Syria is the world’s deadliest country for journalists for the third year in a row. International journalists were killed at a higher rate in 2014 than in recent years. A CPJ special report by Shazdeh Omari
Syria is the world’s deadliest country for journalists for the third year in a row. International journalists were killed at a higher rate in 2014 than in recent years. A CPJ special report by Shazdeh Omari
In 2014, at least 60 journalists and 11 media workers were killed in relation to their work, according to CPJ research. Local and international journalists died covering conflicts, including in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine, while many others were murdered reporting on corruption and organized crime in their own countries.
Here, CPJ remembers some of the journalists who gave their lives to bring us this year's headlines.
Bogotá, Colombia, December 22, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the conviction of a former high-ranking Colombian intelligence official who on December 19 was sentenced to 11 years in prison for carrying out a campaign of aggression and death threats against investigative journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, according to news reports.
New York, December 22, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the passage of a new broadcast law in Uruguay today, which has strong guarantees for freedom of expression and forbids censorship. The law, which was introduced in May 2013 by President José Mujica, is aimed at regulating radio and television with the goal of creating a diverse and competitive broadcast system, according to news reports. The law awaits Mujica's signature before he leaves office on March 1, 2015.
Throughout the years, the Cuban government has justified the imprisonment of independent journalists on charges that they were acting against the State's sovereignty at the behest of the United States. During the so-called Black Spring in March 2003, when the government then led by President Fidel Castro launched a massive crackdown against dissidents while the world's attention was focused on the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, a total of 29 independent journalists were sentenced to prison terms of up to 27 years. During court proceedings, it became an established fact that those journalists were charged with destabilizing the nation because of their work for foreign media outlets. They were punished for being "mercenaries" at the service of a foreign power (namely, the United States).
Reports | Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma, Cameroon, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam
More than 200 journalists are imprisoned for their work for the third consecutive year, reflecting a global surge in authoritarianism. China is the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2014. A CPJ special report by Shazdeh Omari
New York, December 16, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of television station owner and news presenter Reynaldo Paz Mayes, who was shot dead in Honduras on Monday, and calls on authorities to fully investigate the crime and bring those responsible to justice.
For Ecuadoran journalist and political activist Fernando Villavicencio, life on the lam has meant wading through jungle rivers to avoid police checkpoints, dining on crocodile and monkey meat, and penning his latest book from a series of safe houses.
This week, members of UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication will meet to discuss the director general's biannual report, which examines the cases of nearly 600 journalists killed around the world from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2013. The report, and lacklustre response from member states who had been asked to provide status updates to the cases, highlights why the campaign to end impunity is so vital.
Bogotá, November 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Sunday's murder of Peruvian journalist Fernando Raymondi and calls on authorities to fully investigate the crime and establish a motive. The journalist was investigating a story on local gangs for Peru's leading newsmagazine Caretas, according to news reports.
New York, November 7, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the revelation that a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent pretended to be an Associated Press reporter as part of a criminal investigation and calls on authorities to halt use of the tactic.
New York, November 7, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release today in Cuba of Juliet Michelena Díaz, who had been imprisoned since April after photographing a police operation in Havana.
Dear President Obama: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to express its deep concern about the recent killing, jailing, and harassment of journalists in Burma. During your upcoming visit to the country on November 11-12, we urge you to impress upon Burmese President Thein Sein that future U.S. engagement will be predicated on a renewed and genuine commitment to press freedom.
Bogotá, November 5, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a decision by Ecuador's highest court that has paved the way for a constitutional amendment that would categorize the news media as a "public service" subject to government regulation.
New York, November 3, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a news report that law enforcement authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, sought a no-fly zone during unrest in August with the intent of blocking access for the press.
New York, October 30, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Tuesday's raid by Argentine police on the offices of La Brújula 24, a radio station and news website, in which the outlet's journalistic materials were confiscated.
On October 16, photographs of a woman were posted on the Twitter account @Miut3 with an ominous message. "My life has come to an end today. Don't put your families at risk like I did," the tweet read. "I'm sorry. I died for nothing. They are closer on our trail than you think."
Álvaro García Linera's savvy use of the media helped him make the leap from Marxist guerrilla to vice president of Bolivia. But critics contend that as the country's second-highest elected official, García Linera is now using his substantial power to manipulate and control the Bolivian news media.
Bogotá, Colombia, October 20, 2014--Peruvian authorities must conduct an efficient and thorough investigation into Friday's attack on a radio station in which assailants killed the wife of a journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bogotá, Colombia, October 17, 2014--Pablo Medina Velázquez, a Paraguayan journalist who wrote about the country's illegal drug trade, was shot dead on Thursday along with his assistant, according to news reports. He is the third journalist murdered for his work in Paraguay this year.
The world premiere of Laura Poitras's highly anticipated documentary "CITIZENFOUR" at the New York Film Festival occurred with the appropriate amount of intrigue for a film about last year's dramatic revelations of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. The press and premiere screenings were clocked to begin simultaneously on Friday so no breaking news could be leaked. The movie was a last-minute addition to the festival and the first complete screening even for film industry professionals, who had previously seen it only with crucial redactions. In a surreal touch, a 9-foot tall statue of the film's protagonist, Edward Snowden, mysteriously appeared in a park in New York earlier that day at the very moment--and apparently coincidentally--in which another principal character, journalist Glenn Greenwald, was there having breakfast.
The sudden death on October 4 of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and the initial information that he would be honored with a state funeral stunned the victims who had filed suit against Duvalier for massive violations of human rights during his regime. It also created an unexpected ripple effect in the press and the social media, with radio and television stations in Haiti and the diaspora broadcasting once more the voices of people who suffered under the brutal repression of the two Duvaliers, father and son. The storm was further powered by social media.
After a summer plagued by war and disease abroad and partisan fighting at home, it was not hard to fathom why President Barack Obama would yearn for a retreat. But from which of the mounting crises did the president hope to escape: Ukraine? Islamic State? Ebola? The Tea Party? None of the above, according to an interview with Obama on the Sunday television news program "Meet the Press," in early September. "What I'd love," he said, "is a vacation from the press."
New York, October 3, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the decision by a Honduran appeals court to forbid journalist Julio Ernesto Alvarado from practicing journalism for 16 months as part of a criminal defamation conviction. Alvarado hosts the daily news program "Mi Nación" (My Nation) on Globo TV.
Mexico City, October 2, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack on the home of a Mexican crime and politics beat reporter early Monday morning in Zacatecas state and calls on authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
Last week's announcement by Eric Holder that he will resign as Attorney General marks what will hopefully be the beginning of the end of a perplexingly dark period for press freedom in the U.S. As Holder seeks to solidify his legacy, in part based on important civil rights reforms that he helped realize, the aggression with which his Justice Department has gone after journalists and their sources bears considerable reflection. With the nomination of a new attorney general looming, now is the time for a national conversation about just what values the chief law enforcement officer of the United States should seek to uphold.
Bogotá, September 30, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by death threats against numerous journalists in different states in Colombia over the past week and calls on authorities to ensure the journalists' safety. All of the journalists had reported on criminal activities in the region.
Prominent support for #RightToReport in the Digital Age
More than 2,800 people including prominent journalists Christiane Amanpour, Glenn Greenwald, and Alan Rusbridger have already signed on to CPJ's new campaign Right to Report in the Digital Age.
At a bizarre news conference in April, Bolivia's Communications Minister Amanda Dávila claimed that journalist Raúl Peñaranda, who was born in Chile, represented a dangerous "beachhead" for Chilean interests trying to deny landlocked Bolivia access to the Pacific.
The Cancún-based investigative magazine Luces del Siglo has won a court decision ordering the Quintana Roo state government to stop "cloning" the covers of its weekly editions and spreading the fake versions via social networks, according to news reports.
Amid the violence and instability caused by organized crime and corruption in Central America, Honduras and Guatemala have experienced an alarming rise in the number of murders of, and attacks against, journalists. Near complete impunity for these crimes means the cases go mostly unsolved and the motives unexplained. As fear grips newsrooms in both countries, critical media outlets and journalists find they are reined in by governments increasingly intolerant of dissent. A CPJ special report by Sara Rafsky.
This week, as he takes office as lead chair of the Open Government Partnership, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto will reaffirm the commitment of the more than 60 countries that make up this multilateral initiative, which seeks to enhance governance, promote citizen participation, and improve governments' accountability to citizens.
On August 26, 2014, a television news program that was critical of the local government in the Peruvian city of Ayacucho was canceled after threats were made against the company operating the TV station, according to news reports.
Mexico City, September 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Thursday's attack on Mexican reporter Karla Janeth Silva, who had reported critically on municipal authorities. Silva was kicked and beaten in her newspaper's office in Guanajuato state, according to news reports.
Bogotá, Colombia, September 8, 2014 -- Colombian journalist Amalfi Rosales has fled her home in northern La Guajira state and is seeking government protection after gunmen fired at her house, and she received death threats, according to news reports. Rosales told the Committee to Protect Journalists the threats began after she reported on alleged links between a former state governor and criminal groups.
With journalists around the world being killed, kidnapped, and murdered in record numbers why is the Committee to Protect Journalists launching a campaign targeting U.S. government policies?
The apparent back-to-back murders of two American freelance journalists by the same group are unprecedented in CPJ's history. The beheadings on camera in a two-week period of first James Foley and then Steven Sotloff appear to be an acceleration of a pattern--dating at least to Daniel Pearl's killing in 2002--of criminal and insurgent groups displaying the murders of journalists to send a broad message of terror.
New York, September 2, 2014--The Islamic State militant group released a video Tuesday purporting to show the beheading of American freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, according to news reports. Sotloff, who was abducted in Syria in August 2013, would be the second American journalist murdered by Islamic State. In a video posted online on August 19, the group murdered American freelance journalist James Foley and threatened to do the same to Sotloff in retribution for U.S. military intervention in Iraq.
New York, August 20, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned for all journalists, most of them Syrians, still held captive by the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State, which has repeatedly kidnapped, killed, and threatened journalists in the territories over which it holds sway. President Barack Obama confirmed today that the group is responsible for the barbaric murder of U.S. freelance journalist James Foley.
Bogotá, August 20, 2014--Venezuelan telecommunications regulator CONATEL shut down a critical radio station on Tuesday after refusing to renew the station's expired transmission license, according to news reports. The move follows CONATEL's suspension on Friday of a critical radio program on another station.
New York, August 19, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of James Foley, a U.S. freelance journalist, who was abducted in Syria in November 2012. In a video posted online, the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State claimed to have executed Foley, saying the act was retribution for U.S. military intervention in Iraq.
New York, August 19, 2014 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of broadcast journalist Nery Francisco Soto Torres in Honduras on Thursday and calls on authorities to launch a full investigation, determine the motive, and bring those responsible to justice.
New York, August 19, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the continued harassment and detentions of journalists covering the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked by the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. At least nine journalists have been detained and released without charge since Saturday, according to CNN. Two others were briefly detained on August 13. Some journalists reported being threatened by the police and hit with rubber bullets and tear gas, while other reporters have said they were intimidated by local residents, according to news reports.
New York, August 14, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the attacks on and brief detentions of journalists covering protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the past week in reaction to the killing of teenager Michael Brown by the police. Two journalists were briefly detained on Wednesday and released without charge. Journalists have reported being attacked by police with tear gas and rubber bullets, and at least one journalist said he was intimidated and attacked by local residents, according to news reports.
New York, August 13, 2014--Colombian authorities should immediately investigate the murder of a journalist on Tuesday and apprehend the killers, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Luis Carlos Cervantes Solano had received threats related to his reporting since 2010, according to news reports.
Mexico City, August 13, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder on Monday of Mexican reporter Octavio Rojas Hernández in the state of Oaxaca and calls on authorities to investigate the killing, identify the motive, and bring those responsible to justice.
Mexico City, August 4, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack on Saturday on community radio station director Indalecio Benítez that resulted in the death of his 12-year-old son.
Mexico City, August 4, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the state congress in Sinaloa to repeal a law passed on Wednesday that would severely restrict the ability of the press to report on crime scenes and criminal investigations. Local congressmen presented a bill on Friday that would repeal the law, according to an official statement. As the congress is in recess, the bill will not be voted upon until August 21, the statement said.
Top African and U.S. leaders are meeting next week in Washington in a first-of-its-kind summit focused on African development. But critics argue the summit is flawed in design, overlooking human rights such as freedom of expression and barring civil society actors from bilateral discussions.
Four years ago, when CPJ launched its Internet Advocacy program, we were met with lots of encouragement, but also some skepticism.
"Why do you need a program to defend the Internet?" one supporter asked. "You don't have a special program to defend television, or radio, or newspapers."
But the Internet is different. Increasingly, when it comes to global news and information the Internet is not a platform. It is the platform.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New York, May 29, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Trinidadian authorities to ensure the safety of a local journalist who fled the country after learning of a plot against his life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unsolved Murders: 100
Population: 32.6 million
Unsolved Murders: 26
Population: 10.2 million
Unsolved Murders: 51
Population: 96.7 million
Unsolved Murders: 9
Population: 20.3 million
Unsolved Murders: 7
Population: 22.4 million
Unsolved Murders: 5
Population: 29.8 million
Unsolved Murders: 16
Population: 120.8 million
Unsolved Murders: 6
Population: 47.7 million
Unsolved Murders: 22
Population: 179.2 million
Unsolved Murders: 14
Population: 143.5 million
Unsolved Murders: 9
Population: 198.7 million
Unsolved Murders: 5
Population: 168.8 million
Unsolved Murders: 7
Population: 1,237 million
Rudy Huallpa Cayo, a journalist with local television station Telecultura 7, lost his left eye after being hit by a rubber bullet while covering a protest on April 1, 2014, in the province of Melgar, according to news reports.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The scope of the National Security Agency's digital surveillance raises doubts about the U.S. commitment to freedom of expression online. By Joel Simon
Economists and political scientists acknowledge that journalism is vital to development and democracy. By Robert Mahoney
Governments' capacity to store transactional data and the content of communications poses a unique threat to journalism in the digital age. By Geoffrey King
Eliminating witnesses has become an all too easy and eff ective method of stymying justice when journalists are assassinated. By Elisabeth Witchel
Calls for journalists to exercise a sense of responsibility are very often code for censorship. Yet unethical journalism can also imperil the press. By Jean-Paul Marthoz
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
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.
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
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
The inability to solve journalist murders in Arauca feeds an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation for the media there. By John Otis
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New York, February 5, 2014--Armed assailants today abducted Mexican crime beat reporter Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz in the town of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz state, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the kidnappers to release him immediately.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.