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Press Freedom News and Views

Asia

Blog   |   Maldives

Closure of news outlets signals further erosion of media freedom in the Maldives

News outlets in the Maldives are closing down, one after another. The story at each publication is different, sometimes complicated, but the outcome is the same: journalists are facing a tougher time doing their jobs.

Blog   |   China

China's information and internet controls will only tighten under Xu Lin

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, talks with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, right, as Lu Wei, left, China's Internet czar, looks on at Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington, on September 23, 2015. Lu Wei left the Cyberspace Administration of China at the end of June. (AP/Ted S. Warren)

When the new director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, Xu Lin, issued on July 3 a warning that websites not report unverified content drawn from social media without facing possible punishment, it was clear that Beijing would move quickly beyond the Lu Wei era of information control. The announcement demanded that news websites provide "correct guidance for public opinion"--correct, clearly, in the eyes of the Cyberspace Administration, and ultimately the Chinese Communist Party. The warnings suggest that the harsh controls implemented by Lu could become even more severe.

Blog   |   Mongolia

Mongolian election unlikely to advance press freedom

Women walk past posters of candidates from the Mongolian People's Party on the outskirts of the capital, Ulaanbaatar, on June 27, 2016. The election on June 29 is unlikely to have a strong impact on press freedom in Mongolia. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

During a visit to Mongolia this month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the country as "an oasis of democracy." Mongolia, sandwiched between powerful autocratic neighbors Russia and China, underwent democratic transition in 1990 when it broke away from Soviet rule, and has since held several elections characterized by the Asia Foundation as "reasonably free and fair." The next exercise in democracy will be the parliamentary election Wednesday.

Blog   |   Vietnam

Vietnamese jailed blogger moved to distant province, wages hunger strike

Tran Huynh Duy Thuc was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2010. (AP/Hoang Hai/Vietnam News Agency)

On May 7, my uncle, imprisoned Vietnamese blogger Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, was unexpectedly moved from the Xuyen Moc prison camp situated near our family in Ho Chi Minh City to another detention facility about 1,500 kilometers away known as Camp No. 6 in central Nghe An province. His family was not informed in advance about the transfer and we only learned about it from the relative of a fellow prisoner of conscience being held at the same prison.

The next day, we traveled to Xuyen Moc prison to inquire about the move with authorities, who only confirmed the information and gave us the new detention camp's address. They said his transfer was in accordance with an order issued on May 5 by the General Bureau of Criminal Judgments Enforcement and Justice Assistance (General Bureau 8) under the Ministry of Public Security. They would not, however, provide us with an explanation for the reason behind his sudden transfer.

June 21, 2016 10:53 AM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan

By now, Afghan authorities should know media are not the enemy

Police and firefighters are seen at the site of a suicide blast in Kabul on June 20, 2016. Several journalists were obstructed from reporting at the scene. (Reuters/Mirwais Harooni)

Several journalists in Kabul--the exact number is unclear--were beaten, harassed, and kept from working by security forces when they rushed to cover a suicide bombing on Monday that killed 14 people and wounded more than eight. In an email message, the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC), an organization with which we work closely, said when the correspondents and camera crews arrived near the site of the explosion, they were stopped by the police, and some of them beaten. AJSC identified Mohammad Ghazi Rasouli, a television correspondent; reporter Tawfik Khoja Siddiqui; and a journalist who works for a Turkish news agency ANP as among those harassed.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan journalist Freddy Gamage back in hospital, still under threat

Back on June 3, we called for "a thorough investigation into an attack" on Freddy Gamage, a muckraking editor and blogger for Meepura.com (and in Sinhala). At the time, the government promised on its official website that it "would never again allow media suppression, which prevailed during the past, to reoccur." Prime Mister Ranil Wickremesinghe personally and quickly condemned the June 2 assault, according to press reports.

June 14, 2016 12:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bangladesh

Bangladesh should take urgent steps to protect freedom of expression

The U.N. Human Rights Council will convene in Geneva for its next session today. Ahead of this meeting, international groups working on press freedom and freedom of expression, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, made a joint submission to the council calling for urgent and concrete steps to reverse the deteriorating climate for free expression in Bangladesh.

June 13, 2016 7:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China, more journalists--even former ones--vulnerable to government wrath

A picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen behind People's Liberation Army soldiers in Beijing on August 22, 2015. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

Most of the journalists imprisoned in China reported or commented on issues that the Chinese government finds threatening to its rule. They were likely aware that their work could invoke the wrath of the Chinese Communist Party at any time, but still choose to go ahead for the sake of truth and the public interest. Other journalists choose to stay away from the political red lines, writing and speaking within the realm of what is believed to be allowed--and they have generally been spared persecution. However, such certainty has increasingly eroded. Since Xi Jinping assumed the presidency in 2013, more and more journalists are vulnerable.

Blog   |   Japan

Abe administration throttles media independence, journalists and UN say

Reporters surround Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February. Journalists say control of the media has been tightened since he came to power. (AFP/Jiji Press)

Late in 2015, the Japanese government asked David Kaye, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, to reschedule a visit planned for December. At the time, some news outlets speculated that the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, under criticism for rising threats to free expression, was trying to avoid U.N. scrutiny.

Blog   |   China

Foreign press in China say travel to Tibet remains restricted

While foreign media outlets were granted some limited access to the Tibet Autonomous Region in 2015, China still rejected roughly three-quarters of the reporters who sought permission to visit last year, according to a new survey by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC).

April 27, 2016 12:11 PM ET

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