In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the number of cases began counting into the hundreds, it became clear that what we had was a new indicator of press freedom conditions. Today, we're marking our fifth year of publishing the CPJ survey of journalists in exile, which is based on 10 years of data on 649 cases.
New York, June 17, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Zimbabwean authorities to thoroughly investigate a suspicious break-in at a newspaper's office on Thursday.
New York, April 29, 2011--The Zimbabwe Republic Police should consider all possible leads, including a political motive, in investigating a break-in at the offices of leading independent daily NewsDay on Monday in which computer hard drives of senior editorial staff were stolen, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
For 37-year-old Zimbabwean freelance journalist Sydney Saize, left, enduring arrest and assault has become absurdly routine--and the circumstances routinely absurd. Take his most recent detention, in February. Saize was reporting on a mundane criminal case in Mutare, capital of the diamond-rich Manicaland province, when the story suddenly turned dramatic.
The right to receive and impart information is a fundamental human right enshrined in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but in Zimbabwe, watching news of North African and Middle East protests apparently amounts to treason.
By Mohamed Keita
Across the continent, the emergence of in-depth reporting and the absence of effective access-to-information laws have set a collision course in which public officials, intent on shielding their activities, are moving aggressively to unmask confidential sources, criminalize the possession of government documents, and retaliate against probing journalists. From Cameroon to Kenya, South Africa to Senegal, government reprisals have resulted in imprisonments, violence, threats, and legal harassment. At least two suspicious deaths--one involving an editor, the other a confidential source--have been reported in the midst of government reprisals against probing news coverage.
In Zimbabwe, where journalists face constant harassment and repressive legislation, it's a rare occasion that the army would back off from its interference with an independent newspaper. But that's what seemed to happen this week in rural Gutu.
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