Attacks on the Press in 2010

Attacks on the Press   |   Uganda

Attacks on the Press 2010: Uganda

Top Developments
• Electronic surveillance measure enacted; may chill news reporting.
• Court strikes down sedition law used against critical journalists.

Key Statistic
5: Journalists assaulted during clashes between security forces and members of the Buganda kingdom.


Authorities harassed and obstructed journalists covering two stories that shook the nation: a fire that destroyed a historic Buganda kingdom site and twin terror bombings in the capital. The press won an important legal victory as the Constitutional Court struck down a criminal sedition statute that had been used to silence critical journalists. But journalists faced new threats as the president signed a sweeping surveillance measure that could chill news reporting, while the administration drafted legislation that could expand regulatory powers over newspapers. Ruling party officials and supporters assaulted journalists covering opposition candidates in local balloting, an ill omen as the country prepared for the 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections.

February 15, 2011 12:09 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ukraine

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ukraine

Top Developments
• Provincial reporters targeted in a series of attacks; editor reported missing.
• Television journalists continue to face heavy political influence.

Key Statistic
1: Mastermind identified in Gongadze murder. Prosecutors stir controversy by blaming only a dead official for the plot.


The disappearance of a critical editor, a series of violent attacks, and several instances of politicized government regulation fueled deteriorating press freedom conditions. Authorities brought charges against another suspect in the 2000 murder of editor Georgy Gongadze, but they ended their long investigation amid controversy by naming a dead official as the sole mastermind.

February 15, 2011 12:08 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   |   Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Uzbekistan

Top Developments
• State deploys analysts to build sweeping criminal defamation cases.
• Numerous regional and international news websites are blocked.

Key Statistic
6: Journalists in prison on December 1, the highest figure in the region.


Even as President Islam Karimov was calling for more "active" news reporting, his government was rolling out a new tactic designed to quash critical journalism. Using an obscure state agency to formulate the charges, Uzbek prosecutors arrested at least three journalists on vague allegations of defamation. In one of the cases, a photographer was convicted of insulting the whole of Uzbek citizenry with her images of life in rural Uzbekistan.

February 15, 2011 12:06 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

Attacks on the Press   |   Vietnam

Attacks on the Press 2010: Vietnam

Top Developments
• In run-up to Communist Party Congress, authorities clamp down on Internet.
• Critical blogs targeted in hacking attacks; government complicity seen.

Key Statistic
5: Online journalists imprisoned on December 1, reflecting crackdown on Internet commentary.


Vietnam targeted online journalists in a clampdown on dissent ahead of a 2011 Communist Party Congress at which top government appointments and policies were to be determined. At least five journalistic bloggers were among dozens of activists arrested on national security-related charges, including "spreading propaganda against the state" and "abusing democratic freedoms." The government maintained some of the world's strictest Internet controls, which included blocks on Facebook and numerous Vietnamese-language websites, including those maintained by the exile-run, pro-democracy Viet Tan and human rights organizations critical of the government. Independent analysts found evidence of official involvement in hacking attacks on critical blogs and websites.

February 15, 2011 12:04 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Yemen

Attacks on the Press 2010: Yemen

Top Developments
• Special press and security courts are used to silence probing journalists.
• Redlines bar critical coverage of civil unrest, terrorism, corruption.

Key Statistic
29: Days that reporter Abulelah Shaea was held incommunicado after being seized by security agents.

The government pursued a widening array of repressive tactics, prompting many journalists to say that press freedom conditions had reached their lowest point since the unification of the country's north and south in 1990. Authorities continued to use long-standing practices of extrajudicial abduction, intimidation, threats, and crude censorship to control the news media. But as CPJ documented in a September special report, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government was also erecting an elaborate legal structure to further restrict coverage and provide a veneer of legitimacy for its actions.

February 15, 2011 12:03 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Zimbabwe

Attacks on the Press 2010: Zimbabwe

Top Developments
• Press makes incremental gains as five private publication licenses are granted.
• Police, ZANU-PF loyalists harass, assault independent journalists.

Key Statistic
0: Broadcast licenses issued to private outlets since 2001.


Regulators granted five private publishing licenses, the first in seven years, opening a window for press freedom in this long-oppressed nation. But police harassment, regulatory intransigence concerning private broadcast licenses, and the government's unwillingness to pursue legal reforms ensured that the opening remained but a crack.
February 15, 2011 12:02 AM ET

2010

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