Attacks on the Press in 2009

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2009: Preface

In Tehran, journalists faced vague antistate accusations during mass, televised judicial proceedings. (AP) By Fareed Zakaria

Toward the end of his 118-day ordeal inside Tehran’s Evin prison, Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari had a bizarre exchange with his interrogator. Bahari had been held in solitary confinement since his arrest after Iran’s disputed presidential election in June; he had been subjected to near-daily beatings and interrogation sessions that stretched for hours. But his jailers had not been able to prove their accusation that Bahari was a spy for Western intelligence agencies. So they had an ominous-sounding new charge to levy against him: “media espionage.”

February 16, 2010 12:58 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2009: Introduction

By Joel Simon

Does “name and shame” still work in the Internet age? After all, the massacre of 31 journalists and media workers in the Philippines pushed the 2009 media death toll to the highest level ever recorded by CPJ. The number of journalists in prison also rose, fueled by the fierce crackdown in Iran.
February 16, 2010 12:58 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Rwanda, Somalia, Zimbabwe

In African hot spots, journalists forced into exile

Al-Shabaab militants patrol Mogadishu's Bakara Market, home to several media outlets. (Reuters/Feisal Omar)By Tom Rhodes

High numbers of local journalists have fled several African countries in recent years after being assaulted, threatened, or imprisoned, leaving a deep void in professional reporting. The starkest examples are in the Horn of Africa nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, where dozens of journalists have been forced into exile. Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and the Gambia have also lost large segments of the local press corps in the face of intimidation and violence.

Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, USA, Venezuela

In the Americas, Big Brother is watching reporters

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez appears at a press conference with military leaders to announce the end of unlawful spying. (AP/Fernando Vergara)By Carlos Lauría

The topic being investigated by two Colombian reporters was explosive enough that it required unusual security. Fearful that the subjects would learn prematurely of the story, the reporters took separate notes, which they did not share and which they later destroyed. They didn’t communicate by telephone or e-mail, and they met only in public locations. They relayed only the barest information to their own sources.
February 16, 2010 12:56 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan, USA

As fighting surges, so does danger to press

An Afghan police officer aims his weapon at two photographers covering pre-election violence in Kabul. (AFP/Pedro Ugarte)By Bob Dietz

As the United States redeploys forces to Afghanistan, and the Pakistani military moves into the country’s tribal areas, the media face enormous challenges in covering a multifaceted conflict straddling two volatile countries. Pakistani reporters cannot move freely in areas controlled by militants. International reporters in Afghanistan, at risk from kidnappers and suicide bombers, encounter daunting security challenges. And front-line reporters in both countries face pressure from all sides.

Attacks on the Press   |   Russia

Why a killing in Chechnya is an international issue

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov confers with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Grozy. (RIA Novosti)By Nina Ognianova

The day before, Natalya Estemirova had seen off two colleagues from Moscow. Yelena Milashina, a reporter with the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and Tanya Lokshina, an advocate with the international group Human Rights Watch, had traveled to Chechnya on separate assignments. Like many visiting journalists and human rights defenders, Milashina and Lokshina had stayed with Estemirova. Her Grozny apartment had become a headquarters for such visitors; Russian and international journalists often made it their first stop. Estemirova was their primary source, consultant, fixer, translator, protector.

Attacks on the Press   |   Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen

Human rights coverage spreads, despite government pushback

Reports of Egyptian police torture spark protests in Cairo. (Reuters/Mona Sharaf)By Mohamed Abdel Dayem and Robert Mahoney

The media in the Middle East loved the Intifada. Every detail of Israel’s violations of human rights in the late 1980s in the West Bank and Gaza appeared in the Arabic and Farsi press. The governments that owned or controlled these media outlets loved it, too. When pan-Arab satellite television stations emerged in the 1990s, they looped hours of footage of Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers repressing Palestinians.
February 16, 2010 12:53 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Philippines

Makings of a massacre: Impunity fostered Philippine killings

Across the Philippines, protesters call for justice in Maguindanao massacre. (AP/Bullit Marquez)By Shawn W. Crispin

Before Henry Araneta and his colleagues set off on the morning of November 23, 2009, on what would be their last assignment, the DZRH reporter sent his wife a text message: There could be trouble.

February 16, 2010 12:53 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Afghanistan

Attacks on the Press 2009: Afghanistan

Top Developments
• Government tries to curb reporting on Election Day violence.
• Abductions target foreign reporters, endangering local journalists, too.

Key Statistic
20: Years that Parwez Kambakhsh would have spent in jail on an unjust charge. He was freed in August.

Deepening violence, flawed elections, rampant corruption, and faltering development provided plenty of news to cover, but the deteriorating national conditions also raised dangers for local and foreign journalists working in Afghanistan. Roadside bombs claimed the life of a Canadian reporter and injured several other international journalists. A series of kidnappings mainly targeted international reporters, but one captive Afghan journalist was killed during a British military mission that succeeded in rescuing his British-Irish colleague.

February 16, 2010 12:52 AM ET

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