CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views


Blog   |   Belarus, Internet

Widespread Net disruption surrounds Belarus election coverage

As I mentioned last Friday, local journalists in Belarus were preparing for targeted disruption to Internet communications during Sunday's presidential elections. The online news site Charter '97, which has experienced more than its fair share of denial-of-service (DOS) attacks and police raids in the past, was already warning its readers last week to use their Facebook page as an alternative, in the event of its main site being attacked.

The extent of the widespread press crackdown in Minsk is still being measured, but I've been reading reports from within Belarus that spell out the drastic Internet side of the restrictions. Not only was Charter '97 attacked over the weekend, but apparently sites like Facebook and Twitter were also blocked by Belarus ISPs. Even more significantly, there has been widespread filtering of the channels that encrypted communications like "https" and secure email use. These filters aren't specific to one site, but block traffic based on how it connects to remote sites. That means that not only news or social networking sites, but banking, financial and most website login pages would be disrupted. It also means that journalists on the ground have been unable to access services like Gmail, or even send email directly from mail clients.

Hal Roberts at Berkman has more details. As the Charter '97 English Twitter feed notes, when your electricity is cut off and editors are being detained, such subtle technical censorship is somewhat of a side-note for journalists working within the country. But during key events, when reporters and eye-witnesses are working with foreign news media, such blocking can seriously hamper the ability to gather information and describe what is happening to the world at large.

December 20, 2010 5:04 PM ET


Blog   |   Belarus, Brazil, Greece, Internet, Iraq, Pakistan, Rwanda

Six stories: Online journalists killed in 2010

Greek blogger Giolias (AP)

This week, CPJ published its year-end analysis of work-related fatalities among journalists. Six of the 42 victims worked online. While you can read the full statistics and our special report elsewhere, I want to highlight the stories of these six journalists who worked on the Web.

Blog   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Internet, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Fighting bogus piracy raids, Microsoft issues new licenses

CPJ has documented for several years the use of spurious anti-piracy raids to shut down and intimidate media organizations in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Offices have been shut down, and computers seized. Often, security agents make bogus claims to be representing or acting on behalf of the U.S. software company Microsoft.

December 7, 2010 3:10 PM ET


Blog   |   Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Belarus, Iraq, Pakistan

Murder, 'suicide,' crossfire: A week of journalist killings

Today we will report another murder of a journalist. This one was in Argentina. The last one we documented was a couple days ago--Alberto Graves Chakussanga was shot in the back in Angola. These tragedies are part of our daily work at CPJ, but this week was different. There have been eight killings of journalists around the globe since September 3, an unusually high number during my three years as an editor here.
September 10, 2010 12:56 PM ET


Blog   |   Belarus, Kazakhstan

In bad company: Kazakhstan takes page from Belarus

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, left, and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev at a November economic conference. (AP/Sergei Grits)

Belarus has been termed Europe’s last dictatorship because of its long intolerance of dissent and press freedom. So accustomed is the world to the clampdowns of President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime that neither a recently issued decree on Internet access, which requires that providers record users’ personal data, nor last week’s police raids at a number of independent news offices, came as much of a surprise to anyone. “Belarus—reliably repressive” would be the country’s bumper sticker were press freedom groups to make one.

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