January 2014

Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, January 2014

Chilling conditions for the press ahead of Sochi Games

CPJ's special report, "Media suffer winter chill in coverage of Sochi Olympics," which was released on January 28, garnered significant coverage in the local and international media, including CBS Sports, the Huffington Post, Al-Jazeera America, and other outlets. CPJ also issued a Russian translation of its Journalist Security Guide to accompany the report.

The report examines how both local and international journalists have been harassed and prevented from covering topics such as the exploitation of migrant workers, environmental destruction, forced evictions, and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in the lead-up to the Games. The report also explores how Russian state-controlled media have ignored these issues or instead published propaganda that smears the victims of human rights abuses and the activists who defend them.

January 31, 2014 12:58 PM ET

Blog   |   Egypt

Terror charges for Al-Jazeera in Egypt prompt outcry

Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined other leading international media freedom and human rights organizations, including Article 19, Index on Censorship, and Reporters Without Borders, in calling on the European Union and United States to demand Egyptian authorities drop charges against Al-Jazeera journalists and release those under arrest.

Alerts   |   Niger

Niger authorities crack down on critical journalists

New York, January 29, 2014---The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by recent detentions in Niger of journalists critical of the government. In the past week, four journalists have been held for days without charge, two of whom remain in custody, and the justice minister has warned of a crackdown. 

Statements   |   Egypt

Egypt to try Al-Jazeera journalists on terror charges

New York, January 29, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the Egyptian prosecutor general's decision to put 20 Al-Jazeera journalists on trial on criminal charges of incitement, distorting the country's image abroad, and fabricating news to aid the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government has declared a terrorist organization, according to government daily Al-Ahram and other news reports

January 29, 2014 3:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   South Africa

South African journalist arrested, threatened

Cape Town, South Africa, January 29, 2014--South African authorities should drop charges against a journalist who was roughed up and detained after photographing police officers allegedly involved in bribery, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Ricky Dire, a journalist with the Daily Sun, also received death threats.

January 29, 2014 1:16 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

Obama must chart clearer course on surveillance policy

President Barack Obama talks about National Security Agency surveillance on January 17. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Tonight President Obama has another opportunity to redirect the country's out-of-control surveillance programs during his annual State of the Union address. He should seize it. The president's much-anticipated January 17 speech about U.S. surveillance policy, which came in response to outrage over National Security Agency spying, left much unsaid--and many of the commitments he did make were lacking the clarity needed to lift the chill on journalism and other forms of free expression that such programs create.

January 28, 2014 5:19 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Egypt

Anti-press abuses on third anniversary of Egypt uprising

Egyptians gather in Cairo to mark the third anniversary of the uprising. (AFP/Mohamed el-Shahed)

New York, January 28, 2014--Several local and international journalists have been attacked and detained in Egypt while covering deadly clashes between police and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, according to news reports. The clashes erupted on Saturday, the third anniversary of the uprising in Egypt.

Reports   |   Russia

Media suffer winter chill in coverage of Sochi Olympics

In the run-up to the Sochi Winter Games, official repression and self-censorship have restricted news coverage of sensitive issues related to the Olympics, such as the exploitation of migrant workers, environmental destruction, and forced evictions. The information vacuum comes amid a generally poor climate for press freedom across Russia. A CPJ special report by Elena Milashina and Nina Ognianova

A photographer walks outside a dome built for the Sochi Games. (Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski)

Blog   |   Russia

Journalists to be under digital surveillance at Sochi

Journalists will be central targets of the extensive surveillance program introduced by Russian authorities in Sochi in connection with the 2014 Winter Olympic Games that begin February 7.

Blog   |   China

Tougher tactics emerge in China's media crackdown

Late in 2013, Time's Hannah Beech posted a great blog on the magazine's website around the time that about 24 foreign journalists were worried that the visas allowing them to work in China might not be approved: "Foreign Correspondents in China Do Not Censor Themselves to Get Visas," she told readers. She's right, of course, and some more proof that they won't dial back their coverage arose last week. 

Blog   |   South Sudan

South Sudanese towns suffer information vacuum

Not a single local news station is operating full-time in the town of Malakal, which has been ravaged by the fighting. (Al-Jazeera/Emre Rende)

"This is the worst situation I ever reported since I started reporting in 2007," BBC Media Action producer Manyang David Mayar told me after he left the restive town of Bor, Jonglei State in South Sudan. Forced to walk long distances carrying his suitcase on his head to escape the fighting in Bor, Mayar drank dirty water and slept in the bush. 

Alerts   |   Equatorial Guinea

Journalists' equipment seized in Equatorial Guinea

Lagos, Nigeria, January 24, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports of grave anti-press violations in Equatorial Guinea ahead of an investment symposium planned for early February.

Alerts   |   Costa Rica

Costa Rica must investigate tracking of daily's phone calls

New York, January 22, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for a full investigation into reports that Costa Rican officials secretly monitored the phone records of the San José-based daily Diario Extra as part of a leak investigation.

Alerts   |   Ukraine

Journalists assaulted amid protests in Ukraine

New York, January 22, 2014--Dozens of journalists were attacked, and their equipment damaged, while reporting on anti-government protests that began over the weekend in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, according to local and international news reports. The protests come as the government has approved new legislation imposing restrictions on the media.

Alerts   |   Mauritania

Mauritania journalist held in connection with critical article

New York, January 21, 2014--Authorities in Mauritania should drop charges against a journalist who has been detained since January 2, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed has been held in connection with an article he wrote that was deemed blasphemous to the Prophet Muhammad.

Alerts   |   Iraq

Iraqi journalist killed by bomb in Anbar province

New York, January 21, 2014--An Iraqi journalist was killed by a roadside bomb in Anbar province on Monday, according to news reports. Firas Mohammed Attiyah, a correspondent, had been reporting on ongoing clashes in the province for the local Fallujah TV station, the reports said.

Alerts   |   Haiti

CPJ calls on Haitian authorities to act in Dominique murder

A Haitian woman hands out photographs of Jean Lépold Dominique, a journalist who was killed in 2000. (AFP/Thony Belizaire)

New York, January 21, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes new progress in the case of Jean Lépold Dominique, a prominent Haitian radio journalist who was murdered in 2000, and renews its calls to the Haitian authorities to bring all those responsible to justice.

Alerts   |   Thailand

Thai journalists, news outlets in the line of fire

Bangkok, January 21, 2014--The state of emergency imposed today by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra threatens to curb media coverage of recent anti-government protests in the national capital, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. The decree was passed in the wake of a double grenade attack on the site of a protest on Sunday that injured a Thai reporter, among 27 other citizens, according to local press reports.

Alerts   |   Pakistan

Three media workers killed in attack on Express TV van

New York, January 17, 2014--Pakistani authorities must conduct an efficient and thorough investigation into today's attack on an Express TV van in which three media workers were killed and a cameraman injured, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. This is the third attack in six months on the Express Media Group.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Venezuelan economic controls lead to newsprint shortage

Although nearly all Venezuelan newspapers have websites, many of their readers like to get their news the old-fashioned way: on paper. But that's getting tougher every day amid a critical shortage of newsprint.

Alerts   |   Bangladesh

Bangladesh arrests three journalists, raids news outlet

New York, January 17, 2014--Police in Bangladesh arrested three journalists on Thursday during a raid on the Dhaka offices of the newspaper Daily Inqilab, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Correa steps up fight; hacking alleged on both sides

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, on a visit to Moscow in October 2013. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

Seven months after Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa flirted with the idea of offering asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, intercepted communications and leaked emails are again making headlines in the Andean country. This time, the story is not about international surveillance but a window onto the latest front in the ever-escalating war between the president and his critics.

Case   |   Nigeria

Nigerian photographer shot by unidentified assailants

Unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle shot Callistus Ewelike at close range in front of his house in Nyanya, Abuja, at night on January 13, 2014, news reports said. The journalist's neighbours rushed him to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery for injuries to his neck, the reports said. The assailants did not take any of Ewelike's personal items.

Blog   |   Tunisia

Tunisia constitution needs stronger free press guarantees

Human rights groups and legislators are praising the third and final draft of Tunisia's new constitution as one of the most liberal charters in the Arab world--and for being arrived at by a remarkably consensual process among political parties, especially if compared with neighboring Egypt and Libya.

Blog   |   Internet, USA

Obama's legacy on the line with surveillance policy

Demonstrators march against government surveillance at a 'Restore the Fourth' rally on August 4, 2013, in San Francisco. (Geoffrey King)

When President Obama takes the lectern to discuss U.S. surveillance policy, as he is expected to do Friday, those hoping for sweeping reform are likely to be disappointed. As reported in The New York Times, the president appears poised to reject many of the recommendations of his Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, a brain trust of five experts he handpicked to study U.S. intelligence practices in the wake of disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. 

Statements   |   Russia

CPJ condemns ban of U.S. journalist from Russia

New York, January 14, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports that veteran U.S. journalist David Satter has been banned from Russia for five years. Satter, adviser to the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times, told CPJ that the Russian foreign ministry told him to leave the country on December 4 and reapply for a Russian visa. But, he said, on December 25, the Russian embassy in Kiev rejected his visa application. The journalist is currently in London.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Three radio journalists threatened in Colombia

Bogotá, January 14, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Colombian authorities to ensure the safety of three radio journalists in the southern state of Guaviare who have received death threats in response to their coverage of an upcoming recall vote that could remove the local governor from office.

Blog   |   Pakistan

No justice 3 years after Wali Khan Babar murder

Three years have passed since the murder of Geo TV journalist Wali Khan Babar in Karachi. While no justice has been found in Babar's case, his death has not been forgotten. Journalists Beena Sarwar, Umar Cheema, and Malik Siraj Akbar along with CPJ's Bob Dietz commemorated the anniversary of Babar's death on Monday during a HuffPost Live discussion: "Pakistan's Press in Peril?"

January 14, 2014 1:04 PM ET

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Letters   |   Egypt

Egypt should release all imprisoned journalists

Dear President Mansour: As an international press freedom organization, we are writing to express our concern about the climate of press freedom in Egypt. We believe that all Egyptian citizens should be guaranteed the right to freedom of speech and freedom of information. Yet at least seven journalists are being held behind bars in the country today, unable to do their work in this critical time in Egypt's history. We condemn the ongoing imprisonment of the journalists and urge the Egyptian government to immediately release them.

January 13, 2014 4:23 PM ET

Blog   |   India, Internet

On Internet freedom, India's perilous trajectory

By the time the first story based on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's disclosures splashed across the front pages of the world's newspapers, India had reportedly begun deployment of its own major surveillance architecture, the Central Management System (CMS). The system is a $132 million project that allows central access to all communications content and metadata carried over Indian telecommunications networks. According to documents reviewed by The Hindu:

Blog   |   Thailand

Thai laws on body armor put journalists at risk

Anti-government protesters occupy a major intersection in central Bangkok on January 13. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

For the past several weeks journalists and media organizations in Thailand have been preparing for a fresh round of confrontation between anti-government protesters and government security forces. An attempt to paralyze the nation's capital through a protester-led, month-long shutdown began today.

Blog   |   Pakistan

Shan Dahar's death underscores impunity in Pakistan

After more than a week since journalist Shan Dahar's death, it remains unclear whether he was killed in an accident or targeted for murder--and if targeted, why. The confusion serves as yet another example of how weak investigations and a lack of accountability have become the hallmarks of journalist killings in Pakistan.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian journalist on prison odyssey needs medical care

Berhane Tesfaye and her son, Fiteh, try to visit Woubshet Taye every week. (CPJ)

"When I grow up will I go to jail like my dad?" This was the shattering question that the five-year-old son of imprisoned Ethiopian journalist Woubshet Taye asked his mother after a recent prison visit. Woubshet's son, named Fiteh (meaning "justice"), has accompanied his mother on a wayward tour of various prisons since his father was arrested in June 2011.

Authorities have inexplicably transferred Woubshet, the former deputy editor of the independent weekly Awramba Times, to a number of prisons. From Maekelawi Prison, authorities transferred him to Kality Prison in the capital, Addis Ababa, then to remote Ziway Prison, then Kilinto Prison (just outside Addis Ababa), back to Kality, and in December last year--to Ziway again.

January 9, 2014 12:47 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Guatemala

Guatemalan government targets elPeriódico editor

New York, January 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns legal efforts in the past weeks by the president and vice president of Guatemala that are designed to stifle critical reporting by elPeriódico and its editor, José Rubén Zamora Marroquín. Over the course of the past year, the Guatemala City-based daily has published a series of articles, including many opinion columns by Zamora, that have alleged corruption or ties to organized crime within the government.

Statements   |   Sweden, Syria, Turkey

Three abducted journalists released in Syria

New York, January 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the news that three abducted journalists in Syria have been freed this week. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed today that freelance Swedish journalists Magnus Falkehed and Niclas Hammarstrom, both of whom were abducted in November, were released. On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkish intelligence services had helped secure the release of Milliyet photojournalist Bünyamin Aygün, who had been held for more than a month.

Blog   |   India

India's independent journalism in doubt in election year

Voters queue at a polling station during the state assembly election in New Delhi on December 4, 2013. A major election is due in May. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi)

With the dawn of the new year, India is looking ahead to a national election in May. Recent developments raise questions about the quality and quantity of independent news coverage of the polls as local media come under greater political influence.

Case   |   Somalia

In Somalia, three journalists detained in Kismayo

The Interim Jubba Administration in southern Somalia detained three journalists without charge in the span of a week in late December 2013. All were released after a few days.

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