August 2012

Alerts   |   Jordan

In Jordan, proposed amendments to censor Internet

New York, August 31, 2012--Proposed legislation in Jordan would impose significant new restrictions on online news content and reader comments while giving authorities new powers to block domestic and international websites. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the lower house of parliament to reject the bill when it takes up debate on Sunday.

August 31, 2012 2:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

As Wang is freed, Chinese journalist Shi Tao still held

A protester holds a poster depicting jailed journalist Shi Tao. (AP/Miguel Villagran)

Chinese dissident Wang Xiaoning was released today after serving a 10-year prison term on charges of "incitement to subvert state power," a case built in good part on client information supplied by Yahoo. Wang had used his Yahoo email account and the discussion forum Yahoo Groups to spread ideas the government deemed dangerous. His case closely parallels that of journalist Shi Tao, another Yahoo user who fell afoul of the Chinese government. In 2005, Shi was convicted of "illegally leaking state secrets abroad" and given a 10-year sentence. Yahoo had helped authorities identify Shi through his account information.

Impact

CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, August 2012

CPJ releases report on Venezuela in run-up to elections

As a result of President Hugo Chávez Frias' 13 years in office, several critical media outlets have either disappeared or been scared into silence. The gap has been filled by a vast state media presence that merely echoes the government's positions. CPJ's special report, issued on August 29, the organization's fourth since Chávez took office, highlights the legislative hurdles, online attacks against journalists, and repressive state media that are limiting critical news coverage in the run-up to Venezuela's presidential elections in October.

CPJ received widespread coverage of the report, both in print, including articles published in The Associated Press and The Los Angeles Times, and social media. Editorials published by Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior Americas program coordinator, in Spain's El País, and by CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon, in The Miami Herald, also served to drive interest to the publication.

The report, which features CPJ's recommendations on press freedom to the Venezuelan authorities, is available in English and Spanish or as a podcast

CPJ will be discussing the deterioration of the independent press in Venezuela at two events in September--the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C., on September 13, and the Americas Society, on September 18. 

August 31, 2012 12:09 PM ET

Blog   |   Internet

Dear CPJ: Some malware from your 'friend'

An analyst looks at malware code in a lab. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

We talk a lot about hacking attacks against individual journalists here, but what typifies an attempt to access a reporter's computer? Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director, received an email last week that reflects some characteristics of a malware attack against a journalist or activist. There was nothing particularly notable about the targeting. (Like many reporters, CPJ receives such attempts occasionally). The attack failed at the first fence, and my casual investigation into the source was inconclusive. There are no shocking answers or big headlines to draw from this attack. But it does illustrate a contemporary reality: Opportunistic assailants regularly shower journalists with software attacks.

Alerts   |   Bolivia

Bolivia charges news outlets with inciting racism

Police block journalists protesting the government's plans to sue three news outlets. (Reuters/Gaston Brito)

Bogotá, August 30, 2012--Bolivian authorities must immediately drop a criminal complaint filed against three media outlets in connection with their coverage of a speech by President Evo Morales, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The news outlets are being accused of inciting racism and discrimination, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Guinea

Guinean government censors private radio station

A radio station station was closed down to prevent coverage of Monday's protests, shown here. (AFP/Cellou Binani)

Lagos, Nigeria, August 30, 2012--Authorities in Guinea closed a private radio station on Sunday, preventing the outlet from reporting on the next day's protests, according to news reports. Liberté FM has been targeted in the past, the reports said.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Attacks on press in Venezuela expand online

Chávez' Twitter page. (AFP/Juan Barreto)

Online penetration in Venezuela has increased in recent years, with 40 percent of its population online, according to the International Telecommunication Union. A significant amount of activity takes place on Twitter, where Venezuela has the highest penetration in the region after Uruguay, according to local research company Tendencias Digitales. President Hugo Chávez Frías, who has more than three million followers on Twitter, uses the platform regularly to convey official news--as he did on Tuesday when a raging fire at an oil refinery was extinguished, leaving 48 people dead, according to a report on EFE.

Case   |   Colombia

Colombian Supreme Court drops suit against columnist

The Colombian Supreme Court announced on August 27, 2012, that it would drop a defamation complaint against prominent journalist Cecilia Orozco Tascón, according to news reports. Five days earlier, the court released a statement saying it would file charges against Orozco, who writes a widely read column in the Bogotá daily El Espectador. The court also criticized a column by another journalist, María Jimena Duzán, which was published in the weekly Semana magazine.

Alerts   |   Tunisia

Arrest warrant issued for Tunisian TV director

Tunisian authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Sami Fehri. (AFP)

New York, August 29, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about an arrest warrant issued against the head of a Tunisian television station, whose news and programming are often seen as critical of the current government.

Reports   |   Venezuela

In Venezuela, a media landscape transformed

In more than a decade in power, President Hugo Chávez Frías has overseen the transformation of nearly every aspect of Venezuelan society, including the media. When Chávez came to office in 1999, he enjoyed the support of the country’s established private media. But the relationship soon soured, and in April 2002 he was briefly deposed in a coup that he alleges was carried out with the support of key media owners. Today, several of the most critical media outlets are either gone or scared into silence, and a vast state media presence echoes the government’s positions. By Joel Simon

Hugo Chávez at a campaign rally in Maracay, Venezuela, on July 1. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Reports   |   Venezuela

Venezuela's private media wither under Chávez assault

The Chávez administration has used an array of legislation, threats, and regulatory measures to gradually break down Venezuela’s independent press while building up a state media empire—a complete reversal of the previous landscape. One result: Vital issues are going uncovered in an election year. A CPJ special report by Monica Campbell

Hugo Chávez at a December 2011 press conference. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Reports   |   Venezuela

State media focus on opposition, critics; stifle debate

Many state media in Latin American are used for political propaganda, but the Venezuelan government has built an unprecedented media empire that it uses to attack critics and independent journalists and obscure issues like crime and inflation. By Carlos Lauría

State media accused Últimas Noticias of using this crossword puzzle in a plot to assassinate Hugo Chávez's brother. (Reuters/Últimas Noticias)

Reports   |   Venezuela

Globovisión besieged by investigations, fines, violence

The recent regulatory probe into coverage at Globovisión, the only TV broadcaster critical of the Chávez administration, is the latest in a long string of investigations and other harassment. The network is struggling to stay afloat. By Monica Campbell

Globovisión advertisements in Caracas. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Reports   |   Venezuela

Pro-government hackers hound Venezuelan journalists

The mysterious group N33 has targeted the online accounts of journalists critical of the Chávez administration. The victims are subject to fake messages, insults, and intimidating threats. By John Otis

Hugo Chávez has more than 3 million followers on Twitter. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

Reports   |   Multimedia, Venezuela

Audio: Venezuela's private media wither




Since President Hugo Chávez Frías took office more than a decade ago, legislation, threats, and regulatory measures have withered Venezuela’s independent press even as the state has built a huge media empire. Carlos Lauría, CPJ's Americas Senior Program Coordinator, talks about the developments in this podcast. Listen on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (2:05)

Read CPJ's special report, "Venezuela’s private media wither under Chávez assault."

August 29, 2012 7:28 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia frees prominent journalist, drops all charges

Temesghen Desalegn (Awramba Times)

New York, August 28, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's decision by the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice to release the editor of a leading independent weekly from jail and drop all criminal charges against him. CPJ also calls for the release of eight other journalists now imprisoned in Ethiopia for their work.

Temesghen Desalegn, editor of Feteh, was released from Kality Prison in Addis Ababa, the capital, at around 3 p.m. today, according to Feteh Deputy Editor Hailemeskel Beshewamyelhu. The journalist was jailed on Friday in connection with his articles that appeared in seven editions of Feteh and criticized the policies of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, according to local journalists.

Blog   |   India

News media expand, but freedom lags in Kashmir

Indian police detain a Kashmiri protester in Srinagar. (AP/Mukhtar Khan)

Early this month, newspaper offices in Indian-controlled Kashmir received a note warning journalists to be more supportive of the Kashmir independence movement, according to the leading national daily, The Times of Indiaciting a news agency in the state's summer capital, Srinagar. No militants took responsibility this time, but in mid-March insurgent groups issued a joint message that urged journalists to "highlight the pain and suffering of Kashmiris because of oppressive state policies." 

August 27, 2012 5:07 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Independent journalist jailed in Azerbaijan

New York, August 27, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a prison sentence imposed Thursday against Faramaz Novruzoglu, a freelance journalist who has faced years of persecution in reprisal for his coverage of alleged government corruption. CPJ also calls for an appeals court to reverse last week's unjust ruling and release Novruzoglu on appeal.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian Supreme Court sues journalist for defamation

Bogotá, August 27, 2012--Colombia's Supreme Court must immediately drop an unprecedented criminal defamation complaint against a prominent local columnist who questioned recent actions by the court, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Syria

Video shows Turkish cameraman held captive in Syria

A screen grab of the video. (AFP/Al-Ikhbariya)

New York, August 27, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of Turkish cameraman Cüneyt Ünal, who appeared exhausted and bruised in a video aired today in which he said he had been taken captive while reporting in Syria.

Ünal, a cameraman for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Al-Hurra, was reported missing in the northwestern city of Aleppo on August 20 along with an Al-Hurra colleague, reporter Bashar Fahmi, a Jordanian national of Palestinian origin. Ünal makes no mention of Fahmi in the video clip.

August 27, 2012 2:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cambodia

A journalist's account of a Cambodian activist's death

Chut Wutty's son stands near a picture of his father during a commemoration ceremony. (Reuters/Samrang Pring)

Here's a quick pointer to a piece in the Daily Beast by freelance reporter Olesia Plokhii, who worked at The Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh until May this year. Plokhii's moving story, "Death of a Forester," describes the death of Chut Wutty, a Cambodian activist who was shot a few feet away from Plokhii and another journalist, Phorn Bopha, while he accompanied them to an illegal logging site in a protected forest in Koh Kong province. 

August 27, 2012 1:08 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ivory Coast

Local press targeted and harassed in Ivory Coast

The offices of the Cyclone Media Group were attacked on Sunday. (AFP/Sia Kambou)

Lagos, Nigeria, August 24, 2012--Ivorian authorities must immediately halt censorship of news outlets reporting critically on the government and investigate an armed assault on the offices of a publishing group, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Egypt

In Egypt, Morsi bans pre-trial detention of journalists

New York, August 23, 2012--Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi banned pre-trial detention of journalists charged with press-related offenses today in a decree issued just hours after a Cairo criminal court jailed an editor pending trial on charges of insulting the president, according to news reports. 

Blog   |   Russia

Criminalization of speech a serious setback for Russia

Thousands gathered in December 2011 to protest the alleged vote rigging in parliamentary elections. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Shortly after the May 7 presidential inauguration of Vladimir Putin, the Russian parliament passed four major bills in record time--all of them meant to counter the protests that first erupted in the country in December 2011.

Blog   |   India

India's clumsy Internet crackdown

Residents of India's northeast crowd a railway station as they flee ethnic violence. (AP/Anupam Nath)

Indian Internet advocates and journalists are in an uproar this week over the news that the government has blocked access to around 300 websites, pages, and social media accounts in an effort to quell communal violence in the turbulent northeast. The rationale is that inflammatory online content has fanned tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in states including Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, contributing to a mass exodus from the region and violence in other cities. The offending content included fabricated images of violence against Muslims, apparently circulated to incite retaliatory attacks, according to news reports.

August 22, 2012 5:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Security, USA

Resources, tips for journalists covering conventions

Journalists view the stage for the coming Republican National Convention. (Reuters/Scott Audette)

With up to 15,000 journalists expected in Tampa, Fla., for next week's Republican National Convention, some reporters and photographers will undoubtedly encounter problems concerning access to news events and coverage of related protests. Several journalism organizations have compiled resource materials and tips for journalists headed to the GOP gathering, which starts August 27, and the Democratic convention that begins September 3. Here are some of those resources:

Blog   |   Pakistan

Is Pakistan's Ansar Abbasi being banned?

Ansar Abbasi, editor of investigations for Pakistan's leading media group Jang, is apparently facing a de facto ban from his own employers. Other TV channels also report being told not to air his views. Abbasi has charged cable operators with spreading immoral, anti-Islamic messages through Indian movies and other popular culture broadcasts. In response, he says, they are censoring his views.

August 22, 2012 9:54 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

In Meles' death, as in life, a penchant for secrecy, control

The late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, shown here in 2010. (AFP/Simon Maina)

Ethiopians awakened this morning to state media reports that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, 57, the country's leader for 21 years, had died late Monday in an overseas hospital of an undisclosed disease. Within seconds, Ethiopians spread the news on social media; within minutes, international news media were issuing bulletins. Finally, after weeks of government silence and obfuscation over Meles' health, there was clarity for Ethiopians anxious for word about their leader. Still, it was left to unnamed sources to fill in even the basic details. Meles died in a Brussels hospital of liver cancer, these sources told international news organizations, and he had been ill for many months.

"Death of yet another African leader highlights secrecy & lack of transparency when it comes to ailing leaders," CNN's Faith Karimi noted on Twitter, where the hashtag #MelesZenawi was trending globally.

Alerts   |   Argentina

In Argentina, two local journalists attacked within a week

New York, August 21, 2012--Authorities in Argentina must immediately investigate violent attacks on two local journalists and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The unrelated attacks occurred within the space of a week. 

August 21, 2012 4:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, China, Japan

Yamamoto's death reflects Japan's media reach, duty

Japanese reporter Mika Yamamoto was killed after being caught in gunfire in Aleppo, Syria. (AFP/NHK News)

My colleagues and I were saddened to learn of the death of Mika Yamamoto, a Japan Press video and photo journalist who was killed while covering clashes in Aleppo, Syria, on Monday. The moment was all the more poignant because of the similarities with two other Japanese journalist fatalities: Kenji Nagai of APF News in Burma in 2007 and Hiro Muramoto of Reuters in Thailand in 2010. As with Yamamoto, Nagai and Muramoto were photojournalists covering conflict between anti-government elements and government troops in foreign countries.

Alerts   |   Burma

Burma ends pre-publication censorship; harsh laws remain

Two men chat at a roadside weekly journal shop in Rangoon on Monday. Burma's government said it would abolish the practice of censoring publications before they are printed. (AP/Khin Maung Win)

Bangkok, August 20, 2012--Burma should dismantle its censorship agency and repeal all laws that continue to allow suppression of news in the name of national security, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The government announced today that it would abolish pre-publication censorship, a step CPJ welcomes but considers a partial measure in addressing the country's restrictive practices.

Blog   |   Spain

The long shadow of Spanish politics over public media

A recent wave of personnel changes at Spanish state-owned broadcaster Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) has raised concerns about political and ideological influence, with many fearing that journalists closer to the current conservative government are being promoted at the expense of those with alleged progressive views. It is the latest controversy in a long debate about the model for Spain's flagship public broadcaster and, especially, its relations with the government of the hour.

Blog   |   China, Japan

Japan releases Chinese journalists--China's up next

Chinese activists are escorted as they disembark from a Japan Coast Guard patrol ship. (Reuters/Kyodo)

It's not often we at CPJ find ourselves calling on other countries to release Chinese journalists from detention. But that's just what happened yesterday. Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV contacted us to say that two of their journalists were among a group of 14 arrested by Japanese authorities over a disputed territory in the East China Sea. For once, we found ourselves in accordance with Chinese authorities, who called for the "unconditional and immediate release" of all 14, according to Reuters

August 17, 2012 2:11 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

With questions on Veracruz, feds should take over

Mexico City, August 17, 2012--Mexican federal authorities should assume control of the investigation and prosecution of all cases of murdered and missing journalists in the state of Veracruz, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A state investigation into the murder of several journalists has raised numerous questions and concerns, CPJ found.

Blog   |   Mexico, Security, USA

Mexico must back up federal measure to protect press

Journalists protest the murder of a Mexican journalist earlier this year. (AFP/Sergio Hernandez)

Using guns, grenades, explosives, and other deadly means, criminals have assaulted four Mexican newsrooms in less than six weeks. One of the country's top journalists, Lydia Cacho, was the target of a chilling death threat last month. Journalists in Veracruz have gone missing or been killed this year. Press fatalities in Mexico remain among the highest in the world, leading to vast self-censorship. And the perpetrators? They are not only well organized and heavily armed, they enjoy near-complete impunity for their attacks on the press. Mexican lawmakers began to address the crisis this year, but now they risk losing the momentum.

Alerts   |   Egypt

Egyptian government attempts to suppress the media

Supporters raise a photo of President Morsi. (AP/Amr Nabil)

New York, August 16, 2012--President Mohamed Morsi's government and allies are pushing back against critical news coverage, suppressing critical journalists and state-run newspapers, putting a journalist on trial, and attacking three journalists on the street, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Ecuador, Sweden, UK, USA

As it backs Assange, Ecuador stifles expression at home

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa holds the hands of Christine Assange, the mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, during a meeting in Quito, Ecuador, Aug. 1. (AP/Martin Jaramillo)

The Quito government's decision to grant Julian Assange political asylum comes at a time when freedom of expression is under siege in Ecuador. President Rafael Correa's press freedom record is among the very worst in the Americas, and providing asylum to the WikiLeaks founder won't change the repressive conditions facing Ecuadoran journalists who want to report critically about government policies and practices.

Alerts   |   Gabon

In Gabon, gunmen burn opposition TV station's transmitter

Clashes broke out in Gabon's capital Libreville on Wednesday when police broke up a protest in support of the country's main opposition leader. (AFP/Xavier Bourgois)

Lagos, Nigeria, August 16, 2012--Unidentified gunmen today stormed a private television station owned by Gabon's main opposition leader and burned down its transmitters, according to local journalists and news reports. It was the second armed attack on the broadcaster since 2009.

August 16, 2012 4:46 PM ET

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Case   |   Nigeria

Former Niger Delta militants attack journalist union office

A group of armed men attacked the office of the local branch of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the southern city of Warri on August 7, 2012, according to news reports. The men came with kegs of gasoline and threatened to lynch journalists and burn the office if they were not granted media coverage, news reports said.

Blog   |   South Sudan

McClatchy's Boswell caught in South Sudan's war of words

Alan Boswell (Courtesy Boswell)

A day before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited South Sudan this month, McClatchy correspondent Alan Boswell reported that President Salva Kiir had finally acknowledged his government's support for a Nuba Mountains-based group that had been skirmishing with Sudanese forces. In a letter to his U.S. counterpart, the story said, Kiir apologized for his previous denials, which came in the face of U.S. intelligence to the contrary. The story, which exposed an important element in the tense relations between the two once-joined nations, put Boswell in the cross-hairs.

Alerts   |   Gambia

The Gambia shuts independent radio station

New York, August 15, 2012--Gambian national security agents summarily shut an independent radio station early this morning without providing an explanation, according to news reports. Authorities have censored Taranga FM at least twice before in retaliation for its exclusive news review program, according to news reports.

Officers of the Gambian National Intelligence Agency stormed Taranga FM studios in Sinchu Alhagie village, southwest of Banjul, the capital, and forced it off the air, according to news reports. The officials also took the station's license as well as the contact information of its board members, local journalists said. The officers told the station staff only that they had received "directives from above," news reports said.

Alerts   |   Djibouti

In Djibouti, reporter detained for a week without charge

Houssein Ahmed Farah (La Voix de Djibouti)

Nairobi, August 15, 2012--Authorities in Djibouti must immediately release a journalist for an opposition news website who has been jailed for a week without charge or access to a lawyer or his family, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Two police officers arrested Houssein Ahmed Farah, a contributor to the Europe-based news website La Voix de Djibouti (The Voice of Djibouti), on August 8, according to news reports. Three days later, a local judge ordered him to be remanded to Gabode Prison in Djibouti City, the capital, according to local journalists. Houssein is diabetic, and local journalists believe he has not been granted access to a doctor while in detention. 

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Two journalists brutally beaten in Kazakh capital

New York, August 14, 2012--Authorities in Kazakhstan must thoroughly investigate attacks on two journalists in separate episodes in the past week and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Case   |   Colombia

Rebel group releases kidnapped Colombian journalist

Colombian journalist Élida Parra Alonso, who was kidnapped on July 24, 2012, by a local guerrilla group in the northeastern state of Arauca, was released on August 13, 2012, according to news reports. Parra hosts a program for Sarare Estéreo radio station and does community outreach work for Oleoducto Bicentenario, a company constructing an oil pipeline that it says will be the largest in the country, news reports said.

Alerts   |   Syria

In Syria, wave of deadly attacks against journalists

Syrian residents inspect houses destroyed by what they say was heavy shelling from government forces in Homs on Tuesday. (Reuters/Yazan Homsy)

New York, August 14, 2012--A series of attacks against journalists in Syria over the past two weeks have included the killing of at least three journalists and the kidnapping of several others, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pro-government media have borne the brunt of the recent attacks.

Alerts   |   India

Militants attack Indian journalist's house in Manipur

New York, August 14, 2012--Indian authorities should immediately investigate a grenade attack that targeted a prominent local journalist on Saturday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. No one was injured in the attack, which came in the wake of death threats made by local insurgents against editors, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Italy, UK

Council of Europe foreign ministers call for libel reform

Trickling back from the summer recess, European press freedom advocates and media lawyers are taking stock of facts and statements that went underreported during the holiday lull. And libel reform stands on top of the pile.  

Blog   |   Bahrain, Somalia, Syria

Syria, Somalia, Bahrain--where fathers bury their sons

From left: Anas al-Tarsha, 17, Syria; Ahmed Addow Anshur, 24, Somalia; Mahad Salad Adan, 20, Somalia; Hassan Osman Abdi, 24, Somalia; Mazhar Tayyara, 24, Syria.

The 17-year-old videographer Anas al-Tarsha regularly filmed clashes and military movements in the city of Homs in Syria, and posted the footage on YouTube. On February 24, he was killed by a mortar round while filming the bombardment of the city's Qarabees district, according to news reports. The central city had been under attack for more than three weeks as Syrian forces stepped up their assault on opposition strongholds.

Alerts   |   Togo

Togolese authorities ban radio station's call-in programs

Lagos, Nigeria, August 10, 2012--Togo's media regulatory body has suspended the call-in shows of a leading private radio station without giving the station an opportunity to defend itself in court, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to immediately allow Légende FM to resume broadcasting all of its programs.

Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian authorities crack down on Muslim press

Ethiopian Muslims are staging protests every Friday. (Hayat Se)

Nairobi, August 9, 2012--Ethiopian authorities must release a journalist who has been detained for almost three weeks, and allow three Muslim news outlets to resume publishing immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Local journalists believe the Muslim press in Ethiopia is being targeted for its coverage of protests by the Muslim community.

Case   |   Panama

Panamanian daily's offices blockaded after critical reports

About 30 trucks from Transcaribe Trading (TCT), a local construction company in Panama City, surrounded the offices of the daily La Prensa on August 2, 2012, from around 10 p.m. until 1:30 a.m., preventing the paper's trucks and employees from leaving the premises, according to news reports. TCT workers told local journalists that they were there because the daily's reports were jeopardizing the future of the company, and thus their jobs, according to news reports.

August 10, 2012 11:28 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

Umbrellas cast shadow over 'open' trial in China

A spectator is surrounded by journalists Thursday after exiting the Hefei City Intermediate People's Court where the trial of Gu Kailai for murder takes place. (AP/Eugene Hoshiko)

We cover all kinds of censorship here at CPJ. Recently we documented the cunning application of scissors to prevent readers from accessing China-related articles in hard copy magazines. But it's been a while since we've had chance to write about one favored implement of information control in China: the umbrella. 

August 9, 2012 3:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Security, USA

What to do if you are detained or arrested at conventions

A demonstrator is arrested in downtown Chicago during a protest against the NATO Summit in May 2012. (Mickey H. Osterreicher)

As a follow-up to my previous "What to know about covering the conventions," the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has been working with a number of organizations in order to provide support for journalists covering the U.S. national political conventions in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., this month and next. Some things for those journalists to keep in mind:

August 9, 2012 11:16 AM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Election corruption grave threat to Pakistan's media

"Elections will not be fought, but will be bought," is a saying being used by political tacticians in Pakistan. Hope for the legitimacy of the country's first fair transfer of power between two civilian governments with the oversight of unbiased media is disappearing quickly. Billions of rupees are pouring into media outlets through secret sources, journalists and media watch organizations say. The cash is being paid out in several different ways. 

Alerts   |   Mali

In Mali, Islamic militants beat journalist, close radio station

People from Mali's north protest against the Islamist takeover of their region in the capital, Bamako, on July 4. (AP/Harouna Traore)

Lagos, Nigeria, August 7, 2012--Members of an Islamist militant group attacked a radio journalist in Mali on Sunday and ordered his station off the air, according to local journalists and news reports. The attack was in retaliation for the station's coverage of local protests, according to local journalists and a leader of the Islamist group.

Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

US pursues return of Palestinian TV station's equipment

For more than five months, the Ramallah-based private television broadcaster Wattan TV has been without key equipment, including transmitters, computers, files, and archives. On February 29, Israeli soldiers and officials from the Ministry of Communications raided the station without a warrant, saying it was broadcasting illegally and interfering with aircraft transmissions.

August 7, 2012 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

No right to information in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in white, inspects a parade May 19 marking the third anniversary of the defeat of Tamil Tiger separatists. (Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

You would think that with fighting between government forces and secessionist Tamils finished in May 2009, the Sri Lankan government might ease its grip on public information--information which is really the property of the country's citizens, not whichever administration happens to be holding political power. In 2004, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike's cabinet did approve a Freedom of Information Bill, but parliament was dissolved and the bill never went further.

Blog   |   Internet, Syria, USA

Weak cyber protections lead to personal, institutional risk

The Syrian civil war is also a propaganda war. With the Assad regime and the rebels both attempting to assure their supporters and the world that they are on the brink of victory, how the facts are reported has become central to the struggle. Hackers working in support of Assad loyalists this week decided to take a shortcut, attacking the Reuters news agency's blogging platform and one of its Twitter accounts, and planting false stories about the vanquishing of rebel leaders and wavering support for them from abroad.

August 6, 2012 6:14 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gabon

Gabon suspends 2 newspapers critical of government

Two newspapers banned in Gabon are critical of President Ali Bongo. (Reuters/Mal Langsdon)

New York, August 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Friday's decision by Gabon's state-run media regulator to suspend two private newspapers for six months over criticism of top officials. 

In a press statement obtained by CPJ, the National Communications Council accused weeklies Ezombolo and La Une of disrespecting public institutions "and the personalities that embody them." Local journalists told CPJ that the council appeared to be singling out critics of the government.

August 6, 2012 4:51 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Honduras

Journalist's house attacked by gunmen in Honduras

Honduran journalists have been targeted in the past. In 2011, journalists gathered to protest attacks on their colleagues. (Reuters/Danny Ramirez)

New York, August 6, 2012--Authorities in Honduras must immediately investigate the attack on the house of a radio journalist in the state of Yoro, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. José Encarnación Chinchilla López, a reporter for Radio Cadena Voces in the city of El Progreso, told reporters that he was certain he was the target of the attack, according to news reports.

August 6, 2012 4:21 PM ET

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Statements   |   USA

Arrest of NYT photographer must be investigated

New York, August 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the arrest and alleged beating of a New York Times photographer while he was on assignment Saturday evening in New York City.

"The report by The New York Times on the arrest of its photographer, Robert Stolarik, raises questions about police tactics of blocking reporters covering street unrest and protests," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "The New York City Police Department must investigate this disturbing incident and ensure that officers allow all journalists to do their job freely."

August 6, 2012 2:45 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopian appeals court reduces sentence of Reeyot Alemu

The front cover of Reeyot Alemu's book, 'EPRDF's Red Pen.' (Reeyot Alemu)

Nairobi, August 3, 2012--An appeals court in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, has reduced a 14-year prison sentence given to journalist Reeyot Alemu in January to five years and dropped most of the terrorism charges against her, according to local journalists.

Reeyot, a columnist for the independent weekly Feteh, was sentenced in January and fined 33,000 birrs (US$1,500) under Ethiopia's sweeping anti-terrorism law for planning and conspiring a terrorist act; possessing property for terrorist acts; and participating in the promotion or communication of a terrorist act, according to local journalists.

Blog

Principled broadcasting in Pakistan, a work in progress

Pakistan's media, particularly broadcast, are often praised and condemned, sometimes in the same sentence. The number of television broadcasters exploded under the Musharraf government, growing to around 90 private cable and satellite channels. And while the growth has been swift and competitive, very often the end product leaves a lot to be desired--as many in the industry admit.

August 3, 2012 1:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

Mogadishu comic is latest Somali media death

Abdi Jeylani Malaq (Hiiran Online)

All the radio stations wanted him, and for good reason--Abdi Jeylani Malaq was one of the most famous comedians in Mogadishu, and it was the holy month of Ramadan when the radio broadcasters hold quiz shows. Abdi had been in the business since 1989 and was in hot demand as a commentator for the competitions. He had just finished one such quiz show Tuesday evening at Radio Kulmiye, in the capital's central region, and had left the station for home when two gunmen shot him five times in the chest and head, local journalists told me. He was pronounced dead from blood loss at Medani Hospital and was buried Thursday. "He was a great friend for me and for all Somali journalists," recounted Abdalla Ahmed, a reporter for the private Mogadishu station Radio Risaale. 

Alerts   |   Mozambique

Mozambican journalist sentenced in criminal libel case

The front page of an issue of O Autarca. (O Autarca)

Johannesburg, August 2, 2012--An appeals court in the Mozambican city of Beira should reverse the criminal libel conviction of a journalist who wrote about a disagreement between a private school and the family of a disabled student, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Falume Chabane was sentenced to a 16-month suspended prison term on July 20 and ordered to pay damages of 150,000 meticais, according to news reports.

August 2, 2012 4:51 PM ET

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Case   |   Sierra Leone

Radio station attacked, vandalized in Sierra Leone

Radio Gbafth, an independent community radio station in Tonkolili district, was attacked by supporters of a local politician on July 19, 2012, according to local journalists and the Media Foundation of West Africa, a Ghana-based press freedom organization. The politician, John Raka Conteh, also known as Potas, had been invited as a panelist on one of the station's programs to discuss the postponement of the local election, the reports said.

August 1, 2012 4:40 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Burma

Burmese authorities suspend two news publications

Two weekly news publications have been suspended indefinitely in Burma. (AP/Khin Maung Win)

Bangkok, August 1, 2012--Two weekly news publications were suspended indefinitely in Burma on Tuesday, marking a significant reversal of the government's earlier loosening of media restrictions and pre-publication censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

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