Blog   |   UK

In UK, medieval tactics may save modern media

A man reads a newspaper article about Lord Justice Brian Leveson's report on media practices in central London November 29, 2012. (Reuters/Olivia Harris)

The long-awaited reform of libel laws in the United Kingdom skirted with collapse this week due to political infighting in the aftermath of the Leveson report on media ethics--the public inquiry that resulted from the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal. With that disaster narrowly averted, attention has turned to what may turn out to be a very British solution to the question of how to shape the post-Leveson world.

February 28, 2013 11:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan opens up media--in name only

President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, relinquished ownership of Turkmenistan's newspapers, but journalists are still appointed by his decree. (Reuters/Stoyan Nenov)

Turkmenistan is trying to burnish its image by passing its first law on press freedom. On January 4th, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov signed a law that bans press censorship, bars the government from monopolizing news outlets, and grants the public access to all forms of information, including independent and foreign reporting.

Unfortunately, reform appears to be only posturing and the most repressive and hermetic country in Eurasia remains just that. 

February 28, 2013 11:02 AM ET

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Blog   |   India

Under Hindu right, attacks on press rise in Karnataka

Confusion surrounds the case of imprisoned Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje, who was jailed for exposing an attack on young men and women last summer by extremists belonging to the Hindu Jagran Vedike, self-appointed moral police in coastal Karnataka. Soorinje's report helped lead to the arrest of dozens of attackers. But Karnataka state--ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)--has grouped him with the very attackers he exposed. Soorinje's continued imprisonment warrants a look at the larger picture in coastal Karnataka.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Mexico, Security, Somalia, Syria

Do news blackouts help journalists held captive?

An image grab from a YouTube video uploaded on December 18 allegedly shows NBC employees, from left to right, Aziz Akyavas, Richard Engel, and John Kooistra in captivity in Syria. (AFP/YouTube)

At any given time over the past two years, as wars raged in Libya and then Syria, and as other conflicts ground on in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a number of journalists have been held captive by a diverse array of forces, from militants and rebels to criminals and paramilitaries. And at any given time, a small handful of these cases--sometimes one or two, sometimes more--have been purposely kept out of the news media. That is true today.

Blog   |   Kenya, Security

As Kenya votes, journalists must take precautions

Kenyan Prime Minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga waves to supporters at a campaign rally in Mombasa on Sunday. (Reuters/Joseph Okanga)

Election-related violence is a worry for journalists in many countries, but perhaps nowhere more so than Kenya, where presidential polls will be held March 4. In the aftermath of the nation's last presidential elections in 2007, over one thousand people were killed in ethnic and political violence, live news broadcasts were banned, and the press faced a torrent of threats, leading to widespread self-censorship. Already, in recent weeks, some journalists have been harassed and their equipment confiscated, while media houses have been threatened in relation to coverage.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Rajapaksa regime under UNHRC, Commonwealth scrutiny

On February 13, Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in her annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that Sri Lanka's government has not taken enough steps recommended by its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Although the LLRC is seen as a flawed attempt to heal Sri Lanka after decades of fratricidal conflict, last year the Human Rights Council adopted a U.S. motion calling on the government to act on the LLRC's recommendations. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government ignored the resolution, but the Americans say they will make a similar motion at this year's meeting of the 22nd session of the UNHRC, which opens on February 25 in Geneva.

Blog   |   Somalia

Will talk of stronger Somali justice lead to action?

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon met February 16 with the local journalist union. (NUSOJ)

Spirits of journalists in Somalia, the most dangerous country in Africa to practice the profession, were lifted slightly this week after Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon made several auspicious announcements. The key concern on the minds of journalists in the capital, Mogadishu, is access to justice--both in terms of journalists' own court appearances and in terms of solving the many outstanding murder cases of their colleagues. Twelve journalists were killed in the line of duty last year, the worst on record, and there hasn't been a single prosecution. 

Blog   |   Ukraine

Despite official comments, no progress in Gongadze case

Years after Georgy Gongadze was killed, justice is still evasive. The journalist is seen here standing next to his wife, Myroslava, in a photo from 1995. (AP/Gongadze family)

More than 12 years after several police officers strangled and beheaded muckraking online reporter Georgy Gongadze in a forest outside Kiev, justice in the case is still evasive and riddled with, well, riddles.

Blog   |   USA

'Central Park Five' case reinforces reporter's privilege

"The Central Park Five" co-directors David McMahon, Sarah Burns,and Ken Burns at the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner in early January. (AP/Evan Agostini)

As the film "The Central Park Five" heads into the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday, where it is nominated for best documentary, its filmmakers can rest assured that at least one contest, the one that was taking place far from Hollywood in a New York City courtroom, is over. In a case closely watched by the documentary film and journalism community, a New York district court judge on Tuesday quashed a subpoena seeking access to outtakes from the film, saying that the plaintiff had established entitlement to a reporter's privilege.

Blog   |   Burundi

Burundi police attack journalists marching for Ruvakuki

Burundi journalists react to tear gas at Tuesday's protest. (Teddy Mazina)

On Tuesday, Burundi's press corps did what it has done for the past three weeks: protest the imprisonment of one of its own. Hassan Ruvakuki is a reporter jailed since November 28, 2011 on anti-state charges; for the first time, the journalists wore white t-shirts showing Ruvakuki in his green prison uniform. But this time, the reaction by police caught journalists by surprise.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Battle between Correa, Ecuadoran press to wage on

A passer-by stops to look at a newspaper the day after Correa is re-elected. (AFP/Rodrigo Buendia)

In the wake of President Rafael Correa's landslide re-election on Sunday, many Ecuadoran reporters are bracing for another four years of conflict with his left-leaning government.  Neither side claims to relish the prospect, but continued clashes seem inevitable given the bad blood that has developed between them. 

February 20, 2013 10:54 AM ET

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Blog   |   Uzbekistan

In message from Uzbek jail, journalist hints of abuse

News is rare from Uzbek prisons, where authorities are holding at least four independent reporters in retaliation for critical journalism: Muhammad Bekjanov, Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Dilmurod Saiid, and Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov. All four are serving lengthy sentences. Uzbek authorities refuse even to update CPJ or other human rights organizations on the journalists' whereabouts, status, or well-being.

Blog   |   Belarus

Travel leave for Belarusian reporter no change of heart

In an unexpected development reported in the press today, Belarusian authorities temporarily lifted a travel ban on Irina Khalip, prominent journalist and reporter for the Moscow-based independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The restriction, which includes a weekly check-in with district police and a requirement to spend every night in her Minsk apartment, was part of a suspended two-year prison sentence handed to Khalip in May 2011 on fabricated charges of mass disorder in connection to her reporting on presidential elections.

Blog   |   Philippines

In Philippines, questions on witness death in Ortega case

Questions surrounding the death of Dennis Aranas, accomplice-turned-witness to the murder of Filipino journalist Gerardo Ortega, have increased over the past week. Their answers beg yet another question: will the masterminds behind Ortega's murder succeed in eluding justice?  

February 13, 2013 2:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Israel fails to support decision to target Gaza journalists

A Palestinian warms himself at the rubble of his house that witnesses said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike during a week of fierce fighting in Gaza City in November. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

After two months of asking Israeli authorities to explain their decision to attack journalists and media facilities in Gaza in November, CPJ has received an official response. Our inquiries--in the form of a letter and blog by Executive Director Joel Simon, as well as phone calls and emails to the office of the Israeli prime minister, the Public Appeals Office of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and the Israeli Embassy in the U.S.--sought evidence to support Israel's assertion that the individuals and facilities it targeted had connections to terrorist activity. 

February 13, 2013 1:53 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

@PresRajapaksa draws snark, concern, and criticism

Here is a quick pointer to one of Sri Lanka's few remaining independent media sources, Groundviews, which just posted a lengthy look at the president's newfound interest in social media: "The Sri Lankan President's Twitter archive and Propaganda 2.0: New challenges for online dissent." In a country where there isn't all that much to laugh about, Groundviews pokes some fun at President Mahinda Rajapaksa's recently launched Twitter account, @PresRajapaksa

February 12, 2013 12:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

Electoral law dulls reporting as Correa nears re-election

Supporters of President Rafael Correa attend a political rally in Quito, Ecuador, on February 9. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)

It's by far the dullest space in the newspaper: Every day in El Universo, Ecuador's leading daily, readers can find eight small photos and news blurbs summing up the activities of the eight presidential candidates. The articles are the same size and blocked together in a layout that resembles a tic-tac-toe game, minus the ninth square.

Blog   |   Russia

Harsh punishment would not fix Russian impunity

Kazbek Gekkiyev, a VGTRK television reporter, was killed by suspected Islamist guerillas, investigators claimed. (AP/VGTRK Russia)

Every second crime committed in Russia goes unsolved, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, addressing a conference of the nation's high-ranking Interior Ministry officials. "The low crime-detection rate and impunity for the criminals do not serve justice but undermine public trust in law enforcement agencies, as well as the state per se," Putin said, according to his website.  

Blog   |   Burma, Internet

As censorship wanes, cyberattacks rise in Burma

Kachin Independence Army soldiers guard an outpost in Northern Burma's Kachin-controlled region on January 31. Journalists who cover the conflict have been subject to email hacking attacks. (AP/Alexander F. Yuan)

Cyberattacks on news websites and apparent government hacking into journalists' email accounts have raised new questions about the integrity of media reforms in Burma. The New York Times reported on Sunday that several journalists who regularly cover Burma-related news recently received warning messages from Google that their email accounts may have been hacked by "state-sponsored attackers."

Blog   |   Russia

In Russia, brazen murder of Chernovik founder is unsolved

Chernovik founder Gadzhimurad Kamalov was killed in December 2011. Investigators have failed to determine the identities of the assailants or the masterminds. (Reuters/Lekai Dmitri)

Gadzhimurad Kamalov, founder of the independent daily Chernovik, was murdered in Makhachkala, capital of Russia's southern republic of Dagestan, on December 15, 2011. The slaying was brazen, coming on the national Day of Remembrance for journalists killed in the course of their work. The late-evening assault took place outside Chernovik's newsroom, located on Makhachkala's Magomed Gadzhiev Street. Equipped with numerous security cameras, the street is a throughway for government motorcades, including that of the regional president. Nobody moves undetected there. But Kamalov's slaying is yet to be solved.

Blog   |   India

Indian reporter who exposed assault faces new litigation

Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje continues to languish in prison despite last week's decision by the Karnataka state cabinet to withdraw charges against him. New developments this week are challenging his release. And his continued imprisonment raises a larger question about the role of journalists at the occurrence of a crime.

Blog   |   Cuba, Venezuela

Eating a cable: Internet access still elusive in Cuba

Cuban citizens waiting to use the Web stand outside an Internet café in Havana. (AFP)

There is a popular expression in Cuba that is synonymous with difficulty and crisis. When you want to indicate that someone is doing badly economically, it is sufficient to say that he is "eating a cable." Street humor has identified the act of chewing and swallowing a bundle of wires with scarcity and material want. The parable has gained strength these days in reference to the fiber-optic cable installed between Cuba and Venezuela, which has yet to provide service to Cuban clients despite reports that it is finally functioning.

February 7, 2013 1:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Hungary, Romania, Turkey

Red flags in the European Union press freedom debate

The European Union enjoys waving the banner of press freedom overseas. However, it is sometimes at a loss when it has to define its approach to press freedom among its own member states.

Last year, the EU tried and failed to convince the Hungarian government to radically amend its highly controversial media law. The conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban deflected the pressure by playing on the vagueness of EU treaties and on the fear of Brussels' intervention in the member states' "internal affairs."

Blog   |   China, Internet, USA

Drawing lessons from Chinese attacks on US media

The Times reported in January that it had succeeded in expelling hackers from its computer systems. (AFP/Emmanuel Dunand)

Not every media company is as tempting a target for hackers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal. Not every company can afford high-priced computer security consultants, either. Is there anything that everyday reporters and their editors can learn about protecting themselves, based on the revelatory details the Times and other targets made public last week?

Blog   |   Pakistan

Remembering Ayesha Haroon, editor who embraced facts

Haroon at CPJ's 2011 award ceremony. (Barbara Nitke)

The highly respected Pakistani editor Ayesha Haroon first came to CPJ's New York office in July 2011, along with her husband, Faisal Bari, and Absar Alam, both of whom work for the Open Society Foundations. We talked about ways to confront the dangerous conditions facing Pakistani journalists. It was a bad year: Seven journalists would be killed before 2011 concluded, making Pakistan the deadliest nation in the world for the press. The year before, eight had died.

It was a great discussion, genuinely exciting, as we talked through possible ideas. Ayesha was a quiet presence at first, but as ideas started flowing, she served as a reality checker for the rest of us. We all knew there are no quick solutions to the problems for journalists in Pakistan, so we looked for practical projects that would tackle them in the mid- or long-term. The meeting ended, the email trails followed, a plan evolved. In the months after, my family lost my 97-year-old mother, and I received gracious notes from the people who had been at that first meeting.

Blog   |   Security, Syria, UK

In Syria, the quandary of freelance news coverage

As Syria becomes riskier for both staff and freelance journalists, news organizations are more reliant on images from citizen journalists. An example is this image showing devastation in Aleppo, which was taken by the Aleppo Media Center and transmitted by The Associated Press on Sunday. (AP/Aleppo Media Center)

Forces on all sides of the Syrian conflict that have tried to censor news coverage through violence have won a round. By sharply increasing the risk for reporters covering the civil war they have forced news organizations to think twice before sending their staff to the battlefields. In a worrying development they even have led a leading UK newspaper, the Sunday Times, for which Marie Colvin was on assignment when she was killed last year in Homs, to refuse photographs submitted by freelancers.

February 6, 2013 10:07 AM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia, UK

Faith in Somali judiciary hard to find as Abdiaziz jailed

"Let's have faith in our judiciary system," Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed told an audience Monday at London's Chatham House, the foreign affairs think-tank.

Blog   |   Iran

Video: Free imprisoned Iranian journalists

In late January, Iranian authorities waged the largest crackdown on the press since 2009, detaining a wave of journalists and issuing arrest warrants for numerous others. The Ministry of Intelligence accused the journalists of conspiring with foreign media to repeat the alleged "sedition" of 2009, referring to electoral fraud exposed by the media and the protests that followed. In response to the arrests, IranWire, a project led by our colleague Maziar Bahari, produced this video calling for the journalists' release.

Iran has maintained a revolving-door policy for imprisoning journalists, freeing some detainees on furloughs even as new arrests are made. In its December 2012 prison census, CPJ found that Iran was the world's second-worst jailer of journalists, with 45 journalists imprisoned in reprisal for their work. The threat of imprisonment has led scores of Iranian journalists to flee into exile in recent years.

Blog   |   Ecuador

In Correa's Ecuador, a bulletin on breakfast is routine

The government of Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa has pre-empted more than eight days worth of air time with mandatory broadcasts. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)

On September 11, 2012, the Ecuadoran government interrupted a morning newscast on the Teleamazonas TV station for an official bulletin. What could be so urgent? A coup d'etat? An earthquake? A cholera outbreak? 

It turned out the government sought to clarify what President Rafael Correa had for breakfast.

Blog   |   Eritrea

Eritrea: Ali Abdu pleads ignorance of Dawit Isaac's fate

Ali Abdu, Eritrea's longtime information minister, has gone into exile, his brother has confirmed. (YouTube)

On Wednesday, the Swedish newspaper Expressen published what it described as an exclusive interview with Ali Abdu--Eritrea's long-time information minister, government spokesman, and censor-in-chief--who vanished from public view in November. The piece confirmed that Ali had gone into exile, but it shed no light on the whereabouts and well-being of more than two dozen imprisoned journalists.

Blog   |   UK

Setback in O'Hagan murder must not mean case closed

Family, friends, and fellow journalists follow the funeral of Martin O'Hagan from his home in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, on October 1, 2001. (Reuters/Paul McErlane)

More than 11 years have passed since investigative journalist Martin O'Hagan was murdered near his home in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, and the case has not been solved. Last week Northern Ireland's public prosecutor announced a major setback to the case that has colleagues worried it never will be. 

February 1, 2013 2:54 PM ET

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Blog   |   France, Mali, Security

An information void in Mali as journalists are obstructed

Three weeks after France's military intervention in Mali, the war remains largely "without images and without facts," as described by Jean-Paul Mari, special envoy for the newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur. Although journalists have been allowed to follow French and Malian forces into the towns that have been recovered from armed Islamist groups, the real battlefields and front lines remain off limits.

February 1, 2013 9:48 AM ET

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