When we conduct the research for our annual list of jailed journalists, we rely on a range of sources. And we come across a lot of information that doesn't always make it on to our list. With China once again the largest jailer of journalists--44 this year--our research team spotted several stories that deserve notice, even if they don't fall precisely under the "jailed journalist" heading.
In 2014, a record number of journalists imprisoned in China was documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The 44 in prison this year is an increase from 32 in 2013, and is the largest figure for China since CPJ began tracking imprisoned journalists in 1990. In recent years, the generally rising numbers for China have been driven by the detention of journalists from ethnic minorities, mostly Tibetans and Uighurs. Many straddle the increasingly blurry line between journalism and activism.
Chinese President Xi Jinping issued tough words on the visa woes of international media outlets today, arguing that journalists facing visa restrictions had brought trouble on themselves and signaling that there will be little respite for the international media in China.
Political tensions are rising in Taiwan ahead of local and municipal elections due at the end of November. The vote is expected to test the popularity of the ruling Kuomintang Party (KMT), which advocates greater integration with China and which earlier this year sparked protests when it tried to pass a new economic cooperation deal with the mainland. The vote also comes as the Taiwanese are closely watching how Beijing responds to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests are among the best covered in history. The city is saturated with print, broadcast, and social media, traveling across some of the best networks on earth. Its citizens are among the most connected in the world. And for all the media's flaws, consumers expect them to deliver.
We have been receiving reports of harassment and the use of force directed toward journalists covering the demonstrations in Hong Kong. Most of the incidents came over the weekend with the government's ill-advised attempt to end the protests with police force. But with tensions building today, more clashes with police seem possible.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong intensify ahead of China's National Day on Wednesday, some reporters have been caught in the melee. But for Hong Kong's journalists, there is more at stake than run-ins with the riot police.
When China hosted the summer Olympics in 2008 it promised greater press freedom, but six years later conditions for international journalists are increasingly more restrictive, as evidenced by a report released today by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China.
Yet another set of rules restricting the work of journalists in China takes the concept of "overbroad" to new heights. According to guidelines made public Tuesday by the official state news agency Xinhua, the new rules cover various "information, materials, and news products that journalists may deal with during their work, including state secrets, commercial secrets, and unpublicized information."
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.