Americas

2014


Blog   |   Uruguay

Uruguay's Edison Lanza has work cut out as new OAS special rapporteur on freedom of expression

Edison Lanza. (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights)

The office of the special rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was created in 1997 to advance freedom of expression in the hemisphere, and over that period has contributed significantly to the protection and expansion of press freedom. So when Catalina Botero leaves the office in October, her successor--Edison Lanza, a Uruguayan lawyer, journalist, and free press advocate--will have big shoes to fill.

July 25, 2014 10:17 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

TSA policy change could compound security concerns for journalists in transit

On Sunday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced a new policy requiring that travelers to the United States turn on their devices at the request of airport security personnel. Devices that cannot be powered on will be barred from the aircraft, and passengers in possession of such devices may also be subjected to additional screening. While a number of commenters have lamented the policy change on the grounds that it is likely to cause confusion and otherwise inconvenience passengers, the move could also aggravate the risks journalists already face when traveling with sensitive materials such as notes, unpublished photographs, or information about sources.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Pressured by government, Ecuadoran cartoonist is forced to adjust

Called to testify before a government media oversight commission, editorial cartoonist Xavier Bonilla--known by his penname Bonil--showed up with a pair of four-foot-long mock pencils. But rather than having a small eraser on the tip, one of Bonil's giant pencils was nearly all eraser.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Ecuador newspaper shutters its presses, citing government pressure

Blaming government harassment and a related advertising slowdown, the daily newspaper Hoy ceased its Quito-based print edition Monday, and said it would transform into an online-only newspaper.

Statements   |   USA

CPJ commends U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring warrant for cellphone searches

San Francisco, June 25, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's unanimous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that held that law enforcement officials need search warrants to search the mobile phones of individuals they arrest. The court found that the data found in cellphones should be protected from routine inspection, news reports said.

June 25, 2014 1:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Paraguay

Radio host gunned down in Paraguay

New York, June 24, 2014--Authorities in Paraguay should carry out an efficient investigation into the murder of a radio host and lawyer on Thursday, establish a motive, and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Ecuador's year-old media law stifles in-depth reporting

Rafael Correa is awarded an honorary doctorate by Santiago University in Chile on May 14, 2014. Four newspapers face fines for not covering the event sufficiently. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado)

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa generated little actual news during a two-day trip to Chile last month. So Ecuador's four main newspapers did the obvious: They published short wire service dispatches about his visit.

Statements   |   Brazil

Brazilian authorities must ensure safety of journalists covering World Cup protests

New York, June 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about reports that three journalists were injured covering protests against the World Cup in Sao Paulo today. CNN producer Barbara Arvanitidis sought treatment at a hospital for an arm injury and CNN correspondent Shasta Darlington and Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão cameraman Douglas Barbieri suffered minor wounds from canisters of stun grenades thrown by authorities to disperse protesters, according to news reports and statements by CNN journalists on Twitter.

Statements   |   Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA

G-7 acknowledges post-2015 agenda should include governance, human rights

New York, June 5, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the declaration today by leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations that democratic governance and human rights should be integral to the post-2015 development agenda.  The United Nations is seeking agreement on a broad set of sustainable development objectives to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015 and which made no mention of political or civil rights. The new goals will provide a framework for donor aid and thus influence priorities for years to come.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican columnist, abducted, found dead

Mexico City, June 5, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of Mexican columnist and government spokesman Jorge Torres Palacios and calls on authorities to fully investigate the crime and bring those responsible to justice. Torres' body was found in a bag in an orchard in Guerrero state on Monday, three days after he was abducted by unidentified assailants at his home in Acapulco, according to news reports.  

Alerts   |   USA

US government should withdraw Risen subpoena

New York, June 2, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the United States Department of Justice to withdraw a subpoena seeking to force journalist James Risen to give testimony that would reveal a confidential source. The Supreme Court said today it would not consider Risen's appeal of a lower court ruling that he must testify, meaning the journalist has exhausted his legal avenues to challenge the subpoena, according to news reports

June 2, 2014 6:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, USA

In the wake of US pullout, Afghan journalists need protection

In the aftermath of this week's foreign policy speech by President Barack Obama and discussions on the imminent pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, we need to think once again of the implications this retreat will have for the thousands of Afghans who for more than a decade have worked not only with the military, but also with U.S.-based non-governmental and media organizations.

Impact   |   Brazil, Iraq, Kenya, Turkey

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, May 2014

CPJ's Brazil report spurs government meetings on press freedom

CPJ board member María Teresa Ronderos and CPJ Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría traveled to Brasilia this month to launch a new special report, "Halftime for the Brazilian press," and met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, as well as other high-level government officials. CPJ also presented President Rousseff with the report's recommendations.

Brazil is home to a vibrant investigative press, but journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free, CPJ's report found. Brazil is the 11th deadliest country in the world for journalists, and at least 10 have been killed in direct reprisal for their work since President Rousseff came to power, CPJ research shows. 

May 30, 2014 12:29 PM ET

Blog   |   Cuba

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez launches independent news site

Blogger Yoani Sanchez visits CPJ's New York offices in 2013. (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

Late last October, as I accompanied Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez in a cab ride from LaGuardia Airport to her hotel in Manhattan, we talked nonstop about what had changed in Cuba during 2013 and about her plans for 2014. Two things she told me then were particularly striking. 

Alerts   |   Paraguay

CPJ calls for investigation into murder of Paraguayan journalist

New York, May 19, 2014--Paraguayan authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the death of a radio journalist who was shot dead on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Fausto Gabriel Alcaraz Garay was killed in Pedro Juan Caballero, a city on the border with Brazil, an area that is particularly dangerous for journalists, CPJ research shows.

Case   |   Venezuela

Venezuela shuts down radio program indefinitely

On May 7, 2014, the Venezuelan telecommunications regulator CONATEL ordered the suspension of "Plomo Parejo," a news and opinion radio program that had been extremely critical of the country's socialist government, according to news reports

Alerts   |   Brazil

Journalists convicted of criminal defamation in Brazil

New York, May 13, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the conviction of two Brazilian journalists on charges of criminal defamation and calls on authorities to reverse the decisions on appeal. 

Blog   |   Brazil, CPJ

Rousseff to CPJ: 'Brazil committed to fighting impunity'

Dilma Rousseff and Brazilian ministers meet with Carlos Lauría and other representatives of CPJ. (Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR)

"The federal government is fully committed to continue fighting against impunity in cases of killed journalists," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told a CPJ delegation during a meeting on Tuesday in Brasilia, the country's political capital. Accepting that deadly violence against the media is a detriment to freedom of the press, Rousseff said her administration will implement a mechanism to prevent deadly attacks, protect journalists under imminent risk, and support legislative efforts to federalize crimes against freedom of expression.

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

Will justice prevail over censorship and violence?

Brazil is home to vibrant media, but journalists are regularly murdered with impunity and critical journalists are subject to legal actions that drain resources and censor important stories. During the 2014 World Cup, this contradiction will be on vivid display. Does Dilma Rousseff’s administration have the will and determination to beat back impunity and end legal harassment, allowing press freedom to thrive? A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists

May 6, 2014 11:00 AM ET

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Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

Introduction

By Joel Simon

For a long time, Brazil has been fighting to overcome its contradictions. The country features a dynamic, modern, and diverse economy—and some of the worst poverty in the hemisphere. It has been led by two successive Socialist governments, and yet retains one of the most skewed income distributions in the world.

May 6, 2014 11:00 AM ET

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Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

1. In the government’s hands

By Carlos Lauría

Since June 2013, Brazil has been the scene of sporadic but huge anti-government demonstrations that have brought millions to the streets to protest an array of grievances, from fare increases for public transport to corruption and the use of public funds to host the coming soccer World Cup. The protests sometimes turned violent; a cameraman was killed in February 2014. Throughout the demonstrations, dozens of journalists have been detained, harassed, and attacked by law enforcement and by protesters irked by some media treatment of the demonstrations.

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

2. The vicious cycle of impunity

By Sara Rafsky

When the World Cup kicks off in Brazil in June, the government of President Dilma Rousseff will be celebrating the country’s emergence as a global powerhouse. The event, to be staged at sites across the country, will put the nation’s vast and diverse territory on display, unlike the Olympics, which Brazil is hosting two years later in just one city, Rio de Janeiro. While the 2012 murder of a local soccer journalist in central-western Goiânia may run counter to the official narrative of success, it reflects the disparate realities of a country as immense as Brazil, and depicts a darker side of “the beautiful game.”

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

Appendix: Journalists killed in Brazil since January 1, 2011

CPJ research has determined that at least 12 journalists have been killed in direct relation to their work since Dilma Rousseff was inaugurated as president on January 1, 2011. Another five have been killed in unclear circumstances, and CPJ continues to investigate those cases.

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

3. Censorship via the courts

By John Otis

Published since 1824 in the Brazilian city Recife in northeastern Pernambuco State, Diario de Pernambuco is South America’s oldest daily newspaper still in circulation. Over its 190 years the paper butted heads with the powerful and was censored by Brazil’s military regimes. But last year Diario de Pernambuco suffered its first case of official censorship since Brazil returned to democracy in 1985.

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

4. The Marco Civil da Internet

By Geoffrey King

The fate of freedom of expression in Brazil hinges in part on the implementation of the country’s landmark law on Internet rights, the Marco Civil da Internet.

Blog   |   USA

Obama transparency record remains unimpressive

President Obama speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington on May 3. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Nearly seven months ago, CPJ published its first in-depth report on press freedom in the United States, concluding that the Obama administration's aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information, broad surveillance programs, and moves to stem the routine disclosure of information to the press meant that the president had fallen far short of his campaign promise to have the most open government in U.S. history. What's changed since? A quick survey of recent events suggests not much. 

Alerts   |   Peru

Bomb detonates outside journalist's home in Peru

Bogotá, April 24, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Tuesday's attack on the home of Peruvian journalist Yofré López Sifuentes and calls on authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and hold the perpetrators to account. Lopez was unhurt after a bomb exploded, but his parents were injured, according to news reports

Alerts   |   Cuba

CPJ condemns jailing of Cuban citizen journalist

New York, April 22, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the imprisonment of Juliet Michelena Díaz, a member of a network of citizen journalists, and calls on Cuban authorities to release her immediately. Michelena was detained on April 7 days after photographing a police operation in Havana, according to news reports and local human rights defenders

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free

Iraq

Unsolved Murders: 100

Population: 32.6 million

Rank: 1

Somalia

Unsolved Murders: 26

Population: 10.2 million

Rank: 2

The Philippines

Unsolved Murders: 51

Population: 96.7 million

Rank: 3

Sri Lanka

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 20.3 million

Rank: 4

Syria

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 22.4 million

Rank: 5

Afghanistan

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 29.8 million

Rank: 6

Mexico

Unsolved Murders: 16

Population: 120.8 million

Rank: 7

Colombia

Unsolved Murders: 6

Population: 47.7 million

Rank: 8

Pakistan

Unsolved Murders: 22

Population: 179.2 million

Rank: 9

Russia

Unsolved Murders: 14

Population: 143.5 million

Rank: 10

Brazil

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 198.7 million

Rank: 11

Nigeria

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 168.8 million

Rank: 12

India

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 1,237 million

Rank: 13

Blog   |   Venezuela

Slideshow: Covering protests in Venezuela

Coverage of street demonstrations is an exceptionally dangerous assignment, with journalists subject to assaults, obstruction, detention, raids, threats, censorship orders, and confiscation or destruction of equipment. This report is one in a series of three by Getty photographers who documented for CPJ their recent experiences covering protests and shared their photographs.

April 14, 2014 10:26 AM ET

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Case   |   USA

Alabama blogger released after five months in jail

Roger Shuler, whose blog, Legal Schnauzer, specializes in allegations of corruption and scandal in Republican circles in Alabama, was released from jail on March 26, 2014, after spending more than five months in prison on contempt of court charges. Shuler was arrested on October 1, 2013, for failing to comply with a preliminary injunction prohibiting him from publishing certain stories on his blog. A Shelby County judge ordered Shuler's release after his wife, Carol Shuler, removed most of the allegedly defamatory content, according to local news reports

Case   |   Peru

Peru court gives journalist suspended jail term

Peruvian journalist César Quino Escudero was sentenced on March 21, 2014, to a six-month suspended prison sentence for defaming the governor of the northeastern state of Ancash, according to news reports. Quino was also fined US$8,400 in damages and sentenced to 120 days of community service.  

Alerts   |   Mexico

CPJ condemns attacks, harassment of Mexican daily

New York, April 3, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an attack early today on Adrián López Ortiz, general director of the Grupo Noroeste, a media group that owns the daily Noroeste, in the state of Sinaloa. CPJ is also alarmed by a series of threats and harassment against the paper in recent weeks and calls on authorities to bring those responsible to justice. 

Blog   |   Mexico

Unprecedented response to Mexican journalist's murder

In late February, journalists protest the murder of their colleague, Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, and other journalists killed in Mexico. (AP/Marco Ugarte)

The disappearance and murder in Veracruz from February 5 through 11 of local journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz remains mired in controversy.

In mid February, after Jiménez's murder, a group of journalists traveled to Veracruz and investigated the authorities' response to the journalist's killing. On March 19, the group, called Misión de Observación, published the findings of its unprecedented investigation in a report called "Gregorio: Asesinado por informar" (Gregorio: Murdered for Reporting). Their report documented Jiménez's disappearance and murder, the state's ineffective response, and the less-than-supportive working conditions of his newspapers in southern Veracruz.

Statements   |   Mexico

CPJ alarmed by threats against RSF Mexico correspondent

New York, March 13, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by threats made against Balbina Flores Martínez, Mexico correspondent for the international press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders. On Wednesday, Flores received a series of telephone calls in which she was told that someone had been hired to "harm her," according to news reports.

Case   |   Honduras

Journalist sentenced to jail for defamation in Honduras

Honduran journalist Julio Ernesto Alvarado was convicted on charges of criminal defamation on December 9, 2013, according to local human rights groups. The Supreme Court of Justice sentenced the journalist, who hosts the news program "Mi Nación" on Globo TV, to 16 months in prison on charges of damaging the reputation of the rector of a local university. 

Statements   |   USA

CPJ welcomes dismissal of charges against Barrett Brown

San Francisco, March 8, 2014--Following requests from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, yesterday the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed 11 felony counts against journalist Barrett Brown. The charges related to the reposting of a publicly-available hyperlink containing thousands of documents stolen from intelligence contractor Stratfor Forecasting. Brown was never accused of having a role in illegally obtaining the information from Stratfor.

March 8, 2014 9:53 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ukraine, Venezuela

Body armor must match threat in Venezuela and Ukraine

Protesters take cover amid clashes with police in Kiev on February 20. (AFP/Sergei Supinsky)

Covering street violence is one thing. Covering gunfire is another. This week, firearms were unexpectedly introduced into ongoing clashes between protesters and police in two parts of the world, raising the threat level faced by journalists trying to cover events.

February 21, 2014 3:43 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Journalists under fire covering protests in Venezuela

New York, February 20, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the wave of violence against and harassment and detentions of journalists covering protests in Venezuela in recent days and calls on authorities to ensure the press can work safely. The violations come amid nationwide protests that have left at least six dead and hundreds injured. The demonstrations began on February 12 by university students protesting the government of President Nicolás Maduro.  

Alerts   |   Colombia, Venezuela

Venezuelan authorities take foreign cable station off the air

Bogotá, February 13, 2014--Venezuelan authorities took a Colombian news station off the air on Wednesday after the station aired coverage of anti-government protests that have left three people dead and dozens injured, according to the station and news reports.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Missing Mexican journalist found dead in Veracruz

Mexican journalists speak in a news conference, protesting the abduction and murder of journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

New York, February 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Mexican authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the murder of Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz and hold the perpetrators to account. Jiménez was abducted on February 5 and his body was found buried along with two other people in the municipality of Las Choapas in Veracruz state on Tuesday, according to news reports.

Attacks on the Press   |   Cambodia, USA

Without Stronger Transparency, More Financial Crises Loom

The recent financial meltdown should be treated as a lesson on the importance of information transparency and the crucial role of a free press. By Michael J. Casey

Sharp swings in the stock market have led to questions about who stands to benefit from high-frequency trading. (AP/Richard Drew)

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Americas

Front-line reports and analytical essays by CPJ experts cover an array of topics of critical importance to journalists. Governments store transactional data and the content of journalists' communications. Media and money engage in a tug of war, with media owners reluctant to draw China's disfavor and advertisers able to wield surprising clout. In Syria, journalists are determined to distribute the news amid the chaos of conflict. In Vietnam, the government makes a heavy-handed bid to bring the Internet under control. And globally, eliminating witnesses has become an all too easy method of stymying justice when journalists are assassinated.

February 12, 2014 1:58 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Gunmen Rule Neza and the Press on Outskirts of Mexico City

Politicians say there are no organized crime cartels in the capital's metropolitan area. Journalists know better, but they are afraid to report it. By Mike O'Connor

Police officers stand guard near a crime scene in Neza, on the outskirts of Mexico City, on January 16, 2011. (Reuters/Jorge Dan)

Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil

Violence and Judicial Censorship Mar Brazil's Horizon

The Brazilian government's concern for the safety of an American journalist stands in contrast to a dismal performance protecting its own reporters. By Carlos Lauría

Demonstrators clash with riot policemen during a protest in Rio de Janeiro's on June 17, 2013, against the billions of dollars spent preparing for soccer's World Cup and against an increase in mass transit fares.  (AFP/Tasso Marcelo)
Demonstrators clash with riot policemen during a protest in Rio de Janeiro's on June 17, 2013, against the billions of dollars spent preparing for soccer's World Cup and against an increase in mass transit fares. (AFP/Tasso Marcelo)

Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

One Province Illustrates Colombia's Struggle with Impunity

The inability to solve journalist murders in Arauca feeds an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation for the media there. By John Otis

Gen. Rodolfo Palomino, Colombian police chief, writes a message for a campaign supporting FARC demobilization in Tame, Arauca province, on September 18, 2013. (Reuters/Jose Miguel Gomez)
Gen. Rodolfo Palomino, Colombian police chief, writes a message for a campaign supporting FARC demobilization in Tame, Arauca province, on September 18, 2013. (Reuters/Jose Miguel Gomez)

Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Argentina

The long-running feud between the administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and critical news outlets deepened. The Supreme Court ruled that provisions of a 2009 broadcast law that would require some media companies, most notably the critical media conglomerate Grupo Clarín, to divest holdings—in theory, to break up monopolies—were constitutional. Beyond the legislation, the climate remained polarized, with officials publicly berating Clarín and other media groups, and those outlets criticizing all administration activities. The government continued with its policy of punishing critical media outlets and rewarding favorable ones with official advertising, and appeared to extend its advertising war to the commercial realm by reportedly forbidding supermarkets to advertise in newspapers as part of a price-freezing measure intended to combat inflation. Critical media alleged the tactic was meant to further harm outlets that don't receive state advertising, a claim the government denied. President Kirchner, after 10 years of dominating Argentine politics along with her husband, the late President Néstor Kirchner, faced challenges to her government in late 2013. The president's party suffered significant defeats in congressional elections, judicial reforms failed, corruption allegations surfaced in the administration, and the president suffered health problems. Press freedom advocates were dismayed by a ruling on an Argentine defamation case by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights—part of the human rights protection system of the Organization of American States—that decided for the first time that a criminal sanction for defamation did not affect freedom of expression.

February 12, 2014 1:54 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Brazil

Brazil played an increasingly dominant role in the international arena, but its record on press freedom at home continued to disappoint free-expression advocates. As the deadly violence that surged over the past three years continued, three journalists were murdered in direct retaliation for their work in 2013. Brazil's ranking worsened on CPJ's Impunity Index, which highlights countries where journalists are killed regularly and authorities fail to solve the crimes. In positive developments, authorities achieved convictions for three murders of journalists. The gunmen in the 2010 murder of radio journalist and blogger Francisco Gomes de Medeiros and the 2011 murder of journalist Edinaldo Filgueira were convicted and sentenced to prison. In a rare example of full justice, all of the perpetrators, including the mastermind, were brought to justice in the 2002 murder of newspaper publisher Domingos Sávio Brandão Lima. Reporters faced attacks and threats, and, in one case, had to flee the country temporarily, while others were arrested and targeted during anti-government protests that swept the country in the second half of the year. President Dilma Rousseff made international headlines after information leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that Brazilian electronic communications had been intercepted by the NSA. She responded by calling for a bill to regulate the country's Internet use in a way that would make it less vulnerable to spying, a move that, if implemented, could have widespread consequences for the global infrastructure of the Internet. Internet companies continued to receive numerous requests from Brazilian courts to remove content, as the media faced judicial censorship and hefty fines in defamation suits. After being initially silent on the issue, Brazil supported and defended the Inter-American Human Rights System from an attack led by a bloc of countries that sought to neutralize its work.

February 12, 2014 1:53 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Colombia

Journalists reporting on sensitive issues like the country’s decades-long armed conflict, crime, and corruption faced renewed violence and intimidation. A journalist at Colombia’s leading newsmagazine narrowly survived an assassination attempt, while reporters throughout the country were repeatedly threatened, and in some cases forced to flee their homes and the country. One journalist and one media support worker were murdered in direct retaliation for their work. The violence caused reporters outside the major urban centers to self-censor for fear of their lives. Meanwhile, journalists covering the months-long anti-government demonstrations by peasant farmers in northern Catatumbo were violently targeted by all sides. Justice continued to progress haltingly in the five-year investigation into an illegal government espionage program that targeted critical journalists, among others, as the Supreme Court dropped charges against the former head of the National Intelligence Agency and another court released an official of the agency who had been previously convicted, according to news reports. Seven former secret police detectives were sentenced to preventive detention on charges of “psychologically torturing” and anonymously threatening journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, one of the espionage victims, for her coverage of the 1999 murder of a journalist. In a positive development, a criminal defamation conviction against editor Luis Agustín González was overturned by the Supreme Court. As President Juan Manuel Santos’ government continued peace negotiations with the leftist guerrilla organization the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a government-created commission reported that Colombia’s more than 50-year conflict has killed at least 220,000 people, the vast majority of them noncombatants.

February 12, 2014 1:52 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Cuba

To complement gradual economic and political reforms, Cuba made small, but mostly symbolic openings in the press freedom landscape in 2013, and impact for the independent media was minimal. One exception was legislation easing exit visa regulations that was passed in 2012 but implemented in 2013. The law allowed critical bloggers and political dissidents to travel internationally for the first time in decades. While abroad, prominent critical blogger Yoani Sánchez announced plans to launch a broad-based news publication upon her return to Cuba. In January, international analysts detected activity on the long-awaited, Venezuelan-financed, fiber-optic cable project, but high-speed Internet was still not available to the average Cuban. Later in the year, the government announced the opening of 100 public Internet centers, but content was filtered and the hourly rate prohibitively expensive for most citizens. A journalist was freed after spending seven months in prison in relation to his reporting. Though no journalists were imprisoned as of December 1, the government continued its practice of short-term detentions. Raúl Castro said he would step down as president in 2018, setting a date for the beginning of a post-Castro Cuba.

February 12, 2014 1:51 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ecuador

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Ecuador

Bolstered by a landslide re-election, President Rafael Correa continued his offensive against Ecuador's critical press. His victory allowed him a significant win: the approval of a communications law that establishes regulation of editorial content and gives authorities the power to impose arbitrary sanctions and censor the press, according to CPJ research. At least one investigative newsmagazine shut down after the passage of the law, though economic concerns were also at issue. But while the president battered the press at home, he ran up against challenges abroad. In a serious blow to Correa, the Organization of American States voted to discard proposals introduced by Ecuador that would seriously weaken the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights  and its special rapporteur for freedom of expression. Although none of these proposals passed, a last-minute change to the resolution meant the debate would be allowed to continue. Local press freedom organizations documented dozens of anti-press violations throughout the year, including attacks, threats, harassment, obstruction, and arbitrary lawsuits.

February 12, 2014 1:50 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Guatemala

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Guatemala

Journalists covering sensitive issues like crime and corruption faced a climate of increased intimidation and violence in 2013. One journalist was killed under unclear circumstances. CPJ continues to investigate to determine if the killing was work-related. Another journalist survived an assassination attempt, and the owner, staff, and website of the daily elPeriódico, which is known for its investigations of government corruption, were repeatedly targeted with threats, intimidation, and attacks. The country closely followed the dramatic prosecution of General José Efraín Rios Montt, the former military leader of Guatemala, on allegations of human rights violations during part of the country’s decades-long civil war, when press freedom was severely restricted. His historic conviction was overturned, and the future of the case was uncertain, with Rios Montt under house arrest. The private office in Guatemala City of the special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, was broken into in unclear circumstances. The local press freedom group CERIGUA documented at least 54 cases of attacks on the press in 2013, many of which were concentrated in the department of Guatemala, where the capital city is situated. In light of growing anti-press violations, the government announced the creation of a protection mechanism for journalists who have been threatened.

February 12, 2014 1:49 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Honduras

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Honduras

The Honduran press continued to face violence and intimidation as the country struggled with pervasive crime and general lawlessness. Journalists who covered sensitive topics like drug trafficking, government corruption, and land conflicts were threatened and attacked. A prominent radio talk show host, Aníbal Barrow, was abducted from his car and found murdered weeks later. Authorities said they were investigating to determine if the killing was related to the journalist's work. But the climate of impunity persisted in Honduras, with allegations of law enforcement engaging in corruption and forming police death squads. Allegations also surfaced that journalists engaged in extortion. A standoff between the country's main media companies and President Porfirio Lobo over a proposed telecommunications law was averted when both sides agreed that the press would regulate its own content. The governing party's candidate, Juan Orlando Hernández, was declared the winner of presidential elections in late year, but the second place candidate, Xiomara Reyes de Castro, contested the results, bringing back to the surface intense polarization that has lingered since her husband was ousted in a coup d'état in 2009.

February 12, 2014 1:48 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Mexico

The climate of press freedom in Mexico, despite a new president, remained perilous. Although President Enrique Peña Nieto gave final approval to a measure adopted at the end of Felipe Calderón's term that gives federal authorities broader jurisdiction to investigate crimes against freedom of expression, the special prosecutor's office designated to handle such investigations dragged its feet in exercising its new powers. Finally, in August, the prosecutor officially took on its first case, although it had not charged or prosecuted anyone for a journalist's murder in late year. Meanwhile, the press corps continued to be violently targeted as competing drug cartels and law enforcement and the military battled throughout the country. Media outlets were attacked, press freedom organizations threatened, and reporters abducted. At least three journalists were killed in 2013 under unclear circumstances. In the face of such violence, media outlets in areas controlled by cartels turned to self-censorship. Following in the footsteps of other besieged outlets, the Saltillo edition of the daily Zócalo published an editorial that said it would no longer cover organized crime, as a way to protect its staff. Mexico City, long considered a refuge from the violence in the rest of the country, experienced the encroachment of organized crime. Four journalists covering protests against education reforms were jailed, and two of them were held for five days before being released on exorbitant bail, according to news reports. Media analysts welcomed a communications bill that they said would increase competition and open up broadcast ownership.

February 12, 2014 1:47 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Peru

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Peru

The climate of press freedom in Peru remained much the same as 2012, with reporters being targeted with violence and defamation suits for reporting on local corruption. While no journalists were imprisoned, two were convicted on criminal defamation charges and received suspended prison sentences. A bill that eliminated jail terms for defamation has remained stalled in Congress since mid-2011. Journalists covering widespread protests of a mining project in northern Peru were targeted with violence and intimidation by all sides in the conflict. Journalists and news outlets reporting on corruption and organized crime were also targeted in non-fatal attacks. One journalist was killed in unclear circumstances. CPJ continues to investigate whether the murder was work-related. Past murders of journalists remained unsolved, and prosecutors appealed the acquittal last year of the former mayor of the city of Coronel Portillo in the 2004 murder of radio journalist Alberto Rivera Fernandez. Human rights groups and journalists raised concerns about the implications of a bill that would criminalize the denial of terrorist crimes, a cybercrime law that criminalized some Internet speech, and the move by the country's leading daily to buy a media company that resulted in its owning 78 percent of the newspaper market.

February 12, 2014 1:46 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   USA

Attacks on the Press in 2013: United States

Press freedom in the United States dramatically deteriorated in 2013, a special report by CPJ found. The Obama administration's policy of prosecuting officials who leak classified information to the press intensified with the sentencing of Chelsea Manning (then known as Pvt. Bradley Manning) to 35 years in prison and the indictment of NSA consultant Edward Snowden. As part of its investigations into earlier leaks, the Justice Department revealed it had secretly subpoenaed the phone records of nearly two dozen Associated Press telephone lines and the emails and phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen. The two cases, and language in the Rosen subpoena that suggested the journalist could be criminally charged for receiving the information, provoked widespread criticism. The backlash resulted in the drafting of revised Justice Department guidelines on press subpoenas and a renewed debate in the Senate of a federal shield law that would allow journalists greater protection for their sources. As the debate moved forward in the Senate, a federal appeals court rejected an appeal by New York Times reporter James Risen in his long-term effort to protect a confidential source, setting up a likely Supreme Court showdown. Snowden's leak of a still unknown quantity of classified information on secret surveillance programs spurred both a national and international outcry and, after a report that Al-Jazeera's communications had allegedly been spied on, caused journalists to fear even more for their sources. The secrecy surrounding the surveillance programs echoed a pervasive lack of transparency and openness across government agencies where, despite President Barack Obama's promise to head the most open government in history, officials routinely refused to talk to the press or approve Freedom of Information Act requests. Journalists faced limitations covering national security-related trials, in cases of alleged terrorism at Guantánamo Bay and in the court-martial of Manning in Virginia.

February 12, 2014 1:45 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Venezuela

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Venezuela

A climate of uncertainty and tension surrounded the death of President Hugo Chávez after his tightly guarded struggle with cancer and the election of his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro. Coverage of both events resulted in widespread attacks on and harassment of journalists. The government's campaign against critical broadcaster Globovisión continued with the eighth sanction against the TV network in eight years, this time regarding a report that questioned the legality of postponing the inauguration of the then-ailing Chávez. After years of harassment, the broadcaster's owner sold the company to businessmen rumored to have close ties to the government, and the station subsequently changed its editorial tone. In a move that critics described as unconstitutional, Maduro signed a decree creating the Strategic Center for Security and Protection of the Fatherland, or CESPPA, which he said would protect the country from outside threats. But journalists and press freedom groups said it gave the state vast powers that would be used to intimidate and censor the media. His government also targeted journalists, websites and Internet service providers in an attempt to suppress the country's grim economic news. The government also made good on its long-term threat and officially withdrew from the American Convention on Human Rights, a cornerstone of the human rights system of the Organization of American States.

February 12, 2014 1:44 AM ET

Case   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist injured in protest declared brain dead

Brazilian cameraman Santiago Ilídio Andrade was declared brain dead on February 10, 2014, after being injured while covering protests in Rio de Janeiro on February 6, 2014. Authorities identified two individuals believed to be involved in the attack that wounded the journalist, according to news reports.

February 11, 2014 4:18 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, UK, USA

Media surveillance and 'the day we fight back'

Today, a broad coalition of technology companies, human rights organizations, political groups, and others will take to the Web and to the streets to protest mass surveillance. The mobilization, known as "The Day We Fight Back," honors activist and technologist Aaron Swartz, who passed away just over a year ago. Throughout the day, the campaign will encourage individuals to contact their representatives, pressure their employers, and march for an end to government surveillance practices that sweep up huge amounts of data, often indiscriminately.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist in coma after being attacked

New York, February 7, 2014--Brazilian authorities must immediately investigate an attack on a journalist who was injured covering a protest in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Santiago Ilídio Andrade is in a coma after being hit in the head with an explosive device, according to news reports.

February 7, 2014 3:46 PM ET

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Statements   |   UK, USA

CPJ troubled by report GCHQ targeted journalists

San Francisco, February 7, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by a report that a potential operation by the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) involved covert surveillance of reporters' communications. GCHQ sought to use journalists to pass both information and disinformation to intelligence targets, according to documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News.

Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican documentary 'Presumed Guilty' finds justice

In this still from the film 'Presumed Guilty,' Layda Negrete explains how lawyers will prove Antonio Zúñiga's innocence. (Lawyers with Cameras, 2009)

In the three years since its theatrical premiere, the Mexican documentary "Presumed Guilty" ("Presunto Culpable") has earned enough headlines to make any film publicist envious. The movie has been banned, disparaged, acclaimed, and the subject of multiple lawsuits. Along the way, it has broken every documentary box office record in Mexico. Now a series of judicial decisions in the past week suggests that, while the discussion it sparked will continue, the film's legal battles may be drawing to a close. 

February 7, 2014 12:26 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Brazil

CPJ welcomes convictions in Brazilian journalist's murder

New York, February 6, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes two convictions on Tuesday in the 2012 murder of Brazilian political journalist and blogger Décio Sá and calls on authorities to ensure everyone involved in the crime is brought to justice. Jhonatan de Sousa Silva, who confessed to being the gunman, was sentenced to 25 years and three months in jail, according to news reports. Marcos Bruno Oliveira, who claimed he was innocent, was sentenced to 18 years and three months on charges of transporting Sousa to and from the crime.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

Cartoonist sanctioned under Ecuador's communications law

Bogotá, February 3, 2014- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the decision by Ecuador's media oversight agency on Friday to use the country's communications law to sanction the leading local daily El Universo over a critical cartoon. The agency fined the daily and demanded that the cartoonist "correct" the cartoon within 72 hours, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Internet, USA

Obama must chart clearer course on surveillance policy

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

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

January 28, 2014 5:19 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Costa Rica

Costa Rica must investigate tracking of daily's phone calls

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

Alerts   |   Haiti

CPJ calls on Haitian authorities to act in Dominique murder

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

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

Blog   |   Venezuela

Venezuelan economic controls lead to newsprint shortage

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

Blog   |   Ecuador

Correa steps up fight; hacking alleged on both sides

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

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

Blog   |   Internet, USA

Obama's legacy on the line with surveillance policy

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

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

Alerts   |   Colombia

Three radio journalists threatened in Colombia

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

Alerts   |   Guatemala

Guatemalan government targets elPeriódico editor

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

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