March 2017

Alerts   |   Belarus

Belarus police raid offices of TV station Belsat, detain cameraman

A Belarusian Interior Ministry official films journalists reporting on a police raid of one of Belsat TV's offices in Minsk, March 31, 2017. (AP/Sergei Grits)

New York, March 31, 2017--Belarusian authorities should cease harassing Belsat TV and all news media in an effort to censor coverage of opposition protests and should immediately release all journalists detained for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police today raided two of the channel's offices in the capital Minsk, confiscated the broadcaster's equipment, and detained cameraman Aleksandr Lyubenchuk, according to media reports and a Belsat journalist.

March 31, 2017 3:17 PM ET

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Statements   |   Turkey

UPDATE: In Turkey, authorities rule to free journalists, then reverse decision

Abdullah Kılıç (Courtesy of Kılıç family)

New York, March 31, 2017-- Istanbul's 25th Court for Serious Crimes ordered the release pending trial of at least 19 journalists jailed in the aftermath of the July 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey, but the decision was reversed after an appeal by the chief prosecutor, and none of the journalists were freed, according to news reports. The news website P24 reported on Twitter that the prosecutor filed new charges against some of the journalists, while others were kept in custody due to a decision by another court.

March 31, 2017 12:40 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt

As Egypt-U.S. relationship moves forward, jailed Egyptian journalists left behind

A child poses for a picture with a poster of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo, August 6, 2015, as supporters cheered improvements to the Suez Canal.

Among the things Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and U.S. President Donald Trump are scheduled to discuss during their April 3 meeting in Washington is Egypt's fight against terrorism. Egypt's government has broadly interpreted this fight to include jailing dozens of journalists, including photographer Abdelrahman Yaqot, who a few days before el-Sisi arrives in Washington will have checked in at the local police station, as he must every month to meet the terms of his release from prison.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican newspaper editor shot and wounded in Veracruz

Images of murdered journalists are seen at this protest in front of the government of Veracruz building in Mexico City, February 11, 2016. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)Mexico City, March 29, 2017--Mexican authorities should credibly and thoroughly investigate today's shooting of veteran journalist Armando Arrieta Granados, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Arrieta, the editorial director of the daily Veracruz newspaper La Opinión, was shot and gravely wounded as he returned to his residence in the city of Poza Rica.

March 29, 2017 4:19 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

At least eight journalists still jailed for reporting on Belarus protests

Belarusians protest against the government of President Aleksandr Lukashenko in the capital Minsk, March 15, 2017. The sign reads "Lukaeshenko, stop picking the raisins out of the bread." (Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko)

New York, March 28, 2017--Belarusian authorities should immediately release all journalists jailed covering protests and should cease obstructing reporters in an effort to keep news of the protests out of media reports, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Case   |   Iran

Iranian editor, social media moderator detained

Security forces arrested Morad Saghafi from his home in Tehran on March 16, 2017, according to the official ILNA news agency, but to date have not made public any charges against him or the reason for his arrest. Saghafi is the editor of Goftegoo Magazine, which focuses on culture and social sciences. In a March 9 speech at seminar on local affairs, Saghafi criticized Iranian officials, whom he did not name, as having "unchecked powers" and accused local authorities of running Tehran in a "corrupt and dictatorial" manner. He urged voters to support candidates who committed to fighting corruption in city council elections scheduled for May.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

In pivotal election year Kyrgyz media face verbal assaults from president and legal action

President Almazbek Atambayev, pictured at a press conference in 2013. In recent weeks, the Kyrgyz leader verbally assaulted several critical journalists during a speech to foreign ambassadors. (AFP/Vyacheslav Oseldko)

In Kyrgyzstan, once Central Asia's most liberal country, President Almazbek Atambayev is tightening his grip on critical voices, including independent journalists and foreign media.

Alerts   |   Russia

Journalists detained covering Russia protests

Security forces arrest a protester in Moscow, March 26, 2017. (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov)

New York, March 27, 2017--Russian security forces should cease harassing and obstructing journalists covering protests and other events, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Russian media reported that at least 11 journalists were detained yesterday while reporting on nationwide protests. All have since been released.

Alerts   |   Thailand

TV news channel suspended in Thailand

A military officer watches a television screen showing Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun speaking after he accepted an invitation from parliament to succeed his late father at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, December 1, 2016. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

Bangkok, March 27, 2017--Thai media regulators should immediately reverse their suspension of the operating license of Voice TV and should allow the media to broadcast and publish freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Media regulators today suspended the channel's operating license for seven days.

March 27, 2017 11:36 AM ET

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Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 26, 2017

Abdullah Kılıç, courtesy of the Kılıç family

Istanbul court orders release, pending trial, of at least 19 journalists
Istanbul's 25th Court for Serious Crimes today ordered the release, pending trial, of at least 19 journalists imprisoned in direct relation for their work following the July 2016 failed military coup, according to news reports. The court did not drop any charges against the journalists, who had been imprisoned awaiting trial for roughly eight months. They will now be required to check in with local police and are still banned from foreign travel. The journalists released by Istanbul's 25th Court for Serious Crimes today, and their outlets, are:

Alerts   |   Nigeria

Nigerian blogger, publisher jailed on defamation charges

Abuja, Nigeria, March 24, 2017--Nigerian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release blogger Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo and newspaper publisher Samuel Welson, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The two have been held in a maximum security prison for more than a week as they await trial on charges of defamation and publishing false news.

Safety Advisories   |   Belarus

CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering protests in Belarus

Beginning in early February, there have been nationwide demonstrations in Belarus to protest the introduction of a new tax on the unemployed. More than 150 protesters have been arrested, dozens have been fined or sentenced to up to 15 days in jail for participating in the protests, and at least 32 journalists have been detained or otherwise obstructed in an effort to censor coverage of protests, according to a report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

March 24, 2017 3:53 PM ET

Alerts   |   Brazil

Police search Brazilian blogger's devices in morning raid

Police on March 21, 2017, searched blogger Carlos Eduardo Cairo Guimarães' electronic devices on suspicion that he had alerted suspects in a wide-ranging corruption investigation that police would question them. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, shown here at a March 24, 2017, event in São Paulo, was among those police questioned in the probe. (Reuters/Nacho Doce)

São Paulo, March 24, 2017--A police search of Brazilian blogger Carlos Eduardo Cairo Guimarães' residence and electronic devices to uncover the sources for a story he had published was an alarming violation of journalists' right to protect their sources, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Belarus

Dozens of journalists obstructed from covering Belarus protests

Belarusians protest in the eastern city of Bobruisk, March 12, 2017. (Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko)

New York, March 23, 2017 - Belarusian authorities should immediately drop all charges against journalists prosecuted for covering a wave of nationwide protests and should cease interfering with journalists doing their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Security forces have detained or otherwise obstructed at least 32 journalists in an effort to censor coverage of protests against the introduction of a new tax on the unemployed.

Alerts   |   Bahrain

Former AFP photographer arrested in Bahrain airport

Mohammed al-Shaikh, a former AFP photographer pictured while covering protests in Manama in 2013, is detained in Bahrain. (AFP/STR)

New York, March 22, 2017--Bahraini authorities should immediately release Mohammed al-Shaikh, a photographer who worked for Agence France-Presse, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Al-Shaikh was arrested at Bahrain International Airport in the capital, Manama, yesterday and was transferred to the country's Criminal Investigation Unit, according to Bahraini journalist Nazeeha Saeed and a statement AFP emailed to CPJ.

March 22, 2017 6:19 PM ET

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Case   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Security forces beat journalists covering Ramallah protest

Palestinians protest against the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, March 13, 2017. (Reuters/Mohammed Torokman)

Palestinian Authority security forces attacked journalists from media outlets including the Jordanian broadcaster Roya TV, the Palestinian broadcaster Watan TV, and the news website Palestine Today as they covered a March 12, 2017, protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican journalist Ricardo Monlui Cabrera murdered in Veracruz

A relative of one of the men found buried in an unmarked grave in the Mexican state of Veracruz prays at a meeting in Palmas de Abajo, March 16, 2017. The state has for years been the site of violence between organized crime syndicates. (Reuters/Carlos Jasso)

Mexico City, March 20, 2017--Mexican authorities should undertake a credible and thorough investigation into the murder of journalist Ricardo Monlui Cabrera, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Monlui was shot to death yesterday morning in the municipality of Yanga, in the eastern state of Veracruz, as he left a restaurant where he had eaten with his wife and son. He was 57.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 19, 2017

A demonstrator walks around a bonfire to mark the spring festival of Newroz in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakır, March 21, 2016. Ethnic Kurds marked the occasion last year with a demonstration calling for the resumption of peace talks with the government. (Reuters/Sertac Kayar)

Security forces detain reporter in southeastern Turkey
Security forces in the southeastern province of Mardin today detained Dihaber reporter Murat Verim, the news agency reported. Dihaber said the arrest was part of an ongoing terrorism investigation.

Alerts   |   Canada

Canadian reporter faces charges after covering protests

Justin Brake interviews protesters at Muskrat Falls, Labrador, in the fall of 2016. (Janet Cooper)

New York, March 17, 2017--Canadian authorities should immediately drop all charges against journalist Justin Brake, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Brake is scheduled to appear in court on April 11 to answer charges of criminal mischief and contempt of court in connection with his reporting on a protest in the eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador last year.

March 17, 2017 3:15 PM ET

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Alerts   |   India

Police prevent journalists from attending press conference in Kashmir

In this still image created from a video, a police officer grabs AFP photographer Tauseef Mustafa by the throat on March 16, 2017, in Srinagar, India.

Washington D.C., March 17, 2017--Police in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir should allow journalists to work without harassment, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today, and should take disciplinary action against officers filmed attacking journalists yesterday.

Alerts   |   Libya

Libyan TV channel attacked, burned

Flames from a battle between rival armed groups are seen from a distance in Tripoli, Libya, August 24, 2014. (Reuters/Ismail Zetouni)

New York, March 17, 2017--Armed men attacked the Tripoli office of the Libyan TV channel Al-Nabaa and set the building on fire, according to journalists for the station, news reports, and the Libyan Center for Freedom of the Press, an advocacy group. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on authorities in Tripoli to investigate the assault, bring the perpetrators to justice, and to safeguard the station's employees.

March 17, 2017 2:34 PM ET

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Blog   |   UK

UK's proposed Espionage Act will treat journalists like spies

Theresa May, pictured in Brussels in March 2016. Her government is proposing an Espionage Act under which journalists who obtain leaked information could face lengthy prison sentences. (AP/Virginia Mayo,File)

Journalists in Britain are becoming increasingly alarmed by the government's apparent determination to prevent them from fulfilling their mission to hold power to account. The latest manifestation of this assault on civil liberties is the so-called Espionage Act. If passed by parliament, it could lead to journalists who obtain leaked information, along with the whistle blowers who provide it to them, serving lengthy prison sentences.

Blog   |   Iran

CPJ joins call to renew mandate of Iran human rights rapporteur

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, left, at the opening of the Human Rights Council in Geneva in February. The council is due to vote on renewing the mandate of a special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined 40 human rights groups calling on the U.N. Human Rights Council to support the resolution to renew the mandate of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. A vote on the resolution is scheduled to take place during the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, which ends March 24.

March 16, 2017 10:39 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus, Russia

Journalist arrested in Moscow on Belarusian extradition request

New York, March 15, 2017--Russian authorities should immediately release Yuriy Baranchik, chief analytical editor of the pro-Kremlin Russian news agency Regnum, and allow him to work unobstructed, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   China, Germany, Internet, Russia, USA

Deciding who decides which news is fake

White House press secretary Sean Spicer talks to the media during the daily briefing. President Trump and his administration have accused critical outlets of being fake news. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Authorities decry the proliferation of misinformation and propaganda on the internet, and technology companies are wrestling with various measures to combat fake news. But addressing the problem without infringing on the right to free expression and the free flow of information is extremely thorny.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 12

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses local government officials in Ankara, January 19, 2017. (Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Press Service/Pool via AP)

Editor sentenced to nine years in prison
The 7th Court for Serious Crimes in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakır yesterday sentenced Aydın Atar, former news editor for the shuttered Kurdish-language daily newspaper Azadiya Welat, to nine years, four months, and 15 days in prison on charges of "propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization," the news website Dihaber reported. The journalist is free, pending appeal.

Case   |   Brazil

Brazilian reporter's car set on fire

Someone set veteran Brazilian political reporter Rodrigo Lima's car on fire outside his office at the daily newspaper Diario da Região on March 3, 2017, according to the journalist, witnesses, and video of the incident. The reporter, who has worked at the newspaper for 17 years, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that he believed the arson attack was meant as retaliation for his reporting and as a warning.

March 14, 2017 8:35 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Syria

Syrian journalist killed by airstrike in Daraa

Smoke rises over the southwestern Syrian city of Daraa, March 10, 2017. (Reuters/Alaa Faqir)

Washington, D.C, March 13, 2017--Yesterday's death of freelance journalist Mohamed Abazied in an airstrike on the southwestern Syrian city of Daraa highlights the dangers that journalists and all civilians face in Syria's long-running conflict, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Abazied was killed while reporting on Russian and Syrian military airstrikes on the city yesterday, according to his employers and other news reports.

March 13, 2017 3:18 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

CPJ calls on Homeland Security secretary to reject password proposal

A traveler arrives at New York's JFK airport. Suggestions by the Homeland Security Secretary that passengers be asked for social media passwords would impact journalists. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly's suggestion to a committee hearing that the U.S. could request social media profile and password information as a condition to entering the country. Such requirements would have an impact on journalists by undermining their ability to protect sources and work product, and would represent an escalation of the press freedom challenges journalists face at U.S. borders.

Alerts   |   Albania

Journalist severely beaten, hospitalized in Albania

New York, March 9, 2017--Albanian authorities should thoroughly investigate yesterday's attack on investigative journalist Elvi Fundo and swiftly bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Two unidentified assailants beat Fundo, who runs the news website Citynews.al and Radio Best, with crowbars near a train station in the capital, Tirana.

March 9, 2017 1:30 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Russian security services detain journalists in border city, order them to leave

Protesters in St. Petersburg hold a banner reading "Love is stronger than war," May 1, 2014. The mayor of the nearby border city of Svetogorsk's assertion that there were no homosexuals in his town drew reporters seeking follow-up stories. (Reuters/Alexander Demianchuck)

New York, March 7, 2017--Russian security services should stop harassing and obstructing journalists and should allow them to work unimpeded, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Security services have detained at least three journalists who had traveled to report from the northwestern city of Svetogorsk, on Russia's border with Finland, in the past two days.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Ex-police commander jailed for 30 years for murder of Oaxaca journalist

New York, March 6, 2017--A court in the Mexican state Oaxaca convicted Jorge Armando Santiago Martínez of murdering Marcos Hernández Bautista, a reporter for the daily Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed the March 3 conviction and called on authorities to prosecute all involved in the crime.

Safety Advisories   |   Iraq

CPJ safety advisory: use of chemical agents in the Mosul offensive

A dozen civilians, including women and children, have been treated for suspected exposure to a blistering chemical agent following an Islamic State (IS) attack on East Mosul, Iraq, last week, according to news reports. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said over the weekend that they are investigating the incident. Today, the Emergencies Response Team (ERT) at the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following safety advisory on chemical weapon exposure for journalists covering or planning to cover the Mosul offensive.

March 6, 2017 2:42 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Chad

Chad journalists in hiding after threats

Chadian President Idriss Deby sits in the presidential palace in N'Djamena, December 29, 2017 (Reuters)

Abuja, Nigeria, March 6, 2017--Chadian domestic intelligence officers should cease harassing and attempting to intimidate journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At least two journalists have gone into hiding following harassment from National Security Agency (ANS) officers in recent weeks, and another was detained and forced to apologize for his work.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of March 5

Protesters in Berlin call for the release of Die Welt Turkey correspondent Deniz Yücel, February 28, 2017. (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)

Suspended sentences, fines, for participants in newspaper solidarity campaign
Istanbul's 22nd Court for Serious Crimes today convicted four people of terrorism charges in connection with the coverage of the pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem on the days on which they each symbolically acted as co-editor of the newspaper to protest authorities' relentless judicial harassment of the newspaper, according to news reports. Police raided and sealed the newspaper's office in August 2016, as dozens of writers, activists, academics, and artists continued to show solidarity with the newspaper by symbolically adding their names to the newspaper's masthead for a day.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican journalist shot dead in Guerrero state

New York, March 3, 2017--Mexican authorities must conduct a credible and rigorous investigation into the killing of Cecilio Pineda Brito, a journalist who contributed to several outlets and published crime stories on social media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The 38-year-old reporter was shot dead yesterday in the municipality of Ciudad Altamirano, in Guerrero state, according to press reports and a colleague of the journalist.

March 3, 2017 5:31 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani blogger sentenced to prison for alleging abuse

In this screen grab, Mehman Huseynov reports from the villa of a senior Azerbaijani official.

New York, March 3, 2017--Azerbaijani authorities should immediately release blogger and press freedom advocate Mehman Huseynov, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A court in Baku today sentenced Huseynov to two years in prison on defamation charges for alleging that police beat him, according to his lawyer and media reports. CPJ called on prosecutors not to contest Huseynov's appeal.

March 3, 2017 4:33 PM ET

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Letters   |   USA

Coalition calls for charges to be dropped against Standing Rock journalists

CPJ and a coalition of other organizations request that the Morton County State's Attorney's Office drop the charges against journalists arrested during protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline or justify the arrests of reporters in the course of their work.

Case   |   Cuba

Independent Cuban journalist detained, accused of fomenting enemy propaganda

Independent Cuban journalist Henry Constantín Ferreiro was arrested February 20, 2017 and detained for about 36 hours while traveling to cover a meeting between Cuban dissidents and the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), according to press reports. The editor of digital magazine La Hora de Cuba said police charged him with fomenting enemy propaganda.

Letters   |   Cameroon

CPJ requests information on jailed Cameroonian journalists

March 1, 2017 Issa Tchiroma Bakary Minister of Communication Hotel de Ville Yaoundé Via fax: +237 222 23 30 22; Your Excellency, We at the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent press freedom advocacy organization, are concerned about compounding reports of measures to restrict the media in Cameroon, and request...

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