Attacks on the Press in 2008

Attacks on the Press   |   Sri Lanka

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Sri Lanka

A 2002 cease-fire between the predominantly Sinhalese government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which claims territory for an ethnic Tamil homeland, was abandoned in January. Ethnic Tamil journalists perceived as supporting independence have long been under murderous attack, but 2008 brought an escalation in physical and verbal attacks on mainstream journalists who dared to be critical of the government’s military operations.

Attacks on the Press   |   Sudan

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Sudan

Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which formally ended a decades-long civil war between north and south, officially protects press freedom. However, Sudanese officials ignored these guarantees in practice. In February, the government reinstated formal censorship of the print news media, instructing local editors to submit each issue for pre-approval. Throughout the year, authorities confiscated newspapers and harassed journalists for attempting to report on sensitive topics, such as the conflict in Darfur, the Sudanese security forces, and official censorship itself. The government also used more subtle methods to control content, such as withholding government advertisements and imposing strict licensing that allows for the suspension of critical publications on administrative technicalities.

February 10, 2009 12:11 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Thailand

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Thailand

A coalition government led by the People Power Party crumbled in December in the face of intense months-long street protests. As demonstrations reached a crescendo in late November, violence spread across the capital, Bangkok, and protesters laid siege to domestic and international airports. Media outlets were targeted by both pro- and antigovernment protesters.

February 10, 2009 12:10 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Tunisia

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Tunisia

The September abduction of writer Slim Boukhdhir was a chilling reminder of the insecurity that critical journalists face in this North African nation. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in power since 1987, continued to operate a virtual police state, despite the moderate image his government vigorously promoted to the rest of the world.
February 10, 2009 12:09 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Turkmenistan

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Turkmenistan

In the second year of his presidency, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov relaxed some cultural restrictions but took no significant steps to improve press conditions. The strange and repressive legacy of his predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in late 2006, continued to dominate this gas-rich Central Asian nation. Despite Berdymukhammedov's promises to open his long-isolated country to the world, access to critical news Web sites was blocked by the dominant, state-owned Internet service provider, and authorities dismantled residential satellite dishes in the capital, Ashgabat, on presidential orders. The government waged an aggressive campaign of harassment against journalists working for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, even as it continued to stonewall questions about the 2006 death of an RFE/RL correspondent in state custody.

February 10, 2009 12:08 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Uganda

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Uganda

Government security forces intimidated and harassed critical journalists, particularly political commentators on the country’s many popular radio talk shows. Criminal defamation and sedition laws were the main weapons in the government’s legal attacks on the press, although a case pending before the Supreme Court held some promise that the laws might be declared unconstitutional.

February 10, 2009 12:07 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   USA

Attacks on the Press in 2008: United States

U.S. government actions against journalists abroad continued to sully the nation’s image. Authorities finally freed two long-detained journalists, one in Iraq and the other at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without ever charging them with a crime or producing any evidence to support the imprisonments. But the military continued its alarming practice of holding journalists in open-ended detention without due process. At least one journalist was being held without charge when CPJ conducted its annual census of imprisoned journalists.

February 10, 2009 12:06 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Uzbekistan

Throughout the year, President Islam Karimov's administration sought to persuade the European Union and Western nations that it was on a path of reform. It urged the EU to lift sanctions imposed in 2005 after Uzbek troops killed hundreds of citizens during antigovernment protests in the eastern city of Andijan. Lobbying efforts notwithstanding, the government maintained a deplorable press freedom record. With six reporters in prison in late year, Uzbekistan was the region's leading  jailer of journalists. International broadcast media remained blocked, and government security agents enforced censorship rules on domestic news media.

February 10, 2009 12:05 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Venezuela

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Venezuela

Official intolerance of criticism and unfounded government accusations promoted a climate of fear among Venezuelan journalists. Tensions reached new heights in September when, without providing evidence, President Hugo Chávez Frías and high-ranking administration officials accused private media outlets of plotting to overthrow the government and murder the president. With violent crime rates escalating, the murder of a newspaper executive and the shooting of a critical columnist raised concern about journalists’ safety.

February 10, 2009 12:04 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Vietnam

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Vietnam

The government cracked down on journalists, bloggers, and pro-democracy activists, sending some to jail and harassing many others. The campaign of repression reversed a brief period of liberalization that accompanied the country’s 2007 accession to the World Trade Organization.

February 10, 2009 12:03 AM ET

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