Blog   |   Mexico, USA

Film 'Reportero' features tenacious Mexican magazine

Zeta reporter Sergio Haro in the film 'Reportero.' (Courtesy Quiet Pictures)

A week before Sunday's crucial presidential elections in Mexico, CPJ participated on a panel with filmmaker Bernardo Ruíz and Mexican journalist Sergio Haro about the perilous conditions for journalists in that country, where CPJ research shows 48 journalists have been murdered or disappeared since outgoing President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006.

Blog   |   Malaysia, Pakistan

Can Pakistan's corrupt media be checked?

With ratings driving the profits of media channels, journalists and political talk show hosts are being motivated to stir up controversy at any cost. Meanwhile, the professionals who believe in credibility, objectivity, and honesty as essential parts of ethical journalism are becoming sidelined.

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Internet

High-tech censorship on the rise in East Africa

Ethiopia has always been a country at the cutting edge of Internet censorship in Africa. In the wake of violence after the 2005 elections, when other states were only beginning to recognize the potential for online reporters to bypass traditional pressures, Meles Zenawi's regime was already blocking major news sites and blog hosts such as blogspot.com. Some sites and Web addresses have been blocked for their reporting ever since, including exiled media like Addis Neger Online and Awramba Times.

Blog   |   China

What China's Weibo censorship does, and does not, reveal

A flurry of research on Weibo censorship underscores what we already know about the Chinese company Sina's microblog service--with a few surprises thrown in. 

June 28, 2012 4:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt, Security

Another journalist reports sex assault in Tahrir Square

People gathered in Tahrir Square Sunday. (AFP /Khaled Desouki)

The story sounds hideously like another--one of a chaotic, predatory attack on a woman journalist in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Clothes torn from her body, hundreds of men surging to grab her breasts and claw at her. A woman wondering, "Maybe this is how I go, how I die." It has been almost a year and a half since CBS correspondent and CPJ board member Lara Logan endured an attack like this. Now, an independent journalist and student named Natasha Smith reports that it has happened to her.

Blog   |   Security, USA

Author of Chauncey Bailey book: 'We had to do this'

AP/Crown

When Thomas Peele came into the CPJ offices last week to discuss Killing the Messenger, his book about the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey, he described a story that was layered with scandal, including a polygamous cult, bankruptcy, kidnapping, rape, a flawed confession, leaked evidence, and secret alliances--not to mention the aggressive attack on a free press. Peele, motivated in part by the blatant demonstration of corruption in the investigation into Bailey's death, intended to reveal the truth about the circumstances surrounding the case. Accompanying Peele at CPJ was our own senior adviser for journalist security, Frank Smyth, who became involved in the case as a CPJ representative.

June 22, 2012 3:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet

What to do if Google warns of state-sponsored attack


(Google)

Some journalists continue to receive the warning from Google about state-sponsored attacks that we mentioned last week. The message appears on top of logged-in services like Gmail. Occasionally it will disappear for a few hours and then reappear, but there is no way to remove it.

June 22, 2012 12:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

Investigative reporting and Kyrgyzstan's selective justice

At a Bishkek roundtable Tuesday called "The Fourth Estate: Rule of the Game," Almambet Shykmamatov, Kyrgyzstan's justice minister, encouraged local reporters to expose government corruption, local press reported. The minister said authorities would follow up on such reports, grant security to investigative journalists, and might even pay them up to 20 percent of the funds that corrupt officials return to state coffers.

Blog   |   India, Security

Dangerous disease--the unexpected threat

Patients suffering from malaria crowd a ward of a government hospital in India. (AP/Rafiq Maqbool)

Last week, Tarun Sehrawat, a 22-year-old Indian photographer for Tehelka magazine, died from cerebral malaria and its complications, according to several of his colleagues and media accounts. He had returned, ill, from a shooting assignment with Tehelka's reporter Tusha Mittal in May. The team had been covering the ongoing Maoist revolt in Chhattisgarh in central India and reported it in "Inside Abujmarh The Mythic Citadel."  Both Sehrawat and Mittal became very ill, but Sehrawat succumbed. Mittal, we understand, is still recovering. 

Blog   |   China, USA

Don't punish Chinese restrictions with more restrictions

The Committee to Protect Journalists is watching with concern the progress of H.R. 2899, the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011, which is under discussion Wednesday in front of the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. The bill seeks to reduce the number of visas available to journalists (and their families) working in the United States for 13 Chinese state-controlled publications. The aim is to pressure Beijing into allowing more Voice of America reporters into China; VOA staffers tell us that they are allowed only two China visas to cover a country of more than 1.3 billion people.

Blog   |   Canada, Russia, Security, Syria, USA

Skype Trojan targets Syrian citizen journalists, activists

The Russian manufacturer promises results. The software can be used to control your own or, say, a customer's computer by making it a remote software client. Or it could be used for spying on others.

June 20, 2012 3:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Al-Arabiya news team missing in the Philippines

Baker Abdulla Atyani (AP/Nickee Butlangan)

CPJ is monitoring with concern the news coverage of Baker Abdulla Atyani, a Pakistan-based Jordanian Al-Arabiya TV journalist, and his two Philippine crew members, Rolando Letrero and Ramelito Vela, who have been unaccounted for since June 12.

Atyani, Letrero, and Vela left their hotel in Jolo, in the southern Philippines, to interview a commander for the militant Abu Sayyaf, a banned Islamic separatist group in the region, according to local and international news reports. The three refused offers of a security detail from local authorities, the reports said.

They have not returned. Various news accounts report them as "missing," "kidnapped," and a link between Abu Sayyaf and Al-Qaeda.

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan

Video: Journalists in exile

Four East African journalists who were forced to flee their countries tell about their experiences, difficulties, and hopes for the future. (3:43)

Read CPJ's report, "Journalists in exile: Crisis in East Africa," for more information about journalists forced to go into exile.

Blog   |   Guatemala

Displaced by threats, old life gives way to new

A soldier patrols a lake in the town of Panajachel, where journalist Lucía Escobar used to live. (AFP/Orlando Sierra)

For seven years I lived in Panajachel, a tourist town on the beautiful Atitlán Lake in Guatemala. There, my husband, Juan Miguel Arrivillaga, and I started a family and the independent news outlet Anti Magazine. We also hosted a radio program on the local station Radio Ati.

June 19, 2012 12:04 AM ET

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Blog   |   Eritrea, Sudan

For exiled Eritreans in Sudan, fear greater than most

The border between Sudan and Eritrea is heavily patrolled. (AFP/Thomas Goisque)

With the launch of CPJ's most recent exile report, I will have worked exactly three years for our Journalist Assistance program. More than 500 cases later, I have helped journalists who have gone into hiding or exile to escape threats; those in need of medicine and other support while in prison, and journalists injured after violent attacks. The most harrowing accounts of all, however, come from those crossing from Eritrea into Sudan. And things seem to be getting worse, not better.

Blog   |   Russia

Q&A: Nadira Isayeva on exile from Dagestan, in US

Nadira Isayeva (AP/Sergei Rasulov)

Nadira Isayeva, a 2010 CPJ International Press Freedom Award winner, has been living in exile since she left her native Dagestan, in Russia's volatile North Caucasus, in November 2011. Isayeva, the editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Chernovik, had been harassed by security forces for her relentless, critical coverage of their heavy-handed anti-terrorism operations in the region. Yet she was hesitant to leave, unable to imagine herself not reporting on these issues.

After fellow human rights advocates finally convinced Isayeva to leave, she came to New York, where she works as a fellow at Columbia University's Harriman Institute. (The interview has been edited).

June 19, 2012 12:02 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia, USA

US senator condemns Ethiopia's persecution of the press

The success of a U.S. partnership with Ethiopia on food security depends in large part on a free press in the Horn of Africa nation, a senator argued yesterday. Above, Obama and Meles at the G8 summit in 2010. (White House)

On Wednesday, the same day the White House announced a strategic plan committing the United States to elevating its efforts in "challenging leaders whose actions threaten the credibility of democratic processes" in sub-Saharan Africa, a senior member of the U.S. Congress challenged the erosion of press freedom in a key U.S. strategic partner in the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia.

Blog   |   CPJ, Italy

Artist's exhibit tells new stories about killed journalists

The "On Journalism #2 Typewriter." (Julian Koschwitz)

Julian Koschwitz is doing his part to ensure that the 918 journalists killed for their work since 1992 don't fade into mere numbers.

June 14, 2012 6:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

Spreading the security message


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On the frontlines of global reporting, knowledge is safety. CPJ's event series to promote our new Journalist Security Guide continued Wednesday in Washington, D.C. where we teamed up with Internews for a panel discussion on journalist security on-site and online. 

Blog   |   Bangladesh

Bangladesh backsliding on press freedom

Bangladeshi opposition supporters demonstrate in Dhaka on March 12 against an amendment introduced by the ruling party which scraps caretaker governments during elections. (AP/Aijaz Rahi)

"Bangladeshi democracy [may be] doomed to more of the same," International Crisis Group wrote in a recent commentary. They are describing a longstanding pattern of antagonism between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), which the Crisis Group describes as "a pernicious cycle of zero-sum politics." If the political situation descends into unrest, journalists covering it will suffer. 

Blog   |   Somalia

Mission Journal: Somaliland's press harassed, disappointed

Abdiweli Farah and Mohamed Abdi Jama, chief editors of Ogaal and Waheen, respectively, say the government has not lived up to its promises. (CPJ/Tom Rhodes)

"I'm free but I don't feel free," said Mohamed Abdi Urad, chief editor of Yool, a critical weekly published in the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland. Mohamed had just been released on May 22 after a week in detention at Hargeisa Central Police Station. His crime? "I have no idea," he said. Mohamed had attempted to cover a deadly skirmish between civilians and a military unit over a land dispute in the eastern part of the capital, Hargeisa. "The Interior Minister just saw me walking towards the scene and ordered his men to arrest me," he said. A few days later, police released Mohamed unconditionally and without charge.

Blog   |   Brazil, Ecuador, India, Pakistan

Brazil restates commitment to press freedom, UN plan

CPJ has received an encouraging letter from Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil's permanent representative to the United Nations, affirming the country's support for the UNESCO-led U.N. Plan of Action for Security of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity

Blog   |   Philippines

Philippines' Aquino demonstrates selective political will

Some weeks ago, the body of Esmail Amil Enog was found. The corpse had been chopped to pieces and then thrown together in a sack. Enog was a witness in a grisly massacre in November 2009, which took the lives of 57 people, 32 of them journalists, on a stretch of lonely highway in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao. It was the single largest attack on journalists in the world.

June 13, 2012 10:43 AM ET

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Blog   |   Honduras

Amid violence, lack of unity among Honduran journalists

Journalists protest violence against members of the media in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, May 25. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

On May 25, the Honduran press corps took to the streets of Tegucigalpa and four other cities to reject the growing levels of violence against members of the media.  Many marchers donned yellow-and-black t-shirts emblazoned with the words: "Killing journalists will not kill the truth."

Blog   |   Afghanistan

Afghan media is under political and economic pressure

Danish Karokhel (AP/Stuart Ramson)

Danish Karokhel, who won a CPJ International Press Freedom Award in 2008, messaged this morning concerned that the news agency he runs, Pajhwok Afghan News, and some other media outlets have been referred to the Attorney General's Office by the Ministry of Information and Culture for reporting on an alleged bribery scandal involving a member of Parliament. The action was taken by the ministry's Media Monitoring Commission, and could lead to criminal charges.

June 11, 2012 4:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China, press rights equal press control

A police officer films members of the press gathered outside the Beijing hospital where Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng was staying on May 3. (AFP/Ed Jones)

China's state news agency Xinhua published the full text of the state council's National Human Rights Action Plan 2012-15 on Monday. There is no section dedicated to press freedom. But the most striking omissions can be found in the text itself.

Blog   |   Uganda

Amid assaults on press, Uganda police promise reforms

Ugandan journalists protest on World Press Freedom Day in 2011. (Edward Echwalu)

Joseph Mutebi, a photojournalist for the popular vernacular state-owned daily Bukedde, spent his afternoon trying to file a complaint with the police in the capital, Kampala. "First they told me the officer who assaulted me was based at another station, so I went there and now they are telling me he is based at the police station where I originally went. So I am confused. I think they are just playing with me." Mutebi's case is not uncommon--both in terms of the constant threat journalists face from Uganda's police force and the challenges they encounter trying to file a complaint.

Blog   |   China, Internet, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

State-sponsored attacks: open season on online journalists

The last few weeks have offered the strongest indications yet that nation-states are using customized software to exploit security flaws on personal computers and consumer Internet services to spy on their users. The countries suspected include the United States, Israel, and China. Journalists should pay attention--not only because this is a growing story, but because if anyone is a vulnerable target, it's reporters.

Blog   |   Hungary

Hungary's media law still unsatisfactory

A Hungarian holds a banner reading 'EU No!' in Budapest on March 15, 2012, during a commemoration of the 1848-1849 Hungarian revolution and independence war. (AFP/Attila Kisbenedek)

The Hungarian press law is again drawing fire from the European Union; the amendments adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on May 24 have not placated Brussels.

Blog   |   Pakistan

In Pakistan, UN human rights chief meets with Jahangir

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in opening remarks at her press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, addressed a wide range of problems in Pakistan, including those faced by journalists. (The full statement is on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.) What was especially gratifying was her mention of meeting with human rights defender and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir at her home--a request we made on Tuesday of Pillay and E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who was also on an official trip to Pakistan.

June 7, 2012 1:43 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bosnia, Poland, Rwanda, Serbia, Sudan

Defining role of the press in genocide prevention

Talking about genocide prevention in the shadow of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps brings an intense and unique gravity to the discussions. The academic presentations cannot extract themselves from the looming presence of the barbed wires and grim towers surrounding the Nazis' most infamous death factory.

Blog   |   China

Google gives Chinese Web users glimpse into censorship

Google declared last week that it would start listing search terms that are censored in China. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

In China, people know enough not to take to the streets to commemorate the brutal crackdown on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Beijing is very quiet in the days before and after June 4. The Internet is a different story.

June 5, 2012 3:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   India

In India, imprisoned journalist's plea for help

The New Delhi-based Tehelka magazine published an open letter by imprisoned freelance journalist Lingaram Kodopi on Monday. Kodopi, one of the two journalists CPJ documented in prison in India on December 1, 2011, has been held without charge since September 2011 as a suspected associate of insurgent Maoists in Chhattisgarh. His supporters believe he faces harassment for documenting police violence in the region.

June 5, 2012 1:13 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

EU, UN officials in Pakistan must make time for Jahangir

Asma Jahangir has revealed that government agencies have been threatening her. (AFP/Ben Stansall)

There is no better time than now for U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton to step out of their tightly planned schedule of meetings in Pakistan and make a trip to the home of human rights activist Asma Jahangir.

Blog   |   South Africa

South Africans clash on Twitter over #Zumaspear

A screen shot of a graphic released by City Press' parent company that samples tweets from around the country. (Media24/Andrew Trench)

South African journalist and arts critic Charl Blignaut made what turned out to be an excellent prediction. "Of all the work on show, it's this depiction of the president that will set the most tongues wagging and most likely generate some howls of disapproval," he wrote on May 13 in a review of an art exhibition in Johannesburg.

Blog   |   Cambodia

Foreign broadcasters shut down for Cambodian elections

How far has democracy advanced in Cambodia?

Not very far.

Activists from three different political parties died during the 15-day campaign period leading up to the elections, in which the ruling Cambodian People's Party won a large majority of seats, according to a report issued by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel). The Phnom Penh Post ran articles on "allegations of intimidation, ghost voting, and electoral-roll sabotage" in the election, and the U.S. government-funded Voice of America (VOA) published a story headlined "Observers: Cambodian Vote Improved but Problems Remain."

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

How times change in Sri Lanka, and how they don't

Iqbal Athas. (AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

For a good historical perspective on the abuse of journalists in Sri Lanka, Iqbal Athas, the recipient of a 1994 International Press Freedom Award from CPJ, wrote a center-page spread for the 25th anniversary edition of the Sunday Times, a popular weekly in Colombo. Athas, a critical journalist who specializes in defense issues, works as an associate editor and defense correspondent for the Times.

The lede to his article recounts a 1998 incident in which armed men invaded his home while he, his wife, and their seven-year-old daughter watched television. After the men left, the story spread, and all night, they received phone calls from friends and acquaintances inquiring about their safety. In his article, Athas describes how one of the callers was then-Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa was trying to make a name for himself as a champion of human rights and offered his support to the Athas family.

June 4, 2012 12:48 PM ET

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Blog   |   Philippines

Third witness to Maguindanao massacre killed

The climate of impunity that fostered the November 23, 2009, massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, is alive and well not only on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, where the massacre took place, but in all of the country. The revelation that the brutalized body of a key witness to the killings, Esmail Enog, was found two months after he had gone missing is an indicator of that. Enog testified last year that he had driven gunmen to the site of the November massacre, news reports said. The killings wiped out almost an entire generation of journalists in the region.

June 1, 2012 3:34 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

A heads-up for Sri Lanka press freedom watchers

Prageeth Eknelygoda's wife and sons are still seeking information on him. (CPJ)

Former Attorney General Mohan Peiris has been ordered to testify about a statement he made at the U.N. Committee Against Torture in Geneva on November 9, 2011, in which he said that Prageeth Eknelygoda was alive and living outside the country (see "Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen"). Peiris will have to appear at the Homogama Magistrate's Court in Colombo on June 5, next Tuesday, which has been hearing the case brought by Eknelygoda's wife, Sandhya, to learn more about his disappearance on January 24, 2010.

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