Brussels, September 28, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the criminal defamation conviction and 14-month prison sentence handed to Alessandro Sallusti, editor-in-chief of the Milan-based daily Il Giornale, and calls on Italian authorities to reform the country's defamation laws.
On Wednesday, the Fifth Chamber of the Cassation Court, Italy's highest, upheld an earlier guilty verdict delivered against Sallusti by a lower court in Milan in June, 2011.
CPJ announces 2012 IPFA winners
Four journalists who risked their lives to report the truth will be honored at CPJ's 2012 International Press Freedom Awards ceremony. The award winners are Mauri König, a Brazilian investigative reporter; Mae Azango, a Liberian journalist; jailed Tibetan journalist Dhondup Wangchen; and Azimjon Askarov, a reporter serving a life term in Kyrgyzstan.
After CPJ announced the award winners, Muzaffar Suleymanov, the organization's Europe and Central Asia researcher, was interviewed by Voice of America's Uzbek service about Askarov. The journalist, who heard the broadcast in his prison cell, was visibly moved by the honor, his lawyer told CPJ.
CPJ will also be presenting Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, with the 2012 Burton Benjamin Award for his unwavering commitment to press freedom.
The dinner will be hosted by Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent for PBS and a CPJ board member. The ceremony will take place on November 20, 2012, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Please contact the Development Department for tickets.
On September 11, a Cambodian journalist named Hang Serei Odom was found dead in an abandoned vehicle. Missing since September 9, the reporter with the local Vorakchun Khmer Daily newspaper had suffered several axe blows to the head.
New York, September 28, 2012--Indian authorities must determine the motive in a bomb attack that killed a freelance journalist in her home on Wednesday and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
This week, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh marked his 80th birthday. He spent the day, Wednesday, in the company of family and at public events, according to news reports. "There are no celebrations. He prefers to be with his family in the morning--then work as usual," Singh's spokesman told the media.
New York, September 27, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's passage of a Human Rights Council Resolution on the Safety of Journalists. The resolution represents a robust effort to secure action that will safeguard journalists and deliver justice if they are killed.
In the pitched battle between Cristina Kirchner’s administration and critical media outlets such as those owned by Grupo Clarín, the very credibility of journalism is at stake. Argentine citizens are deprived of objective sources of information on vital political and economic issues. A CPJ special report by Sara Rafsky
New York, September 26, 2012--Iran's Press TV has reported that one of its correspondents, Maya Naser, was killed today while reporting on twin explosions and ensuing clashes in Damascus. The state-run station also said that its Damascus bureau chief, Hussein Mortada, was wounded in the same sniper fire and attributed both shootings to insurgents.
Two Egyptian journalists were assaulted on September 14, 2012, in two separate episodes while covering protests against an anti-Islam film, according to news reports.
These days, press freedom in Tunisia feels ever more distant.
Many journalists believed that media freedoms, which were virtually nonexistent under former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, would grow after his ouster. During the aftermath of the December 2010 uprising, an independent press blossomed and special commissions were set up to reform the media sector. But since the elected government took office nine months ago, the tide has slowly reversed.
A radical militant Islamist group released an 18-minute video on May 1, 2012, that threatened attacks on at least 14 local and international news outlets, according to news reports. In the video, Boko Haram, a group seeking the imposition of Sharia law in northern Nigeria, accused the outlets of biased reporting and crimes against Islam and also claimed responsibility for prior attacks on newspapers, news reports said.
Armed men in plainclothes raided the offices of CNN in the commercial capital of Lagos on January 16, 2012, amid nationwide protests over hikes in fuel prices, according to local journalists and news reports.
Bangkok, September 24, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the harsh prison sentences handed down today to three prominent Vietnamese online journalists convicted of anti-state charges. In a widening crackdown on press and Internet freedoms, Vietnamese courts have sentenced six journalists and bloggers to prison in the last five weeks.
Although it is the world's largest democracy, India has retained its colonial-era sedition law. But with a national debate ensuing after the arrest of 25-year-old political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on the antiquated sedition charge and others, members of the Indian government have been forced to do some soul-searching.
Nairobi, September 21, 2012--Unidentified gunmen killed veteran Somali journalist Hassan Yusuf Absuge in Mogadishu this morning, just hours after he had reported on an explosion that killed 14 people including three of his colleagues.
New York, September 21, 2012--Syrian security forces launched an assault Wednesday on the home of a cameraman who had recorded hundreds of videos on the country's conflict, burning the house and killing the journalist and three of his friends, local activists told international news outlets. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the brutal attack and calls on all sides to stop targeting journalists.
Soumaïla Abdoulaye Maïga, a presenter with community station Radio Soni in the northeastern town of Ansongo, went into hiding on April 13, 2012, after being warned of an imminent attack by separatist fighters of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), according to local journalists. After Maïga fled, the fighters raided his house and detained a fellow journalist and friend, local journalists said.
Members of Ansar Dine, a Salafist militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, shut down two local radio stations on March 27, 2012, as they seized the northeast town of Kidal from the Malian army, according to local journalists.
In Istanbul, the trial of several suspects in the case of Odatv, an ultranationalist website harshly critical of the government, continues to great consternation. When the case began in early 2011, a dozen journalists were charged, 10 of whom were incarcerated. The prosecution said Odatv staffers, along with prominent investigative reporters Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, were involved in the alleged Ergenekon plot--a supposed large-scale conspiracy to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Nairobi, September 20, 2012--Three Somali journalists were killed and at least four were injured in a suicide bomb attack in a Mogadishu café today, according to news reports and local journalists. The attack took place across the street from the National Theater, where a bomb blast in April wounded at least 10 journalists, news reports said.
New York, September 20, 2012--Ecuadoran authorities must immediately investigate threats against Janet Hinostroza, a journalist with the private network Teleamazonas, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The threats have forced Hinostroza to take a temporary leave of absence.
South African journalists and civil society groups were uneasy this month amid rumors that the Protection of State Information Bill, commonly known as the Secrecy Bill, would pass the Upper House of parliament, the last step before a presidential signature. Since 2008, journalists and civil society have lobbied against the bill, which many fear would spell the end of investigative journalism. A number of these fears have been alleviated by nearly 200 amendments to the draft since its inception, according to the communications director of the ruling African National Congress's (ANC) parliamentary caucus, Moloto Mothapo.
Militants belonging to the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), a Salafist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, seized control of community station Radio Soni in the northeastern town of Ansongo on August 29, 2012, according to local journalists.
Two officials of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), a Salafist militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, raided the studios of Radio Annya in the northeastern town of Gao on August 20, 2012, according to the BBC.
Writer, journalist, blogger, and free speech activist Eskinder Nega, the 2012 recipient of PEN American Center's Freedom to Write Award, lived in Washington, D.C., before returning to his native Ethiopia to start one of the country's first-ever independent newspapers. On Friday, Eskinder was back in D.C.--not physically, but as the subject of a candlelight vigil at the African American Civil War Memorial that commemorated the first anniversary of the blogger's arrest and sent the message that those jailed for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of speech are never forgotten.
Connection impossible! The Charlie Hebdo website was not accessible on Wednesday afternoon after the French satirical magazine proclaimed that it had published fresh cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Stéphane Charbonnier, its editor-in-chief, confirmed that the site had been attacked by hackers.
Rebel fighters of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a separatist movement of ethnic Tuaregs in northern Mali, stormed the offices of private Radio Adar Khoïma in the northeastern town of Gao on April 3, 2012, according to local journalists and news reports. The rebels kidnapped a journalist and assaulted him, and forced the station off the air for 72 hours, the sources said.
On September 12, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued an administrative order--number 7169--accusing us, Danlambao, of "publishing information that is false, fabricated, and untruthful to slander the leadership of the nation, to agitate the people against the Party and the State, to cause doubts and create bad publicity reducing the people's trust in the state leadership." The order directed the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Information Communication and Media to investigate and discipline any groups or individuals who affiliate with Danlambao.
Vietnamese officials are stepping up repression of old and new media even as they promote an image of an open, globalized economy. Intense surveillance and imprisonment of critical journalists, coupled with increasingly restrictive laws, are choking the flow of information. A CPJ special report by Shawn W. Crispin
New York, September 18, 2012--Authorities in Belarus must immediately investigate the attack and detention of at least seven journalists reporting on a protest in downtown Minsk today and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
Agents in plainclothes repeatedly hit several journalists covering an opposition protest organized by activists calling for a boycott of Sunday's parliamentary vote, according to news reports. Sergei Grits, a photographer for The Associated Press, said his face was covered with blood after one of the assailants punched him and broke his glasses, according to AP.
New York, September 18, 2012--Chinese authorities should release a well-known academic and Internet writer detained last week in connection with his published articles, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Jiao Guobiao has been targeted in the past for his articles criticizing the Chinese government.
Lagos, Nigeria, September 17, 2012--State security agents in the Gambia on Friday ordered two independent newspapers to cease publication immediately but provided no explanation, according to local journalists and news reports.
Agents from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in the capital, Banjul, visited the offices of the daily The Standard and the paper Daily News, which publishes three times a week, and told them that the president had ordered both papers to be shut down immediately, according to news reports. The agents told the staff that they could seek an explanation from the president's office, which oversees the operations of the NIA, news reports said. The officials did not specify how long the suspension would last.
New York, September 17, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Wednesday's attack on two media workers outside the offices of local daily The Arunachal Times in India and calls on police in Arunachal Pradesh state to increase security for the paper, which has been attacked three other times since March.
It doesn't take a baseball bat to silence a reporter in Japan--increasingly the blunt weapon being wielded by corporations, power brokers, and politicians is the court gavel.
In May of this year, a writer for the weekly magazine Shukan Kinyobi was sued by one of Japan's most powerful nuclear industry figures, for a total of 67,000,000 yen (US$858,000). The thrust of the lawsuit is that the term used to describe the plaintiff is libelous.
New York, September 14, 2012--Authorities must immediately release journalist Rami Aysha who has been detained without charge and abused since being seized more than two weeks ago while investigating alleged arms smuggling in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, September 13, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the ongoing imprisonment of Ahmed Radhi, a freelance journalist who was first detained four months ago after making critical comments about Bahraini-Saudi relations. Radhi now faces terrorism and other anti-state charges which he says were lodged after he was abused and forced into making a false confession.
It was only a matter of time before Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's physical absence from the public view was accompanied by his disappearance from cyberspace. The characters "Jinping" from his name were censored today from searches of Sina's microblog service Weibo, according to the Fei Chang Dao blog. Where else but China does a deficiency of information about a nonappearance become a story worth deleting?
So is there a story or isn't there? International news reports say that Xi, President Hu Jintao's expected successor, has not been seen in public since Sept. 1, and missed a Sept. 5 meeting scheduled with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That was either a snub, a swimming injury, a stroke, or an assassination attempt, depending on who you talk to. Xi has missed other appointments too, though the full extent of his truancy remains unclear.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey is known to lash out publicly at journalists of whose coverage he disapproves. He has called on media owners and editors to discipline reporters and columnists critical of his policies, particularly when it comes to the sensitive Kurdish issue. In more than a few cases, to avoid trouble, newsroom managers have listened and dismissed the staffers in question.
Lagos, Nigeria, September 12, 2012--An Ivoirian government security detail assaulted a journalist covering the eviction of a senior official's family on Friday, seizing his equipment and leaving him bleeding and bruised, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack and calls on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.
A police officer, a military soldier, and agents in plainclothes attacked Anderson Diédri, a reporter for the private daily Le Nouveau Courrier, as he interviewed and photographed a woman and her five children as they were being evicted from their home in Abidjan, according to local journalists and news reports. The woman's husband, Albert Toikeusse Mabri, the minister of planning and development, had sought the eviction after filing for divorce in June.
New York, September 12, 2012--Continuing their three-year-long clampdown on journalists covering human rights, minority groups, and political reform, Iranian authorities have summoned two journalists to begin prison terms and are bringing two others to trial.
Bangkok, September 12, 2012--Cambodian authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a journalist who was found with ax wounds in the trunk of his car on Tuesday, less than a week after he had exposed an alleged military connection to the illicit timber trade, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
CPJ has been monitoring the investigation into the shooting attack on Arunachal Times journalist Tongam Rina outside her office in Itanagar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh state, which left her hospitalized in critical condition this July. Her recovery is progressing, slowly but surely. The police inquiry, however, is not.
Nairobi, September 11, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Ethiopian government to set free six journalists in prison for their work, a day after Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were pardoned and released from Kality Prison in the capital Addis Ababa.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is saddened by the death of Isik Yurtçu, who died Saturday in Istanbul of cancer at the age of 67.
In July of 1997, a bus full of international and Turkish journalists pulled up to the plain iron gate of Sakarya Prison east of Istanbul. Cameras rolling, representatives of CPJ, the International Press Institute, Reporters Sans Frontieres and Turkey's Press Council and Union of Newspaper Editors pressed toward the startled guard who swung the gate open just a foot or two and peered out.
Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is in China this week to meet with top leaders, according to international news reports. CPJ's Advocacy and Communications Associate Magnus Ag and Senior Asia Program Researcher Madeline Earp co-wrote an op-ed calling on Thorning--as she is called in the Danish press--to raise the issue of press freedom. An edited version ran in the Danish newspaper Politiken today.
Speaking truthfully to China on its repression of human rights can be a tricky endeavor in diplomatic affairs, but Helle Thorning-Schmidt has a prime opportunity to raise press freedom on her trip to China. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not give the issue public priority during their visits earlier this month, but as Thorning meets with top Communist Party leaders and addresses a World Economic Forum meeting in Tianjin, the opportunity must not be wasted.
Alhamdulillah! Finally, a technologist designed a security tool that everyone could use. A Lebanese-born, Montreal-based computer scientist, college student, and activist named Nadim Kobeissi had developed a cryptography tool, Cryptocat, for the Internet that seemed as easy to use as Facebook Chat but was presumably far more secure.
Nigerian soldiers beat Leadership Newspapers reporter David-Chyddy Eleke, confiscated his camera, and arrested him for taking pictures of the demolition of buildings in Awka, in Anambra State in Nigeria's southeast region on September 6, 2012, according to local journalists and news reports.
On September 5, 2012, the studios of TV+, a private television station in the capital, Libreville, owned by André Mba Obame, the country's main opposition leader, were attacked by six unknown assailants, Agence France-Presse quoted Editor-in-Chief Ismaël Obiang Nze as saying. In the attack around 3 a.m. local time, a security guard was hit on the head with a hammer, stabbed in the back, and tied up, but his injuries were not critical, Nze said.
New York, September 10, 2012--Indian authorities should immediately drop all of the charges against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and release him from detention, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Police in Maharashtra state arrested Trivedi, a 25-year-old freelancer from India's central Uttar Pradesh state, on Saturday, according to news reports. The cartoonist faces charges of sedition, violating Internet security laws, and insulting national honor for publishing cartoons mocking national symbols and criticizing corruption on his website, Cartoons Against Corruption, news reports said.
Nairobi, September 10, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is relieved to learn the Ethiopian government has pardoned Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye today.
New York, September 7, 2012--A Vietnamese journalist who bribed a police officer during an undercover investigation to expose corruption was sentenced today to four years in prison, according to local and international news reports.
Record-high temperatures swept most of Europe this summer, but in Moscow the weather, much like the political climate, was chilly. I spent three months in the capital at the invitation of the Russian Union of Journalists, and witnessed how Vladimir Putin's third term in office kicked off with the passage of restrictive laws, harassment and prosecution of dissent, the jailing of an irreverent punk-rock band, and death threats by a top-ranking official against a prominent editor.
New York, September 6, 2012--Bahraini authorities should toss out the unjust conviction and life sentence handed to an online journalist who was imprisoned for exercising his right to free expression during the country's 2011 popular uprising, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Hardly ever do Nigerian journalists get justice for assaults suffered in the line of duty. But things may be set to change with the case of Benedict Uwalaka, a photojournalist with Leadership Newspapers, who on August 9 was brutally assaulted at a government hospital in Lagos State. The first step toward justice came 22 days later, when Bayo Ogunsola, one of the assailants identified by Uwalaka, was arraigned in court on August 31 on a two-count charge of assault and destruction of the journalist's camera. Ogunsola pleaded not guilty on both counts.
New York, September 4, 2012--A Tanzanian TV journalist was killed on Sunday during a confrontation with police over the arrest of another journalist, according to several local journalists who witnessed the shooting.
New York, September 4, 2012--U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should press Chinese officials in meetings this week to allow international journalists based in China greater access to news events and fewer restrictions of their coverage, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
When I first met Sandhya Eknelygoda in May 2010 in her home outside Colombo, she was a distressed mother of two young boys whose husband had gone missing. He was last seen four months earlier, just prior to the elections that returned President Mahinda Rajapaksa to power after the end of the decades-long war with Tamil secessionists. She still has no inkling of the whereabouts of her husband Prageeth, a cartoonist and columnist for the opposition website Lanka eNews (which has since ceased to operate in Sri Lanka because of arson attacks and legal harassment of its staff, but is maintained overseas).
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