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Press Freedom News and Views

Election staff carry electronic voting machines through tea shrubs on their way to polling stations on the outskirts of the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri April 16, 2014. (Reuters)

This month, Indians are voting in the largest election in history. It's an exciting exercise in democracy, but it comes against a grim backdrop: censorship in the country is on the rise, according to a quarterly report by the South Asian media watchdog, The Hoot.

Coverage of street demonstrations is an exceptionally dangerous assignment, with journalists subject to assaults, obstruction, detention, raids, threats, censorship orders, and confiscation or destruction of equipment. This report is one in a series of three by Getty photographers who documented for CPJ their recent experiences covering protests and shared their photographs.

Coverage of street demonstrations is an exceptionally dangerous assignment, with journalists subject to assaults, obstruction, detention, raids, threats, censorship orders, and confiscation or destruction of equipment. This report is one in a series of three by Getty photographers who documented for CPJ their recent experiences covering protests and shared their photographs.

At the end of last month, an evacuation order declared during the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant power plant meltdown was lifted for residents of a small town in Fukushima Prefecture, the first time an area so close to the site was declared suitable for habitation. Yet, three years after Earthquake Tōhoku killed 15,000 people and triggered the nuclear accident, journalists seeking to investigate the disaster face sustained risks, according to CPJ research. 

Prominent dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu, shown here in a Hanoi court in 2011, has been released and allowed to leave Vietnam, but most journalists do not have his connections. (Reuters/Thong Nhat/Vietnam News Agency)

Dinh Dang Dinh, a former Vietnamese schoolteacher and blogger, died on April 3 from cancer of the stomach. Near death, he had been released from his six-year prison sentence on March 21, and allowed to return home to die in Dak Nong province in Vietnam's Central Highlands. His crime, to which he had pled not guilty, had been to blog about corruption and environmental issues.  He was found guilty under Article 88-1 (c) of the Criminal Code for "conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam." 

A few days after our CPJ delegation met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and secured commitments to combat threats to journalists in Pakistan, I sat down with reporters from the country's most restive regions, who described in detail the conditions in which they work. 

Aboubakr Jamai, left, says the Spanish prosecutor's investigation will embold the Moroccan government in its case against Ali Anouzla. (AFP/Fadel Senna)

Morocco's inclination for wielding terrorism accusations against journalists and news outlets who report on extremist groups has extended to Spain, where authorities are investigating El País newspaper and one of its journalists at the behest of the Moroccan government.

In late February, journalists protest the murder of their colleague, Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, and other journalists killed in Mexico. (AP/Marco Ugarte)

The disappearance and murder in Veracruz from February 5 through 11 of local journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz remains mired in controversy.

In mid February, after Jiménez's murder, a group of journalists traveled to Veracruz and investigated the authorities' response to the journalist's killing. On March 19, the group, called Misión de Observación, published the findings of its unprecedented investigation in a report called "Gregorio: Asesinado por informar" (Gregorio: Murdered for Reporting). Their report documented Jiménez's disappearance and murder, the state's ineffective response, and the less-than-supportive working conditions of his newspapers in southern Veracruz.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to form a commission on journalist safety. But there are steps that could be taken more quickly. (Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

On March 28, gunmen sprayed the car of TV anchor and widely-respected analyst Raza Rumi, a member of the Express Group of media organizations. He escaped serious injury, but his driver, Mustafa, died. It was the fourth attack on the Express Group in eight months, with four people dead. There has been no serious police investigation into the events which took place in Karachi, Peshawar, and now Lahore, where Rumi's car was "bathed in bullets on one of city's main arteries," as The Express Tribune put it in an editorial on Sunday. 

An access to information bill currently under consideration in Ghana will do more harm than good, according to the Coalition on the Right to Information in Ghana, which has called for a review of the proposed legislation. 

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