Alerts   |   Mexico, Romania

Photographer arrested during protests in Mexico

Demonstrators clash with the police in Saturday's protest in Mexico City. (AFP/Pedro Pardo)

Mexico City, December 7, 2012--Mexican authorities must immediately release a freelance Romanian photojournalist who was detained on Saturday while covering a protest related to the presidential inauguration, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian journalist dies after being in police custody

Bogotá, November 30, 2012--Top Colombian police officials must conduct an intensive investigation into the actions of local police during their arrest of freelance journalist Guillermo Quiroz Delgado, who died Tuesday night, seven days after he was hospitalized for injuries suffered while in custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist killed in Campo Grande

New York, November 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the murder of Brazilian journalist Eduardo Carvalho in Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state, which borders Paraguay and Bolivia. Carvalho was the editor and owner of news website Última Hora News, which frequently denounced local corruption, according to news reports.

November 26, 2012 5:46 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Journalist shot dead on assignment in Mexico

Mexico City, November 15, 2012--A freelance journalist and his companion were shot to death Wednesday in the central Mexican state of Puebla shortly after the reporter had gathered information on a large-scale gasoline theft and then witnessed a stand-off between soldiers and gunmen, according to news reports and CPJ interviews.

Letters   |   Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, USA

Obama should address media rights in Southeast Asia

Dear President Obama: We are pleased that you will begin your second term as U.S. president with a trip to Southeast Asia. As you visit Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand from November 17 through 20 while attending the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related meetings in Phnom Penh, we hope that your commitment to human rights and the fundamental right to free expression remains an important aspect of your agenda.

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuban reporter Flores arrested on anti-state charges

New York, November 9, 2012--Cuban authorities charged journalist Yaremis Flores with anti-state crimes on Wednesday in connection with news articles critical of the government, an arrest that sparked two waves of protests and detentions outside a Havana police station. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to drop the charges against Flores immediately.

Alerts   |   Bolivia

Critical Bolivian journalist set on fire by masked men

Fernando Vidal was set on fire in the offices of his radio station, shown here. (AFP//Estaban Farfan)

Bogotá, October 31, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Bolivian authorities to investigate the motive and find the masterminds behind Monday's vicious attack on a Bolivian radio journalist who was set on fire in the station's offices in the southern city of Yacuiba. A studio technician was also injured in the attack.

Alerts   |   Bolivia

Journalists temporarily flee Bolivia after harassment

Bogotá, October 19, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the official harassment of two executives of a Bolivian newspaper that has reported on government corruption in the northern department of Pando. Both journalists sought refuge in Brazil for three days after the episode, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuador fines newsmagazine over opinion column

Bogotá, October 4, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the exorbitant fine imposed upon a Quito newsmagazine for an opinion column related to a national referendum and urges Ecuadoran authorities to ensure that election regulations are not used to punish outlets for critical coverage.

October 4, 2012 3:28 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Threatened Ecuadoran journalist leaves news program

A screenshot of a YouTube video in which Janet Hinostroza describes a threatening phone call she received. (YouTube)

New York, September 20, 2012--Ecuadoran authorities must immediately investigate threats against Janet Hinostroza, a journalist with the private network Teleamazonas, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The threats have forced Hinostroza to take a temporary leave of absence.

Alerts   |   China, USA

Clinton must speak up for international press in China

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jieche greets U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Beijing. (AFP/Jim Watson)

New York, September 4, 2012--U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should press Chinese officials in meetings this week to allow international journalists based in China greater access to news events and fewer restrictions of their coverage, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Alerts   |   Bolivia

Bolivia charges news outlets with inciting racism

Police block journalists protesting the government's plans to sue three news outlets. (Reuters/Gaston Brito)

Bogotá, August 30, 2012--Bolivian authorities must immediately drop a criminal complaint filed against three media outlets in connection with their coverage of a speech by President Evo Morales, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The news outlets are being accused of inciting racism and discrimination, according to news reports.

Case   |   Colombia

Colombian Supreme Court drops suit against columnist

The Colombian Supreme Court announced on August 27, 2012, that it would drop a defamation complaint against prominent journalist Cecilia Orozco Tascón, according to news reports. Five days earlier, the court released a statement saying it would file charges against Orozco, who writes a widely read column in the Bogotá daily El Espectador. The court also criticized a column by another journalist, María Jimena Duzán, which was published in the weekly Semana magazine.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian Supreme Court sues journalist for defamation

Bogotá, August 27, 2012--Colombia's Supreme Court must immediately drop an unprecedented criminal defamation complaint against a prominent local columnist who questioned recent actions by the court, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Argentina

In Argentina, two local journalists attacked within a week

New York, August 21, 2012--Authorities in Argentina must immediately investigate violent attacks on two local journalists and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The unrelated attacks occurred within the space of a week. 

Alerts   |   Mexico

With questions on Veracruz, feds should take over

Mexico City, August 17, 2012--Mexican federal authorities should assume control of the investigation and prosecution of all cases of murdered and missing journalists in the state of Veracruz, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A state investigation into the murder of several journalists has raised numerous questions and concerns, CPJ found.

Case   |   Colombia

Rebel group releases kidnapped Colombian journalist

Colombian journalist Élida Parra Alonso, who was kidnapped on July 24, 2012, by a local guerrilla group in the northeastern state of Arauca, was released on August 13, 2012, according to news reports. Parra hosts a program for Sarare Estéreo radio station and does community outreach work for Oleoducto Bicentenario, a company constructing an oil pipeline that it says will be the largest in the country, news reports said.

Case   |   Panama

Panamanian daily's offices blockaded after critical reports

About 30 trucks from Transcaribe Trading (TCT), a local construction company in Panama City, surrounded the offices of the daily La Prensa on August 2, 2012, from around 10 p.m. until 1:30 a.m., preventing the paper's trucks and employees from leaving the premises, according to news reports. TCT workers told local journalists that they were there because the daily's reports were jeopardizing the future of the company, and thus their jobs, according to news reports.

August 10, 2012 11:28 AM ET


Alerts   |   Honduras

Journalist's house attacked by gunmen in Honduras

Honduran journalists have been targeted in the past. In 2011, journalists gathered to protest attacks on their colleagues. (Reuters/Danny Ramirez)

New York, August 6, 2012--Authorities in Honduras must immediately investigate the attack on the house of a radio journalist in the state of Yoro, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. José Encarnación Chinchilla López, a reporter for Radio Cadena Voces in the city of El Progreso, told reporters that he was certain he was the target of the attack, according to news reports.

August 6, 2012 4:21 PM ET

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Statements   |   USA

Arrest of NYT photographer must be investigated

New York, August 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the arrest and alleged beating of a New York Times photographer while he was on assignment Saturday evening in New York City.

"The report by The New York Times on the arrest of its photographer, Robert Stolarik, raises questions about police tactics of blocking reporters covering street unrest and protests," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "The New York City Police Department must investigate this disturbing incident and ensure that officers allow all journalists to do their job freely."

August 6, 2012 2:45 PM ET


Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexico's El Norte attacked for the third time this month

Fire trucks park outside Sierra Madre. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril)

New York, July 30, 2012--Mexican authorities must immediately investigate an arson attack on the offices of a supplement owned by the daily El Norte, the third attack on an El Norte publication this month, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Unknown men abduct radio journalist in Colombia

New York, July 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the kidnapping of a Colombian journalist and calls on authorities to secure her safe return. Élida Parra Alonso, who covers children's rights and hosts a program for Sarare Estéreo radio station, was abducted from her home on Tuesday, according to news reports.  

Alerts   |   Mexico

Crime journalist reported missing in Veracruz

New York, July 25, 2012--Mexican authorities must immediately investigate the disappearance of a crime photojournalist who was last seen on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Miguel Morales Estrada worked in Veracruz, which has become Mexico's most dangerous state for the press, according to CPJ research.

Letters   |   Ecuador

Ecuador must allow closed stations to resume broadcasts

Dear Mr. Jaramillo: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the closure of at least 11 Ecuadoran broadcasters since May. Our review of the closures, detailed in an attached list, found that in some instances government regulators did not follow the due process guarantees specified by law. CPJ's review also found that more than half of the stations that were closed had been critical of the government. While the government has the right to regulate the airwaves, it also has an obligation to do so in a transparent and unbiased manner.

Case   |   Mexico

Mexican journalist released after 24 hours in prison

Prominent Mexican journalist Sanjuana Martínez was arrested on July 5, 2012, in the state of Nuevo León under unclear circumstances related to a civil custody dispute, and was released from jail the following day, according to news reports. Martínez was detained by armed police, which is unusual in a civil case, the reports said.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist who covered sports gunned down

New York, July 10, 2012--Brazilian authorities must investigate the murder of radio journalist Valério Luiz de Oliveira and apprehend the perpetrators, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Luiz was shot and killed on Thursday afternoon in the western city of Goiânia, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

Photographer gunned down in Ecuador

Bogotá, Colombia, July 3, 2012--Ecuadoran photographer Byron Baldeón was shot dead Sunday in front of his home in El Triunfo, about 60 kilometers (100 miles) north of the city of Guayaquil. The photographer had become a witness in a criminal case involving alleged police corruption, according to news reports

Alerts   |   Mexico

Fourth journalist killed in Veracruz in two months

Manuel Báez Chino (AP/Milenio)

Mexico City, June 14, 2012--The body of Mexican journalist Víctor Manuel Báez Chino was found today in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz state. He is the fourth journalist to be killed in Veracruz in the past two months.

Báez's body was recovered this morning near the main square in Xalapa, according to news reports. In a televised press conference, the state spokeswoman, Gina Domínguez, said officials received reports that three armed men abducted Báez Wednesday night at 11:30. Báez was the editor of the crime section for the state digital edition of the national newspaper Milenio and an editor of the website Reporteros Policiacos, which also covers crime, according to Milenio

Letters   |   India, USA

US should address press freedom during talks with India

Dear Secretary Clinton: We are writing in advance of the third India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue coming up on June 13, which you will co-chair in Washington, D.C., with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. India is host to a vital and thriving news media, but CPJ has documented several violations against Indian journalists that are undermining the country's tradition of a free press.

June 7, 2012 4:38 PM ET

Alerts   |   El Salvador

CPJ hails conviction in journalist murder in El Salvador

Mara Salvatrucha gangsters attend mass in prison. Members of the gang have been charged with the murder of a journalist. (AP/Luis Romero)

New York, June 7, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the conviction in the 2011 murder of Salvadoran cameraman Alfredo Antonio Hurtado Núñez, but calls on authorities to ensure that the other gunman charged for the crime is brought to justice.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexico should investigate murder of abducted journalist

The body of Marco Antonio Ávila García was found on Friday. (Reuters/German Osuna)

New York, May 21, 2012--Mexican authorities must break the cycle of impunity in journalist murders by fully investigating the killing of police beat reporter Marco Antonio Ávila García and bringing the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Ávila's body, which showed signs of torture, was found on Friday on a dirt road near the city of Guaymas, in the state of Sonora, according to the state attorney general's office. An autopsy revealed that he had been strangled to death, news reports said. José Larrinaga Talamante, a spokesman for the attorney general, told reporters that a written message associated with organized crime had been left with the body, but he did not reveal any more details.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Murder attempted on Colombian ex-politician, radio host

Colombian radio host and former Minister Fernando Londoño was the apparent target of a bomb in Bogotá Tuesday. (Reuters/Fredy Builes)

New York, May 16, 2012-- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Tuesday's attack on Fernando Londoño, a radio talk show host and former high-ranking government official. Londoño was injured in a bombing in Bogotá that killed his driver and bodyguard.

Alerts   |   Honduras

Kidnapped Honduran journalist found dead

Ángel Alfredo Villatoro (AP/HRN Radio)

New York, May 16, 2012--The body of Honduran radio journalist Ángel Alfredo Villatoro was found Tuesday in the capital city Tegucigalpa, according to news reports. Villatoro had been kidnapped from his car early on the morning of May 9.

"We are saddened by the death of journalist Ángel Alfredo Villatoro and send our condolences to his friends, family, and colleagues," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Honduran authorities must fully investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice. The deadly cycle of violence against journalists and impunity for these crimes is endangering freedom of expression in Honduras."

Letters   |   Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, USA

Obama should raise press freedom in Africa food talks

New York, May 16, 2012--President Obama should acknowledge the role that independent news reporting plays in assessing agricultural challenges and facilitating the response to famine, the Committee to Protect Journalists stated in a letter to the White House. Ethiopia in particular downplays the extent of food crises and undermines the ability of donor nations and aid groups to help by denying journalists access to sensitive areas and censoring independent coverage.

Alerts   |   Honduras

CPJ condemns attacks against Honduran journalists

New York, May 10, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about a recent wave of violence and intimidation against journalists in Honduras, including the abduction of a radio journalist and two attacks on television journalists.

Letters   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

Palestinian broadcaster's equipment must be returned

Dear Minister Kachlon: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the confiscation of equipment and archives belonging to the private Ramallah broadcaster Wattan TV more than two months ago.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican photographers murdered in Veracruz

Mexican journalists protest the murders of their colleagues. (AFP/Ronaldo Schemidt)

New York, May 4, 2012--The bodies of two Mexican news photographers who specialized in the crime beat were found along with the bodies of a former photojournalist and a fourth individual in a canal in the city of Boca del Río, in Veracruz state, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Gunmen attack Brazilian journalist's house, car at night

New York, May 1, 2012--Brazilian authorities must immediately investigate an attack on a radio journalist's home on Saturday and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Vinícius Henriques and his family were asleep during the attack, and no one was injured, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Body of Mexican journalist found beaten, strangled

The body of Regina Martínez Pérez was found in her home on Saturday. (Reuters)

New York, April 30, 2012--Authorities must immediately investigate the murder of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez Pérez, determine the motive, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

The body of Martínez was found in her home on Saturday evening in Xalapa, the capital of the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, according to news reports. She had been badly beaten around the face and ribs and had been strangled to death, news reports said. The state attorney general, Amadeo Flores Espinoza, said in a news briefing that it appeared her TV, cellphones, and computer had been stolen.

Alerts   |   Colombia

French journalist suspected kidnapped in Colombia

French journalist Roméo Langlois has been missing in Colombia since Saturday. (Reuters/France 24 Television)

New York, April 30, 2012--A French journalist who was injured during combat between Colombian Army troops and guerrillas has gone missing and may have been kidnapped by the rebels, according to Colombian and French officials.

Letters   |   Ecuador

Ecuador should scrap new media bill, draft new one

Dear Mr. Cordero: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about a new Ecuadoran communications bill currently under debate in the National Assembly that would roll back press freedom by promoting self-censorship and restrictions on criticism of public officials.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist Décio Sá assassinated

Décio Sá (O Estado do Maranhão)

New York, April 24, 2012--Brazilian political journalist and blogger Décio Sá was shot and killed Monday night in the city of Sao Luis in northeastern Brazil, according to news reports. The journalist was sitting in a bar waiting for a friend when an unidentified man entered, walked to the bathroom, and shot Sá six times before fleeing the scene with a motorcyclist who was waiting outside.

Sá, 42, wrote about politics for 17 years for the local newspaper O Estado do Maranhão and on his personal blog, Blog do Décio, which was one of the most widely read in the state, press reports said. Sá's blog was known for critical reporting on politicians and corruption, according to Cezar Scanssette, a journalist with O Estado do Maranhão. Due to the nature of his reporting, the journalist had "many enemies," Scanssette told CPJ. Scanssette said he was not aware of Sá receiving any threats.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Three Colombian journalists flee homes in recent months

New York, April 23, 2012--Three provincial Colombian radio journalists have been forced to flee their homes in the past few months after receiving death threats from illegal armed groups. The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on authorities to ensure their safety.

Letters   |   Brazil

Brazil must be leader on impunity, free expression

Dear President Rousseff: We are writing to bring to your attention recent actions taken by the Brazilian government that contradict your expressed commitment to guarantee freedom of expression and make human rights a priority in the country. While we recognize that the Brazilian authorities have made strides in bringing journalist killers to justice in recent years, we ask that you assert global leadership to ensure that the fundamental right of freedom of expression is afforded to all.

April 18, 2012 1:45 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

In Mexico, two media outlets attacked within a week

New York, March 27, 2012--Mexican authorities must investigate attacks on a newspaper and TV station in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas and ensure the offices and its staff members are protected, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Both attacks occurred within the space of one week.

March 27, 2012 3:02 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Venezuelan court ruling limits coverage of water quality

New York, March 26, 2012--The decision by a Venezuelan court to forbid the press from reporting on issues of water contamination without using a government-approved report is a clear attempt by authorities to censor critical information, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   El Salvador

Salvadoran news website threatened for its reporting

New York, March 21, 2012--The editor of the Salvadoran news website El Faro says his staff members have been followed after the site reported on a criminal network involving politicians. In addition, he said a senior government official told the staff last week that gang members were angered by coverage of alleged ties between law enforcement officials and local gangs, and might retaliate.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican Senate backs federalizing anti-press crimes

Days before the Senate approved the amendment, CPJ's Carlos Lauría met with Sen. José González Morfín, right, to speak about the risks that Mexican journalists face. (Ignacio González Anaya)

New York, March 13, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists hails the Mexican Senate's landmark approval today of a constitutional amendment that, if passed by a majority of states, would federalize anti-press crimes and transfer investigative powers to national authorities.

March 13, 2012 5:03 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Globovisión journalists attacked in Venezuela

Journalists at work in Globovisión's main studio. Reporters from the station were attacked and threatened at a rally on Sunday. (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

New York, March 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Sunday's attack in Venezuela on Globovisión journalists covering an opposition political rally that came under gunfire. The station reported that assailants, who wore the red shirts associated with supporters of President Hugo Chávez, threatened the journalists and stole their equipment.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Threatened after posting video, Colombian journalist flees

This screenshot from Sánchez's video is said to show police chasing protesters from the site of a proposed dam. (YouTube)

New York, February 29, 2012--Colombian freelance journalist and activist Bladimir Sánchez Espitia fled his home state today for the capital city after receiving death threats related to a video he posted on YouTube, according to the Bogotá-based Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP). News reports said the video showed anti-riot police forcibly removing protesters from the construction site of a controversial hydroelectric dam in central Huila department.

February 29, 2012 4:30 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Despite pardon, Correa does lasting damage to press

President Correa tells the nation he is pardoning the executives and journalists he sued for libel. (AFP/Rodrigo Buendia)

New York, February 27, 2012--Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa announced today that he would pardon several news managers and journalists he had sued for libel, but his actions in the cases have done grave damage to free expression in his country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Correa had won separate libel complaints against executives of the daily El Universo and authors of the book The Big Brother concerning reporting critical of his administration.

February 27, 2012 5:04 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Bahrain, Belarus, Mexico, Pakistan

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Profiles in Freedom

CPJ awardee Natalya Radina.

How does one negotiate the choice to stay and report potentially dangerous news, rather than take a less risky assignment, leave the profession, or flee the country? The recipients of the 2011 International Press Freedom Awards explain. By Kristin Jones

Attacks on the Press   |   Iraq, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Evolution in Journalist Security

A journalist crouches behind a cement block during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

The danger of covering violent street protests has become a significant risk for journalists, alongside combat and targeted killings. Sexual assault, organized crime, and digital vulnerability are also hazards. The security industry is struggling to keep up. By Frank Smyth

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela

Attacks on the Press in 2011: State Media As Anti-Media Tool

In some Latin American countries, state-owned media are used not only for propaganda but as platforms to smear critics, including journalists. Some elected leaders have even invested in large multimedia holdings to further their agendas. By Carlos Lauría

Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Attacks on the Press in 2011: In Mexico, Silence or Death Remains the Choice

Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa pledged action to deter anti-press attacks, but his government has accomplished little. (AP/Marco Ugarte)

The Mexican president promised to protect a besieged press corps with a federal protection program, a special prosecutor and new legislation making anti-press violence a federal crime. But Felipe Calderón Hinojosa has failed at nearly every turn. By Mike O'Connor

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2011: The Year in Photos

Photographers from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and other news outlets documented historic events in 2011, often at great peril. The Year in Photographs: Press Freedom in 2011 features images from the Arab uprisings, South Asia's armed conflicts, and political repression in the Americas, Africa, and Europe.

February 21, 2012 11:16 PM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Venezuela

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Venezuela

President Hugo Chávez Frías’ administration continued its systematic campaign to stifle critical reporting through regulatory, judicial, and legislative avenues. The telecommunications regulator fined Globovisión, the country's sole critical television station, more than US$2 million for its coverage of deadly prison riots in June and July. The regulator invoked the Law on Social Responsibility in Radio and Television, one of the region’s most restrictive measures. Prosecutors brought criminal charges against two executives of a critical weekly concerning a satirical article and photo montage that depicted high-ranking female officials as playing roles in a “cabaret” directed by Chávez. The weekly was briefly shut, and one executive was imprisoned for nearly three months. The Chávez administration used its extensive state media operation to spread political propaganda and wage smear campaigns against its critics. Chávez’s announcement that Cuban doctors had found and removed a cancerous tumor fueled speculation about the country’s political future as the October 2012 presidential election approached. Official information about the president’s health was scarce and treated as if it were a state secret.

February 21, 2012 12:46 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   USA

Attacks on the Press in 2011: United States

A federal judge ruled in favor of reporter James Risen, who invoked his First Amendment rights to protect a confidential source. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other groups called the ruling an important victory for the press. The Department of Justice, which appealed the decision, continued to take an aggressive approach in filing criminal charges against people who leak classified information. U.S. journalist groups were also troubled that increasing numbers of case documents were being sealed by the Supreme Court. CPJ reported that the State Department fell short in its first year of implementing the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, which requires that press freedom issues be incorporated into the agency's annual country reports on human rights. WikiLeaks was in the headlines again when it disclosed thousands of classified, unredacted U.S. diplomatic cables. An Ethiopian journalist was forced to flee his country after he was cited in a cable. Police in five cities arrested reporters and photographers covering Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, often claiming the journalists did not have sufficient accreditation. At least three other journalists covering Occupy events were attacked by protesters or police officers.

February 21, 2012 12:45 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Peru

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Peru

Press freedom suffered notable setbacks in 2011. In the run-up to the presidential election in June, journalists reported an alarming rise in attacks and threats in response to campaign coverage. In northern Peru, one journalist was murdered in reprisal for his work, while two others were killed under unclear circumstances. Trial courts convicted four journalists under archaic criminal defamation laws, with one reporter imprisoned for more than six months until his conviction was overturned on appeal. President Ollanta Humala pledged upon assuming office in July to be a “defender of human rights, freedom of the press, and freedom of expression.” In July, Congress passed a bill that would eliminate jail terms for defamation, but by late year the president had not signed the measure into law.

February 21, 2012 12:44 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Mexico

Criminal groups exerted extraordinary pressure on the press as they extended their control over virtually every sector of society. Journalists were killed or disappeared, media outlets were bombed and threatened. Pervasive self-censorship was a devastating consequence of this environment. In an information vacuum, journalists and citizens increasingly used social media to inform their communities. The murder of a Nuevo Laredo reporter was the first case documented by CPJ worldwide in which a person was killed in direct relation to reporting done on social media. At least three journalists were granted political asylum in the United States and Canada, and several others sought refuge in other countries. Several major news organizations agreed on a professional code in which they set protocols for journalists at risk and pledged not to be propaganda tools for criminals. But President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa's administration failed to implement effective reforms. Despite efforts to rejuvenate the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against free expression, anti-press violence went virtually unpunished. The government's new journalist-protection program was widely seen as ineffective. And while the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill to federalize anti-press crimes, the legislation remained pending in late year.

February 21, 2012 12:43 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Honduras

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Honduras

The Honduran press continued to suffer the violent fallout of the 2009 coup that ousted Manuel Zelaya. Four broadcast journalists were murdered in 2011 under unclear circumstances. CPJ is investigating to determine whether the killings were work-related. A climate of violence and widespread impunity has made the country one of the most dangerous in the region. The government's stance on media killings has worsened the situation. Authorities have minimized crimes against journalists and been slow and negligent in pursuing the culprits. No progress was reported in solving the murders of three journalists killed in direct relation to their work in 2010, CPJ research shows. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission composed of Honduran and international representatives delivered its much-anticipated report on the military-led overthrow of Zelaya. The commission labeled the takeover a coup--a decision met with controversy in Honduras--but it also accused Zelaya of improperly ignoring a Supreme Court decision concerning presidential term limits. The report found major press freedom violations during the coup, including the torture of journalists and the takeover of media premises.

February 21, 2012 12:42 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Guatemala

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Guatemala

Journalists increasingly practiced self-censorship as Mexican drug cartels expanded their presence in Guatemala. In May, criminals in four provinces hung banners in public places, threatening journalists with harm if gang activities were covered. A television journalist in southern Escuintla province was killed under unclear circumstances after receiving several threats. While the rise of criminal groups posed a growing risk, journalists also faced danger for coverage of official corruption and domestic security issues. In the southwestern city of Quetzaltenango, a television journalist and his family escaped injury when their van came under gunfire. The reporter had received death threats related to his coverage of police corruption. A columnist in the western city of Panajachel was forced to relocate after receiving a series of intimidating text messages concerning her coverage of a citizen security committee. The local press group CERIGUA documented an increase in press freedom violations in the months leading up to the November presidential elections, as well as a number of assaults and threats against journalists on Election Day. Otto Pérez Molina, a retired general running on the conservative Patriotic Party ticket, defeated businessman Manuel Baldizón in a runoff. Facing a murder rate among the highest in the world, Pérez pledged a tough approach on crime.              

February 21, 2012 12:41 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ecuador

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Ecuador

The press freedom climate continued its sharp decline under President Rafael Correa. In September, a CPJ special report concluded that Correa’s policies had transformed the country into one of the hemisphere’s most restrictive nations for the press. In March, Correa brought a criminal libel complaint against senior managers of El Universo, the country’s leading critical daily. The case, which centered on a biting opinion column that condemned Correa’s actions in a 2010 standoff with police, resulted in convictions, prison sentences, and multimillion-dollar fines against the managers. The managers were free on appeal in late year. Other government officials also used the nation’s archaic criminal defamation laws to try to silence journalists. The president made frequent use of cadenas, presidential addresses that pre-empt all private broadcast programming nationwide, to smear individual journalists and news outlets. Although cadenas have traditionally been used to deliver information in times of crisis, they have become a forum for political confrontation under Correa. The administration used other tactics to supplant independent voices with its own perspective, repeatedly ordering individual broadcasters to give over portions of their news programming to government “rebuttals.” In a May referendum, voters approved ballot measures that would allow the administration to regulate news content in vaguely defined areas and force media owners to divest other holdings.

February 21, 2012 12:41 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Cuba

Official repression in Cuba remained the most intense in the hemisphere. Although the last of the 29 independent journalists imprisoned in the 2003 Black Spring crackdown was released in April, the government's restrictive practices persisted. Official censorship was codified in law and closely enforced. The government persecuted critical journalists with arbitrary arrests, short-term detentions, beatings, smear campaigns, surveillance, and social sanctions. Despite the island nation's low Internet penetration, the battle for free expression was being waged almost entirely online. The government enlisted a legion of official bloggers to counteract a vibrant independent blogosphere. A fiber-optic cable project would enable the introduction of high-speed Internet. The launch of broadband service, which faced delays in 2011, would improve the island's government-approved Internet connections, but would not extend connectivity to the general public.

February 21, 2012 12:40 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Colombia

While lethal anti-press violence has slowed considerably in recent years, the press freedom landscape remains troubled. Journalists continue to be attacked and threatened with such frequency that some are compelled to flee to safer locations within Colombia or into exile. A journalist in Arboletes was murdered in June, although the motive was unclear. In this violent context, press groups feared the potential consequences of statements made by former President Álvaro Uribe, who described veteran reporters Juan Forero and Claudia Julieta Duque as “terrorist sympathizers” after they wrote critical stories about the Uribe administration in The Washington Post. The national intelligence agency’s illegal espionage against journalists and other critics, a legacy of the Uribe administration, continued to be the subject of investigation. But progress was slow, with cases pending against more than 20 defendants in late year. In a blow to press freedom, the Supreme Court in May upheld defamation provisions in the penal code.

February 21, 2012 12:39 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Brazil

In provincial areas where law enforcement is weak, reporters were vulnerable to attack for their coverage of corruption. In urban centers, journalists faced risks while covering organized crime and drug trafficking. Two journalists were killed in direct relation to their work in 2011, and CPJ was investigating the circumstances in four other killings. The uptick in deadly violence pushed Brazil back onto CPJ's 2011 Impunity Index, which highlights countries with unsolved journalist murders. Politicized judicial rulings continued to hinder coverage of sensitive issues. A censorship order against the daily O Estado de S. Paulo remained in place more than two years after it was first imposed, barring the paper from reporting on a corruption inquiry involving the family of Senate President José Sarney. In November, President Dilma Rousseff signed into law an access-to-information measure that regulated the classification of documents and imposed a maximum withholding period of 50 years for top secret files. The bill was lauded as an important step for government transparency and a helpful tool for journalists covering corruption.

February 21, 2012 12:38 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Argentina

The Supreme Court of Justice ruled in March that the government should apply reasonable balance in the distribution of state advertising. Ruling in a case brought in 2006 by Editorial Perfil, the country's largest magazine publisher, the court sought to rein in the government's long-standing practice of rewarding supportive news media with state advertising while punishing critical media by withholdings ads. Nonetheless, Perfil and other critics alleged that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who won re-election in October, continued the system of unequal distribution. Relations between Grupo Clarín, the nation's largest media conglomerate, and the Kirchner government worsened in March after demonstrators, including members of the Teamsters, blocked trucking exits at Clarín's printing facilities, preventing the paper from distributing its Sunday edition. In December, Kirchner signed a measure bringing the country's sole newsprint manufacturer, Papel Prensa, under government regulation. Publishers groups said it was another attack on Clarín and La Nación, which own a majority stake in the company. Circulation of the national daily La Nación was also disrupted for several hours. The local press group Foro de Periodismo Argentino documented a series of abuses in the country's interior, including an attack on a radio journalist, a case of arson, and an episode in which a camera crew was fired upon. A federal court sentenced 16 former military members in October to jail terms ranging from 18 years to life in prison for the murder of journalist Rodolfo Walsh and 85 others during the 1976-83 Argentine dictatorship.

February 21, 2012 12:37 AM ET

Alerts   |   Ecuador

El Universo verdict bad precedent for free press in Americas

Police and Correa supporters outside court. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

New York, February 16, 2012--Today's decision by Ecuador's highest court to uphold the criminal libel conviction brought by President Rafael Correa against El Universo represents a serious blow to freedom of expression and a setback for democracy, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. 

Alerts   |   Brazil

Brazilian journalist killed, second in a week

New York, February 13, 2012--Brazilian authorities must conduct a thorough and swift investigation into the murder of journalist Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues, who was gunned down on Sunday night, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. It was the second slaying of a Brazilian journalist in less than week.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Journalist who covered corruption murdered in Brazil

The body of Brazilian journalist Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes was found on Thursday. (Facebook)

New York, February 10, 2012--The body of Brazilian journalist Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes was found on Thursday in the city of Barra do Piraí in Rio de Janeiro state, according to news reports. Randolfo reported on local corruption and had survived at least one attempt on his life in recent years, news reports said.

February 10, 2012 4:02 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Brazil, Paraguay

Paraguayan journalist targeted by criminal groups

New York, February 1, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists called today on Paraguayan and Brazilian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into death threats against journalist Cándido Figueredo and to ensure his safety. Police officials confirmed last month that they had intercepted a phone call between two criminal figures who discussed killing the Paraguayan journalist, according to local press reports.

February 1, 2012 5:02 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic: Journalist given six months in jail

New York, January 31, 2012--The six-month jail sentence of Dominican journalist Johnny Alberto Salazar, who was convicted of defaming a local lawyer on January 18, should be revoked on appeal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Letters   |   Ecuador

Insulza must repudiate attacks against IACHR

Dear Mr. Insulza: The Committee to Protect Journalists has been monitoring with increasing concern an offensive launched by the government of Ecuador aimed at weakening the Inter-American human rights system, an effort that if successful could represent a serious blow to freedom of expression in the hemisphere.

January 18, 2012 2:20 PM ET

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