Attacks on the Press in 2007

Attacks on the Press   |   Sudan

Attacks on the Press 2007: Sudan

SUDAN

Despite free speech protections built into Sudan’s 2005 interim constitution, authorities operated as if a state of emergency were still in force. Newspaper suspensions, criminal charges, and detentions were a routine part of working as a journalist in Sudan. When trying to cover one of the world’s biggest stories—the genocide in Darfur—reporters faced high barriers.
February 5, 2008 10:28 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Tajikistan

Attacks on the Press 2007: Tajikistan

TAJIKISTAN

Beginning his 16th year as head of state, President Emomali Rahmonov promoted policies to foster “national identity.” He abolished Russified endings from Tajik surnames—and started by cutting the suffix “ov” from his own surname and decreeing that he be called President Rahmon. The newly renamed president went on to prohibit students from driving cars to school and to admonish the public for what he called lavish spending on weddings and funerals. In his annual address to parliament, Rahmon called for the development of a new press policy in which “Tajik mass media will be expected to raise patriotism with the public.”
February 5, 2008 10:24 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Thailand

Attacks on the Press 2007: Thailand

THAILAND

Fallout from the September 2006 military coup cast a chill over Thailand’s media throughout 2007, as the junta maintained martial law over nearly half the country’s provinces and used its discretionary powers to censor broadcast news, seize control of the country’s only privately run television station, and pass new legislation that severely curtailed free expression on the Internet.
February 5, 2008 10:23 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Tunisia

Attacks on the Press 2007: Tunisia

TUNISIA

In a July 25 speech marking the 50th anniversary of the Tunisian Republic, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali proclaimed that his government had “enriched the information and communication landscape and offered opportunity for the expression of different opinions.” It was an Orwellian moment in a year in which the Ben Ali administration stepped up attacks on independent journalists and blocked numerous online news sites.
February 5, 2008 10:21 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Turkey

Attacks on the Press 2007: Turkey

TURKEY

The murder of an outspoken newspaper editor underlined a troubling year in which journalists continued to be the targets of criminal prosecution and government censorship.

Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian editor of the bilingual weekly Agos, was gunned down outside his newspaper’s Istanbul office on January 19. Dink had received numerous death threats from nationalist Turks who viewed his iconoclastic journalism, particularly on the mass killings of Armenians in the early 20th century, as an act of treachery. In a January 10 article in Agos, Dink said he had passed along a particularly threatening letter to Istanbul’s Sisli district prosecutor, but no action had been taken. Dink’s murder rekindled memories of the not-too-distant past, when murders of journalists were common in Turkey. In the 1990s, 18 Turkish journalists were killed for their work, many of them murdered, making it the eighth-deadliest country in the world for the press. Few of the cases were solved.
February 5, 2008 10:20 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Turkmenistan

Attacks on the Press 2007: Turkmenistan

TURKMENISTAN

The sudden death of President-for-Life Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006 marked an end to an eccentric and authoritarian rule, raising modest hopes for social, economic, and political reform. Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, a deputy prime minister and Niyazov loyalist, was named interim leader and then became president in a government-orchestrated “election” in February.
February 5, 2008 10:19 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Ukraine

Attacks on the Press 2007: Ukraine

UKRAINE

Intense political rivalries among a trio of powerful leaders created a chaotic and highly politicized environment in which journalists were vulnerable to a variety of abuses. Parliamentary elections in September and negotiations to form a new government in the succeeding months intensified pressure on journalists to take sides. In November, Ukraine’s two pro-Western parties formed a fragile coalition that returned Orange Revolution leader Yulia Tymoshenko to the prime minister’s post she once held. Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian politician who was prime minister for more than a year, found himself the odd man out, but it was uncertain how long Tymoshenko’s alliance with President Viktor Yushchenko could last.
February 5, 2008 10:17 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   USA

Attacks on the Press 2007: United States

Editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down three blocks from his Oakland, Calif., office in August, becoming the first U.S. journalist killed for his work in six years. Bailey, editor-in-chief of the Oakland Post and four other weeklies focusing on the San Francisco Bay Area's African-American communities, was targeted after investigating the alleged criminal activities of a local business, Your Black Muslim Bakery. One suspect, bakery worker Devaughndre Broussard, was arrested. He reportedly confessed to killing Bailey with a sawed-off shotgun, although his lawyer said the statement was made under duress. Journalists across the country later formed an ad hoc group to investigate the crime, the first on-duty killing since the 2001 deaths of one journalist in the terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center and another in a Florida anthrax attack.
February 5, 2008 10:16 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press 2007: Uzbekistan

UZBEKISTAN

In power for nearly two decades, President Islam Karimov had little trouble securing another seven-year term in office. He faced three candidates but no genuine opposition in a December election that international observers said was neither free nor fair. Though constitutional term limits seemed to constrain the president from seeking re-election at all, the Central Election Commission cleared Karimov for another run without bothering to explain its reasoning. Throughout, the regime continued to suppress dissent and independent voices.
February 5, 2008 10:14 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Venezuela

Attacks on the Press 2007: Venezuela

VENEZUELA

The Venezuelan government’s unprecedented decision not to renew the broadcast concession of the country’s oldest private television station, RCTV, represented a major setback for free expression and democracy. The decision, aimed at silencing Venezuela’s most critical media outlet, was part of President Hugo Chávez Frías’ aggressive strategy to challenge the influence of the private press as he expanded the reach of state media. But as Chávez reached for further power in late year, he suffered his first major blow at the polls. Voters narrowly rejected a constitutional overhaul that would have allowed the government to censor the news media.
February 5, 2008 10:13 AM ET

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2007

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