Americas

2011


Blog   |   Mexico

The press silenced, Nuevo Laredo tries to find voice

Javier Soto plays his accordion as he searches for tourists in a vacant downtown market in Nuevo Laredo on January 26, 2006. (AP/Gregory Bull)

You don't notice it at first. Not with the people seemingly moving as normal on the sidewalks and the happy recorded music blaring across the plaza in front of city hall to announce the annual cowboy parade. No, at first Nuevo Laredo looks like a regular border town, until the military armored car goes by a block away and rotates the heavy machine gun toward the plaza. Are the soldiers just curious? Or do they see something they want to shoot? Who will be hit if they do open fire? Then other images come into focus, like the blocks of closed shops, with for sale signs only on the most recently closed because the owners of the older, more dilapidated shops, have given up even that hope.

Reports   |   Multimedia, USA

Video: Bailey project combats impunity

In "Banding Together: The Chauncey Bailey Project Fights Impunity," CPJ’s Maria Salazar-Ferro describes how a group of Bay Area journalists worked together to ensure that the murder of their colleague did not go unpunished. Using investigative journalism as an advocacy tool, the Bailey Project held authorities accountable and brought about the conviction of the mastermind. (3:05)

Please read the CPJ special report on journalists killed and visit our database of reporters, editors, photojournalists, and others who have given their lives for their work.

December 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico, Pakistan, Russia

Journalists killed: Inside the numbers

CPJ today released its annual tally of the journalists killed around the world. This is always a somber occasion for us as we chronicle the grim toll, remember friends who have been lost, and recommit ourselves to justice. It's also a time when we are asked questions about our research and why our numbers are different - invariably lower - than other organizations.

December 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

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Letters   |   Honduras

Honduras must investigate attacks on press

Dear President Lobo: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to express its deep concern about the unrelenting violence against the Honduran press. Our letter to you is prompted by events earlier this month that once again highlight the extraordinary risks that Honduran journalists must take simply to do their jobs.

December 19, 2011 3:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Mexico

Ríodoce attack shows need for denial-of-service defenses

A founder of Mexican news weekly Ríodoce, Javier Valdez Cárdenas, traveled to New York in November to receive CPJ's International Press Freedom Award at our annual benefit dinner. No sooner had he returned to Mexico than Ríodoce's website was thrown offline by a denial of service (DOS) attack, in which multiple computers are used to flood a webserver with fake requests, slowing down the site so that it cannot serve legitimate requests.

December 12, 2011 11:25 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Honduras

Radio journalist gunned down in Honduras

New York, December 7, 2011--Honduran journalist Luz Marina Paz Villalobos was shot and killed in the capital Tegucigalpa on Tuesday, according to local news reports. Delmer Osmar Canales Gutiérrez, a cousin who worked as her driver, was also killed in the attack. Investigators are looking into several possible motives, including Paz's journalism.

Blog   |   Burma, USA

Clinton must tread carefully in Burma

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinto is greeted by Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Myo Myint, right, upon her arrival in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Wednesday. (AP)

When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets this week with Burmese President Thein Sein, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and senior ranking members of the military establishment, she conspicuously will not have the opportunity to meet with journalist Sithu Zeya.

Sithu was detained by police after recording the impact of a bomb that exploded in a crowded Burmese marketplace in April 2010. The journalist was sentenced to 17 years in prison on charges related specifically to his reporting activities, with an additional 10 years tacked on this year -- soon after Thein Sein announced his intention to increase media freedom in Burma.

November 30, 2011 1:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, USA

What we have learned from fighting impunity


Press freedom groups worldwide are banding together today, the International Day to End Impunity, to demand justice for hundreds of journalists murdered for their work. On this day, the Committee to Protect Journalists and dozens of other members of the International Freedom of Information Exchange are remembering journalists killed, and urging governments to take action against those responsible for their deaths. We are also looking for lessons learned in past fights--like the one led by a group of journalists from the San Francisco Bay area, who battled tirelessly to ensure that justice was served in the slaying of their colleague Chauncey Bailey.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, CPJ, Mexico, Pakistan

Awardees to their colleagues: Buck the system

CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner took place at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria might seem like an odd venue to stage a call for resistance. Nine hundred people in tuxedos and gowns. Champagne and cocktails. Bill Cunningham snapping photos. This combination is generally more likely to coax a boozy nostalgia than foment a revolution. But the journalists honored last night at CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards had a clear message to their colleagues: Fight the power.

Blog   |   Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines

A call to continue the struggle against impunity

Umar Cheema, left, of Pakistan and Javier Valdez Cárdenas of Mexico, both 2011 International Press Freedom Award winners, are all too familiar with the culture of impunity. (CPJ)

Last night, hundreds of journalists and members of New York's press freedom community met at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan for the Committee to Protect Journalists' XXI annual International Press Freedom Awards. At the event--celebrating the extraordinary courage of five journalists from across the globe--guests and award recipients unanimously expressed their commitment to fighting impunity in the murders of journalists.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican daily offices attacked by gunmen

New York, November 15, 2011--A group of unidentified gunmen attacked the premises of the Mexican daily El Siglo de Torreón early this morning, setting a car on fire and shooting at the building several times.

Around 2:40 a.m., at least three assailants parked two vehicles in front of the newspaper's offices in the city of Torreón in the northern state of Coahuila, the paper reported. They set one of the cars on fire in front of El Siglo's main door and left in the other. Before fleeing, the gunmen used assault rifles to spray the premises with about 20 bullets that police recovered at the scene, editor Javier Garza told CPJ. One of the offices suffered some damage, but there were no injuries, he said. Federal and state police, as well as members of the Mexican army, arrived at the scene shortly after the attack.

November 15, 2011 3:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

At Occupy protests, U.S. journalists arrested, assaulted

KGO cameraman Randy Davis was assaulted during an Occupy Oakland protest like this one. (AP)

As the Occupy movement has spread beyond Wall Street, at least seven U.S. journalists have been detained and one television crew attacked by U.S. law enforcement officers during turbulent encounters between police and protesters. Occupy demonstrators have attacked journalists in two other instances, including an assault this week in Oakland, Calif., that left a cameraman with a concussion.

Statements   |   Ecuador

CPJ to hold Ecuadoran authorities accountable for threats

New York, November 11, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reported death threats against César Ricaurte, head of the Ecuadoran press freedom group Fundamedios, which follow a concerted campaign by local authorities to discredit the group and foster a climate of intimidation against independent media and local press freedom activists.
November 11, 2011 2:03 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican cartels keep up social media intimidation

A marcher stops to write a peace slogan during an August 2011 protest against Mexican violence. (AP)

The dissemination of reports and graphic photos of a dead man, reportedly decapitated and left in the border city of Nuevo Laredo with a warning that he was murdered for using a chat room, appears to be the latest attempt by organized crime to intimidate social media users and control the online agenda.

While it's impossible to know the man's identity, the reason for his death, or other details, the veracity of the reports and photos are nearly beside the point. In Mexico's current climate, where CPJ research shows criminal organizations control the information agenda in many cities, what matters is the success of such attempts to scare professional and, increasingly, citizen journalists.

November 11, 2011 10:25 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Peru

Peru frees journalist jailed for defamation

New York, October 31, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release on Saturday of Peruvian journalist Paul Segundo Garay Ramírez, a television and radio news show host who had been imprisoned for more than six months. Citing flawed evidence, the Supreme Court on Friday overturned Garay's conviction on charges of defaming a prosecutor in Coronel Portillo, according to news reports.

October 31, 2011 3:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

Appeal against Risen keeps source protection in focus

A reporter's right to protect confidential sources, a topic of debate both in the U.S. and internationally, will undergo another round of legal scrutiny after federal prosecutors formally appealed a decision shielding journalist James Risen's sources in a CIA leak case.

October 25, 2011 1:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Recalling Laura Pollán, leader of Cuba's Ladies in White

Pollán leads the Ladies in White in March 2011. (AP/Javier Galeano)

Cuban human rights defender Laura Pollán, who died Friday from respiratory complications at a Havana hospital, fought a mighty battle against the Cuban government for almost a decade. Pollán, 63, leaves behind her husband, the award-winning independent journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, and a daughter. She also leaves a legacy of determination, courage, and creativity. Her powerful belief in justice was ultimately rewarded when dozens of wrongly imprisoned dissidents and journalists, including her husband, were freed from prison over the last two years, in large part due to her efforts.

October 17, 2011 2:36 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian editor given suspended prison term

New York, October 13, 2011--A court in Cundinamarca state handed Luis Agustín González, founder and editor of Colombian monthly newspaper Cundinamarca Democrática, a 20-month suspended sentence and a fine of approximately US$5,500 on charges of criminal libel, news reports said today. The sentence stemmed from an editorial González wrote in 2008 that questioned the candidacy of a local politician. 

October 13, 2011 4:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

Colombian journalists: between threats, exile

Medellín has the highest homicide rate in Colombia . (Reuters)

To be a journalist in Colombia, in a city like Medellín, is not easy -- even less so if you cover issues related to narcotrafficking.

Despite efforts by the authorities to control outbreaks of violence linked to drug trafficking, especially in the city's poorest neighborhoods, the situation isn't improving. According to the prosecutor's office, Medellín has the highest homicide rate in the country and one of the worst in Latin America.

October 7, 2011 4:10 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Guyana

Guyana president suspends television station

Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo has suspended a TV station for four months. (Reuters)

New York, October 6, 2011--Guyanese president Bharrat Jagdeo has suspended television station CNS6 from broadcasting for four months in the period leading up to the presidential elections, according to local news reports. The suspension stemmed from a May 4 broadcast that aired comments about a local bishop who is a close associate of the president, news reports said.

"We are alarmed that President Bharrat Jagdeo has decided to suspend television station CNS6," said CPJ's Americas Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría. "All Guyanese media must be allowed to report the news freely before the presidential election so that citizens can access information from multiple sources."

October 6, 2011 4:16 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexico murder may be social media watershed

María Elizabeth Macías Castro's killers left this note. (AFP)

María Elizabeth Macías Castro's killers made sure their actions were understood. In a macabre, carefully orchestrated mise-en-scene, they placed her body in front of a poster with the ominous note. Nearby they left a computer keyboard, with a pair of headphones on her decapitated head.

September 30, 2011 10:15 AM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina

Fighting abusive litigation against journalists

CPJ and others who defend the rights of journalists are rightly alarmed when public officials and other powerful figures instigate baseless criminal prosecutions that can send journalists to prison and force them to pay heavy fines. A case pending in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Fontevecchia & D'Amico vs. Argentina, shows how abusive civil litigation can be just as bad for journalists as criminal prosecution. CPJ filed an amicus curiae brief in the case. A favorable decision by the court would be a step toward ending the use of meritless civil lawsuits to intimidate and harass the press.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Correa lambastes press in Columbia speech

President Correa discusses press freedom at Columbia University. (Reuters)

"Sir, you are lying and a liar." With these words, uttered before an audience of around 150 people, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa dispelled any doubt as to whether he might cool his explosive rhetoric in the face of criticism. His harsh words came in response to a critical question posed by CPJ's senior coordinator for the Americas, Carlos Lauría, after a speech on Friday hosted by the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University in New York.

September 26, 2011 2:35 PM ET

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Statements   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran appeals court upholds libel conviction

New York, September 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by an Ecuadoran appeals court ruling today upholding a criminal libel conviction against four El Universo newspaper managers in a case brought by President Rafael Correa. 

Blog   |   Mexico

Motive unclear, but murders become rallying point

The brutal, September 1 murders of two women from the world of mass communications drew international headlines as the latest attack against the Mexican news media. But the sensational case--the two were found strangled in a park in the heart of Mexico City--illustrates the complexities of determining motives amid the pervasive violence afflicting Mexico. Since President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa took office in December 2006 and deployed thousands of troops to fight criminal organizations, more than 40,000 people have been killed in violence between organized crime gangs or between the gangs and authorities, according to the attorney general's office.

September 19, 2011 4:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

Colombian journalists in Arauca pressured from all sides

Colombian police officers stop a car at the Arauca City border. (Reuters)

Although a long-running army offensive has improved security in much of Colombia, the oil-rich eastern province of Arauca remains a hot zone--for both combatants and journalists. This week, for example, the National Liberation Army (ELN), the smaller of the country's two guerrilla groups, called a transportation strike, effectively shutting down traffic and commerce throughout the province and making any vehicles on the highways fair game--no small event.

Blog   |   Ecuador

In response, Ecuadoran secretary misses the point

A man protests a proposed communications law. (AP)

Back in April, before leaving on a research trip to Ecuador, I contacted Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado by phone and email in hopes of meeting with him to discuss press freedom concerns that have emerged under President Rafael Correa. The secretary was among the high-ranking administration officials who did not respond to CPJ's requests for meetings or to our subsequent efforts to obtain comment for our special report, "Confrontation, repression under Correa's Ecuador." So it was interesting to see that a week after the report's launch in Quito that Alvarado wrote an open letter to CPJ on his personal blog.

September 13, 2011 5:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Brazil

Radio journalist shot to death in Brazil

Crowds turned out for the funeral of local journalist Valderlei Canuto Leandro. (Blog Da Floresta)

New York, September 12, 2011--Brazilian authorities must thoroughly investigate the September 1 murder of a Brazilian radio journalist who was known for his criticism of local authorities and had allegedly been threatened with death by a local mayor, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

September 12, 2011 3:22 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Argentina

Menem misuses privacy claim, CPJ says in IACHR brief

Carlos Saúl Menem, former president of Argentina. (AP)

New York, September 12, 2011--A lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy brought by Argentina's former president, Carlos Saúl Menem, against two journalists with the local newsweekly Noticias violates Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a legal brief filed Friday before the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

This is the first case brought in the Inter-American system that involves a privacy claim stemming from a report on matters of public concern. CPJ believes it is vital for the court to set a precedent of protecting journalists' rights at a time when leaders in Latin America and around the world are using a barrage of legal actions to stifle critical reporting.

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuba pulls veteran correspondent's credentials

New York, September 7, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Cuban government's decision to not renew press credentials held by a 20-year veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El País and radio network Cadena SER. Mauricio Vicent, whose access to official events had been restricted by the government for the past year, is now prohibited from reporting stories from Cuba, according to El País

September 7, 2011 3:48 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

In Ecuador, CPJ highlights press freedom decline

Lauría in Ecuador. (Fundamedios)

The turning point in President Rafael Correa's aggressive campaign against the private media, Ecuadoran journalists say, came in July with the criminal defamation convictions of four managers of the Guayaquil-based daily El Universo. Bad went to worse when the paper's former opinion editor and three of its executives were sentenced to jail and fined, along with their newspaper, a total of $40 million over a piece that called the president a "dictator." Emilio Palacio, who wrote the critical op-ed that infuriated Correa and motivated the lawsuit, fled the country last week after saying that he is being persecuted and justice will not be served. 

September 2, 2011 7:15 PM ET

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Reports   |   Ecuador

Confrontation, repression in Correa's Ecuador

Rafael Correa's administration has led Ecuador into a new era of widespread repression by pre-empting private news broadcasts, enacting restrictive legal measures, smearing critics, and filing debilitating defamation lawsuits. A CPJ special report by Carlos Lauría

President Rafael Correa rips a copy of the  national daily La Hora during a conference in Cotacachi County. Correa has taken an aggressive stance toward news media. (El Universo)

Alerts   |   Venezuela

Venezuelan weekly reopens, executives still charged

New York, August 30, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by ongoing criminal cases against two executives from the Venezuelan newspaper 6to Poder, but welcomes a judge's decision to allow the weekly to resume publishing. The paper's owner and a top executive were charged last week with inciting hatred, insulting a public official, and publicly denigrating women.

August 30, 2011 4:09 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Body of abducted journalist found in Mexico

New York, August 25, 2011--The body of Mexican journalist Humberto Millán Salazar was found early today in a field in the state of Sinaloa near the state capital, Culiacán, with a gunshot wound in the head, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities said the journalist was abducted early yesterday by men in two SUVs who intercepted him on his way to work.

August 25, 2011 5:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

In lawsuit, Chinese writers allege Cisco aids government

In Hong Kong, a protester holds a portrait of the jailed writer Liu Xianbin. (Reuters)

Three Chinese writers who have spent time in prison for articles published online are suing California-based Cisco Systems Inc., according to international news reports. The suit accuses the company of providing information and technology to Chinese authorities that facilitated the writers' detentions--allegations that Cisco flatly denies. Chinese security officials have already interrogated one of the plaintiffs, according to his lawyer. Will the case against Cisco protect him and others in China from further repercussions? 

August 24, 2011 5:20 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Venezuelan newspaper shut, executives charged

New York, August 24, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the closure of the Venezuelan newspaper 6to Poder after a judge ruled on Monday that the weekly cease distribution. The newspaper's owner and a top executive were charged with incitement to hatred, insulting a public official, and publicly denigrating women after the paper published a satirical article on government officials, local press reports said.

August 24, 2011 5:17 PM ET

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Statements   |   Colombia

Uribe labels journalists "terrorism sympathizers"

New York, August 24, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about comments made by former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez that could endanger journalists Juan Forero and Claudia Julieta Duque and jeopardize press freedom in the country. Forero is the Washington Post's Andean region correspondent and Duque is a journalist who works in Colombia.

Blog   |   Haiti

Left for dead in Haiti: How CPJ helped one journalist

Pierre Elisem was shot by Aristide supporters in Port-au-Prince in February 2004. (AP/Walter Astrada)

Ten years ago I joined the staff of the Committee to Protect Journalists to launch the Journalist Assistance program, an initiative, as CPJ board member Gene Roberts describes, developed to establish a standing direct response mechanism for journalists facing threats and attacks. When I left the position in 2009, many people asked me what case stood out the most. 

August 19, 2011 2:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Canada

A global partnership to assist journalists in distress

One of the most rewarding parts of my job at Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) for the last eight years has been my work on our Journalists in Distress program. Through this program I have had quick glimpses into the lives of hundreds of courageous journalists from countries all over the world. Most of these journalists I will never meet, as I do this work sitting at my desk in Toronto, trying to get details about where they have come from, what danger they face, and what help they need. 

August 15, 2011 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Assisting journalists in Cuba: Hurdles in prison and beyond

CPJ's Journalist Assistance program helped support the families of Cuban journalists held in jails like this one on the outskirts of Havana. (Reuters/Claudia Daut)

In mid-2006, CPJ's Journalist Assistance program began sending regular remittances to the families of independent Cuban journalists in prison. By CPJ's count, of the 29 journalists jailed during a massive crackdown in 2003, 24 were still in prison at the time--making Cuba the world's second-worst jailer of journalists in the world. The remittances, sent monthly, helped families cover travel expenses to the prisons--sometimes two days away on shabby buses--and basic maintenance for the jailed editors and reporters--ranging from food staples like rice and beans, to clothes, bowls and spoons, to aspirin and specialized medications, all unavailable behind bars. At the time, I was the Research Associate for the Americas program, and my job was to contact families and catalog urgency and needs.

Letters   |   Peru

Peru must take steps to decriminalize defamation

Dear President Humala: We congratulate you on your first week in office as president of Peru and would like to take this opportunity to urge you to sign into law a recent bill passed by Congress that eliminates prison terms for defamation, an important first step toward the decriminalization of libel in your country. At a time when archaic criminal defamation laws are being used by officials to punish critical reporters, we call on you to uphold your pledge to protect freedom of expression by signing this bill and promoting the necessary changes toward a complete decriminalization of libel, leaving redress for this offense to civil courts.

Blog   |   Mexico

Journalists flee Veracruz as cartels crack down

In the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, reporters are fleeing for their lives or are in hiding, according to Notiver, the city's principal newspaper, and local reporters. This flight began on Wednesday after the decapitated body of Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, a police beat reporter for Notiver for nearly three decades, was found near the building of Imagen, another local newspaper. Journalists in the city told CPJ that they assumed the murder was a general threat to reporters working for all news organizations. This follows the murders on June 20 of the city's most well-known columnist, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, his wife, Agustina, and their son, Misael. Both father and son worked at Notiver.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Political journalist murdered in Brazil

New York, July 27, 2011--Veteran political reporter Auro Ida was shot and killed on Friday in the city of Cuiabá in the central west state of Mato Grosso, according to the local press. The well-known journalist had served as the city government's press secretary, was a founder of the news site Midianews, and wrote an opinion column for another news website, Olhar Direto. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Brazilian authorities today to thoroughly investigate his murder and bring those responsible to justice.
July 27, 2011 3:46 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran editor and executives sentenced to prison

President Correa won his defamation suit but is appealing for more damages. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

New York, July 21, 2011--An editor and three executives from the Ecuadoran news daily El Universo were sentenced to three years in prison and $40 million in fines on Wednesday for defaming President Rafael Correa, according to local news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the sentence today and called on Ecuadoran authorities to bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression. 

Statements   |   Ecuador

CPJ alarmed by defamation sentence in Ecuador

New York, July 21, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns a sentence issued Wednesday in a libel case brought by Ecuador's president which sets an alarming precedent for suppressing free expression. The sentence, which is being appealed, calls for three years imprisonment each for three executives and an editor, in addition to $40 million in fines.

Alerts   |   Honduras

Provincial journalist murdered in Honduras

New York, July 18, 2011--Journalist Nery Geremías Orellana was shot and killed Thursday in the western state of Lempira, near Honduras' border with El Salvador, according to local news reports. Orellana was the manager of the local radio station Radio Joconguera and a correspondent for Christian-oriented station Radio Progreso. He was also an active member of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), an organization that formed in opposition to the 2009 coup d'état in Honduras, the group said

July 19, 2011 10:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka, UK, USA

Journalists take stage: Q&A with 'Record' playwright

A promotional image for "On the Record," which opens this week at London's Arcola Theatre.

The true stories of journalists from Mexico, Sri Lanka, Russia, the United States, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories will hit the stage July 20 at London's Arcola Theatre. "On the Record," which runs through August 13, examines the careers of six journalists, the risks they face, and their determination to make an impact through their work. This is the latest production by the UK-based Ice and Fire theater company, founded in 2003 to explore human rights stories through performance. Christine Bacon, Ice and Fire's artistic director and co-author of "On the Record," discusses the production's inspiration, messages, and challenges in this CPJ interview. 

Alerts   |   Brazil

Five suspects arrested in murder of Brazilian editor

New York, July 8, 2011---The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the arrest on Saturday of five suspects in the murder of Brazilian newspaper editor, politician, and blogger Edinaldo Filgueira, who was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on June 15 in the town of Serra do Mel in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte.

July 8, 2011 4:19 PM ET

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Reports   |   Cuba, Spain

After the Black Spring, Cuba's new repression

When the last of 29 journalists jailed in a notorious 2003 crackdown was finally freed this year, it signaled to many the end of a dark era. But Cuban authorities are still persecuting independent journalists through arbitrary arrests, beatings, and intimidation. A CPJ special report by Karen Phillips

In Cuba, the Ladies in White were instrumental in drawing attention to the plight of political prisoners. Here, they hold a photo of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died in custody. (AP/Javier Galeano)

Alerts   |   Colombia

Provincial journalist shot to death in Colombia

New York, July 5, 2011--Luis Eduardo Gómez, a Colombian freelance journalist who was a witness for an investigation into links between politicians and paramilitary groups, was shot and killed on Thursday in the town of Arboletes, in the northwestern province of Antioquia, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Colombian authorities today to thoroughly investigate his murder and bring those responsible to justice. 

July 5, 2011 5:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

Google+ for journalists at risk

A Google developers conference in May. (Reuters/Beck Diefenbach)

When they're creating new features, software designers talk in terms of "use cases." A use case describes steps that future customers might perform with a website. "Starting a group with friends," would be a use case for Facebook. "Buying a book" would be case for Amazon's designers. 

Blog   |   Colombia

Death threats force Colombian reporter to relocate

I was on assignment in a slum in the town of Aguachica, Cesar Province, on February 24 when gunmen cut me off and threatened to kill me. "Journalist, shut up or die," said one of the men, who identified themselves as members of "Los Urabeños," a criminal gang that operates in Cesar and neighboring provinces. They didn't mention any specific story I had covered. They just said, "Be careful; if you open your mouth or sniff into things that are none of your business, your family will be punished."

June 30, 2011 1:31 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Prominent Mexican columnist, wife, son shot to death

Police outside the home of slain columnist Miguel Ángel López Velasco. His wife and son were also murdered. (AP/Felix Marquez)

New York, June 20, 2011--A prominent Mexican newspaper columnist, his wife, and a son were shot to death in their home in Veracruz, according to state investigators, a shocking assault that underscores the country's ongoing crisis. The administration of President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa must take decisive action to end to the cycle of violence undermining Mexico's democracy, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.    

Reports   |   Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Journalist Assistance, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria

Journalists in exile 2011: Iran, Cuba drive out critics

Two of the world’s most repressive nations each forced at least 18 journalists to flee their homes in the past year. In exile, these journalists face enormous challenges. A CPJ special report by Elisabeth Witchel.

Newly freed Cuban detainees and their families in a bus after their arrival in Madrid. Exile was the price the detainees paid for their freedom. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)

Blog   |   Cuba, Eritrea, Haiti, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe

CPJ's exiled journalists survey: Behind the numbers

Berhane (Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)

In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the number of cases began counting into the hundreds, it became clear that what we had was a new indicator of press freedom conditions. Today, we're marking our fifth year of publishing the CPJ survey of journalists in exile, which is based on 10 years of data on 649 cases. 

Reports   |   Colombia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Libya, Pakistan

The silencing crime: Sexual violence and journalists

Few cases of sexual assault against journalists have ever been documented, a product of powerful cultural and professional stigmas. But now dozens of journalists are coming forward to say they have been sexually abused in the course of their work. A CPJ special report by Lauren Wolfe

Chaotic public events are often the setting for sexual abuse of journalists. CBS correspondent Lara Logan was assaulted at this political demonstration in Cairo. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

Reports   |   CPJ

CPJ security guide: Addendum on sexual aggression

In conjunction with the release of its special report, “The Silencing Crime: Sexual Violence and Journalists,” CPJ is issuing an addendum to its existing journalist security guide. The addendum, written by CPJ Journalist Security Coordinator Frank Smyth, addresses the issue of sexual aggression against journalists and focuses on ways to minimize the risk.The addendum, published below, is also available in the full text of CPJ’s online security guide. 

June 7, 2011 8:59 AM ET

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Reports   |   Colombia, Multimedia, Pakistan

Audio Report: The Silencing Crime



Journalists around the world are talking more candidly about sexual abuse they've experienced on the job. CPJ Senior Editor Lauren Wolfe, author of the special report, "The Silencing Crime,"  describes her findings in this podcast. Listen on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (2:05)

Read CPJ's special report, "The Silencing Crime: Sexual Violence and Journalists."

June 7, 2011 8:58 AM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Security

In journalist security field, maturing and understanding

Journalists are facing increasing risk at public demonstrations. Here, a March rally in Islamabad to denounce the CIA. (Reuters/Mian Khursheed)

Journalist security is still a maturing field, but news organizations are devoting more attention to preparing their reporters and photographers for the dangers particular to the profession. That means understanding risks that are constantly evolving. The brutal attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan at a Cairo demonstration has drawn worldwide attention to the issue of sexual assault against journalists--CPJ issued new guidelines on the threat today--but the case also points to an emerging, if lesser-known threat. In the past 18 months, more journalists have been killed covering violent demonstrations and other non-military events than at any time since CPJ began keeping detailed records two decades ago.

June 7, 2011 8:57 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian journalist escapes being doused in gasoline

New York, June 6, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Colombian authorities today to thoroughly investigate the attempted murder of the director of a provincial television station in Colombia. Mario Esteban López Ortega, known for his criticism of local authorities, escaped an assassination attempt on Tuesday after he was abducted in the city of Ipiales, Nariño province.

June 6, 2011 4:28 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Missing journalist found dead in Mexico

New York, June 2, 2011--With the news that the body of Noel López Olguín, a Mexican reporter who went missing in March, was found on Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Mexican authorities to thoroughly investigate his murder. López was found Tuesday buried in a clandestine grave in the city of Chinameca, in the state of Veracruz, according to local news reports.

June 2, 2011 2:12 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Peru

Attacks on the press rise before Peruvian election

A worker inspects ballots with images of presidential candidates in Peru. (AP/Martin Mejia)

New York, June 1, 2011--In the last month, at least eight Peruvian journalists were physically attacked, threatened, or verbally harassed in response to their coverage of the June 5 presidential race, according to regional press groups and local media. Most of the culprits appear to be supporters of each of the presidential candidates.

June 1, 2011 5:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Drug trafficker confesses to killing missing Mexican reporter

New York, June 1, 2011--A drug gang leader confessed on Sunday to killing Mexican reporter Noel López Olguín, a columnist for a small newspaper in the state of Veracruz who went missing in March, according to local press reports. Gustavo Salas, the Mexican federal attorney general's special prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression, told CPJ on Tuesday that his office is taking up the case.

June 1, 2011 5:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela

Latin America democracy violated by killings

Lately, we have come to expect violence against journalists in certain regions, such as the Middle East. But here at CPJ, 2011 has also been troubling for the number of journalists killed in an entirely different part of the world, the Americas. 

Alerts   |   Honduras

One media executive killed in Honduras, another wounded

New York, May 25, 2011-- In two recent shooting attacks, a Honduran media owner has been killed and a newspaper manager wounded. Honduras authorities must put an end to the record level of violence against the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.   

Blog   |   Cuba

From a Cuban youth movement, to journalism, to jail

I joined the political civilist youth movement in 1991. Curiously, what I remember most from that period is how my apprehensions led me to disguise myself with a hat and glasses when traveling from my town of Artemisa to Havana to meet with other activists. These feelings of fear, defenselessness, and even blame, are common to those who live in Cuba, stifled by oppression and numbed by endless totalitarian propaganda.

May 25, 2011 10:40 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Guatemala

Provincial TV journalist found dead in Guatemala

(Prensa Libre)

New York, May 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Guatemalan authorities to launch a thorough investigation into the death of television journalist and teacher Yensi Roberto Ordoñez Galdámez, at left, who was found dead Thursday in southern Escuintla province.  

According to press reports, Ordoñez's body was discovered Thursday in a black vehicle parked outside the primary school where he taught. He had knife wounds in the neck and chest, according to the volunteer firefighters who found him. 

May 20, 2011 5:35 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Newspaper columnist shot to death in Venezuela

New York, May 20, 2011--Wilfred Iván Ojeda, a Venezuelan newspaper columnist and politician, was shot to death on Tuesday in the city of La Victoria, Aragua state, according to press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged authorities today to fully investigate the murder and bring all those responsible to justice.

May 20, 2011 1:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Peru

Peru candidates pledge to respect press freedom--will they?

A worker inspects ballots with images of presidential candidates in Peru. Keiko Fujimori will face Ollanta Humala in a presidential runoff on June 5. (AP/Martin Mejia)

Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala, the two candidates for the June 5 presidential runoff in Peru, barely raised freedom of expression issues during the political campaign. So Friday's event organized by the regional press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS) in Lima provided a great opportunity to measure their commitment on press freedom, especially important for candidates with questionable democratic credentials.  

May 6, 2011 11:05 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Peru

Critical radio host shot to death in Peru

New York, May 5, 2011--A Peruvian provincial radio host known for his harsh criticism of local authorities was shot to death on Tuesday in the northern city of Virú, the local press reported. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged authorities to investigate the murder, establish whether the motive was related to his work, and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

May 5, 2011 3:28 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran provincial reporter jailed on defamation charges

New York, May 2, 2011--Provincial Ecuadoran radio journalist Walter Vite Benítez was sentenced Wednesday to one year imprisonment on criminal defamation charges stemming from a critical comment about the local mayor made three years ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Ecuadoran authorities to release Vite and bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression. 

May 2, 2011 2:58 PM ET

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Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Syria, Tunisia

The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors

The world’s worst online oppressors are using an array of tactics, some reflecting astonishing levels of sophistication, others reminiscent of old-school techniques. From China’s high-level malware attacks to Syria’s brute-force imprisonments, this may be only the dawn of online oppression. A CPJ special report by Danny O’Brien

A security line outside Google's Beijing office. (AP/Andy Wong)

Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Multimedia, Russia, Syria, Tunisia

Audio Report: The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors




In our special report, "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors," CPJ examines the 10 prevailing strategies of online oppression worldwide and the countries that have taken the lead in their use. In this accompanying podcast, CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney notes that these strategies range from sophisticated cyber-attacks to traditional brute-force techniques. Listen to the podcast on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (2:47)

Read CPJ's special report, "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors."

May 2, 2011 8:44 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Honduras

Honduran radio director ambushed by gunmen

New York, April 29, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Honduran authorities today to offer full protection to Radio Uno Director Arnulfo Aguilar after a group of gunman attempted to enter his home in the northwestern city of San Pedro Sula. The police delayed an hour in responding to Aguilar's distress call, according to press reports.

April 29, 2011 4:27 PM ET

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Alerts   |   El Salvador

Gunmen kill cameraman in El Salvador

New York, April 27, 2011--Veteran Salvadoran cameraman and photo editor Alfredo Antonio Hurtado was shot dead by two unidentified men on Monday night while on a bus to San Salvador, where he worked. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to thoroughly investigate the killing and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

April 27, 2011 10:48 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Haiti

Haitian radio station destroyed in arson attack

New York, April 26, 2011--The Community to Protect Journalists condemned Thursday's arson attack on Haitian community radio station Tèt Ansanm Karis and called on local authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. The blaze destroyed the station's offices and all equipment and left the northeastern city of Carice without a local radio station.

April 26, 2011 4:17 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Bolivia

Bolivian journalist dead; explosive cited

New York, April 22, 2011--David Niño de Guzmán, news director for the La Paz-based Agencia de Noticias Fides, was found dead on Thursday, the apparent victim of an explosive device, after being reported missing two days earlier. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities today to thoroughly investigate the death.

April 22, 2011 12:27 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cuba

Journalists face arrest, intimidation during Party Congress

New York, April 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a string of recent arrests of journalists from the Havana-based news outlet Centro de Información Hablemos Press, preventing them from reporting on the Communist Party Congress held in Havana this week. CPJ called on the Cuban government to cease its persistent harassment of independent journalists and allow them to report freely.

Letters   |   Ecuador

Referendum threatens press freedom in Ecuador

President Correa: With a referendum approaching that may restrict news content and weaken news media companies, we are deeply concerned about Ecuador's commitment to freedom of expression. The vote, scheduled for May 7, will ask Ecuadorans several questions on a range of issues. The 10-point ballot includes, among other things, creation of a council to regulate media content and a prohibition against media companies having holdings in other industries.

April 18, 2011 11:35 AM ET

Blog   |   Security, USA

State Department falls short in first Pearl Act reports

The State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights this week. In preparing this year's reports, Foggy Bottom had to comply for the first time with the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act. Signed into law in May 2010, the Pearl Act requires descriptions, identifications, and assessments of press freedom conditions, including whether "severe violations" have occurred and "whether government authorities" have been complicit in press freedom violations. As I note in a blog in TheHill.com, though, the State Department's first attempt falls short, providing too little context and assessment.

April 15, 2011 5:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Security, USA

Writer threatened during Bailey murder trial

As the trial of suspects
charged with murdering Oakland,
Calif., reporter and editor Chauncey Bailey continued,
a reporter who has written dozens of articles about the case was himself threatened
as he investigated allegations
of real estate fraud
by a business tied to the suspects on trial.

April 13, 2011 1:20 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Brazil

Critical Brazilian TV journalist shot dead

New York, April 11, 2011--Brazilian authorities must thoroughly investigate the slaying of radio and television journalist Luciano Leitão Pedrosa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pedrosa, known for his critical coverage of local authorities and criminal groups, was shot Saturday night at a restaurant in Vitória de Santo Antão in northeastern Pernambuco state, according to press reports.

April 11, 2011 2:37 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cuba

Ending dark era, Cuba frees last jailed journalist

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.

Blog   |   Cuba

Cuban journalist Fernández Saínz: I was a reporter in prison

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.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

CPJ condemns closure of provincial radio station in Ecuador

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. 

April 5, 2011 4:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina, Venezuela

Hugo Chávez, free expression prize winner

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. 

April 1, 2011 3:18 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran president sues critical news daily for defamation

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.   

Alerts   |   Argentina

Argentina should halt obstruction of top dailies

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. 

March 29, 2011 4:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

For Cuban blogger Sánchez, a government 'distinction'

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. 

March 25, 2011 12:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

In breakthrough, Mexican media sign crime accord

Major Mexican press organizations agreed today on a code for coverage of organized crime, a step seen as a national breakthrough that could set professional standards well into the future. Though organized crime has been the major story in Mexico for several years, coverage has been haphazard based on time, place, and news organization. The problem with today's agreement is that organized crime cartels are so powerful in many parts of the country that they will likely be able to block some of the most important elements of the accord with the same intimidation they use to control much of the press already.

March 24, 2011 4:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

A not so dark Cuban Black Spring anniversary

From left: Carlos Lauría, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Raúl Rivero, and Fernando González Urbaneja at CPJ's Madrid presentation of its report on the Black Spring, in March 2008.

March 18 is not a day we usually look forward to at CPJ. On this day in 2003, the Cuban government launched a massive crackdown on the independent press resulting in the jailing of 29 reporters. But this year we have reason to feel encouraged. On March 4, with the release of Pedro Argüelles Morán, the last of the Black Spring journalists was released. 

Blog   |   Cuba

Cuban journalist survives 'hell' and emerges ready to fight

Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez walks free with his wife (right), while followed by government supporters jeering his release. (Reuters/Desmond Boylan)

On March 18, 2003, our people endured one of the worst episodes in Cuba's history. The peaceable political dissident community, human rights defenders, trade unionists, and independent journalists, along with representatives of the emergent and democratic civil society--74 men and one woman--were the victims of the most absolute, merciless, and cruel government power.

March 18, 2011 2:05 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

A new spring, and a couple's devotion blossoms anew

Pollán and Maseda, their love still rooted, are together again. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

When I wake up and sense my husband's body next to mine, I ask myself if I'm dreaming or if it is true that he has returned to our home.

Eight years have passed since 75 Cubans were uprooted from their homes for thinking differently than the governmental discourse and having the courage to express it publicly. So many days and nights of agony and suffering for their parents, wives, children, and grandchildren; so much accumulated pain. But the important thing is that they couldn't uproot our love. Our love gave us the motivation needed to undertake a tenacious and constant fight for the release of our loved ones. 

Blog   |   CPJ, Egypt, Internet, USA

At SXSW Interactive, theory and reality converge

I've just returned from a hectic week at SXSW Interactive, the annual gathering of digital technologists and creators in Austin, Texas. Conferences like this are often moments of isolation from the rest of the world, where attendees become consumed with the trivia of the event itself. But because many of those attending SXSWi are prolific online journalists, bloggers, and social media users, the conference's self-obsession doesn't stay confined to Austin. One tech startup even offered a browser plugin that would hide any Twitter with the "#SXSW" tags to hide the constant chatter from the rest of the world.

March 17, 2011 5:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican court rules critical documentary can be shown

A notice on the film's website says its distributor will resume screening.

When a federal judge issued an order last week to suspend screenings of documentary that investigates incompetence in the Mexican judicial system, it looked like the film might be falling victim to the very system it criticizes. The film, "Presumed Guilty" ("Presunto Culpable" in Spanish), exposes flaws in the Mexican judicial system as it charts two Mexican attorneys' efforts to exonerate street vendor Jose Antonio Zúñiga, who was convicted of murder in 2005 and was serving a 20-year sentence.

March 11, 2011 4:13 PM ET

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Alerts   |   El Salvador

In El Salvador, 11 sentenced in filmmaker's 2009 slaying

AFP

New York, March 10, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Wednesday's sentencing of 11 defendants in the brutal 2009 slaying of Christian Poveda, left, a French photojournalist and filmmaker who had spent decades documenting gang violence in El Salvador. Twenty other suspects, accused of being accomplices, were acquitted. 

March 10, 2011 4:49 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Moments before arrest in Cuba

José Luis García Paneque, center, at a news conference in Madrid in July, with other freed Cuban journalists. (Reuters/Andrea Comas)

On March 18, 2003, I got up early as usual, connected my shortwave radio receiver, and tuned into a number of radio stations in the south of Florida in search of the day's most important news. As always, the radio interference was brutal and made it hard to hear. Still, I had to make the effort to obtain even a minimum amount of information that, as an independent journalist, would permit me to counter the official news provided by the regime through our small news agency, Agencia Libertad. 

March 8, 2011 10:31 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Cuba

Last Black Spring reporter freed; one still jailed in Cuba

New York, March 7, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Cuban independent journalist Pedro Argüelles Morán on Friday, and calls on Cuban authorities to eliminate all conditions on his freedom. Argüelles Morán, at left, was the last of 29 reporters arrested during a 2003 massive government crackdown on dissent to be allowed to leave jail, on parole. 

March 7, 2011 3:13 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Argentina

Supreme Court tells Argentina to avoid bias in allocating ads

New York, March 4, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists hails a ruling by Argentina's Supreme Court that calls for the omission of discriminatory criteria and "reasonable balance" in the allocation of state advertising. The ruling stems from a 2006 injunction filed by Editorial Perfil, the country's largest magazine publisher, claiming arbitrary distribution of official advertising.

March 4, 2011 1:33 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

After 'trial by fire,' Cuba's Maseda back to journalism

Maseda holds a document proving his release from prison next to his wife, Laura Pollán. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

Almost three weeks after being released from jail following eight years of inhumane treatment in Cuba's infamous prison system, CPJ's 2008 International Press Freedom award winner Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez said he is committed to going back to independent journalism. "That's my will, and I have decided to do it here in Havana," Maseda said in a telephone conversation from Cuba's capital.

March 3, 2011 12:44 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Panama, Spain

Critical Spanish journalists expelled from Panama

New York, March 2, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Panamanian government to allow two Spanish journalists and human rights activists who were expelled to return to the country. The journalists were covering and documenting an indigenous demonstration on Saturday when they were detained by authorities and accused of "disrupting public order" according to an official statement

Blog   |   Brazil

Brazilian officials tell CPJ they see judicial censorship

CPJ's Carlos Lauría meets with Antonio Cezar Peluso, president of the Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal. (CPJ)

Government officials in the administration of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff acknowledged that judicial censorship is inhibiting the work of the local press during meetings with CPJ on Thursday and Friday. At the same time, they said that due to the separation of powers under the Brazilian constitution, there is not much they can do to influence the judiciary.

February 23, 2011 5:44 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuban journalist released on parole; two remain behind bars

New York, February 22, 2011--Iván Hernández Carrillo, a Cuban journalist imprisoned since March 2003, was released on parole Saturday and permitted to remain in the country, bringing to 19 the number of reporters and editors freed after an agreement between the President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Cuban authorities today to lift all conditions on Hernández Carrillo's release and to free the two journalists that remain imprisoned on the island.

February 22, 2011 4:42 PM ET

Blog   |   Brazil

Attacks launch: Judicial censorship strikes a chord in Brazil

CPJ's launch of Attacks on the Press in Brazil garnered big media attention and brought about government meetings. (CPJ/ABRAJI)

During the presentation of our annual survey, Attacks on the Press, in Sao Paulo, there was clear concern about the ability of the local media to report on issues of public interest without judicial interference. Journalists for three of the largest national dailies--O Estado de Sao Paulo, Folha de Sao Paulo, and O Globo--together with reporters for Sao Paulo's main radio stations and a group of local advocates, gathered at the Blue Tree Hotel in the booming Brazilian city to hear perspective on the status of press freedom in the country.

February 17, 2011 12:09 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan

Documenting sexual violence against journalists

Jineth Bedoya takes notes in December 2000 under the watch of a bodyguard in Bogotá in an armored car after she was kidnapped, beaten, and raped in April that year. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

The news of the sexual assault against CPJ board member and CBS correspondent Lara Logan hit us hard on Tuesday. At CPJ, we work daily to advocate on behalf of journalists under attack in all kinds of horrific situations around the world. Because of Lara's untiring work with our Journalist Assistance program, she's well known to everyone on our staff.

Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Venezuela

Attacks on the Press 2010: Americas Analysis

In Latin America, A Return of Censorship

The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional leaves white space for an image the government won't allow. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

By Carlos Lauría

As the preeminent political family in the northeastern state of Maranhão for more than 40 years, the Sarneys are used to getting their way in Brazilian civic life. So when the leading national daily O Estado de S. Paulo published allegations in June 2009 that linked José Sarney, the Senate president and the nation's former leader, to nepotism and corruption, the political clan did not sit idly by. The Sarneys turned to a judge in Brasília, winning an injunction that halted O Estado from publishing any more reports about the allegations. Eighteen months later, as 2010 came to a close, the ban remained in effect despite domestic and international outcry.

February 15, 2011 12:54 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina

Attacks on the Press 2010: Argentina

Top Developments
• Kirchner accuses two papers of colluding with the military dictatorship in 1976.
• Legislation would restrict media ownership in newsprint companies.

Key Statistic
400: Pages in government report that claims Clarín and La Nación media groups conspired with dictators.


President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's administration accused top executives of the country's two leading newspapers, Clarín and La Nación, of conspiring with the former military regime to commit crimes against humanity, allegations that dramatically escalated existing government-media tensions. In making a claim as controversial as it was aggressive, Kirchner called on the courts to decide whether the newspapers colluded with the dictatorship to force the sale of a newsprint supplier in 1976. The clash deepened divisions within the press itself, as journalists took sides on administration policies and tactics. Political talk shows on state-owned media lambasted government critics in the press. The space for balanced and unbiased journalism was significantly reduced, analysts said.

February 15, 2011 12:48 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil

Attacks on the Press 2010: Brazil

Top Developments
• Judicial censorship rampant; order bars paper from covering corruption allegations.
• Convictions won in journalist's murder as Brazil makes strides against impunity.

Key Statistic
398: Demands to remove online content made by Brazilian authorities to Google in the first six months of 2010.


Continuing a pattern of extensive censorship imposed from the bench, regional judges banned dozens of news outlets from covering some of the most important topics of the day, including issues involving the October general election, good governance, and public integrity. The national daily O Estado de S. Paulo faced a censorship order throughout the year that prevented the paper and its website from reporting on a corruption investigation involving the family of Senate President José Sarney. A provincial reporter was murdered in reprisal for his work, while other reporters and media workers operating outside large urban centers faced attacks as they covered politics and corruption.

February 15, 2011 12:44 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Colombia

Top Developments
• Progress slow in probe of illegal espionage that targeted journalists.
• One journalist murdered. Deadly violence slows, but danger remains.

Key Statistic
4: Provincial reporters forced into exile due to threats.


President Álvaro Uribe Vélez ended his two terms in office with a decidedly mixed press freedom record. CPJ research charted a drop in lethal violence during his administration: Eight reporters were killed in direct relation to their work in his first two years in office, while six died over the remaining six years of his tenure. The government has cited a journalist protection program and an improved overall security climate as reasons.

February 15, 2011 12:40 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba

Attacks on the Press 2010: Cuba

Top Developments
• Cuba relents on political detainees, frees 17 journalists. Four still held.
• In exile, freed journalists face economic, professional difficulties.

Key Statistic
45: Poems that journalist and former detainee Ricardo González Alfonso smuggled from prison.


After years of intensive advocacy and international diplomacy, 17 independent journalists swept up in the government's 2003 Black Spring crackdown were finally freed from an unjust and inhumane imprisonment. The Roman Catholic Church, with participation from Spanish officials, struck an agreement in July with the government of President Raúl Castro Ruz that called for the release of all 52 prisoners still being held seven years after the massive crackdown on political dissent and independent journalism. The deal as outlined by the church called for the release of all Black Spring detainees within four months, but three journalists and several other dissidents, apparently balking at Cuba's insistence that they leave the country in exchange for their freedom, remained in jail in late year. A fourth journalist, arrested in 2009, also remained in prison.

February 15, 2011 12:39 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ecuador

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ecuador

Top Developments
• Journalists attacked, broadcasters censored during police uprising.
• Correa administration orders broadcasters to air official rebuttals.

Key Statistic
6: Hours during which broadcasters were told to suspend programming, carry state news reports on police revolt.


President Rafael Correa's administration used censorship powers throughout the year to supplant independent news and commentary. Authorities compelled critical broadcasters to interrupt news shows to air official rebuttals. And in September, when hundreds of police officers staged violent nationwide protests over plans to reduce their bonus pay, the Communications Ministry ordered broadcasters to halt their own news reports and carry programming from state-owned Ecuador TV.

February 15, 2011 12:37 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Haiti

Attacks on the Press 2010: Haiti

Top Developments
• Journalists persevere after quake, working from tents and homes.
• Dozens of reporters jobless. Print media sustain heavy losses.

Key Statistic
95: Percent of radio stations knocked off the air by the January earthquake. Most had returned by late year.


Reflecting the devastation across all of Haitian society, the news media suffered massive losses in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck just west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, on the afternoon of January 12. More than 220,000 people died and 1.5 million were left homeless, according to official estimates. Government offices, schools, hospitals, and entire neighborhoods were reduced to ruins, as was most of the infrastructure supporting Haitian news media. More than 95 percent of commercial and community radio stations--the primary source of news in Haiti--went off the air as their equipment and premises sustained heavy damage, according to Joseph Guyler Delva, president of the local press freedom group SOS Journalistes. The human losses were great as well: At least 30 journalists died in the earthquake and its immediate aftermath, SOS Journalistes reported.

February 15, 2011 12:34 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Honduras

Attacks on the Press 2010: Honduras

Top Developments
• Rash of journalist murders occurs in lawless, politically charged climate.
• In murder investigations, authorities inattentive and dismissive.

Key Statistic
3: Months between Nahúm Palacios Arteaga's murder and the time authorities conducted an autopsy.


Six journalists were murdered in a seven-week span, with three more slain by year's end, a rash of killings that was made all the more shocking by the government's careless and dismissive response. Inattentive and botched investigative work yielded the arrests of but two suspects in all of the killings, and a judge quickly dismissed charges against them. CPJ found that at least three of the victims were slain in direct relation to their work, and it continued to investigate the other cases in late year.

February 15, 2011 12:33 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Attacks on the Press 2010: Mexico

Top Developments
• Amid rampant violence, Calderón backs federalization of anti-press crimes.
• More than 30 journalists killed or disappeared since Calderón's term began.

Key Statistic
4: Journalists abducted in Durango by gangsters who demand that TV stations air their propaganda.


Organized crime groups exerted fierce pressure on the Mexican press as their control spread across vast regions and nearly every aspect of society. Pervasive self-censorship by news media in areas under drug traffickers' influence was a devastating consequence of violence and intimidation. Ten journalists were killed, at least three in direct relation to their work, and three other reporters disappeared. In addition, journalists were assaulted, kidnapped, or forced into exile, while media outlets were targeted by bomb attacks, making Mexico one of the world's deadliest places for the press. After meeting with a CPJ delegation, President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa pledged to push for legislation making attacks on free expression a federal crime, and announced the launch of a security program for at-risk reporters.

February 15, 2011 12:25 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   USA

Attacks on the Press 2010: United States

Top Developments
• U.S. military ignores call for probe into killings of 16 journalists in Iraq.
• Under Pearl Act, State Department will track press freedom worldwide.

Key Statistic
14: Journalists imprisoned by U.S. military forces for prolonged periods without charge between 2004 and 2010.


In two important advances, Congress passed legislation to track press freedom worldwide while military forces released an Iraqi journalist who had been held without charge for 17 months. But officials obstructed a photojournalist covering the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and reporters documenting military judicial proceedings at Guantánamo Bay, in Cuba. A U.S. military video, disclosed by the website WikiLeaks, raised questions as to whether U.S. troops acted properly when they shot and killed an Iraqi journalist and his assistant in 2007.

February 15, 2011 12:07 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Venezuela

Attacks on the Press 2010: Venezuela

Top Developments
• Censorship spikes: RCTV banished again, newspapers barred from using crime images.
• New laws restrict Internet content, tighten control over broadcast licenses.

Key Statistic
1,300: Hours of presidential speeches that were aired between 1999 and 2010.


Using all the tools of power, President Hugo Chávez Frías continued his aggressive campaign to silence critical news media. In the waning days of a lame-duck National Assembly, the Chávez administration pushed through measures to restrict Internet content and tighten control over broadcast licenses. Relying on politicized courts, the government barred two major newspapers from publishing images of crime and violence in the run-up to September legislative elections. And through a series of politically motivated regulatory actions, the administration intimidated one critical broadcaster, Globovisión, and banished another, RCTV International.

February 15, 2011 12:05 AM ET

Alerts   |   Cuba

Journalist released on parole, allowed to stay in Cuba

Freed journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez embraces his wife, Laura Pollán, leader of Cuban dissident group Ladies in White, in his home in Havana. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

New York, February 14, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Cuban authorities today to place no conditions on the release of journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, who was freed on parole Saturday. Maseda Gutiérrez is a founding member of the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro and a winner of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award in 2008.

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuba's Maseda Gutiérrez balks at conditions for freedom

New York, February 11, 2011--The Catholic Church in Havana announced today that jailed Cuban journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, a CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee, at left, would be released after nearly eight years behind bars. But news reports, including one citing the journalist's wife, said Maseda Gutiérrez has balked at conditions placed on his release and at the continued detention of other political dissidents.

Blog   |   Mexico

Aristegui's dismissal is troubling and inappropriate

Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui tells the media today she was fired from MVS for refusing to apologize for comments last week on her radio show. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)

On Friday, opposition legislators in Mexico disrupted a congressional session by raising a banner with an image of President Felipe Calderón and a message that read: "Would you let a drunk drive your car? No, right? So why would you let one drive your country?" Radio MVS' Carmen Aristegui, one of Mexico's most popular journalists, addressed the issue on her weekly radio show, asking on the air whether Calderón should give a formal answer as to whether he had a drinking problem. MVS then fired Aristegui for allegedly violating the station's code of ethics.

February 9, 2011 4:58 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Guatemala

Guatemalan journalist threatened after corruption probe

New York, February 9, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of Guatemalan television journalist Oscar de León, who has received multiple death threats and had his van shot at in the southwestern municipality of Quetzaltenango, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. De León, a correspondent for the private national Guatevisión TV network, said he has received the threats since he probed alleged police corruption.

February 9, 2011 4:19 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia, USA

Coronell leaves Colombia again, this time for opportunity

Coronell (Judith Calson)

In 2005, a series of chilling death threats compelled award-winning Colombian journalist Daniel Coronell to leave Bogotá with his family for what ended up being a two-year stay in California. Today, more than three years after his return from exile, Coronell and his family are moving back to the States, this time by choice. CPJ spoke to him last week about how his return U.S. to take on a high-level position at a major TV network compares to his exile in 2005, and the press freedom conditions he's leaving behind in Colombia. 

February 9, 2011 3:43 PM ET

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Letters   |   Cuba, Spain

Press Cuba to keep promise to free journalists

Dear President Rodríguez Zapatero: The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed that the Cuban government has yet to fulfill its promise to free all journalists imprisoned during the 2003 crackdown on dissent. We urge your government, which was a key party to the agreement to release the prisoners by November 2010, to hold President Raúl Castro to his word.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuador interrupts news show to air official rebuttals

New York, February 2, 2011--Ecuadoran authorities interrupted a news program critical of the Ecuadoran government on Monday to air an official rebuttal, a practice that has become standard in the administration of President Rafael Correa, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists. CPJ calls on Ecuadoran authorities to stop this practice, which has a chilling effect on public discourse.   

February 2, 2011 2:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Dominican Republic

Dominican police, firing pellets, wound reporter

New York, February 2, 2011--Dominican police wounded journalist Francisco Frías Morel on Friday as he was covering a funeral procession for a youth killed in a police shooting in the northeastern city of Nagua, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to hold those responsible to account. 

February 2, 2011 1:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

A Cuban journalist in exile: Unkept promises

Gálvez Rodríguez shows his passport to the media after his arrival in Spain. (Reuters)

The clouds of exile are twice as bitter. Being forced from your birthplace and into legal limbo in the land of your grandparents where you're met by complete official abandonment only deepens the wounds. My gloominess has nothing to do with the affection and solidarity shown by the Spanish people, especially the citizens of Madrid. Thanks to many of them my family--my wife and my little 5-year-old Emmanuel--have clothes and shoes. We arrived with nothing. Or worse yet: We arrived loaded down with the heavy baggage of my long imprisonment.

Blog   |   Haiti

Haitian journalist Montas levels charges against Baby Doc

Montas is seeking justice in a criminal complaint against Duvalier. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

Former dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier is facing some blowback after breezing into Haiti last Sunday following a 25-year absence. On Wednesday, prominent Haitian journalist and former UN spokesperson Michele Montas joined three others in filing criminal complaints against the former dictator who returned to the country Sunday, just days after the anniversary of last year's devastating earthquake. 

January 20, 2011 4:43 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuador must return property seized from newsmagazine

New York, January 18, 2011--Ecuadoran authorities have been holding computers and equipment belonging to the critical newsmagazine Vanguardia since a police raid on its offices a month ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists has concluded the seizure was reprisal for the magazine's editorial positions and calls on authorities to return the property.  

January 18, 2011 12:02 PM ET

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Letters   |   China, USA

CPJ asks Obama to raise jailed Chinese journalists with Hu

Dear President Obama: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to you in advance of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States in January to urge you to raise press freedom issues during your talks. We ask that you make clear the depth of U.S. concern that China is the world's leading jailer of journalists.

January 11, 2011 4:46 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

For Cuban dissidents, prison is the only destination

Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta arrives in Spain in August. (AFP)

I was born beneath the yoke of a tyranny, now more than 50 years old, in which prison is the only destination for its deterrents. I first came across this destination in 1997, when I was sentenced to five years in prison for the alleged crime of committing an outrage "against state security." In Cuba, besides being a journalist, I was the coordinator of the Cuban Youth for Democracy Movement, an organization that defends the many truncated rights within higher learning institutions, such as a university's autonomy. The answer to our demands? Prison. 

January 11, 2011 10:14 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran radio denied license renewal on bogus charges

New York, January 5, 2011--An Ecuadoran provincial radio station known for its criticism of local authorities was denied its license renewal based on bogus administrative violations, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Ecuadoran regulators must allow the station to report the news freely, CPJ said. 
January 5, 2011 4:57 PM ET

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