accused of contributing to the site, and blocked domestic access to the site for the second time, according to the Watchdog's editor and news reports.
New York, July 16, 2013--Iranian authorities have sentenced seven members of a religious minority news website to lengthy prison terms, and arrested at least three other journalists in an alarming trend that reflects a renewed crackdown on the local press.
In Burkina Faso, tens of journalists from state media today held a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Communications in the capital Ouagadougou to protest what they deem to be excessive government censorship of news coverage.
Hong Kong, July 16, 2013--Chinese authorities must conduct an independent and thorough investigation into reports that a plainclothes police officer said to be involved in an auto accident in Kunming City, Yunnan, threatened a television journalist trying to cover the collision, and damaged the news crew's equipment, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Three years ago, revelations by the independent news website Mediapart on the "Bettencourt affair"-- allegations of illegal funding of former President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party by the heiress of the L'Oréal fortune, Liliane Bettencourt--put the fledgling site on the map, helped it build a reputation as a dogged and fearless muckraker, and boosted its subscriber base.
Last week, I was preparing to write a column about the anniversary of Paul Klebnikov's murder. The American editor of Forbes-Russia was murdered contract-style nine years ago in Moscow at the age of 41. He had investigated connections between Russian business and organized crime, as well as ethnic and political tensions in Chechnya. Despite numerous official promises to solve the July 9, 2004, killing, Klebnikov's murderers--as well whoever ordered him killed-- are still nowhere near the dock.
The African Union's special rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, has launched an auspicious initiative in East Africa to counter criminal defamation and sedition laws. Since independence, authorities and business interests in the East and Horn region have used criminal laws on sedition, libel, and insult--often relics of former, colonial administrations--to silence their critics in the press. "Criminal defamation laws are nearly always used to punish legitimate criticism of powerful people, rather than protect the right to a reputation," Tlakula said in a statement.
New York, July 12, 2013--Indian authorities' failure to proceed expeditiously in the prosecution of a freelance journalist is a miscarriage of justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist, who has been held for almost two years without bail on anti-state charges, had exposed police wrongdoing in central Chhattisgarh state.
The unfolding political tumult in Egypt over the past week has not only captured headlines worldwide, it has taken its toll on journalism and reporting as well. While much of the international media turned their attention away from the country over the past year and assumed democracy was marching along, trouble was brewing in the Arab World's most populous nation.
Since Jean-Pascal Couraud's disappearance in mid-December 1997 his friends had been fighting to debunk the notion that he had committed suicide. In 2004 they had thought they could prove that the 37-year-old muckraker had been a victim of foul play. Vetea Guilloux, a member of the local militia Groupe d'intervention de Polynésie (GIP), had alleged that two of his colleagues had killed the investigative journalist. He soon retracted his claim, apparently fearing retaliation.
New York, July 11, 2013--A court in western Kazakhstan has sentenced four men to terms ranging from 11 to 15 years for carrying out the brutal attack on Kazakh journalist Lukpan Akhmedyarov in April 2012, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes this conviction, but calls on Kazakh authorities to identify the masterminds behind the attack and bring them to justice.
New York, July 11, 2013--The body of Honduran radio journalist Aníbal Barrow was found on Tuesday on the riverbank of a lagoon near the city of San Pedro Sula, according to news reports. Barrow had been kidnapped from his car on June 24, the reports said.
"We are saddened by the death of journalist Aníbal Barrow and send our condolences to his friends, family, and colleagues," said CPJ Senior Program Coordinator for the Americas Carlos Lauría. "Lethal violence against the press and the endless cycle of impunity is compromising democracy in Honduras. Local authorities must thoroughly investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice."
Hong Kong, July 11, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Chinese filmmaker and photographer Du Bin after 37 days of detention but calls on authorities to refrain from pursuing formal charges against him.
Many international correspondents in China believe reporting conditions have worsened over the past year, according to a new survey by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China that also finds the Chinese government has "increasingly resorted to threats and intimidation against foreign media."
A Colombian TV news director, who oversaw hard-hitting political coverage in central Antioquia department, resigned on June 28 after his editorial meeting was secretly recorded and used by politicians to push for his ouster.
On June 21, Macedonian journalists, intellectuals, artists, and free thinkers breathed a sigh of relief. The U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, visited Skopje and held one of the most straightforward and honest press conferences on the state of freedom of the media we had seen in years. La Rue's fact-finding mission concluded that even though the Macedonian legal framework for media freedom is satisfactory, its politicized practice raises serious concerns. Here are some points the rapporteur highlighted:
Dear Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma: The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about press accreditation procedures for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in November. At past meetings, the Commonwealth's Communications and Public Affairs Division has been responsible for issuing permission to journalists to attend the meeting. And, as you know, the visa application process will soon be under way.
Abuja, Nigeria, July 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an amendment to a media law adopted by the Gambian parliament that imposes lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines on individuals who use the Internet in any capacity to criticize government officials.
Almost eight years have passed since the murder of Bangladeshi journalist Gautam Das, but the slow wheels of justice have finally rotated. Late last month, a court sentenced nine individuals to life in prison in connection with the scribe's murder. Many local journalists have hailed the verdict as a landmark, the first time a Bangladeshi court has successfully prosecuted a murder of a journalist.
In "Dark Clouds on the Horizon," the Hong Kong Journalists Association's latest annual report, the group warns that China is tightening its grip over Hong Kong media. The findings come at a time when attacks on a pro-democracy media group, Next Media, have raised fears of aggression against news outlets known for being critical of China.
New York, July 9, 2013--Four Turkish journalists in Egypt were briefly taken into military custody today, following an assault on another Turk on Sunday, according to news reports. Separately, an Egyptian journalist was severely beaten by Muslim Brotherhood supporters last week.
New York, July 9, 2013--Israeli authorities should immediately release a Palestinian freelance journalist who was arrested in a nighttime raid last week, and drop the charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, July 9, 2013--Today's murder of an editor in the volatile republic of Dagestan is a grim reminder that Russia is one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, deputy editor of the independent news outlet Novoye Delo and a contributor to the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel, had been the target of previous threats and attacks.
Bogotá, July 9, 2013--Peruvian authorities should immediately investigate a bomb attack on the offices of Radio Tropicana in the town of Satipo on July 4, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. No one was hurt, but the station's offices were badly damaged, the station's manager told CPJ.
The trial of Aleksei Navalny is coming to an end at the Leninsky District Court in the river city of Kirov, 500 miles northeast of Moscow. Navalny, a charismatic 37-year-old lawyer, was propelled to fame through his activities as an anti-corruption blogger, activist, and a leader of Russia's opposition movement. Most recently, he pledged to compete in future presidential elections, and sought registration to run in the Moscow mayoral election. Both his activities as a blogger and his budding presidential ambitions have earned him the attention of Russian authorities eager to eliminate any opposition that would shake the political status quo.
New York, July 8, 2013--An Egyptian photographer working for a newspaper affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood was killed today while covering clashes in Cairo, according to news reports. Other local and international journalists have also reported being targeted in the aftermath of last week's ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.
After eight hellish years for Iran's journalists under outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the election of Hassan Rouhani was welcomed with hope for a better future. As soon as he takes office in August, he should act on his view and take steps to protect journalists in Iran.
Like the death of a loved one.
That's how Juan Carlos Calderón, editor of the newsmagazine Vanguardia, described the June 28 closing of the newsweekly that for eight years published hard-hitting investigations about public officials and faced frequent government harassment. Yet the final days of Vanguardia were almost as controversial as its stories.
Nairobi, July 8, 2013--Two unidentified gunmen killed TV reporter Liban Abdullahi on Sunday evening in Galkayo, a central town in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, according to local journalists and news reports.
Dear Prime Minister Sharif: We are writing to express our deep concern about the expulsion of at least three foreign journalists from Pakistan. While Pakistan remains a dangerous country for journalists, we are concerned that it is also fast becoming inhospitable to international correspondents.
Let's be clear: Everything journalists do in the digital world is open to scrutiny by suspicious minds because that's the way intelligence agencies work. If state eavesdroppers didn't make use of this amazing opportunity they wouldn't be very good at their job.
New York, July 5, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed that Egypt's new military-run government is detaining journalists and censoring news outlets, including those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, despite proclaiming an intention to be inclusive.
New York, July 5, 2013--Malaysian immigration authorities should reverse their decision to deny entry Wednesday to a journalist critical of the provincial Sarawak government, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Clare Rewcastle Brown, who is based in the United Kingdom, flew to Kuching in southeast Malaysia but was served a "notice of refusal of entry" and later put on a flight to Singapore, according to news reports.
New York, July 3, 2013--Authorities in Egypt's new military-run government raided Al-Jazeera's Egyptian station today, disrupting its service, and shut down at least three stations supportive of Mohamed Morsi in a worrying series of moves that seemed designed to cut off coverage of pro-Morsi events, according to news accounts.
From São Paulo to Istanbul to Cairo, coverage of street demonstrations has re-emerged as an exceptionally dangerous assignment for journalists. Since June 1, CPJ has documented more than 120 attacks on the press amid the civil unrest in Brazil, Turkey, and Egypt--the biggest surge of attacks in such circumstances since the uprisings that swept the Arab world in 2011. My colleague Özgür Öğret described the danger in Turkish streets last week, and CPJ issued several alerts on assaults on the press in Brazil. The massive protests in Egypt have already resulted in more than three dozen anti-press attacks, including one fatality, and bring to mind the record-setting violence of two years ago.
Nairobi, July 3, 2013--A court in the capital of the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland today convicted the manager and editor of the independent daily Hubaal of defamation and sentenced them to prison.
Hubaal's editor, Hussein Hassan Abdullahi, received two years, while the paper's manager, Mohamed Ahmed Jama, was sentenced to one year in jail on charges of defamation and false publication of news capable of disturbing public order, local journalists told CPJ. The court issued a fine of 2,000,000 Somaliland shillings (US$300) to Hussein and 1,000,000 shillings (US$150) to Mohamed, according to news reports.
New York, July 3, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Egyptian military to refrain from exercising editorial control over state-owned media as the country's political crisis deepens.
Hong Kong, July 3, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Hong Kong authorities to expedite investigations into recent attacks against news outlets known for being critical of China. In the most recent attack targeting Next Media Limited on June 30, three masked men threatened distribution workers with knives, then burned 26,000 copies of the group's Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily, according to news reports.
Three Iraqi journalists were released on bail June 20, 2013, after being held for two weeks by the Ministry of Defense for purportedly stealing an official's notebook.
Tens of thousands of residents demonstrated on the streets of Hong Kong on Monday, the 16th anniversary of the city's return to Chinese rule. The protests have become an annual rite, but the demonstrators' demands were quite specific this year. They wanted the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and they called for direct elections. These demonstrators look around and see eroding freedoms and what one commentator, Emily Lau, called "a rule of law in a precarious state." Journalists are uneasy as well. Vague and potentially onerous aspects of recently passed privacy legislation could put them at risk of harsh punishment.
New York, July 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by the ongoing investigation into a critical Vietnamese blogger. Dinh Nhat Uy was the third blogger arrested in a month, signaling that the country's crackdown continues to intensify.
New York, July 1, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the security of journalists covering ongoing mass protests in Egypt. One journalist was killed and six others were injured while covering demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi over the weekend, according to news reports.
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