Special Reports

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)

Reports   |   Rwanda

Legacy of Rwanda genocide includes media restrictions, self-censorship

Twenty years after massacres, Rwanda stable but its media restricted

The Rwandan government has taken great strides in bringing stability to the country since the 1994 genocide that claimed 800,000 lives, but moves to allow greater press freedom have been slow. While government control of the media has loosened, many journalists remain fearful that the regulations are not enough to stop the harassment and threats, and that a lack of investment is damaging their professional reputation. A special report of the Committee to Protect Journalists by Anton Harber

Members of the press with President Kagame. Media regulations have been loosened in Rwanda but journalists say self-censorship is still prevalent. (Reuters/Munyarubuga Fred/Presidential Press Unit/Handout)

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

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine

The Road to Justice

Breaking the Cycle of Impunity in the Killing of Journalists

The lack of justice in hundreds of murders of journalists around the world is one of the greatest threats to press freedom today. While international attention to the issue has grown over the past decade, there has been little progress in bringing down rates of impunity. States will have to demonstrate far more political will to implement international commitments to make an impact on the high rates of targeted violence that journalists routinely face. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists


October 28, 2014 12:01 AM ET

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

The Road to Justice

About This Report

Elisabeth Witchel, the founder of CPJ’s Global Campaign Against Impunity, is the lead author of this report. Witchel launched the campaign in 2007 and has compiled five editions of the organization’s annual Global Impunity Index as well as several other major reports. She has worked in human rights and journalism for more than 15 years and participated in missions to Pakistan, Nepal, and the Philippines, among others. In 2010, she organized CPJ’s Impunity Summit, bringing together 40 representatives from more than 20 press freedom organizations to identify challenges and strategies to combat impunity in violence against journalists.

October 28, 2014 12:00 AM ET

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Reports   |   Ukraine

The Road to Justice

Foreword

By Myroslava Gongadze

It is a sad truth of today’s world that the life of a journalist is often a dangerous one. We in the media hear daily reports of crimes against journalists, from intimidation to murder, and it is even harder when these are committed against our friends, family, and colleagues. A culture of impunity often obstructs our search for justice for these crimes and allows those responsible, whether they are state authorities or powerful elites, to block the people’s quest for the truth in the bloodiest of ways.

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

The Road to Justice

1. What Does Impunity Mean?

In 1981, the year CPJ was founded, Argentina was enmeshed in the so-called Dirty War, in which dozens of journalists were disappeared. Most were never seen again. To this day, no one has systematically documented the media murders that took place, and no one knows precisely how many journalists perished. Not surprisingly, given the information void, there was little international attention on journalists’ disappearances or the broader human rights catastrophe that many of the murdered reporters were seeking to cover.

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

The Road to Justice

2. Measuring Progress Against Stubborn Reality

In November 2013, the United Nations General Assembly put the issue of impunity squarely on the global agenda.

The Resolution on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, adopted by consensus, describes the absence of justice for victims as “one of the main challenges to strengthening the protection of journalists.” It calls on states to “ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy, and effective investigations into all alleged violence against journalists and media workers falling within their jurisdiction.” Governments are further charged to “bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice and to ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.” The resolution proclaims November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

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

The Road to Justice

3. Where Impunity Thrives

A climate of impunity reached a tragic culmination on November 23, 2009, when gunmen ambushed a caravan escorting political candidate Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu as he prepared to file papers to become a candidate for provincial governor in the Philippines. The attackers slaughtered 58 people, among them 30 journalists and two media workers, the largest toll of journalists murdered in a single act since CPJ began keeping track in 1992.

Reports   |   Russia

The Road to Justice

Sidebar: The Unsolved Murder of Natalya Estemirova

Russia's well-developed security apparatus has the investigative and judicial capacity to prosecute suspects in the 14 unsolved murders of journalists that took place there in the past decade, at least by the account of its own leadership. In a televised announcement in January 2014, Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin boasted that 90 percent of homicides in Russia are solved. It's true that the Kremlin has made progress, though long delayed, with convictions in the case of Anna Politkovskaya. Yet, in other cases where journalists are the victims, investigations have a tendency to taper off, particularly when they point toward politically uncomfortable suspects. Few cases showcase this pattern more than the murder of the prominent human rights defender and journalist Natalya Estemirova.

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

The Road to Justice

4. Steps That Work and Those That Don’t

On May 3, 2011, CPJ representatives traveled to Pakistan to raise concerns about the increasing attacks against journalists there and the country’s high rate of impunity. It was a moment of drama: The previous day, American forces had killed Osama bin Laden in nearby Abbottabad. But Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari kept his commitment and met CPJ to discuss the growing number of Pakistani journalists murdered because of their work, and the absence of prosecution against the assailants.

Reports   |   Serbia

The Road to Justice

Sidebar: A New Start on Old Murders in Serbia

Slavko Curuvija was killed 15 years ago, but Veran Matić, a veteran journalist of Serbia’s independent media, never forgot.

Curuvija, an influential independent newspaper owner in what was then Yugoslavia, was shot in the back on April 11, 1999, by two men outside his apartment building. Curuvija was well known for his criticism of President Slobodan Milosovic, and there was evidence implicating Milosovic’s intelligence services in the attack—but no one was ever brought to justice. Other murders of journalists in what was then Yugoslavia also went unsolved, including the 2001 fatal assault on crime reporter Milan Pantic, and the death of Radoslava Dada Vujasinovic. Vujasinovic, who investigated corruption in Milosovic’s government, was found in her apartment with gunshot wounds in 1994. Her death was labeled a suicide.

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

The Road to Justice

5. Building Pressure, Enforcing Compliance

The United Nations has escalated its focus on journalist killings, declaring that unpunished attacks against journalists are a major threat not only to press freedom, but also to all major areas of the U.N.’s work. In recent years, it has adopted two resolutions addressing journalists’ safety and impunity and launched a plan of action. These have come on top of existing Security Council Resolution 1738, which condemns attacks against journalists in conflict. “There must be no impunity for those who target journalists for violence,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proclaimed in a statement in the run-up to World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2014.

Reports   |   Russia, USA

The Road to Justice

Sidebar: Raising the Cost of Impunity, in the Name of Magnitsky

Sergei Magnitsky, 37, a Russian lawyer and tax adviser, died in November 2009 after spending several months in Moscow’s Butyrka prison, which is known for its harsh conditions. An independent report by the Moscow Pub­lic Over­sight Com­mis­sion, a Russ­ian NGO that mon­i­tors human rights in deten­tion facil­i­ties, concluded that Magnitsky had been kept in torturous conditions and denied treatment for serious medical conditions. Before his arrest in 2008 on charges of fraud, Magnitsky had exposed large-scale official corruption.

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

The Road to Justice

Conclusion

Today the fight against impunity has reached an important juncture. There is awareness on domestic and global levels of the extreme peril posed to journalists and the public’s right to information when violence against the press is met with official inaction. The cries for justice by freedom of expression advocates have been amplified by the U.N.’s endorsement and its designation of the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka

The Road to Justice

Recommendations

In recognition that unpunished violence against journalists represents one of the greatest threats to the free flow of information, CPJ makes the following recommendations:

October 28, 2014 12:00 AM ET

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

The Road to Justice

Appendix I

At least 370 journalists have been murdered in direct connection to their work from the beginning of 2004 through 2013, according to CPJ research. In 333 of the cases, no one has been convicted. In 28 cases, some suspects have been sentenced, or killed in the course of apprehension, but others believed to be connected to or to have ordered the crime remain free. Nine cases have reached complete justice, meaning all of the perpetrators, including the crime’s mastermind, have been convicted. CPJ maintains detailed records on journalists killings from 1992 to the present. For additional information, please visit http://cpj.org/killed.

October 28, 2014 12:00 AM ET

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Reports   |   Iraq, Philippines, Russia, Turkey

The Road to Justice

Slideshow: Seeking the Masterminds

CPJ research shows that in 88 percent of cases of journalist slayings around the world, the masterminds behind the murders face no consequences, even when their accomplices are apprehended.

Reports   |   Guatemala, Honduras

Who is killing Central America's journalists?

Widespread violence and impunity leave murders unsolved

Amid the violence and instability caused by organized crime and corruption in Central America, Honduras and Guatemala have experienced an alarming rise in the number of murders of, and attacks against, journalists. Near complete impunity for these crimes means the cases go mostly unsolved and the motives unexplained. As fear grips newsrooms in both countries, critical media outlets and journalists find they are reined in by governments increasingly intolerant of dissent. A CPJ special report by Sara Rafsky.

A man sells keychains showing murdered Honduran radio host Ángel Alfredo Villatoro. (AFP/Orlando Sierra)

Reports

Forced to flee: A timeline of journalists' flight into exile

Every year, dozens of journalists are forced to leave their homes under threat of imprisonment, torture, violence, or even death, because their work has angered the powerful. Over the past 12 months, the Committee to Protect Journalists has supported 42 journalists around the world who were forced to flee, with Syria, Ethiopia, and Eritrea responsible for the most cases of exile. These are some of their stories.

June 16, 2014 12:03 AM ET

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

Will justice prevail over censorship and violence?

Brazil is home to vibrant media, but journalists are regularly murdered with impunity and critical journalists are subject to legal actions that drain resources and censor important stories. During the 2014 World Cup, this contradiction will be on vivid display. Does Dilma Rousseff’s administration have the will and determination to beat back impunity and end legal harassment, allowing press freedom to thrive? A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists

May 6, 2014 11:00 AM ET

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Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

Introduction

By Joel Simon

For a long time, Brazil has been fighting to overcome its contradictions. The country features a dynamic, modern, and diverse economy—and some of the worst poverty in the hemisphere. It has been led by two successive Socialist governments, and yet retains one of the most skewed income distributions in the world.

May 6, 2014 11:00 AM ET

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Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

1. In the government’s hands

By Carlos Lauría

Since June 2013, Brazil has been the scene of sporadic but huge anti-government demonstrations that have brought millions to the streets to protest an array of grievances, from fare increases for public transport to corruption and the use of public funds to host the coming soccer World Cup. The protests sometimes turned violent; a cameraman was killed in February 2014. Throughout the demonstrations, dozens of journalists have been detained, harassed, and attacked by law enforcement and by protesters irked by some media treatment of the demonstrations.

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

Sidebar: Freedom of the press is still a work in progress

By Fernando Rodrigues

The street protests in Brazil in June 2013 received extensive news coverage. However, for the first time in years, attacks against journalists and media organizations also became a frequent topic in the press.

May 6, 2014 11:00 AM ET

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Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

2. The vicious cycle of impunity

By Sara Rafsky

When the World Cup kicks off in Brazil in June, the government of President Dilma Rousseff will be celebrating the country’s emergence as a global powerhouse. The event, to be staged at sites across the country, will put the nation’s vast and diverse territory on display, unlike the Olympics, which Brazil is hosting two years later in just one city, Rio de Janeiro. While the 2012 murder of a local soccer journalist in central-western Goiânia may run counter to the official narrative of success, it reflects the disparate realities of a country as immense as Brazil, and depicts a darker side of “the beautiful game.”

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

Appendix: Journalists killed in Brazil since January 1, 2011

CPJ research has determined that at least 12 journalists have been killed in direct relation to their work since Dilma Rousseff was inaugurated as president on January 1, 2011. Another five have been killed in unclear circumstances, and CPJ continues to investigate those cases.

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

3. Censorship via the courts

By John Otis

Published since 1824 in the Brazilian city Recife in northeastern Pernambuco State, Diario de Pernambuco is South America’s oldest daily newspaper still in circulation. Over its 190 years the paper butted heads with the powerful and was censored by Brazil’s military regimes. But last year Diario de Pernambuco suffered its first case of official censorship since Brazil returned to democracy in 1985.

Reports   |   Brazil

Halftime for the Brazilian press

4. The Marco Civil da Internet

By Geoffrey King

The fate of freedom of expression in Brazil hinges in part on the implementation of the country’s landmark law on Internet rights, the Marco Civil da Internet.

May 6, 2014 11:00 AM ET

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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.

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)

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

Reports   |   Russia

Media suffer winter chill in coverage of Sochi Olympics

In the run-up to the Sochi Winter Games, official repression and self-censorship have restricted news coverage of sensitive issues related to the Olympics, such as the exploitation of migrant workers, environmental destruction, and forced evictions. The information vacuum comes amid a generally poor climate for press freedom across Russia. A CPJ special report by Elena Milashina and Nina Ognianova

A photographer walks outside a dome built for the Sochi Games. (Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski)

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