August 2013


A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi chants slogans against the military Friday in Cairo. (AP/Manu Brabo)

New York, August 30, 2013--Egyptian security forces continue to detain and harass journalists working for news outlets critical of the military-led government, particularly Al-Jazeera and its affiliates. Journalists also still face physical threats from protesters, as tensions persist between the government and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

The government of Balochistan, the troubled southwestern province of Pakistan, registered a case against national television news channel ARY on Monday, August 26, after it aired a video clip of the destruction of the residence of Pakistan's founder, Muhammed Ali Jinnah. The case was filed under Pakistan's Anti-Terrorist Act of 1997, claiming that airing the footage could incite "violence or [...] glorify crime," in contravention of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

Bangkok, August 30, 2013--A radio commentator was shot dead in Iligan City on Thursday, the fourth journalist to be murdered in the Philippines in the past month. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to investigate the murder of Fernando "Nanding" Solijon and swiftly bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice. 

Hong Kong, August 29, 2013--Chinese authorities should release a journalist who has been jailed since Friday, after he accused an official of wrongdoing with posts on his personal microblog, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, August 29, 2013--Tunisian authorities should release a journalist and drop charges against him for allegedly conspiring to commit violence against a government official, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Mourad Meherzi, a photographer for the local online TV channel Astrolabe, could face up to five years in jail, according to news reports.

Mick Deane became the 1,000th journalist documented by CPJ as having died in direct relation to his work. (AP)

A sad landmark for CPJ: 1,000 journalists killed

When Mick Deane was killed in Egypt on August 14, he became the 1,000th journalist documented by CPJ as having died in direct relation to his work. Some died in the crossfire of combat or civil unrest, but most were targeted for murder. In 1992, CPJ began keeping detailed accounts of journalist killings, which are preserved in our website database.

The Huffington Post marked the grim milestone by publishing a substantial piece profiling CPJ's work. CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon is cited as saying, "We're able to use that data to draw some conclusions about how the threats to journalists are changing, and ultimately how violence is impeding the flow of information about the world at a time when it's become increasingly crucial." 

New York, August 28, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by cyber-attacks on several websites on Tuesday, including The New York Times, whose site was disabled for several hours. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, took credit for the attack via its Twitter account. The group also claimed to have attacked the websites of Twitter and The Huffington Post U.K.

New York, August 28, 2013--Indian authorities must investigate the motives behind the murder of a local journalist in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, August 28, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by today's hospitalization of leading Liberian independent journalist Rodney Sieh, who has been on hunger strike since his imprisonment on August 21.

The parents of Austin Tice hold a press conference in Beirut. Tice has been missing for a year. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

It has now been an entire year since Al-Hurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, and freelancer Austin Tice, of the United States, went missing in Syria. But the recent liberation of two freelance journalists held for months gives us some reason to hope.

Editor Hassan Hussein, left, and Director Mohamed Ahmed relaunch their publication one day after the government lifts its suspension. (Hubaal)

Hubaal, Somaliland's critical and much-beleaguered daily newspaper, is back on newsstands after a presidential pardon last week. The paper was shuttered on orders of the attorney general in June without explanation. In April, two gunmen, subsequently identified by authorities as police officers, raided the office of Hubaal and attacked its staff after a series of critical articles accusing the government of nepotism and misuse of office. Editor Hassan Hussein and Managing Director Mohamed Ahmed were both convicted on defamation charges last month and given prison terms. The two journalists were released on bail and are appealing their convictions.

New York, August 26, 2013--Five unidentified men entered the Colombo home of a Sunday Leader associate editor and writer early Saturday morning, held her at knifepoint, and searched her home, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Sri Lankan authorities to conduct a thorough and efficient investigation into the attack on Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema.

The Afghan Journalist Safety Committee, which works closely with CPJ, has just published a report on media conditions and attacks on journalists for the first six months of 2013.

A screen shot of FrontPageAfrica's home page.

Abuja, Nigeria, August 23, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemns moves by Liberian authorities to shut down FrontPageAfrica and jail its publisher for not paying US$1.5 million in damages related to a libel conviction.

The Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch have jointly called on the six presidential candidates of the International Olympics Committee to ensure that future host countries of the Olympic Games fully comply with human rights principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter, including press freedom and non-discrimination.

When the human rights watchdog for the United Nations visits Sri Lanka this weekend she should forcefully address the government's problematic record on press freedom.

President Michael Sata's mounting attacks on the press have had a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Zambia. (AFP/Simon Maina)

The charges leveled against a Zambian journalist suspected by authorities of being linked to the blocked news website Zambian Watchdog make for interesting reading.

Police say a 22-year-old photographer was raped in this abandoned textile mill. (AP/Rafiq Maqbool)

New York, August 23, 2013--Indian authorities must conduct a thorough and efficient investigation into the rape of a photographer in Mumbai on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

New York, August 22, 2013-- Authorities in Pakistan should immediately investigate the murder of a Baluch journalist whose body was found in Karachi on Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Haji Abdul Razzaq Baloch had been missing since March, according to news reports.

The home page of SKeyes' interactive 'Journalist Survival Guide.'

A new English/Arabic online tool is available for citizen journalists who have no previous journalism experience or training but are reporting dangerous frontline stories. It uses animation--a novelty for such guides--and its arrival is timely.

New York, August 21, 2013--The 35-year prison sentence handed down today to Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on charges of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks could chill the work of journalists covering national security issues.

Dear Prime Minister David Cameron: The U.K.'s use of anti-terror laws to seize journalistic material from David Miranda, partner and assistant to Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, is deeply troubling and not in keeping with the U.K's historic commitment to press freedom. We call on you to launch a thorough and transparent investigation and to ensure that his confiscated equipment and data are returned at once.

New York, August 20, 2013--Authorities in Guatemala should conduct a full investigation into the murder of a TV and radio journalist who was found on Monday after being reported missing for several hours, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Carlos Alberto Orellana Chávez was killed seven days after another journalist was shot and wounded in the same state.

Checkpoints like the one above have been set up all over Egypt. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

New York, August 20, 2013--Egyptian security forces killed a journalist and wounded another at a military checkpoint late Monday. Authorities also raided a Turkish news agency and arrested its bureau chief, the reports said.

New York, August 20, 2013--Indian authorities should thoroughly investigate today's murder of an editor of a magazine and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Last week, as Egypt plunged deeper into political violence, CPJ recorded a sad statistic: the death of the 1,000th journalist in the line of duty since we began keeping records in 1992. While that benchmark death came amid a military raid, seven out of 10 killed journalists were in fact murdered in reprisal for their work-- and the killers have evaded justice in almost all of those cases, our research shows. 

A man runs past a burning vehicle in Ramses Square. (AFP/Virginie Nguyen Hoang)

New York, August 19, 2013--New York, August 19, 2013--Several journalists working for international media said they were assaulted or briefly detained over the weekend. The attacks and harassment came as Egyptian authorities publicly accused international journalists of distorting coverage of recent events.

Ahmed Sharif Hussein was shot dead outside his home on Saturday. (Radio Hiraan)

Nairobi, August 19, 2013--Three assailants killed veteran radio technician Ahmed Sharif Hussein outside of his home in the Shibis neighborhood of Mogadishu on Saturday, according to news reports and local journalists.

An Egyptian citizen walks near fires in Cairo's Ramses square. Clashes between police and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have broken out across the country. (AFP/Khaled Kamel)

New York, August 16, 2013--Security forces raided and shut down the Cairo offices of Al-Jazeera Arabic following violent clashes that have swept the country, according to news reports. Multiple local and international journalists have also reported being attacked by security forces and protesters.

An Express TV report shows the damage left by today's attack on the Express Media Group. (YouTube/Express TV)

New York, August 16, 2013--Pakistani authorities should immediately investigate an attack on the offices of Karachi's Express Media Group early today, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

A Egyptian citizen walks through the debris at Rabaa Al-Adawiya square. (AFP/Mahmoud Khaled)

New York, August 15, 2013--At least two more journalists have been reported killed and several others injured in Wednesday's clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

An explosive device detonated outside the Berane home of Tufik Softic on the night of August 11, 2013, according to news reports.

When Mick Deane was killed in Egypt on Wednesday, he became the 1,000th journalist documented by CPJ as having died in direct relation to his work. The photos above, a sampling of those who have died over the past 21 years, serve as a powerful reminder of the cost of critical, independent journalism.

Clashes have erupted in Egypt after security forces raided two pro-Morsi protest camps. (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

New York, August 14, 2013--At least one journalist on assignment was among the hundreds killed today in clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, according to news reports. Multiple journalists have also reported being attacked, threatened, or detained.

New York, August 14, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the killing of Sky News cameraman Mick Deane, who was shot as Egyptian security forces attempted to disperse pro-Morsi demonstrations in Cairo today.

Press Freedom at Risk in Egypt

Hopes for press freedom were high after the 2011 revolution ousted Hosni Mubarak, led to an explosion of private media outlets, and set the country on a path to a landmark presidential election. But more than two years later, a deeply polarized Egyptian press has been battered by an array of repressive tactics, from the legal and physical intimidation of Mohamed Morsi’s tenure to the wide censorship of the new military-backed government. A CPJ special report by Sherif Mansour with reporting by Shaimaa Abu Elkhir from Cairo


1. Morsi’s Failures

By Sherif Mansour

In June 2012, three days before Mohamed Morsi was declared winner of the presidential election, Bassem Youssef, satirist and host of Egypt’s “Al-Bernameg,” defended the Muslim Brotherhood candidate during an appearance on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” He asked the U.S. audience to give democracy in Egypt a chance. So long as Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood remained accountable to the people and respected human rights, Youssef reasoned, there was no reason they could not lead Egypt’s historic transition to democratic rule.

Morsi and throngs of supporters in November 2012. (AP)

The Killing of Al-Hosseiny Abou Deif

By Sherif Mansour

The fatal shooting of El-Fagr reporter Al-Hosseiny Abou Deif during clashes between anti-government protesters and Muslim Brotherhood supporters outside the presidential palace last December seemed, at first blush, to fit a sadly familiar pattern: a journalist killed covering a political demonstration, the victim of a stray bullet fired recklessly in the heat of street violence.

Protesters seek justice for Abou Deif. (AP/Nasser Nasser)

2. Military Censorship

By Sherif Mansour

A swarm of police vehicles converged on Media Production City moments after Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi announced on July 3 that Mohamed Morsi had been ousted. The compound outside Cairo is home to nearly every TV station in Egypt, but the police were targeting five particular stations that night: the Muslim Brotherhood-run Misr25, and four pro-Morsi Islamist stations. One by one, the stations’ live coverage went off the air, while police herded and handcuffed about 200 employees, confiscated equipment, and seized cell phones. Taken to a security facility, the employees were interrogated about their associations with the Muslim Brotherhood. Most of the administrative and support workers were released in a few hours, but 22 journalists were kept for more than a day on accusations of conspiring to overthrow the regime.

At a Tahrir Square rally, an image of al-Sisi. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

NGO Case Criminalizes Human Rights Work

By Jean-Paul Marthoz

A criminal case that was launched under the previous transitional military government has cast a shadow over the current government, with its implications that international human rights and democracy workers are somehow foreign agents working against national security.

Courtroom spectators were stunned when verdicts were announced in June. (AP/Ahmed Abd El Latif)

3. CPJ's Recommendations

The Committee to Protect Journalists offers the following recommendations to Egyptian authorities, political parties, and news media, and to the international community.

Vera (left) and Ilya Politkovsky attend a pre-trial court hearing in June. (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov)

The retrial of several suspects in the October 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya has started on the wrong foot, according to the family and former colleagues of the late journalist.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi participate in a sit-in outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

New York, August 13, 2013--At least four journalists have been attacked, threatened, or obstructed while covering sit-ins held by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, according to news reports. The sit-ins began in the lead-up to the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, the reports said.

A 2010 edition of the El Nacional paper shows the word 'Censored' on its front page. (AFP/Juan Barreto)

New York, August 12, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ruling by a Venezuelan judge against two dailies last week that bans the publication of violent photographs and imposes hefty fines, according to news reports.

New York, August 12, 2012--Authorities in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal have shut down cable TV service, including news channels, in the city of Darjeeling and surrounding districts amid ongoing protests in the region, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns this move and calls on the state authorities to immediately restore service.

Darsema Sori (left) and Khalid Mohammed have been detained without charge. (Bilal Communication)

Nairobi, August 9, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the arrest and week-long detention without charge of two journalists working for Radio Bilal, a station that has provided extensive coverage of ongoing anti-government protests staged by Ethiopian Muslims.

New York, August 9, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Tuesday's conviction for the 2010 murder of Brazilian radio journalist and blogger Francisco Gomes de Medeiros. João Francisco dos Santos was sentenced to 27 years in prison on charges of shooting and killing the journalist in the northeastern city of Caicó, according to news reports.

Two Rwandan journalists were released from prison in June and July 2013 after completing their jail terms, according to news reports.

Hong Kong, August 9, 2013--The government's anti-corruption agency has demanded two news outlets turn over notes and other material related to interviews they conducted with an oil executive who is under investigation. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Independent Commission Against Corruption to withdraw its requests.

Bangkok, August 9, 2013--A Thai journalist has been harassed and questioned today in connection with comments he posted to his personal Facebook page in early August that speculated about a possible military coup, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Thai authorities to drop the criminal investigation against Sermsuk Kasitpradit and to refrain broadly from curbing freedom of expression over the Internet.

Nadia Sharmeen was attacked when she tried to cover a protest in April. (Ekushey TV)

It has been a turbulent year for journalists in Bangladesh. It began with blogger Asif Mohiuddin being stabbed in January as he left his office in Dhaka. The following month, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was killed for his writing. Four other bloggers, including Mohiuddin, were arrested in early April (all four have been released on bail, but still face criminal charges). Meanwhile, an editor of a pro-opposition newspaper is imprisoned.

Details are emerging of Sri Lanka's effort to control media coverage of an ugly attack on demonstrators by security forces last week. In Rathupaswala village in the town of Weliweriya, outside Colombo, on August 1, soldiers beat and fired on people protesting what they feared was contamination of their drinking water by a nearby factory. Most media accounts say three people died and 50 were wounded (here is AP and AFP coverage). Journalists, reports say, were singled out. 

Israeli authorities released Palestinian journalist Amer Abu Arafa, a correspondent for Shihab News Agency, on August 5, 2013, after holding him in administrative detention for nearly two years, according to news reports.

Protesters demonstrate outside the courthouse on Monday, where several journalists were among those convicted for participation in the alleged Ergenekon plot. (AP)

Istanbul, August 7, 2013--A Turkish appellate court should overturn the convictions of numerous journalists who have been convicted in connection with Ergenekon, a broad anti-government conspiracy, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalists were convicted on flawed penal and anti-terror laws that conflate news coverage and commentary with terrorism.

Police remove the body of Alberto López Bello, a crime reporter, from a crime scene in Oaxaca on July 17. (Reuters/Jorge Luis Plata)

Organized crime capos and corrupt politicians have been getting away with murdering journalists in Mexico for so long that there isn't a reliable count on the number of the dead or a useful way to measure the crushing effects on a democracy when a country's press is afraid to tell the truth. CPJ research shows that, of 69 journalists killed since 1994 in Mexico, 28 were clearly killed because of their work, and nearly all of those directly targeted for murder. But the killing started years before that, the numbers are not dependable, and the motives are often unknown, because the professionalism of the investigations is doubtful. Mexico's state governments have simply failed to find those responsible, and journalists working outside of the capital have for the most part decided their only protection is to not cover stories the killers don't want covered.

The Emirati authorities released the Egyptian journalist Anas Fouda on August 4, 2013, after holding him incommunicado without charge for a month, the journalist told CPJ. Security officials told Fouda that his UAE residency was revoked and took him to the Abu Dhabi International Airport, where he flew to Cairo to join his family, Fouda said.

The Tanzanian government enjoys good international publicity for transparency, but news of public discontent is not being heard. A spike in anti-press attacks is sowing fear and self-censorship among journalists. A CPJ special report by Tom Rhodes

Police fired a tear canister during a September 2012 altercation outside Iringa, killing  journalist Daudi Mwangosi. (Wavuti)
A court has ordered Editor Sardar Alibeili to be jailed for two months pending investigation. (IRFS)

New York, August 5, 2013--Authorities in Azerbaijan should stop their practice of jailing journalists in retaliation for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A district court in Baku on Friday ordered the imprisonment of Sardar Alibeili, chief editor of the independent newspaper P.S. Nota, for two months pending investigation of a criminal hooliganism charge, according to news reports. Alibeili, who has faced trumped-up charges in the past, faces up to seven years in jail on the new charge, the reports said.

Several Tunisian journalists reported being harassed, threatened, and attacked during the three-day protests following the July 25, 2013, assassination of opposition leader Mohamed al-Barahmi, according to local journalists and news reports.

Following reports earlier this week that New Zealand, with help from U.S. intelligence, may have spied on one of its journalists, Wellington is under fire for tracking the phone records and movement of another journalist. Ironically, this journalist came under surveillance after writing about potentially illegal government surveillance.

AFP

The South African Broadcasting Corporation is in the news for not airing a politically sensitive documentary that details allegations of apartheid-era theft of public funds. The public broadcaster, which had commissioned the film, has also refused to sell the rights back to the filmmaker and has filed a lawsuit demanding she turn over her raw footage and accusing her of breaching copyright by staging private screenings. 

New York, August 2, 2013--Chinese authorities should release a veteran journalist and government critic being held without charge and reverse their orders to shut down more than 100 websites, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Bangkok, August 2, 2013--A photographer was fatally shot in his home in southern General Santos City on Thursday, the third journalist to be killed in the Philippines in less than a week. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder of Mario Sy, identify the motive in the attack, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

NBC's Richard Engel and AP's Kathleen Carroll at the U.N. Security Council. (AP/Mary Altaffer)
UN holds session on journalist protection

Speaking at the UN Security Council's first special session on the protection of journalists, AP Executive Editor and CPJ Vice Chair Kathleen Carroll began by remembering the AP journalists who were killed in the line of duty. But most journalists killed around the world are murdered. "In the overwhelming number of cases, 90 percent, the killers go unpunished," she said, citing CPJ research.

Mustafa Haji Abdinur, a Somali journalist working for Agence France-Presse, also spoke at the discussion. Mustafa, who received CPJ's International Press Freedom Award in 2009, said that reporting on local issues in Somalia has earned him the title of "dead man walking."

New York, August 1, 2013--A Bahraini blogger has been detained and a photographer is missing amid signs that Bahraini authorities are trying to crack down on critical voices ahead of protests planned for August 14, according to news reports.

New York, August 1, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of Egyptian journalist Anas Fouda, who has been held without charge by the United Arab Emirates authorities for almost a month.

Moments before his arrest, Taylor Krauss films damage to opposition leader Kizza Besigye's car by police. (Chimpreports)

Taylor Krauss, an American journalist, freelance filmmaker, and founder of the testimonial website Voices of Rwanda, traveled to Uganda roughly two weeks ago to conduct some filming in hopes of pitching footage later to various media outlets. Krauss is no stranger to the region; he has been traveling back and forth to the country for nine years. But now that he has been arrested, held for three days without charge, had his equipment confiscated, and finally forced out of the country, this probably marks his last visit. It probably also marks bad news for the press in Uganda.

Recent revelations of American and British mass surveillance of digital communications have triggered an intense mobilization of European free speech and civil liberties organizations, which have launched an online petition calling on leaders of the European Union to halt the practice. The #dontspyonme campaign was presented by Index on Censorship, an independent, British, free speech nonprofit, at an event in London on July 25. It calls on EU heads of government "to clearly and unambiguously state their opposition to all systems of mass surveillance" including that conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and similar European agencies.