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2011

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Newly freed Cuban political prisoners arrive in Spain. (AFP/Pierre-Philippe Marcou)

New York, April 8, 2011--The Cuban government on Thursday released the last journalist remaining in its prisons, ending a dark, eight-year-long era in which the island nation was one of the world's worst jailers of the press, at one time imprisoning nearly 30 independent reporters and writers. The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed relief today that Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández has been freed, a milestone in an intensive, international advocacy effort led by the Catholic Church, the Spanish government, and international press and human rights groups.

Fernández Saínz reported the stories of his fellow prisoners from inside a jail like this one on the outskirts of Havana. (Reuters//Claudia Daut)

I went to prison for practicing independent journalism in Cuba. As soon as you get there, you must prepare yourself to narrate the horrors of the hellhole you've ended up in. And Cuban prisons are horrendous. But the horrors start not one step back in the penal tribunal, not two steps back with the police chief, but three steps back, with the Cuban penal code, which reflects the social decomposition of post-Soviet Cuba. The government's legal response to a wave of robberies (and to a similar wave of political unrest) is to make sentences more severe. Are they trying to punish the innocent? No, they want to "save the revolution," and since "the end justifies the means," toughness is expected from the police and from prosecutors, who are judged on their ability to quickly resolve cases; and from judges, who grow accustomed to handing down harsh sentences. In such a way, they get used to tough sentencing as they continue to lose their humanity.

Plainclothes and riot police detain a protester during a general strike in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

New York, April 6, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on law enforcement in Honduras to stop attacking or prohibiting journalists from covering social unrest in the country. The attacks have come amid a national teachers' strike that has turned violent.

New York, April 5, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the closure of a provincial Ecuadoran radio station and calls on local regulators to allow the station to resume broadcasting. Voz de la Selva Esmeralda Oriental Canela radio, known for its critical coverage of local authorities, had appealed an order to close the station on bogus administrate violations, according to CPJ research. The appeal was still pending when police shut it down. 

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez holds up a free expression prize from Argentina's University of La Plata in La Plata. (AP/Jorge Araujo)

Just as the awardee himself anticipated (in his subconscious, after all, he is no idiot), this "freedom of expression award" stirred up disapproval and indignation across the board. Notwithstanding, no one should question the decision of Argentina's University of La Plata. If anyone has freedom of expression in Venezuela, it's the prize-winner: He talks and talks without limits, his discourse immune to any attempts to be reined in. 

New York, March 31, 2011--The critical Ecuadoran daily El Universo, three of its executives, and its opinion editor could face jail time and hefty fines in a defamation complaint filed by President Rafael Correa last week. Correa should immediately drop the defamation suit and bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.   

New York, March 29, 2011--The Argentine government should ensure that the nation's two largest dailies can be distributed without interference, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ's appeal comes two days after union demonstrators blocked trucking exits at the printing facilities of Clarín and La Nación, preventing Clarín from distributing its Sunday edition. 

Police at a crime scene where the slain body of local television entertainer Jose Luis Cerda was found. (Reuters/Tomas Bravo)

New York, March 29, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores the shooting death of Mexican photographer Luis Emanuel Ruiz Carrillo on Friday and calls on Mexican authorities to launch a thorough investigation into his killing.  

Yoani Sánchez at home in Cuba. (Reuters)

Acclaimed Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez has had her share of honors lately. Last year alone, her blogging, which offers a personal and critical view of life in Cuba, was honored by the Dutch Prince Claus Fund, the International Press Institute, and the Danish Centre for Political Studies. This week, Sánchez received a very different type of distinction--from the Cuban government. She was featured on Monday night's installment of "Las Razones de Cuba" (Cuban Reasons), a state-sponsored TV program and website that chronicles perceived threats to the government and singles out independent journalists as enemies of the state. 

New York, March 25, 2011--Honduran authorities must thoroughly investigate a recent shooting attack against a community radio director and provide protection to the station's staff after repeated death threats, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.       

2011

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Attacks on the Press 2012

100 Unsolved journalist murders since 1992

Country summary, global, and regional analysis »

Critics Are Not Criminals: Campaign Against the Criminalization of Speech
Contact

Americas

Senior Program Coordinator:
Carlos Lauría

Research Associate:
Sara Rafsky

clauria@cpj.org
srafsky@cpj.org

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