Blog   |   Qatar, UAE

In UAE and Qatar, key trials go unreported as media barred

A civil defense officer carries the body of a young victim a mall fire during a funeral in Doha on May 29, 2012. Hearings to determine criminal responsibility for the fire are underway. (Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed)

In the past month, officials in both the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have prevented journalists from reporting on important court proceedings. But it is not too late to allow the press to cover these crucial cases.

Blog   |   India

Indian law enforcement unaccountable in journalist attacks

Indian policemen beat an opposition activist during a protest outside the Odisha state chief minister's office in Bhubaneswar, India, on March 25. (AP/Biswaranjan Rout)

Anyone who has been to India or is familiar with the country knows how chaotic it can be: from the congestion on the streets of Delhi to the messy way in which democracy functions. And for journalists, covering the chaos of India can be risky business. This week alone, Indian law enforcement officials assaulted two journalists covering demonstrations in different corners of the country.

Blog   |   Egypt

In Egypt, crackdown against media reaches new lows

Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah is surrounded by supporters as he leaves the prosecutor general's office in Cairo on Tuesday. (AP/Mostafa Darwish)

The government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi continues to escalate its offensive against journalists. Details of the most recent case, in which an arrest warrant was issued for blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah for inciting "aggression" against members of the Muslim Brotherhood, show how low the government is willing to go in order to silence its critics.

Blog   |   Uzbekistan

In Uzbekistan, speculation swirls as Karimov out of sight

In the most tightly controlled countries, the media is told what they are allowed to report on and what topics are taboo. Anything related to the leader's health or his family is generally in the latter category. The resulting information vacuum can lead to rumors and uncertainty.

March 26, 2013 6:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, USA

At OAS, a victory for human rights and free expression

Foreign Minister of Ecuador Ricardo Patiño speaks about human rights during the Organization of American States general assembly in Washington, D.C., on March 22. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

By reaffirming the autonomy and independence of the regional human rights system and rejecting attempts to neutralize the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its special rapporteur for freedom of expression, the Organization of American States (OAS) chose last week to discard proposals that would have made citizens throughout the hemisphere more vulnerable to abuses.

The OAS extraordinary assembly, held at the organization's headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Friday, adopted a resolution by which the 35 member states ratified the ability of the commission to continue receiving voluntary contributions. Analysts and human rights advocates say the decision was a blow to countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, known as ALBA, which have been pushing to preclude outside funding for the IACHR.

March 26, 2013 5:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Russia steps up crackdown on rights groups, Internet

Russian President Vladimir Putin is signaling a intensified crackdown on human rights organizations. (AP/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky)

Recent statements by Vladimir Putin and Russian Member of Parliament (MP) Aleksey Mitrofanov, as well as raids on human rights organizations, signal that the threat hanging over civil society and freedom of expression in Russia has become reality. Since Putin returned to presidential office in May, the Kremlin has passed a series of restrictive laws and provisions, but until recently authorities had not acted upon many of them.

Blog   |   CPJ, USA

Tony Lewis gave CPJ authority, devotion over decades

Lewis receives a lifetime achievement award in 2009. (CPJ)

Back in 1981, when CPJ was being formed and its board of directors assembled, Tony Lewis, who died today at age 85, was one of the first people we approached. As the author of books such as Gideon's Trumpet, as a widely read columnist for The New York Times, and as an outspoken defender of press freedom, he seemed a natural choice for the board. At the time, CPJ was an idea without money, office, or staff, but Tony at once saw the value of such an organization and signed on. His presence on CPJ's board and masthead helped give the organization immediate credibility; his devoted participation was invaluable as we expanded in size and mission over the next 30 years. 

March 25, 2013 5:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe frees prominent lawyer Mtetwa on bail

Reporters surround Beatrice
Mtetwa as she exited a courthouse today. (ZLHR/Kumbirai Mafunda)

Beatrice Mtetwa, a tenacious lawyer who has won accolades for stubbornly defending journalists and others persecuted by Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe, regained her freedom today after a hellish week that began on March 17 when she was arrested and charged with the criminal offense of "defeating or obstructing the course of justice."

March 25, 2013 3:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   India

In India, media gag order on rape trial lifted

V.K. Anand, lawyer for Ram Singh, a man on trial for the gang rape and killing of a 23-year-old student aboard a New Delhi bus, addresses the media outside a hospital in New Delhi on March 11 after Singh was found dead in prison. (AP/Saurabh Das)

In a welcome move, Indian media will finally be allowed to cover court proceedings in the rape case that shook India's conscience. On Friday, the Delhi High Court lifted a gag order on media covering the ongoing trial of those accused of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in December. 

March 25, 2013 12:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Jubilation, then tragedy, for Mogadishu press this week

This week in Mogadishu, Abdiaziz Abdinuur, left was freed from prison, but Mohamed Ali Nuxurkey was killed in a bombing that injured three other journalists. (AFP, Raxanreeb)

"He's free! He's free!" a friend of mine from Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, shouted down the phone line on Sunday. For a fleeting second I did not know whom he referred to, given the high number of journalists imprisoned in the Horn region of Africa--but then it dawned on me: Abdiaziz Abdinuur had finally found justice. The 25-year-old freelance reporter was arrested on January 10 in Mogadishu for the most incomprehensible alleged crime: conducting an interview.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

Press freedom groups denounce repression in Azerbaijan

In a joint statement today, leading international press freedom and human rights groups, including CPJ, condemned the ongoing repression of journalists and rights activists in Azerbaijan and urged authorities to address the issue immediately.

Blog   |   Kenya

New challenges for local and foreign press in Kenya

Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo has criticized the press in the past. (The Nation)

Kenya has passed peacefully through its election period, but questions still hang over the legitimacy of presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta's victory--as well as over the future of the country's media coverage. During polling, challenges arose for both local and international media, and they have not subsided. For the foreign press, it is now unclear how to get accreditation to report in the country. Local journalists are worried about the rise of self-censorship, and freedom of expression advocates are concerned by plans for vague regulations on hate speech.

Blog   |   Angola, Portugual

Portuguese media chilled by Angolan involvement

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (left) and Anibal Cavaco Silva, president of Portugal, in Lisbon in 2009. (AFP/Joao Cortesao)

Portuguese journalists are increasingly concerned by Angola's growing investment and influence in their country. Buoyed by petrodollars and diamonds, powerful Angolan interests have been indulging in a buying spree in their former colonial power. Angolan capital invested in Portugal increased 35 times in the past decade, according to news reports. In a process often acidly described in Lisbon as a form of "reverse colonization," Angolans have gobbled up not only significant chunks of Portugal's banking, telecommunications, and energy companies, but also invested in the Portuguese media sector. 

Blog   |   Iraq, USA

Iraq war and news media: A look inside the death toll

An Iraqi journalist walks past a wall of photos of journalists killed during the Iraq War. (AP/Samir Mizban)

The U.S.-led war in Iraq claimed the lives of a record number of journalists and challenged some commonly held perceptions about the risks of covering conflict. Far more journalists, for example, were murdered in targeted killings in Iraq than died in combat-related circumstances. Here, on the 10th anniversary of the start of the war, is a look inside the data collected by CPJ.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Globovisión sale would finish critical Venezuelan TV

Globovisión's employees work at the station's main studio in Caracas. The broadcaster's owner has accepted a buyout offer. (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

If the proposed sale of Globovisión, the single remaining TV station critical of the Venezuelan government, is finalized next month, the broadcaster will almost certainly become less combative and could eventually turn into another government mouthpiece, according to news reports, local journalists, and analysts.

Blog   |   Cuba

Sánchez, Cuba's blogging pioneer, eyes a new trail to blaze

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez. (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

Having broken through one long-standing barrier, Yoani Sánchez, the pioneering figure in Cuba's independent blogosphere, is looking to smash another. "It seemed like an impossible dream, but here I am," Sánchez told a gathering today at CPJ's New York offices. After being denied travel authorization at least 20 times in the past, Sánchez is in the midst of her first trip abroad in a decade. And now, Sánchez said, she plans to launch a new publication upon her return to the island nation. Though the project is still in conception, she hopes the result will be modern and innovative in look and content, carrying everything from comprehensive sports coverage to critical opinion columns.

Blog   |   Kazakhstan

Under official pressure, Kazakh broadcaster closes

In this YouTube screenshot, supporters of independent media demonstrate at the press conference where owners of Stan.kz announced its shutdown. (YouTube/Respublika Kz)

A blocked website; reporting equipment confiscated; a newsroom sealed; and reporters denied information from state agencies: these things together spelled the end of Stan.kz, a local, independent Internet-based broadcaster which for two years had tirelessly reported on developments in Kazakhstan. "We are forced to shut down the Stan.kz newsroom," Bauyrzhan Musirov, owner of parent Stan Production Company, said at a press conference Wednesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan's main city. 

Blog   |   Pakistan

Pakistan's new effort to improve safety, combat impunity

Journalists in Islamabad demonstrate against journalist murders and the lack of security surrounding the press. (Reuters/Faisal Mehmood)

Representatives from 40 Pakistani and international press groups, development organizations, and media houses came together in Islamabad last week to discuss ways to better protect local journalists at risk of violence, and means to combat the virtually perfect record of impunity that assailants enjoy in this country. It's none too soon. Three journalists have died already in Pakistan this year, and more than 40 have been killed over the past decade. About two dozen have been targeted for murder. On the eve of the March 6-7 conference, members of an ARY Television news crew were shot and beaten by thugs in Hyderabad. The attack attests to the dangerous situation in Pakistan where journalists routinely face threats from an array of sources; where reporters working on dangerous beats have little protection; and where law enforcement response to anti-press attacks is nearly nonexistent.

Blog   |   CPJ, Egypt

Mission Journal: Who is a journalist in Egypt?

Egyptian journalists, besieged by punitive lawsuits and under threat, agree that under President Mohamed Morsi "there is no press freedom, only the courage of journalists," as editor Ibrahim Eissa put it. What they can't agree on is--in a climate of freewheeling, mutable media--who exactly is a journalist? 

Blog   |   Mali

In Mali, one journalist's detention ignites press revolution

News stands in Mali are empty as journalists strike. (news.abamako.com)

Mali's press has endured one attack too many.

Since the coup d'état of March 22, 2012, CPJ has documented a staggering 62 anti-press violations across Mali. Journalists and media houses have become ready targets of attacks, threats, intimidation, assassination attempts, arbitrary arrests, detentions, and censorship by separatist and Islamist militant groups and government security forces alike. 

March 14, 2013 5:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Internet, USA

Working with phone companies on free expression

For more than six years the Committee to Protect Journalists has been working with freedom of expression advocates, investors, and giant Internet companies to promote online freedoms. Absent from the discussions under the umbrella of the Global Network Initiative have been the telecommunications companies--vital gateways to the Internet for journalists and bloggers, particularly in much of the global South. Today things have changed.

Blog   |   Kenya, Security

In tense climate, Kenyan press can draw on solidarity

A supporter of Raila Odinga, a presidential candidate who was defeated last week by Uhura Kenyatta. (AFP/Jennifer Huxta)

Amid a tense presidential election, Kenyans have avoided a repeat of the deadly violence that followed the vote in 2007, when half a million people were uprooted and more than 1,000 people were killed. Still, the situation today is fraught. Ethnic identity dominates the nation's political divisions--and those same loyalties can undermine solidarity in the press corps.

Blog   |   Mexico

Arrests in Torreón press crimes; will it make difference?

Twenty-one people have been arrested for a wave of crimes that included 11 murders (six of which were committed against police officers), the abduction for hours of five employees of El Siglo de Torreón newspaper, the murder of a mayoral candidate, and attempted murder of a current mayor in a large metropolitan area in central Mexico, according a senior federal official. 

March 8, 2013 3:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, CPJ

Brazil officials back OAS human rights system

Carlos Lauría, left, and Mauri König meet Brazil's chief justice, Joaquim Barbosa, on Wednesday as part of a CPJ mission to Brazil. (Supreme Federal Tribunal)

"Leave me in peace. Wallow in your garbage," Brazilian Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa said in a rage when a reporter with one of the leading national newspapers, O Estado de Sao Paulo, tried to ask him a question Tuesday at a meeting of the National Council of Justice in Brasilia, the capital. Stunned by Barbosa's reaction, the journalist demanded an explanation. "You are a clown," was the response he received from the president of Brazil's highest court.

Blog   |   India, Somalia

Jail for reporting on women in Mangalore, Mogadishu

Today marks International Women's Day. Hashtags like #IWD and #InternationalWomensDay have been trending on Twitter. Among the twitterati who voiced their support for women's rights was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He tweeted: 

Blog   |   Iran, USA

For Iran and U.S., mutually restrictive visa policies

Istanbul-based McClatchy correspondent Roy Gutman has been honored for his reporting from Srebrenica to Baghdad. But he can't get a visa for Iran. He blames the U.S. government, at least in part. 

March 7, 2013 11:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

From Islamabad to Hyderabad, journalist safety at issue

In front of the Parliament building in Islamabad on January 28, journalists demonstrate a spate of recent killings. (Reuters/Faisal Mahmood)

Owais Toheed, head of ARY News, cancelled his speaking slot for Wednesday at the conference I'm attending in Islamabad. Organized by UNESCO, the Open Society Foundations, Intermedia, and International Media Support, the meeting's title says it all: International Conference on Safety and Security of Journalists in Pakistan. The reason Toheed couldn't attend is because he was tearing toward Hyderabad, where one of ARY's investigative camera crews was attacked earlier today. 

Blog   |   Kenya

Journalists relieved, wary amid Kenyan elections

Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to the press on election day. (AP)

Journalists could be seen rushing from polling station to polling station Monday to see long queues of determined Kenyan voters in what was apparently a largely peaceful election, according to the Deputy Director of Kenya's statutory media council, Victor Bwire. But leading up to the vote, many journalists worked in a climate of fear; and many of them say they are still wary that, once results are in, they will face attacks and other challenges such as they experienced in the aftermath of the last presidential election in 2007.

Blog   |   Turkey

In letter from Turkish jail, journalist describes ordeal

In a letter she passed from Gebze women's prison outside Istanbul, Fusün Erdoğan, founder and director of the leftist broadcaster Özgür Radyo, details circumstances of her arrest, imprisonment, and politicized criminal charges. Erdoğan founded the broadcaster in 1995, and worked as its director until September 8, 2006--the day when plainclothes police agents detained her in the city of Izmir, she writes in the letter. She has been locked up ever since.

March 5, 2013 4:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain

To bridge divide, Bahrain should expand media access

A Bahraini anti-government protester carries a sign with the picture of a jailed photographer during a march in Karranah, Bahrain, on Friday. (AP/Hasan Jamali)

The Bahraini press, like almost everything else in the island country, is sharply divided. If the government would take steps to strengthen press freedom instead of restricting access, then much of this divide could be bridged.

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