Attacks on the Press in 2008

Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Argentina

Adding to a mounting body of international legal opinion, two landmark rulings held that public officials may not be shielded from public scrutiny. In May, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights voided a criminal defamation sentence against a local journalist and urged Argentina to reform its defamation laws in line with regional standards. Two months later, the country’s Supreme Court of Justice affirmed the “actual malice” standard in determining liability in defamation cases involving public officials.

February 10, 2009 12:51 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Armenia

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Armenia

Harassment of journalists and self-censorship among the news media intensified before and after a flawed February 2008 presidential election. The countryís authoritarian president, Robert Kocharian, imposed a state of emergency after the balloting to suppress demonstrations and block independent news reporting, a move that allowed him to deliver the presidency to a hand-picked successor, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.

February 10, 2009 12:50 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Azerbaijan

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Azerbaijan

The Georgia-Russia crisis in August diverted international attention from another strategically important Caucasus country--oil-rich Azerbaijan. The authoritarian president, Ilham Aliyev, gained a new term in a flawed October 15 vote. Aliyev, who effectively inherited the presidency from his father, Heydar, in 2003, defeated six virtual unknowns after top opposition parties boycotted the October vote to protest restrictive new amendments to the election law.

Attacks on the Press   |   Belarus

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Belarus

In a February visit to Belarusian State University, President Aleksandr Lukashenko bluntly outlined his regime's press policy. "Media hold a weapon of a most destructive power," Lukashenko told journalism students, "and they must be controlled by the state."

February 10, 2009 12:47 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Bolivia

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Bolivia

The news media were caught in the middle of a deepening power struggle between the leftist government of President Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian, and the conservative opposition governors of the eastern lowlands. The battle was fueled by rising ethnic tensions between Bolivia’s indigenous majority, centered in the capital, La Paz, and the European-descended opposition based in the lowlands.

February 10, 2009 12:46 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Brazil

The kidnapping and torture of two journalists and a driver working undercover in Rio de Janeiro exposed the risks to Brazilian journalists, especially those reporting on organized crime in urban areas. Throughout the country, journalists covering mayoral and legislative campaigns faced legal and physical harassment.

February 10, 2009 12:45 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Myanmar

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Burma

Burma’s already beleaguered journalists came under heavy attack after massive Cyclone Nargis pounded the country’s southern coastal region in May, killing an estimated 84,500 people and severely affecting another 2.4 million, according to U.N. estimates. As local and international criticism grew over a slow and inadequate response to the natural disaster, the military junta intensified censorship, working to suppress news that graphically portrayed the extraordinary scale of the storm’s devastation. The silence was lethal.

Attacks on the Press   |   Cameroon

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Cameroon

Cameroon’s diverse news media, among the most vibrant in Africa, operated under significant pressure. Influential political leaders used threats, regulatory action, and judicial harassment to censor critical coverage of national affairs, including a controversial constitutional amendment allowing President Paul Biya to seek re-election in 2011, public protests over inflation, and a series of high-profile corruption cases.

February 10, 2009 12:43 AM ET


Attacks on the Press   |   China

Attacks on the Press in 2008: China

In the year of the “One World, One Dream” Olympics, China’s punitive and highly restrictive press policies became a global issue. International reporters who arrived early to prepare for the Games flocked to cover antigovernment riots in Tibet and western provinces in March and the Sichuan earthquake in May. They encountered the sweeping official interference that resident journalists have long faced every day. Domestic news media, which by law must be sponsored by official government bodies, generally followed the government line on Tibetan and Olympic issues, although some newspapers and magazines distinguished themselves with breaking coverage of the earthquake and investigative reporting on local government corruption. Online writers who published more outspoken pieces were jailed on antistate charges.


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