November 2012


Tibetans protest in Rongwo township in western China's Qinghai province November 9, calling for freedom from Chinese rule. (AP)

Not unusually, an already confusing situation in Tibet just got worse. Twenty-seven Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Chinese this month alone, according to Human Rights Watch. That's almost one a day. Against this chaotic backdrop, Chinese authorities have issued an arrest order for a missing monk who helped film a 2008 documentary about life in Tibet, according to his film company, Filming for Tibet.

CPJ supporters will know that we just honored self-taught Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen with an International Press Freedom Award, recognizing his courage documenting life under Chinese rule with full knowledge that he would face severe repercussions (he is serving a six-year jail term--you can join our petition for his release here). So we've been following with concern the latest reports that his assistant on that project, the monk Jigme Gyatso, has been missing, reportedly detained, since September.

Bogotá, November 30, 2012--Top Colombian police officials must conduct an intensive investigation into the actions of local police during their arrest of freelance journalist Guillermo Quiroz Delgado, who died Tuesday night, seven days after he was hospitalized for injuries suffered while in custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

This image provided by Edlib News Network shows an anti-Syrian regime protester holding up a placard reading: 'the victory fingers over the Place (the presidential palace),' during a demonstration at Binnish village, Idlib province, on Friday. (AP/Edlib News Network ENN)

The Syrian Internet, like the country, appears to have been collapsing into a patchwork of unconnected systems for some time. I spent time talking to Syrians tech activists this week in Tunisia before Thursday's shutdown, and their reports from the front painted a picture of two different networks.

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, November 2012

Journalists honored at IPFA

Thanks to David Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, who chaired CPJ's 2012 International Press Freedom Awards dinner on November 20, the organization raised a record-breaking $1.57 million to support persecuted journalists.

The nearly 900 distinguished guests at the event also pledged support for CPJ's Campaign Against Impunity during a special appeal that raised more than $100,000. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has generously pledged to match two-to-one $100,000 of the funds.

The event, held at New York's Waldorf-Astoria, was hosted by CPJ board member and PBS senior correspondent Gwen Ifill. The ceremony paid tribute  to the reporting of Mauri König (Gazeto do Pozo, Brazil), Mae Azango, (New Narratives and FrontPage Africa, Liberia) as well as jailed journalists Dhondup Wangchen (Filming for Tibet, imprisoned in China) and Azimjon Askarov (Ferghana News, Kyrgyzstan), who were awarded in absentia. Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, was awarded the Burton Benjamin Award for his lifetime commitment to press freedom. 


New York, November 29, 2012 - The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the Internet and cell phone shutdown in Syria today which disconnects Syrians from the world as they endure conflict.

A newspaper stand displays Argentina's largest newspaper, Clarín. President Kirchner's government has given Clarín a December 7 deadline to sell off some of its holdings. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)

The debut of the HD version of Grupo Clarín's cable news station TN could not have come at a worse time for the Argentine media conglomerate. Conspicuously missing from Monday's premiere was coverage of a new criminal complaint in which Clarín's lawyers accused the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of inciting violence against the media group. In what the company now acknowledges was a misstep, the complaint named six pro-government journalists. 

New York, November 29, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by recommendations to adopt government regulation of the press resulting from the United Kingdom's Leveson inquiry report issued today.

New York, November 28, 2012--The politicized prosecution of dozens of independent news outlets in Kazakhstan is at odds with the country's commitment to press freedom and deeply stains its recent election to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ calls on Kazakh authorities to dismiss the case and allow the outlets to operate freely.

Solange Lusiku and Baudry Aluma have been threatened after running editorials in this October issue of Le Souverain. (Le Souverain)

New York, November 27, 2012--Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should investigate threats against at least four journalists in the eastern city of Bukavu and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Armed agents from the National Security Agency in N'Djamena, the capital, beat two reporters on November 16, 2012, and detained them in handcuffs on the premises of a private hospital, according to local journalists.

New York, November 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the murder of Brazilian journalist Eduardo Carvalho in Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state, which borders Paraguay and Bolivia. Carvalho was the editor and owner of news website Última Hora News, which frequently denounced local corruption, according to news reports.

New York, November 26, 2012--At least two journalists have been killed over the past five days while documenting unrest in Syria, according to news reports.

BBC correspondent Ibrahim Mohamed Adan has been held for nearly a week without charge. (Somalia Witness)

Nairobi, November 26, 2012--Somali authorities must immediately release Ibrahim Mohamed Adan, a correspondent for the Somali service of the BBC, who has been held for nearly a week in Mogadishu without charge, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Three years ago, on November 23, 2009, 30 journalists and two media workers were brutally killed in the southern Philippine city of Maguindanao while travelling in a convoy with the family and supporters of a local politician. To this day, not a single suspect has been convicted, though local authorities have identified close to 200. The botched trial has been stalled with procedural hurdles. Victims' families have been threatened and key witnesses have been slain.

Mauri König (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The battle for a free press sometimes feels like a war between indignation and intimidation. Journalists learn of abuses of power, crime, or corruption, and--indignant--they speak out. In response, the perpetrators of those abuses--be they government officials or criminals--try to intimidate the journalists into silence with threats, lawsuits, jail, or even murder. Last night, the Committee to Protect Journalists paid tribute to a handful of journalists for whom indignation is a driving force, no matter the scale of intimidation.

Several journalists were reported injured at this explosion near a Shia site in Karachi today. (AFP/Asif Hassan)

New York, November 21, 2012--Several Pakistani journalists were injured in a bomb blast today at a Shia site in Karachi that came just 30 minutes after an earlier explosion, according to news reports.

New York, November 20, 2012--Two Israeli airstrikes killed three journalists in the Gaza Strip today, according to news reports. The fatal attacks followed a series of Israeli strikes earlier in the week that injured at least nine journalists and damaged news outlets.

Shaheen Dhada, left, and Renu Srinivas, Indian women arrested for their Facebook posts, leave a Mumbai court Tuesday. (AP)

The arrest of two women in India this week because of posting and "liking" an opinion on Facebook has further inflamed debate over the right to freedom of expression in the world's largest democracy.

Firefighters extinguish a blaze on the tower housing local and international media on the Gaza Strip. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

New York, November 19, 2012--Israeli authorities must immediately halt airstrikes targeting news media offices in the Gaza Strip, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today following a series of strikes that injured at least nine journalists and damaged several offices.

New York, November 19, 2012--Pakistani authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a journalist who was shot to death in Baluchistan on Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Rehmatullah Abid was the second Dunya News TV journalist to be killed this year.

Protesters mark the fifth anniversary of the killing of Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink in Istanbul January 19, 2012. (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

More reporters are jailed in Turkey than in any other country in the world. According to CPJ's recent survey, at least 61 are imprisoned directly for their work, representing the second biggest media crackdown in the 27 years we have been documenting such records. (Only Turkey itself has rivaled the extent of this crackdown, when it jailed 78 journalists in 1996.) In the country hailed as the model moderate Islamic republic, how is this possible?

New York, November 18, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Israel's targeting of two media facilities in Gaza today. 

Murders of journalists such as Wali Khan Babar give Pakistani journalists plenty of reason to fear. (AP/Mohammad Sajjad)

Haider Ali, an eyewitness to the 2011 murder of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar, was gunned down on Sunday, two days before he was set to testify in the trial of five suspects. The murder sent shockwaves across Pakistan--one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists and one of the worst in bringing the killers to justice. According to the prosecutor in the case, Ali had identified several suspects as being involved in Babar's murder in a recent statement before a judicial magistrate. His killing was the latest in a series of murders that have targeted people linked to the Babar investigation. Five others--including eyewitnesses, police officers, an informant, and a family member of an investigator--have also been murdered.

Abubacarr Saidykhan (The Standard)

Lagos, Nigeria, November 16, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today said it holds authorities in the Gambia responsible for the safety of a journalist who has received death threats following critical coverage of the government.

Abubacarr Saidykhan, a freelancer who contributes to several news websites, told CPJ that four unknown people on Tuesday threatened him at his Ebo Town residence in Kanifing Municipality, some seven miles (11 kilometers) from the capital Banjul. Saidykhan said he was near his compound gate with his brother when the men drove up in an unmarked vehicle with tinted windows and threatened to kill him next time they see him. One of the men called him "a very stubborn journalist" before they drove off.

A mall's screen shows new Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping in Beijing Thursday. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Like many China watchers, we at CPJ have been struggling to interpret obscure floor markings and tie colors on display in Beijing as new Communist Party leaders were appointed in a rare leadership hand-off today. The names of the top seven are no longer in doubt. But the real question everyone's asking is: What does it mean (for press freedom)? 

Mexico City, November 15, 2012--A freelance journalist and his companion were shot to death Wednesday in the central Mexican state of Puebla shortly after the reporter had gathered information on a large-scale gasoline theft and then witnessed a stand-off between soldiers and gunmen, according to news reports and CPJ interviews.

New York, November 15, 2012--Yemeni authorities must immediately investigate separate attacks on the homes of two journalists in the southern province of Daleh, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

(Abubakar Sadiq Isah)

Lagos, Nigeria, November 15, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an attack on a Nigerian journalist on Saturday and calls on authorities to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Three unidentified men attacked Abubakar Sadiq Isah, a reporter for the Daily Trust, outside the town hall in Kwali, a local government area in Abuja, the capital, Isah told CPJ. The journalist said he was covering a public hearing when men began to beat him on his face, chest, and back. Isah said the attack occurred in front of police, who finally intervened and took him to the police station. He said his attackers were not arrested and that he filed a complaint with Umar Ozigi, the police chief. He reported no serious injuries from the attack.

(Stanley Gatera)

Nairobi, November 15, 2012--An appellate court in Rwanda should overturn the prison sentence handed to the editor of a private weekly on Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ also urges authorities to release Stanley Gatera, editor of the Kinyarwandan-language paper Umusingi, pending his planned appeal.

The Gasabo Intermediate Court in the capital, Kigali, sentenced Gatera, 22, to a one-year jail term and fines of 30,000 Rwandan francs (US$50) for inciting divisionism and gender discrimination in an opinion column he published in Umusingi in June, according to local journalists and news reports. The state prosecutor said in court that the article broke the country's laws about referring to ethnic identities, local journalists told CPJ. The Rwandan penal code includes crimes that carry prison terms for individuals who speak too provocatively about ethnicity, news reports said.

A still from the November 7 video. (YouTube)

New York, November 14, 2012--A Ukrainian journalist who was kidnapped in Syria in mid-October appeared in a short video last week pleading for her embassy to meet the demands of her captors, according to news reports. At least two other international journalists are believed to be held captive in Syria and the whereabouts of a third are unknown, according to CPJ research.

Reports of a massive surveillance operation in Tibet and harassment of journalists covering Tibetan issues cast a shadow over eagerly anticipated leadership appointments expected tomorrow in Beijing.

Lagos, Nigeria, November 14, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Chadian authorities to investigate reports of official intimidation of journalists working for a private community radio station in the southern town of Doba.

Alnodji Mbairaba Jean-paul, the editor-in-chief of La Voix du Paysan, told CPJ that he and two other journalists had been intimidated and threatened by Lamlengar Ngasebey, the town's mayor, and members of his family. La Voix du Paysan had broadcast on September 20, 21, 28 a series of news reports in which local citizens accused Ngasebey of abuse of power, mismanagement, and hiring practices that favored attractive women, the journalists said.

Dear President Obama: We are pleased that you will begin your second term as U.S. president with a trip to Southeast Asia. As you visit Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand from November 17 through 20 while attending the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related meetings in Phnom Penh, we hope that your commitment to human rights and the fundamental right to free expression remains an important aspect of your agenda.

Lawyers for imprisoned investigative reporter Azimjon Askarov, who is serving a life term in Kyrgyzstan on charges widely seen as politically motivated, filed an appeal today with the U.N. Human Rights Committee that seeks his release.

Eleven-year-old Zhang Jiahe asks a question during the 18th National Party Congress (NPC) in Beijing. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)

When a nation's most outspoken journalists are 11-year-olds, is it a good sign for the future? On the one hand, they might grow up to ask probing questions. On the other hand, they might end up following the path taken by their older peers and stick to scripted exchanges.

A woman stands next to a banner reading "No more impunity" in Colombia. (AFP/Raul Arboleda)

Here are the facts:

  • A journalist is killed in the line of duty somewhere around the world once every eight days.
  • Nearly three out of four are targeted for murder. The rest are killed in the crossfire of combat, or on dangerous assignments such as street protests.
  • Local journalists constitute the large majority of victims in all groups.
  • The murderers go unpunished in about nine out of 10 cases.
  • The overall number of journalists killed, and the number of journalists murdered, have each climbed since the 1990s.

New York, November 9, 2012--Cuban authorities charged journalist Yaremis Flores with anti-state crimes on Wednesday in connection with news articles critical of the government, an arrest that sparked two waves of protests and detentions outside a Havana police station. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to drop the charges against Flores immediately.

New York, November 9, 2012--Iranian authorities must immediately explain the sudden death of imprisoned blogger Sattar Beheshti, who had previously complained about severe mistreatment in custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ also demands that the government launch a full investigation into the suspicious death and to immediately halt its intense harassment of the victim's family.

New York, November 9, 2012--An Indian television journalist who documented a large-scale attack on young women and reported the episode to police in Karnataka state has been charged with participating in the assault, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists considers the arrest to be retaliatory and calls on authorities to drop the criminal charges and release the reporter immediately.

Activists press for secession from Cameroon on October 1. (Le Messager)

New York, November 8, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Cameroonian officials to drop criminal charges against a journalist arrested last month in the southwestern town of Buea for covering a secessionist gathering. The journalist is free on bail but faces a fine and up to six months in jail.

On September 30, 2012, Yves Phono Kepmi, a journalist with Radio Terre Nouvelle, was beaten by police officers in Chad's southwestern Mayo-Kebbi Est region for asking questions about a civil disturbance he was reporting on, according to local journalists.

Mexico City, November 8, 2012--Mexican authorities must thoroughly investigate the disappearance of journalist Adela Jazmín Alcaraz López, who was last seen nearly two weeks ago, the Committee to Protect journalists said today. 

Journalists march in Manila to mark the second anniversary of the massacre of at least 57 people, including 32 journalists, in Maguindanao on November 23, 2011. The International Day to End Impunity commemorates the massacre. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

New York, November 8, 2012--Authorities in the Philippines must immediately investigate the shooting death of radio journalist Julius Cauzo and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, November 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is saddened by the deaths of four Peruvian journalists who perished Monday in a car accident in the central  highlands Junín region while on assignment, according to news reports

(Nurbek Toktakunov)

New York, November 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists has created this petition, calling on Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev to release unjustly imprisoned journalist Azimjon Askarov without delay.

Security forces arrived at the offices of Radio Télévision Autonome du Sud Kasaï (RTAS), in the south central town of Miabi, on August 15, 2012, and forced the station off the air, according to local press freedom group Journaliste en Danger (JED). The agents also confiscated the station's transmitter, JED said.

Hundosa was found on the side of the road with her head shaved. (Somaya Ibrahim Ismail Hundosa)

New York, November 5, 2012--A critical Sudanese freelance journalist was found on the side of a road in Khartoum on Friday after being reported missing on October 29, according to news reports. Somaya Ibrahim Ismail Hundosa had been tortured and her head shaved while she was held captive, the reports said.

Hundosa was found in a remote area of the capital, news reports said. Her family said that she had been subjected to "physical torture and beating with whips" and that she had been told her head was shaved because "it looked like the hair of Arabs while she belonged to the slaves in Darfur," according to the pro-democracy group Grifina (We Are Fed Up). The journalist is now recovering at home with her family.

(Filming for Tibet)

New York, November 5, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists has created a petition that calls on Chinese President Hu Jintao to immediately release unjustly imprisoned Tibetan journalist Dhondup Wangchen.

Regina Martínez was killed in one of the most politically corrupt Mexican states. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

Veracruz is a beautiful, long, thin state on the Gulf coast of Mexico where many journalists are terrified not only of the rampant organized crime groups that kill and control, but also of the state government. Fear that state officials will order them murdered for what they investigate or write has forced about a dozen journalists to flee the state, claiming that fear also puts a clamp on coverage for those who remain. Many journalists still working in the state tell CPJ they agree.

Approximately 30 journalists are targeted and murdered every year, and on average, in only three of these crimes are the killers ever brought to justice. Other attacks on freedom of expression occur daily: bloggers are threatened, photographers beaten, writers kidnapped. And in those instances, justice is even more rare. Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joins freedom of expression advocates worldwide in a 23-day campaign to dismantle one case at a time a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to gag journalists, bloggers, photographers and writers, while keeping the rest of us uninformed.

Authorities in Guinea-Bissau have expelled a journalist whose news outlet had covered former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, seen here voting in a 2012 election he was favored to win, but lost. (AFP/Issouf Sanogo)

New York, November 1, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Monday's decision by authorities in Guinea-Bissau to expel Portuguese journalist Fernando Teixeira Gomes from the country in connection with his critical coverage of the transitional government.

At least three journalists working in the restive, mineral-rich province of North Kivu have fled into hiding in August and September 2012 after saying they were threatened in reprisal for their reporting, CPJ has learned.

The Higher Council for Broadcasting and Communication, or CSAC, the DRC's state-run media regulatory agency, announced in August 2012 that it would indefinitely ban broadcasters from airing talk shows and call-in programs about the ongoing conflict between the government and rebels in the eastern provinces of the country, according to news reports.

Congolese Communications Minister Lambert Mende banned private daily Le Journal indefinitely on June 29, 2012, in connection with an editorial that he said incited racism and tribalism, local press freedom group OLPA reported.

If you've been watching the attempts to silence media in Sri Lanka through attacks, disappearances, legal harassment, and government policies aimed at restricting free speech and the right to information, take the time to speak out with others around the world today. An opportunity like this only comes around every four years.

Four armed men abducted Franck Fwamba, editor of the monthly magazine Mining News, and forced him into an unmarked car at around 6 p.m. on June 6, 2012, in the southern city of Lubumbashi, according to local journalists and the press freedom group Journaliste en Danger (JED).