Attacks on the Press in 2010

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba

Attacks on the Press 2010: Cuba

Top Developments
• Cuba relents on political detainees, frees 17 journalists. Four still held.
• In exile, freed journalists face economic, professional difficulties.

Key Statistic
45: Poems that journalist and former detainee Ricardo González Alfonso smuggled from prison.


After years of intensive advocacy and international diplomacy, 17 independent journalists swept up in the government's 2003 Black Spring crackdown were finally freed from an unjust and inhumane imprisonment. The Roman Catholic Church, with participation from Spanish officials, struck an agreement in July with the government of President Raúl Castro Ruz that called for the release of all 52 prisoners still being held seven years after the massive crackdown on political dissent and independent journalism. The deal as outlined by the church called for the release of all Black Spring detainees within four months, but three journalists and several other dissidents, apparently balking at Cuba's insistence that they leave the country in exchange for their freedom, remained in jail in late year. A fourth journalist, arrested in 2009, also remained in prison.

February 15, 2011 12:39 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Democratic Republic of the Congo

Attacks on the Press 2010: Democratic Republic of Congo

Top Developments
• Government arrests several journalists on defamation charges.
• Journalists fear repression as 2011 presidential election approaches.

Key Statistic
2: Weeks that reporter Tumba Lumembu was held incommunicado by intelligence agents.


On the defensive over criticism of its human rights record and its handling of the conflict with rebels in eastern Congo, President Joseph Kabila's government censored news coverage and detained several journalists during the year.

February 15, 2011 12:38 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ecuador

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ecuador

Top Developments
• Journalists attacked, broadcasters censored during police uprising.
• Correa administration orders broadcasters to air official rebuttals.

Key Statistic
6: Hours during which broadcasters were told to suspend programming, carry state news reports on police revolt.


President Rafael Correa's administration used censorship powers throughout the year to supplant independent news and commentary. Authorities compelled critical broadcasters to interrupt news shows to air official rebuttals. And in September, when hundreds of police officers staged violent nationwide protests over plans to reduce their bonus pay, the Communications Ministry ordered broadcasters to halt their own news reports and carry programming from state-owned Ecuador TV.

February 15, 2011 12:37 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Egypt

Attacks on the Press 2010: Egypt

Top Developments
• Government blocks satellite TV, news texting ahead of parliamentary vote.
• Political maneuvering seen as critical editor sacked, another jailed.

Key Statistic
12: Satellite television stations taken off the air one month before the election.


Back in 2005, reporters exposed widespread ballot fraud and voter intimidation during the country's first multi-party presidential election. Determined to avoid a repeat of such coverage during the November parliamentary elections, the government blocked satellite television, clamped down on news dissemination techniques, and orchestrated the silencing of critical voices. The ruling National Democratic Party swept the voting amid widespread reports of fraud.

February 15, 2011 12:36 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ethiopia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ethiopia

Top Developments
• Editor Dawit Kebede honored with International Press Freedom Award.
• Authorities jail critical journalists, jam VOA Amharic broadcasts.

Key Statistic
7: Hours that two newspaper editors were interrogated as Zenawi gave speech on freedom of choice.


The ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, imprisoned journalists, jammed foreign broadcasters, and blocked websites as it swept general elections in May. The government-controlled National Electoral Board declared the EPRDF-led coalition of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in power since 1991, the winner in all but two of 547 contested parliamentary seats, prompting opposition allegations of voter intimidation and ballot-rigging, as well as U.S. and European Union criticism. Zenawi won another five-year term as his government dismissed criticism of the vote as a smear campaign. Opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa was kept in prison until October.

February 15, 2011 12:35 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Haiti

Attacks on the Press 2010: Haiti

Top Developments
• Journalists persevere after quake, working from tents and homes.
• Dozens of reporters jobless. Print media sustain heavy losses.

Key Statistic
95: Percent of radio stations knocked off the air by the January earthquake. Most had returned by late year.


Reflecting the devastation across all of Haitian society, the news media suffered massive losses in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck just west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, on the afternoon of January 12. More than 220,000 people died and 1.5 million were left homeless, according to official estimates. Government offices, schools, hospitals, and entire neighborhoods were reduced to ruins, as was most of the infrastructure supporting Haitian news media. More than 95 percent of commercial and community radio stations--the primary source of news in Haiti--went off the air as their equipment and premises sustained heavy damage, according to Joseph Guyler Delva, president of the local press freedom group SOS Journalistes. The human losses were great as well: At least 30 journalists died in the earthquake and its immediate aftermath, SOS Journalistes reported.

February 15, 2011 12:34 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Honduras

Attacks on the Press 2010: Honduras

Top Developments
• Rash of journalist murders occurs in lawless, politically charged climate.
• In murder investigations, authorities inattentive and dismissive.

Key Statistic
3: Months between Nahúm Palacios Arteaga's murder and the time authorities conducted an autopsy.


Six journalists were murdered in a seven-week span, with three more slain by year's end, a rash of killings that was made all the more shocking by the government's careless and dismissive response. Inattentive and botched investigative work yielded the arrests of but two suspects in all of the killings, and a judge quickly dismissed charges against them. CPJ found that at least three of the victims were slain in direct relation to their work, and it continued to investigate the other cases in late year.

February 15, 2011 12:33 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Indonesia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Indonesia

Top Developments
• Nation slides backward on press freedom; censorship threats emerge.
• Three reporters murdered and magazine attacked, all with impunity.

Key Statistic
2: Years' imprisonment given to Playboy Indonesia editor in a politicized prosecution.


Indonesia slipped backward on press freedom as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's government sought to balance progressive desires for an industrialized society with the expectations of the country's conservative Islamic population. Three reporters were killed with impunity in rural areas, a magazine was attacked after questioning the financial holdings of top national police officers, and the editor of the defunct Playboy Indonesia was jailed in a politically motivated case. Threats of censorship emerged as some officials called for restrictions on Internet activity. And while the Constitutional Court struck down elements of a Suharto-era book-banning law, it left the government empowered to ban books with court approval.

February 15, 2011 12:32 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Iran

Attacks on the Press 2010: Iran

Top Developments
• Authorities sustain their crack- down on critical journalists, arresting dozens.
• Journalists face harsh prison terms and mistreatment in custody.

Key Statistic
34: Journalists imprisoned on December 1. Along with China, Iran is the world's worst jailer of the press.


Defying international condemnation, the government sustained its widespread crackdown on the press, prosecuting journalists arrested in the aftermath of the disputed June 2009 presidential election and detaining additional critical reporters and editors throughout 2010. More than 100 journalists in all had been detained at various times since the crackdown began, CPJ research showed, a campaign of intimidation unparalleled worldwide in more than a decade. The repression came at a time of great global significance that included disputes over Iran's nuclear program and tightening international sanctions.

February 15, 2011 12:31 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Iraq

Attacks on the Press 2010: Iraq

Top Developments
• New press court, politically motivated lawsuits raise alarm.
• As instability festers, five journalists, three support workers are killed.

Key Statistic
$1 billion Damages sought by the Kurdistan Democratic Party from a newspaper that detailed alleged political corruption.


Instability festered throughout the year as political parties wrangled to form a new government after March elections and U.S. troops handed over security to Iraqi forces in August. At least five journalists and three media support workers were killed in relation to their work, reflecting a persistent level of insecurity. Government forces were holding a critical newspaper editor without apparent charge or due process.

February 15, 2011 12:30 AM ET

2010

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