Journalists and online news-gatherers have been struggling to collect and distribute high-quality information about recent events in Syria. Foreign journalists have been turned away at the border; local online reporters have been detained. The quality of Internet and mobile phone connectivity has been extremely variable, with reports of Net and phone connections being cut off in selective areas, such as Deraa and Douma. The Wall Street Journal reported blocks on social-networking sites, and CPJ has received reports of consistent slowdowns of home Internet services such as Skype and Google Mail.
Photojournalist Chris Hondros, who was killed in Libyaon April 20, captured humanity at its worst and its best, in times of war and despair and at moments of kindness and hope. Here are some of his photos, from some of the world's most treacherous spots, courtesy of Getty Images.
The first image is from Hondros' last assignment in Misurata, where a rebel fighter rolls a burning tire into a room of loyalist troops. The next two images are also from the Libyan conflict, the first an overloaded aid truck and the second at a graveside.
They are followed by a photo from Nigeria, where a child is given a vaccine; from Iraq, where pistol meets prayer; and from Liberia, where a soldier comes under scrutiny.
The final two images are a contrast in war and peace. Hooded Iraqis await interrogation by U.S. Marines; and Kurdish boys play in Turkey, near the Iraqi border.
Please read the CPJ special report on journalists killed in 2011 and visit our database of reporters, editors, photojournalists, and others who have given their lives for their work. Also available is this tribute to Hondros by Nic Bothma. Fellow photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who died in the same attack, was remembered by Dino Mahtani.
UPDATED: We updated this entry on December 20, 2011, to add links to our year-end report on journalists killed. Photographers paid a heavy price during the year.
My dear friend Chris.
In the silence, I hear the symphony of memories that was your life as I knew it. I see your waving hand gestures and wry smile as you recount stories whilst we sit together in the tropical Liberian heat discussing everything from classical music to aperture priority. My heart and mind keep seeing you, hearing you, and struggling to believe you have moved on.
Kurdistan is different, as nearly every Iraqi Kurd I have ever met has said. Far less violent than the rest of Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the parts of the north controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government have escaped the kind of sectarian unrest that continues to flare in the south. But in recent months more than 150 Iraqi Kurdish journalists have been injured or attacked, according to the local Metro Center to Defend Journalists. One journalist was murdered three years ago in Kirkuk after uncovering evidence of government corruption. But most of the journalists who find themselves more recently under siege have been covering violent clashes between the Kurdish security forces and protestors in Sulaymaniyah.
I first met Tim Hetherington in Monrovia in 2005, in the run-up to Liberia's then historic elections, which officially drew the line under the country's 14-year civil war. Tim had already reported from Liberia in the chaotic final stages of that war in 2003, marching for days on end through dense and unforgiving tropical bush filming rebels making a last desperate assault on the regime of the falling president, Charles Taylor.
In reporting on the Libyan conflict, China's media "emphasize only the humanitarian disasters caused by Western air bombardments, and [report] sparingly if at all on the violent suppression and massacre of the people by Qaddafi," Al-Jazeera's Beijing bureau chief, Ezzat Shahrour, writes on his blog. Chinese readers so far have been largely supportive of his viewpoint.
Everyone at some point has needed someone to stand up for them. These people shine in our memories for gestures or actions taken on our behalf, whether as children against the schoolyard bully or as adults in favor of a scholarly proposition or professional advance. But an especially powerful embodiment of an advocate is that of an attorney who uses the law, even where individuals have few rights, to argue for the freedom or survival of those who are oppressed. Nasrin Sotoudeh is such an advocate, and on April 26 her courage, determination, and professionalism as a writer, lawyer, and human rights activist in Iran will be honored with the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. Sotoudeh, who has served as legal counsel for several journalists imprisoned in Iran, was sentenced in January to 11 years in prison.
New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario is speaking publicly about sexual aggression she experienced while detained in Libya last month by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi. Addario was held for six days with Times colleagues Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, and Tyler Hicks, all of whom were subjected to physical abuse. In this interview with CPJ, Addario speaks candidly about the brutality, focusing particularly on the groping and other sexual aggression she endured. Farrell, her colleague, also spoke briefly with CPJ. All forms of anti-press violence are abhorrent, but the issue of sexual aggression has not been as widely documented or discussed as other types of attacks. Since CBS News disclosed in February that correspondent Lara Logan was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted while on assignment in Cairo, more journalists are starting to speak out in hopes the issue can be more fully understood. Here is Addario's story:
On March 15, four New York Times journalists were detained in Libya while crossing a checkpoint after they entered the country without visas. They were released six days later. The four--photojournalists Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks, and reporters Anthony Shadid and Stephen Farrell--came to Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism on Thursday for what will be their only public event. The panel was moderated by Columbia Professor Ann Cooper, who was formerly CPJ's executive director.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.