Attacks on the Press in 2013

Attacks on the Press   |   Sudan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Sudan

Despite official promises to end the practice of pre-publication censorship, agents of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services continued to intimidate journalists and censor newspapers. Security service officials routinely ordered papers to be suspended and raided printing houses to confiscate certain issues. At least 14 journalists were arrested over the year, many for their coverage of anti-government protests prompted by economic austerity plans that swept the country in September. After the wave of protests, in which more than 700 citizens were arrested, the Sudanese government ordered editors to publish news in line with official statements and to portray protesters as “vandals.” Foreign media outlets were also targeted and told that their licenses would be scrapped, according to reports. The Sudanese government shut down Internet service twice to prevent protesters from using social media.

February 12, 2014 1:03 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Syria

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Syria

For the second year in a row, CPJ ranked Syria the deadliest country in the world for journalists. Journalists also faced new threats in 2013 as radical Islamist groups strengthened their influence in rebel-held territory and rebel groups saw increased infighting. An unprecedented number of journalists were abducted during the year; many of them were believed to be held by the Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham. But the blame did not fall solely with extremist groups. Armed factions affiliated with both the regime and the rebels were implicated in anti-press violations including detention and killing. Throughout the year, as the groups succeeded in silencing dissenting voices with complete impunity, fewer journalists were willing to take on the risks of reporting from Syria. Many international journalists refused to enter the country, and local journalists fled into exile, fearing for their lives.

February 12, 2014 1:02 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Tunisia

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Tunisia

Tunisia, the country that inspired uprisings across the Middle East, continues to struggle to realize the aspirations of its own revolution, including the guarantee of press freedom. Journalists were attacked while covering protests, and several reported receiving death threats in relation to their criticism of the ruling party. The government created a draft constitution, which local press freedom groups criticized as falling short of international press freedom standards. The final draft was pending in late 2013 as the constitutional assembly suspended its work due to political tension. Constitutional protection has proven necessary in Tunisia, where the government has imprisoned and fined journalists for libel and defamation and has even tried some in a military court. In protest against attacks on freedom of expression, journalists organized general strikes calling for the implementation of decree 115 that prohibits the imprisonment of journalists in relation to their work. In May, the government established the High Independent Authority for Audiovisual Communication, a self-regulatory body for the media.

February 12, 2014 1:01 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Yemen

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Yemen

The state of press freedom in Yemen in 2013 reflected the overall uncertainty and insecurity of a country in transition after decades of rule under President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The press faced serious consequences for failing to navigate a complicated web of red lines from the government, tribal groups, and political factions. Many journalists received death threats after crossing those red lines, and several were threatened or attacked by various assailants. CPJ documented at least seven journalists who were abducted over the year, all of whom were later released. Journalists covering protests related to the anniversary of the brief civil war in the country were assaulted by demonstrators, unidentified gunmen, and government security forces. The government continued to prosecute journalists for a range of charges, including defamation and insulting public officials. Still, there were some reasons for optimism. Freelance journalist Abdulelah Hider Shaea was freed in July after three years’ imprisonment, and CPJ documented no Yemeni journalists in prison for the first time since 2009. For the second year in a row, CPJ documented no journalists killed in relation to their work.

February 12, 2014 1:00 AM ET

2013

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