Blog   |   India

India withdraws charges against journalist Naveen Soorinje

Although Naveen Soorinje is still in jail, there may be some good news. Today, 86 days after his arrest, the state cabinet in Karnataka decided to withdraw charges against him.

January 31, 2013 4:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

NYT reports Chinese hacking: one battle in large war

The New York Times reported Thursday that, after four months, it has expelled what it believes to be China-based hackers from its computer system and has, so far, kept them from breaking back in. The paper said a group had been "infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees." The paper linked the attacks to a Times investigation, published in October, finding that the relatives of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao "had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings."

Blog   |   Turkey

Conflating critics with terrorists in Turkey

Erdoğan speaks at a meeting in parliament on Wednesday. (AFP/Adem Altan)

The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is quick to brand critics as "terrorists," and that's one of the main reasons that Turkey was the world's worst jailer of the press when CPJ conducted its recent census of imprisoned journalists. This week, the prime minister and two pro-government newspapers applied the label once again to critics, illustrating the extremely difficult climate confronting any Turkish journalist who challenges official positions.

Blog   |   Tajikistan

Tajikistan blames censorship on complaints by citizens

In the last year, CPJ has documented a disturbing trend of attacks against the press in Tajikistan: the frequent blocking orders that the State Communications Agency has issued to local Internet service providers. Delivered in most instances via text message, the orders urge the ISPs to block nationwide access to local and international news websites that criticize President Emomali Rahmon and his authoritarian policies, and publicize issues like widespread government corruption and rising unemployment.

Blog   |   Nepal

Nepal takes one step toward justice for Dekendra Thapa

Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai condemned arrests in the 8-year-old murder case of a radio journalist. (Reuters/Rajendra Chitrakar)

Lau Tzu once said: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In Nepal, getting to that first step has been a tumultuous process. Tomorrow, a court in the western district of Dailekh is expected to formally begin hearings in the 2004 murder case of journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa.

Blog   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Journalist Assistance, Kenya, Somalia

Journalist Assistance helps record number in 2012

An increase in press freedom violations last year created a surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases for CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who received support during the year came from East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the last year:

Blog   |   Ecuador

Repression deepens as Correa heads to new term

Critics say that Correa, seen here speaking during a campaign rally for the upcoming presidential election, has turned the Ecuadoran press into his whipping boy. (AFP/Rodrigo Buendia)

One result of President Rafael Correa's high-profile campaign to demonize the country's private media can be seen on the desk of José Velásquez, news manager at Teleamazonas, a private Quito television station often critical of the government. Among the documents piled high on his desk are lawsuits, which used to be a rare thing. Encouraged by Correa, who has personally sued newspapers and journalists, Velásquez says, the subjects of Teleamazonas news reports are now filing between two and five lawsuits per month against the station.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Black January: Year two

Journalists, rights activists, and opposition lawmakers, with Sandya Eknelygoda in the center, protest attacks on journalists and authorities' failure to punish the culprits in Colombo Tuesday. (AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Black January commemorations in Colombo have become an annual event. Tuesday's demonstration was the second. The protest aims to recall the series of killings and attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka in recent years, many of them occurring in Januaries past. All of them have gone untried and unpunished, sustaining the country's perfect record of impunity for those who want to silence media by murder.

Blog   |   Security, Syria

Humanitarian law, ethics, and journalism in Syria

A Syrian pilot shot down and taken prisoner is interviewed by Al-Jazeera on October 17. (YouTube)

A small number of journalists reporting from Syria have recently interviewed prisoners of war under highly coercive circumstances. In doing so, they have ignored the protections that are due to prisoners under international humanitarian law, or IHL.

Blog   |   Belarus

Lukashenko can unshackle Khalip, a 'victim of the regime'

Irina Khalip speaks on her phone outside a Minsk courthouse in May 2011. (AFP/Viktor Drachev)

Is Irina Khalip, the prominent Belarusian journalist, free to travel? President Aleksandr Lukashenko, whose government prosecuted her on bogus charges of creating mass disorder, says that she is. That Khalip has not, the president said, shows that she would prefer to be known as a "victim of the regime." Of course, this all seems strange considering that Khalip's sentence requires her to be home by 10 p.m. daily.

Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Will Israel respond to query on targeting Gaza journalists?

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike on Gaza on November 17, 2012. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

On December 2, CPJ sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requesting an explanation for airstrikes on media facilities during the November 2012 military action in Gaza. The strikes damaged two media buildings and killed and injured a number of journalists. Israeli officials said the military targeted terrorist infrastructure, but provided no explanation of how such a determination was made.

January 28, 2013 12:34 PM ET

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Blog   |   France, Mali, Security

In Mali, a war 'without images and without facts'

Soldiers with the Malian army speak to journalists. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

The French army is often called la Grande Muette, or "the Great Silent." The war in Mali confirms the French military's well-deserved reputation of being secretive about front-line actions. "Locking the information is more in the culture of the French army than of the U.S. army," says Maurice Botbol, director of La Lettre du Continent. In the first two weeks of military operations against Islamist militant groups in Mali, the French army has released only a blurry video of an air attack at an undisclosed location.

Blog   |   Egypt

Two years on, Mubarak's tactics still haunt Egypt media

Egyptian protesters tear down a cement wall blocking them from the parliament and cabinet buildings in Cairo on Thursday. (AP/Hussein Tallal)

On the second anniversary of Egypt's January 25 revolution, Hosni Mubarak's footprints are still present in many areas of the public sphere--and media are no exception. President Mohamed Morsi needs to cease using Mubarak-era tactics of silencing his critics with criminal charges such as defamation. 

Blog   |   Security, Syria

Preparation helps freelancers survive, thrive

The Baba Amr district of Homs in March 2011. (AFP/Shaam News Network)

When the story is so important but the risks are so high, journalists must keep safety at the forefront of their thinking. That's especially true for freelancers who often do not have the support of a large news organization. Preparation, peer networking, and smart planning can help improve the odds of not only surviving hostile situations but succeeding in one's work.

January 24, 2013 11:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, justice for Eknelygoda is a waiting game

Three years ago, on January 24, 2010, columnist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda vanished on his way to work to cover the final campaigning in Sri Lanka's bitterly contested presidential election. He has not been heard from since. The pro-opposition website he worked for, Lanka eNews, has been repeatedly attacked, its offices hit with arson, its staff arrested and harassed, its editor driven into exile in England.

January 23, 2013 6:01 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

New term to settle Obama legacy on leaks, whistleblowers

President Barack Obama receives the oath of office on Monday. His legacy on transparency is still open to debate. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

As pundits debate how Barack Obama will tackle guns, climate change, immigration, and the debt ceiling in his newly inaugurated second term, press freedom advocates are left questioning how the U.S. president will handle another, no-less-controversial issue: the treatment of whistleblowers and officials who leak information to the media.

Blog   |   Turkey

Press freedom: Barometer of the Turkish model

Some diplomats view Turkey's reaction to criticism of its press
freedom record under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as excessively defensive. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

With Turkey recently in the spotlight because of its press freedom record--including dishonorable distinction as the world's worst jailer of journalists--many international observers wonder how Ankara will overcome its image crisis and whether it will choose to resolutely base its broad strategic ambitions on the respect of global standards of press freedom. A new report to be officially launched in Brussels tomorrow by Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Ankara and senior Turkey scholar at Carnegie Europe and the Open Society Foundation, "Press freedom in Turkey," underscores the importance of the issue. As Pierini recently told CPJ, "What kind of state and of society does Turkey want to be? To what league of nations does it want to belong?" 

January 22, 2013 5:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Jailed Tibetan filmmaker shifted to better conditions

Some news which appears to be good from China, and some that isn't: Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen has been moved to a women's prison where conditions are not as harsh, according to his friends and associates at the Switzerland based group Filming for Tibet. They say that Wangchen has been transferred to the Qinghai Provincial Women's Prison, the main prison for women in China's Qinghai province. He had been held at the Xichuan labor camp in Siling, in eastern Tibet.

January 22, 2013 2:49 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Syria, USA

Talking international law and conflict journalists

What is the humanitarian function of journalism in wartime? How does international humanitarian law protect journalists? Why is impunity the most important challenge facing journalists working in conflict zones?

Blog   |   Burundi

Burundi journalists march to support Ruvakuki

Hassan Ruvakuki (IWACU)

At 8 o'clock Tuesday morning roughly 50 Burundian journalists silently marched around the courthouses in the capital, Bujumbura, and the offices of the justice minister, protesting the imprisonment of their colleague, Hassan Ruvakuki.

"They sentenced him to three years without following the law," said Patrick Nduwimana, one of the protest organizers and the interim director of local private radio station Bonesha FM. A week earlier, on Tuesday, January 8, an appeals court in Burundi had sentenced Ruvakuki, a reporter for Bonesha FM and the French government-backed Radio France Internationale, to three years imprisonment for "working with a criminal group."

Blog   |   Greece

Greek journalists targeted from all sides

A resident stands at the burnt entrance of a building following a series of attacks against journalists in Athens on Friday. (Reuters/John Kolesidis)

Greek journalists are on the alert since five small bombs exploded Friday on the doorsteps of the homes of several journalists in Athens. Although the makeshift devices only damaged the buildings' entrances and no one was hurt, the attacks appear to be warning shots in a tense social context where journalists are increasingly in the firing line.

Blog   |   Syria, USA

Audio slideshow: A look at missing journalist James Foley

James Foley, a U.S. freelance journalist, was abducted in Syria in November. His colleague and friend Nicole Tung, a freelance photographer, spoke to CPJ about her experience working and traveling with Foley. A petition appealing for Foley's release can be signed here.

January 11, 2013 1:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

Yahoo HTTPS mail not a moment too soon, nor too late

I remember sitting with a Yahoo employee in 2009, talking about the lack of protective encryption on Yahoo's Web mail accounts. Like many, the employee had been caught up in the news of how Iranians were using the Internet to document and protest the presidential elections in that country, and had grown worried about the possibility of governments intercepting Yahoo customer's emails without due process. As an immigrant from a repressive regime, he told me, he was aware of how much danger this posed. He said he was going to raise the topic internally.

January 9, 2013 5:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In Southern Weekly versus censors, cautious optimism

A supporter of Southern Weekly newspaper outside its headquarters in Guangzhou holds banners reading, 'Support Southern Weekly. Protest intervention in media. Defend press freedom.' (AP/Vincent Yu)

There is cautious optimism among China media watchers this morning over the news that a deal has been struck between censors and protesting journalists at China's Southern Weekly news magazine, which is also known as Southern Weekend. The journalists will not face reprisals for their protest, and propaganda authorities will not repeat the editing stunt (which transformed a pro-reform New Year editorial into a tribute to the Communist Party) that sparked the dispute, according to The Associated Press.

January 9, 2013 5:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   India

Amid rape furor, journalist still in jail for exposing assault

Indian policemen stand guard near India Gate in New Delhi. A magistrate ruled Monday that the media will not be allowed to attend the trial of five men accused of raping and killing a young student. (AP/Tsering Topgyal)

Even though members of the Karnataka state government have provided broad assurances that they will drop charges against Naveen Soorinje, the young journalist remains imprisoned two months after he was arrested for exposing an assault on women by Hindu extremists. Welcome to Incredible India, where a journalist can be locked up for documenting a crime against women even as millions express outrage over medieval mindsets following the fatal gang rape of a Delhi student in December.

January 8, 2013 12:27 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China, rebellion grows over Southern Weekly

Demonstrators gather near the headquarters of Southern Weekly newspaper in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Monday. (Reuters/James Pomfret)

In the past few days, Chinese journalists and their supporters have launched startlingly direct opposition to Communist Party rule, protesting a heavy-handed move by Guangdong's provincial propaganda department to unilaterally replace a Southern Weekly editorial on constitutionalism with pro-Party bromides. Defying censors' directives, media organizations around the country continue to post messages of support of Southern Weekly reporters who have gone on strike and called for the dismissal of provincial propaganda chief Tuo Zhen. It is the 21st century equivalent of carrying placards through Tiananmen Square.

Blog   |   Vietnam

Vietnamese blogger reports sexual assault by officials

Vietnam's crackdown on independent bloggers hit a new low in recent days with reports of sexual violence perpetrated by state officials against a prominent online reporter.  

Blog   |   China

Southern Weekly journalists air anger with Chinese censors

An editorial in the January 3 edition of Southern Weekly was changed from a call for constitutional rule into a tribute praising the Communist Party. (AP/Alexander F. Yuan)

Staffers at the Guangdong-based Southern Weekly magazine have publicly expressed their outrage at the heavy handed intervention of propaganda officials who unilaterally rewrote a New Year's editorial calling for improved constitutional rule in China. A piece extolling the virtues of the Communist Party ran in its place. Sixty staffers posted an open letter to the provincial government accusing propaganda officials of "raping" the paper's editorial procedures, The Associated Press reports. Apparently, the editorial was changed by censors after the magazine had closed and was being readied for the printer. Staff did not know of the changes until the piece appeared in print and online.

January 4, 2013 3:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Pakistan's problematic record on Internet restrictions

The fleeting nature of YouTube's availability in Pakistan this weekend--the site, which has been banned in the country since September, was unblocked for a whole three minutes--is only the latest emblem of Islamabad's erratic and confounding approach to Internet censorship. Those who have been hoping for less opaque tactics apparently are in for disappointment.

January 3, 2013 11:20 AM ET

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