On August 4, CPJ wrote to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen requesting information about the July 30 attacks on broadcast facilities in Libya in which NATO aircraft destroyed three broadcast dishes. As we noted in our letter, CPJ is concerned any time a media outlet faces a military attack. Such attacks can only be justified under international humanitarian law if the facility is being used for military purposes or to incite violence against the civilian population.
About 35 international journalists remained holed up in Tripoli's Rixos Hotel today, unable to leave the location, according to news reports. New video from The Guardian, above, shows reporters and photojournalists inside the hotel. BBC correspondent Matthew Price said conditions "deteriorated massively" overnight as forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi patrolled the corridors.
UPDATE: Journalists in the Rixos Hotel have been allowed to leave, according to news accounts. CNN's Matthew Chance said the journalists negotiated with armed guards to win their release. The journalists left this afternoon local time in cars provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
On July 30, NATO warplanes attacked three transmission towers in Libya. The goal apparently was to knock Libyan state television off the air because, NATO alleged, "it was being used as an integral component of the regime apparatus designed to systematically oppress and threaten civilians and to incite attacks against them."
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.
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.
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.
The Libyan conflict is the most recent in a string of dangerous international stories. Several journalists are missing. A BBC crew was detained and subjected to beatings and a mock execution. TV crews report having their equipment seized. The Europe-based International News Safety Institute, a consortium of news organizations and journalist groups including CPJ, is monitoring the evolving security conditions and issuing timely advisories.
Craig Labowitz at Arbor has been sifting through the evidence of how countries in the Middle East have been blocking and throttling the Internet in the last week. His analysis indicates that while both Bahrain and Yemen had periods of slowed or impaired access, only Libya seems to have taken the drastic step of shutting off the Net entirely.
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.