Middle East & North Africa

2011

Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon

Al-Jazeera attacked in Lebanon and West Bank

New York, January 25, 2011--Lebanese protesters today set fire to an Al-Jazeera van and menaced a reporting crew covering a demonstration in Tripoli in support of the ousted prime minister, Saad al-Hariri. 

January 25, 2011 4:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt, Internet

Preventing video takedowns when reporting

Watching the stream of reporting from Egypt today, I've noticed some unconfirmed reports that videos of the events uploaded to YouTube have been taken down by the company.

I haven't been able to find any concrete examples, so I can't say whether this is true. YouTube takedowns did happen for a few of the more disturbing footage in the Tunisian protests, however, so I thought I'd give some general advice for preventing such removals.

In general, if you're uploading video that includes violence or upsetting imagery, YouTube may remove your content as a simple violation of its Terms of Service and Community Guidelines rather than consider its importance in a wider news context.

In its Community Guidelines, YouTube writes:
"The world is a dangerous place. Sometimes people do get hurt and it's inevitable that these events may be documented on YouTube. However, it's not okay to post violent or gory content that's primarily intended to be shocking, sensational or disrespectful. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information. For instance, including a clip from a slaughter house in a video on factory farming may be appropriate. However, stringing together unrelated and gruesome clips of animals being slaughtered in a video may be considered gratuitous if its purpose is to shock rather than illustrate."

What this means is that context is important. When you are using YouTube in your reporting, the best context you can provide is a detailed explanation in the Title, Description and Tags when you upload the video. Your audience may know what is going on because you are linking from your news site or blog, but YouTube's staff will not. Even a link back to your main writing will help.

Most importantly, don't use misleading descriptions or tags in an attempt to get more views. A scene from a street demonstration that is tagged "Lady Gaga" in order to catch a wider audience will simply result in your video being deleted.

Less likely in cases of reporting live events is an accusation of copyright infringement. YouTube does have an automatic content-detection system that can sometimes be triggered by music or movie imagery included in a video. EFF has a detailed document on restoring videos if you think that may be the problem.

If you do have journalistic content taken down by a hosting provider, whether it's video, a blog, or an entire website, do let me know (I'm dobrien at cpj.org, or @danny_at_cpj on Twitter). I can't always help in every case, but sometimes being able to see a trend in takedowns means I can warn these hosts that they're making a mistake - or warn off journalists from depending on their sites.

(Thanks to Jillian York at the Berkman Center for much of the advice in this post. Victoria Grand, YouTube's senior management for communications, spoke at the GlobalVoices Citizen Media Summit last year, and discussed how their takedown process works in some detail, with a particular eye to reporting and activism in countries like Egypt. If you want to know more details, I'd recommend watching the video of her talk.)

January 25, 2011 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Tunisia

Tunisian TV station's suspension reflects tenuous freedom

On Sunday, the privately owned broadcaster Hannibal TV was forced off the air for more than three hours. The state-owned news agency Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) issued a statement stating that an arrest warrant had been issued for the station's owner on charges of "high treason" for an alleged "plot to destabilize national security." The statement accused the owner of using the Hannibal broadcasts to undermine Tunisia's stability. 

January 25, 2011 11:13 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Tunisia

Will Tunisia's 'Internet revolution' endure?

There has been a great deal written online about how much of a positive role the Internet played in recent events in Tunisia (if you'd like to catch up, Alex Howard's link round-up provides a good summary of the many sides, both for and against). At CPJ, our focus is on slightly different questions: How did the repression of the Internet hamper the ability to safely gather news, report and analyze such events? Did that repression grow worse in the dying days of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's government? Will it improve in the future?

January 25, 2011 10:31 AM ET

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Blog   |   Tunisia

Freed! Fahem Boukadous released in Tunisia

For those who have spent countless hours exposing and combating Tunisia's vast press freedom abuses, today is truly a glorious day. Tunisian authorities released the ailing imprisoned journalist Fahem Boukadous, a day after CPJ called on the transitional government to honor its pledge to free all political prisoners. Today, we can loudly proclaim that no journalist or blogger is imprisoned in the government's dungeons and that Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's censorship is no longer imposed on Tunisians. 

January 19, 2011 9:16 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Yemen

Yemeni journalist who covers Al-Qaeda given jail sentence

Reuters
New York, January 19, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the sentencing on Tuesday of prominent Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Hider Shaea on charges of aiding Al-Qaeda. Shaea, at left, who developed expertise on Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda during his career, was given five years in prison. In conjunction with numerous journalists and rights activists in Yemen, CPJ calls on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to pardon Shaea and release him without delay.

Shaea was found guilty of "belonging to an illegal armed organization" and "recruiting young people, including foreigners, to the organization by communicating with them via the Internet," the pan-Arab daily Al-Quds al-Arabi reported
January 19, 2011 3:16 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tunisia

In Tunisia, one journalist still jailed, another killed

Dolega, center standing, is seen on assignment in 2008. He died from head injuries suffered while covering street protests in Tunis. (Reuters/Charles Platiau)

New York, January 18, 2011--Tunisia's transitional government should immediately release Fahem Boukadous, a television reporter imprisoned last year in reprisal for his work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ also offered condolences to the family and colleagues of French photographer Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, who died of head injuries suffered while covering the civil unrest in the capital, Tunis.

January 18, 2011 4:24 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tunisia

As Ben Ali's regime falls, 3 Tunisian journalists freed

New York, January 14, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is heartened by news reports that three jailed Tunisian journalists have been freed as the repressive regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fallen. CPJ calls on the new interim Tunisian government to release one other journalist believed to be still in custody. 

January 14, 2011 8:51 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

CPJ condemns Israeli security for humiliating screening

Security forces subjected reporters to inappropriate searches at a press event featuring Netanyahu. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

New York, January 14, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the humiliating treatment of several journalists by security personnel assigned to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. CPJ calls on the prime minister to ensure that similar episodes are avoided in the future. 

January 14, 2011 3:54 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Yemen

Yemen should free two critical journalists

New York, January 14, 2011--Yemeni security forces should release Fuad Rashid, editor-in-chief of the independent news website Mukalla Press, who was detained Monday in Hadramout province, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

January 14, 2011 2:34 PM ET

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2011

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