Attacks on the Press in 2010

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2010

A Worldwide Survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists


At a Mexico City protest against anti-press violence, a poster recalls the slain journalist Valentine Valdés Espinosa (AP/Marco Ugarte)

Table of Contents

Regional Analyses



February 15, 2011 12:59 AM ET

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2010: Preface

by Riz Khan

It's a double-edged sword. Technology has made the life of journalists so much easier and yet so much more difficult. Even in the least-developed countries, where simple infrastructure such as paved road is a luxury, access to mobile phones, the portability of satellite broadcasting systems, the growth of delivery platforms, and the popularity of 24-hour news channels enable a news story to make it into the homes of hundreds of millions of people instantly.

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2010: Introduction

International Institutions Fail To Defend Press Freedom

An empty chair for Liu at the Nobel ceremony, and a lack of support from international institutions. (Reuters) by Joel Simon

UNESCO is the primary entity within the United Nations dedicated to the defense of press freedom. Yet in 2010, journalism and human rights organizations were forced to launch an international campaign to stop UNESCO from presenting a prize honoring one of Africa's most notorious press freedom abusers.

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2010: Internet Analysis

Exposing the Internet's shadowy assailants

In this photo taken by an undercover journalist for the Democratic Voice of Burma, an online, exile-run news agency, Buddhist monks lead protests against the Burmese military junta. (DVB/AP)

by Danny O'Brien

For the past decade, those who used the Internet to report the news might have assumed that the technological edge was in their favor. But online journalists now face more than just the standard risks to those working in dangerous conditions. They find themselves victims of new attacks unique to the new medium. From online surveillance of writers through customized malicious software to "just in time" censorship that can wipe controversial news sites off the Internet at the most inconvenient moment, the online tools to attack the press are getting smarter and spreading further.

Attacks on the Press   |   Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2010: Africa Analysis

Across Continent, Governments Criminalize
Investigative Reporting

Ivory Coast's President and 2010 presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo talks to the press. (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo)

By Mohamed Keita

Across the continent, the emergence of in-depth reporting and the absence of effective access-to-information laws have set a collision course in which public officials, intent on shielding their activities, are moving aggressively to unmask confidential sources, criminalize the possession of government documents, and retaliate against probing journalists. From Cameroon to Kenya, South Africa to Senegal, government reprisals have resulted in imprisonments, violence, threats, and legal harassment. At least two suspicious deaths--one involving an editor, the other a confidential source--have been reported in the midst of government reprisals against probing news coverage.

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   |   Afghanistan, Burma, China, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam

Attacks on the Press 2010: Asia Analysis

Partisan Journalism and the Cycle of Repression

With journalists in their midst, police and protesters clash in Bangkok. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom)

by Bob Dietz and Shawn W. Crispin

Lal Wickramatunga's family and publishing house, Leader Publications, have paid dearly in Sri Lanka's highly charged political climate. While Leader's newspapers, including the weekly Sunday Leader, are widely known for tough, independent reporting, they have been caught up in a partisan media environment, one filled with violence and censorship. Wickramatunga's brother has been murdered, his company has been sued, and his journalists face intimidation.

Attacks on the Press   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Europe and Central Asia Analysis

On the Runet, Old-School Repression Meets New

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev launched a blog but the Kremlin promised to tightly control who can comment on it. (Reuters)

By Nina Ognianova and Danny O'Brien

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has often talked about the importance of a free press and free Internet, telling reporters before his election that the Web "guarantees the independence of mass media." He explicitly tied the two together in his first State of the Union address in November 2008, declaring that "freedom of speech should be backed up by technological innovation" and that no government official "can obstruct discussion on the Internet."

Attacks on the Press   |   Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen

Attacks on the Press 2010: Middle East and North Africa Analysis

Suppression Under the Cover of National Security

A police trooper stands guard on a police vehicle outside a state security court in Sanaa, Yemen. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

By Mohamed Abdel Dayem

Relying on an extensive network of sources in the military, government, and Islamist groups, Yemeni freelance journalist Abdulelah Shaea had become a frequent and pointed critic of the administration's counterterrorism efforts. By July, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government had enough, dispatching security agents to seize and roughly interrogate Shaea for several hours about his reporting.

Attacks on the Press   |   Afghanistan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Afghanistan

Top Developments
• Two killed, but press fatalities don't rise in proportion to overall dangers.
• Kidnappings an ongoing hazard; two French journalists held captive.

Key Statistic
13: Foreign journalists killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S. invasion.


Journalists faced numerous challenges from a multifaceted war, instances of government censorship, a culture of official corruption, and factionalism within the domestic media. Two journalists were killed and two others were held by kidnappers throughout the year. The Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, an agency funded by the European Union and European governmental aid agencies, said in September that Afghanistan was at its most dangerous level since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Insecurity reigned even as the NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), raised troop levels, largely through the addition of about 30,000 U.S. forces. By the end of November, the United States had about 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, and ISAF troop levels stood at more than 130,000.

February 15, 2011 12:50 AM ET

2010

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