Blog   |   Ivory Coast

Justice pins Gbagbo, but not yet Ouattara's forces

Pro-Ouattara FRCI soldiers patrol along a road in Yopougon. (Reuters).

This week, former Ivory Coast ruler Laurent Gbagbo was extradited to the Hague to account for alleged human rights violations before the International Criminal Court. Justice appears to be slower in coming to rival fighters loyal to current President Alassane Ouattara. According to CPJ research, Ouattara's forces have been involved in the deaths of two journalists, most recently Gilles Tutsi Murris Dabé.

Dabé, 39, a presenter with private Radio Nostalgie, was killed by a stray bullet around midnight on November 20, after fighters from the pro-Ouattara Republican Forces of the Ivory Coast (known by the French acronym FRCI) opened fire at a car at a checkpoint near the president's private residence, according to news reports and local journalists. The fighters opened fire after the driver refused to stop, witnesses told CPJ.

Blog   |   Burma, USA

Clinton must tread carefully in Burma

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinto is greeted by Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Myo Myint, right, upon her arrival in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Wednesday. (AP)

When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets this week with Burmese President Thein Sein, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and senior ranking members of the military establishment, she conspicuously will not have the opportunity to meet with journalist Sithu Zeya.

Sithu was detained by police after recording the impact of a bomb that exploded in a crowded Burmese marketplace in April 2010. The journalist was sentenced to 17 years in prison on charges related specifically to his reporting activities, with an additional 10 years tacked on this year -- soon after Thein Sein announced his intention to increase media freedom in Burma.

November 30, 2011 1:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, USA

What we have learned from fighting impunity


Press freedom groups worldwide are banding together today, the International Day to End Impunity, to demand justice for hundreds of journalists murdered for their work. On this day, the Committee to Protect Journalists and dozens of other members of the International Freedom of Information Exchange are remembering journalists killed, and urging governments to take action against those responsible for their deaths. We are also looking for lessons learned in past fights--like the one led by a group of journalists from the San Francisco Bay area, who battled tirelessly to ensure that justice was served in the slaying of their colleague Chauncey Bailey.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, CPJ, Mexico, Pakistan

Awardees to their colleagues: Buck the system

CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner took place at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria might seem like an odd venue to stage a call for resistance. Nine hundred people in tuxedos and gowns. Champagne and cocktails. Bill Cunningham snapping photos. This combination is generally more likely to coax a boozy nostalgia than foment a revolution. But the journalists honored last night at CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards had a clear message to their colleagues: Fight the power.

Blog   |   Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines

A call to continue the struggle against impunity

Umar Cheema, left, of Pakistan and Javier Valdez Cárdenas of Mexico, both 2011 International Press Freedom Award winners, are all too familiar with the culture of impunity. (CPJ)

Last night, hundreds of journalists and members of New York's press freedom community met at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan for the Committee to Protect Journalists' XXI annual International Press Freedom Awards. At the event--celebrating the extraordinary courage of five journalists from across the globe--guests and award recipients unanimously expressed their commitment to fighting impunity in the murders of journalists.

Blog   |   South Sudan

South Sudan journalist speaks out after illegal detention

South Sudan President Salva Kiir said the Destiny article was defamatory. (CPJ)

Detained without charge for 18 days, tortured, and released without explanation, South Sudanese journalist Peter Ngor plans to fight back. "I am going to sue them [in] court. What they did to me was completely, utterly wrong," said Ngor, the editor of a new, private, English-language daily called Destiny.

Still, Ngor believes that his illegal detention was the work of a few individuals, and that ultimately, the world's newest country will support freedom of the press. "There are powerful individuals who want to stop the press for their own interests," he said.


November 22, 2011 4:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

Dan Rather feted for career, support for press freedom

Gwen Ifill, right, interviewed Dan Rather about the role of information in a free society and the state of
American journalism. (Jeremy Bigwood)

As he exited his car and entered the performance center, the man in the dark pinstriped suit caught the attention of a few people, who trailed after him. The small crowd greeted him respectfully and enthusiastically, as someone they felt they had known all their lives. In return he shook hands calmly and asked the names of his greeters. He was veteran television news anchor and reporter Dan Rather.

Rather is this year's recipient of the Committee to Protect Journalists' Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in defending press freedom. At an event Thursday commemorating CPJ's three decades of battling for free expression, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Rather was interviewed by PBS's Gwen Ifill, where he discussed today's challenges to independent journalism as well as his own career.

Blog   |   Libya

VanDyke's deception increases risks for journalists

Matthew VanDyke returned home last week from Libya, arriving at the Baltimore airport still dressed in combat fatigues. "I went there to support the revolution," VanDyke declared. "My family did not know that when I left. You don't tell your mother you're going off to fight a war."

What troubles us is that VanDyke told his mother that he was going to Libya to be a journalist. So when he was captured on March 13 near Brega, that's what she told us.

November 18, 2011 11:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Why I fled Pakistan

Pakistani police and supporters of the Baluchistan National Party clash in Quetta, Pakistan on July 14, 2010. (AP)

In May 2006, at the age of 23, I joined the Daily Times, Pakistan's most liberal English-language newspaper, as a bureau chief. I was perhaps the youngest bureau chief to cover the country's largest province, Baluchistan, and its longstanding, deadly insurgency. I covered fierce military operations, daily bomb blasts, rocket attacks, enforced disappearances, torture of political activists, and high-profile political assassinations.

In 2008, I got an exclusive interview with Bramdagh Bugti, Pakistan's most wanted separatist leader. I also spoke to top civil and military officers. In November 2009, I founded the Baloch Hal, (Hal means "news" in English) the first online newspaper in Baluchistan, the country's most impoverished region.

November 17, 2011 11:22 AM ET

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Most countries fail AP's test of right-to-know laws

Documents wait to be scanned, sorted, and archived in Guatemala. In the first worldwide test of freedom of information, Guatemala was one of the most responsive countries. (AP)

The right to information is at the heart of CPJ's advocacy for press freedom, so we naturally support legislation granting that right, whether it is to journalists or ordinary citizens (or those in the expanding area between). But laws purporting to uphold the people's right to information are only as good as their implementation. Today, The Associated Press published an in-depth look at freedom-of-information laws around the world and the extent to which they are followed. During one week in January, the AP submitted requests to 105 countries with right-to-know laws and the European Union, the agency reported. Among its findings:

November 17, 2011 9:56 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian satirist silently joins ranks of the exiled

An Abé Tokichaw column from March 2011 (CPJ)

Newspaper satirist Abebe Tolla, better known as Abé Tokichaw, fled Ethiopia fearing imprisonment in retaliation for critical news commentaries, media reported this week. His exit was overshadowed by the trial of opposition figures and journalists on charges of terrorism.

In an interview he gave to U.S.-based Addis Neger Online from an undisclosed location, Abebe said he fled the country because security agents threatened to throw him in prison. He did not even bid farewell to family members. Abebe alleged that state security agents pressured him for months to become an informant at his newspaper, the critical Amharic weekly Feteh.

November 16, 2011 5:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen

Sri Lanka's former attorney general Mohan Peiris, who is now the senior legal adviser to the cabinet and who many Sri Lankans say is aiming to become the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, has made conflicting statements about missing journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda. The discrepancies do more than point up the government's indifference to Eknelygoda's fate and the mental anguish of his wife and two sons. Peiris's statements highlight the disregard with which the government views international opinion.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

Q & A: Dzhavlon Mirzakhodzhayev on Kyrgyz 'justice'

Ethnic Uzbek men look for their belongings at a destroyed house outside Osh on June 16, 2010. (AFP)

On October 28, a regional court in Jalal-Abad, southern Kyrgyzstan, announced its verdict in the trial of six men--all ethnic Uzbeks--charged in connection with violent ethnic conflict in June 2010. Among the defendants were owners of what was once the region's most influential media--Khalil Khudaiberdiyev of Osh TV and Dzhavlon Mirzakhodzhayev of Mezon TV. The Jalal-Abad City Court declared the defendants guilty on separate counts of incitement to ethnic hatred, organizing mass disorder, creation of armed military groups, separatism, and abuse of office. Khudaiberdiyev was sentenced to 20 years in jail, and Mirzakhodzhayev to 14 years; both men had fled Kyrgyzstan in 2010 and were tried and sentenced in absentia.

November 15, 2011 12:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   Journalist Assistance

A month for remembrances, outrage, and action

Three years ago Sunday, an unidentified assailant gunned down veteran crime reporter José Armando Rodríguez Carreón in the driveway of his home as his 8-year-old daughter watched. Amid a climate of violence and impunity in Mexico--where 10 journalists have been slain since 2008 and no killers convicted in any case--it seems unlikely that anyone will face prosecution for Rodriguez's murder. Two investigators working on the journalist's slaying were also shot to death.

November 15, 2011 11:55 AM ET

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Blog   |   Angola, China, Internet, Iran, Nigeria, Russia

Defending the middle ground of online journalism

It's easy to use polarizing descriptions of online news-gathering. It's the domain of citizen journalists, blogging without pay and institutional support, or it's a sector filled with the digital works of "mainstream media" facing financial worries and struggling to offer employees the protection they once provided. But there is a growing middle ground: trained reporters and editors who work exclusively online on projects born independent of traditional media. They share many of the practices of an older generation of reporters, but their work draws from the decentralized and agile practices of the digital world. 

Blog   |   China

China's new rules step up state control of reporting

A new set of media regulations in China is attempting to control the growing influence of social media users. (AFP)

China's latest media regulations, issued Thursday in a bid to take some steam out of microblogs that increasingly drive the country's news agenda, signal an increased role for the state in drafting and enforcing press standards.

November 14, 2011 12:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

At Occupy protests, U.S. journalists arrested, assaulted

KGO cameraman Randy Davis was assaulted during an Occupy Oakland protest like this one. (AP)

As the Occupy movement has spread beyond Wall Street, at least seven U.S. journalists have been detained and one television crew attacked by U.S. law enforcement officers during turbulent encounters between police and protesters. Occupy demonstrators have attacked journalists in two other instances, including an assault this week in Oakland, Calif., that left a cameraman with a concussion.

Blog   |   UK

Annual London ceremony honors fallen journalists

Memorials on an altar during the 2007 annual service for fallen journalists in St. Bride's Church in London. (AFP)

After the din of the day's student protests died down on Fleet Street, a gathering of a quieter, more somber sort took place. St. Bride's Church, London's so-called church of the press, held its annual service this Wednesday to commemorate journalists, photographers, cameramen, and support staff that died in the pursuit of journalism. This year's service was called "The Price of Freedom."

November 11, 2011 1:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Keeping a website alive behind the Great Firewall

Wednesday's post, "Advice for colleagues on the digital front lines," offered practical advice for keeping a website up and running in a hostile political environment. But such measures are not universally applicable. Sky Canaves, CPJ's new East Asia and Internet consultant in Hong Kong, sent this reality check for Internet writers in China, where tighter government scrutiny has driven online users to turn to other tactics.

November 11, 2011 1:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican cartels keep up social media intimidation

A marcher stops to write a peace slogan during an August 2011 protest against Mexican violence. (AP)

The dissemination of reports and graphic photos of a dead man, reportedly decapitated and left in the border city of Nuevo Laredo with a warning that he was murdered for using a chat room, appears to be the latest attempt by organized crime to intimidate social media users and control the online agenda.

While it's impossible to know the man's identity, the reason for his death, or other details, the veracity of the reports and photos are nearly beside the point. In Mexico's current climate, where CPJ research shows criminal organizations control the information agenda in many cities, what matters is the success of such attempts to scare professional and, increasingly, citizen journalists.

November 11, 2011 10:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Advice for colleagues on the digital front lines

If you're running a website that's come under attack, or is likely to, here is some advice on how to protect yourself.

First, a little background:

On Monday we filed an alert about the Sri Lankan government's blocking of at least five websites there. The move silenced just about all of the country's independent online voices. Two websites, Groundviews and its sister Sinhala site Vikalpa, have survived a few temporary takedowns, but for now they seem to be about the last two journalism sites posting independent analyses about Sri Lankan politics that are still up and running.

Blog   |   CPJ

Joining the global call for justice

On November 23, 2009, Esmael Mangudadatu decided to register his candidacy for governor of Maguindanao, in the southern Philippines. Because his rivals from the Ampuatan clan had pledged to block him from filing the papers, he dispatched his female relatives, believing that they would not be harmed. He also thought it would increase security to invite journalists along, and several press cars joined the caravan.

November 9, 2011 11:03 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

Planning the next steps in Chinese media control

It's not clear whether Beijing will require licensing of social media sites or users to register under their real names. (Reuters)

In the latest sign of increasing pressure on Chinese companies to tighten control of the Internet, Chinese authorities convened an unusual seminar in Beijing for senior executives of 39 major enterprises involved in Internet services, technology and telecommunications.

November 8, 2011 1:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Nicaragua

Secretive Ortega frustrates Nicaraguan press

The media strategy of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, shown after casting his ballot in Sunday's election, is to ignore journalists. (AP)

It used to be that covering the Nicaraguan presidency was a coveted job for reporters. Now, it's a frustrating exercise that borders on stenography.

November 7, 2011 1:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Suspects recycled in Politkovskaya case

Anna Politkovskaya photographed in 2005 (AFP)

Russia's Investigative Committee has named the main suspects in the October 7, 2006, murder of Anna Politkovskaya. But the news did not cause a stir. Russian journalists reacted to it rather languidly; for instance, Novaya Gazeta, where Politkovskaya worked, did not make any notable comments.

This is not because Politkovskaya's murder--now five years old--has been forgotten in Russia. The tepid interest is mostly due to the fact that there are no new names among the suspects.

Blog   |   Kenya

Glimmer of hope for justice in Kenyan death

From left, Francis Nyaruri's father, Peter Nyaruri; Peter's wife; the journalist's widow, Josephine Kwamboka; and his sister (CPJ)

Slain journalist Francis Nyaruri received threatening calls from a senior policeman shortly before he disappeared and his decapitated body was found in Kodera forest, western Kenya, a court sitting in Kisumu heard today in the presence of two murder suspects and four witnesses.

November 3, 2011 4:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

U.S. senator again presses Gambia on missing journalist

Amnesty International campaigns in front of U.S. Congress. (Ilona Kelly)

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin sent a letter to Gambia's justice minister, Edward Gomez, renewing his appeal for the release of local journalist Ebrima "Chief" Manneh. Manneh disappeared more than five years ago after security agents seized him at the offices of his newspaper, the Daily Observer.

November 3, 2011 3:55 PM ET

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