Asia

2010

Blog   |   Indonesia

Indonesian Playboy editor held in high-security prison

Arnada outside an earlier court hearing. (Reuters/Crack Palinggi) Erwin Arnada turned himself in to authorities at Cipinang prison in East Jakarta on October 9 to start serving a two-year sentence for public indecency. His conviction stemmed from pictures he published in a 2006 issue of the now-defunct Indonesian edition of Playboy magazine. On September 30, CPJ called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Supreme Court Chief Justice Harifin Tumpa to allow Arnada to remain free while the Court heard his appeal.

October 15, 2010 2:46 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Communist Party elders urge end to China's censorship

Twenty-three senior Communist Party members have published a letter calling for sweeping reforms of China's media censorship policies. "Our core demand is that the system of censorship be dismantled in favor of a system of legal responsibility," the letter said, according to an English translation by Hong Kong University's China Media Project. Widely distributed by e-mail and posted on the Sina news portal, the letter started appearing on Monday, according to news reports. Titled "Concerning the Current State of Freedom of Speech and Press in Our Country," the letter is signed in large part by retired party elders, many of whom held ranking positions in the media.

October 13, 2010 3:56 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, UK

As with Norgrove, a need to probe Munadi death

A photo of Sultan Mohammed Munadi at a 2009 prayer service for him. (AP/Musadeq Sadeq)

This morning, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that British aid worker Linda Norgrove, who died in a rescue attempt after she was taken hostage in Afghanistan, may have been killed by a U.S. grenade rather than by her Taliban captors, as originally reported.

Alerts   |   China

China seeks to block news of Liu's Nobel

Reuters

New York, October 8, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Chinese government to end its pointless attempts to block the news by blacking out domestic and foreign media coverage of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's announcement awarding jailed human rights activist Liu Xiaobo the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

According to foreign news agencies' reports from China, news of the award is almost non-existent in China's media and has been blacked out from international news broadcasts on the BBC and CNN. 

October 8, 2010 3:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   Japan

The high price of writing about the Japanese mafia

"In life, we only encounter the injustices we were meant to correct."
-Igari Toshiro, ex-prosecutor, leading lawyer in the anti-organized crime movement in Japan (1949-2010)

Igari Toshiro was my lawyer, my mentor, and my friend. In the sixteen years I've been covering organized crime in Japan, I've never met anyone more courageous or inspiring--or anyone who looked as much like a pit-bull in human form.

October 8, 2010 11:05 AM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Internet

Using new Internet filters, Afghanistan blocks news site

The news website Benawa has been blocked in Afghanistan. (AP) Until recently, Afghanistan's Internet has been notably free of government censorship. That stems largely from the limited impact and visibility of the Net domestically: The Taliban banned the Internet during its rule, and despite a recent boom in use, the nation has only a million users out of a population of about 29 million. But the Afghan government finally got around to imposing national filters in June, when the Ministry of Communications instructed local ISPs to blacklist websites that promote alcohol, gambling, and pornography, or ones that provide dating and social networking services.

October 6, 2010 6:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Umar Cheema challenges Pakistani intelligence officials

I've been closely following the aftermath of Umar Cheema's abduction on September 4 and 5, thanks largely to regular updates from Cheema himself. He messaged Thursday with news of what has happened since I posted about him on September 16.

October 5, 2010 2:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

For Pakistani journalists, flood coverage poses challenges

Pakistani residents stand on their property which is surrounded by flood waters in Sindh province. (AP)

As most of the nation lay paralyzed and submerged in flood water, Pakistani journalists traveled in four-wheel drives and rickety boats to bring tidings from some of the hardest hit areas of the country. The Pakistani Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) compiled a list of journalists directly affected by the flood, many of whom had had their homes washed away, while journalists who were still on their feet faced a host of other challenges. 

October 5, 2010 1:53 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Vietnam

Internet blotter

  • The International Telecommunications Union starts its plenipotentiary meeting this week. Some worry that some nations will use their position at the ITU to attempt to grab more control over how the Internet works.
  • RSF covers the Burmese DDOS attacks. I've heard some really fascinating detective work on the real origins of these attacks - hope it gets published soon.
  • Viet Nam's state-owned media launches its own competitor to Facebook. The WSJ says you need to enter their government-issued identity onto the site before they can join.
  • Does the popular Chinese IM client scan personal data? The company's explanation, that it's performing an anti-virus check makes some sense, but somebody needs to look a lot closer.
October 5, 2010 11:48 AM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, Internet

Wordpress: Helping journalists under cyber-attack

Blog hosting site Wordpress.com have just announced a great new feature which is also a simple way that hosting companies can help journalists under attack online. The blogging hosting site now lets you automatically redirect your old Wordpress web address to wherever you move to when you switch blog hosting services. When your readers come to the old site, they get automatically forwarded to your new address. Wordpress.com uses a technique that lets Google and other search engines know you've moved too.

That's not just a good customer relations exercise: it's a vital tool for journalists who have to switch services in a hurry -- not because they want to, but because they're under attack from hackers. In cases like that, it's the hosting service who often "encourages" them to move on before they bring down the rest of their customers.

Controversial news sites, like Russian investigative magazine Novaya Gazeta or, most recently, much of Burma's independent media-in-exile, can get taken off the Net with malicious distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks.

It's not only the targeted web site that gets blown offline by a DDOS. If it's on a shared server, all those other sites may be taken down too. And if the hosting service the news site uses pays for bandwidth, they could be saddled with a huge bill which no-one will be able to pay.

It's not surprising then that many hosting services would rather a controversial website leave than continue to cost them money and threaten their service to other clients.

I wish more big hosts would stand by their customers, but I understand why sometimes they can't. Making the passage when a customer moves onto another, more resilient web hsot, is not something that any company has to do for their clients, and it's not something that all hosts think about. But when you're dealing with independent media that may have to find a new home in a hurry, features like redirects can make all the difference between news sites that keep their readers during a DDOS, and those who lose them forever.

October 5, 2010 11:46 AM ET

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