Syrian violence contributed to a sharp rise in the number of journalists killed for their work in 2012, as did a series of murders in Somalia. The dead include a record proportion of journalists who worked online. A CPJ special report
Syrian leaders tried to impose a media blackout on the country's civil war. They failed. As CPJ's Dahlia El-Zein reports, foreign journalists responded by smuggling themselves into the country, while Syrians picked up cameras and uploaded videos online. They all did so at extreme risk. (4:13)
Murder is the leading cause of work-related deaths among journalists worldwide--and this year was no exception. But the death toll in 2012 continued a recent shift in the nature of journalist fatalities worldwide. More journalists were killed in combat situations in 2012 than in any year since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records.
Almost half of the 67 journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were targeted and murdered for their work, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The vast majority covered politics. Many also reported on war, human rights, and crime. In almost half of these cases, political groups are the suspected source of fire. There has been no justice in a single one of these deaths.
New York, December 17, 2012--Iraqi security forces shut down two broadcast outlets on Friday for alleged administrative violations, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Iraqi authorities to allow the stations to resume broadcasting immediately.
New York, December 14, 2012--Israeli soldiers assaulted four Palestinian journalists and forced them to strip naked at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday, according to news reports. Two of the journalists worked for Reuters, and two for local Palestinian news outlets, the reports said.
For most of its almost-150-year history, the meetings of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations' communications standards body, have been rather predictable affairs.
Back in November 2010, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a leaked video that appears to show men in Sri Lankan military uniforms executing bound prisoners, the camera panning across a series of bodies laid out in a ditch. Family and friends identified one of those bodies as that of Tamil Tiger TV newscaster Shoba, also known as Isaipriya. If authenticated, the video could constitute evidence that Isaipriya was murdered. It would be one step toward accountability in a long string of unsolved murders of journalists in Sri Lanka. It would also be evidence of war crimes that are said to have been committed during the final phases of the 27-year civil war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE. But disputes have ensued between the United Nations, which claims the video is authentic, and the Sri Lankan government, which claims that it is fake.
Worldwide tally reaches highest point since CPJ began surveys in 1990. Governments use charges of terrorism, other anti-state offenses to silence critical voices. Turkey is the world’s worst jailer. A CPJ special report
The imprisonment of journalists hit a record high in 2012, driven by the growing use of anti-terrorism charges to silence critical voices. This video, a centerpiece of CPJ's new Free the Press campaign, details the plight of imprisoned journalists worldwide and describes how international advocacy can make a difference in winning the freedom of jailed reporters, editors, photojournalists, and bloggers. (4:40)
In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 10 Human Rights Day in commemoration of the adoption and proclamation two years earlier of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year, on this day, the U.N. chooses one right to highlight and advocate. This year, Human Rights Day is focused on the right of all people to make their voices heard. This is not possible when journalists worldwide are being murdered.
New York, December 7, 2012--CPJ condemns a series of attacks on journalists covering protests in Cairo over the proposed constitution and calls on authorities to investigate the assaults and bring an immediate end to the anti-press violence. At least five journalists were struck by rubber bullets, leaving one in critical condition, and several others were assaulted, according to news reports.
The tortured and decapitated body of 39-year-old María Elizabeth Macías Castro was found on a Saturday evening in September 2011. It had been dumped by the side of a road in Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican border town ravaged by the war on drugs. Macías, a freelance journalist, wrote about organized crime on social media under the pseudonym "The Girl from Laredo." Her murder, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, was the first in which a journalist was killed in direct relation for reporting published on social media. It remains unsolved.
New York, December 4, 2012--The proposed Egyptian constitution would impose several new restrictions on press freedom--including the creation of a new government regulator and new governmental authority to shut media outlets--while doing nothing to halt the criminal prosecution of journalists, which was a hallmark of the Hosni Mubarak regime, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ supports the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate's call to President Mohamed Morsi to withdraw the proposal from the referendum scheduled for December 15.
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu: The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned that Israeli airstrikes targeted individual journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip between November 18 and 20. Journalists and media outlets are protected under international law in military conflict.
Three years ago, on November 23, 2009, 30 journalists and two media workers were brutally killed in the southern Philippine city of Maguindanao while travelling in a convoy with the family and supporters of a local politician. To this day, not a single suspect has been convicted, though local authorities have identified close to 200. The botched trial has been stalled with procedural hurdles. Victims' families have been threatened and key witnesses have been slain.
New York, November 20, 2012--Two Israeli airstrikes killed three journalists in the Gaza Strip today, according to news reports. The fatal attacks followed a series of Israeli strikes earlier in the week that injured at least nine journalists and damaged news outlets.
New York, November 19, 2012--Israeli authorities must immediately halt airstrikes targeting news media offices in the Gaza Strip, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today following a series of strikes that injured at least nine journalists and damaged several offices.
New York, November 14, 2012--A Ukrainian journalist who was kidnapped in Syria in mid-October appeared in a short video last week pleading for her embassy to meet the demands of her captors, according to news reports. At least two other international journalists are believed to be held captive in Syria and the whereabouts of a third are unknown, according to CPJ research.
Here are the facts:
New York, November 9, 2012--Iranian authorities must immediately explain the sudden death of imprisoned blogger Sattar Beheshti, who had previously complained about severe mistreatment in custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ also demands that the government launch a full investigation into the suspicious death and to immediately halt its intense harassment of the victim's family.
New York, November 5, 2012--A critical Sudanese freelance journalist was found on the side of a road in Khartoum on Friday after being reported missing on October 29, according to news reports. Somaya Ibrahim Ismail Hundosa had been tortured and her head shaved while she was held captive, the reports said.
Hundosa was found in a remote area of the capital, news reports said. Her family said that she had been subjected to "physical torture and beating with whips" and that she had been told her head was shaved because "it looked like the hair of Arabs while she belonged to the slaves in Darfur," according to the pro-democracy group Grifina (We Are Fed Up). The journalist is now recovering at home with her family.
Approximately 30 journalists are targeted and murdered every year, and on average, in only three of these crimes are the killers ever brought to justice. Other attacks on freedom of expression occur daily: bloggers are threatened, photographers beaten, writers kidnapped. And in those instances, justice is even more rare. Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joins freedom of expression advocates worldwide in a 23-day campaign to dismantle one case at a time a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to gag journalists, bloggers, photographers and writers, while keeping the rest of us uninformed.
New York, October 29, 2012--A rebel group abducted a Lebanese journalist in the northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, bringing to at least five the number of international journalists being held captive by various sides of the conflict. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the journalists' captors to immediately release them and stop targeting members of the press who are covering the unrest in the region.
New York, October 25, 2012--An Egyptian appellate court should strike down the criminal defamation conviction and prison term handed down this week against a television commentator, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, October 24, 2012--CPJ is alarmed by a Bahraini court's acquittal of a police officer accused of torturing a journalist in custody in 2011.
A criminal court in Manama on Monday acquitted police officer Sara al-Moussa on charges of torturing Nazeeha Saeed, a reporter for France24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, while the journalist was in custody in May 2011, according to the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA). The agency reported that the court ruled that Saeed's testimony was full of "contradictions" and not "consistent." Saeed told CPJ that she and her lawyer are urging prosecutors to reopen the case.
More than 40 media organizations worldwide are demanding urgent action by governments, the United Nations, and the industry to stop violence against journalists and end impunity in attacks on the press. They made their position known in a joint statement delivered today to the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
On October 10, 2012, Israeli soldiers raided the home of Mohammed Atallah al-Tamimi, a Palestinian journalist for the private Tamimi Press Agency in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, according to news reports. Al-Tamimi was arrested and taken to an unknown location, news reports said. Authorities have not disclosed his whereabouts, condition, or the charges against him.
Syria and Libya were the main themes at the 19th edition of the Bayeux-Calvados Prize for War Correspondents, which took place this weekend in the historical city of Bayeux, a few miles away from the Normandy beaches where Allied forces landed in June 1944 to liberate Europe from the Nazi yoke.
New York, October 3, 2012--In a flurry of new anti-press actions in Iran, a jury has voted to convict a Reuters bureau chief on anti-state charges while authorities have jailed the head of the state's official news agency, blocked Google services, and shut one reformist newspaper.
New York, September 26, 2012--Iran's Press TV has reported that one of its correspondents, Maya Naser, was killed today while reporting on twin explosions and ensuing clashes in Damascus. The state-run station also said that its Damascus bureau chief, Hussein Mortada, was wounded in the same sniper fire and attributed both shootings to insurgents.
Two Egyptian journalists were assaulted on September 14, 2012, in two separate episodes while covering protests against an anti-Islam film, according to news reports.
These days, press freedom in Tunisia feels ever more distant.
Many journalists believed that media freedoms, which were virtually nonexistent under former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, would grow after his ouster. During the aftermath of the December 2010 uprising, an independent press blossomed and special commissions were set up to reform the media sector. But since the elected government took office nine months ago, the tide has slowly reversed.
New York, September 21, 2012--Syrian security forces launched an assault Wednesday on the home of a cameraman who had recorded hundreds of videos on the country's conflict, burning the house and killing the journalist and three of his friends, local activists told international news outlets. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the brutal attack and calls on all sides to stop targeting journalists.
New York, September 14, 2012--Authorities must immediately release journalist Rami Aysha who has been detained without charge and abused since being seized more than two weeks ago while investigating alleged arms smuggling in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, September 13, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the ongoing imprisonment of Ahmed Radhi, a freelance journalist who was first detained four months ago after making critical comments about Bahraini-Saudi relations. Radhi now faces terrorism and other anti-state charges which he says were lodged after he was abused and forced into making a false confession.
New York, September 12, 2012--Continuing their three-year-long clampdown on journalists covering human rights, minority groups, and political reform, Iranian authorities have summoned two journalists to begin prison terms and are bringing two others to trial.
Alhamdulillah! Finally, a technologist designed a security tool that everyone could use. A Lebanese-born, Montreal-based computer scientist, college student, and activist named Nadim Kobeissi had developed a cryptography tool, Cryptocat, for the Internet that seemed as easy to use as Facebook Chat but was presumably far more secure.
New York, September 6, 2012--Bahraini authorities should toss out the unjust conviction and life sentence handed to an online journalist who was imprisoned for exercising his right to free expression during the country's 2011 popular uprising, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, August 31, 2012--Proposed legislation in Jordan would impose significant new restrictions on online news content and reader comments while giving authorities new powers to block domestic and international websites. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the lower house of parliament to reject the bill when it takes up debate on Sunday.
New York, August 30, 2012--Syrian authorities must immediately release U.S. freelance journalist Austin Tice believed to be in government custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
We talk a lot about hacking attacks against individual journalists here, but what typifies an attempt to access a reporter's computer? Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director, received an email last week that reflects some characteristics of a malware attack against a journalist or activist. There was nothing particularly notable about the targeting. (Like many reporters, CPJ receives such attempts occasionally). The attack failed at the first fence, and my casual investigation into the source was inconclusive. There are no shocking answers or big headlines to draw from this attack. But it does illustrate a contemporary reality: Opportunistic assailants regularly shower journalists with software attacks.
New York, August 29, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about an arrest warrant issued against the head of a Tunisian television station, whose news and programming are often seen as critical of the current government.
New York, August 27, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of Turkish cameraman Cüneyt Ünal, who appeared exhausted and bruised in a video aired today in which he said he had been taken captive while reporting in Syria.
Ünal, a cameraman for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Al-Hurra, was reported missing in the northwestern city of Aleppo on August 20 along with an Al-Hurra colleague, reporter Bashar Fahmi, a Jordanian national of Palestinian origin. Ünal makes no mention of Fahmi in the video clip.
New York, August 23, 2012--Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi banned pre-trial detention of journalists charged with press-related offenses today in a decree issued just hours after a Cairo criminal court jailed an editor pending trial on charges of insulting the president, according to news reports.
New York, August 23, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the well-being of U.S. freelance journalist Austin Tice, who has not been heard from in Syria for more than a week, according to reports from The Washington Post and the McClatchy news service, two outlets for which he was reporting.
New York, August 16, 2012--President Mohamed Morsi's government and allies are pushing back against critical news coverage, suppressing critical journalists and state-run newspapers, putting a journalist on trial, and attacking three journalists on the street, according to news reports.
New York, August 15, 2012--Unidentified armed men on Monday kidnapped a correspondent for Al-Alam, an Iranian satellite broadcaster supportive of the Syrian government, the latest incident in a series of abductions and attacks against pro-government media in Syria, according to news reports.
New York, August 14, 2012--A series of attacks against journalists in Syria over the past two weeks have included the killing of at least three journalists and the kidnapping of several others, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pro-government media have borne the brunt of the recent attacks.
The 17-year-old videographer Anas al-Tarsha regularly filmed clashes and military movements in the city of Homs in Syria, and posted the footage on YouTube. On February 24, he was killed by a mortar round while filming the bombardment of the city's Qarabees district, according to news reports. The central city had been under attack for more than three weeks as Syrian forces stepped up their assault on opposition strongholds.
For more than five months, the Ramallah-based private television broadcaster Wattan TV has been without key equipment, including transmitters, computers, files, and archives. On February 29, Israeli soldiers and officials from the Ministry of Communications raided the station without a warrant, saying it was broadcasting illegally and interfering with aircraft transmissions.
The Syrian civil war is also a propaganda war. With the Assad regime and the rebels both attempting to assure their supporters and the world that they are on the brink of victory, how the facts are reported has become central to the struggle. Hackers working in support of Assad loyalists this week decided to take a shortcut, attacking the Reuters news agency's blogging platform and one of its Twitter accounts, and planting false stories about the vanquishing of rebel leaders and wavering support for them from abroad.
The rampage inside a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured dozens more is the most recent reminder that a journalist anywhere can face sudden, great emotional stress. Any story involving tragedy--from domestic violence to natural disasters--can inflict an emotional toll on field journalists. The very empathy that makes a journalist a good storyteller puts him or her at risk.
This week, Morgan Marquis-Boire and Bill Marczak of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab provided a disturbing look into the likely use of a commercial surveillance program, FinFisher, to remotely invade and control the computers of Bahraini activists. After the software installs itself onto unsuspecting users' computer, it can record and relay emails, screenshots, and Skype audio conversations. It was deployed against Bahraini users after being concealed in seemingly innocent emails.
Two Tunisian journalists working for a local TV station were attacked by police officers on July 23, 2012, as they reported on the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to news reports.
New York, July 20, 2012--Authorities in Sudan must stop their crackdown on press coverage of the ongoing protests in Khartoum and allow the media to report independently without fear of retaliation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At least two journalists have been detained without charge; a third journalist's whereabouts are unknown, although local news accounts say the reporter may be in state custody. In addition, authorities have confiscated particular editions of at least three newspapers and also banned a daily from publishing, news reports said.
This week, YouTube announced a feature that should catch the eye of video journalists and bloggers working in dangerous conditions. After uploading a video to YouTube, you can now deploy a "blur faces" post-production tool that, in theory, should disguise the visual identity of everyone on the screen. The Hindu newspaper has an excellent how-to guide for their readers.
New York, July 18, 2012--Two Iraqi journalists living in Syria and covering the conflict in that country were killed on Saturday although news reports differed on crucial details. The Committee to Protect Journalists continues to investigate the circumstances of the deaths, which come amid reports of increasing violence toward Iraqis living in Syria.
New York, July 17, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of two Libyan television journalists who were kidnapped on July 7 after covering the country's first elections in decades.
Abdelqadir Fassouk, a reporter and cameraman for the private Misurata-based Tobacts TV station, and Yusuf Badi, a cameraman for the same station, were released on Monday, according to news reports. The journalists were headed back to the station after covering the country's historic parliamentary elections from the city of Mizdah when they were kidnapped near the city of Bani Walid, news reports said.
New York, July 12, 2012--Iranian authorities have issued new censorship guidelines barring domestic news outlets from reporting on the impact of Western economic sanctions, local and international news outlets reported Wednesday. And, with at least three imprisonments reported, the government is continuing its years-long anti-press campaign.
New York, July 10, 2012--Libyan authorities must establish the whereabouts of two journalists kidnapped on Saturday and do all in their power to secure their safe release, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalists were abducted on their way to the city of Misurata after covering the country's first elections in decades, according to news reports.
New York, July 9, 2012--Sudanese authorities must immediately release two journalists who were taken into custody nearly a week ago after covering anti-government protests in Khartoum, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The whereabouts or any charges against the journalists have not been disclosed.
New York, July 9, 2012--Algerian appellate courts should reverse rulings against two journalists who were sentenced to prison in June on libel charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Dear Secretary Clinton: We are writing to bring to your attention the Israeli Ministry of Communication's refusal to return U.S.-funded equipment that was confiscated from a private Palestinian broadcaster about four months ago.
New York, July 3, 2012--Sudanese authorities should allow journalists to cover anti-government demonstrations in Khartoum, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Over the past week, authorities have raided a media office and a journalist's home, arrested one journalist and interrogated another, deported a third journalist, and blocked at least three critical websites.
New York, July 2, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned attacks by Palestinian security forces on at least four journalists who were covering protests against the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah on Saturday and Sunday, according to news reports.
New York, June 27, 2012--A number of employees for the pro-government Syrian television station Al-Ikhbariya were killed when the station was attacked by gunmen this morning, according to the official news agency Sana. Other employees were reported wounded or kidnapped, the agency said.
The story sounds hideously like another--one of a chaotic, predatory attack on a woman journalist in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Clothes torn from her body, hundreds of men surging to grab her breasts and claw at her. A woman wondering, "Maybe this is how I go, how I die." It has been almost a year and a half since CBS correspondent and CPJ board member Lara Logan endured an attack like this. Now, an independent journalist and student named Natasha Smith reports that it has happened to her.
Some journalists continue to receive the warning from Google about state-sponsored attacks that we mentioned last week. The message appears on top of logged-in services like Gmail. Occasionally it will disappear for a few hours and then reappear, but there is no way to remove it.
Cairo, June 21, 2012--At least three journalists have been briefly detained and interrogated by Sudanese authorities since Tuesday, according to news reports. The journalists were covering recent protests against rising fuel prices in Khartoum, the reports said.
The Russian manufacturer promises results. The software can be used to control your own or, say, a customer's computer by making it a remote software client. Or it could be used for spying on others.
Cairo, June 19, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is disturbed by what it sees as a trend in the attack of Lebanese journalists covering clashes between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime. In the past month, at least nine journalists have been attacked in four separate incidents.
Four East African journalists who were forced to flee their countries tell about their experiences, difficulties, and hopes for the future. (3:43)
Read CPJ's report, "Journalists in exile: Crisis in East Africa," for more information about journalists forced to go into exile.
With the launch of CPJ's most recent exile report, I will have worked exactly three years for our Journalist Assistance program. More than 500 cases later, I have helped journalists who have gone into hiding or exile to escape threats; those in need of medicine and other support while in prison, and journalists injured after violent attacks. The most harrowing accounts of all, however, come from those crossing from Eritrea into Sudan. And things seem to be getting worse, not better.
Fifty-seven journalists fled their country in the past year, with Somalia sending the greatest number into exile. Journalists also fled Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Rwanda--mostly for Kenya and Uganda. Exiles in East Africa must grapple with poverty and fear. A CPJ special report by María Salazar-Ferro and Tom Rhodes
Cairo, June 18, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the legal action taken against an Egyptian journalist who was fined for defamation, and calls on the appeals court to reverse the ruling. In an unrelated incident, authorities briefly detained on Saturday an Egyptian journalist covering the run-off to the presidential election.
Cairo, June 8, 2012--Five citizen journalists have been killed in Syria while documenting unrest in Damascus and Homs, according to news reports and local journalists. All of the deaths occurred over a two-day period at the end of May.
The last few weeks have offered the strongest indications yet that nation-states are using customized software to exploit security flaws on personal computers and consumer Internet services to spy on their users. The countries suspected include the United States, Israel, and China. Journalists should pay attention--not only because this is a growing story, but because if anyone is a vulnerable target, it's reporters.
Talking about genocide prevention in the shadow of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps brings an intense and unique gravity to the discussions. The academic presentations cannot extract themselves from the looming presence of the barbed wires and grim towers surrounding the Nazis' most infamous death factory.
At online discussion sites all over the world, comments are posted on the Web as soon as they are written. People argue, inform, express anger, and voice fears. Some say things in the heat of the moment that they might go on to regret. Others are elliptical and obscure. The enabling of such conversations is an important modern method of discovering and re-telling the news, and encourages previously uninvolved readers of the news to help gather and disseminate it--especially in times when traditional media is censored or afraid.
On Sunday the general assembly of the Organization of American States will convene in Bolivia in the verdant, highland valley city of Cochabamba. The 35 member states (every nation in the region except Cuba) are expected to vote on a measure that, if passed, could curtail free expression and press throughout the hemisphere and put journalists and others at greater risk.
No other journalists are remembered quite like this. Visitors looking through the glass display at the Monsignor Romero Center & Martyrs Museum in San Salvador see the pajamas and other clothes that three Jesuit university priests were wearing when they were shot down by automatic rifle fire. A series of clear containers are filled with dark blades of grass cut from the campus lawn where each had spilled his blood.
Jeffrey Gettleman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent, says he travels with "a small militia" whenever he reports from Somalia, the East African country afflicted by armed insurgency, poverty, and hunger. As intrusive as the security detail might be, he feels far more fortunate than the local reporters who face sustained and often deadly risks, or the freelance journalists who don't have the extensive support system the Times can provide.
Gettleman spoke to a crowd of about 100 at the Half King pub in Manhattan on Tuesday in the first event in the new CPJ discussion series, "CPJ Debrief." Gettleman, the East Africa bureau chief for the Times, has worked in the region for six years. With East Africa's needs so acute, and the volume of international reporting on the decline, the assignment has given him a chance to have a profound impact.
New York, May 23, 2012--Iranian authorities have sentenced an editorial cartoonist to 25 lashes, yet another low point in a three-year-long crackdown against the press that also includes two new imprisonments and the suspension of a monthly.
New York, May 22, 2012--Israeli authorities should release the director of a new Palestinian satellite broadcaster who has been detained since Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Because foreign journalists have been virtually banned from Syria during the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's regime, news coverage has relied heavily on citizen journalists and international reporters working with sources inside the country. Syrians who communicate with foreign news media run the risk of being threatened, detained, tortured, or even killed.
New York, May 17, 2012--A journalist who criticized Bahrain's proposed union with Saudi Arabia was seized from his home near Manama on Wednesday and his whereabouts are unknown. The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for his immediate release.
New York, May 16, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Sunday's raid on the Cairo offices of Al-Alam, an Iranian Arabic-language satellite broadcaster, which effectively shut down the station's news gathering in Egypt. CPJ calls on authorities to immediately return the station's confiscated equipment and allow staff members to resume their work.
New York, May 15, 2012--Yemen's Press and Publications Court must drop charges against two Al-Jazeera journalists for their coverage of last year's uprising, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ also urged the Cabinet not to revive a restrictive Audio-Visual and Electronic Media bill that has been pending in Parliament since 2010.
New York, May 14, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Syria's release of several journalists and press freedom activists over the weekend, but condemns the continued detention of at least nine journalists--and likely several more--including two journalists arrested without charge in the past month.
The guidance is hardly clear. At a Columbia University event last week pegged to the release of the new CPJ Journalist Security Guide, one journalism student said he and his classmates are getting contradictory advice. Many J-school professors, he said, have encouraged him and others to just get up, go overseas, and try to make it as a freelancer. But the experienced journalists speaking at the event advised caution.
New York, May 9, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns two official attacks on journalists working in Iraqi Kurdistan, including the assault on a television news crew and the arrest of an editor whose articles alleged corruption. CPJ also calls for an investigation into a car bombing that wounded a journalist in Baghdad.
New York, May 8, 2012--The Sudanese security services must immediately release journalist Faisal Mohamed Saleh, who was arrested at his home today after facing two weeks of harassment, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Dear Minister Kachlon: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the confiscation of equipment and archives belonging to the private Ramallah broadcaster Wattan TV more than two months ago.
New York, May 7, 2012--Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces must immediately investigate reports that two journalists were brutalized in military custody and bring the perpetrators to full account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, May 4, 2012--At least 18 journalists have been assaulted, injured, or arrested in the past three days while covering clashes between protesters and thugs and uniformed military personnel in front of the defense ministry in the neighborhood of Abbasiya in Cairo, according to news reports.
Reneging on a promise made just weeks earlier, Bahraini authorities have denied visas to representatives of several free expression organizations who planned to travel to the kingdom next week to assess press and free speech conditions. CPJ is among several organizations that have signed a joint letter to Bahrain's director of human rights organizations condemning the action.
Governments and criminal organizations are stepping up digital surveillance of journalists, but the press is not keeping pace in meeting the challenge, a panel of experts said Wednesday at an event marking the launch of the CPJ Journalist Security Guide. Reporters are using unsecure consumer electronic products for sensitive tasks such as note-taking and source management, the experts said, without sufficiently assessing the risks.
New York, May 3, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a series of anti-press attacks in Yemen over the past 10 days that have included assaults on two journalists, threats against two more, and the official harassment of a local newspaper.
One big reason for the Internet's success is its role as a universal standard, interoperable across the world. The data packets that leave your computer in Botswana are the same as those which arrive in Barbados. The same is increasingly true of modern mobile networks. Standards are converging: You can use your phone, access an app, or send a text, wherever you are.
CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney counts down the 10 countries where the press is most tightly restricted. How do leaders in these nations silence the media? And which country is the worst of all? (4:03)
Read CPJ's report on the 10 Most Censored countries for more detail on how censorship works, and which countries were the runners-up.
As the Internet and mobile communications become more integrated into reporters' work, the digital threats to journalists' work and safety have increased as well. While many press reports have documented Internet surveillance and censorship--and the efforts to combat them--mobile communications are the new frontline for journalist security.
CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program supports journalists who cannot be helped by advocacy alone. In 2011, we assisted 171 journalists worldwide. Almost a fourth came from countries that made CPJ's Most Censored list. Eight journalists from Eritrea, five from Syria, six from Cuba, and a whopping 20 from Iran sought our help after being forced to leave their countries, having suffered the consequences of defying censorship at home.
New York, May 1, 2012--Syrian security forces harassed a credentialed camera crew from the British broadcaster Sky News as the team was filming an impromptu demonstration in Damascus today, according to news reports. Authorities briefly confiscated a camera and detained two journalists, the reports said.
Stop the bleeding. It's a critical and fundamental step in aiding a journalist or anyone wounded in conflict. Hemorrhage is the number one preventable death on the battlefield. And yet large numbers of journalists covering wars and political unrest all across the world are untrained in this life-saving skill. It doesn't need to be that way.
New York, April 27, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Syria's continued detention of at least 13 journalists and press freedom activists--and perhaps several more--and calls on authorities to release them immediately. In many instances, authorities have not disclosed the health, whereabouts, or charges filed against the detainees.
After the Salvadoran online newsmagazine El Faro exposed a secret government deal with criminal gangs last month, its staff faced repercussions that illustrate the new and complicated risks facing journalists worldwide. El Faro's report, which said the government provided more lenient treatment of imprisoned gangsters in exchange for the groups' agreement to slow down their murderous practices, addressed one of the most sensitive topics facing journalists today--crime and its many interconnections with government.
New York, April 26, 2012--Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood assaulted two Egyptian journalists seeking to cover a public conference held on Tuesday in Alexandria by a presidential candidate of the brotherhood's political party, according to news reports.
New York, April 25, 2012--Jordanian journalist Jamal al-Muhtaseb has been detained since Monday on antistate charges after publishing an article alleging misconduct by the Royal Court, according to news reports. Al-Muhtaseb's sister, the author of the article, was also arrested but was released the same day, news reports said.
Wattan TV bills itself as the voice of the voiceless. But since the Israeli army gutted its Ramallah headquarters in a predawn raid two months ago, that voice has been reduced to a whisper.
New York, April 24, 2012--The Palestinian Authority has blocked up to eight critical news websites in the West Bank since February, according to a report released by an independent news agency on Monday.
New York, April 23, 2012--Bahraini authorities, intent on suppressing coverage of the restive political conditions that were a backdrop to the Formula One Grand Prix in Manama on Sunday, arrested at least seven international journalists who were seeking to report on anti-government demonstrations, according to news reports.
After the publication of CPJ's March 27, 2012, news alert on the deaths of Naseem Intriri and Walid Bledi during a Syrian military attack near the Turkish border, a human rights defender and diplomatic sources raised questions about the journalistic credentials of the deceased.
Journalists and bloggers in authoritarian countries have their work cut out thwarting governments that try to restrict their writing and reporting. The last thing they need to worry about is the provider of their publication platform helping authorities with censorship or surveillance. Cue the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a voluntary grouping of Internet companies, freedom of expression groups, progressive investors, and academics.
CPJ is among 50 organizations that have signed a joint letter to Bahrain's king calling for the release of detained bloggers, activists, and human rights defenders and to drop all charges that violate the right to peaceful expression ahead of the Formula One motor racing event to be held in Manama on April 22.
CPJ's María Salazar-Ferro names the 12 countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Where are leaders failing to uphold the law? Where are conditions getting better? And where is free expression in danger? (4:46)
New York, April 17, 2012--Sustaining their years-long campaign against the press, Iranian authorities have sentenced one journalist to prison and summoned another to serve a jail term, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to release imprisoned journalists who are being held away from their families and in deprivation.
New York, April 12, 2012--Prominent Yemeni journalist Muhammad al-Maqaleh was assaulted by armed men affiliated with a tribal group while visiting a government official's house, the journalist told the Committee to Protect Journalists today. Al-Maqaleh has widely reported on the activities of tribal groups in Yemen.
New York, April 10, 2012--Tunisian authorities must immediately investigate attacks against journalists covering a Martyrs' Day protest in the Tunisian capital on Monday, the first series of anti-press attacks that the Committee to Protect Journalists has documented in three months, CPJ said today.
New York, April 9, 2012--Syrian security forces shot and killed a Lebanese cameraman today as he was working in the northern Lebanese town of Wadi Khaled near the Syrian border, according to the journalist's employer and news reports citing Lebanese officials. The cross-border death comes on the same day that Syrian security forces fired shots into a refugee camp near the Turkish border, injuring several people, news reports said.
New York, April 4, 2012--Iraqi journalist Kamiran Salaheddin was killed when a bomb attached to his car exploded late Monday, according to news reports. CPJ is investigating the circumstances of the attack to determine whether it was related to his work.
New York, April 4, 2012--A Bahraini videographer died Saturday morning after being shot while filming a protest outside the capital, Manama, according to local journalists and news reports.
New York, April 4, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Palestinian Authority's recent anti-press actions in which one journalist was detained for a week for reporting on alleged corruption and spying and a second was questioned over a critical article and his posts on social media. These actions occurred despite the Authority's recent announcement of a press freedom award that it claimed would reward "quality and daring material."
New York, April 2, 2012--A prominent Syrian videographer who ran the media center in Baba Amr where two foreign journalists were killed in February has been detained since Wednesday, according to news reports.
Ali Mahmoud Othman was initially held at a military intelligence unit in Aleppo and is believed to have been tortured, Paul Conroy, a photographer for The Sunday Times, said in an interview with the U.K.'s Channel 4. Activists were cited in news reports giving the same information. Conroy and other reports said Othman was transferred to Damascus over the weekend.
Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat is wielding his pen once more. According to news reports, the famous cartoonist, who suffered a severe beating in August, has regained 90 percent of the movement in his hands, which were deliberately targeted by his attackers before they dumped him on the side of a road.
After the rash of political revolutions and criminal attacks on governments and companies last year, it wasn't hard to predict that 2012 would be the year of a cybercrime crackdown. The United States is considering its own cybercrime legislation, and the European Union is seeking to harmonize its member state's computer crime laws. Governments understandably want to prevent further online attacks. Journalists suffer these attacks also, but they don't necessarily gain from fiercer laws. And in the case of a proposed new cybercrime law in Iraq, they may face life imprisonment for simply doing their job.
New York, March 29, 2012--Iranian authorities have imprisoned two additional journalists as part of their three-year-long crackdown on the press, according to news reports. In addition, the BBC reported that its Web services had been targeted by a distributed denial-of-service attack, which the broadcaster believed originated from the Iranian regime.
New York, March 27, 2012--Syrian security forces shot and killed two freelance international journalists and wounded a third during an attack on Monday in the town of Darkoush near the Turkish border, according to news reports and a witness interviewed by CPJ.
New York, March 21, 2012--An Israeli soldier broke the camera of a Palestinian journalist on Friday as the photographer was covering an anti-settlement demonstration near Bethlehem, a city in the West Bank, according to news reports.
New York, March 20, 2012--A Kuwait appellate court should overturn a March 12 ruling that suspended a private newspaper for three months and sentenced its editor to a six-month prison term for articles defending the country's Shiite minority, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Paulo Pinheiro, the chair of the International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, is a seasoned diplomat trained in the tradition of Brazil's foreign affairs ministry, Itamaraty, with its celebrated emphasis on impartial mediation, dialogue, and strong skepticism toward foreign intervention to resolve international conflicts.
New York, March 15, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists holds Syrian authorities responsible for the safety and well-being of Turkish journalists Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun, who are believed to be in government custody, and calls for their immediate release. The journalists were last heard from five days ago, according to news reports.
Weeks of sporadic protests seeking government reform burst into full-fledged unrest on March 15, 2011, when thousands of demonstrators gathered in four Syrian cities. Within days, authorities had cut off news media access to Daraa, a center of the unrest, beginning a sustained effort to shut down international news coverage of the uprising and the government's increasingly violent crackdown. As the civilian death toll has reached well into the thousands, according to U.N. figures, the last four months have taken a particularly dark turn for the press. Eight local and international journalists have been killed on duty since November, at least five in circumstances that raise questions about government culpability. Yet one year after the Syrian uprising began, killing the messenger has not silenced the message.
Journalists and technologists often speak different languages. But a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit, Small World News, is bridging the gap with a new guide on the safe use of satellite phones. It comes at a critical time.
The group's Guide to Safely Using Satphones just went online, less than three weeks after the deaths of international journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik in Homs, Syria. Several journalists who worked in Homs suspected the Syrian government targeted the building where Colvin, Ochlik, and other journalists were working. If government forces indeed targeted the building, they could have relied on several forms of intelligence, including the tracking of journalists' satellite signals.
To many in the Indian media community, the arrest of independent journalist Syed Mohammad Kazmi by the Delhi police's Special Cell on March 6 for his alleged involvement in a bombing brings back troublesome memories.
New York, March 9, 2012--Egyptian authorities should immediately dismiss a baseless complaint of antistate activities that has been lodged against several journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The case has been referred to military prosecutors as part of a broader practice that has raised constitutional and international concerns.
For a few weeks after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, it looked as if Egypt might do the unthinkable and do away with the ministry of information. New publications and TV stations sprouted up, newspaper circulation soared, and a new breed of citizen journalists and bloggers opened a space for reporting and comment that a year earlier would have led to a jail sentence.
For a growing number of independent journalists and bloggers, the memory of that press freedom euphoria is as hazy as the Cairo skyline.
New York, March 5, 2012--Kuwaiti authorities must lift their suspension of the privately owned newspaper Al-Dar and drop antistate charges lodged in connection with articles that sought to defend the country's Shiite minority, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, March, 1, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the news that two French journalists injured in Homs last week have reached safety in Lebanon. "We are relieved that Edith Bouvier and William Daniels are now safe but are concerned that the Syrian government's assault on Homs has made it impossible to retrieve the bodies of our colleagues Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "We remain deeply concerned for the safety of all Syrian journalists who are risking their lives to report on the unrest across the country."
New York, March 1, 2012--Sudanese authorities must halt their efforts to silence news coverage of opposition leadership, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities have already closed three newspapers in 2012 and confiscated thousands of copies, CPJ research shows.
New York, February 29, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's early-morning raid by Israeli soldiers on two private Palestinian television stations in Ramallah.
New York, February 29, 2012--Jordan authorities must undertake a serious investigation into the stabbing of a blogger who wrote critically about the Jordanian royal family, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, February 28, 2012--The Iranian regime continued its persistent campaign against press freedom days ahead of its parliamentary elections on March 2 by sentencing two journalists to prison and periodically blocking millions of users from accessing the Internet, according to news reports. In addition, two journalists are suffering from deteriorating health conditions in prison, news reports said.
New York, February 27, 2012--A Syrian videographer who documented unrest in the besieged city of Homs was killed in a mortar attack on Friday, according to news reports. Anas al-Tarsha is the fourth media fatality in Syria in the past week.
I liked Rémi a lot.
Rémi was fragile, yet he didn't really try to conceal the fact. His fragility was his strength, a formidable one at that. Unlike so many journalists of today, Rémi was a true idealist, a rare mix of innocence and panache, compassion and bravery.
The Telegraph in London was the first to report that Syrian government forces could have "locked on" to satellite phone signals to launch the rocket attacks that killed journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, as well as many Syrian civilians, besides wounding dozens more including two more international journalists. Working out of a makeshift press center in Homs, foreign correspondents and local citizen journalists alike have been using satellite phones to send images of attacks on civilians around the world.
New York, February 24, 2012--Syrian authorities must heed the call issued by more than 60 countries today to stop the ongoing shelling in Syria, and allow medical access and safe passage to the wounded and dead journalists trapped in Homs, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, February, 24, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists supports efforts by the international community to impose an immediate cease-fire in Syria to allow for the safe delivery of humanitarian aid and a cessation of hostilities. Two journalists injured in Wednesday's Homs attack require urgent medical attention and evacuation. The bodies of two more journalists have also been trapped in Homs since they were killed on Wednesday.
In her final hours, Marie Colvin gave this damning report to CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Bravery, generosity, and commitment: These are the three characteristics of Marie Colvin that have surfaced, again and again, in the many tributes spoken and published since the veteran Sunday Times reporter was killed Wednesday in the besieged city of Homs by Syrian forces.
In a video posted to YouTube by a Syrian activist, injured Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy speaks from Homs with his local doctor, describing his injuries and asking for humanitarian assistance, cessation of the shelling, and safe passage out. In English with some Arabic.
Click here for Edith Bouvier and William Daniels' appeal video.
Not since the worst period of the Iraq war, or in the Balkans the decade before, have so many storied journalists been killed or seriously injured in such a short period of time. Inevitably, the spate of deaths leaves many journalists asking questions about whether and how much they are willing to risk their own lives, and possibly the lives of others. Many experienced journalists might agree on one thing: the decisions one makes about risk are among the most intimate decisions they will ever make.
New York, February 23, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists demands that Syrian authorities allow safe passage for the evacuation of four foreign journalists trapped in the besieged city of Homs, along with the bodies of Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, two journalists killed in intense government shelling on Wednesday.
In this video posted to YouTube by a Syrian activist, injured Le Figaro reporter Edith Bouvier and Sunday Times photographer William Daniels speak from Homs along with the local doctor who has been treating them. They are pleading with the world to make the barrage of rockets stop and to allow Bouvier to get urgent medical care. They speak in Arabic, English, and French.
Click here for Paul Conroy's appeal video.
New York, February 23, 2012--Syrian authorities must allow urgent medical aid to reach journalists wounded in the government shelling of Homs on Wednesday, and they must allow immediate evacuation of the dead and injured, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
International journalists Marie Colvin, 55, and Rémi Ochlik, 28, were killed Wednesday during shelling of the besieged city of Homs in Syria.
Pictured are Colvin, an American reporting for the Sunday Times, in Cairo's Tahrir Square (AP/Ivor Prickett); Ochlik, a French photojournalist (AP/Julien de Rosa); Colvin with Libyan rebels in Misurata on June 4, 2011 (Reuters//Zohra Bensemr); Ochlik covering demonstrations in Cairo (AP/Julien de Rosa); Ochlik, who quit his studies at age 20 to report on Haiti and then covered many of the recent upheavals in the Arab world (AP/Lucas Dolega); both journalists (Sunday Times and AFP); and Colvin being treated by Sri Lankan army medical staff on Tuesday, April 17, 2001, at a field hospital in Vavuniya, northeast of Colombo (AP).
The world lost one of the only direct windows into the carnage in Homs, Syria, when Rami al-Sayed's video live stream went dark Tuesday. A citizen journalist, al-Sayed was live streaming the Assad regime's bombardment of Baba Amr and the brutal after-effects when he was struck by shrapnel and bled to death soon after, according to news reports. When outlets including the BBC World, SkyNews, and Al Jazeera aired his live footage, they highlighted how important this medium has become to journalism. And when the Syrian army took his life they proved how vulnerable it is.
Last night at London's Frontline Club, CPJ launched its global survey of press freedom conditions, Attacks on the Press. The topic of discussion was the safety of journalists covering conflict and the panel consisted of journalist and documentarian Jenny Kleeman, ITN safety guru Colin Pereira, and journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned in Iran following the disputed 2009 presidential elections.
New York, February 22, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the killings of three journalists who died today and Tuesday as Syrian forces continued intense shelling of the besieged city of Homs. The acclaimed international reporter Marie Colvin and the French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik were killed this morning when their makeshift press center came under fire, while local videographer Rami al-Sayed died while covering a bombardment on Tuesday. At least three other journalists were reported injured.
New York, February 22, 2012--Anar Bayramli, Baku-based correspondent for Iranian broadcaster Sahar TV and news agency Fars, has been imprisoned for two months pending trial over drug charges. The Committee to Protect Journalists has determined the charges are fabricated and calls on authorities in Azerbaijan to release him immediately.
What a difference a year makes. In January 2011, we had to scrap plans for our regular Middle East launch of Attacks on the Press at the headquarters of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate in downtown Cairo. Just a few blocks away, in Tahrir Square, journalists were busy fending off their own attackers as pro-regime thugs tried to thwart young Egyptians' ultimately successful attempt to topple Hosni Mubarak.
The much-publicized assault on Lara Logan put the danger of sexual violence for journalists into the spotlight for the first time. As a result, there is more open discussion between reporters and news managers, but still too few preventative steps. By Lauren Wolfe
Analyses and data track press freedom conditions throughout the region. Mohamed Abdel Dayem examines five trends to watch from the Arab uprisings. María Salazar and Sheryl Mendez describe the fear and uncertainty facing doens of Iranian exiled journalists. And Robert Mahoney details Turkey's assault on free expression.
The Middle East's political shifts changed conditions for journalists dramatically. The emerging trends favor free expression, but are filled with ambiguity and depend on the political configurations to emerge after the revolutionary dust has settled. By Mohamed Abdel Dayem
With the aid of anachronistic legislation and a rigid judiciary, Turkish officials and politicians have curbed free expression by subjecting journalists to endless court proceedings and legal costs. The EU and the U.S. are no help. By Robert Mahoney
Journalists who have fled Iran to avoid prison face a tense and lengthy process toward resettlement, an uncertain financial and professional future, and most of all, fear that the Iranian government will catch up with them. By María Salazar-Ferro and Sheryl A. Mendez
This video companion to Attacks on the Press recounts the story of Iranian journalist Javad Moghimi Parsa. Time magazine published one of the photos he took during his off-duty coverage of the unrest that came after the 2009 elections. Called a spy, he fled into exile. (2:47)
Read the Attacks on the Press 2011 country profile on Iran.
Photographers from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and other news outlets documented historic events in 2011, often at great peril. The Year in Photographs: Press Freedom in 2011 features images from the Arab uprisings, South Asia's armed conflicts, and political repression in the Americas, Africa, and Europe.
The government waged a brutal multifaceted crackdown against independent news media covering the country’s months-long protest movement. Security forces subjected journalists to assaults, expulsions, detentions, politicized trials, prison terms, and lethal mistreatment in custody. Both international and local reporters were targeted: A journalist for the U.S. broadcaster ABC was beaten and his camera was confiscated in February; a photographer for the independent domestic daily Al-Wasat was beaten while covering a March protest. Authorities used live ammunition against protesters and reporters: The New York Times reported that two of its journalists came under helicopter fire in February. The Ministry of Information expelled CNN correspondent Mohammed Jamjoom over coverage of the unrest, and detained members of a CNN crew trying to interview human rights activist Nabeel Rajab. In June, a court convicted two critical journalistic bloggers on a series of antistate charges and sentenced them to lengthy terms. Reports of torture and mistreatment of detainees were common: Two journalists, one a founder of Al-Wasat, died in government custody under circumstances authorities would not fully explain. Al-Wasat, the country’s premier independent paper, was in the crosshairs throughout the year: Armed assailants stormed its printing facility in March; the Information Ministry briefly shut the paper in April; and the government filed criminal charges against three senior editors for “false news” the same month. CPJ honored Al-Wasat founder and editor Mansoor al-Jamri with its 2011 International Press Freedom Award.
A besieged government and its supporters retaliated fiercely against journalists covering the months of popular protests that sought an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule. Authorities detained local journalists, expelled international reporters, and confiscated newspapers in an effort to silence coverage, while government supporters and plainclothes agents assaulted media workers in the field. Two journalists covering anti-government protests were killed by gunfire, one by security forces who fired live ammunition to disperse a demonstration, the other by a sniper suspected to have been acting on behalf of the government. The government singled out Al-Jazeera in a months-long effort to silence its coverage. In March, plainclothes agents raided the station's Sana'a bureau, confiscating equipment. The raid followed the expulsion of two Al-Jazeera correspondents. Days later, authorities ordered Al-Jazeera's offices shut and its journalists stripped of accreditation. Other newsrooms were under direct fire. Armed men in civilian clothes tried to storm the offices of the independent daily Al-Oula, seriously wounding an editorial trainee, while military forces shelled the Yemeni satellite broadcaster Suhail TV, whose staff endured numerous other threats and detentions. In a rebuke to the regime, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to renowned Yemeni press freedom activist Tawakul Karman, chairwoman of Women Journalists Without Chains, along with two female African leaders.
The press enjoyed new freedom after Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in January amid widespread protests, although a photographer was killed covering the unrest. The release of veteran journalist Fahem Boukadous after several months in prison was welcome news for a press corps accustomed to continued harassment and detention during Ben Ali's 23-year reign. News media were able to report freely during parliamentary elections in October; no major press freedom violations were reported during the voting. But throughout the year, journalists were still vulnerable to assault. In May, plainclothes police attacked several local and international journalists who were covering anti-government demonstrations. Licenses were issued to more than 100 new publications during the year, but some vestiges of censorship lingered. Hannibal TV, a station owned by a Ben Ali relative, was forced off the air for more than three hours in January.
The regime enforced an effective media blackout in March, banning international journalists from reporting or entering the country and detaining local journalists who tried to cover protests seeking an end to Bashar al-Assad’s rule. In a widespread campaign to silence media coverage, the government detained and assaulted journalists, expelled foreign journalists, and disabled mobile phones, landlines, electricity, and the Internet in cities where the protests broke out. The regime also extracted passwords of social media sites from journalists by using violence, and defaced social networking pages, while the pro-government online group Syrian Electronic Army hacked social media sites and posted pro-regime comments. In April, Al-Jazeera suspended its Damascus bureau after several of its journalists were harassed and received threats. Three days after the brutal assault of famed cartoonist Ali Ferzat in August, the government passed a new media law that “banned” the imprisonment of journalists and allowed for greater freedom of expression. It then followed up by jailing several journalists. In November, cameraman Ferzat Jarban was the first journalist to be killed in Syria in connection with his work since CPJ began keeping detailed records in 1992.
Sudan continued to impose extensive censorship by confiscating newspapers and shutting news outlets, and it maintained a hostile atmosphere through the frequent use of harassment and detention. Numerous press freedom violations were reported in the run-up to the January referendum that led to independence for South Sudan. On the eve of South Sudan's independence in July, the state-run National Council for Press and Publications announced the withdrawal of licenses for six newspapers partly owned by South Sudanese citizens that had run commentary critical of the Khartoum government. In September, the council ordered the suspension of another six sports-oriented publications for allegedly “inciting violence between teams.” In June, authorities filed politicized criminal defamation charges against several journalists who covered the alleged rape and torture of a youth activist. After the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, President Omar al-Bashir announced that he would pardon all imprisoned journalists. Jafaar al-Subki Ibrahim, a reporter for the private daily Al-Sahafa who had been held incommunicado and without charge since November 2010, was released after the announcement. But no formal pardon was ever issued, and four journalists were still in detention in late year. In September alone, the National Intelligence and Security Services blocked the distribution of four opposition newspapers without cause.
Saudi authorities maintained a suffocating atmosphere of censorship as they further tightened the country's highly restrictive media law. In May, a royal decree amended five articles of the law, barring the publication of any material that contravened Sharia law, impinged on state interests, promoted foreign interests, harmed public order or national security, or enabled criminal activity. In January, the Kingdom issued new regulations for online media that included several restrictive and vaguely worded provisions that grant the Ministry of Culture and Information sweeping powers to censor news outlets and sanction journalists. The government withdrew the accreditation of Riyadh-based Reuters correspondent Ulf Laessing in March, apparently angered by his coverage of a pro-reform protest. Reuters stood by the reporting. The same month, amid popular uprisings across the region, authorities banned three critical columnists working for the government-controlled daily Al-Watan. Authorities did not cite a reason, but all three had written about the region's political unrest. In late year, as demonstrations broke out in the kingdom's eastern province, authorities blocked local and international journalists from gaining access to the region. With a few exceptions, the demonstrations went uncovered.
King Mohamed VI pledged a series of constitutional reforms in March after the region’s wave of popular uprisings passed through the kingdom. But the reforms did not extend to opening up the press. Authorities took concerted measures to suppress coverage of mass protests in Casablanca’s streets. During a March protest in the capital, Rabat, uniformed police assaulted several journalists covering its violent dispersal. The biggest and most controversial case in the kingdom was that of Rachid Nini, a prominent government critic, executive editor of the Moroccan daily Al-Massae, and owner of Al-Massae Media Group. He was detained in April and sentenced to one year in prison on charges of “denigrating judicial rulings” and “compromising the security and safety of the homeland and citizens.”
Journalists worked in extraordinarily dangerous conditions during the eight-month uprising that ended 42 years of rule by Muammar Qaddafi and led to his death. Five journalists were killed amid fierce fighting between rebels and loyalists. Qaddafi's regime unleashed a widespread campaign to silence foreign and local journalists, detaining dozens in abusive conditions. In February, Qaddafi invited reporters to the capital, Tripoli, only to restrict them to the Rixos Hotel, monitor their every move, and prevent them from reporting on anything other than the government line. In their efforts to block news coverage, authorities also jammed satellite signals, severed Internet service, cut off mobile phone networks and landlines, and attacked news facilities. While the crumbling regime was able to orchestrate coverage for a time in Tripoli, it failed to prevent the press from disseminating information about rebel advances in the rest of the country. Press freedom violations persisted after the Libyan rebel government, known as the National Transitional Council, or NTC, took power in August. One journalist was brutally assaulted in Benghazi that month, and the NTC placed one pro-Qaddafi journalist under house arrest.
Security forces tried to restrict coverage of the country’s civil unrest by attacking journalists covering pro-reform protests, often confiscating or destroying their equipment. Authorities raided the office of a news website in April, destroying equipment and threatening staff members. The same month, Al-Jazeera received a series of threats that its offices and journalists would be attacked if the network did not tone down coverage of the protests; the network’s Amman bureau chief said he had received death threats by telephone and social media. Other attacks included the hacking of a news website in February for refusing to take down a critical statement from a group of Jordanian tribesmen calling for political and economic reforms. In an Orwellian maneuver, the lower chamber of parliament passed a bill in September that was marketed as fighting corruption. In fact, some provisions would accomplish the opposite: They would impose heavy new fines against journalists who report on corruption without “solid facts.” Facing heavy opposition from journalists, the upper chamber sent the bill to committee for further review. Despite a long list of press freedom abuses, Jordanian leaders escaped criticism from the United States, which sought to maintain close relations with the kingdom.
Hamas forces in Gaza cracked down on journalists covering March demonstrations that called for Palestinian unity. Local journalists were attacked, media bureaus raided, and journalistic material confiscated. In April, three photographers were assaulted in the West Bank while covering skirmishes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in a village south of Nablus. In May, an Israeli soldier shot and seriously wounded Palestinian photographer Mohammed Othman, who was covering clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinians near the Erez Crossing. New legal restrictions were introduced: In July, the Israeli parliament passed an “anti-boycott” law making it a civil offense to support any boycott, divestment, or sanction campaign aimed at Israel based on its Palestinian policies. Journalists could face legal action for even insinuating support of a boycott. Hamas, meanwhile, adopted a new requirement that international journalists obtain Interior Ministry permission before entering Gaza, news reports said. Israeli authorities were holding four Palestinian journalists without charge in late year; Hamas was imprisoning three others, also without charge.
Five journalists and a media worker were killed as Iraq maintained its position as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. In August, the government adopted a law meant to offer journalists more protection, although its vague provisions did little initially to improve conditions. As demonstrations for economic and political reform spread with the Arab uprisings, journalists were consistently targeted for their coverage. Anti-riot police attacked, detained, and assaulted journalists covering protests. In their attempt to restrict coverage of the unrest, police raided news stations and press freedom groups, destroyed equipment, and arrested journalists. In Iraqi Kurdistan, authorities used aggression and intimidation to restrict journalists' coverage of violent clashes between security forces and protesters. Gunmen raided and destroyed equipment of an independent TV station and a radio station in Sulaymaniyah. Three journalists were fired upon in separate episodes in March, while two journalists were injured covering clashes in Sulaymaniyah in April. Prominent Iraqi Kurdish journalist Asos Hardi was badly beaten by an unidentified assailant.
Two years after a contested presidential election, Tehran continued to use the mass imprisonment of journalists to silence dissent and quash critical news coverage. Imprisoned journalists suffered greatly amid the crowded and unsanitary conditions of notorious prisons such as Rajaee Shah and Evin. The health of many detainees severely deteriorated, while numerous others suffered abuse at the hands of prison guards. The detainees also faced a battery of punitive measures, from the denial of family visits to placement in solitary confinement. Authorities continued a practice of freeing some prisoners on furloughs while making new arrests. Six-figure bonds were often posted by the furloughed journalists who faced immense political pressure to falsely implicate their colleagues in crimes. While some large international news organizations maintained a presence in Tehran, their journalists could not move or report freely, particularly outside the capital. Politically sensitive topics such as the country's nuclear program or its plan to eliminate subsidies were largely off-limits to local and international reporters. The government also restricted adversarial reporting by using sophisticated technology to block websites, jamming satellite signals, and banning publications.
During the 18-day uprising that led to Hosni Mubarak's ouster, the government unleashed a systematic campaign to intimidate journalists and obstruct news coverage. Dozens of serious press freedom violations were recorded between January 25 and February 11, as police and government supporters assaulted journalists in the streets. One journalist was killed by sniper fire while covering the demonstrations. Authorities also detained scores of journalists, instituted a six-day Internet blackout, suspended mobile phone service, blocked satellite transmissions, revoked accreditations, erected bureaucratic obstacles for foreign reporters, confiscated equipment, and stormed newsrooms. After Mubarak's fall, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces showed its own hostility to critical news coverage. The council established a new censorship regime in March, telling editors they must obtain approval for coverage involving the armed forces. In July, the council reinstated the historically repressive Information Ministry; in September, it announced it would enforce the Mubarak-era Emergency Law that allows indefinite detention of civilians. Authorities raided broadcasters in September, October, and December, censored newspapers, and arrested critical bloggers. In October, a fatal confrontation between the military and civilians in front of the Television and Radio Union left dozens dead, including a journalist. The next month, at least 35 journalists were detained or assaulted while covering a week of demonstrations demanding the military hand over power to civilians. As the year ended, the first two rounds of parliamentary voting gave Islamist parties a significant lead over secular competitors.
New York, February 17, 2012--Yemeni authorities must ensure the safety and protection of journalists covering protests in the country and allow them to carry out their work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today after a BBC Arabic correspondent was attacked for the third time in a year.
New York, February 16, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply saddened by the death of New York Times foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid, a towering figure in international crisis reporting. Shadid perished following an apparent asthma attack while on assignment in Syria.
New York, February 16, 2012--Three Tunisian journalists were arrested Wednesday for publishing a nude photo in a Tunisian daily, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to release them immediately.
New York, February 16, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the arrests of 14 journalists, bloggers, and press freedom activists with the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM). The group has played a key role in getting out information about daily developments in Syria as foreign journalists are virtually banned from the country.
New York, February 14, 2012--The Iranian regime continued its sustained crackdown on the press, arresting a blogger, handing a journalist a harsh prison term, and banning a reformist news publication, according to news reports. The regime has also announced the mass arrest of several individuals with alleged links to the BBC Persian-language service, news reports said.
New York, February 13, 2012--Saudi columnist Hamza Kashgari, whose Twitter postings about the Prophet Mohammed have drawn death threats and government reprisals, was deported from Malaysia back to his home country on Sunday, according to news reports.
In the year since peaceful protests began in Bahrain on February 14, 2011, the government has targeted the press corps with assault, detention, harassment, and torture to obstruct their coverage. My organization, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, has documented a systematic campaign by authorities to silence coverage of our country's unrest. Here are just some of the many attacks on the press:
New York, February 13, 2012--Egyptian authorities should immediately release detained Australian journalist Austin Mackell, his translator, and an American student traveling with them, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, February 9, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns death threats and a publishing ban against columnist Hamza Kashgari for comments he posted on Twitter addressing the prophet Mohammed.
New York, February 9, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Yemeni authorities to end an ongoing siege at the offices of a daily newspaper and ensure the protection of journalists and their equipment. Armed men last week surrounded the offices of two Yemeni newspapers, one of which remains under attack, according to news reports.
New York, February 9, 2012--Bahrain has rejected at least six journalists' applications for entry visas ahead of the anniversary of antigovernment protests that swept the country in February 2011, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to allow journalists into the country to carry out their work freely.
New York, February 8, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of Syrian journalist Mazhar Tayyara, a stringer for Agence France-Presse and other international outlets, who was killed by government forces' fire in the city of Homs early Saturday morning.
New York, February 8, 2012--Journalists covering political unrest in the Egyptian port city of Suez have been subjected to at least 10 attacks over a four-day period, according to news reports. One journalist was chased, fired upon, and threatened in four separate incidents, CPJ research shows.
New York, February 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns official attacks on journalists covering political unrest in Egypt this weekend. At least two journalists were shot by security forces in the past three days, and a third journalist was assaulted in police custody, according to news reports.
New York, February 6, 2012--A Tunisian appeals court should throw out the prison sentence against journalist Abdel Aziz al-Jaridi at a February 10 hearing and authorities should use his case as an opportunity to break from the repressive practices of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's era, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, February 3, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention and harassment in Iran of relatives of BBC Persian service staff who work outside the country, which is part of a sustained campaign to intimidate journalists into not reporting critically on Tehran's activities.
Last week, Twitter provoked a fierce debate online when it announced a new capability--and related policy--to hide tweets on a country-specific basis. By building this feature into its website's basic code, Twitter said it hoped to offer a more tailored response to legal demands to remove tweets globally. The company will inform users if any tweet they see has been obscured, and provide a record of all demands to remove content with the U.S.-based site chillingeffects.org.
New York, February 2, 2012--At least 10 Iranian journalists were jailed in the month of January as the government continued its crackdown on dissent ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled in March, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Recent news reports identified three previously undisclosed arrests.
New York, January 25, 2012--Algeria's new media law falls short of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's promises of reform and also fails to meet international standards for freedom of expression, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, January 24, 2012--Iraq's Journalist Protection Law falls short of international standards of freedom of expression and should immediately be repealed, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
The doses of freedom that the Tunisian revolution injected into national media have not been sufficient to revive it after decades of systematic destruction. It is not surprising that our evaluation of media one year after the tyrant fell reveals more negativity and pessimism.
New York, January 18, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Sudan's routine use of newspaper closures as a means to censor critical reporting. Over two weeks, the authorities have shut down and confiscated the assets of two daily newspapers.
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu: The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by ongoing attacks on and detention of journalists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as by a recent series of developments that restrict freedom of the press in Israel. Physical attacks, arrests, and other restrictions are creating an environment that undermines the vitality of the media, a key component of Israel's democracy.
New York, January 17, 2012--The conviction of several accomplices in the 2007 assassination of Hrant Dink, then-editor of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, fails to address the issue of who commissioned the slaying, thus perpetuating impunity in the case, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
The killing on January 11 of a French TV reporter has sent a chill through the international press corps trying to cover the violence in Syria. Gilles Jacquier, 43, who was on assignment for the French public service channel France 2, was a seasoned journalist and the laureate of France's most prestigious journalism prizes. As a special reporter for "Envoyé special," France's equivalent of "60 Minutes," he had covered dozens of wars, from Kosovo to Afghanistan, and was considered one of the most professional French war correspondents.
New York, January 13, 2012-- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns recent attacks on the press in Tunisia. A journalist was assaulted while covering a protest at the interior ministry Wednesday, and two female journalists were assaulted last week.
New York, January 11, 2012--French TV journalist Gilles Jacquier was killed on Wednesday in the Syrian city of Homs, according to news reports. Jacquier is the first foreign journalist killed in Syria since the 10-month uprising began.
New York, January 10, 2012--Two prosecution witnesses at a trial of banned Yemeni daily Al-Ayyam last month testified in favor of the defense, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today after reviewing court documents.
New York, January 3, 2012--A Syrian state journalist and a videographer who documented unrest in Homs province were separately shot and killed in recent days, according to news accounts. The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating the circumstances surrounding the two deaths.
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.