Middle East & North Africa

2014


Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma, Cameroon, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

China is world's worst jailer of the press; global tally second worst on record

More than 200 journalists are imprisoned for their work for the third consecutive year, reflecting a global surge in authoritarianism. China is the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2014. A CPJ special report by Shazdeh Omari

An Egyptian protester calls for the release of freelance photographer Mahmoud Abou Zeid, also known as Shawkan, who has been imprisoned since August 2013. (AP/Amr Nabil)

Alerts   |   Syria

Fourth journalist killed in Syria in three days

New York, December 11, 2014--A correspondent working for Al-Jazeera's Arabic website, Aljazeera.net, was killed Wednesday night while covering clashes between rebel and government forces in Syria's Daraa province, the outlet reported today. Mahran al-Deeri is the fourth journalist to die covering fighting in and around the village of Sheikh Miskeen in the past three days.

Alerts   |   Syria

Three Orient News journalists killed in Syria

New York, December 9, 2014--Three journalists from the Syrian opposition TV station Orient News were killed on Monday while headed to cover the aftermath of clashes in the village of Sheikh Miskeen in Daraa Province, according to their station and other news reports. The station said it believed the journalists were directly targeted by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

December 9, 2014 4:13 PM ET

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Statements   |   Yemen

Freelancer Luke Somers killed in hostage rescue attempt in Yemen

New York, December 6, 2014--Luke Somers, an American freelance journalist held hostage by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed along with fellow hostage Pierre Korkie, a South African teacher, during a failed rescue attempt by U.S. special forces on Saturday morning in Yemen, according to U.S. officials and news reports.

December 6, 2014 9:25 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Yemen

CPJ calls for release of U.S. journalist held in Yemen

New York, December 4, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of U.S. freelance journalist Luke Somers, who has been held hostage in Yemen for more than a year. Following a video released on Wednesday that showed the journalist pleading for his life, U.S. government officials issued press releases today publicly acknowledging that Somers was being held by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. CPJ did not previously report the case at the request of the family, who today released a statement about the kidnapping.

Blog

Accounting for impunity is obligation for all states

This week, members of UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication will meet to discuss the director general's biannual report, which examines the cases of nearly 600 journalists killed around the world from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2013. The report, and lacklustre response from member states who had been asked to provide status updates to the cases, highlights why the campaign to end impunity is so vital.

November 18, 2014 4:22 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Algeria

Algerian journalist held for more than a year without charge

New York, November 14, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the imprisonment of Algerian journalist Abdelhai Abdessamia, who has been held since August 18, 2013. News of Abdessamia's imprisonment was reported by his family in early November, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Iran

CPJ joins call for UN members to push for greater human rights in Iran

The Committee to Protect Journalists has joined 29 other organizations in calling on member states of the U.N. General Assembly to vote in favor of a resolution for the promotion and protection of human rights in Iran. The vote is scheduled to take place on November 18.

Blog   |   Iran

Jason Rezaian's family appeals for Iran to release him

Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who was arrested with him but since freed. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Last week, Mohammad Javad Larijani, a top adviser to the country's supreme leader, said in an interview with Euronews television that the case of Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post correspondent who has been imprisoned in Iran since July, might be resolved in "less than a month."

Reports   |   Egypt, Multimedia

Under Threat: Egyptian Press in Peril

On November 6, CPJ and See Media released a new documentary film, “Under Threat,” that highlights the perils of working for Egyptian media across the political spectrum and examines the media environment under President al-Sisi ahead of Egypt’s parliamentary vote.

CPJ has documented an unprecedented number of anti-press abuses, including six journalists killed and dozens detained since the military took over in July 2013. While most of the journalists have been released, Egypt is still holding at least 11 journalists behind bars, three of whom are affiliated with Al-Jazeera.

We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think and we will help convey your message to the world, so that al-Sisi's government doesn't get the last word on Egypt.

What can a press freedom organization such as CPJ do to help incarcerated journalists inside Egypt? How can we achieve justice for the journalists who have been killed? What can Egyptian journalists do to support their colleagues?

Please tag CPJ's twitter handle, @cpjmena, and include the hashtag #EgyptLastWord.

For more on Egypt, click here.

November 5, 2014 3:48 PM ET

Blog   |   CPJ, Iran

Rosewater: An Iranian journalist's journey from prison to silver screen

In 2009, the sketch comedian Jason Jones traveled to Iran to interview Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari for "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. Shortly after the disputed June 12 elections, the series of reports aired amid a brutal crackdown on Iranian journalists and the opposition. Bahari was among those arrested. Among the "evidence" presented by his interrogators--one of whom smelled like rosewater--was his interview with the fake news show, which they claimed was proof he had spoken with an American spy. When they could not get those charges to stick they made up a new one: "media espionage."

November 4, 2014 1:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt

A message from a scared Egyptian journalist

Tamer Abuarab's article today under the title "A message from a scared person" offers strong insight into why we at CPJ decided to produce our upcoming documentary film, "Under Threat," and make an appeal for journalists to speak out with the hashtag #EgyptLastWord.

October 30, 2014 12:13 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Iran

Iran arrests journalist covering acid attacks on women

New York, October 29, 2014--Iranian authorities have detained for almost a week a journalist affiliated with the semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA), a media outlet that has covered a series of acid attacks on women in the country, according to news reports. Four other staff members affiliated with the agency were arrested on Monday and have been released, the reports said.

Alerts   |   Sudan

Journalist arrested in Sudan, held without charge

New York, October 28, 2014--The National Intelligence and Security Services in Sudan arrested a journalist on Thursday in Khartoum and has held him without charge since, according to news reports. Al-Nour Ahmed al-Nour is the Sudan correspondent for the pan-Arab London-based newspaper Al-Hayat and also works as a columnist for the Sudanese independent daily Al-Taghyeer.

Blog   |   Egypt

Don't let al-Sisi's government have Egypt's last word

"I want to send a message to the world; there is no need for defending honorable Egyptian journalists." That's what Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said on World Press Freedom Day this year, speaking at Al-Ahram state newspaper. The same day, Al-Jazeera English Bureau Chief Mohamed Fahmy was roaring in an Egyptian court: "I want to defend myself, but I don't know how!" He was later handed a seven-year prison sentence, and several of his colleagues also received jail time, in a sham trial.

Blog   |   Egypt

As al-Sisi promises freedom of speech, TV host Youssef is put under investigation

Egypt's President al-Sisi addresses the U.N. General Assembly on September 24. He promised to guarantee freedom of press, but journalists are still imprisoned. (AFP/Jewel Samad)

The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was given a great platform for his country last week, with a speech at the United Nation's General Assembly in which he said that his "new Egypt" would "guarantee freedom of speech," and his first ever meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

September 30, 2014 4:09 PM ET

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Blog   |   Iran

CPJ joins call for Rouhani to improve press freedom and human rights in Iran

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, left, with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in New York on September 23. Rouhani is due to address the General Assembly on September 25. (AFP/Jewel Samad)

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined 25 human rights and civil society groups today in signing an open letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday about steps toward an open and effective relationship with the United Nations Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

Alerts   |   Libya

Two Tunisian journalists held for two weeks in Libya

New York, September 23, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports that two Tunisian journalists have been held by a militia in eastern Libya for two weeks and calls for them to be freed immediately. This is the second time that Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari have been kidnapped this month, according to reports.

September 23, 2014 4:22 PM ET

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Statements   |   Syria, UK

Militant group must release kidnapped British journalist

September 18, 2014, New York--The Islamic State militant group released a video today that shows John Cantlie, a British freelance journalist kidnapped in Syria in 2012, making what he said would be the first of a series of statements, according to news reports. Cantlie's abduction in Syria nearly two years ago was not previously reported by CPJ and other groups at the request of his family.

Alerts   |   Qatar

New cybercrime law could have serious consequences for press freedom in Qatar

New York, September 17, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Qatari government to abolish parts of a restrictive cybercrime law that passed this week, despite assurances from its prime minister last year that the legislation would not restrict freedom of expression, which is protected under the Qatari constitution.

September 17, 2014 6:01 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Egypt

Journalists released from prison in Egypt, but others remain

New York, September 17, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release on bail of two journalists in Egypt and calls on authorities to free the 11 other journalists still behind bars. The move comes days before Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is set to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Iran

Iran's press record needs scrutiny at U.N. General Assembly

New York, September 9, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed that dozens of journalists remain imprisoned in Iran more than a year after the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani, who has pledged to seek more constructive engagement with the international community. CPJ calls on attendees of this month's U.N. General Assembly to urge Rouhani to ensure the release of all journalists imprisoned for their work.

Blog   |   Syria

CPJ joins call to free Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression staff

Today, CPJ joined 78 human rights and press freedom organizations in calling on the Syrian government to immediately and unconditionally release three imprisoned members of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. The center's director, Mazen Darwish, has been imprisoned since 2012 along with his colleagues Hussein Ghrer and Hani al-Zitani.

Blog   |   Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Security, Syria

Back-to-back display killings of journalists unprecedented

The apparent back-to-back murders of two American freelance journalists by the same group are unprecedented in CPJ's history. The beheadings on camera in a two-week period of first James Foley and then Steven Sotloff appear to be an acceleration of a pattern--dating at least to Daniel Pearl's killing in 2002--of criminal and insurgent groups displaying the murders of journalists to send a broad message of terror.

Statements   |   Syria, USA

CPJ condemns murder of US journalist Steven Sotloff

New York, September 2, 2014--The Islamic State militant group released a video Tuesday purporting to show the beheading of American freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, according to news reports. Sotloff, who was abducted in Syria in August 2013, would be the second American journalist murdered by Islamic State. In a video posted online on August 19, the group murdered American freelance journalist James Foley and threatened to do the same to Sotloff in retribution for U.S. military intervention in Iraq.

September 2, 2014 2:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain

CPJ signs joint letter to Bahrain calling for Ahmed Humaidan's release

A Bahraini boy holds a sign protesting the December 2012 arrest of freelance photographer Ahmed Humaidan. (AFP/Mohammed al-Shaikh)

Today, CPJ joined 10 local and international organizations in sending an open letter calling on King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and the Bahraini government to release photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan and dismiss all charges against him. The letter calls on the government to fulfill Bahrain's obligations under international law and its commitments under the 2012 Universal Periodic Review by the U.N. Human Rights Council.

August 29, 2014 2:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

After journalist killings, potential violations in Gaza must be investigated

Palestinians search the rubble of their family house which was hit by an Israeli strike in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip. (AP/Adel Hana)

After 50 bloody days of conflict, it looks like a ceasefire may finally take hold in Israel and Gaza. Recently Gaza has been one of the deadliest places in the world for the press. According to CPJ research, at least seven journalists and media workers were killed on the job in four separate incidents.

Impact   |   Iran, Oman, Syria, USA

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, August 2014

US-Africa Leaders Summit

President Barack Obama hosted the first US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. this month. The discussion focused on trade and investment, but CPJ helped put press freedom on the agenda. At a time of unprecedented growth and change in Africa, journalists are under increasing pressure, with spikes in repression from Ethiopia to Nigeria.

August 28, 2014 5:30 PM ET

Blog   |   Egypt

Solidarity in wake of Foley's murder inspires jailed Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy

Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy has been languishing in an Egyptian prison since December. He is waiting for an appeal hearing on his seven-year sentence for "conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood," but it is the murder of American freelancer James Foley, rather than his own unjust sentence, that has made the Cairo bureau chief furious. Fahmy sees the solidarity in response to Foley's killing as an opportunity to gain global support for distressed journalists in Egypt.

Blog   |   Iran

Public outcry can make big difference for Washington Post journalist jailed in Iran

Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Salehi (AFP)

I met Jason Rezaian in 2003, at Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. We were among the handful of Iranian-American journalists then freelancing in the country, and we were both motivated by the desire to help improve the understanding between Iran and the U.S. Over the years, I have followed Rezaian's reports. His work in The Washington Post has been informative, insightful, and balanced.

It has now been more than a month since Rezaian and his Iranian wife, journalist Yeganeh Salehi, were arrested in Tehran. Based on what has been reported, and on my own detention in an Iranian prison in 2009, I have an understanding of what they might be experiencing.

Alerts   |   Libya

Alassema TV's Tripoli office attacked, journalists abducted or unaccounted for

New York, August 26, 2014--The Tripoli offices of Libya's privately owned station Alassema TV was raided and set on fire by Islamist groups on Sunday, the station reported. Several journalists are unaccounted for, the station said, and the Libyan Center for Press Freedom and Libya International Channel reported that Alaseema staff members had been abducted.

Statements   |   Syria

CPJ welcomes release of US freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis

New York, August 24, 2014 - The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of American freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who was held captive by the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra since October 2012, according to U.S officials and news reports. U.N. Secretary General spokesman Stephane Dujarric told CPJ Curtis was handed over to U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan Heights at 6:40 PM local time and transferred to U.S. representatives after a medical check-up. The release comes a week after the Islamic State group, which split from Jabhat al-Nusra, released a video last week showing the brutal murder of American freelance journalist James Foley and the threat to murder another American journalist, Steven Sotloff.

August 24, 2014 3:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Libya, Syria

James Foley - a journalist's journalist

James Foley in 2011. (AP/Steven Senne)

Amid the tributes and war stories that followed the brutal beheading of James Foley this week, one memory from a fellow hostage shone a light on a side of his character that his audience might not have seen: his empathy not only for the people he covered but also for the journalists he encountered.

Alerts   |   Iraq, Syria, USA

James Foley's killers pose many threats to local, international journalists

An Islamic State militant stands with the Islamist flag in Iraq. (AFP/Welayat Salahuddin)

New York, August 20, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned for all journalists, most of them Syrians, still held captive by the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State, which has repeatedly kidnapped, killed, and threatened journalists in the territories over which it holds sway. President Barack Obama confirmed today that the group is responsible for the barbaric murder of U.S. freelance journalist James Foley.

Statements   |   Syria, USA

CPJ condemns killing of American journalist James Foley

New York, August 19, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of James Foley, a U.S. freelance journalist, who was abducted in Syria in November 2012. In a video posted online, the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State claimed to have executed Foley, saying the act was retribution for U.S. military intervention in Iraq.

August 19, 2014 8:59 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Yemen

Yemeni journalist shot dead in series of attacks on state-run media

New York, August 19, 2014 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a string of attacks on Yemeni journalists working for state-run outlets in the past week. At least one journalist has been killed and another survived an assassination attempt, according to the Ministry of Information and news reports.

Blog   |   Syria

Two years and no word of Osama al-Habaly

Osama al-Habaly's health, whereabouts, and status remain unknown. (Facebook/Freedom for Ousama Alhabaliy)

It's been exactly two years since citizen photojournalist Osama al-Habaly disappeared into regime custody as he crossed from Lebanon back to his home country of Syria. His friends and colleagues tell CPJ they have not heard a definitive word about him since.

Alerts   |   Egypt

Reporters attacked covering first anniversary of Cairo protest killings

A police officer is seen in Cairo amid clashes between security forces and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. (AFP/Mohamed el-Shahed)

New York, August 15, 2014--Several journalists have been attacked and briefly detained in Egypt since Thursday while covering deadly clashes between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and security forces, according to news reports.

Statements   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

AP journalist and media worker killed in Gaza

New York, August 13, 2014--Simone Camilli, a video journalist for The Associated Press, and Ali Shehda Abu Afash, a freelance translator, were killed in the northern town of Beit Lahiya today when an unexploded missile blew up, the AP reported. The explosion also injured AP photographer Hatem Moussa. Camilli, an Italian, is the first international journalist to be killed on duty in Gaza this year.

Alerts   |   Iraq

Kurdish reporter killed in Iraqi Kurdistan

The funeral of Deniz Firat, a journalist who was killed in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Facebook/Kamal Chomani)

New York, August 11, 2014--A Kurdish journalist was killed in Makhmur district, south of the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, on Friday when shrapnel from mortar shelling hit her in the chest, according to news reports. Deniz Firat, a freelance reporter, was covering clashes between Kurdish forces and insurgents with the Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda splinter group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, the Firat News Agency said.

Alerts   |   Libya

Two journalists and three media workers abducted in Libya

New York, August 8, 2014--At least two journalists and three media workers affiliated with the privately owned Albarqa TV station were abducted at a checkpoint in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk on Monday, according to the station and news reports. The reports said the five were taken by a militant group affiliated with Islamists after the crew covered the inauguration of Libya's newly elected parliament.

Statements   |   Iran

Police officer convicted in death of imprisoned Iranian blogger

New York, August 7, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's conviction of a police officer in the death of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti and calls on Iranian authorities to disclose details of the investigation and trial. The police officer was given three years in jail, two years in exile, and 74 lashes for assaulting the blogger and insulting him, according to reports. Beheshti was arrested on October 30, 2012, and died in Evin Prison the next month.

Alerts   |   Oman

Oman holding blogger Muawiyah Alrawahi at psychiatric hospital

Muawiyah Alrawahi (Twitter)

New York, August 5, 2014--CPJ is concerned for the welfare of critical Omani blogger Muawiyah Alrawahi, who disappeared last month after being summoned by intelligence officials, according to human rights groups. A photo appeared on Twitter in recent days showing Alrawahi at the psychiatric department of Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, with his legs shackled, according to the London-based Monitor of Human Rights in Oman.

Alrawahi is known for using his blog and YouTube channel to discuss atheism and raise other sensitive topics, including criticism of Sultan Qaboos.

August 5, 2014 4:51 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Libya

Libya's Alassema TV suffers several attacks; journalists abducted

A fighter watches as smoke rises after rockets fired by one of Libya's militias struck a fuel tank in Tripoli on August 2. (Reuters/Hani Amara)

New York, August 5, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a recent series of attacks on privately owned Alassema TV in Libya, including the abduction on Friday of three journalists who are still missing.

Blog   |   Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Republic of Congo, Swaziland, USA, Uganda

First US-Africa summit short on press freedom, other human rights

CPJ board member Clarence Page, right, speaks  at a panel Wednesday organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in partnership with CPJ in Washington, D.C. (CPJ/Rachael Levy)

Top African and U.S. leaders are meeting next week in Washington in a first-of-its-kind summit focused on African development. But critics argue the summit is flawed in design, overlooking human rights such as freedom of expression and barring civil society actors from bilateral discussions.

Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Another journalist killed in Gaza bombardment

This screenshot from al-Manara's Facebook page shows photographer Rami Rayan working minutes before he was killed.

New York, July 31, 2014--A second journalist was killed while covering the Israeli bombardment of the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza, according to news reports and the two journalists' media outlets. The death marks at least three journalists and one media worker killed on duty since the Gaza conflict began this month, CPJ research shows.

Blog   |   CPJ, Ethiopia, Internet, Russia, Security, Thailand, Turkey, USA

No press freedom without Internet freedom

Four years ago, when CPJ launched its Internet Advocacy program, we were met with lots of encouragement, but also some skepticism.

"Why do you need a program to defend the Internet?" one supporter asked. "You don't have a special program to defend television, or radio, or newspapers."

But the Internet is different. Increasingly, when it comes to global news and information the Internet is not a platform. It is the platform.

Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Palestinian photojournalist killed in Israeli air strike

Palestinian citizens react to an air strike dropped by the Israel Defense Forces on a market in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza. A journalist was killed in the attack. (Reuters/Ashraf Amrah)

New York, July 30, 2014--Palestinian journalist Rami Rayan was killed today in an Israeli air strike on a market in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza, according to his employer and news reports. At least 16 other people were killed and 160 wounded in the strike, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Iran

Iran must explain journalist arrests

Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Saleh (AFP)

It has now been six days since the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian, The National's Yeganeh Salehi and two others were arrested in Iran, but we are no closer to understanding who detained them or why. Even the number of journalists arrested is in dispute.

The Washington Post originally said its correspondent Rezaian, his wife Salehi, and two unnamed photojournalists had been detained on July 22, a report we repeated in our statement Thursday calling for their release. But our colleagues at Reporters Without Borders reported only three journalists were arrested--Rezaian, Salehi, an unnamed Iranian-American freelance photographer, and her non-journalist husband--saying the photographer's family had asked for her name to be withheld. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran also said the fourth individual, the husband, is not a journalist.

Statements   |   Iran

Four journalists, including three U.S. citizens, detained in Iran

New York, July 24, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a Washington Post report today that says Iran has detained four journalists--three of whom are U.S. citizens--and calls on authorities to release them immediately. Jason Rezaian, a U.S. citizen and a correspondent for the Post, and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, an Iranian correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National, were taken into custody in Tehran this week. The report said the other two are photojournalists, but did not identify them. It is not clear why the journalists were arrested.

Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Palestinian cameraman killed during Israeli assault

A journalist films a burning building in Gaza's Shijaiyah district on July 20. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

New York, July 21, 2014--A Palestinian cameraman was killed in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shijaiyah on Sunday, according to news reports and the journalist's colleague. More than 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in clashes between Israeli and Hamas forces in Shijaiyah that day, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

At least three journalists injured by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza

Smoke billows from a Gaza City neighborhood after an Israeli airstrike. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

New York, July 18, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Israeli airstrikes on buildings housing media outlets in Gaza that injured at least three journalists. The strikes came as Israel engages in a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Alerts   |   Iraq

Journalists injured, arrested amid Iraq violence

People gather at the site of a bomb attack at a market in Baghdad's Sadr City on Wednesday. (Reuters/Wissm al-Okili)

New York, July 16, 2014--At least two journalists were wounded, another arrested, and a newspaper office raided in the past week in Iraq amid heightened political uncertainty and violence, according to news reports and local press freedom groups.

Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Israeli airstrike destroys press car, killing Palestinian media worker

The mother of Hamid Shihab, a Palestinian media worker killed in Wednesday's airstrike, mourns during his funeral.(Reuters/Ashraf Amrah)

New York, July 10, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Israel Defense Forces' airstrike on a car clearly marked as a press vehicle in Gaza City on Wednesday. The airstrike killed Hamid Shihab, a driver for the Gaza-based press agency Media 24, according to the agency.

Blog   |   Iran

The 2009 Iran crackdown continues today

Five years ago on Monday, CPJ announced that Iran had officially become the world's leading jailer of journalists in the world. The announcement came on the heels of an unprecedented crackdown on the press that began on June 12, 2009, the day of Iran's tumultuous presidential election that sparked a mass protest movement.

Case   |   Iran

In Iran, series of arrests and prosecutions target journalists

In the first few months of 2014, multiple journalists were arrested, interrogated, and prosecuted in Iran. Authorities pursued a revolving-door policy in imprisoning journalists, freeing some detainees on short-term furloughs even as they make new arrests.

Alerts   |   Egypt

Egypt convicts another journalist, bans TV channels

New York, June 25, 2014--A Suez court sentenced a journalist to three years in prison on Tuesday on charges of inciting and committing violence during protests in April, according to news reports. The move follows harsh prison sentences given to three Al-Jazeera journalists on Monday.

Blog   |   Egypt

Egypt's Shame

This morning a judge in Egypt convicted journalists Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, Peter Greste, and Baher Mohamed of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood and sentenced them to between seven and 10 years in prison. All three were working for Al-Jazeera when they were arrested six months ago, but have a wide range of professional experience, including stints with CNN, The New York Times, and the BBC. Three other journalists--Al-Jazeera English presenter Sue Turton, Al-Jazeera reporter Dominic Kane, and a correspondent for Dutch Parool newspaper, Rena Netjes--were sentenced to 10 years in absentia.

Statements   |   Egypt

CPJ condemns harsh prison sentences for journalists in Egypt

New York, June 23, 2014--A Cairo court today sentenced three Al-Jazeera journalists to lengthy prison terms on terrorism-related charges, according to news reports. Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Peter Greste were given seven-year terms, while Baher Mohamed was given 10 years in prison. Three other international journalists--Sue Turton and Dominic Kane of Al-Jazeera and Rena Netjes, a correspondent for Dutch newspaper Parool--were sentenced in absentia to 10 years, reports said. The journalists are expected to appeal, reports said.

Statements   |   Egypt

CPJ welcomes release of two Egyptian journalists, calls for others to be freed

New York, June 18, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from prison this week of two Egyptian journalists and calls on authorities to release at least 14 journalists still behind bars, including three Al-Jazeera journalists whose trial continues on Monday. Abdullah al-Shami, reporter for Al-Jazeera who was jailed without charge, was released on Tuesday in connection with his deteriorating health, and Karim Shalaby, reporter for Al-Masder, was freed on Monday after a court acquitted him of charges that included protesting illegally.

Alerts   |   Iraq

Journalist killed, another injured amid Iraq clashes

New York, June 16, 2014--At least one journalist was killed and another injured Sunday in an attack in northern Diyala province, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate and Iraqi news outlets reported. The killing comes amid escalating clashes between the Iraqi government and its allies against an insurgency spearheaded by the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).

Alerts   |   Iraq, Jordan

Jordanian authorities raid station, arrest staff

New York, June 13, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Jordanian authorities to drop the terrorism charges and release from custody staffers of the Al-Abasiya TV station in Amman who were arrested after a recent raid and shutdown of the outlet.

Statements   |   Iraq

The content of this web page has been temporarily removed.

For CPJ data and analysis on Iraq, visit our Iraq page.

June 12, 2014 4:41 PM ET

Statements   |   Egypt

Harsh sentence in Egypt daunting for the press

New York, June 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the 15-year jail sentence given today to Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd el-Fattah, and at least 24 other defendants, on charges of attacking a police officer and protesting the government's ban on unsanctioned protests. Dozens of critical voices, including journalists and political and human rights advocates, are behind bars in Egypt.

Statements   |   Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA

G-7 acknowledges post-2015 agenda should include governance, human rights

New York, June 5, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the declaration today by leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations that democratic governance and human rights should be integral to the post-2015 development agenda.  The United Nations is seeking agreement on a broad set of sustainable development objectives to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015 and which made no mention of political or civil rights. The new goals will provide a framework for donor aid and thus influence priorities for years to come.

Blog   |   Egypt

Press freedom is now el-Sisi's choice

Egypt's newly elected leader, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, will have to face many challenges as president, including the real crisis that confronts freedom of the press in the country. Things were never good for the press in Egypt, but they have worsened significantly since former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted last summer. As CPJ wrote in a letter before the election to el-Sisi and his now defeated opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, at least six journalists have been killed since Morsi's ouster and 16 journalists are currently imprisoned. Dozens more have been detained and released, creating a climate of fear and repression that has dampened the ability of journalists to cover political developments and the most recent election.

June 3, 2014 2:02 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Egypt

Prominent show canceled as Egypt moves to monitor Internet use

New York, June 2, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports that a popular Egyptian TV host has taken his show off the air, citing harassment. CPJ is also disturbed by reports that Egyptian authorities are moving to monitor social media.

Impact   |   Brazil, Iraq, Kenya, Turkey

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, May 2014

CPJ's Brazil report spurs government meetings on press freedom

CPJ board member María Teresa Ronderos and CPJ Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría traveled to Brasilia this month to launch a new special report, "Halftime for the Brazilian press," and met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, as well as other high-level government officials. CPJ also presented President Rousseff with the report's recommendations.

Brazil is home to a vibrant investigative press, but journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free, CPJ's report found. Brazil is the 11th deadliest country in the world for journalists, and at least 10 have been killed in direct reprisal for their work since President Rousseff came to power, CPJ research shows. 

May 30, 2014 12:29 PM ET

Alerts   |   Libya

Prominent journalist killed in Libya

New York, May 27, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder in Benghazi of a prominent Libyan journalist on Monday and calls on authorities to hold the killers to account. Muftah Bu Zeid, the editor-in-chief of Brnieq, a privately owned weekly, was well-known for his criticism of Islamist militias in the country, according to news reports. He reported receiving threats in the days before his death. 

May 27, 2014 5:35 PM ET

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Blog   |   Iraq

Mission Journal: The Kurdish conundrum--more outlets but not more 'news'

In the stairwell between the newsroom and studios of Nalia Radio and Television (NRT) stand a charred monitor, a burnt vision mixer, and smashed camera lens. They make up a display of equipment damaged when armed men set fire to the station in Sulaymaniyah, a city in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan which is home to much of the Kurdish media.

Blog   |   Jordan

Jordan's free press record dims with website restrictions

Jordan's press freedom climate, once a shining light in the Middle East, has quickly deteriorated as journalists grapple with last year's government ban on nearly 300 news websites.

Press freedom groups are documenting a rise in self-censorship and an increase in criminal cases against journalists. Local online news editors and journalists are complaining of economic hardship and psychological pressure.

Blog   |   Saudi Arabia

Saudi censorship blurs lines between journalism, activism

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has decreed several laws that censor the press. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Since the surprise Arab uprisings of 2011, the Saudi government has worked assiduously to ensure it has all the tools of censorship it needs to control dissent. These tools--a combination of special courts, laws, and regulatory authorities--are starting to fire on all cylinders. The result has been a string of arrests and prosecutions in recent months of independent and dissident voices.

Letters   |   Egypt

Egyptian presidential candidates should support journalists, CPJ says

To presidential candidates Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabahi: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to express its deep concern about the state of press freedom in Egypt. Since the organization was founded in 1981, journalists in Egypt have never been under greater threat of assault, imprisonment, or even death, CPJ research shows.

Blog   |   CPJ, Iraq

Coming to Kurdistan

One of the strongest memories I have of meeting President Masoud Barzani is the winding drive up to his mountain-top headquarters in the town of Salahuddin outside Erbil. That was in 2008, when a CPJ delegation secured a pledge from the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to "create an atmosphere that is conducive to journalism."

Alerts   |   Syria

Two Times of London journalists escape captivity in Syria

New York, May 15, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is relieved by a report by the Times of London that said two of its journalists escaped captivity near the Turkish border in Syria on Wednesday. Anthony Loyd, a correspondent, and Jack Hill, a photographer, escaped their unidentified assailants with the help of the rebel group Islamic Front, the paper said.

Case   |   Egypt

Egypt jails two journalists, renews detention of another

Saaid Shihata, reporter for Yaqeen, an online news network that is supportive of former President Mohamed Morsi, was arrested on December 30, 2013, while another Yaqeen reporter, Ahmed Gamal, was arrested two days prior, according to Yahya Khalaf, Yaqeen's executive director, who spoke to CPJ. Both journalists were held after covering clashes between students and security forces at Al-Azhar University in Nasr City neighborhood of Cairo. 

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Ten journalists to free from prison

On World Press Freedom Day,
CPJ calls for the release of all jailed journalists


Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste is in prison in Egypt on charges of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

By Shazdeh Omari/CPJ News Editor

New York, April 29, 2014—Uzbek editor Muhammad Bekjanov has been in jail for 15 years, one of the longest imprisonments of journalists worldwide. Prominent Iranian journalist Siamak Ghaderi was imprisoned in 2010 and has been beaten and whipped in custody. Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, serving a 12-year jail term, could barely walk or talk during a prison visit in July 2013, his family said.

Blog   |   CPJ, Iraq

Video: CPJ warns of impunity in Iraqi Kurdistan

On Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed its concerns over the press freedom climate in Iraqi Kurdistan at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. where we launched our special report, "Mountain of impunity looms over Kurdistan journalists." You can watch a video of the press conference here.

Reports   |   Iraq

Mountain of impunity looms over Kurdistan journalists

Iraqi Kurdistan may seem calm compared with much of the Middle East, but the media are vulnerable whenever internal political tensions flare. Amid impunity for anti-press attacks, including murder and arson, journalists say they must self-censor on topics like religion, social inequality, and corruption associated with powerful officials. A CPJ special report by Namo Abdulla

The funeral for Kurdish journalist Kawa Garmyane, who was killed in December 2013. (AFP/Shwan Mohammed)

Alerts   |   Iran

Seven journalists among those beaten in Iran's Evin Prison

Saeed Matin-Pour (ADAPP)

New York, April 18, 2014--At least seven journalists were among those attacked when Iranian guards and intelligence officials raided a section of Tehran's Evin Prison holding political prisoners on Thursday, according to news websites and human rights groups.

The unprecedented violent attack left dozens of prisoners injured, some hospitalized, and others transferred to solitary confinement, according to news reports.

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free

Iraq

Unsolved Murders: 100

Population: 32.6 million

Rank: 1

Somalia

Unsolved Murders: 26

Population: 10.2 million

Rank: 2

The Philippines

Unsolved Murders: 51

Population: 96.7 million

Rank: 3

Sri Lanka

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 20.3 million

Rank: 4

Syria

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 22.4 million

Rank: 5

Afghanistan

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 29.8 million

Rank: 6

Mexico

Unsolved Murders: 16

Population: 120.8 million

Rank: 7

Colombia

Unsolved Murders: 6

Population: 47.7 million

Rank: 8

Pakistan

Unsolved Murders: 22

Population: 179.2 million

Rank: 9

Russia

Unsolved Murders: 14

Population: 143.5 million

Rank: 10

Brazil

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 198.7 million

Rank: 11

Nigeria

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 168.8 million

Rank: 12

India

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 1,237 million

Rank: 13

Alerts   |   Egypt

Two journalists injured covering clashes in Egypt

New York, April 15, 2014--Two Egyptian journalists were shot by live ammunition on Monday while covering clashes in Cairo between security forces and university students supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to news reports. At least one student was killed in the clashes, news reports said. 

Alerts   |   Egypt

Egypt detains more journalists as elections approach

New York, April 10, 2014--Two journalists were arrested in Egypt on Wednesday and new charges filed against three others, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Egyptian government's renewed crackdown on the press as presidential elections approach in May. 

Blog   |   Morocco, Spain

Morocco accuses Spain's El País of inciting terrorism

Aboubakr Jamai, left, says the Spanish prosecutor's investigation will embold the Moroccan government in its case against Ali Anouzla. (AFP/Fadel Senna)

Morocco's inclination for wielding terrorism accusations against journalists and news outlets who report on extremist groups has extended to Spain, where authorities are investigating El País newspaper and one of its journalists at the behest of the Moroccan government.

Alerts   |   Egypt

Journalist shot dead covering clashes in Egypt

New York, March 28, 2014--An Egyptian journalist was shot dead in Cairo today while covering deadly clashes, according to news reports. Mayada Ashraf was a reporter for the daily Al-Dustour. She had covered previous protests for the paper, the reports said.

Alerts   |   Bahrain

Freelance Bahraini photographer given 10-year prison term

A Bahraini boy holds a sign protesting the December 2012 arrest of freelance photographer Ahmed Humaidan. (AFP/Mohammed al-Shaikh)

New York, March 26, 2014--Today's conviction of freelance photographer Ahmed Humaidan is an attempt by Bahraini authorities to censor independent and dissident voices in the lead-up to the Formula One race in April, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Humaidan, who has been imprisoned since December 2012, was sentenced to 10 years in jail, according to news reports. 

Alerts   |   Egypt

Egypt hands jail term to journalist, holds others in custody

New York, March 17, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the one-year prison sentence given today to Samah Ibrahim, a reporter for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice newspaper. Ibrahim is one of at least 10 journalists imprisoned in the country, according to news reports and CPJ research.

Blog   |   Iran

Rouhani has yet to deliver on press reforms in Iran

CPJ joined 26 other human rights and civil society groups on Wednesday in an open letter calling on the member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of Ahmed Shaheed, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. The public letter also urged the members to participate in the March 17 Interactive Dialogue with the special rapporteur and to express concern over the severe violations of human rights, including anti-press abuses, in Iran.

Alerts   |   Iraq

Two Iraqi journalists killed in suicide bomb

New York, March 11, 2014--A suicide bombing targeting a police checkpoint in Iraq's Babil province on Sunday killed dozens of Iraqis, including two journalists, according to news reports. Muthanna Abdel Hussein and Khaled Abdel Thamer were cameramen for the state-run Al-Iraqiya TV station.

Blog   |   Bahrain

Bahrain racing in circles

Anti-government protesters take cover from teargas fired by riot police in the village of Daih on March 3. (Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed)

Thursday, the official Bahrain News Agency announced the "final 30-day countdown [to] the Formula One extravaganza" to take place the first week of April. Every year the race acts as a lightning rod for criticism of the Bahraini government, which seeks to use high-profile international events like the F1 to gloss over human rights violations in the country.

Alerts   |   Egypt, Yemen

One journalist released, Al-Jazeera trial begins in Egypt

New York, March 4, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from jail of one reporter in Egypt and calls on authorities to release all other journalists held behind bars. While the release of a second journalist is pending, a trial begins on Wednesday for three imprisoned journalists affiliated with the Qatari-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Egypt

Egypt should #FreeAJStaff and other jailed journalists

Today, on Al-Jazeera's Global Day of Action, the Qatari-based broadcaster is urging Egyptian authorities to release its journalists who have been held behind bars for months. CPJ calls on the Egyptian government to release all of the journalists jailed in the country. At least nine journalists are currently imprisoned in Egypt, four of whom work for Al-Jazeera, according to CPJ research.

February 27, 2014 11:59 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Libya

Press under threat on anniversary of Libyan revolution

New York, February 19, 2014--A recent wave of anti-press violations, including repressive legislation, abductions, and physical attacks, threatens to set back the steps Libya has taken toward democracy since the revolution that removed the late Muammar Qaddafi from power, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Blog   |   Bahrain

Press freedom in Bahrain three years after #Feb14

Three years ago, hundreds of thousands of Bahrainis descended to the streets to demand change. A harsh government crackdown and the turn to violence by some protesters have since dampened the hope lit on February 14, 2011. In this context, we asked Bahrainis and Bahrain observers on Twitter how they think the status of press freedom has changed in the country. We know what we think: The Bahraini government has fallen terribly short of its own rhetoric of reform. But we wanted to hear directly from those who work and live in Bahrain every day.

Below is a Storify of some of the answers we received. 

Attacks on the Press   |   Cambodia, USA

Without Stronger Transparency, More Financial Crises Loom

The recent financial meltdown should be treated as a lesson on the importance of information transparency and the crucial role of a free press. By Michael J. Casey

Sharp swings in the stock market have led to questions about who stands to benefit from high-frequency trading. (AP/Richard Drew)

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Middle East & North Africa

Front-line reports and analytical essays by CPJ experts cover an array of topics of critical importance to journalists. Governments store transactional data and the content of journalists' communications. Media and money engage in a tug of war, with media owners reluctant to draw China's disfavor and advertisers able to wield surprising clout. In Syria, journalists are determined to distribute the news amid the chaos of conflict. In Vietnam, the government makes a heavy-handed bid to bring the Internet under control. And globally, eliminating witnesses has become an all too easy method of stymying justice when journalists are assassinated.

February 12, 2014 1:14 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Syria

Syrian Journalists Strive to Report, Despite Shifting Dangers

They call themselves citizen journalists, media workers, or media activists. Amid the chaos of conflict, they are determined to gather and distribute the news. By María Salazar-Ferro

Journalists Bryn Karcha, center, of Canada, and Toshifumi Fujimoto, right, of Japan, run for cover with an unidentified fixer in Aleppo's district of Salaheddine on December 29, 2012. (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman)
Journalists Bryn Karcha, center, of Canada, and Toshifumi Fujimoto, right, of Japan, run for cover with an unidentified fixer in Aleppo's district of Salaheddine on December 29, 2012. (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman)

Attacks on the Press   |   Iran

Hassan Rouhani and the Hope for More Freedom in Iran

The new president may have limited power to enact change, but the practical needs for communications technology may work in favor of a freer press. By D. Parvaz

In his early months in office, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, pictured in Tehran June 17, 2013, focused primarily on foreign affairs. (Reuters/Fars News/Majid Hagdost)
In his early months in office, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, pictured in Tehran June 17, 2013, focused primarily on foreign affairs. (Reuters/Fars News/Majid Hagdost)

Attacks on the Press   |   Bahrain

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Bahrain

Despite King Hamad’s praise for the press as the “cornerstone of human rights and a mirror of our fledgling democracy,” the Bahraini government continued to crack down on anyone challenging the official narrative. Journalists covering opposition protests were harassed, detained, and deported, while some were attacked by opposition protesters who considered them biased. The government arrested at least three bloggers and photographers in the lead-up to a major opposition protest on August 14. A court upheld the acquittal of a policewoman accused of torturing a journalist in 2011. Authorities continued to clamp down on online expression by blocking websites, infiltrating social media accounts, prosecuting citizens who insulted officials, and considering restrictions on Internet-based telecommunications services. Bahraini blogger Ali Abdel Imam, convicted on anti-state charges, was forced to flee into exile after hiding for two years from Bahraini authorities.

February 12, 2014 1:11 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Egypt

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Egypt

The deeply polarized Egyptian press was battered by an array of repressive tactics throughout 2013, from the legal and physical intimidation during the tenure of former President Mohamed Morsi to the widespread censorship by the military-backed government that replaced him. Morsi and his supporters pushed through a repressive constitution, used politicized regulations, pursued retaliatory criminal cases, and employed physical intimidation of critics. After his ouster, the military-led government shut down pro-Morsi news media and obstructed coverage supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and the toppled president. Within three months, at least five journalists were killed and dozens detained without charges. At least 10 television stations and news outlets were raided, and at least five journalists remained behind bars when CPJ conducted its annual prison census. In September, the interim president appointed a 50-member committee to amend Egypt's 2012 Constitution. The committee produced a draft that would ease several press restrictions, including limiting the scope of criminal prosecution of journalists. The draft will be put to a referendum in mid-January 2014.

February 12, 2014 1:10 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Iran

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Iran

Iran remained one of the most censored countries in the world. In the lead-up to the June 2013 presidential elections, then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government pre-emptively arrested journalists, banned publications, harassed family members of exiled journalists, and brought the Internet to a slow crawl. Reformist journalists were not the only targets, as various regime factions fought among themselves and attempted to silence their rivals. International journalists had difficulty acquiring visas, and those who did were often subject to strict supervision on the ground. The government said its crackdown on the press was necessary to unravel a foreign conspiracy led by the BBC to undermine the Islamic Republic. But Iranian citizens began to voice hope that a new era of reform would begin with the election of a more moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, and his apparent support from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It was not clear in late year whether that hope would manifest into greater press freedom in the country, and the revolving doors of Iran’s prisons continued to turn.

February 12, 2014 1:09 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Iraq

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Iraq

In a 2006 book, the late New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid summed up the future of Iraq as ghamidh, meaning “unclear” or “ambiguous” in Arabic. Seven years later, uncertainty continued to exacerbate the threats that journalists faced. Newspaper offices were attacked by unknown assailants, and journalists were threatened, assaulted, and detained. At least 10 journalists were killed in 2013, but the assailants and their motives were frequently unclear. For all the uncertainty and ambiguity, one truth remained clear: Central government officials and Kurdish regional authorities repeatedly attempted to silence critical voices through a combination of detentions, the denial of credentials, the suspension of television licenses, and raids of stations. Iraqi journalists continued to call for revisions to the Journalist Protection Law, which CPJ criticized for its ambiguous and restrictive provisions. In a sign of hope, the Iraqi parliament withdrew a draft Information Crimes bill that would have restricted online journalism. Still, with so much uncertainty and so little security, journalists continue to flee into exile, amid fears that Iraq could slide back into the dark days of civil war.

February 12, 2014 1:08 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Despite the immense differences between the Israeli government, Fatah, and Hamas, they shared a common trait in 2013: a consistent and troublesome record of silencing journalists who reported dissenting perspectives. The revolving door on Israeli prisons continued to spin, as the government arrested multiple Palestinian journalists while releasing others. Palestinian journalists are often held under administrative detention, which effectively allows the Israeli government to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge. Israeli security forces sought to constrict coverage of Palestinian demonstrations, with journalists under threat of injury and detention. Local human rights organizations reported that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank also obstructed coverage of protests, especially those in support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Hamas also restricted coverage of protests and opposition movements in Gaza. Hamas authorities shut down several media offices, including the Ramallah-based Ma'an and Al-Arabiya. In March, President Mahmoud Abbas pardoned a journalist who had been convicted of insulting him. Israeli journalists, however, enjoy greater freedom than any other press corps in the region, even as they face government censorship for articles concerning national security.

February 12, 2014 1:07 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Jordan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Jordan

Although Jordanian journalists continued to enjoy greater freedom than most of their regional colleagues, that freedom was nonetheless restricted. The government continued its attempt to control the online media as it already controls traditional media. As CPJ had warned last year, the Jordanian government used the amended Press and Publications Law to block hundreds of websites that had failed to register with the government, despite protests by local journalists and promises by government officials to discuss amending the law. The country also ranked below the regional average in Internet use. The government maintained its long-standing practice of restricting coverage of sensitive issues, including local protests and the royal family. At the same time, Jordan opened its doors to numerous international journalists covering the massive influx of Syrian refugees into the country.

February 12, 2014 1:06 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Morocco

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Morocco

The Moroccan government continued its practice of targeting journalists and news outlets in connection with their critical coverage of taboo subjects, such as the health of the king or the royal family. One editor of an investigative weekly was convicted of defamation in relation to an article he wrote that said a government minister had drunk alcohol. The editor was fined and handed a two-month suspended prison sentence. Another editor was charged with promoting terrorism under the country's 2003 anti-terrorism law for publishing a link to a video of an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group. After an international outcry by more than 60 free-expression organizations, the editor was released on bail, but he still faces charges. In its annual census conducted on December 1, CPJ documented one journalist behind bars, a decrease from previous years.

February 12, 2014 1:05 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Libya

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Libya

As Libya's growing media sector faced threats from state and non-state actors alike, the country continued to struggle to realize the promise of the 2011 revolution. Several journalists were physically assaulted by security guards outside the General National Congress (GNC) in February. The same month, the government confirmed the appointment of the country's first minister of information since the Qaddafi era, which made some journalists fear the government intended to assert greater control over the media. But the greatest threats to journalists came from the government's inability to protect them. At least eight journalists were briefly abducted in 2013, while raids on news outlets and attacks on reporters continued. No journalists were imprisoned in late year, but the government continued to pursue a case against an editor who was accused of insulting the judiciary. At least one journalist was killed for his work this year, after no journalists were killed for their work in 2012.

February 12, 2014 1:04 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Sudan

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Sudan

Despite official promises to end the practice of pre-publication censorship, agents of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services continued to intimidate journalists and censor newspapers. Security service officials routinely ordered papers to be suspended and raided printing houses to confiscate certain issues. At least 14 journalists were arrested over the year, many for their coverage of anti-government protests prompted by economic austerity plans that swept the country in September. After the wave of protests, in which more than 700 citizens were arrested, the Sudanese government ordered editors to publish news in line with official statements and to portray protesters as “vandals.” Foreign media outlets were also targeted and told that their licenses would be scrapped, according to reports. The Sudanese government shut down Internet service twice to prevent protesters from using social media.

February 12, 2014 1:03 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Syria

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Syria

For the second year in a row, CPJ ranked Syria the deadliest country in the world for journalists. Journalists also faced new threats in 2013 as radical Islamist groups strengthened their influence in rebel-held territory and rebel groups saw increased infighting. An unprecedented number of journalists were abducted during the year; many of them were believed to be held by the Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham. But the blame did not fall solely with extremist groups. Armed factions affiliated with both the regime and the rebels were implicated in anti-press violations including detention and killing. Throughout the year, as the groups succeeded in silencing dissenting voices with complete impunity, fewer journalists were willing to take on the risks of reporting from Syria. Many international journalists refused to enter the country, and local journalists fled into exile, fearing for their lives.

February 12, 2014 1:02 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Tunisia

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Tunisia

Tunisia, the country that inspired uprisings across the Middle East, continues to struggle to realize the aspirations of its own revolution, including the guarantee of press freedom. Journalists were attacked while covering protests, and several reported receiving death threats in relation to their criticism of the ruling party. The government created a draft constitution, which local press freedom groups criticized as falling short of international press freedom standards. The final draft was pending in late 2013 as the constitutional assembly suspended its work due to political tension. Constitutional protection has proven necessary in Tunisia, where the government has imprisoned and fined journalists for libel and defamation and has even tried some in a military court. In protest against attacks on freedom of expression, journalists organized general strikes calling for the implementation of decree 115 that prohibits the imprisonment of journalists in relation to their work. In May, the government established the High Independent Authority for Audiovisual Communication, a self-regulatory body for the media.

February 12, 2014 1:01 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Yemen

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Yemen

The state of press freedom in Yemen in 2013 reflected the overall uncertainty and insecurity of a country in transition after decades of rule under President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The press faced serious consequences for failing to navigate a complicated web of red lines from the government, tribal groups, and political factions. Many journalists received death threats after crossing those red lines, and several were threatened or attacked by various assailants. CPJ documented at least seven journalists who were abducted over the year, all of whom were later released. Journalists covering protests related to the anniversary of the brief civil war in the country were assaulted by demonstrators, unidentified gunmen, and government security forces. The government continued to prosecute journalists for a range of charges, including defamation and insulting public officials. Still, there were some reasons for optimism. Freelance journalist Abdulelah Hider Shaea was freed in July after three years’ imprisonment, and CPJ documented no Yemeni journalists in prison for the first time since 2009. For the second year in a row, CPJ documented no journalists killed in relation to their work.

February 12, 2014 1:00 AM ET

Blog   |   Internet, UK, USA

Media surveillance and 'the day we fight back'

Today, a broad coalition of technology companies, human rights organizations, political groups, and others will take to the Web and to the streets to protest mass surveillance. The mobilization, known as "The Day We Fight Back," honors activist and technologist Aaron Swartz, who passed away just over a year ago. Throughout the day, the campaign will encourage individuals to contact their representatives, pressure their employers, and march for an end to government surveillance practices that sweep up huge amounts of data, often indiscriminately.

Blog   |   Egypt

Terror charges for Al-Jazeera in Egypt prompt outcry

Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined other leading international media freedom and human rights organizations, including Article 19, Index on Censorship, and Reporters Without Borders, in calling on the European Union and United States to demand Egyptian authorities drop charges against Al-Jazeera journalists and release those under arrest.

Statements   |   Egypt

Egypt to try Al-Jazeera journalists on terror charges

New York, January 29, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the Egyptian prosecutor general's decision to put 20 Al-Jazeera journalists on trial on criminal charges of incitement, distorting the country's image abroad, and fabricating news to aid the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government has declared a terrorist organization, according to government daily Al-Ahram and other news reports

January 29, 2014 3:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Egypt

Anti-press abuses on third anniversary of Egypt uprising

Egyptians gather in Cairo to mark the third anniversary of the uprising. (AFP/Mohamed el-Shahed)

New York, January 28, 2014--Several local and international journalists have been attacked and detained in Egypt while covering deadly clashes between police and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, according to news reports. The clashes erupted on Saturday, the third anniversary of the uprising in Egypt.

Alerts   |   Mauritania

Mauritania journalist held in connection with critical article

New York, January 21, 2014--Authorities in Mauritania should drop charges against a journalist who has been detained since January 2, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed has been held in connection with an article he wrote that was deemed blasphemous to the Prophet Muhammad.

Alerts   |   Iraq

Iraqi journalist killed by bomb in Anbar province

New York, January 21, 2014--An Iraqi journalist was killed by a roadside bomb in Anbar province on Monday, according to news reports. Firas Mohammed Attiyah, a correspondent, had been reporting on ongoing clashes in the province for the local Fallujah TV station, the reports said.

Blog   |   Tunisia

Tunisia constitution needs stronger free press guarantees

Human rights groups and legislators are praising the third and final draft of Tunisia's new constitution as one of the most liberal charters in the Arab world--and for being arrived at by a remarkably consensual process among political parties, especially if compared with neighboring Egypt and Libya.

Letters   |   Egypt

Egypt should release all imprisoned journalists

Dear President Mansour: As an international press freedom organization, we are writing to express our concern about the climate of press freedom in Egypt. We believe that all Egyptian citizens should be guaranteed the right to freedom of speech and freedom of information. Yet at least seven journalists are being held behind bars in the country today, unable to do their work in this critical time in Egypt's history. We condemn the ongoing imprisonment of the journalists and urge the Egyptian government to immediately release them.

January 13, 2014 4:23 PM ET

Statements   |   Sweden, Syria, Turkey

Three abducted journalists released in Syria

New York, January 8, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the news that three abducted journalists in Syria have been freed this week. The Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed today that freelance Swedish journalists Magnus Falkehed and Niclas Hammarstrom, both of whom were abducted in November, were released. On Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkish intelligence services had helped secure the release of Milliyet photojournalist Bünyamin Aygün, who had been held for more than a month.

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