CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Bob Dietz

Bob Dietz, coordinator of CPJ’s Asia Program, has reported across the continent for news outlets such as CNN and Asiaweek. He has led numerous CPJ missions, including ones to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Follow him on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Eknelygoda disappearance devastates Sri Lankan family

Sandhya Eknelygoda and sons Sanjay and Harith. (CPJ)

Prageeth Eknelygoda has been missing since January 24 of this year. He was a political cartoonist and columnist for Lanka eNews, a website whose editor, Sandaruwan Senadheera, was forced into exile. In Sri Lanka's highly partisan media climate, Lanka eNews backed the wrong presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, who not only lost but was jailed on politicized fraud charges. 

December 27, 2010 3:34 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Movement in Umar Cheema's case 'frustratingly slow'

Umar Cheema

On Wednesday, we identified Pakistan as the country where the most journalists--eight--have been killed for their work in the past year. Six of them were on the job when they were killed in crossfire or a suicide bombing. Two others were assassinated.

I've been posting reports on one journalist--Umar Cheema--who wasn't killed, but whose case represents the other ugly reality, that the killings and abductions of journalists go uninvestigated in Pakistan. We rank Pakistan as 10th worst in the world when it comes to investigating journalists' deaths. The other pieces on Cheema can be found here.

December 16, 2010 2:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

In Pakistan, local news has global, dangerous implications

As CPJ reports today, eight of the 42 journalists killed this year were on the job in Pakistan. It's accurate to say the Pakistani victims were like most journalists killed worldwide: They were local journalists covering stories in their communities. But with Pakistan's political and sectarian unrest aggravated by a decade-long war in neighboring Afghanistan, these journalists are covering a local story of global significance. 

December 15, 2010 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

An empty chair in Oslo shows China is empty of media ideas

Members of Nobel Peace Prize committee flank a chair left empty for Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who remains jailed in China. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

It was more than Liu Xiaobo's chair that was empty at Thursday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. What was also on display to the world was China's lack of a new approach to media that goes beyond its decades-old approach of controlling through denial and suppression. 

December 10, 2010 6:05 PM ET

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CPJ's Rebecca MacKinnon on 'Internet freedom' in WSJ

Here's a quick pointer to an insightful Wall Street Journal op-ed about Internet freedom from CPJ board member (and former CNN colleague) Rebecca MacKinnon. She's based in Washington these days, a Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation, so she has plenty to say about inside the Beltway funding issues. But she's even more insightful on the growing global pressure on Internet journalists and activists and tactics to help them.

The WSJ piece confronts issues that CPJ deals with regularly, and not just in Asia. MacKinnon's Internet-related work ever since she left CNN has been mandatory reading for anyone interested in these issues, and over the years she's broadened her area of concentration well beyond the China focus she had while working from Hong Kong. 

November 19, 2010 12:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   North Korea

News with a genuine North Korea dateline

A book named Rimjin-gang--News from Inside North Korea just became available. It's a compilation of years of reporting by a group of about 12 North Koreans using video and still cameras to record everyday life in North Korea. The title comes from the Rimjin River (Imjin in English), which forms part of the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. Japanese and Korean readers have been able to read the Rimjin-gang magazine since 2007.  

Ishimaru Jiro, Rimjingang's editor and publisher, is the driving force behind organizing a group of North Koreans, to whom he gave video and still cameras. He works with Asia Press, a cooperative started in Japan in 1987 to foster independent journalism in Asia.
November 15, 2010 2:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Lugar: Umar Cheema case a 'bellwether' for Pakistan

Gilani, right, with U.S. special representative Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in July. (Reuters)

Sen. Richard Lugar, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, wrote to Pakistani Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani on September 22 to express concern about the brutal attack on Umar Cheema. The journalist was abducted on the weekend of September 4-5 by men in black commando-style uniforms, who beat and humiliated him. It's a case I've written about repeatedly (you can find links here, here, here, here, here, and here). But the prime minister has not yet responded to Lugar's letter, which was delivered through the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

November 8, 2010 1:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Naming names in a Pakistan abduction case

CPJ has always been careful to avoid making accusations when journalists are abducted or killed in Pakistan. Our tactic is to call for full investigations either by the police, the courts or special investigative bodies. In many such cases, the local journalists' community blames government security agencies, including the powerful Inter Services Intelligence group (ISI), as we noted a few days ago in an alert. Umar Cheema, who was abducted and humiliated over the weekend of September 4 and 5 near Islamabad, has specifically accused the ISI of being involved in his case and has stuck with those accusations.

October 28, 2010 4:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Indonesia

Arnada's Supreme Court appeal continues in Indonesia

Indonesian Playboy editor Erwin Arnada is appealing his conviction and two-year jail sentence. (AP)

Here's a quick update on the Indonesian Supreme Court's ongoing hearing to review its decision to sentence Playboy Indonesia editor Erwin Arnada to two years in jail for "public indecency." It's a case I've been following closely, because the outcome is an indicator of which direction Indonesia will be moving in the coming years -- toward or away from more media freedom. On September 30, CPJ wrote to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about the case.

October 28, 2010 12:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Indonesia

Playboy editor's case is a test for Indonesia

Erwin Arnada, editor of the now-defunct Indonesian edition of Playboy, is appealing his conviction and two-year prison term. (AP)

On Wednesday, Erwin Arnada, editor of the now-defunct Indonesian edition of Playboy, will be released from Jakarta's high-security Cipinang prison for a few short hours to stand beside his legal team in Indonesia's Supreme Court.

October 26, 2010 6:12 PM ET

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