Americas

2012


Blog   |   Iraq, Security, Somalia, Syria

Combat deaths at a high, risks shift for journalists

Ambulances carry the bodies of Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, who were killed in government shelling in Syria. (Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri)

Murder is the leading cause of work-related deaths among journalists worldwide--and this year was no exception. But the death toll in 2012 continued a recent shift in the nature of journalist fatalities worldwide. More journalists were killed in combat situations in 2012 than in any year since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Journalists still murdered where impunity reigns

(AFP/Pedro Pardo)

Almost half of the 67 journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were targeted and murdered for their work, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The vast majority covered politics. Many also reported on war, human rights, and crime. In almost half of these cases, political groups are the suspected source of fire. There has been no justice in a single one of these deaths.

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil

Brazil murders reflect tough reporting, lack of justice

Journalists take cover in a shootout between police and drug traffickers in Brazil. (AP/Silvia Izquierdo)

There are many complex reasons why Brazil has become a dangerous place to practice journalism. I will cite two possible explanations for the increase in deaths of journalists in the country, where seven journalists have been confirmed killed for the work over the past two years. First, the press is producing more investigative reports on government and police corruption, the misdeeds of politicians, organized crime, and human rights violations. Journalists are killed in reprisal for this type of reporting. The second explanation has to do with impunity. The lack of thorough investigations for these crimes has created a feeling amongst the perpetrators that they will not be identified or punished.

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Security, Sri Lanka

Integrity vs. authenticity in video journalism

A still from the video showing a Sri Lankan soldier about to execute a prisoner. (AFP/Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka)

Back in November 2010, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a leaked video that appears to show men in Sri Lankan military uniforms executing bound prisoners, the camera panning across a series of bodies laid out in a ditch. Family and friends identified one of those bodies as that of Tamil Tiger TV newscaster Shoba, also known as Isaipriya. If authenticated, the video could constitute evidence that Isaipriya was murdered. It would be one step toward accountability in a long string of unsolved murders of journalists in Sri Lanka. It would also be evidence of war crimes that are said to have been committed during the final phases of the 27-year civil war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE. But disputes have ensued between the United Nations, which claims the video is authentic, and the Sri Lankan government, which claims that it is fake.

Blog   |   CPJ, Ethiopia, Journalist Assistance

Video: Campaign to free the press

(CNN)

The imprisonment of journalists hit a record high in 2012, driven by the growing use of anti-terrorism charges to silence critical voices. This video, a centerpiece of CPJ's new Free the Press campaign, details the plight of imprisoned journalists worldwide and describes how international advocacy can make a difference in winning the freedom of jailed reporters, editors, photojournalists, and bloggers. (4:40)

Read our special report "Number of jailed journalists sets global record" and view our database of journalists in prison.

December 11, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Audio: From Cuban prison, reporter speaks out

Cuba, historically one of the world's worst jailers of journalists, has returned to CPJ's prison census after a one-year absence. Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a reporter for the independent news agency Centro de Información Hablemos Press, was imprisoned in September after he started looking into why an international shipment of medicine was allowed to go bad, according to news reports.

December 11, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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On Human Rights Day, make your voice heard on impunity

In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 10 Human Rights Day in commemoration of the adoption and proclamation two years earlier of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year, on this day, the U.N. chooses one right to highlight and advocate. This year, Human Rights Day is focused on the right of all people to make their voices heard. This is not possible when journalists worldwide are being murdered.

Alerts   |   Mexico, Romania

Photographer arrested during protests in Mexico

Demonstrators clash with the police in Saturday's protest in Mexico City. (AFP/Pedro Pardo)

Mexico City, December 7, 2012--Mexican authorities must immediately release a freelance Romanian photojournalist who was detained on Saturday while covering a protest related to the presidential inauguration, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

December 7, 2012 4:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, CPJ, India, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia

Speak Justice campaign fights impunity in press murders

The tortured and decapitated body of 39-year-old María Elizabeth Macías Castro was found on a Saturday evening in September 2011. It had been dumped by the side of a road in Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican border town ravaged by the war on drugs. Macías, a freelance journalist, wrote about organized crime on social media under the pseudonym "The Girl from Laredo." Her murder, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, was the first in which a journalist was killed in direct relation for reporting published on social media. It remains unsolved.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian journalist dies after being in police custody

Bogotá, November 30, 2012--Top Colombian police officials must conduct an intensive investigation into the actions of local police during their arrest of freelance journalist Guillermo Quiroz Delgado, who died Tuesday night, seven days after he was hospitalized for injuries suffered while in custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

November 30, 2012 2:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina

In battle with Argentine president, a misstep by Clarín

A newspaper stand displays Argentina's largest newspaper, Clarín. President Kirchner's government has given Clarín a December 7 deadline to sell off some of its holdings. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)

The debut of the HD version of Grupo Clarín's cable news station TN could not have come at a worse time for the Argentine media conglomerate. Conspicuously missing from Monday's premiere was coverage of a new criminal complaint in which Clarín's lawyers accused the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of inciting violence against the media group. In what the company now acknowledges was a misstep, the complaint named six pro-government journalists. 

Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist killed in Campo Grande

New York, November 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the murder of Brazilian journalist Eduardo Carvalho in Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state, which borders Paraguay and Bolivia. Carvalho was the editor and owner of news website Última Hora News, which frequently denounced local corruption, according to news reports.

November 26, 2012 5:46 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

To fight impunity, cycle of fear, silence must be broken

Three years ago, on November 23, 2009, 30 journalists and two media workers were brutally killed in the southern Philippine city of Maguindanao while travelling in a convoy with the family and supporters of a local politician. To this day, not a single suspect has been convicted, though local authorities have identified close to 200. The botched trial has been stalled with procedural hurdles. Victims' families have been threatened and key witnesses have been slain.

November 23, 2012 9:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, China, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, UK

Awardees say indignation trumps intimidation

Mauri König (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The battle for a free press sometimes feels like a war between indignation and intimidation. Journalists learn of abuses of power, crime, or corruption, and--indignant--they speak out. In response, the perpetrators of those abuses--be they government officials or criminals--try to intimidate the journalists into silence with threats, lawsuits, jail, or even murder. Last night, the Committee to Protect Journalists paid tribute to a handful of journalists for whom indignation is a driving force, no matter the scale of intimidation.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Journalist shot dead on assignment in Mexico

Mexico City, November 15, 2012--A freelance journalist and his companion were shot to death Wednesday in the central Mexican state of Puebla shortly after the reporter had gathered information on a large-scale gasoline theft and then witnessed a stand-off between soldiers and gunmen, according to news reports and CPJ interviews.

Letters   |   Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, USA

Obama should address media rights in Southeast Asia

Dear President Obama: We are pleased that you will begin your second term as U.S. president with a trip to Southeast Asia. As you visit Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand from November 17 through 20 while attending the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related meetings in Phnom Penh, we hope that your commitment to human rights and the fundamental right to free expression remains an important aspect of your agenda.

Blog   |   Brazil, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Security, Somalia, Syria

Will UN plan address impunity, security for journalists?

A woman stands next to a banner reading "No more impunity" in Colombia. (AFP/Raul Arboleda)

Here are the facts:

  • A journalist is killed in the line of duty somewhere around the world once every eight days.
  • Nearly three out of four are targeted for murder. The rest are killed in the crossfire of combat, or on dangerous assignments such as street protests.
  • Local journalists constitute the large majority of victims in all groups.
  • The murderers go unpunished in about nine out of 10 cases.
  • The overall number of journalists killed, and the number of journalists murdered, have each climbed since the 1990s.

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuban reporter Flores arrested on anti-state charges

New York, November 9, 2012--Cuban authorities charged journalist Yaremis Flores with anti-state crimes on Wednesday in connection with news articles critical of the government, an arrest that sparked two waves of protests and detentions outside a Havana police station. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to drop the charges against Flores immediately.

November 9, 2012 4:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Officials, journalists cast doubt on Veracruz murder case

Regina Martínez was killed in one of the most politically corrupt Mexican states. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

Veracruz is a beautiful, long, thin state on the Gulf coast of Mexico where many journalists are terrified not only of the rampant organized crime groups that kill and control, but also of the state government. Fear that state officials will order them murdered for what they investigate or write has forced about a dozen journalists to flee the state, claiming that fear also puts a clamp on coverage for those who remain. Many journalists still working in the state tell CPJ they agree.

November 2, 2012 5:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belarus, CPJ, Philippines, Russia

Twenty-three days to take action against impunity

Approximately 30 journalists are targeted and murdered every year, and on average, in only three of these crimes are the killers ever brought to justice. Other attacks on freedom of expression occur daily: bloggers are threatened, photographers beaten, writers kidnapped. And in those instances, justice is even more rare. Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joins freedom of expression advocates worldwide in a 23-day campaign to dismantle one case at a time a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to gag journalists, bloggers, photographers and writers, while keeping the rest of us uninformed.

Alerts   |   Bolivia

Critical Bolivian journalist set on fire by masked men

Fernando Vidal was set on fire in the offices of his radio station, shown here. (AFP//Estaban Farfan)

Bogotá, October 31, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Bolivian authorities to investigate the motive and find the masterminds behind Monday's vicious attack on a Bolivian radio journalist who was set on fire in the station's offices in the southern city of Yacuiba. A studio technician was also injured in the attack.

October 31, 2012 2:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Ecuador, USA, Venezuela

Correa supporters protest as Cabot winners celebrated

Protesters gather outside the Cabot Awards on Thursday. (CPJ/Sara Rafsky)

The Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, administered by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in recognition of journalistic contributions to Inter-American understanding, are the oldest international prizes in journalism. But Josh Friedman, director of the prizes, said this year marked the first time he remembered arriving at the awards ceremony to be greeted by protesters screaming from behind barricades. The tuxedo and gown-clad guests last night shot confused glances across the street from Columbia's Italian Academy building, where about 20 protesters brandishing Ecuadoran flags and pictures of President Rafael Correa yelled slogans like "Down the with corrupt press!" and "Long live President Correa!" One sign identified a long list of alleged "enemies of Latin American democracy" that managed to include the leading dailies of South America, the United States, Spain, the Ecuadoran press freedom group Fundamedios and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Blog   |   Security, USA

CIA case highlights need for digital security

Ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou has pleaded guilty to leaking information to a journalist. (AP/Cliff Owen)

Few cases better underscore the need for digital security among journalists. On Tuesday, ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou pleaded guilty to leaking the identity of another CIA operative to Matthew Cole, a journalist formerly with an ABC News investigative team. In a 2007 interview with ABC, Kiriakou became the first CIA official to confirm that waterboarding had been used on Al-Qaeda suspects.

Blog   |   CPJ, UK

London statement urges strong steps to protect journalists

The London symposium brought together, from left, International Press Institute's Galina Sidorova; BBC's Peter Horrocks; William Horsley of Centre for Freedom of the Media; Guy Berger, UNESCO; and Rodney Pinder, International News Safety Institute. (Centre for Freedom of the Media)

More than 40 media organizations worldwide are demanding urgent action by governments, the United Nations, and the industry to stop violence against journalists and end impunity in attacks on the press. They made their position known in a joint statement delivered today to the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Alerts   |   Bolivia

Journalists temporarily flee Bolivia after harassment

Bogotá, October 19, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the official harassment of two executives of a Bolivian newspaper that has reported on government corruption in the northern department of Pando. Both journalists sought refuge in Brazil for three days after the episode, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuador fines newsmagazine over opinion column

Bogotá, October 4, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the exorbitant fine imposed upon a Quito newsmagazine for an opinion column related to a national referendum and urges Ecuadoran authorities to ensure that election regulations are not used to punish outlets for critical coverage.

October 4, 2012 3:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Venezuela

Latin American press faces violence, legal harassment

As Venezuela's election nears, President Hugo Chávez has a clear advantage in media access because he has broken down the independent press with threats and regulations while building up a huge state media apparatus. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Violence and legal harassment: the two greatest obstacles to press freedom in Latin America today. That's the message that CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon is delivering this morning in Washington, D.C., at a briefing hosted by Congressman Sam Farr. Farr, a California Democrat, hosts a monthly series looking at emerging trends in the Western Hemisphere. The panel today also includes Commissioner Dinah Shelton of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Delphine Halgand of Reporters Without Borders.

Reports   |   Argentina

In government-media fight, Argentine journalism suffers

In the pitched battle between Cristina Kirchner’s administration and critical media outlets such as those owned by Grupo Clarín, the very credibility of journalism is at stake. Argentine citizens are deprived of objective sources of information on vital political and economic issues. A CPJ special report by Sara Rafsky

Newspapers including Clarín annouce the election of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Buenos Aires on Oct. 29, 2007. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado)

Alerts   |   Ecuador

Threatened Ecuadoran journalist leaves news program

A screenshot of a YouTube video in which Janet Hinostroza describes a threatening phone call she received. (YouTube)

New York, September 20, 2012--Ecuadoran authorities must immediately investigate threats against Janet Hinostroza, a journalist with the private network Teleamazonas, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The threats have forced Hinostroza to take a temporary leave of absence.

Blog   |   Ethiopia, USA

Vigil in DC honors Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega

People gather at a candlelight vigil to commemorate the first anniversary of the arrest of imprisoned blogger Eskinder Nega. (George Newcomb)

Writer, journalist, blogger, and free speech activist Eskinder Nega, the 2012 recipient of PEN American Center's Freedom to Write Award, lived in Washington, D.C., before returning to his native Ethiopia to start one of the country's first-ever independent newspapers. On Friday, Eskinder was back in D.C.--not physically, but as the subject of a candlelight vigil at the African American Civil War Memorial that commemorated the first anniversary of the blogger's arrest and sent the message that those jailed for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of speech are never forgotten.

Blog   |   China, Denmark, Germany, USA

Thorning's chance to press China for media freedom

Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is in China this week to meet with top leaders, according to international news reports. CPJ's Advocacy and Communications Associate Magnus Ag and Senior Asia Program Researcher Madeline Earp co-wrote an op-ed calling on Thorning--as she is called in the Danish press--to raise the issue of press freedom. An edited version ran in the Danish newspaper Politiken today.

Speaking truthfully to China on its repression of human rights can be a tricky endeavor in diplomatic affairs, but Helle Thorning-Schmidt has a prime opportunity to raise press freedom on her trip to China. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not give the issue public priority during their visits earlier this month, but as Thorning meets with top Communist Party leaders and addresses a World Economic Forum meeting in Tianjin, the opportunity must not be wasted.

Blog   |   Security

In Cryptocat, lessons for technologists and journalists

Alhamdulillah! Finally, a technologist designed a security tool that everyone could use. A Lebanese-born, Montreal-based computer scientist, college student, and activist named Nadim Kobeissi had developed a cryptography tool, Cryptocat, for the Internet that seemed as easy to use as Facebook Chat but was presumably far more secure.

September 11, 2012 12:12 PM ET

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Alerts   |   China, USA

Clinton must speak up for international press in China

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jieche greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Beijing. (AFP/Jim Watson)

New York, September 4, 2012--U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should press Chinese officials in meetings this week to allow international journalists based in China greater access to news events and fewer restrictions of their coverage, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Blog   |   Internet

Dear CPJ: Some malware from your 'friend'

An analyst looks at malware code in a lab. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

We talk a lot about hacking attacks against individual journalists here, but what typifies an attempt to access a reporter's computer? Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director, received an email last week that reflects some characteristics of a malware attack against a journalist or activist. There was nothing particularly notable about the targeting. (Like many reporters, CPJ receives such attempts occasionally). The attack failed at the first fence, and my casual investigation into the source was inconclusive. There are no shocking answers or big headlines to draw from this attack. But it does illustrate a contemporary reality: Opportunistic assailants regularly shower journalists with software attacks.

Alerts   |   Bolivia

Bolivia charges news outlets with inciting racism

Police block journalists protesting the government's plans to sue three news outlets. (Reuters/Gaston Brito)

Bogotá, August 30, 2012--Bolivian authorities must immediately drop a criminal complaint filed against three media outlets in connection with their coverage of a speech by President Evo Morales, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The news outlets are being accused of inciting racism and discrimination, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Attacks on press in Venezuela expand online

Chávez' Twitter page. (AFP/Juan Barreto)

Online penetration in Venezuela has increased in recent years, with 40 percent of its population online, according to the International Telecommunication Union. A significant amount of activity takes place on Twitter, where Venezuela has the highest penetration in the region after Uruguay, according to local research company Tendencias Digitales. President Hugo Chávez Frías, who has more than three million followers on Twitter, uses the platform regularly to convey official news--as he did on Tuesday when a raging fire at an oil refinery was extinguished, leaving 48 people dead, according to a report on EFE.

Case   |   Colombia

Colombian Supreme Court drops suit against columnist

The Colombian Supreme Court announced on August 27, 2012, that it would drop a defamation complaint against prominent journalist Cecilia Orozco Tascón, according to news reports. Five days earlier, the court released a statement saying it would file charges against Orozco, who writes a widely read column in the Bogotá daily El Espectador. The court also criticized a column by another journalist, María Jimena Duzán, which was published in the weekly Semana magazine.

Reports   |   Venezuela

In Venezuela, a media landscape transformed

In more than a decade in power, President Hugo Chávez Frías has overseen the transformation of nearly every aspect of Venezuelan society, including the media. When Chávez came to office in 1999, he enjoyed the support of the country’s established private media. But the relationship soon soured, and in April 2002 he was briefly deposed in a coup that he alleges was carried out with the support of key media owners. Today, several of the most critical media outlets are either gone or scared into silence, and a vast state media presence echoes the government’s positions. By Joel Simon

Hugo Chávez at a campaign rally in Maracay, Venezuela, on July 1. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Reports   |   Venezuela

Venezuela's private media wither under Chávez assault

The Chávez administration has used an array of legislation, threats, and regulatory measures to gradually break down Venezuela’s independent press while building up a state media empire—a complete reversal of the previous landscape. One result: Vital issues are going uncovered in an election year. A CPJ special report by Monica Campbell

Hugo Chávez at a December 2011 press conference. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Reports   |   Venezuela

State media focus on opposition, critics; stifle debate

Many state media in Latin American are used for political propaganda, but the Venezuelan government has built an unprecedented media empire that it uses to attack critics and independent journalists and obscure issues like crime and inflation. By Carlos Lauría

State media accused Últimas Noticias of using this crossword puzzle in a plot to assassinate Hugo Chávez's brother. (Reuters/Últimas Noticias)

Reports   |   Venezuela

Globovisión besieged by investigations, fines, violence

The recent regulatory probe into coverage at Globovisión, the only TV broadcaster critical of the Chávez administration, is the latest in a long string of investigations and other harassment. The network is struggling to stay afloat. By Monica Campbell

Globovisión advertisements in Caracas. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Reports   |   Venezuela

Pro-government hackers hound Venezuelan journalists

The mysterious group N33 has targeted the online accounts of journalists critical of the Chávez administration. The victims are subject to fake messages, insults, and intimidating threats. By John Otis

Hugo Chávez has more than 3 million followers on Twitter. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

Reports   |   Multimedia, Venezuela

Audio: Venezuela's private media wither




Since President Hugo Chávez Frías took office more than a decade ago, legislation, threats, and regulatory measures have withered Venezuela’s independent press even as the state has built a huge media empire. Carlos Lauría, CPJ's Americas Senior Program Coordinator, talks about the developments in this podcast. Listen on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (2:05)

Read CPJ's special report, "Venezuela’s private media wither under Chávez assault."

August 29, 2012 7:28 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian Supreme Court sues journalist for defamation

Bogotá, August 27, 2012--Colombia's Supreme Court must immediately drop an unprecedented criminal defamation complaint against a prominent local columnist who questioned recent actions by the court, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Security, USA

Resources, tips for journalists covering conventions

Journalists view the stage for the coming Republican National Convention. (Reuters/Scott Audette)

With up to 15,000 journalists expected in Tampa, Fla., for next week's Republican National Convention, some reporters and photographers will undoubtedly encounter problems concerning access to news events and coverage of related protests. Several journalism organizations have compiled resource materials and tips for journalists headed to the GOP gathering, which starts August 27, and the Democratic convention that begins September 3. Here are some of those resources:

Alerts   |   Argentina

In Argentina, two local journalists attacked within a week

New York, August 21, 2012--Authorities in Argentina must immediately investigate violent attacks on two local journalists and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The unrelated attacks occurred within the space of a week. 

August 21, 2012 4:59 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

With questions on Veracruz, feds should take over

Mexico City, August 17, 2012--Mexican federal authorities should assume control of the investigation and prosecution of all cases of murdered and missing journalists in the state of Veracruz, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A state investigation into the murder of several journalists has raised numerous questions and concerns, CPJ found.

Blog   |   Mexico, Security, USA

Mexico must back up federal measure to protect press

Journalists protest the murder of a Mexican journalist earlier this year. (AFP/Sergio Hernandez)

Using guns, grenades, explosives, and other deadly means, criminals have assaulted four Mexican newsrooms in less than six weeks. One of the country's top journalists, Lydia Cacho, was the target of a chilling death threat last month. Journalists in Veracruz have gone missing or been killed this year. Press fatalities in Mexico remain among the highest in the world, leading to vast self-censorship. And the perpetrators? They are not only well organized and heavily armed, they enjoy near-complete impunity for their attacks on the press. Mexican lawmakers began to address the crisis this year, but now they risk losing the momentum.

Blog   |   Ecuador, Sweden, UK, USA

As it backs Assange, Ecuador stifles expression at home

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa holds the hands of Christine Assange, the mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, during a meeting in Quito, Ecuador, Aug. 1. (AP/Martin Jaramillo)

The Quito government's decision to grant Julian Assange political asylum comes at a time when freedom of expression is under siege in Ecuador. President Rafael Correa's press freedom record is among the very worst in the Americas, and providing asylum to the WikiLeaks founder won't change the repressive conditions facing Ecuadoran journalists who want to report critically about government policies and practices.

Case   |   Colombia

Rebel group releases kidnapped Colombian journalist

Colombian journalist Élida Parra Alonso, who was kidnapped on July 24, 2012, by a local guerrilla group in the northeastern state of Arauca, was released on August 13, 2012, according to news reports. Parra hosts a program for Sarare Estéreo radio station and does community outreach work for Oleoducto Bicentenario, a company constructing an oil pipeline that it says will be the largest in the country, news reports said.

Case   |   Panama

Panamanian daily's offices blockaded after critical reports

About 30 trucks from Transcaribe Trading (TCT), a local construction company in Panama City, surrounded the offices of the daily La Prensa on August 2, 2012, from around 10 p.m. until 1:30 a.m., preventing the paper's trucks and employees from leaving the premises, according to news reports. TCT workers told local journalists that they were there because the daily's reports were jeopardizing the future of the company, and thus their jobs, according to news reports.

August 10, 2012 11:28 AM ET

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Blog   |   Security, USA

What to do if you are detained or arrested at conventions

A demonstrator is arrested in downtown Chicago during a protest against the NATO Summit in May 2012. (Mickey H. Osterreicher)

As a follow-up to my previous "What to know about covering the conventions," the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has been working with a number of organizations in order to provide support for journalists covering the U.S. national political conventions in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., this month and next. Some things for those journalists to keep in mind:

August 9, 2012 11:16 AM ET

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Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

US pursues return of Palestinian TV station's equipment

For more than five months, the Ramallah-based private television broadcaster Wattan TV has been without key equipment, including transmitters, computers, files, and archives. On February 29, Israeli soldiers and officials from the Ministry of Communications raided the station without a warrant, saying it was broadcasting illegally and interfering with aircraft transmissions.

August 7, 2012 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Syria, USA

Weak cyber protections lead to personal, institutional risk

The Syrian civil war is also a propaganda war. With the Assad regime and the rebels both attempting to assure their supporters and the world that they are on the brink of victory, how the facts are reported has become central to the struggle. Hackers working in support of Assad loyalists this week decided to take a shortcut, attacking the Reuters news agency's blogging platform and one of its Twitter accounts, and planting false stories about the vanquishing of rebel leaders and wavering support for them from abroad.

August 6, 2012 6:14 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Honduras

Journalist's house attacked by gunmen in Honduras

Honduran journalists have been targeted in the past. In 2011, journalists gathered to protest attacks on their colleagues. (Reuters/Danny Ramirez)

New York, August 6, 2012--Authorities in Honduras must immediately investigate the attack on the house of a radio journalist in the state of Yoro, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. José Encarnación Chinchilla López, a reporter for Radio Cadena Voces in the city of El Progreso, told reporters that he was certain he was the target of the attack, according to news reports.

August 6, 2012 4:21 PM ET

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Statements   |   USA

Arrest of NYT photographer must be investigated

New York, August 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the arrest and alleged beating of a New York Times photographer while he was on assignment Saturday evening in New York City.

"The report by The New York Times on the arrest of its photographer, Robert Stolarik, raises questions about police tactics of blocking reporters covering street unrest and protests," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "The New York City Police Department must investigate this disturbing incident and ensure that officers allow all journalists to do their job freely."

August 6, 2012 2:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

Stressed out: How should newsrooms handle trauma?

A TV crew reports on the shooting in Colorado from a parking lot across the street. (AFP/Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

The rampage inside a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured dozens more is the most recent reminder that a journalist anywhere can face sudden, great emotional stress. Any story involving tragedy--from domestic violence to natural disasters--can inflict an emotional toll on field journalists. The very empathy that makes a journalist a good storyteller puts him or her at risk.

July 27, 2012 1:49 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain, China, Internet, UK

For journalists, danger lurking in your email

A protester in Jidhafs, Bahrain. (AP/Hasan Jamali)

This week, Morgan Marquis-Boire and Bill Marczak of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab provided a disturbing look into the likely use of a commercial surveillance program, FinFisher, to remotely invade and control the computers of Bahraini activists. After the software installs itself onto unsuspecting users' computer, it can record and relay emails, screenshots, and Skype audio conversations. It was deployed against Bahraini users after being concealed in seemingly innocent emails.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Unknown men abduct radio journalist in Colombia

New York, July 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the kidnapping of a Colombian journalist and calls on authorities to secure her safe return. Élida Parra Alonso, who covers children's rights and hosts a program for Sarare Estéreo radio station, was abducted from her home on Tuesday, according to news reports.  

Blog   |   CPJ, Honduras, Russia, Turkey

CPJ testifies on global threats to freedom of expression

CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington on Wednesday, highlighting global attacks on press freedom and, in particular, assaults on the press in Honduras, Russia, and Turkey.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Crime journalist reported missing in Veracruz

New York, July 25, 2012--Mexican authorities must immediately investigate the disappearance of a crime photojournalist who was last seen on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Miguel Morales Estrada worked in Veracruz, which has become Mexico's most dangerous state for the press, according to CPJ research.

July 25, 2012 4:51 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

Face-blurring comes into focus for journalists

From YouTube's demonstration page

This week, YouTube announced a feature that should catch the eye of video journalists and bloggers working in dangerous conditions. After uploading a video to YouTube, you can now deploy a "blur faces" post-production tool that, in theory, should disguise the visual identity of everyone on the screen. The Hindu newspaper has an excellent how-to guide for their readers.

July 20, 2012 5:24 PM ET

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Letters   |   Ecuador

Ecuador must allow closed stations to resume broadcasts

Dear Mr. Jaramillo: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the closure of at least 11 Ecuadoran broadcasters since May. Our review of the closures, detailed in an attached list, found that in some instances government regulators did not follow the due process guarantees specified by law. CPJ's review also found that more than half of the stations that were closed had been critical of the government. While the government has the right to regulate the airwaves, it also has an obligation to do so in a transparent and unbiased manner.

Blog   |   Brazil, Security

Bossa Nova's home and Olympics host is risky for press

The Rocinha neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Such neighborhoods, or favelas, have been risky for reporters. (AP/Felipe Dana)

The jagged mountains ringing Rio de Janeiro descend to a temperate valley with two storied beaches on the Atlantic. Here is the city that gave the world a new, eclectic musical beat with the Bossa Nova, the South American jewel that will host the summer Olympic Games in 2016. Yet Rio has also been the setting for violence against journalists, a trend that is on the upswing again throughout this nation. 

July 13, 2012 3:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

Uribe's angry tweets do more than antagonize

Álvaro Uribe speaks at a 2011 congressional hearing about his alleged responsibility in the wiretapping of political opponents and journalists. (AP/William Fernando Martinez)

More than a year after he left office, Álvaro Uribe Vélez confessed that "it was not in him" to live as a former president. And in fact, having dominated Colombian politics for eight years, it has been impossible for Uribe to fade from the public eye since leaving office in August 2010. Instead of retiring to his ranch in Antioquia, he has lived in a heavily protected compound in the capital, Bogotá, with his wife and two sons. He spends his time traveling abroad for speaking engagements, has been a scholar at Georgetown University, and more recently announced the creation of a new political platform to oppose current President Juan Manuel Santos.  

Case   |   Mexico

Mexican journalist released after 24 hours in prison

Prominent Mexican journalist Sanjuana Martínez was arrested on July 5, 2012, in the state of Nuevo León under unclear circumstances related to a civil custody dispute, and was released from jail the following day, according to news reports. Martínez was detained by armed police, which is unusual in a civil case, the reports said.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist who covered sports gunned down

New York, July 10, 2012--Brazilian authorities must investigate the murder of radio journalist Valério Luiz de Oliveira and apprehend the perpetrators, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Luiz was shot and killed on Thursday afternoon in the western city of Goiânia, according to news reports.

July 10, 2012 2:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

What to know about covering the conventions

Members of the press get their first look at the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. Security zones have been established outside to ensure people's safety. (AP/Brian Blanco)

If May's NATO Summit in Chicago is any indication, journalists covering events outside the national political conventions in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., later this summer can expect that everyone--mainstream media, bloggers, citizen journalists, protesters, and bystanders--will have a camera of one kind or another. With the widespread proliferation of cellphone cameras, capable of recording high-quality images along with audio and video, it seemed like everybody was documenting everything and everyone.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

Photographer gunned down in Ecuador

Bogotá, Colombia, July 3, 2012--Ecuadoran photographer Byron Baldeón was shot dead Sunday in front of his home in El Triunfo, about 60 kilometers (100 miles) north of the city of Guayaquil. The photographer had become a witness in a criminal case involving alleged police corruption, according to news reports

July 3, 2012 3:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, UK, USA

The New York Times takes on China's censors

Well, that didn't take long. Just days after The New York Times' soft launch of its Chinese-language edition and accompanying microblog accounts, Berkeley-based China Digital Times website reports that the @nytchinese Sina Weibo feed is no longer accessible in China, along with two accounts hosted by Netease and Sohu. We couldn't pull them up this morning from New York, either.

Blog   |   Mexico, USA

Film 'Reportero' features tenacious Mexican magazine

Zeta reporter Sergio Haro in the film 'Reportero.' (Courtesy Quiet Pictures)

A week before Sunday's crucial presidential elections in Mexico, CPJ participated on a panel with filmmaker Bernardo Ruíz and Mexican journalist Sergio Haro about the perilous conditions for journalists in that country, where CPJ research shows 48 journalists have been murdered or disappeared since outgoing President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006.

Blog   |   Security, USA

Author of Chauncey Bailey book: 'We had to do this'

AP/Crown

When Thomas Peele came into the CPJ offices last week to discuss Killing the Messenger, his book about the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey, he described a story that was layered with scandal, including a polygamous cult, bankruptcy, kidnapping, rape, a flawed confession, leaked evidence, and secret alliances--not to mention the aggressive attack on a free press. Peele, motivated in part by the blatant demonstration of corruption in the investigation into Bailey's death, intended to reveal the truth about the circumstances surrounding the case. Accompanying Peele at CPJ was our own senior adviser for journalist security, Frank Smyth, who became involved in the case as a CPJ representative.

June 22, 2012 3:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet

What to do if Google warns of state-sponsored attack


(Google)

Some journalists continue to receive the warning from Google about state-sponsored attacks that we mentioned last week. The message appears on top of logged-in services like Gmail. Occasionally it will disappear for a few hours and then reappear, but there is no way to remove it.

June 22, 2012 12:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

Don't punish Chinese restrictions with more restrictions

The Committee to Protect Journalists is watching with concern the progress of H.R. 2899, the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011, which is under discussion Wednesday in front of the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. The bill seeks to reduce the number of visas available to journalists (and their families) working in the United States for 13 Chinese state-controlled publications. The aim is to pressure Beijing into allowing more Voice of America reporters into China; VOA staffers tell us that they are allowed only two China visas to cover a country of more than 1.3 billion people.

Blog   |   Guatemala

Displaced by threats, old life gives way to new

A soldier patrols a lake in the town of Panajachel, where journalist Lucía Escobar used to live. (AFP/Orlando Sierra)

For seven years I lived in Panajachel, a tourist town on the beautiful Atitlán Lake in Guatemala. There, my husband, Juan Miguel Arrivillaga, and I started a family and the independent news outlet Anti Magazine. We also hosted a radio program on the local station Radio Ati.

June 19, 2012 12:04 AM ET

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Reports   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Journalist Assistance, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, Syria, Uganda

Journalists in exile 2012

Crisis in East Africa

Fifty-seven journalists fled their country in the past year, with Somalia sending the greatest number into exile. Journalists also fled Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Rwanda--mostly for Kenya and Uganda. Exiles in East Africa must grapple with poverty and fear. A CPJ special report by María Salazar-Ferro and Tom Rhodes

Somali journalists carry the body of Abdisalan Sheikh Hassan of Horn Cable TV who was killed in December 2011. Fear of violence is one of the top reasons why journalists flee into exile. (AFP/Mohamed Abdiwahab)

Blog   |   Ethiopia, USA

US senator condemns Ethiopia's persecution of the press

The success of a U.S. partnership with Ethiopia on food security depends in large part on a free press in the Horn of Africa nation, a senator argued yesterday. Above, Obama and Meles at the G8 summit in 2010. (White House)

On Wednesday, the same day the White House announced a strategic plan committing the United States to elevating its efforts in "challenging leaders whose actions threaten the credibility of democratic processes" in sub-Saharan Africa, a senior member of the U.S. Congress challenged the erosion of press freedom in a key U.S. strategic partner in the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Fourth journalist killed in Veracruz in two months

Víctor
Manuel Báez Chino (AP/Milenio)

Mexico City, June 14, 2012--The body of Mexican journalist Víctor Manuel Báez Chino was found today in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz state. He is the fourth journalist to be killed in Veracruz in the past two months.

Báez's body was recovered this morning near the main square in Xalapa, according to news reports. In a televised press conference, the state spokeswoman, Gina Domínguez, said officials received reports that three armed men abducted Báez Wednesday night at 11:30. Báez was the editor of the crime section for the state digital edition of the national newspaper Milenio and an editor of the website Reporteros Policiacos, which also covers crime, according to Milenio

June 14, 2012 5:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

Spreading the security message


Video streaming by Ustream

On the frontlines of global reporting, knowledge is safety. CPJ's event series to promote our new Journalist Security Guide continued Wednesday in Washington, D.C. where we teamed up with Internews for a panel discussion on journalist security on-site and online. 

Blog   |   Brazil, Ecuador, India, Pakistan

Brazil restates commitment to press freedom, UN plan

CPJ has received an encouraging letter from Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil's permanent representative to the United Nations, affirming the country's support for the UNESCO-led U.N. Plan of Action for Security of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity

Blog   |   Honduras

Amid violence, lack of unity among Honduran journalists

Journalists protest violence against members of the media in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, May 25. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

On May 25, the Honduran press corps took to the streets of Tegucigalpa and four other cities to reject the growing levels of violence against members of the media.  Many marchers donned yellow-and-black t-shirts emblazoned with the words: "Killing journalists will not kill the truth."

Blog   |   China, Internet, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

State-sponsored attacks: open season on online journalists

The last few weeks have offered the strongest indications yet that nation-states are using customized software to exploit security flaws on personal computers and consumer Internet services to spy on their users. The countries suspected include the United States, Israel, and China. Journalists should pay attention--not only because this is a growing story, but because if anyone is a vulnerable target, it's reporters.

Letters   |   India, USA

US should address press freedom during talks with India

Dear Secretary Clinton: We are writing in advance of the third India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue coming up on June 13, which you will co-chair in Washington, D.C., with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. India is host to a vital and thriving news media, but CPJ has documented several violations against Indian journalists that are undermining the country's tradition of a free press.

June 7, 2012 4:38 PM ET

Alerts   |   El Salvador

CPJ hails conviction in journalist murder in El Salvador

Mara Salvatrucha gangsters attend mass in prison. Members of the gang have been charged with the murder of a journalist. (AP/Luis Romero)

New York, June 7, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the conviction in the 2011 murder of Salvadoran cameraman Alfredo Antonio Hurtado Núñez, but calls on authorities to ensure that the other gunman charged for the crime is brought to justice.

Blog   |   Internet, Thailand

Computer crime laws belie Thai claim to modern society

At online discussion sites all over the world, comments are posted on the Web as soon as they are written. People argue, inform, express anger, and voice fears. Some say things in the heat of the moment that they might go on to regret. Others are elliptical and obscure. The enabling of such conversations is an important modern method of discovering and re-telling the news, and encourages previously uninvolved readers of the news to help gather and disseminate it--especially in times when traditional media is censored or afraid.

Blog   |   Bolivia, CPJ, Ecuador, Security

Free expression in Americas goes beyond left or right

On Sunday the general assembly of the Organization of American States will convene in Bolivia in the verdant, highland valley city of Cochabamba. The 35 member states (every nation in the region except Cuba) are expected to vote on a measure that, if passed, could curtail free expression and press throughout the hemisphere and put journalists and others at greater risk.

Blog   |   CPJ, El Salvador, Security

Solidarity, a key to security, eludes Salvadoran press

Visitors look at an exhibit displaying the bloodstained clothes of the Jesuit priests murdered by the Salvadoran military in 1989. (AP/Luis Romero)

No other journalists are remembered quite like this. Visitors looking through the glass display at the Monsignor Romero Center & Martyrs Museum in San Salvador see the pajamas and other clothes that three Jesuit university priests were wearing when they were shot down by automatic rifle fire. A series of clear containers are filled with dark blades of grass cut from the campus lawn where each had spilled his blood.

Blog   |   CPJ, Somalia

At CPJ Debrief, Gettleman cites Somalia danger, reward

Sebastian Junger, left, introduces fellow journalist Jeffrey Gettleman at the Half King. (Nicole Schilit)

Jeffrey Gettleman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent, says he travels with "a small militia" whenever he reports from Somalia, the East African country afflicted by armed insurgency, poverty, and hunger. As intrusive as the security detail might be, he feels far more fortunate than the local reporters who face sustained and often deadly risks, or the freelance journalists who don't have the extensive support system the Times can provide.

Gettleman spoke to a crowd of about 100 at the Half King pub in Manhattan on Tuesday in the first event in the new CPJ discussion series, "CPJ Debrief." Gettleman, the East Africa bureau chief for the Times, has worked in the region for six years. With East Africa's needs so acute, and the volume of international reporting on the decline, the assignment has given him a chance to have a profound impact.

May 24, 2012 5:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

Nations urge Ecuador to guarantee freedom of expression

Foreign Affairs
Minister Ricardo Patiño said 'ignorance' was behind
international criticism of press freedom conditions in Ecuador. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

Stressing concerns of human rights groups about the deterioration of press conditions under the administration of President Rafael Correa, 17 members of the United Nations submitted recommendations to Ecuador on freedom of expression issues before the U.N. Human Rights Council this week. While Ecuador tried to pass off the criticism as resulting from ignorance, the states' observations made clear that the international community is fully aware of Correa's repressive tactics against the local media.

Blog   |   Mexico

El Mañana cedes battle to report on Mexican violence

Investigators photograph graffiti implicating the Zeta cartel near where 49 corpses were found on the road near Monterrey, Mexico, on May 13. (AFP/Julio Cesar Aguilar)

They would tell you that the killers haven't let them cover real news for several years--if you call news serious information that's important to the public, like why the police didn't investigate so many murders or kidnappings or extortions. Or why drugs were sold so openly. Or that three former governors are being investigated for laundering money for the organized crime cartel that runs much of the state of Tamaulipas.

May 23, 2012 3:13 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexico should investigate murder of abducted journalist

The body of Marco Antonio Ávila García was found on Friday. (Reuters/German Osuna)

New York, May 21, 2012--Mexican authorities must break the cycle of impunity in journalist murders by fully investigating the killing of police beat reporter Marco Antonio Ávila García and bringing the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Ávila's body, which showed signs of torture, was found on Friday on a dirt road near the city of Guaymas, in the state of Sonora, according to the state attorney general's office. An autopsy revealed that he had been strangled to death, news reports said. José Larrinaga Talamante, a spokesman for the attorney general, told reporters that a written message associated with organized crime had been left with the body, but he did not reveal any more details.

Blog   |   Security, Syria

Don't get your sources in Syria killed

Journalists covering the Syrian uprising have been targeted with government surveillance, hacking, and malware. (AP/Bassem Tellawi)

Because foreign journalists have been virtually banned from Syria during the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's regime, news coverage has relied heavily on citizen journalists and international reporters working with sources inside the country. Syrians who communicate with foreign news media run the risk of being threatened, detained, tortured, or even killed.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Murder attempted on Colombian ex-politician, radio host

Colombian radio host and former Minister Fernando Londoño was the apparent target of a bomb in Bogotá Tuesday. (Reuters/Fredy Builes)

New York, May 16, 2012-- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Tuesday's attack on Fernando Londoño, a radio talk show host and former high-ranking government official. Londoño was injured in a bombing in Bogotá that killed his driver and bodyguard.

May 16, 2012 4:56 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Honduras

Kidnapped Honduran journalist found dead

Ángel Alfredo Villatoro (AP/HRN Radio)

New York, May 16, 2012--The body of Honduran radio journalist Ángel Alfredo Villatoro was found Tuesday in the capital city Tegucigalpa, according to news reports. Villatoro had been kidnapped from his car early on the morning of May 9.

"We are saddened by the death of journalist Ángel Alfredo Villatoro and send our condolences to his friends, family, and colleagues," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Honduran authorities must fully investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice. The deadly cycle of violence against journalists and impunity for these crimes is endangering freedom of expression in Honduras."

May 16, 2012 4:13 PM ET

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Letters   |   Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, USA

Obama should raise press freedom in Africa food talks

New York, May 16, 2012--President Obama should acknowledge the role that independent news reporting plays in assessing agricultural challenges and facilitating the response to famine, the Committee to Protect Journalists stated in a letter to the White House. Ethiopia in particular downplays the extent of food crises and undermines the ability of donor nations and aid groups to help by denying journalists access to sensitive areas and censoring independent coverage.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan, USA, Uzbekistan

CPJ calls for release of jailed reporters in Central Asia

World leaders must hold Central Asian regimes responsible for denying global access to information by throwing critical reporters behind bars, CPJ Eurasia researcher Muzaffar Suleymanov told the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe  at a briefing Tuesday on political prisoners in Central Asia.

Alerts   |   Honduras

CPJ condemns attacks against Honduran journalists

New York, May 10, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about a recent wave of violence and intimidation against journalists in Honduras, including the abduction of a radio journalist and two attacks on television journalists.

Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

Should J-School grads just get up and go overseas?

Photographers take cover behind a barricade during a protest in Egypt last year. Journalists are often forced to take deadly risks when working in war zones, usually with limited training and no insurance. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

The guidance is hardly clear. At a Columbia University event last week pegged to the release of the new CPJ Journalist Security Guide, one journalism student said he and his classmates are getting contradictory advice. Many J-school professors, he said, have encouraged him and others to just get up, go overseas, and try to make it as a freelancer. But the experienced journalists speaking at the event advised caution.

Letters   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

Palestinian broadcaster's equipment must be returned

Dear Minister Kachlon: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the confiscation of equipment and archives belonging to the private Ramallah broadcaster Wattan TV more than two months ago.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican photographers murdered in Veracruz

Mexican journalists protest the murders of their colleagues. (AFP/Ronaldo Schemidt)

New York, May 4, 2012--The bodies of two Mexican news photographers who specialized in the crime beat were found along with the bodies of a former photojournalist and a fourth individual in a canal in the city of Boca del Río, in Veracruz state, according to news reports.

Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

In digital security, knowledge and simplicity are keys

Panelists at the launch of the new CPJ Journalist Security Guide at Columbia University. (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

Governments and criminal organizations are stepping up digital surveillance of journalists, but the press is not keeping pace in meeting the challenge, a panel of experts said Wednesday at an event marking the launch of the CPJ Journalist Security Guide. Reporters are using unsecure consumer electronic products for sensitive tasks such as note-taking and source management, the experts said, without sufficiently assessing the risks.

Blog   |   Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Internet, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Uzbekistan

Most censored nations each distort the Net in own way

Iran has invested in technology with the explicit intent of restricting
Internet access. (Reuters/Caren Firouz)

One big reason for the Internet's success is its role as a universal standard, interoperable across the world. The data packets that leave your computer in Botswana are the same as those which arrive in Barbados. The same is increasingly true of modern mobile networks. Standards are converging: You can use your phone, access an app, or send a text, wherever you are.

May 2, 2012 4:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

China's media conditions threaten Chen Guangcheng

The battle over blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng's freedom and well-being is a battle over information. Both Chinese and U.S. officials are trying to spin the story their way. A few activists and media claim to speak for Chen, and in China's anti-press environment they are putting themselves at risk. Direct interviews with the man himself are hard to come by.

Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Uzbekistan

Video: 10 Most Censored Countries

CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney counts down the 10 countries where the press is most tightly restricted. How do leaders in these nations silence the media? And which country is the worst of all? (4:03)

Read CPJ's report on the 10 Most Censored countries for more detail on how censorship works, and which countries were the runners-up.

Blog   |   Belarus, CPJ, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Libya, Mexico, Mozambique, Russia, Security, Syria, Uganda

Safer mobile use is key issue for journalists

A journalist talks on his satellite phone outside the Rixos Hotel in Libya in August 2011. (AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

As the Internet and mobile communications become more integrated into reporters' work, the digital threats to journalists' work and safety have increased as well. While many press reports have documented Internet surveillance and censorship--and the efforts to combat them--mobile communications are the new frontline for journalist security.

Blog   |   Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Syria

Assisting journalists forced to flee censorship

Javad Moghimi Parsa is one of many Iranian journalists forced to flee his heavily censored country. (Javad Moghimi Parsa)

CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program supports journalists who cannot be helped by advocacy alone. In 2011, we assisted 171 journalists worldwide. Almost a fourth came from countries that made CPJ's Most Censored list. Eight journalists from Eritrea, five from Syria, six from Cuba, and a whopping 20 from Iran sought our help after being forced to leave their countries, having suffered the consequences of defying censorship at home.

Blog   |   China, USA

New film "High Tech, Low Life" on Chinese bloggers

Director Stephen Maing, right, and Chinese blogger Zola answer questions at the Tribeca Film Festival. (CPJ/Gregory Fay)

"High Tech, Low Life," a new documentary about Chinese bloggers directed by Stephen Maing, debuted at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 19. It documents the lives of Zola (Zhou Shuguang) and Tiger Temple (Zhang Shihe), as they blur the lines of citizen journalism and activism though their reporting on evictions, pollution, and official cover-ups in China. Zola was in town for the premiere, and he and the director fielded questions from the audience after the film's showing.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Gunmen attack Brazilian journalist's house, car at night

New York, May 1, 2012--Brazilian authorities must immediately investigate an attack on a radio journalist's home on Saturday and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Vinícius Henriques and his family were asleep during the attack, and no one was injured, according to news reports.

May 1, 2012 4:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Libya, Security

For conflict journalists, a need for first-aid training

After photographer Tim Hetherington, seen here in Libya, died in April 2011, friend Sebastian Junger started an organization to train freelancers in battlefield first aid. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly)

Stop the bleeding. It's a critical and fundamental step in aiding a journalist or anyone wounded in conflict. Hemorrhage is the number one preventable death on the battlefield. And yet large numbers of journalists covering wars and political unrest all across the world are untrained in this life-saving skill. It doesn't need to be that way.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Body of Mexican journalist found beaten, strangled

The body of Regina Martínez Pérez was found in her home on Saturday. (Reuters)

New York, April 30, 2012--Authorities must immediately investigate the murder of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez Pérez, determine the motive, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

The body of Martínez was found in her home on Saturday evening in Xalapa, the capital of the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, according to news reports. She had been badly beaten around the face and ribs and had been strangled to death, news reports said. The state attorney general, Amadeo Flores Espinoza, said in a news briefing that it appeared her TV, cellphones, and computer had been stolen.

April 30, 2012 4:39 PM ET

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Letters   |   Ecuador

Ecuador should scrap new media bill, draft new one

Dear Mr. Cordero: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about a new Ecuadoran communications bill currently under debate in the National Assembly that would roll back press freedom by promoting self-censorship and restrictions on criticism of public officials.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, CPJ, Egypt, El Salvador, Security, Syria, USA

Why journalists need new ways to stay safe

Gang members at a prison in Izalco shortly after a government-brokered truce. (Reuters/Ulises Rodriguez)

After the Salvadoran online newsmagazine El Faro exposed a secret government deal with criminal gangs last month, its staff faced repercussions that illustrate the new and complicated risks facing journalists worldwide. El Faro's report, which said the government provided more lenient treatment of imprisoned gangsters in exchange for the groups' agreement to slow down their murderous practices, addressed one of the most sensitive topics facing journalists today--crime and its many interconnections with government.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, USA

Afghan journalist's death must lead to better combat rules

Wednesday, the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) released its report, "Death of an Uruzgan Journalist: Command Errors and Collateral Damage," by Kate Clark on the July 2011 shooting death of journalist Omaid Khpalwak. Clark's details on how Khpalwak died corroborate and then go beyond the investigation already conducted by the U.S.-led NATO forces who were responsible. Her report was important to write, and is important to read.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist Décio Sá assassinated

Décio Sá (O Estado do Maranhão)

New York, April 24, 2012--Brazilian political journalist and blogger Décio Sá was shot and killed Monday night in the city of Sao Luis in northeastern Brazil, according to news reports. The journalist was sitting in a bar waiting for a friend when an unidentified man entered, walked to the bathroom, and shot Sá six times before fleeing the scene with a motorcyclist who was waiting outside.

Sá, 42, wrote about politics for 17 years for the local newspaper O Estado do Maranhão and on his personal blog, Blog do Décio, which was one of the most widely read in the state, press reports said. Sá's blog was known for critical reporting on politicians and corruption, according to Cezar Scanssette, a journalist with O Estado do Maranhão. Due to the nature of his reporting, the journalist had "many enemies," Scanssette told CPJ. Scanssette said he was not aware of Sá receiving any threats.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Three Colombian journalists flee homes in recent months

New York, April 23, 2012--Three provincial Colombian radio journalists have been forced to flee their homes in the past few months after receiving death threats from illegal armed groups. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on authorities to ensure their safety.

Blog   |   CPJ

Internet giants submit to external free expression scrutiny

Journalists and bloggers in authoritarian countries have their work cut out thwarting governments that try to restrict their writing and reporting. The last thing they need to worry about is the provider of their publication platform helping authorities with censorship or surveillance. Cue the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a voluntary grouping of Internet companies, freedom of expression groups, progressive investors, and academics. 

Letters   |   Brazil

Brazil must be leader on impunity, free expression

Dear President Rousseff: We are writing to bring to your attention recent actions taken by the Brazilian government that contradict your expressed commitment to guarantee freedom of expression and make human rights a priority in the country. While we recognize that the Brazilian authorities have made strides in bringing journalist killers to justice in recent years, we ask that you assert global leadership to ensure that the fundamental right of freedom of expression is afforded to all.

April 18, 2012 1:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

Statute of limitations, the challenge for Colombian justice

The issue of impunity affects all Colombian citizens' access to real justice; it is not only a problem for crimes against journalists. Several human rights bodies and non-governmental organizations agree that Colombia dwells in a striking situation of impunity, especially concerning crimes committed during the ongoing armed conflict.

Blog   |   Cuba, Journalist Assistance, Spain

Expelled from Cuba jails, journalists languish in Spain

Ricardo González Alfonso (left) and Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez at a press conference in Vallecas in July 2010. (AFP/Dominique Faget)

In 2010, following midsummer negotiations between the Catholic Church and the government of President Raúl Castro, Cuban authorities began releasing imprisoned journalists, sending them into forced exile with their families. In April 2011, the last of more than 20 journalists arrived in Spain. They had been granted liberty and respite, and were promised support from Spanish authorities while they settled into the new country. But almost two years after the first crop of journalists arrived in Spain, the four who remain in the country are living under extremely difficult conditions, struggling even to feed themselves.

Blog   |   Cuba, Journalist Assistance, Spain

Cubans exiled in Spain: Integration or disintegration?

Ricardo González Alfonso (AFP)

Desperate realities call for hope. It is not just a game of words, because you don't play with hunger and the future (my own and my family's). It is about going deeper into another version of circumstances. And seeing the rainbow where others see a gloomy sun and a stubborn and relentless rain.

I am writing this declaration of optimism now that the Spanish government has withdrawn the financial aid that it had provided us, when in the summer of 2010, directly from the Cuban jails, we arrived as former prisoners of conscience along with others there just by coincidence, or not.

April 17, 2012 10:08 AM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Multimedia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Video: Getting Away With Murder


CPJ's María Salazar-Ferro names the 12 countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Where are leaders failing to uphold the law? Where are conditions getting better? And where is free expression in danger? (4:46)

Read CPJ's 2012 Impunity Index. And visit our Global Campaign Against Impunity and see how you can help.

April 17, 2012 12:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, CPJ, India, Pakistan

Brazil, Pakistan, India fail test on journalist murders

At a protest against the murder of a journalist in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a sign reads: "Enough of violence, exclusion and impunity." (AP/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Brazil, Pakistan, and India--three nations with high numbers of unsolved journalist murders--failed an important test last month in fighting the scourge of impunity. Delegates from the three countries took the lead in raising objections to a U.N. plan that would strengthen international efforts to combat deadly anti-press violence.

Blog   |   Mexico

Amid Mexican impunity, paper in the crossfire

The offices of El Siglo de Torreón after the November 2011 attack. (Courtesy El Siglo de Torreón)

It was 3 o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, when a car stopped in front of the offices of El Siglo de Torreón, the most widely read newspaper in the northern Mexican states of Coahuila and Durango. The driver pulled the vehicle onto the shoulder, stepped out, poured gasoline on it, and lit it on fire. From another car, AK-47 shots were fired at a window in the newspaper's offices across the street.

The attack lasted less than five minutes, enough time to complete the job without disturbance. Fortunately, the doors were locked and the staffers who remained inside were in the printing room, protected from the assault. We never found out who torched the car or shot at the windows. That November 15, we received calls from all types of authorities as well as promises of a thorough investigation that never happened.

April 17, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   USA

In Boston, journalist Moloney battles to protect sources

In December 2002, the U.N. Tribunal charged with prosecuting war crimes in the former Yugoslavia ruled that Washington Post reporter Jonathan Randal could not be compelled to provide testimony in the case of a Bosnian Serb official accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing."If war correspondents were to be perceived as potential witnesses for the Prosecution," the Tribunal noted, they "may shift from being observers of those committing human rights violations to being their targets." As a result of that ruling, war correspondents enjoy some immunity against compelled testimony at the international level. But this is not necessarily the case in the United States.

Blog   |   Cuba

Remembering Cuba's Du Bouchet Hernández

Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández (Juan
Carlos Herrera Acosta)

On Wednesday morning, exiled Cuban journalist Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández took his own life, according to reports in the Cuban exiled media. He was the last of more than 20 Cuban journalists to be released from prison and sent to Spain following July 2010 talks between the government of Cuban President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church. Du Bouchet Hernández, who reported opposition political news, endured inhumanity at home and, ultimately, suffered hardship in exile.

April 6, 2012 2:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   El Salvador

El Salvador government pledges to protect El Faro

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes denies that his government has engaged in negotiations with gangs to lower the rate of homicides. (AP/Luis Romero)

"El Salvador is committed to guaranteeing the safety of El Faro and its staff so they can continue their investigative work," David Rivas, spokesman for President Mauricio Funes Cartagena, told CPJ in a recent phone conversation. The government's pledge came after groundbreaking reporting by the digital newspaper about secret negotiations in which local gangs, known as Maras, said they would limit murders in exchange for official concessions, like having imprisoned gang members transferred to lower-security prisons.

Alerts   |   Peru

Peruvian journalist's defamation conviction overturned

New York, April 2, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes a recent decision by a Peruvian appeals court to overturn the criminal defamation conviction against a journalist who reported on local corruption.

Alerts   |   Venezuela

Venezuelan court ruling limits coverage of water quality

New York, March 26, 2012--The decision by a Venezuelan court to forbid the press from reporting on issues of water contamination without using a government-approved report is a clear attempt by authorities to censor critical information, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

March 26, 2012 3:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan, USA

Ahmed Rashid on U.S. policy in South Asia

At Columbia University on Monday evening, CPJ board member Ahmed Rashid held forth to a full house in a conversation with Steve Coll about U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you're reading this blog, there's most likely no need to explain who Rashid is--or Coll, for that matter. The earliest reference I could find on cpj.org to Rashid dated back to 2000, about events in 1999, when he was the Islamabad bureau chief for the now-defunct Far Eastern Economic Review. His latest book, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, is the most recent installment in a steady stream of trenchant, reliable, reality-based analysis of geopolitical affairs in Central and South Asia. If you need to be convinced, check out Foreign Policy's list of Top 100 Global Thinkers.

A video of the event, which was co-sponsored by CPJ, is now available here.

Alerts   |   El Salvador

Salvadoran news website threatened for its reporting

New York, March 21, 2012--The editor of the Salvadoran news website El Faro says his staff members have been followed after the site reported on a criminal network involving politicians. In addition, he said a senior government official told the staff last week that gang members were angered by coverage of alleged ties between law enforcement officials and local gangs, and might retaliate.

March 21, 2012 11:32 AM ET

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Blog   |   Security, Syria, USA

From Small World, timely advice on safe satphone use

Journalists and technologists often speak different languages. But a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit, Small World News, is bridging the gap with a new guide on the safe use of satellite phones. It comes at a critical time.

The group's Guide to Safely Using Satphones just went online, less than three weeks after the deaths of international journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik in Homs, Syria. Several journalists who worked in Homs suspected the Syrian government targeted the building where Colvin, Ochlik, and other journalists were working. If government forces indeed targeted the building, they could have relied on several forms of intelligence, including the tracking of journalists' satellite signals.

March 13, 2012 2:43 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican senators say journalist murders to be federal crime

The author, right, looks on as Sen. José
González Morfín, center, confers with CPJ Americas Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría. (Ignacio González Anaya)

With near impunity in the murders of journalists a persistent reason for the terror and self-censorship among Mexican news organizations, legislators say the national Senate is on the verge of passing a constitutional amendment that would allow federal authorities to take over cases of crimes against freedom of expression. Passage would mean that the typically less corrupt and more effective federal police and prosecutors would move aside state authorities to tackle cases of murdered journalists or those living under threat.

March 9, 2012 5:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Solidarity in Sinaloa: Journalists, others address crisis

Citizens, officials, and civil society groups joined journalists for Tuesday's discussion on the state of press freedom in Sinaloa. (Ron Bernal)

A unified front is crucial when facing a crisis in press freedom like that in the violent state of Sinaloa in Mexico, Colombian journalist and CPJ board member María Teresa Ronderos said this week. She was speaking to a packed room of print, radio, and television reporters; members of civil society groups; state legislators; union leaders; human rights activists; and even ordinary citizens, who had gathered for a discussion on the press in one of Mexico's most dangerous cities, Culiacán.

Blog   |   Internet, Mexico

Online news sites as battleground for Mexican drug war

Danny O'Brien, left, consults with Carlos Lauría, senior program coordinator for the Americas, outside the offices of Noroeste. (Ron Bernal)

I'm in Culiacán, the capital of the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Part of my work here has been to investigate and highlight the cyber-attacks that the award-winning weekly local newsmagazine Ríodoce has encountered in its coverage of the violent drugs war here.

But discussing the experiences of online editors at other publications here has shown just how intertwined the Net, the work of reporters, and the drug war have become.

March 7, 2012 12:45 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Globovisión journalists attacked in Venezuela

Journalists at work in Globovisión's main studio. Reporters from the station were attacked and threatened at a rally on Sunday. (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

New York, March 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Sunday's attack in Venezuela on Globovisión journalists covering an opposition political rally that came under gunfire. The station reported that assailants, who wore the red shirts associated with supporters of President Hugo Chávez, threatened the journalists and stole their equipment.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Threatened after posting video, Colombian journalist flees

This screenshot from Sánchez's video is said to show police chasing protesters from the site of a proposed dam. (YouTube)

New York, February 29, 2012--Colombian freelance journalist and activist Bladimir Sánchez Espitia fled his home state today for the capital city after receiving death threats related to a video he posted on YouTube, according to the Bogotá-based Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP). News reports said the video showed anti-riot police forcibly removing protesters from the construction site of a controversial hydroelectric dam in central Huila department.

February 29, 2012 4:30 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Despite pardon, Correa does lasting damage to press

President Correa tells the nation he is pardoning the executives and journalists he sued for libel. (AFP/Rodrigo Buendia)

New York, February 27, 2012--Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa announced today that he would pardon several news managers and journalists he had sued for libel, but his actions in the cases have done grave damage to free expression in his country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Correa had won separate libel complaints against executives of the daily El Universo and authors of the book The Big Brother concerning reporting critical of his administration.

February 27, 2012 5:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Haiti, USA

Was letter to Haiti website just part of Martelly's theatrics?

Demonstrators burn signs with images of Haitian President Michel Martelly during a protest in Port-au-Prince on February 7, 2012. (AP/Ramon Espinosa)

As a former entertainer better known as "Sweet Micky," it is perhaps unsurprising that Haitian President Michel Martelly has been theatrical at times in his dealings with the press. At one media event in October, the President answered a critical question posed by a journalist by telling him, "I curse your mother," according to press reports. On another occasion in late December, Martelly was so elated by a supporter's sign that instructed the press to "give the president a chance," that he told the citizen, "You deserve US$100,000." The man received a free motorcycle instead, Radio Kiskeya reported.

February 24, 2012 12:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka, Syria, UK, USA

Recalling Marie Colvin, the 'greatest of our generation'

In her final hours, Marie Colvin gave this damning report to CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Bravery, generosity, and commitment: These are the three characteristics of Marie Colvin that have surfaced, again and again, in the many tributes spoken and published since the veteran Sunday Times reporter was killed Wednesday in the besieged city of Homs by Syrian forces.

February 23, 2012 3:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt, Libya, Security, Syria, UK, USA

To quote Marie Colvin: 'What is bravery, and what bravado?'

Not since the worst period of the Iraq war, or in the Balkans the decade before, have so many storied journalists been killed or seriously injured in such a short period of time. Inevitably, the spate of deaths leaves many journalists asking questions about whether and how much they are willing to risk their own lives, and possibly the lives of others. Many experienced journalists might agree on one thing: the decisions one makes about risk are among the most intimate decisions they will ever make.

Blog   |   Syria, USA

As live streaming expands, challenges intensify

This screenshot from YouTube dated Wednesday is said to show the shelling of Homs as recorded by Rami al-Sayed before his death.

The world lost one of the only direct windows into the carnage in Homs, Syria, when Rami al-Sayed's video live stream went dark Tuesday. A citizen journalist, al-Sayed was live streaming the Assad regime's bombardment of Baba Amr and the brutal after-effects when he was struck by shrapnel and bled to death soon after, according to news reports. When outlets including the BBC World, SkyNews, and Al Jazeera aired his live footage, they highlighted how important this medium has become to journalism. And when the Syrian army took his life they proved how vulnerable it is.

Blog   |   France, Syria, UK, USA

Risk and reporting

Last night at London's Frontline Club, CPJ launched its global survey of press freedom conditions, Attacks on the Press. The topic of discussion was the safety of journalists covering conflict and the panel consisted of journalist and documentarian Jenny Kleeman, ITN safety guru Colin Pereira, and journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned in Iran following the disputed 2009 presidential elections.

Attacks on the Press   |   Bahrain, Belarus, Mexico, Pakistan

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Profiles in Freedom

CPJ awardee Natalya Radina.

How does one negotiate the choice to stay and report potentially dangerous news, rather than take a less risky assignment, leave the profession, or flee the country? The recipients of the 2011 International Press Freedom Awards explain. By Kristin Jones

Attacks on the Press   |   Iraq, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Evolution in Journalist Security

A journalist crouches behind a cement block during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

The danger of covering violent street protests has become a significant risk for journalists, alongside combat and targeted killings. Sexual assault, organized crime, and digital vulnerability are also hazards. The security industry is struggling to keep up. By Frank Smyth

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela

Attacks on the Press in 2011: State Media As Anti-Media Tool

In some Latin American countries, state-owned media are used not only for propaganda but as platforms to smear critics, including journalists. Some elected leaders have even invested in large multimedia holdings to further their agendas. By Carlos Lauría

Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Attacks on the Press in 2011: In Mexico, Silence or Death Remains the Choice

Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa pledged action to deter anti-press attacks, but his government has accomplished little. (AP/Marco Ugarte)

The Mexican president promised to protect a besieged press corps with a federal protection program, a special prosecutor and new legislation making anti-press violence a federal crime. But Felipe Calderón Hinojosa has failed at nearly every turn. By Mike O'Connor

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2011: The Year in Photos

Photographers from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and other news outlets documented historic events in 2011, often at great peril. The Year in Photographs: Press Freedom in 2011 features images from the Arab uprisings, South Asia's armed conflicts, and political repression in the Americas, Africa, and Europe.

February 21, 2012 11:16 PM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Venezuela

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Venezuela

President Hugo Chávez Frías’ administration continued its systematic campaign to stifle critical reporting through regulatory, judicial, and legislative avenues. The telecommunications regulator fined Globovisión, the country's sole critical television station, more than US$2 million for its coverage of deadly prison riots in June and July. The regulator invoked the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television, one of the region’s most restrictive measures. Prosecutors brought criminal charges against two executives of a critical weekly concerning a satirical article and photo montage that depicted high-ranking female officials as playing roles in a “cabaret” directed by Chávez. The weekly was briefly shut, and one executive was imprisoned for nearly three months. The Chávez administration used its extensive state media operation to spread political propaganda and wage smear campaigns against its critics. Chávez’s announcement that Cuban doctors had found and removed a cancerous tumor fueled speculation about the country’s political future as the October 2012 presidential election approached. Official information about the president’s health was scarce and treated as if it were a state secret.

February 21, 2012 12:46 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   USA

Attacks on the Press in 2011: United States

A federal judge ruled in favor of reporter James Risen, who invoked his First Amendment rights to protect a confidential source. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other groups called the ruling an important victory for the press. The Department of Justice, which appealed the decision, continued to take an aggressive approach in filing criminal charges against people who leak classified information. U.S. journalist groups were also troubled that increasing numbers of case documents were being sealed by the Supreme Court. CPJ reported that the State Department fell short in its first year of implementing the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, which requires that press freedom issues be incorporated into the agency's annual country reports on human rights. WikiLeaks was in the headlines again when it disclosed thousands of classified, unredacted U.S. diplomatic cables. An Ethiopian journalist was forced to flee his country after he was cited in a cable. Police in five cities arrested reporters and photographers covering Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, often claiming the journalists did not have sufficient accreditation. At least three other journalists covering Occupy events were attacked by protesters or police officers.

February 21, 2012 12:45 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Peru

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Peru

Press freedom suffered notable setbacks in 2011. In the run-up to the presidential election in June, journalists reported an alarming rise in attacks and threats in response to campaign coverage. In northern Peru, one journalist was murdered in reprisal for his work, while two others were killed under unclear circumstances. Trial courts convicted four journalists under archaic criminal defamation laws, with one reporter imprisoned for more than six months until his conviction was overturned on appeal. President Ollanta Humala pledged upon assuming office in July to be a “defender of human rights, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression.” In July, Congress passed a bill that would eliminate jail terms for defamation, but by late year the president had not signed the measure into law.

February 21, 2012 12:44 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Mexico

Criminal groups exerted extraordinary pressure on the press as they extended their control over virtually every sector of society. Journalists were killed or disappeared, media outlets were bombed and threatened. Pervasive self-censorship was a devastating consequence of this environment. In an information vacuum, journalists and citizens increasingly used social media to inform their communities. The murder of a Nuevo Laredo reporter was the first case documented by CPJ worldwide in which a person was killed in direct relation to reporting done on social media. At least three journalists were granted political asylum in the United States and Canada, and several others sought refuge in other countries. Several major news organizations agreed on a professional code in which they set protocols for journalists at risk and pledged not to be propaganda tools for criminals. But President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa's administration failed to implement effective reforms. Despite efforts to rejuvenate the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against free expression, anti-press violence went virtually unpunished. The government's new journalist-protection program was widely seen as ineffective. And while the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill to federalize anti-press crimes, the legislation remained pending in late year.

February 21, 2012 12:43 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Honduras

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Honduras

The Honduran press continued to suffer the violent fallout of the 2009 coup that ousted Manuel Zelaya. Four broadcast journalists were murdered in 2011 under unclear circumstances. CPJ is investigating to determine whether the killings were work-related. A climate of violence and widespread impunity has made the country one of the most dangerous in the region. The government's stance on media killings has worsened the situation. Authorities have minimized crimes against journalists and been slow and negligent in pursuing the culprits. No progress was reported in solving the murders of three journalists killed in direct relation to their work in 2010, CPJ research shows. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission composed of Honduran and international representatives delivered its much-anticipated report on the military-led overthrow of Zelaya. The commission labeled the takeover a coup--a decision met with controversy in Honduras--but it also accused Zelaya of improperly ignoring a Supreme Court decision concerning presidential term limits. The report found major press freedom violations during the coup, including the torture of journalists and the takeover of media premises.

February 21, 2012 12:42 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Guatemala

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Guatemala

Journalists increasingly practiced self-censorship as Mexican drug cartels expanded their presence in Guatemala. In May, criminals in four provinces hung banners in public places, threatening journalists with harm if gang activities were covered. A television journalist in southern Escuintla province was killed under unclear circumstances after receiving several threats. While the rise of criminal groups posed a growing risk, journalists also faced danger for coverage of official corruption and domestic security issues. In the southwestern city of Quetzaltenango, a television journalist and his family escaped injury when their van came under gunfire. The reporter had received death threats related to his coverage of police corruption. A columnist in the western city of Panajachel was forced to relocate after receiving a series of intimidating text messages concerning her coverage of a citizen security committee. The local press group CERIGUA documented an increase in press freedom violations in the months leading up to the November presidential elections, as well as a number of assaults and threats against journalists on Election Day. Otto Pérez Molina, a retired general running on the conservative Patriotic Party ticket, defeated businessman Manuel Baldizón in a runoff. Facing a murder rate among the highest in the world, Pérez pledged a tough approach on crime.              

February 21, 2012 12:41 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ecuador

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Ecuador

The press freedom climate continued its sharp decline under President Rafael Correa. In September, a CPJ special report concluded that Correa’s policies had transformed the country into one of the hemisphere’s most restrictive nations for the press. In March, Correa brought a criminal libel complaint against senior managers of El Universo, the country’s leading critical daily. The case, which centered on a biting opinion column that condemned Correa’s actions in a 2010 standoff with police, resulted in convictions, prison sentences, and multimillion-dollar fines against the managers. The managers were free on appeal in late year. Other government officials also used the nation’s archaic criminal defamation laws to try to silence journalists. The president made frequent use of cadenas, presidential addresses that pre-empt all private broadcast programming nationwide, to smear individual journalists and news outlets. Although cadenas have traditionally been used to deliver information in times of crisis, they have become a forum for political confrontation under Correa. The administration used other tactics to supplant independent voices with its own perspective, repeatedly ordering individual broadcasters to give over portions of their news programming to government “rebuttals.” In a May referendum, voters approved ballot measures that would allow the administration to regulate news content in vaguely defined areas and force media owners to divest other holdings.

February 21, 2012 12:41 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Cuba

Official repression in Cuba remained the most intense in the hemisphere. Although the last of the 29 independent journalists imprisoned in the 2003 Black Spring crackdown was released in April, the government's restrictive practices persisted. Official censorship was codified in law and closely enforced. The government persecuted critical journalists with arbitrary arrests, short-term detentions, beatings, smear campaigns, surveillance, and social sanctions. Despite the island nation's low Internet penetration, the battle for free expression was being waged almost entirely online. The government enlisted a legion of official bloggers to counteract a vibrant independent blogosphere. A fiber-optic cable project would enable the introduction of high-speed Internet. The launch of broadband service, which faced delays in 2011, would improve the island's government-approved Internet connections, but would not extend connectivity to the general public.

February 21, 2012 12:40 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Colombia

While lethal anti-press violence has slowed considerably in recent years, the press freedom landscape remains troubled. Journalists continue to be attacked and threatened with such frequency that some are compelled to flee to safer locations within Colombia or into exile. A journalist in Arboletes was murdered in June, although the motive was unclear. In this violent context, press groups feared the potential consequences of statements made by former President Álvaro Uribe, who described veteran reporters Juan Forero and Claudia Julieta Duque as “terrorist sympathizers” after they wrote critical stories about the Uribe administration in The Washington Post. The national intelligence agency’s illegal espionage against journalists and other critics, a legacy of the Uribe administration, continued to be the subject of investigation. But progress was slow, with cases pending against more than 20 defendants in late year. In a blow to press freedom, the Supreme Court in May upheld defamation provisions in the penal code.

February 21, 2012 12:39 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Brazil

In provincial areas where law enforcement is weak, reporters were vulnerable to attack for their coverage of corruption. In urban centers, journalists faced risks while covering organized crime and drug trafficking. Two journalists were killed in direct relation to their work in 2011, and CPJ was investigating the circumstances in four other killings. The uptick in deadly violence pushed Brazil back onto CPJ's 2011 Impunity Index, which highlights countries with unsolved journalist murders. Politicized judicial rulings continued to hinder coverage of sensitive issues. A censorship order against the daily O Estado de S. Paulo remained in place more than two years after it was first imposed, barring the paper from reporting on a corruption inquiry involving the family of Senate President José Sarney. In November, President Dilma Rousseff signed into law an access-to-information measure that regulated the classification of documents and imposed a maximum withholding period of 50 years for top secret files. The bill was lauded as an important step for government transparency and a helpful tool for journalists covering corruption.

February 21, 2012 12:38 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Argentina

The Supreme Court of Justice ruled in March that the government should apply reasonable balance in the distribution of state advertising. Ruling in a case brought in 2006 by Editorial Perfil, the country's largest magazine publisher, the court sought to rein in the government's long-standing practice of rewarding supportive news media with state advertising while punishing critical media by withholdings ads. Nonetheless, Perfil and other critics alleged that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who won re-election in October, continued the system of unequal distribution. Relations between Grupo Clarín, the nation's largest media conglomerate, and the Kirchner government worsened in March after demonstrators, including members of the Teamsters, blocked trucking exits at Clarín's printing facilities, preventing the paper from distributing its Sunday edition. In December, Kirchner signed a measure bringing the country's sole newsprint manufacturer, Papel Prensa, under government regulation. Publishers groups said it was another attack on Clarín and La Nación, which own a majority stake in the company. Circulation of the national daily La Nación was also disrupted for several hours. The local press group Foro de Periodismo Argentino documented a series of abuses in the country's interior, including an attack on a radio journalist, a case of arson, and an episode in which a camera crew was fired upon. A federal court sentenced 16 former military members in October to jail terms ranging from 18 years to life in prison for the murder of journalist Rodolfo Walsh and 85 others during the 1976-83 Argentine dictatorship.

February 21, 2012 12:37 AM ET

Blog   |   Ecuador

In Ecuador, a crushed and silenced democracy

El Universo staff members carry a mock coffin to protest the court ruling that upheld the verdict against their colleagues. (AFP/Camilo Pareja)

The sentence against Ecuadoran newspaper El Universo, its opinion editor, Emilio Palacio Urrutia, and its three top executives, Carlos Eduardo Pérez Barriga, César Enrique Pérez Barriga, and Carlos Nicolás Pérez Lapentti, for supposed offenses against Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa in Palacio's article "NO to lies," is a worn-out manifestation of the perverse concept of public freedoms that certain elected governments manipulate. They pervert their legitimacy with an authoritarian self-assuredness that permeates their exercise of power.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

El Universo verdict bad precedent for free press in Americas

Police and Correa supporters outside court. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

New York, February 16, 2012--Today's decision by Ecuador's highest court to uphold the criminal libel conviction brought by President Rafael Correa against El Universo represents a serious blow to freedom of expression and a setback for democracy, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. 

February 16, 2012 5:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

Archaic media policies make China a poor partner

President Obama meets with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Tuesday at the  White House. (AP/Susan Walsh)

President Obama has promised to raise issues of human rights when he and his administration meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in the next day. After that, Xi, billed as China's next leader, is expected to make some speeches, visit a few factories, stop at the Pentagon, sign some contracts that will strengthen economic ties between the two countries, and then head home.

February 14, 2012 3:25 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist killed, second in a week

New York, February 13, 2012--Brazilian authorities must conduct a thorough and swift investigation into the murder of journalist Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues, who was gunned down on Sunday night, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. It was the second slaying of a Brazilian journalist in less than week.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Journalist who covered corruption murdered in Brazil

The body of Brazilian journalist Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes was found on Thursday. (Facebook)

New York, February 10, 2012--The body of Brazilian journalist Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes was found on Thursday in the city of Barra do Piraí in Rio de Janeiro state, according to news reports. Randolfo reported on local corruption and had survived at least one attempt on his life in recent years, news reports said.

February 10, 2012 4:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, Cuba

Rousseff quiet as Cuban blogger denied travel to Brazil

Blogger Yoani Sánchez says she has been denied permission to leave Cuba 19 times. (AFP/Adalberto Roque)

The response from Cuban officials did not take anyone by surprise. Prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez had been, once again, denied permission to leave her country after she was granted a visa by the Brazilian Embassy in January to attend a film festival. "I feel like a hostage kidnapped by someone who doesn't listen nor provide explanations. A government with a ski mask and a gun in a holster," tweeted Sánchez on Friday after the Cuban government denied her request to travel to Brazil. It was, according to the blogger, the 19th time Cuban officials have turned down her request to leave the island. As in the past, officials gave no reason for the rejection.

February 9, 2012 10:06 AM ET

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Blog   |   USA

Accreditation disputes at center of US arrests

Several journalists have been arrested for not having proper accreditation at Occupy Oakland protests like this one. (Reuters/Stephen Lam)

The issue of press accreditation continues to reverberate. In November, when the Occupy movement came into conflict with law enforcement across the country and at least 20 journalists covering the events were arrested, CPJ reported that disputes over press accreditation were at the center of many of those arrests. Last week, credentials played a role in the arrests of journalists not only at tumultuous Occupy demonstrations in Oakland but also inside the more hushed chambers of Capitol Hill.

Blog   |   China, Internet, UK, USA

Can selective blocking pre-empt wider censorship?

A screen shot showing part of a Twitter blog post in which the company announced it could now censor messages on a country-by-country basis. (AP/Twitter)

Last week, Twitter provoked a fierce debate online when it announced a new capability--and related policy--to hide tweets on a country-specific basis. By building this feature into its website's basic code, Twitter said it hoped to offer a more tailored response to legal demands to remove tweets globally. The company will inform users if any tweet they see has been obscured, and provide a record of all demands to remove content with the U.S.-based site chillingeffects.org.

February 3, 2012 5:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

Does the Internet boost freedom? We decide, book says

Rebecca MacKinnon, shown here in Tunisia last year, asserts in a new book that citizens and governments must decide the power of the Internet. (AFP/Fethi Belaid)

The Internet doesn't bring freedom. Not automatically, anyway.

That's one of the main messages of Rebecca MacKinnon's new book, Consent of the Networked, which had its New York launch at the offices of the New America Foundation last night. In a conversation with CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker, MacKinnon, a CPJ board member, said it's up to concerned citizens, governments, and corporations to make decisions about how the Internet is used. She contrasted the Twitter-powered revolt in Egypt last year with the "networked authoritarianism" of China, where corporations are collaborators in a system designed to preserve Communist Party rule.

Alerts   |   Brazil, Paraguay

Paraguayan journalist targeted by criminal groups

New York, February 1, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists called today on Paraguayan and Brazilian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into death threats against journalist Cándido Figueredo and to ensure his safety. Police officials confirmed last month that they had intercepted a phone call between two criminal figures who discussed killing the Paraguayan journalist, according to local press reports.

February 1, 2012 5:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina

Cabezas' convicted killers are free, 15 years after murder

Photojournalists raise photos of José Luis Cabezas as thousands gathered in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, February 25, 1997, to protest Cabezas' murder the previous month. (AP/Daniel Muzio)

It was a cold winter morning more than 15 years ago. As part of my daily routine as a foreign correspondent, I opened my laptop to read the Argentine papers. I was shocked by a headline: my colleague José Luis Cabezas, a photographer for the newsweekly magazine Noticias, had been murdered. His bullet-ridden body was found on January 25, 1997, inside a burned car, handcuffed and charred, on the outskirts of the beach resort of Pinamar.

January 31, 2012 4:12 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic: Journalist given six months in jail

New York, January 31, 2012--The six-month jail sentence of Dominican journalist Johnny Alberto Salazar, who was convicted of defaming a local lawyer on January 18, should be revoked on appeal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

January 31, 2012 3:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

In Mexico mission, PEN speaks for a silenced press

Mexican writer Eduardo Lizalde speaks out at a PEN International event. (Reuters/Henry Romero)

The leading American author Russell Banks set the tone on Sunday as he stood among international writers and their local colleagues in Mexico City: "A nation's journalists and writers, like its poets and story-tellers, are the eyes, ears, and mouths of the people. When journalists cannot freely speak of what they see and hear of the reality that surrounds them, the people cannot see, hear, or speak it either." Banks is among the leaders of a high-level PEN International delegation that is meeting with top Mexican officials to pressure them to improve law enforcement in the murders of journalists, and to change the law to bring more cases under the federal government's jurisdiction. 

January 30, 2012 2:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Colombia, Mexico, Security, USA

For journalists, cyber-security training slow to take hold

For centuries, journalists have been willing to go to prison to protect their sources. Back in 1848, New York Herald correspondent John Nugent spent a month in jail for refusing to tell a U.S. Senate committee his source for a leak exposing the secret approval of a treaty with Mexico. In a digital age, however, journalists need more than steadfast conviction to keep themselves and their sources safe. Government intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates are using electronic surveillance to learn what journalists are doing and who their sources are.  It seems many journalists are not keeping pace.

Blog   |   Colombia

Criminal gangs intimidate, silence Córdoba journalists

People remain stranded at the North Bus Terminal in Medellin, Antioquia department, on January 5, 2012 during an armed strike imposed by the criminal gang Los Urabeños. (Raul Arboleda/AFP)

At most newspapers, reporting for the society page isn't especially dangerous. But in the northern Colombian department of Córdoba, which is under siege from drug-trafficking gangs, even covering birthday parties can be risky.

January 26, 2012 12:39 PM ET

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Letters   |   Ecuador

Insulza must repudiate attacks against IACHR

Dear Mr. Insulza: The Committee to Protect Journalists has been monitoring with increasing concern an offensive launched by the government of Ecuador aimed at weakening the Inter-American human rights system, an effort that if successful could represent a serious blow to freedom of expression in the hemisphere.

Blog   |   Ecuador

In Ecuador, defamation case could set dangerous precedent

The president's defamation case could severely damage free expression in Ecuador. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)

A controversial 2011 defamation verdict against the leading Ecuadoran daily El Universo, which became a symbol of vastly deteriorating press conditions under President Rafael Correa, appears headed to a final determination. The nation's highest court is due to hear the newspaper's appeal, although the hearing date itself is still subject to intense debate. The ramifications are enormous for free expression in Ecuador: The verdict, if upheld by the high court, could bankrupt the newspaper, put its managers in jail, and send a chill quashing dissent for years to come. As it fights for its existence, the paper has mounted an aggressive defense that includes an allegation that the trial judge allowed the president's own lawyer to write the verdict. 

January 17, 2012 3:03 PM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina

Both sides cry 'press freedom!' in Argentine newsprint battle

Newsprint manufacturer Papel Prensa is the recent focus of an ongoing battle between two dailies and Argentina's government. (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)

Argentine Secretary of Commerce Guillermo Moreno made headlines in August 2010 when, at a meeting with the directors of newsprint manufacturer Papel Prensa, he whipped out a pair of boxing gloves, told the women present to clear out of the way, and after dimming the lights, challenged the men to a fight. Moreno's invitation to spar, though presumably in jest, set the stage for last month's legislative debate on Papel Prensa's future, which though lacking for props was no less combative.

January 5, 2012 1:11 PM ET

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