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Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of May 21, 2017

The pro-opposition newspaper Sözcü on May 19 published a blank edition under the headline, "May 19 press freedom special edition" to protest the arrest of two of its journalists the day before.

Newspaper finance director turns herself in to police
Yonca Yücekaleli--finance manager for the secularist, nationalist daily Sözcü, one of the last remaining widely circulated newspapers to be consistently critical of the government--turned herself in to police at Istanbul's Çağlayan Courthouse today, the news website T24 reported.

Blog   |   USA

How US Espionage Act can be used against journalists covering leaks

Earlier this week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly joked about Trump using a saber on the press and U.S. Senator Jim Risch told CNN the press should be questioning the Washington Post about its sources. Then, on May 16, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump allegedly asked former FBI director James Comey to consider putting journalists in prison for publishing classified information. If the request, which is allegedly detailed in a memo from Comey, is true it represents a serious risk to reporters, according to First Amendment attorneys.

Blog   |   Mexico

Javier Valdez Cárdenas, brave and beloved Mexican journalist

The author interprets Javier Valdez Cárdenas's acceptance speech at the 2011 International Press Freedom Awards in New York. Valdez 'combined the grit of the most battle-hardened reporter with the elegiac soul of a 19th century Romantic poet.' (CPJ)

When Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas arrived in New York City in November 2011 to accept CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, he and his staff had already suffered a grenade attack on the offices of their weekly, Ríodoce. Weeks after receiving the award, they were the victims of a denial of service (DOS) attack that would take the publication's website offline for days. The death threats against Javier in reprisal for his reporting on organized crime and corruption continued until his brutal murder today in his home city of Culiacán, but he refused a life in exile or a life without journalism. "To die," he said in an interview with CPJ, "would be to stop writing."

Blog   |   Iran

Iran targets Telegram app as it seeks to control news ahead of May election

Supporters of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani wave flags during a campaign rally in Tehran on May 9. Iranian authorities have targeted messaging app Telegram ahead of the May 19 elections. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

Iran has a history of cracking down on the independent press ahead of elections, with authorities arresting journalists and forcing reformist outlets to shut down. As Iranians prepare to vote in presidential and city council elections on May 19, authorities have turned their attention to Telegram, arresting several channel administrators for the app.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of May 14, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Konstantin Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia, October 9, 2016. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Police search homes of opposition newspaper owner, staff
Police searched the homes of the owner and three employees of the daily newspaper Sözcü, one of the last remaining large media outlets that opposes the government, the newspaper reported today.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of May 7

A journalist holds a press sign next to a placard reading 'Enough!' during a World Press Freedom Day rally in Istanbul. Turkey is a leading jailer of journalists. (AFP/Ozan Kose)

Editor detained at courthouse
Police in Istanbul's Çağlayan Courthouse today detained Çağlar Özbilgin, an editor for the leftist news website sendika.org, his employer reported. Özbilgin was there to attend a hearing of his trial on charges of "insulting the president," but police detained him for a separate criminal investigation into him on suspicion of "provoking the people to hatred and animosity," according to sendika.org. Özbilgin was still detained in the courthouse at the time of writing.

Blog   |   Bahrain

Bahrain denies accreditation to journalists

Bahraini newspapers feature front-page stories on the arrest of four American journalists, with one photo purportedly showing one of the journalists with hands raised while being arrested, in Manama, Bahrain, February 16, 2016. The journalists were quickly released. (AP/Hasan Jamali)

Bahrain has over the past year refused to grant accreditation to several of its own citizens who report for foreign and independent media, including those working for The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, France 24, and Monte Carlo Doualiya. It has on multiple occasions not granted media visas to foreign journalists seeking entry. One of the Bahraini journalists refused a routine accreditation renewal, Nazeeha Saeed, now faces prosecution for continuing to work.

In an April 27 letter sent to Rifaa Palace and the Bahraini Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Committee to Protect Journalists joined news agencies and press freedom organizations in calling on King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to allow journalists to operate freely in the country. CPJ received no response, and is now publishing the letter.

Blog   |   USA

With press freedom under attack worldwide, US is setting wrong example

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after their meetings at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on April 7, 2017. (AP/Alex Brandon)

For decades if not longer, repressive leaders around the world have defended restrictions on freedom of the press by citing examples of Western governments failing to live by their own professed standards.

Blog   |   Egypt

Families of jailed journalists in Egypt await outcome of latest trials

An undated family photo shows Mohamed al-Fakharany, front right, and his brother, Abdullah, left. A verdict is due in Abdullah al-Fakharany's case in May. The journalist has been imprisoned since 2013. (Al-Fakharany family)

Every two weeks Mohamed al-Fakharany prepares to visit his brother, Abdullah al-Fakharany, in prison. He packs food, clothes, books, and, most importantly, written responses to his older brother's letters. Mohamed al-Fakharany, who told CPJ that he has never missed a visit, was only 11 when his brother-- the executive director of opposition news outlet Rassd--was arrested in 2013 and later sentenced to 25 years in prison on anti-state charges.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of April 30, 2017

A January 18, 2012, file photo shows a laptop in the San Francisco offices of the Wikipedia Foundation. (AP/Eric Risberg)

Court overturns reporter's terrorism conviction
The Fourth Court of Appeals in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakır today overturned its previous conviction of Bertitan Canözer, a former reporter for the shuttered JİNHA news agency, on charges of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization," the news website Gazete Sujin reported. Police detained Canözer in December 2015 as she covered a protest in Diyarbakır, CPJ reported at the time. In March 2016, a court ordered her released pending the conclusion of her trial, and in May 2016 Diyarbakır's Fourth Court of Appeals convicted her of the charge and gave her a suspended, 15-month prison sentence, CPJ reported at the time. According to today's Gazete Sujin report, the regional Gaziantep Appeals Court ordered the Diyarbakır court to grant her a retrial.

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