CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Robert Mahoney

Robert Mahoney is CPJ’s deputy director. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and bureau chief for Reuters throughout the world. Mahoney has led CPJ missions to global hot spots from Iraq to Sri Lanka. Follow him on Twitter @RobertMMahoney.

Blog   |   South Africa

Mission Journal: Secrets bill spurs South African press

A protest against pending state secrets legislation in South Africa. (Chris Yelland)

Irrespective of whether South Africa actually implements the most draconian parts of state secrets legislation now under consideration, the media in the continent's most open democracy already feel under threat. The prospect of 25-year jail sentences for journalists publishing "classified" information has galvanized disparate news outlets and journalists groups to work together like never before. 

Blog   |   Syria

Smashing the hand that holds the pen

Ferzat recovering at his home. (AFP)

Ali Ferzat likes to work through the night. His attackers knew that. Masked men grabbed Syria's most famous cartoonist as he set out for home from his office near Damascus' central Umayyad Square at around 5 a.m. on Thursday, and bundled him into a van. A few hours later, he lay in a bloody heap with a bag over his head on an airport road some 19 miles (30 kilometers) out of town.

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Q&A: Two of Turkey's leading journalists speak from jail

Journalists Nedim Şener, center, and Ahmet Şık, third from left facing camera, wave upon arrival at an Istanbul courthouse in March. (Reuters)

The arrest of Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener in March this year has put press freedom in Turkey under the international spotlight. Authorities said the journalists had not been detained because of their reporting but as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged ultranationalist plot to overthrow the government known as "Ergenekon." On a recent visit to Turkey, I sent written questions to the reporters in their Istanbul jail through their lawyers and they replied in writing.

August 1, 2011 4:43 PM ET

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Editor's killing still haunts Turkey

Hrant Dink, in the poster here, was a controversial journalist who challenged the government's narrative on the killings of Armenians. (Reuters)

There's a policeman on duty these days in the lobby of the elegant apartment building that houses Agos and a receptionist behind security glass buzzes you in to the newspaper's cluttered offices. That's about the only indication that the outspoken Turkish-Armenian editor whom I interviewed here in Istanbul in 2006 was assassinated outside the front door a year later.

July 29, 2011 2:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Turkey

Mission Journal: Media under growing pressure in Turkey

While there is a surfeit of media in Turkey, outlets are prey to government pressure. (Reuters)

Turkey is awash in media. The newsstands of Istanbul are buried under some 35 dailies of every format and political stripe. The airwaves are thick with TV channels and Internet penetration is tracking an economy growing at Chinese speed. Yet quantity does not equal quality. Nor does the array of titles mean diversity and freedom of expression is blossoming in a country that is seeking to join the European Union. 

Blog   |   Burundi

Journalist freed in Burundi vows to keep reporting, carefully

Kavumbagu (AFP)
As recently as April, the state prosecutor in Burundi demanded journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu be put away for life. But just a month later, Africa's only jailed online journalist was a free man. A relentless international campaign by press freedom groups, human rights activists and Western governments had paid off.
May 31, 2011 6:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Liberia

Veteran Liberian press freedom fighter dies

The Liberian press is flourishing, but press freedom is a concern, Stanton B. Peabody told CPJ before his recent death.

Stanton B. Peabody, a pillar of the press in Liberia and mentor to generations of visiting foreign correspondents, died this week in Monrovia. He was 80. Stanton, affectionately called "Bob Stan" by friends and family, reported through five administrations, a coup that brought an army sergeant to power in 1980 and a civil war that toppled him in a bloodbath 10 years later. 

April 15, 2011 5:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt

Q&A: Ayman Mohyeldin, Al-Jazeera English correspondent

Al-Jazeera has taken an enormous hit as Middle East protests continue. Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin tells CPJ what's its like working for the broadcaster. (Sheryl Mendez/CPJ)

For the millions of non-Arabic speakers around the world who followed Egypt's revolution live one journalist stood out--Ayman Mohyeldin of Al-Jazeera English. Mohyeldin, 32, used his knowledge of the region and of the West to make sense of the events unfolding in Cairo's Tahrir Square for an international audience. He also witnessed the unprecedented wave of assaults on journalists by supporters and hired thugs of the crumbling Mubarak regime. Mohyeldin was himself detained while reporting.

Mohyeldin visited CPJ's office in New York March 23 to speak with supporters, friends and staff about the role of the pan-Arab satellite channel since a Tunisian fruit-seller in the town of Sidi Bouzid set himself on fire in December in frustration at the dead hand of political repression. 

March 24, 2011 11:28 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

Mideast protests a red flag to Chinese censors

A Chinese policeman checks the identity of a foreign journalist, right, near the Xidan shopping district, a designated a demonstration site in an Internet call for protests in Beijing on Sunday. (AP)
Working to defend press freedom, I take it that I've hit the mark when I get censored. So I smiled today when I got an e-mail from a friend in China who said he was in the gym watching breakfast television when my face came up on CNN. I opened my mouth and the screen went blank. Chinese censors are nothing if not quick.

March 8, 2011 3:39 PM ET

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