Asia

2010


Alerts   |   China

Chinese reporter dies 10 days after being beaten

New York, December 28, 2010--The death of Sun Hongjie, a senior reporter at the Northern Xinjiang Morning Post, must be fully investigated by regional authorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and by central authorities in Beijing, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Sun died in a hospital in Kuitun today, 10 days after being beaten by several men at a construction site, international news reports said. 

December 28, 2010 1:19 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Eknelygoda disappearance devastates Sri Lankan family

Sandhya Eknelygoda and sons Sanjay and Harith. (CPJ)

Prageeth Eknelygoda has been missing since January 24 of this year. He was a political cartoonist and columnist for Lanka eNews, a website whose editor, Sandaruwan Senadheera, was forced into exile. In Sri Lanka's highly partisan media climate, Lanka eNews backed the wrong presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, who not only lost but was jailed on politicized fraud charges. 

December 27, 2010 3:34 PM ET

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Alerts   |   China

CPJ skeptical of official line on Chinese reporter's beating

New York, December 22, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the vicious beating of reporter Sun Hongjie and doubts official reports that the attack occurred because of an online dispute with a social media acquaintance. Sun, a reporter for the Northern Xinjiang Morning Post (known locally at the Beijiang Morning Post) was attacked by a group of six people after he had gone to meet a source at a construction site in the small city of Kuitin on Saturday night, according to international news reports. He was discovered at the site on Sunday morning. The state news agency, Xinhua, has reported that he is brain-dead.
December 22, 2010 3:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Russia, Sweden, Tunisia

Protecting yourself from denial-of-service attacks

It's my second link to a report by Hal Roberts (and others at the Berkman Center) in as many days, but I worry that this this detailed document on denial-of-service (DOS) and hacking attacks on independent media and human rights groups might get missed in the holiday season.

The news headlines in the last few weeks have been full of stories of how DOS attacks can bring down even high-profile websites, often with relatively little technical expertise on behalf of the attackers. Such attacks are nothing new to online journalists across the world, however. Just this year, CPJ has dealt with cases of independent news sites being taken offline by remote Internet attacks in China, Burma, Vietnam, Russia, Kazakhstan, and now Belarus.

The Berkman Center's report details over three hundred other cases from 1998 onwards, from Sweden to North Korea. More important, the researchers interviewed the victims of these attacks, and categorized what defenses were practical and effective -- and what did not work.

If you're an online journalist with powerful opponents, I'd strongly encourage you to read this document and pass it along to your tech-savvy associates. Even a small amount of preparation can help keep vital news and opinion available online when you -- and your readers -- most need it.

December 21, 2010 3:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belarus, Brazil, Greece, Internet, Iraq, Pakistan, Rwanda

Six stories: Online journalists killed in 2010

Greek blogger Giolias (AP)

This week, CPJ published its year-end analysis of work-related fatalities among journalists. Six of the 42 victims worked online. While you can read the full statistics and our special report elsewhere, I want to highlight the stories of these six journalists who worked on the Web.

Alerts   |   Indonesia

Indonesian editor dead under suspicious circumstances

New York, December 17, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists joins with Indonesian journalist groups in calling for a full and vigorous investigation into the death of an editor on Kisar, one of the eastern Maluku Islands. Alfrets Mirulewan, chief editor of the Pelangi Weekly, was found with bruises on much of his body at 3 a.m. today, according to Indonesian media reports. He had been missing since Tuesday night.

December 17, 2010 2:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Movement in Umar Cheema's case 'frustratingly slow'

Umar Cheema

On Wednesday, we identified Pakistan as the country where the most journalists--eight--have been killed for their work in the past year. Six of them were on the job when they were killed in crossfire or a suicide bombing. Two others were assassinated.

I've been posting reports on one journalist--Umar Cheema--who wasn't killed, but whose case represents the other ugly reality, that the killings and abductions of journalists go uninvestigated in Pakistan. We rank Pakistan as 10th worst in the world when it comes to investigating journalists' deaths. The other pieces on Cheema can be found here.

December 16, 2010 2:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

How to show support for Liu Xiaobo...in China

Southern Metropolis Daily's front page.

Although China continues to censor references to imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo's Nobel peace prize in the news and online, some have been finding creative ways to express support for him. An outspoken newspaper published a front-page picture featuring empty chairs on Sunday, in what appears to be a covert reference to the seat left vacant for Liu during Friday's ceremony in Oslo. 

December 15, 2010 10:46 AM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, Thailand, Yemen

As bombings spread, Pakistan deadliest nation

At least 42 journalists are killed in 2010 as two trends emerge. Suicide attacks and violent street protests cause an unusually high proportion of deaths. And online journalists are increasingly prominent among the victims. A CPJ special report

A December suicide attack in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal district claimed the lives of two journalists. (Reuters/Umar Qayyum)

Blog   |   Pakistan

In Pakistan, local news has global, dangerous implications

As CPJ reports today, eight of the 42 journalists killed this year were on the job in Pakistan. It's accurate to say the Pakistani victims were like most journalists killed worldwide: They were local journalists covering stories in their communities. But with Pakistan's political and sectarian unrest aggravated by a decade-long war in neighboring Afghanistan, these journalists are covering a local story of global significance. 

December 15, 2010 12:00 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Japan, Thailand

Reuters: Thailand says troops may have killed journalist

Reuters
New York, December 10, 2010--Investigators in Thailand now believe that troops may have been responsible for the shooting death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto, at left, on April 10, according to a leaked preliminary state probe by Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Reuters reported from Bangkok today.

Thai government investigators said in the report that the death of Muramoto, a 43-year-old Japanese national based in Tokyo, "was caused by a high-velocity bullet as gunfire flashed from the direction of soldiers." Thailand's government has not released the report into Muramoto's death despite intense diplomatic pressure from Japan.
December 10, 2010 1:28 PM ET

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Reports   |   Multimedia, Sri Lanka

Video: Shining Light on a Dark Prison Cell



In this video companion to CPJ's 2010 census of imprisoned journalists, Sri Lankan columnist J.S. Tissainayagam describes his own time in prison and how international advocacy can make a difference in winning the freedom of jailed reporters, editors, photojournalists, and bloggers. (4:09)

Read the special report "Iran, China drive prison tally to 14-year high" and view our database of journalists in prison.

December 8, 2010 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Internet, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Fighting bogus piracy raids, Microsoft issues new licenses

CPJ has documented for several years the use of spurious anti-piracy raids to shut down and intimidate media organizations in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Offices have been shut down, and computers seized. Often, security agents make bogus claims to be representing or acting on behalf of the U.S. software company Microsoft.

December 7, 2010 3:10 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cambodia

Cambodia must ensure release of Japanese photographer

New York, December 6, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the government of Cambodia to ensure the release of Japanese photographer Go Takayama. According to the English-language Phnom Penh Post and the online magazine for the National Press Photographers Association, Takayama was arrested on November 23 after photographing a married couple inside a home. Undercover police detained him and he was eventually charged with "producing pornography for the purpose of distributing pornographic content," the Post reported.
December 6, 2010 1:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Thailand, UK, USA, Venezuela

Internet Blotter

December 1, 2010 4:51 PM ET

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Reports   |   Multimedia, Philippines

Video Report: In pursuit of justice


A year after the massacre in Maguindanao province, a faltering Philippine legal system struggles to bring justice. From the murder scene in Ampatuan to the presidential palace in Manila, a CPJ delegation travels the country to examine the shocking attack and the many obstacles to winning convictions. Family members, justice officials, and political leaders talk about the challenges in this video, which premiered at the 2010 CPJ International Press Freedom Awards.  

Read CPJ's special report, "Impunity on trial in the Philippines."

November 24, 2010 12:53 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

CPJ's Press Freedom Awards remember Maguindanao

Members of CPJ's delegation to the Philippines can be seen here in a video still on the killing grounds where 57 people lost their lives in the Maguindano massacre.
November 23 marked both an evening of celebration of the courageous and remembrance of the slain: CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards fell on the exact one-year anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines, the deadliest attack on the press ever recorded in CPJ history.
November 24, 2010 12:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Marking Maguindanao, events for reflection, justice

Tuesday is the anniversary of the deadliest attack on the press ever recorded by CPJ. On November 23, 2009, 32 journalists and media workers were shot and killed in a massacre of 57 people in Ampatuan, in the southern province of Maguindanao. The victims were part of a convoy accompanying the supporters and relatives of a local politician filing candidacy papers in the provincial govenrnor's race. 

November 22, 2010 4:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan

How to support injured photojournalist Joao Silva

AP

New York Times photojournalist Joao Silva lost both his legs when he stepped on an anti-personnel mine in Afghanistan on October 23. "Those of you who know João will not be surprised to learn that throughout this ordeal he continued to shoot pictures," wrote New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller in a memo to staff.

One of two surviving members of the Bang-Bang Club, a group of photographers who covered the unrest in South Africa in the 1990s, Silva, 44, has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, southern Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East. He is a father to two young children, Isabel and Gabriel.

November 18, 2010 11:10 AM ET

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Blog   |   North Korea

News with a genuine North Korea dateline

A book named Rimjin-gang--News from Inside North Korea just became available. It's a compilation of years of reporting by a group of about 12 North Koreans using video and still cameras to record everyday life in North Korea. The title comes from the Rimjin River (Imjin in English), which forms part of the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. Japanese and Korean readers have been able to read the Rimjin-gang magazine since 2007.  

Ishimaru Jiro, Rimjingang's editor and publisher, is the driving force behind organizing a group of North Koreans, to whom he gave video and still cameras. He works with Asia Press, a cooperative started in Japan in 1987 to foster independent journalism in Asia.
November 15, 2010 2:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet

Chinese hackers targeting human rights news sites

Nart Villeneuve has published a detailed summary of recent malware attacks on media and human rights groups who work on Chinese issues. He highlights a disturbing new trend. On Wednesday, Amnesty Hong Kong's website was repurposed by hackers to infect visitors with a wide variety of nasty malware. The Nobel Prize's website was also defaced earlier this month, for the same ends.

As with the e-mailed Nobel invite malware CPJ described earlier this week, these attacks target one vulnerable member of the dissident community, then use that person's own communications to infect others.

If you're an organization whose audience in China is of interest to the authorities, please take extra care with the security of your website. As Villeneuve says, even if this spate of attacks ebbs, attacking online news sites to spread targeted spyware is a trend that is bound to continue.

November 12, 2010 1:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Thailand

Internet Blotter

November 11, 2010 10:10 AM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet

That Nobel invite? Mr. Malware sent it

The Nobel Committee, as it turns out, didn't invite the author. A Nobel is going to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. (Reuters/Kin Cheung)This weekend, staff at CPJ received a personal invitation to attend the Oslo awards ceremony for Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. The invite, curiously, was in the form of an Adobe PDF document. We didn't accept. We didn't even open the e-mail. We did, however, begin analyzing the document to see was really inside that attachment, and what it was planning to do to our staff's computers.

November 10, 2010 9:16 AM ET

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Reports   |   Philippines

Impunity on trial in the Philippines

The prosecution of dozens of defendants in the 2009 Maguindanao murders is testing a faltering judicial system in the Philippines. Bribes, intimidation, attacks, and flawed detective work already threaten to undermine the government’s case. Will this massacre go unpunished? A CPJ special report by Shawn W. Crispin

Reporter Aquiles Zonio at the site of the Maguindanao massacre. (CPJ/María Salazar-Ferro)

Reports   |   Multimedia, Philippines

Audio report: Impunity on trial in the Philippines




In our special report, "Impunity on trial in the Philippines," CPJ examines the troubled prosecution of defendants in the 2009 massacre of more than 30 journalists and media support workers in Maguindanao province. Among other problems, CPJ found that local investigators mishandled forensic evidence and failed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Listen to the mp3 on the player above, or right click here to download. (2:44)

Read CPJ's special report, "Impunity on trial in the Philippines."

November 10, 2010 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Journalist Assistance, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Russia, Uganda

Help journalists in need: An appeal

Beketov must be transported to trial in an ambulance while his attackers walk free. (Foundation in Support of Mikhail Beketov)

Mikhail Beketov is lucky to be alive, although I'm sure there are days when he doesn't think so. On November 13, 2008, the environmental reporter who campaigned against a highway that would have destroyed a forest in Khimki, a town outside Moscow, was beaten nearly to death by men with metal bars. The attackers made a special effort to destroy his hands and left him to die in the November cold. He would have if neighbors had not noticed him and called the police 24 hours after the attack.

Alerts   |   Burma, Japan

Japanese journalist held by Burmese government

New York, November 8, 2010--Burma must immediately release Toru Yamaji, a reporter with Tokyo-based APF news agency, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Yamaji, 49, was detained Sunday in Myawaddy, on the country's eastern border with Thailand while trying to cover the country's first elections in two decades, according to international media reports, which quoted Japan's embassy in Rangoon. He was flown to the capital after being detained, the embassy was reported as saying.

November 8, 2010 3:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Lugar: Umar Cheema case a 'bellwether' for Pakistan

Gilani, right, with U.S. special representative Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in July. (Reuters)

Sen. Richard Lugar, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, wrote to Pakistani Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani on September 22 to express concern about the brutal attack on Umar Cheema. The journalist was abducted on the weekend of September 4-5 by men in black commando-style uniforms, who beat and humiliated him. It's a case I've written about repeatedly (you can find links here, here, here, here, here, and here). But the prime minister has not yet responded to Lugar's letter, which was delivered through the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

November 8, 2010 1:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Remembering Philippine prosecutor Leo Dacera

CMFR

Leo Dacera, a senior state prosecutor and head of the witness protection program for the Philippine Department of Justice, died suddenly on November 4. Initial news reports said Dacera, 54, left, was the victim of an apparent heart attack. Dacera's untimely death is a tremendous blow to all those seeking to end the culture of impunity in Philippine journalist murders. 

Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Peru, Turkey

Internet Blotter

November 4, 2010 4:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Remembering Pakistan's bad old days of November 2007

Pakistani journalists pushed back against Musharraf's clampdown on the media in 2007. (AP)

November 3, 2007, was a dark day in the history of Pakistan's media. Former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf banned all private news channels, and some entertainment and sports channels, through an "oral order." He said he made the move to stop "irresponsible journalism." Many of the staff in the president's office who dealt with the media were unaware of his decision; intelligence agencies were used to tell the cable operators to pull the channels off air. Media reacted strongly. After 80 days of struggle, jailings, and legal battles, including sedition cases brought against some journalists, the government backed down from its decision and allowed the channels back on air.  

Blog   |   Indonesia

Playboy Indonesia editor speaks out from jail

Arnada (Reuters)

Although I refuse to say that I am guilty for violating criminal law for publishing Indonesia Playboy magazine, it never crossed my mind to run away or to try to avoid the two-year prison sentence handed down to me by the Supreme Court. I am a good citizen who respects the law in Indonesia.

On Saturday, October 9, 2010, I went to Jakarta with my lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, to be taken into custody and to begin my sentence. This was in compliance with an agreement made between my lawyer and the prosecution, according to which I was to be taken to the prosecutor's office that afternoon by Lubis and the Press Council.

November 2, 2010 1:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, Internet

The Burmese Internet on the eve of election

Supporters of independent candidate Yan Kyaw attend a campaign rally earlier this month in Yangon for Myanmar's upcoming general elections. (Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun)

Burma tops CPJ's "10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger." With the scheduled general election in the country approaching, there have been reports of growing interference with both local and exiled journalists. As Burma enters the final stretch of the campaign, CPJ's senior South East Asia representative, Shawn Crispin, give me a brief summary of the online situation:

It does appear that the authorities are deliberately slowing down Internet connections to make it more difficult for journalists to file images and video over the Internet ahead of the upcoming elections.

One foreign reporter I was in touch said she has had increasing difficulty sending photographs out of the country from Rangoon-based Internet cafes. She said there are concerns among local reporters that the regime may shut down the Internet altogether during the actual elections.

Burma's military junta learned lessons from the 2007 Saffron Revolution, when many undercover reporters sent images and videos over the Internet to international and exile-run news organizations. You'll recall then authorities shut down the Internet ahead of the army's armed assault on protestors.

Since then, the authorities have increasingly used the vague and harsh Electronics Act, which broadly bans the unauthorized use of electronic media, including the Internet, to send information outside of the country, to suppress and intimidate reporters who work undercover for foreign or exile run news organizations.

Three Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reporters have recently received harsh prison sentences on charges related to the Electronics Act. Another two await a court verdict in a a case they were charged under the same Act, among others. This is clearly meant to send a signal to reporters that they risk long jail sentences if they send materials over the Internet, including critical news about the upcoming election.

October 28, 2010 11:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Naming names in a Pakistan abduction case

CPJ has always been careful to avoid making accusations when journalists are abducted or killed in Pakistan. Our tactic is to call for full investigations either by the police, the courts or special investigative bodies. In many such cases, the local journalists' community blames government security agencies, including the powerful Inter Services Intelligence group (ISI), as we noted a few days ago in an alert. Umar Cheema, who was abducted and humiliated over the weekend of September 4 and 5 near Islamabad, has specifically accused the ISI of being involved in his case and has stuck with those accusations.

October 28, 2010 4:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Vietnam

Another blogger arrested in Vietnam crackdown

Bangkok, October 28, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrest and detention of Vietnamese blogger Le Nguyen Huong Tra. Her arrest is the latest episode in a mounting crackdown on bloggers leading up to a crucial Communist Party congress scheduled for January 2011.

Blog   |   Indonesia

Arnada's Supreme Court appeal continues in Indonesia

Indonesian Playboy editor Erwin Arnada is appealing his conviction and two-year jail sentence. (AP)

Here's a quick update on the Indonesian Supreme Court's ongoing hearing to review its decision to sentence Playboy Indonesia editor Erwin Arnada to two years in jail for "public indecency." It's a case I've been following closely, because the outcome is an indicator of which direction Indonesia will be moving in the coming years -- toward or away from more media freedom. On September 30, CPJ wrote to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about the case.

October 28, 2010 12:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet, Tajikistan, Thailand

Internet Blotter

October 27, 2010 5:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, France

Marking the 300th day of French journalists' captivity

'Free the hostages!' is the rallying cry for those seeking the release of Hervé Ghesquière, left, and Stéphane Taponier, who were kidnapped in Afghanistan. (AFP/Michel Gangne)

Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier, two journalists from the public television channel France 3, along with their Afghan translator, Mohamed Reza, and two assistants, Ghulam and Satar, have been held hostage for 300 days in Afghanistan.

Blog   |   Internet

Protecting journalists from Firesheep

Wifi users at a McDonald's in Manhattan. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)

There's been a great deal of coverage in the last day or so of Firesheep, a plugin for Firefox that lets you take over the Facebook and Twitter accounts of others on your local network. If you use Firesheep, you can pick one of the people on, say, the same open wireless at your nearby cafe, and then easily view, delete, and add comments using their name on these sites.

October 26, 2010 9:34 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Pakistan

Journalists in Pakistan remain under threat

New York, October 25, 2010--Pakistan must take immediate steps to rein in police and government agencies that threaten reporters. Two cases in recent days--those of journalists Hafiz Imran and Umar Cheema--demonstrate how reporting on stories that are critical of the authorities can bring officials' wrath down on reporters.

Blog   |   India, Internet, Russia, South Korea, UK

Internet blotter

October 22, 2010 4:18 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, India, Internet, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE

Use your Blackberry to map global surveillance

The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab has announced a research project to analyze the global infrastructure of Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry. It's looking for BlackBerry users from any country to take part--especially those in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Russia and China.

All of these countries have at some point demanded that RIM make their BlackBerry network more surveillance-friendly. Some have threatened to ban BlackBerry services outright if their demands are not met. Other reports suggest that RIM has made concessions to some of these countries' demands.

One possible concession RIM might make is to move its Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) servers to locations within those countries' jurisdictions. BIS servers are the bridges between the internal BlackBerry network and the wider Internet. A locally-hosted BIS server would make it easier for domestic security services to monitor BlackBerry users' general Web traffic.

RIM has kept quiet about what agreements, if any, it has made with any government. Nevertheless, it is theoretically possible to work out the location of these BIS servers externally. If you're a journalist who uses a BlackBerry, all you have to do to help with this project is to visit the RimCheck website using your BlackBerry device and fill out a short form. The site will record the IP address of the machine your request comes from, and will attempt to determine where in the world that server could be located.

The conclusions that the RIM Check project draws from this study will be published when the group has collected enough data. Concrete statistics like this will mean we'll finally be able to see if BlackBerry's send their data exclusively through Canadian servers as some believe or whether RIM has distributed these servers globally--potentially allowing users' unencrypted Net traffic to be as monitorable as that sent through a local Internet service provider.
October 21, 2010 5:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain, Internet, Iran, Thailand, USA

Internet blotter

October 20, 2010 4:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Egypt, Internet, Iran, Pakistan

Internet Blotter

October 19, 2010 2:38 PM ET

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Reports   |   China

In China, a debate on press rights

Chinese journalists are speaking out more often to protest attacks, harassment, and arrests. The discussion of press rights—and the central government’s stance—may foretell the future of broader reforms in China. A CPJ special report by Madeline Earp

Chinese journalists, seen here at a police roadblock, are contesting harassment more publicly. (AP)

Blog   |   CPJ

Asia program now on Facebook, Twitter

Until now, CPJ's Asia program has relied largely on email blasts to get the word out when we post something new on CPJ.org. Today we launched our Facebook and Twitter pages. Like us and follow us for an inside look at the Asia program and quick, timely updates on our alerts and blogs. We also hope you'll take the opportunity to interact with each other on these social networks.

October 18, 2010 2:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China, more calls for media freedom

Premier Wen Jiabao says freedom will be "irresistable" in China, although the government censored his remarks. (AP/Yves Logghe)

Today, members of China's Communist Party Central Committee met in Beijing to open a three-day discussion on the country's next five-year development plan. And while they're unlikely to openly debate a recent letter by 23 senior Party members, which called for sweeping reforms of China's media censorship policies, it will certainly be in the air.

October 15, 2010 4:24 PM ET

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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

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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Letters   |   Indonesia

CPJ asks Indonesian president to intervene in Playboy case

Dear President Yudhoyono: We are greatly concerned about the case of Erwin Arnada, the editor of Indonesia's defunct version of Playboy magazine, who was sentenced to two years in prison for indecency by the Supreme Court. The court tried the case on an appeal from the attorney general's office in July 2009 and some time after that sentenced Arnada to two years in prison for public indecency for publishing purportedly indecent pictures in a 2006 issue of the magazine. The magazine closed in mid-2007 after printing 10 issues.

September 30, 2010 1:04 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Burma

Burma's exile media hit by cyber-attacks

Bangkok, September 27, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by cyber-attacks against three exile-run Burma news outlets, Irrawaddy, Mizzima News, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have shut Irrawaddy's main website while temporarily blocking access to Mizzima's site.

September 27, 2010 2:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Nothing: What Pakistan is doing to find Cheema's abductors

Umar CheemaJust in case you were one of the few people in Pakistan or any other part of the world, for that matter, who thought that the six-hour abduction of Umar Cheema over the weekend of September 4 and 5 in Islamabad was going to be investigated and the culprits--men "dressed in police uniform"--brought to justice, here is a reality check:
September 16, 2010 10:22 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, North Korea, South Korea

Korea Times: Censorship on pro-NK websites tightens

The Korea Times documents the disturbing increase in censorship of writing about North Korea, with the police forcing website operators to remove 42,787 pro-North Korean comments. This may be due to an increase in North Korean government attempts to enter the online debate, but some point to the general anti-Net sentiment of the Lee administration.

Oh Chang-ik, director of the Citizens Solidarity for Human Rights, defined the sudden surge of censorship as "post trauma" of the Lee administration following nationwide candlelight vigils against U.S. beef imports in 2008.

This is one of the risks when "the Internet" is characterized as the medium of choice of one political group over another. Lee's predecessor, Roh Moo-hyun, was seen as the Net-enabled President; the Lee administration has been far more sceptical of online publications, and concerned about their affects on local and international politics. Such an increase in control can't be good for the freedom of the Korean press online.

September 11, 2010 4:40 AM ET

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Blog   |   Thailand

In Thailand, remembering Neil Davis, Bill Latch

Colleagues try to pull NBC soundman Bill Latch to safety during violence in Bangkok 25 years ago. Latch and correspondent Neil Davis died in the unrest. (Reuters)

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) hosted a memorial Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the deaths of NBC cameraman correspondent Neil Davis and soundman Bill Latch. The two journalists were killed by military fire on September 9, 1985, while covering a failed coup attempt in the Thai capital. 

September 10, 2010 2:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Belarus, Iraq, Pakistan

Murder, 'suicide,' crossfire: A week of journalist killings

Today we will report another murder of a journalist. This one was in Argentina. The last one we documented was a couple days ago--Alberto Graves Chakussanga was shot in the back in Angola. These tragedies are part of our daily work at CPJ, but this week was different. There have been eight killings of journalists around the globe since September 3, an unusually high number during my three years as an editor here.
September 10, 2010 12:56 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Indonesia

CPJ urges Indonesia to reverse Playboy editor's conviction

Playboy Indonesia faced harassment and was able publish only 10 issues. (Reuters/Supri)

New York, September 9, 2010---The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about an Indonesian Supreme Court ruling against Erwin Arnada, editor of the now-dormant Playboy Indonesia. Arnada faces up to two years in jail after prosecutors said recently that they would enforce a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that found the magazine's editor guilty of public indecency, according to news reports.

September 9, 2010 4:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

The significance of Umar Cheema's abduction

With all the problems in Pakistan--the flooding in the country that might be the worst ever; the increasingly devastating sectarian and separatist violence that has taken the lives of hundreds of Pakistanis and at least four journalists--focusing on what happened to Umar Cheema, a reporter for The News, might seem almost a sidebar story. But it's not. It's something much larger.
September 9, 2010 4:22 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Pakistan

Men in police uniforms abduct and beat Pakistani journalist

New York, September 8, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Pakistani government to thoroughly investigate the kidnapping and beating of Umar Cheema, a correspondent of the English-language daily The News in Islamabad. Men in police uniforms seized Cheema while he was driving in a suburb of Islamabad on Saturday, according to local and international media reports.
September 8, 2010 12:58 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Afghanistan

TV anchor stabbed to death outside his Kabul home

New York, September 7, 2010--A well-known TV anchor was found stabbed to death outside his home in Kabul on Sunday, according to international news reports. Sayed Hamid Noori worked for the state network Radio Television Afghanistan and was active in the National Union of Afghan Journalists. In 2004, he served as the spokesman for an opponent of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and remained allied with political opposition groups.
September 7, 2010 6:25 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Afghanistan

Kidnapped Japanese freelancer released in Afghanistan

Tsuneoka arrives in Japan on Tuesday. (Reuters/Kyodo)New York, September 7, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the weekend release of Japanese freelance journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka, who spent more than five months in captivity in Afghanistan.

Tsuneoka's kidnappers released him to the Japanese Embassy on Saturday night and he returned to Japan on Monday, according to local and international news reports. He appeared to be in good health and said he had not been mistreated. He went missing during a reporting trip in a Taliban-controlled region of northern Afghanistan in late March.
September 7, 2010 4:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Pakistani union appeals for flood-affected journalists

A mother and her daughter stand in flood waters in Badin district, northeast of Karachi (AP /Pervez Anjum)
The Pakistani Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) is appealing to the international community, media workers, and human rights organizations to support journalists affected by the worst flooding in Pakistan's history. PFUJ has compiles a list of some 230 affected journalists, citing at least 213 who have had their homes washed away in the floodwaters, and journalist Asma Anwar of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, who lost her life.
September 7, 2010 11:16 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Malaysia

Malaysia power firm can't take joke, prosecutes blogger

The Malaysian power company took this blog seriously.

New York, September 2, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Kuala Lumpur to drop a criminal charge against blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman. He was charged today with "intent to hurt" in connection with a satirical entry on his blog, nose4news, that made fun of Malaysia's state-run power company Tenaga, news accounts said.

September 2, 2010 2:15 PM ET

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Blog   |   Canada, India, India, Internet, Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA

What should journalists know about BlackBerry fights?

A Blackberry logo is prominently displayed in Ahmadabad, India. (AP)

The discussions between Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, and governments such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and India continue to hit the headlines. In each case, disagreements center on providing customer communications to security and law enforcement services. The rumblings from these nations over monitoring powers aren't just limited to RIM: India has announced its intention to put the same pressure on Google (for Gmail), and Skype (for its IM and telephony services).

September 1, 2010 5:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet

Global Voices Advocacy: Great Firewall of China Upgrade?

Oiwan Lam reports widespread disruption for users of Freegate, the popular circumvention software in China:

According to the RFA report, users from several provinces across the country have encountered similar problem and they believe that it is due to the upgrade of Great Fire Wall. Apart from the Freegate, when running UltraSurf and FreeU the same error message appeared.

Freegrate appears to have quickly adapted. It's hard to tell from the descriptions, but it may be a wider set of Freegate relay servers (and other censorship circumvention software) was blocked.

Circumvention software works by using a not-well-known computer to send your data to, in a format that you hope the blocking authority won't be able to decode. The vulnerability is always that identity of that relay will be discovered, and all traffic, no matter how innocuous looking, will be blocked.

One other possibility is the GFW can now recognise the particular patterns of data sent by these circumventions systems. Or it could be just a temporary glitch, unrelated to such cleverness. Such is the nature of the Internet weather.

Whatever it was, Freegate fixed it with a software update, and I bet those other services were right on it, also.

August 31, 2010 5:45 AM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Despite fatal shootout, Philippines officials meet with CPJ

President Aquino, here with his cabinet at Malacañang Palace, has frankly addressed issues like impunity and journalists' rights. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco)
About 18 hours after eight hostages and the gunmen holding them in a tourist bus were killed in a shootout with police in the heart of Manila, officials broke away from the demands of the moment to meet with a CPJ delegation in the president's offices at Malacañang Palace. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was also scheduled to attend, but she was laid up in the hospital, suffering from pneumonia and exhaustion. With the ugly resolution of the hostage situation--it happened less than a mile from Malacañang--President Benigno Aquino understandably had pressing matters to attend to. 

August 24, 2010 10:55 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Philippines

CPJ meets Philippine officials, urges anti-impunity policies

Manila, August 24, 2010--Nine months after the killing of 32 journalists and media workers in the southern Philippines, a delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists met today with justice officials in Manila and called on the government of President Benigno Aquino to address pervasive impunity in the recurring murders of journalists in the country. 

August 24, 2010 10:45 AM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

From grief of Maguindanao, a 'family' emerges

Families at the graves of Maguindanao victims. (Aquiles Zonio)

Today marks nine months since the Maguindanao massacre, the deadliest event for the press that CPJ has ever recorded.  On November 23, 2009, at 10 a.m., a convoy traveling to the provincial capital of Shariff Aquak to file gubernatorial candidacy papers stopped at what appeared to be a routine military checkpoint. Hours later, authorities would find the bodies of 57 people, among them 32 journalists and media workers, who had been executed and their bodies dumped 3 kilometers from the main road.

Blog   |   Philippines

'Litmus test' begins in Maguindanao prosecution

Defendant Andal Ampatuan Jr. (AFP)

A judge's decision today to set a September 1 trial date for several defendants in the Maguindanao massacre highlights a positive development in what has been a very ugly story. The judge appeared determined to move the case forward and, for now, seemed able to keep the large legal teams in line. 

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Justice Jocelyn Solis-Reyes needed only 45 minutes to set a no-nonsense tone for a case that is going to be closely watched in the Philippines and around the world. Recently elected President Benigno Aquino and his justice secretary, Leila de Lima, have made it clear that they grasp the importance of building a dynamic legal system to match their aspirations for national growth. De Lima has been calling the Maguindanao trial a "litmus test" for a Philippines judicial system that has been known for extended delays and pervasive conflict of interest.

August 17, 2010 2:31 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Philippines

Trial date set in Philippines massacre of 57

Manila, August 17, 2010--The opening trial date for 17 men accused of murder and other crimes in the killing of 57 people--32 of them journalists or media workers--in southern Philippines in November 2009 has been set for September 1. Quezon City Regional Trial Court Justice Jocelyn Solis-Reyes set the date in a pre-trial hearing in the Manila suburb of Taguig City, in a secure courtroom at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
August 17, 2010 1:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet

China Media Project - Microblogs are crucial in China

Hu Yong's writes on the rise of microblogs (like Twitter, which is blocked) on the Chinese Internet.

Recently, when a newspaper reporter exposed related-party transactions by a listed company, local police authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. Tens of thousands of microblog posts were sent out about this incident. Users expressed their views and revealed the immense appetite the Chinese people have for participation in news events. The incident ended with the withdrawal of the arrest warrant by the police.

Also, it appears "beta" in China can also mean "have been approached by the authorities to remove features". Four microblogging services suddenly slapped a "beta" label on their websites and turned off search after a government-led crackdown.

August 12, 2010 4:30 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Pakistan

Pakistani TV stations remain off the air during floods

New York, August 10, 2010--Pakistan's major news broadcasters ARY TV and GEO TV are off the air in Karachi and Sindh province for a third day since supporters of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of President Asif Ali Zardari have reportedly severed cable connections of the distributors that carry them. Demonstrations at the offices of the distributors and the stations, sometimes violent, continued today. Originally, the two stations were pulled off the air by the cable companies under pressure from party supporters on Saturday night.
August 10, 2010 6:14 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Pakistan

Amid massive flooding, Pakistan shuts down two stations

Flood victims await rescue in Pakistan's Punjab province today. (Reuters/Adrees Latif)
New York, August 9, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the Pakistani government to allow GEO TV and ARY News stations back on the air. The shutdown, coupled with demonstrations by government supporters outside the cable companies’ facilities Saturday night came soon after the stations aired news about a protester throwing shoes at Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari during a speech in England.

According to ARY News’ correspondent Jamal Khan Baluch: “On Saturday evening in Karachi, the staff of President Zardari called cable operators and ordered them to block ARY News transmissions all over Pakistan. When some cable operators refused to do so they started threatening and sent their armed people to different cable operators’ locations, where they started firing towards their offices and their staff.”
August 9, 2010 4:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain, India, Internet, UAE

Why governments don't need RIM to crack the BlackBerry

The UAE said on Sunday it will block key features on BlackBerrys, citing national security concerns. (AP/Kamran Jebreili, File)

The United Arab Emirates' Telecommunications Regulation Authority (TRA) announced on Sunday that it would be suspending BlackBerry "messenger, e-mail and Web-browsing services" in the country from October 11, until these "applications were in full compliance with UAE regulations." Given the popularity of the BlackBerry platform in the country (an estimated 500,000 users from a population of 4.5 million) one can only assume that we are seeing a form of brinkmanship--with the privacy of e-mails, IMs, and website visits at stake.

August 3, 2010 4:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   India

Attacks on the rise in India’s Orissa state

Everything, it seems, is growing in India. Bucking global trends, India’s media are expanding rapidly, reaching into the hinterlands following a wave of development and growing literacy. Industrial development is expanding, with explosive growth of mining and natural resource extraction. In Orissa state, historically poor and restive, these two trends are colliding, producing a spike in media attacks, according to a new report by journalist Geeta Seshu.

August 3, 2010 9:09 AM ET

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Alerts   |   China

China sets prison terms for 3 Uighur Web managers

New York, August 2, 2010—Three Uighur-language website managers were sentenced Friday to prison terms of three to 10 years after being found guilty under broad charges of “endangering state security.” The men had been jailed after ethnic rioting in July 2009 in Urumqi, capital of the far-western, predominantly Muslim, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

Blog   |   Thailand

In Polenghi case, autopsy shared but more needed

A memorial to Polenghi (Reuters)

Two days before Italian photographer Fabio Polenghi was fatally shot while covering widespread civil unrest in the streets of Bangkok, he posted a short message to his Facebook page: “Every day is a gift, so do your best,” he wrote in a message made more poignant by his death on May 19. 

More than two months later, however, it’s not clear that Thai authorities are doing their best to solve the case and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

August 2, 2010 1:59 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Sri Lanka

Voice of Asia Network torched in Sri Lanka

New York, July 30, 2010—Two employees were injured in an arson attack today on the offices of the Voice of Asia Network in the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, according to international and local media reports. The fire destroyed the studios of the group’s Siyatha TV station, but the network’s three radio stations have been able to remain on the air.

Alerts   |   Afghanistan, Iran

Afghan MP’s television station pulled off the air

An Afghan MP is accusing President Hamid Karzai, left, of shutting down his TV station under pressure from Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is at right. (AP/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

New York, July 29, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Afghan government to allow privately owned Emroaz TV back on the air, after its owner said it was shut down under pressure from Iran. According to local and international media reports, the station went dark on Tuesday almost immediately after the station's owner, Member of Parliament Najib Kabuli, protested on-air the government’s order to shut the station down. In his address, Kabuli said the Ministry of Information had made a “one-sided decision” under Iran’s influence to silence Emroaz.

July 29, 2010 4:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan

Afghan media push bill to ensure access to information

When we report on Afghanistan, it’s often about something horrific—a deadly explosion, a murder, a kidnapping. But when you ask many Afghan journalists about the biggest challenge they face daily, it’s not danger or harassment that they cite. Although Article 50 of the Afghanistan Constitution guarantees access to public information, journalists say that obtaining such information from the government is their greatest ongoing concern. 

July 29, 2010 3:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan

On Pakistan’s frontier, home is often the cost of reporting

In an alert on Monday, we reported on an attack that left at least six women and children seriously injured at the home of local television journalist Zafarullah Bonari along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. A group of unidentified attackers threw grenades and opened fire on Bonari’s house. The information was scant when we first heard about the attack in a rushed e-mail message from a member of the Bajaur chapter of the Tribal Union of Journalists. 

Alerts   |   China

China sentences Uighur journalist to 15 years

New York, July 26, 2010—The 15-year jail sentence imposed by a Chinese court on Uighur journalist and website manager Gheyrat Niyaz is unjustly harsh and should be overturned immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The fact that Niyaz was convicted under sweeping “endangering state security” charges is an indicator of how far the government will go to silence journalists who speak critically about sensitive issues in the county, CPJ said.
July 26, 2010 2:53 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Eknelygoda's wife wonders if husband is 'no more'

Prageeth Eknelygoda’s wife, Sandhya, at left, has been in close contact with CPJ since his disappearance on the night of January 24, just two days before the hotly contested Sri Lankan presidential elections. She was a primary source for our May investigative report, In Sri Lanka, no peace dividend for press. As we noted in our alert today, she has started to organize prayer vigils at Hindu and Buddhist temples and Christian churches around the country, trying to pressure the government into helping her locate her husband. Although they have had no word from him, she and her two sons, 16 and 13, are convinced Eknelygoda, below, is still alive.

July 23, 2010 3:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan journalist’s disappearance remains unexplained

A poster of Eknelygoda.

New York, July 23, 2010—Six months after the unexplained disappearance of Sri Lankan journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda, the government has refused to offer any assistance or provide answers to his wife, Sandhya. The government’s attitude is a clear indicator of the anti-media polices of President Mahindra Rajapaksa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Eknelygoda, a political reporter and cartoonist for Lanka eNews, disappeared on the night of January 24, two days before the presidential elections that gave the incumbent president a sweeping victory that will keep him power for six more years.

July 23, 2010 3:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, CPJ, Internet

Using https to secure the Web for journalism

From today, you now have an alternative web address to visit the CPJ website. As well as our usual http://cpj.org/ address, you can visit our site securely at https://cpj.org/. We've turned on this feature to help protect our readers who are at risk of surveillance and censorship, and as part of a wider advocacy mission to encourage social networking and media sites to do the same.

July 22, 2010 5:03 PM ET

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Alerts   |   China

Uighur journalist goes on trial in China a year after unrest

New York, July 22, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Chinese government to dismiss charges against Gheyret Niyaz, a Uighur journalist and website manager, and release him from prison. According to the Uyghur American Association (UAA), Niyazi will be tried in Urumqi, the capital of China’s far-western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on July 28.

July 22, 2010 2:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

To combat Philippine impunity, Aquino needs new tactics

Aquino takes the oath of office in Manila. (AP/Bullit Marquez)

It’s too soon to expect a turnaround in the Philippines’ miserable record of attacks on journalists. President Benigno Aquino was sworn in just two weeks ago. The problem of unprosecuted journalist murders—the Philippines ranks third on CPJ’s Impunity Index—is embedded in a political culture of widespread violence and little law enforcement. That hasn’t changed, and here are two cases that illustrate the situation.

July 16, 2010 10:32 AM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Punjab Assembly condemns—then praises—media

Pakistan's spirited press is once again caught up in arms over the latest and most absurd attempt to discredit its voice. On Sunday, various journalist organizations in Larkana, Sindh province, followed in the recent footsteps of their colleagues in LahoreIslamabad, and Karachi and observed a “black day” of protest, according to Pakistan's The News.
July 14, 2010 6:05 PM ET

Blog   |   Pakistan

Pakistan renews effort to restrict coverage of extremists

It’s not the first time the Pakistani government has tried to restrict broadcast coverage of extremist activities—and it probably won’t be the last. On Monday, a legislative committee forwarded a bill to the National Assembly that would restrict coverage “of suicide bombers, terrorists, bodies of victims of terrorism, statements and pronouncements of militants and extremist elements and other acts which, may, in any way, promote, aid or abet terrorists or terrorism.” 

July 1, 2010 5:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Egypt, Haiti, Pakistan, Russia, Security, USA

Global Media Forum cites risks of environmental reporting

Fishermen on the Nile, where chemical dumping has been reported. (AP/Ben Curtis) He's young,
unemployed and carries himself with the innocence of a man who hasn't spent
much time outside his own village. But Egyptian blogger Tamer
Mabrouk
is the real deal. Appearing at an international media conference in Bonn, Mabrouk's description of chemical dumping into a
brackish lagoon on the northern Nile Delta near the Mediterranean Sea was
punctuated by photos of unmistakable filth. He won over the audience when, in
response to a question on how one travels with sensitive material, Tamer deftly
removed a memory card secreted in an electronic device and held it in the air.
That, he said, is where he had carried documents for this trip.

Blog   |   Singapore

CJR: Singapore not so modern on press freedom

Singapore twice fined the Dow Jones-owned Wall Street Journal Asia over its editorials. (AP)Singapore is a rich country with a surprisingly poor press freedom record—so says a story out this week in the Columbia Journalism Review. CPJ’s own findings point to a series of court fines and damages awarded over slights to the country’s government by major international papers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The ruling Lee family protects its image fiercely, and through the court system. Justin D. Martin writes in CJR, “What Singapore’s overseers don’t seem to grasp is that without a press free to monitor power and challenge wrongdoing, even otherwise ‘developed’ countries suffer greatly.” Read the rest of his story here.

June 29, 2010 12:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, USA

Burma campaign hits Grand Central

HRW has curated a photo installation highlighting the plight of Burmese dissidents. (HRW)New York’s Grand Central Station is a gathering point today for people who are coming into town from a little farther away than usual: Burmese dissidents, writers, monks, and musicians are convening to protest the military junta of Senior General Than Shwe. Human Rights Watch has organized a petition and an art and photo installation in Vanderbilt Hall that includes "saffron revolution" monks coming in by train from Utica in the afternoon and closing prayers from the All Burma Monks Alliance at 6 p.m.

Blog   |   China, Internet, Pakistan, Pakistan

In Pakistan, a censor's hand in Facebook, Twitter woes?

Last week, users of Facebook and Twitter in Pakistan began reporting a strange security problem. When they visited those sites, they found they were logged in--but with the accounts and privileges of complete strangers. Private Facebook information and Twitter direct messages belonging to other users were viewable, and the surprised Pakistani users had complete control over these accounts. Soon after the problem was noticed, Facebook and Twitter themselves blocked anyone attempting to log in from Pakistan. Eventually the problem went away.

June 21, 2010 3:22 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela

As dissidents move online, governments fight back

A new show on PBS says the problem with the rise in cyber dissent is that governments like Iran are "pretty good at social media too."Social media and cyber dissidents have exerted a increasing influence on global politics over the last few years—Twitter, for instance, was widely utilized by protesters and journalists during Iran’s 2009 post-election Green Movement, and China has been locked in conflict with Google over allegations of censorship and hacking. “Ideas in Action” with Jim Glassman, a half-hour weekly show on PBS, is airing an episode this weekend called “Cyber Dissidents: How the Internet is Changing Dissent.” Already online, the show details how authoritarian regimes are working hard to quash this rising form of opposition.

Blog   |   Thailand

Thailand responds to CPJ about recent attacks on the press

Thailand's Washington-based embassy issued an official reply to CPJ's June 7 letter addressed to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in which we expressed our concerns about the country's deteriorating security situation for journalists. CPJ's letter highlighted in particular our concerns about two journalists—Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto and freelance photographer Fabio Polenghi—who were killed while covering recent clashes between anti-government protestors and security forces.
June 17, 2010 12:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   India, Iran, Journalist Assistance, Turkey

Living in limbo: The ongoing wait of journalists in exile

A supporter of former presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi holds an anti-Ahmadinejad newspaper during a Tehran rally in June 2009. (Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters)The e-mails started on July 15, 2009, and have continued ever since—pleas for help from Iranian journalists who fled their country often with little money and scarce provisions to northern Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, and a host of other locales around the world. Many lived in hiding throughout Iran for weeks or months before crossing perilous borders when it soon became apparent that their homes and country were no longer safe havens for their return.
June 17, 2010 10:26 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Philippines

Another radio journalist killed in the Philippines

New York, June 16, 2010--Philippine radio commentator Joselito Agustin was fatally shot by two motorcycle riding assailants while heading home from work late Tuesday evening near Baccara town in the northern Philippines, according to local and international news reports. The murder occurred just one day after the murder of radio journalist Desidario Camangyan in southern Mindanao.

June 16, 2010 3:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Equatorial Guinea, Mexico, Syria, Zimbabwe

Cano laureates say no to UNESCO Obiang prize

Cano winner Lydia Cacho signed a letter protesting the prize. (CPJ)Each year, UNESCO honors a courageous international journalist with the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, named in honor of the Colombian editor murdered in 1986 by the Medellín Cartel. The prize is chosen by an independent jury and over the years I've attended several moving ceremonies in which some of the most daring journalists of our generation have been honored. 

Letters   |   Philippines

CPJ seeks justice in murders of Philippine journalists

Dear President-elect Aquino: With your recent election to office, we are looking forward to engaging with your administration on press freedom-related issues in the years ahead. It is our particular hope that you will translate your strong electoral mandate into a firm commitment to end the culture of impunity that has resulted in the extraordinarily high number of media killings in the Philippines.

June 9, 2010 12:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba, Internet, Vietnam, Vietnam

The malware lockdown in Havana and Hanoi

General purpose computers give journalists an incredible amount of power to create, research, and publish their work away from those who may wish to interfere. But such independence requires that the computer itself remain free and uncompromised by software that works against the journalist's own interests. 

June 8, 2010 6:07 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

China’s future online policies look a lot like past plans

The Chinese government estimates the country has 348 million Internet users. (AP)
Monday, in a white paper released by China’s State Council called “The Internet in China,” the government made clear its Internet policies are not changing, stating the obvious: “Laws and regulations clearly prohibit the spread of information that contains content subverting state power, undermining national unity [or] infringing upon national honor and interests.” The State Council is the highest policy-making body in China, and its reports are official state policy. The document has six sections, and a foreword and concluding remarks, but the section “Basic Principles and Practices of Internet Administration” will give you the government’s guidelines for making decisions about everything that will be considered acceptable online.

June 8, 2010 4:13 PM ET

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Letters   |   Thailand

CPJ calls for Thailand to investigate journalist killings

Dear Prime Minister Abhisit: The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns recent violence against journalists in Thailand, including the shooting deaths of two foreign reporters killed while covering news events. We call on your government to launch independent probes into recent attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jordan, Pakistan

Journalists on raided flotilla leaving Israel, speaking out

Firsthand accounts from reporters who were on the flotilla of humanitarian activists raided by Israeli forces on Monday are finally coming out as the journalists are released from custody. These early reports indicate that soldiers harassed international journalists—at least six had their equipment either confiscated or destroyed, according to CPJ interviews and news reports. Media accounts have indicated that 60 journalists or more were aboard the ships; on Tuesday, CPJ independently verified the names and affiliations of 20 journalists who had been taken into custody.

June 2, 2010 6:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, newspaper shut down, editor arrested

New York, June 2, 2010—The Bangladeshi government must fully explain the circumstances that led police to close the Bengali-language, pro-opposition daily Amar Desh based in the capital, Dhaka. Police cited supposed publishing irregularities when they arrested acting editor Mahmudur Rahman early today, news reports said, but the shutdown appears to be politically motivated. 

June 2, 2010 4:40 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Italy, Kuwait, South Africa, Turkey, Venezuela

Israeli forces detain journalists aboard humanitarian flotilla

New York, June 1, 2010--Israel should immediately release the journalists it detained along with hundreds of peace activists on Monday after Israeli forces stormed a convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. According to international news reports and CPJ interviews, Israeli forces arrested at least 20 journalists aboard the humanitarian flotilla; three have since been released.

Alerts   |   Thailand

CPJ seeks investigation into Thai violence against media

New York, May 20, 2010—As details of violence emerge, the Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Thai government today to investigate the deaths of two journalists who were killed while covering the violence that has wracked Bangkok and other parts of Thailand for three months. It is the government’s duty to instruct military forces to be aware of the presence of journalists in a battle area and ensure their safety, CPJ said.

Blog   |   Thailand

Eyewitness accounts: Journalists in Bangkok under fire

Protesters help Nelson Rand after the France 24 journalist was shot during unrest in Bangkok. (Reuters/Adrees Latif)

Firsthand accounts from journalists covering street protests in Bangkok illustrate the severity of the crisis and the danger to the front-line press. At least eight journalists have been shot, two of them fatally, while covering the unrest in the Thai capital, CPJ research shows. On Wednesday, police entered the Buddhist temple Wat Patum, where antigovernment protesters had gathered. The troops opened fire with live ammunition, according to local and foreign media reports. Andrew Buncombe in London-based The Independent picks it up from there:

Alerts   |   Thailand

Italian journalist killed as conditions deteriorate in Thailand

New York, May 19, 2010—Freelance Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi was killed and three international journalists were among dozens of people injured today during clashes in Bangkok, according to international news reports. The fighting followed a military operation to clear an area occupied for six weeks by anti-government protesters. Demonstrators attacked and threatened local media outlets for perceived government bias in the ensuing disorder, while officials ordered that TV stations air only government-issued news bulletins, the reports said.
May 19, 2010 3:42 PM ET

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Reports   |   Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, no peace dividend for press

The end of Sri Lanka’s war with Tamil rebels has not eased repression of independent media. Journalists still face violence, harassment, and detention. Will President Rajapaksa use his victories on the battlefield and in the polling booth to reunite the nation and restore free expression? A CPJ Special Report by Bob Dietz and Robert Mahoney

President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the swearing-in ceremony for his cabinet. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)

Reports   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Jaffna editors navigate minefield

By Robert Mahoney

 

A bullet hole, right, is a reminder that M.V. Kaanamylnathan and his newspaper have faced grave threats. (CPJ/Robert Mahoney) JAFFNA, Sri Lanka
M.V. Kaanamylnathan hasn’t left his office for four years. Sri Lanka’s civil war is over but the editor-in-chief of the Tamil daily Uthayan still thinks it’s unsafe to venture out. He’s become famous among the island’s media community for his self-imposed house arrest. The colonial-era compound housing the editorial offices and printing press are guarded, but not especially tightly, reflecting an easing of tension since the defeat of Tamil secessionists in May 2009. 

May 19, 2010 12:00 AM ET

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Reports   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: A year later, still failing to fight media attacks

By Bob Dietz

No prosecutions have been brought in the Lasantha Wickramatunga murder. (Reuters/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

CPJ’s March 2009 special report, “Failure to Investigate,” addressed three severe attacks on the media in January of that year. CPJ also found a broad pattern in which “top journalists had been killed, attacked, threatened, and harassed since the government began to pursue an all-out military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in late 2006.”

Alerts   |   Canada, France, Thailand

Three journalists shot and wounded in Thai demonstrations

New York, May 14, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the deteriorating security situation for reporters in Thailand as government forces and anti-government protesters exchange fire in the national capital. Three journalists were shot and injured on Friday when security forces and protesters exchanged fire that resulted in at least seven deaths and more than 100 injuries, according to local and international news reports.
May 14, 2010 3:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Local Pakistani reporter’s murder reflects global issue

The murder of a journalist such as Ghulam Rasool Birhamani might tend to be quickly forgotten. After all, he was a local reporter for a small newspaper, the Daily Sindhu Hyderabad, in a country where violence is routine. But hundreds of his fellow journalists turned out on Wednesday for a march to protest his killing and push for justice, Dawn newspaper reported.

May 13, 2010 5:01 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Pakistan

In Pakistan, Sindh journalist’s body found

New York, May 12, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists joins the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in calling for a thorough investigation into the killing of Sindh-based journalist Ghulam Rasool Birhamani. His body was found Monday morning, outside the village of Wahi Pandhi in Sindh province. Both organizations reported that the journalist was kidnapped the evening before his body was discovered.

Alerts   |   Pakistan

Video of abducted journalist in Pakistan seeks swap

Adnkronos International

New York, May 11, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by new demands made by a militant group calling itself the Asian Tigers, the captors of freelance journalist Asad Qureshi, left, who has been held in Pakistan since March 26. In a video sent to the Rome-based news agency Adnkronos International today, the kidnappers insisted that Pakistan release at least 160 Islamic militants in exchange for his freedom, according to international news reports. The journalist is being held in Pakistan’s tribal region near the border with Afghanistan.

May 11, 2010 4:48 PM ET

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Blog   |   India

Free speech in India: Between the bullet, baton, and gavel

Freedom of speech and expression in India is balanced precariously between the ever-present threat of direct, physical attacks from both security forces and social vigilante groups on the one hand, and the reassurance of protection from higher judicial authorities on the other. But the scales seem tipped in favor of the former.

Blog   |   China

China's state secrets law leaves journalists exposed

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress adopted a revised state secrets law on April 29. The changes, which take effect October 1, put greater onus on media and telecommunications companies to defend state secrets and cooperate with authorities investigating alleged violations of the legislation. Chinese commentators point out that while individuals are having to reveal more and more about themselves online, an official culture of concealment allows corruption to flourish unreported.

May 5, 2010 5:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Justice takes twisting turns in Philippines massacre

Andal Ampatuan Jr., a defendant in the killings, is taken to court in Manila. (Reuters/Roi Azure)An apparent injustice has been reversed—Philippines Justice Secretary Alberto Agra refiled murder charges against two key figures in the November 2009 mass killing of journalists and others in Maguindanao. On April 19, we filed an alert expressing our dismay that Agra had dropped murder charges against Zaldy Ampatuan, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and his uncle, Akmad Ampatuan, former mayor of Mamasapano on the southern island of Mindanao. The unilateral call by Agra had overruled the Quezon City Regional Court, which is hearing the Maguindanao massacre case. The charges against four other members of the powerful Ampatuan clan were not dropped.

Blog   |   Afghanistan

Moby Media executive urges global support for Afghan press

Moby Media

Mujahid Kakar, head of news and current affairs for Afghanistan’s Moby Media Group, was at the United Nations on Monday to give a speech on World Press Freedom Day. He stopped by CPJ’s office afterward, and we talked for more than an hour about journalism in Afghanistan. Kakar, left, whose oversight includes the influential Tolo TV, made a string of important points concerning lapses in professionalism, the importance of international support, and the challenges that front-line journalists face from all sides. I’ll bullet-point some of them, and then quote Kakar about what he felt was the most important part of his message:

Blog   |   Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, at least 3 journalists still held captive

French journalists Hervé Ghesquière, left, and Stéphane Taponier, held captive in Afghanistan. (AFP)

On Wednesday, I posted an item about the dangers to journalists in Pakistan, reminding readers that at least two reporters--Canadian freelancer Beverley Giesbrecht, who goes by the name Khadija Abdul Qahaar, and British journalist Asad Qureshi--are being held captive somewhere along the border with Afghanistan. I later received a few e-mail messages reminding me that there are at least three journalists still being held in Afghanistan as well. Here are updates on the Afghan cases:

April 30, 2010 1:55 PM ET

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Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka

Ten Journalist Murder Cases to Solve

CPJ challenges authorities in 10 nations
to bring justice and reverse culture of impunity

Protesters in Manila seek justice in the Maguindanao massacre. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco) New York, April 29, 2010—In the Philippines, political clan members slaughter more than 30 news media workers and dump their bodies in mass graves. In Sri Lanka, a prominent editor who has criticized authorities is so sure of retaliation that he predicts his own murder. In Pakistan, a reporter who embarrassed the government is abducted and slain. In these and hundreds of other journalist killings worldwide, no one has been convicted.

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Multimedia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka

Audio Report: Ten Murder Cases to Solve




In our special report, “Ten Journalist Murder Cases to Solve,” CPJ challenges authorities to solve these news media slayings and reverse the culture of impunity. Here, CPJ's Robert Mahoney explains why each of these cases can be solved if governments demonstrate political will. Listen to the mp3 on the player above, or right click here to download. (2:59)

Read “Getting Away With Murder.”
April 29, 2010 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

An indicator of what comes next for Sri Lanka's media

In Sri Lanka, there is a lull of sorts in outright attacks on the media as the Rajapaksa government takes stock of where it stands, which is in a very strong position: Last May the government declared a final victory in the brutal 30-year conflict with Tamil secessionists. In January, President Mahinda Rajapksa won a convincing victory in the presidential elections, and in April, his United Peoples Freedom Alliance took 144 seats of the 225 member seats in parliamentary elections, with a chance to build a political coalition that will give him the two-thirds majority he needs to begin rewriting the constitution.

April 28, 2010 5:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Taliban threats, abducted journalists in Pakistan

Over the last few days, several papers in Pakistan reported that a Taliban organization in North Waziristan gave a “last warning” to Pakistani media. The story was widely reported, quoting an e-mail message from Muhammad Umar, a “spokesman for the Taliban Media Center,” the papers said. The group is angry about the way it is being portrayed on Pakistani television. The message, sent to many Pakistani media outlets, asked “Why is the media only conveying the army’s point of view? Is this proof that the media is also working as an ally for the government and the army? Or they are being forced to hide the truth?” according to translations in Pakistani English-language papers.

April 28, 2010 3:53 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Colombia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia

Impunity Summit: Solidarity in fighting journalist murders

María Teresa Ronderos and Sergei Sokolov at CPJ's Impunity Summit at Columbia. (CPJ)

Every day at CPJ, we count numbers: 18 journalists killed in Russia since 2000, 32 journalists and media workers slaughtered in the Maguindanao massacre, 88 journalists murdered over the last 10 years in Iraq. But on Tuesday night at CPJ’s Impunity Summit at Columbia University, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon clarified why we were gathered: “At the end of the day, it’s not about numbers,” he said. “It’s about people.”

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

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ’s 2010 Impunity Index spotlights countries
where journalists are slain and killers go free



New York, April 20, 2010—Deadly, unpunished violence against the press has soared in the Philippines and Somalia, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index, a list of countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Impunity in journalist murders also rose significantly in Russia and Mexico, two countries with long records of entrenched, anti-press violence.

Reports   |   Brazil, Colombia, Multimedia, Philippines, Russia

Audio Report: Getting Away With Murder




In our special report, “Getting Away With Murder” CPJ names and shames countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments are unable or unwilling to solve the crimes. Here, María Salazar-Ferro explains CPJ's Impunity Index, detailing what nations are failing and which ones are showing improvement. Listen to the mp3 on the player above, or right click here to download. (2:27) 

April 20, 2010 12:01 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Pakistan

Another Pakistani TV journalist dies in suicide bombing

New York, April 19, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists is saddened by the death of Azamat Ali Bangash, a correspondent for Saama TV. According to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Bangash was killed in an April 17 suicide bombing while covering food distribution in a refugee camp near Orakzai, in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas near the border with Afghanistan. Ali was the second Saama journalists killed in a suicide bombing in two days.

April 19, 2010 4:35 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Philippines

Concern as some charges dropped in Philippines killings

Former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., head of the Ampatuan clan, is a suspect in the Maguindanao massacre, along with his son and four other clan members. (Reuters/Joseph Agcaoili)

New York, April 19, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by the Philippine government’s decision to drop murder charges against Zaldy Ampatuan, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and his uncle, Akmad Ampatuan, former mayor of Mamasapano on the southern island of Mindanao. The move, announced in Manila on Saturday, overruled the Quezon City Regional Court, which is hearing the Maguindanao massacre case. Four other members of the powerful Ampatuan clan continue to face murder charges.

Alerts   |   Pakistan

One cameraman dead, several injured in Quetta bombing

New York, April 16, 2010--At least one Pakistani journalist was killed and others were injured in a suicide bombing at a hospital in Quetta today, according to international news reports. Details are still emerging, and some of the injured are reported to be in critical condition, but Pakistani colleagues tell CPJ that a senior Samaa TV cameraman, Malik Arif, died in the attack. Five other journalists--Noor Elahi Bugti of Samaa TV, Salman Ashraf of Geo TV, Fareed Ahmed of Dunya TV, Khalil Ahmed of Express TV, and Malik Sohail of Aaj TV--were injured.

Alerts   |   Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, concern about journalists held by Taliban

Taponier, left, and Ghesquière. (AFP)
New York, April 14, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the new demands made by a Taliban group that is holding captive two French television journalists, Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier, translator Mohammed Reza, and the group's driver. They were taken in Kapisa province, northeast of Kabul, in December.

April 14, 2010 5:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Thailand, Thailand

In censoring Web, Thailand could worsen crisis

As part of its declaration of emergency, the Thai government last week radically broadened existing Internet censorship powers to prohibit a wide range of speech, including independent commentary and newsgathering. In doing so, it has exacerbated an already fragile political situation and may have permanently weakened Thailand's constitutional protections for press freedom.

April 12, 2010 6:27 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Thailand

Reuters cameraman killed in Thai political violence

Reuters

New York, April 12, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists is saddened and outraged by the fatal shooting of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto during armed exchanges between government soldiers and antigovernment protestors on Saturday. Muramoto, left, a Japanese national, was shot in the chest while filming an early-afternoon confrontation and was pronounced dead at a Bangkok hospital, according to local and international news reports.

April 12, 2010 1:45 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Thailand

Emergency censorship deepens unrest in Thailand

Troops confront protesters in Bangkok. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang)

New York, April 9, 2010—The Thai government should restore access to news outlets censored after a state of emergency was declared Wednesday in response to antigovernment protests, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Journalists reporting on the unrest are increasingly vulnerable to physical assault as clashes between protesters and authorities escalate. 

April 9, 2010 3:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

China imposed strict controls on Google coverage

Our friends at China Digital Times have translated recent orders from China’s State Council Information Office to domestic news organizations and Web sites about how to handle the country’s ongoing dispute with Google. We’re posting an excerpt here, but please read the whole link. There’s a great discussion about government censors’ plans for monitoring social networking and microblogging sites.  

March 31, 2010 5:19 PM ET

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Alerts   |   China

Journalists report Yahoo e-mail accounts hacked in China

New York, March 31, 2010—News reports that the Yahoo e-mail accounts of reporters and others in China and Taiwan have been compromised are a reminder that journalists must be vigilant when communicating over the Internet, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ called on Internet companies to reassess their business practices in countries where users’ communications cannot be adequately protected.

March 31, 2010 3:51 PM ET

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Letters   |   Philippines

CPJ asks Philippines to investigate threats against journalist

Dear President Arroyo and Chief Justice Puno: We are greatly concerned by the apparent lack of an effective government response to threats made against Marites Danguilan Vitug, one of the Philippines’ senior and most eminent journalists. Vitug said she believes your intervention will serve as a deterrent to whoever is trying to intimidate her, and, hopefully, to those who try to intimidate other journalists in the future.

Blog   |   Philippines

Philippine high court spokesman: Death threats ‘funny’

Marquez (AP)Midas Marquez, spokesman for the Philippine Supreme Court, has told local reporters that he considers death threats sent anonymously by text message to journalist Marites Dañguilan Vitug to be “funny” and “ridiculous.” Marquez was asked to comment in his official role because the threats began shortly after the release of Vitug’s new book, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, which critiques the inner workings of the high court.

Alerts   |   Thailand

In Thailand, grenades hit two state television stations

New York, March 29, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns and calls for a thorough investigation into grenade attacks launched against two state-owned television news stations in Thailand. The attacks—one against army-run Channel 5, the other against the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT)—took place Saturday night in the capital, Bangkok

March 29, 2010 1:52 PM ET

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Case   |   Singapore, USA

New York Times to pay damages to Singapore’s leaders

The New York Times Co. apologized on March 24, 2010, to Singapore’s prime minister and his two predecessors for a February 15 article that described the island nation’s leaders as a political dynasty, according to international news reports. The company and the article’s author, Philip Bowring, agreed to pay damages of 160,000 Singaporean dollars (US$114,000) in addition to legal costs, the reports said.
March 26, 2010 3:34 PM ET

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Case   |   Sri Lanka

Protesters hurl stones, injure four at Sirasa TV

Staffers at Sirasa TV confirmed media reports that about 200 people gathered outside the in-town office of the independent broadcaster and threw stones, breaking windows and injuring staffers on March 22, 2010. Some in the crowd carried posters in Sinhala and English protesting the station’s plan to broadcast a concert by pop singer Akon scheduled for April in the capital city, Colombo. One of the singer’s recent videos had included a statue of the Buddha in the background while poolside partygoers danced in the foreground. Most of Sri Lanka’s ethnic Sinhalese majority are Buddhist. Police were reportedly made a few arrests. 

March 25, 2010 11:13 AM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

In Garcia-Esperat murder, a twisting path to justice

Esperat (CMFR)Five years ago today, a gunman strode into the home of muckraking Philippine journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat, pulled out a .45-caliber pistol, and shot her once in the head. A columnist and radio host on the southern island of Mindanao, Garcia-Esperat had made plenty of enemies while exposing government corruption.

March 24, 2010 2:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Google’s Chinese wake-up call

On Monday, Google made good on its promise to stop censorship of its Chinese search engine, Google.cn, by rerouting viewers to its unfettered Hong Kong site. According to the company’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, the move was “a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced—it's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China.”

March 24, 2010 1:54 PM ET

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Blog   |   India

Circumventing India’s radio news ban

Shubhranshu Choudhary trains villagers to use their phones to disseminate and receive news. (Sakhi/Flickr)

Violence against provincial journalists, self-censorship, and the rise of paid news were the leading press freedom concerns cited by editors and journalists that I met with during my recent visit to India. But for Shubhranshu Choudhary, known as Shu, it’s the ban on radio news that most concerns him. He believes the ban is fueling India’s long-simmering Maoist insurgency, and he’s fighting back, using mobile phone technology to bring independent news to the tribal regions where the Maoists operate.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, France

Rallying (hesitantly) for reporters abducted in Afghanistan

A rally in Paris seeks to publicize abductions. (AFP) What can we do to help liberate our colleagues? French journalists have been struggling with this dilemma since December 30, when two reporters of the public service TV channel France 3 and their three Afghan fixers were abducted by a group purportedly linked to the Taliban in the region of Kapisa, in eastern Afghanistan.

March 11, 2010 10:55 AM ET

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Blog   |   Japan

Japanese press advocates face 50 lawsuits, broken ribs

Nishioka (CPJ)

Kensuke Nishioka, 42, looked different from the other Japanese journalists I encountered in Tokyo during a February trip. Maybe it was the pink hair. “Don’t believe any journalist who says they’re at risk in Japan,” he declared, shrugging off the time, at age 32, when two members of a nationalist group cornered him in his office, broke his ribs, and injured three others in protest against an article he wrote. (Police arrested and charged the attackers.) Or the following year when the Japanese mafia, the yakuza, kidnapped him for a day and threatened him to stop reporting.

March 9, 2010 5:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Senior Chinese editor forced out for controversial editorial

“Some have commented that this event should go down in media history.” So says Zhang Hong (in English translation on The Wall Street Journal’s China blog today), co-author of an unprecedented joint editorial published last week by 13 Chinese newspapers. The editorials, criticizing the hukou system, which registers individuals in their place of birth and limits their ability to find work and education elsewhere, quickly disappeared online.

March 9, 2010 2:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Japan

Japanese journalist-turned-lawyer fights media control

Hizumi (CPJ)Kazuo Hizumi holds his hands up before him, shoulder-width apart. He is demonstrating the size of the blade he kept under his pillow when sleeping at the bureau in his days as a rookie reporter in Osaka in 1987. The journalism community was still reeling from a shooting attack on Asahi Shimbun’s Osaka bureau the month before, which had left one writer injured and another, Tomohiro Kojiri, killed. No one was prosecuted for that murder and the statute of limitations for initiating legal proceedings has passed. 
March 2, 2010 12:15 PM ET

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Letters   |   Afghanistan, UK

CPJ calls for UK to investigate Munadi death in rescue

Dear Prime Minister Brown: We last wrote to you on November 5 to urge you to authorize the Ministry of Defence to carry out an investigation into the September 9, 2009, military operation that rescued British-Irish journalist and New York Times correspondent Stephen Farrell and unfortunately led to the death of his Afghan colleague, Sultan Munadi. In our November 5 letter, we offered our condolences on the loss of British Parachute Regiment Cpl. John Harrison, but also pointed out that many questions about the operation remain unanswered. Among them is whether Munadi’s rescue was a central objective, what circumstances existed when he was killed, and why his remains were left behind after British forces withdrew.

March 1, 2010 10:03 AM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Garcia-Esperat murder suspects back at work in Philippines

CMFR

On the run for more than a calendar year from court-ordered arrest warrants, Osmeña Montañer and Estrella Sabay, the alleged masterminds in the 2005 murder of Philippine investigative journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat, at left, are now out of hiding and back at work as senior Department of Agriculture finance officials, according to recent reports in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

February 25, 2010 4:54 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma

Burmese censorship at work

At a Tuesday meeting of the International Freedom to Publish Committee (a publishing industry group dedicated to free expression) in New York, Maureen Aung-Thwin handed out pages from Flower News, a Rangoon-based newspaper that had been marked up by Burmese government censors. Burma is the world’s second most censored country, according to a 2006 CPJ report. But you don’t have to read Burmese to understand what’s going on here. The red marks speak for themselves. Aung-Thwin is the director of the Burma project at the Open Society Institute and one of the world’s leading experts on that country. 

February 24, 2010 12:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Japan

'Erase it, or be erased': Life on a Japanese mafia hit list

  As a writer from 1993 to 2005 at Japan’s Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper, Jake Adelstein built up a network of police, yakuza, and media contacts. (CPJ) A polite man in a suit gave investigative reporter Jake Adelstein the message from a leader of one of Japan’s organized crime groups when he was first working on the story back in 2005: “Erase it, or be erased.” Adelstein backed off, but he didn’t stop researching Tadamasa Goto, a thuggish leader of the Japanese mafia, or yakuza. The second time, there was no message. In 2008, it was Adelstein’s sources who informed him his relentless inquiries had crossed a line. Don’t go home, they told him—Adelstein is originally from Missouri—America would not be far enough.
February 24, 2010 9:49 AM ET

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Blog   |   Iran, USA

At U.N, Bahari and CPJ urge global attention

Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari helped us launch Attacks on the Press at the United Nations in New York today. Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian citizen, was labeled an enemy of the Iranian regime and cruelly imprisoned for 118 days last year in Tehran. His very presence today, CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney noted, was testament to the “tremendous efforts of press freedom groups around the world" that have advocated for the release of jailed journalists. But with at least 47 journalists in jail in Iran as of February 1, according to CPJ research, it’s still a “pretty grim picture,” Mahoney said. 

February 16, 2010 2:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Japan, Philippines

Citizen journalist helped report Philippine massacre

“The e-mail came in at 8.48 p.m.,” Philippine journalist Maria Ressa told a hushed audience at CPJ’s panel discussion, Press Freedom: On the Frontlines and Online, this morning at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo. She was describing how the first photo from the November massacre in Maguindanao province reached the mainstream Philippine media. Thirty-two journalists and media workers were slaughtered in the deadliest single attack that CPJ has ever recorded.

February 16, 2010 11:28 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2009: Preface

In Tehran, journalists faced vague antistate accusations during mass, televised judicial proceedings. (AP) By Fareed Zakaria

Toward the end of his 118-day ordeal inside Tehran’s Evin prison, Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari had a bizarre exchange with his interrogator. Bahari had been held in solitary confinement since his arrest after Iran’s disputed presidential election in June; he had been subjected to near-daily beatings and interrogation sessions that stretched for hours. But his jailers had not been able to prove their accusation that Bahari was a spy for Western intelligence agencies. So they had an ominous-sounding new charge to levy against him: “media espionage.”

February 16, 2010 12:58 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan, USA

As fighting surges, so does danger to press

An Afghan police officer aims his weapon at two photographers covering pre-election violence in Kabul. (AFP/Pedro Ugarte)By Bob Dietz

As the United States redeploys forces to Afghanistan, and the Pakistani military moves into the country’s tribal areas, the media face enormous challenges in covering a multifaceted conflict straddling two volatile countries. Pakistani reporters cannot move freely in areas controlled by militants. International reporters in Afghanistan, at risk from kidnappers and suicide bombers, encounter daunting security challenges. And front-line reporters in both countries face pressure from all sides.

Attacks on the Press   |   Afghanistan

Attacks on the Press 2009: Afghanistan

Top Developments
• Government tries to curb reporting on Election Day violence.
• Abductions target foreign reporters, endangering local journalists, too.

Key Statistic
20: Years that Parwez Kambakhsh would have spent in jail on an unjust charge. He was freed in August.

Deepening violence, flawed elections, rampant corruption, and faltering development provided plenty of news to cover, but the deteriorating national conditions also raised dangers for local and foreign journalists working in Afghanistan. Roadside bombs claimed the life of a Canadian reporter and injured several other international journalists. A series of kidnappings mainly targeted international reporters, but one captive Afghan journalist was killed during a British military mission that succeeded in rescuing his British-Irish colleague.

February 16, 2010 12:52 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Burma

Attacks on the Press 2009: Burma

Top Developments
• Some political prisoners freed, but eight journalists still held.
• Government censors all print publications, controls broadcasters.

Key Statistic
1st: Ranking on CPJ's Worst Countries to Be a Blogger.

Throughout the year, Burma's ruling junta emphasized its plans to move toward multiparty democracy after decades of military rule, a long-promised transition that dissidents and others viewed as a sham to further consolidate the military's power. As the country geared up for general elections in 2010--the first since the military annulled the 1990 elections, which were won overwhelmingly by the political opposition--authorities maintained strict censorship over the local news media and held at least nine journalists behind bars.

February 16, 2010 12:45 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   China

Attacks on the Press 2009: China

Top Developments
• More access for foreign reporters, tighter rules for local assistants.
• As online use grows, government censors sites, jails critics.

Key Statistic
24: Journalists jailed as of December 1, 2009.

While China’s ruling communist party celebrated 60 years in power in 2009, its critics commemorated antigovernment movements in Tibet in 1949 and Tiananmen Square in 1989. Government agencies used a security apparatus strengthened for the 2008 Olympics to restrict dissenting voices during all three landmark anniversaries.

February 16, 2010 12:44 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Nepal

Attacks on the Press 2009: Nepal

Top Developments
• Government fails to investigate press freedom abuses.
• Reporter slain after covering Maoist land seizures.

Key Statistic
8th: Ranking on CPJ Impunity Index, making it one of world’s worst for press.

Nepal’s news media entered 2009 in a state of crisis. Attacks on the press had escalated in late 2008 amid a climate of impunity. The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), a local press freedom group, led weeklong, nationwide demonstrations to raise awareness about the deteriorating environment. On December 28, 2008, Maoist leaders signed a 10-point agreement to address the lawless situation. Clauses included a promise to create a governmental bureau to investigate press freedom violations, local news reports said.

February 16, 2010 12:24 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   North Korea

Attacks on the Press 2009: North Korea

Top Developments
• Two U.S. journalists held for five months after crossing border.
• Citizen reporters begin to smuggle news out of the country.

Key Statistic
1st: Ranking on CPJ’s list of Most Censored Nations.

During a diplomatic standoff that lasted almost five months, two American journalists from San Francisco-based Current TV were arrested, tried, pardoned, and released. Charged with illegally crossing the border from China on March 17, they had been sentenced to 20 years of “reform through hard labor” after a closed-door trial, according to the official Korea Central News Agency.

February 16, 2010 12:21 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Pakistan

Attacks on the Press 2009: Pakistan

Top Developments
• Press has very limited access during two military offensives.
• Reporters face attacks, threats from all sides. Four are killed.

Key Statistic
6: Homes of journalists destroyed by militants in retaliatory attacks.

As Pakistan’s military launched two major offensives within its borders, officials pressured news media to report favorably on the conflicts while the Taliban and other militants threatened and attacked critical reporters. Reporters for Urdu- and Pashto-language news outlets came under the greatest pressure because of their wider influence among Pakistanis. Journalists who opted to embed with the military said they were forced to comply with heavy-handed restrictions on what they were allowed to see and report.

February 16, 2010 12:20 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Philippines

Attacks on the Press 2009: Philippines

Top Developments
• Maguindanao massacre underscores deep-seated climate of impunity.
• Local and international groups mobilize to offer aid, seek justice.

Key Statistic
29: Journalists slain in a politically motivated ambush, the single deadliest event ever recorded by CPJ.

In the deadliest event for the press ever recorded by CPJ, 29 journalists and two media support workers were ambushed and brutally slain on November 23 as they traveled in Maguindanao province with a convoy of people who intended to file gubernatorial candidacy papers for a local politician. In all, 57 people were killed in a shocking display of barbarism apparently motivated by political clan rivalries. The bodies were dumped in mass graves in a remote clearing in the town of Ampatuan.

Attacks on the Press   |   Sri Lanka

Attacks on the Press 2009: Sri Lanka

Top Developments
• Editor murdered, broadcaster bombed, reporters assaulted.
• Columnist convicted of terrorism for his writing.

Key Statistic
0: Number of convictions in 10 journalist murders since 1992.

On May 19, the government formally declared a victory in its 26-year civil war with the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which had claimed territory for an ethnic Tamil homeland. Victory came at a high price for the press. Escalating attacks on independent journalists coincided with the government’s 2006 decision to pursue an all-out military victory, CPJ found in a February special report, “Failure to Investigate.” Ethnic Tamil journalists seen by the government as supporting independence had long been under murderous assault, but physical and verbal attacks on Sinhalese and Muslim journalists critical of the government’s military operations began accelerating in 2006 as well. These attacks—which in 2009 included a murder, a bombing, and several assaults—occurred with complete impunity.

Attacks on the Press   |   Thailand

Attacks on the Press 2009: Thailand

Top Developments
• Amid partisan conflict, media owner is target of failed assassination.
• Heavily used lese majeste laws criminalize criticism of royal family.

Key Statistic
2,000: Web sites blocked by government for violating lese majeste laws.

Thai media were caught in the middle of a political conflict that entered its fourth year of destabilizing antigovernment street demonstrations and tough government responses. Both sides in the conflict—supporters and opponents of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra—threatened journalists, some of whom were openly aligned to factions taking part in the protest movements.

February 16, 2010 12:13 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Vietnam

Attacks on the Press 2009: Vietnam

Top Developments
• Bloggers face regular harassment and detention.
• Government conducts extensive online censorship.

Key Statistic
300: Number of cybercafés outfitted with software tracking visits to banned Web sites.

While maintaining its tight grip on traditional news media, the government intensified its already significant controls over the Internet with new restrictions on content and heightened monitoring of the blogs that have emerged as an alternative source of news and commentary. Internet penetration continued to surge, with an estimated 22 million users among the country’s approximately 89 million people, according to Ministry of Information and Telecommunications statistics.

February 16, 2010 12:06 AM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan

Protective bylines, and why they’re necessary

I’ve been writing a lot recently about the urgent need to protect journalists in Afghanistan and Pakistan (a string of links is at the bottom of this entry). While neither country has become as dangerous as, say, Iraq at the height of the conflict, conditions are getting more dangerous for reporters. And very often, it is local journalists who need the most protection.

February 12, 2010 2:44 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Vietnam

Amid crackdown, two blogs shuttered in Vietnam

New York, February 12, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Vietnamese government’s apparent shutdown of two politically oriented blogs, Blogosin and Bauxite Vietnam. The sites, both of which published critical perspectives on sensitive government issues, had been the targets of ongoing hacking, The Associated Press and the Agence France-Presse reported.

February 12, 2010 2:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Japan

Japanese journalists under pressure: Kisha Clubs and stress

Fujimoto (CPJ)

Katsuya Fujimoto and Shuichi Yutaka, the general secretary and the president of Shinbun Roren, the Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Unions, sit at a table in their office in Tokyo’s Bunkyo-ku district amid a pile of papers. A software engineer with a media company and a journalist, each on two years’ leave, they are shuffling through documents showing their organization’s efforts to reform the Kisha Club system I wrote about yesterday

Alerts   |   Sri Lanka

Two journalists missing in Sri Lanka

New York, February 11, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the disappearance of two journalists in Sri Lanka. Chandana Sirimalwatte, chief editor of the Sri Lankan weekly newspaper Lanka, was detained by police around noon on January 30, according to his wife, Hemali Abeyratne, and staffers at the paper. Lanka e News journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda has been missing since January 24.

Blog   |   Japan

Japanese investigative reporter challenges Kisha system

Terasawa says his relations with police are "like warfare." (CPJ) Yu Terasawa seems philosophical as he discusses plans for his fourth lawsuit against the Japanese state, which he says he plans to initiate next week. Lawsuits are a part of daily life for Terasawa, who has been at the forefront of Japan’s investigative journalism community for almost 20 years as a freelance reporter specializing in police corruption. He has lost three cases of his own, been sued and has countersued in response, and has settled out of court. He is fighting for things many journalists take for granted: The right to attend a press conference, cover court proceedings, and above all, tell the truth.

February 11, 2010 4:52 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Nepal

CPJ calls for an end to impunity following Nepalese murder

New York, February 10, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists joins with its colleague in the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) in demanding an end to the impunity surrounding attacks on journalists in Nepal. The FNJ made the demands today in Kathmandu during a protest rally that came two days after the shooting death of Jamim Shah, the chairman of the Nepalese television station and satellite network Space Time Network.

February 10, 2010 2:09 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Philippines

CPJ welcomes indictment of 200 in Maguindanao slaying

New York, February 9, 2010—An indictment in the Philippines of nearly 200 people in the November 23 killings of 57 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, is a welcome first step toward achieving justice in this terribly slaying, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ hopes that this signals a coming reversal in the country’s abysmal record of impunity.

February 9, 2010 2:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

An update on the Karachi double bombing

(Reuters)On February 5, I blogged about three vicious bomb blasts in Pakistan in the previous two days—“one in Lower Dir that wounded three reporters on Thursday, and Friday’s double attack in Karachi that we’re still investigating.” I argued that media companies in Pakistan must start taking responsibility for protecting their employees in the field. I had trouble rounding up names and numbers of those hurt in the second Karachi blast, at Jinnah Hospital, left, but the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), which is based in Karachi, has come up with a tally of 12 journalists and media workers injured. PPF is a go-to organization for us, a place where I always check in when I’m in Karachi. If you’re a Pakistan media watcher, it’s a fundamental, extremely reliable source to have bookmarked. 

February 8, 2010 4:18 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Japan

Chinese writer ends Japanese exile after 90 days in airport

A Chinese dissident who writes about rights abuses is ending an involuntary exile in Japan on Friday. Or so he hopes.

Feng has a reservation to leave Japan on February 12. (CPJ)

Feng Zhenghu has booked a flight departing Japan’s Narita Airport for Shanghai at 9:45 a.m. on February 12. That was the topic of an impromptu press conference held Monday afternoon in the brightly lit lobby of the Nippon Press Center Building in central Tokyo.  A small crowd of Chinese and Japanese journalists clustered round him snapping photos while an anxious security guard paced up and down, interrupting every now and then to ask the group to disperse. 

February 8, 2010 2:30 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Is Sri Lanka done assaulting the media?

It was good to hear Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa point out in his Independence Day speech on Thursday that the country “cannot be developed with harassment, gross punishments or by the gun.” But the sentence that followed that—“Discipline is not revenge”—gives cause for concern. Rajapaksa’s speech marked the 62nd anniversary of the country’s independence from Britain. It was delivered in Kandy, the heartland of the president’s electoral base.

February 5, 2010 3:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Google-China debate keeps Internet security in spotlight

Google's Bejing office. (AP)

Google has gone quiet since its announcement last month that it was unwilling to continue censoring search results on Google.cn in China. The Washington Post reported Thursday that the company is seeking help from the U.S. government to trace hackers behind security breaches, which it said targeted its own intellectual property and individual human rights activists. A Reuters analysis said the company may also be grappling with the financial and legal implications of ceasing censorship in defiance of Chinese law.

Regardless of Google’s next step or the motivations behind it, the company’s January 12 statement has already had a positive effect: Journalists and human rights activists who have long complained about e-mail security in relation to China have a much wider audience for their concerns. 

February 5, 2010 2:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Time to step up protection for media in Pakistan

The blast in Lower Dir, seen here, was just one of many recent deadly explosions in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province. (Reuters)Three vicious bomb blasts in Pakistan in the last two days—one in Lower Dir that wounded three reporters on Thursday, and Friday’s double attack in Karachi that we’re still investigating—highlight just how dangerous it has become for journalists, particularly TV camera crews and photographers, but certainly any journalist assigned to cover a public event or military operations in the country.
February 5, 2010 12:09 PM ET

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Statements   |   Philippines

Conviction welcomed in 2005 murder case

We issued the following statement today after a Philippine court sentenced Muhammad Maulana to life in prison for the murder of journalist Edgar Amoro. Amoro witnessed the killing of his fellow Pagadian City-based broadcaster, Edgar Damalerio, in May 2002. In December 2005, a police officer, Guillermo Wapile, was sentenced to life in prison for gunning down Damalerio...

January 29, 2010 2:49 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Released writer tweets about life in a Chinese prison

Yang Zili's Twitter page describes his eight years in prison.

Siweiluozi’s Blog, an anonymous blog that covers various Chinese legal issues and current affairs, has translated a series of updates by Chinese writer Yang Zili, who was arrested in 2001 and later convicted of subversion against the state for online articles. Released last year after serving eight years, Yang joined Twitter and has been describing his incarceration in a series of short posts. 

January 28, 2010 3:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

TV coverage guidelines drawn in Pakistan as violence rises

In November 2009, I received this e-mail message from a few people in Pakistan:

TOP NEWS MANAGERS AGREE ON TV COVERAGE GUIDELINES

ISLAMABAD—Top news managers from Pakistan’s eight television channels have evolved a first-of-its-kind voluntary framework to standardize professional guidelines governing terrorism coverage. [A PDF of November’s message is here.]

Since then there hasn’t been much more news about the issue, and I thought that might be a good thing. I’m always wary when I see words like “guidelines” or “rules” or “regulations” for news coverage, terrorism-related or not. But the November announcement seemed to have broad industry support, and the guidelines were being called “voluntary”—always better than having them mandated by the government. 

January 27, 2010 3:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

After election, will Sri Lanka improve press record?

Sri Lanka’s Department of Elections today declared incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa the winner of the presidential election with almost 58 percent of the vote. The situation is still tense as his opponent, former Gen. Sarath Fonseka, threatens a lawsuit to challenge the entire process, from voter access to irregularities in computer counting, to name just two aspects. Fonseka remains sequestered in the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo, where he and his political allies gathered as the results were tallied. Some Sri Lankan media say Fonseka is claiming there is a plot to assassinate him. Soon after he announced the results of the voting, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said he wanted to resign. He told reporters he is no longer able to bear the pressure imposed by various parties.

January 27, 2010 1:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Report: Why haven’t Maguindanao gunmen been arrested?

Local politician Andal Ampatuan Jr. has been charged in the killings, but roughly 100 gunmen have not. (AP/Pat Roque)International press freedom groups, including CPJ, have released a new, in-depth report into the November massacre of 30 journalists and two media support workers in Maguindanao province, Philippines. The 32-page document questions why roughly 100 gunmen believed to be involved in the election-related killings have yet to be arrested, and it emphasizes the need for international groups to closely monitor the investigation and court proceedings. 

January 26, 2010 1:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Journalist death toll rises in Philippines massacre

Andal Ampatuan Jr. is escorted to his trial. (Reuters)

The identification this week of photographer Jepon Cadagdagon as another victim in the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre has raised the death toll of journalists and media workers to 32. Even before accounting for Cadagdagon, CPJ had characterized the massacre, allegedly carried out by a ruling political clan in the area, as the deadliest event for the press in recent memory.    

January 21, 2010 11:52 AM ET

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Alerts   |   China

China hackers hit media companies and activists online

New York, January 13, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern today after Google said Tuesday it had uncovered evidence of cyber attackers from China targeting its own and other companies’ infrastructures, as well as individual Gmail accounts. CPJ welcomed Google’s statement that it was no longer willing to censor its Chinese search engine, Google.cn, in light of the discovery.

January 13, 2010 5:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Sri Lanka

Journalists under threat as Sri Lanka elections near

New York, January 13, 2010—As Sri Lanka’s media comes under increasing partisan pressure, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on all sides contesting the January 26 general elections to respect the role of journalists in covering the campaign and voting process. CPJ notes with concern today’s assault on the BBC’s Sinhala service reporter who, according to Sri Lankan media reports, was hospitalized after a political mob, apparently linked to supporters of an agriculture minster, attacked her as she was covering the event.

January 13, 2010 3:34 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

One freed, but what about the others silenced in Sri Lanka?

With Monday’s release  of J. S. Tissainayagam on bail, maybe things are looking up for the media in Sri Lanka. CPJ welcomed Tissainayagam’s release from a sentence of 20 years' “rigorous imprisonment,” but called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to extend him a full pardon, as it is within his presidential powers to do. For now, at least, Tissa, as he is known, is out of his prison cell though not free to leave the country—the appeal court that set him free demanded that he hand over his passport as part of the bail agreement. But there are many other cases still hanging in the air in Sri Lanka that will not go away, even though they are making their way through the courts.

Blog   |   Nepal

Nepalese journalist defiant after razor slashing

Tika BistaTika Bista heard the word “journalist” for the first time while she was still at school in Rukum, in western Nepal. She saw journalists from Kathmandu taking pictures on their way to the village. It was love at first sight. She entered the world of journalism and began her career five years ago. Then last month, the love affair became severely corrupted: Somebody attempted to murder her.
January 12, 2010 2:24 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Afghanistan, UK

Casualties of foreign journalists mount in Afghanistan

New York January 11, 2010—The death of U.K.-based Sunday Mirror reporter Rupert Hamer, who was killed in an explosion outside a village in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, is an indicator of the rising danger for journalists in Afghanistan. The explosion also wounded Hamer’s colleague photographer Philip Coburn and took the life of a U.S. Marine.

January 11, 2010 3:02 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Sri Lanka

CPJ calls for full pardon of Tissainayagam in Sri Lanka

New York, January 11, 2010 — The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release on bail of Sri Lankan journalist J.S. Tissainayagam on Monday in Colombo, but calls on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to use his constitutional power to extend a full pardon and erase the 20 year sentence of “rigorous imprisonment” that was handed down in August.

On November 24, CPJ honored Tissainayagam with one of its annual International Press Freedom Awards, recognizing his courageous journalism in a country where the media is under siege. 

Alerts   |   Philippines

Radio journalist survives shooting in Philippines

New York, January 8, 2010—Philippine authorities must quickly investigate the shooting of radio broadcaster Eugene Paet, an anchorman for Radio DWRS in Vigan city in Ilocos Sur province. According to local and international media reports, Paet, 47, was shot in the stomach by two gunmen on a motorcycle as he was on his way to work on Thursday evening. Paet remained in serious condition in the intensive care unit of a local hospital on Friday evening.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

One year later in Sri Lanka, little has changed

Lasantha Wickramatunga

Even by Sri Lanka’s standards, January 2009 was a brutal month for journalists.

On January 6, on a quiet road on the outskirts of Colombo, the country’s main independently owned TV station, Sirasa TV, was raided at 2:05 a.m. by 15 to 20 masked armed men working with military precision. At 2:35:31 they detonated an explosion, possibly a claymore mine, a military-style antipersonnel mine set off by an electrical charge through wires leading to the device.

Alerts   |   Afghanistan, France

Five missing, apparently kidnapped in Afghanistan

New York, January 4, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the fate of two French journalists and their three Afghan colleagues, all apparently kidnapped while on assignment in the eastern province of Kapisa for France 3 public television station. The Afghan government reported them kidnapped on December 30. The names of the crew have not been released by the Afghan or French governments, and France 3 has declined to publicly identify them. CPJ was unable to reach the station immediately for comment.

January 4, 2010 3:25 PM ET

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