Blog   |   CPJ

In 2 major efforts, journalist security tailored to fit

Two major security efforts coincide with World Press Freedom Day.

In the past, donors and groups providing security to journalists in less-developed nations tended to export a Western, military-style of training designed for a war-time environment. But the danger of covering combat is one thing. Being fired upon by a motorcycle-riding assassin is another--as is being sexually molested in a crowd, discovering a video camera in one's bedroom, or having one's phone calls intercepted. And then there is emotional toll of losing dear colleagues, and wondering whether you or your family will be next.

Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican press fails to question Martínez murder case

Two men, one wearing a mask depicting President Enrique Peña Nieto, protest to demand justice in the Regina Martínez case a year after her murder on April 28. (AP/Felix Marquez)

He certainly looked guilty of something, and as if he'd finally been caught. With either his head down or with a kind of scared, dead-eyed stare, in a white jumpsuit, in front of the four Veracruz state police officers crowded behind him. They were all in black uniforms, with a strip of face and eyes showing through black masks, with four matte black assault rifles menacingly at the ready to guard a slim man in handcuffs. (Actually, had there been any gunfire, the police were so over-armed and so close together that it's likely one of them would have been the first victim.) Still, it all looked good for the cameras and reporters summoned to hear about the man's arrest and the end of a most doggedly troublesome case for state officials: the murder of Regina Martínez Pérez on April 28 last year.

Blog   |   Mexico

In Mexico, a movement and a bill against impunity

Protesters seek justice in journalist murders in Veracruz, one of the nation's deadliest places for the press. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

Who can say exactly when the work of press freedom groups, human rights defenders, and budding networks of Mexican journalists became a movement? It would have been many murders, many funerals, many orphans ago. It would have been countless news events--about crime, corruption, violence--that went uncovered because reporters and news organizations concluded that the only way to survive was to stay silent. But finally, several years ago, the work of all these groups began to push the massacre of the Mexican press on to the national agenda. On Thursday, the movement led to a bill that gives the federal government jurisdiction over crimes against journalists. Today, the measure awaits only the president's approval. 

April 26, 2013 4:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Vladimir Putin denies repressing media, critics

Vladimir Putin speaks to the media following a live nationwide broadcast phone-in, in Moscow Thursday. (Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti)

In the year since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency, independent media, civil society groups, and opposition activists have been under attack. But as he has done in the past, Putin recently asserted that his government is not engaged in political repression.

April 26, 2013 2:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai goes conservative on media

As if a faltering media industry and rising risks to endangered journalists as NATO reduces its forces in 2014 aren't bad enough, add in a president pandering to religious conservatives in a pre-presidential election run-up. Reporting from Kabul, Reuters said Wednesday:  

April 26, 2013 2:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   India

Objection to international press at Indian rape trial

A police van takes defendants in the rape trial to court. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi)

A British journalist trying to cover the Delhi gang rape trial was asked to leave the courtroom on Tuesday after the prosecution objected to the presence of the international press. Andrew Buncombe, a correspondent for The Independent of London, was ejected from a court in the Indian capital even though a wide-ranging order restricting press coverage had been lifted last month. 

April 25, 2013 4:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kuwait

Kuwaiti prime minister delays draft media law

In a welcome move Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah offered to shelve Kuwait's controversial draft media law, according to news reports. The announcement came in what the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) called a "candid, frank, and expanded meeting with chief editors of Kuwaiti press." 

Blog   |   Internet, USA

So your Twitter account is hacked? Reset, tweet, pray.

More than a quarter million Twitter accounts have been hacked worldwide, the social media company disclosed in February, but Tuesday's attack on The Associated Press's verified account, @AP, had unusual effect. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 143 points after someone hijacked the AP's account to falsely tweet that two explosions at the White House had wounded President Barack Obama. The market recovered, but the hacking--just the latest in a series of attacks on news organizations--sent shudders through a profession that's grown accustomed to breaking its news on Twitter.

April 24, 2013 3:07 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz official urged to address Askarov case

Kyrgyzstan has endured a turbulent past and continues to face significant challenges, but its leaders are committed to a democratic future, Djoomart Otorbayev, the nation's deputy prime minister, told human rights and press freedom advocates in New York this week. The country still grapples with the repercussions of the brutal June 2010 ethnic conflict that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. Journalist Azimjon Askarov remains in prison on charges that CPJ and numerous human rights groups have determined to be in retaliation for his work in uncovering official abuses during the unrest.

April 24, 2013 2:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kuwait

Kuwait should abandon repressive draft media law

Supporters of Kuwaiti opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak pray in the yard of his house in Andulos, after he was sentenced to jail for insulting the emir, April 15. (Reuters/Stephanie McGehee)

On April 8, the Kuwaiti cabinet approved a draft media law that would severely undermine press freedom in the country. But it is not too late to prevent a bad bill from becoming a bad law.

April 24, 2013 10:29 AM ET

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Blog   |   Italy

Anarchists and suspected mafia target Italian media

The last several months in Italy have seen a few disquieting attacks against independent media and an investigative reporter. In one case, the widely distributed independent newspaper La Stampa received an explosive device in the mail.  The Federazione Anarchica Informale/Fronte Rivoluzionario, an anarchist organization, claimed responsibility and ominously noted that La Stampa was just one of many newspapers that could be a target of the group's war against the state. CPJ research shows that the state of press freedom in Italy is among the most volatile in Western Europe, with violence and legal action sometimes perpetrated by criminal groups or political actors.

Blog   |   Somalia

In Somalia, the mysterious case of Rahmo Abdulkadir

It seemed clear-cut and sadly familiar: A journalist was shot and killed while walking in Mogadishu, one of the deadliest places in the world for the press. Yet in the four weeks that have passed since those initial reports from international and local news agencies--accounts that were then amplified by the United Nations, CPJ, and numerous human rights groups--virtually everything about the case has been cast into doubt. Was there a murder, after all? Who was the woman said to have been targeted? Does she even exist, at least as she was described? What did the people described as eyewitnesses really see? And why, after telling local journalists early on that the case was actually being investigated as a false report, have police gone silent for weeks?

April 23, 2013 9:22 AM ET

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Blog   |   Bangladesh

Slideshow: Is Bangladesh spiraling out of control?

As political turmoil continues between Islamists and secularists in Bangladesh, the climate for press freedom is rapidly deteriorating. The tensions stem from an ongoing war crimes tribunal tasked with prosecuting genocide, crimes against humanity, and other crimes dating back to the 1971 war of independence. 

April 19, 2013 12:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belarus

Archaic court ruling in Belarus as photo book banned

The cover of the Belarus Press Photo Album. (AP)

Thursday's court ruling in the western Grodno region of Belarus is not befitting a modern European country, where servants of justice--prosecutors and judges--are expected to ensure protection for press freedom and human rights. Instead, it is reminiscent of medieval Europe, where dissent was declared heresy and ordered destroyed.

The Oshmyansky District Court ruled that the 2011 edition of the Belarus Press Photo album contained extremist materials that "deliberately contort" social, economic, and political life in the country. Belarus Press Photo is an independent press photography contest that aims to support, promote, and develop local photojournalism, according to its mission statement.

Blog   |   Libya, USA

Two years after his death, Hetherington studied, celebrated

Tim Hetherington, center, is the subject of a new documentary. (HBO)

Two years ago this week, on the central boulevard of the Western Libyan city of Misurata, freelance photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed by mortar rounds from government forces. Hondros lost consciousness almost immediately. Hetherington bled out in the back of a pick-up truck as he clutched the hand of a Spanish photographer. 

Blog   |   China, Internet

China decrees use of foreign news must be approved

You have to wonder how this will be enforced, but China's State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television has issued a "Notice on Strengthening Control of Media Personnel's Online Activities" (关于加强新闻采编人员网络活动管理的通知). Chinese media organizations have been told to stop posting foreign media news without government permission:  "Without authorization, no kind of media outlets shall arbitrarily use media release from overseas media agencies and media websites," is the way Caijing magazine translated it.

Blog   |   Vietnam

In Strasbourg, free expression linked to Vietnam diplomacy

There is good news from Strasbourg that follows up on my entry from earlier this week, "European Parliament has chance to take on Vietnam." Today, the European Parliament did exactly that when they unanimously adopted an Urgent Resolution on Vietnam. It was a wide-ranging document, but a large part was devoted the freedom of expression issues that are central to CPJ's concerns. In Article 7, the European Parliament:

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Iraq

Getting ready for contingencies in Afghanistan

An Afghan journalist films in Kabul as a military helicopter flies above. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)

Considering the worst-case scenarios for post-2014 Afghanistan, international news agencies should start planning a range of assistance responses for locally hired journalists and media staff. By the end of 2014, NATO troops will have largely withdrawn and the Karzai government will make way for a new administration. If the situation becomes chaotic, Afghans working for foreign and local media could become targets for retribution for their work as journalists.

Blog   |   Vietnam

European Parliament has chance to take on Vietnam

On Thursday, April 18, the European Parliament will discuss Vietnam's human rights in a plenary session. At the top of the agenda will be freedom of expression. Over the weekend, CPJ's Brussels-based Senior Adviser Jean-Paul Marthoz blogged about the issues the parliament must confront in Le Soir.  

April 15, 2013 12:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sudan

Pre-publication censorship returns in Sudan

Political prisoners leave Kober Prison in Khartoum on April 2. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's call to release political prisoners and launch dialogue with the opposition coincided with a return to pre-publication censorship. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

In a return to old tactics, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Sudan have resumed strict pre-publication censorship.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka, UAE

Tamil journalist will not be forced back to Sri Lanka

A short note to follow up on an alert we posted Wednesday on the threatened deportation of Lohini Rathimohan  (also spelled Lokini), a former television journalist and one of 19 Tamil refugees facing deportation from the United Arab Emirates. Earlier reports said the refugees, who reached Dubai illegally, could be deported this week.

Blog   |   China, USA

Kerry should press Beijing on press freedom

Tibetan blogger Woeser waves from the balcony of her home in Beijing on March 8. She was named an International Woman of Courage by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, but rather than being allowed to accept it, she was placed under house arrest. (Reuters/Petar Kujundzic)

As John Kerry visits China this weekend in his first trip there as U.S. secretary of state, he should take the opportunity to engage Chinese leaders on their problematic record regarding press freedom. 

April 12, 2013 3:30 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

Tax story shows investigative reporting alive in Pakistan

Umar Cheema, a CPJ International Press Freedom Award winner in 2011, was a strong runner-up for this year's Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, awarded for the last 10 years by the Asia Society in New York. Umar's report, Representation Without Taxation, analyzed the tax returns of Pakistani members of parliament for 2011.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

Access restored, but ban on Fergahana News remains

On Wednesday, more than a year after being blocked in Kyrgyzstan by government order, Ferghana News was again accessible to the public without the aid of proxy servers. Most local Internet providers, including the state-owned Kyrgyz Telecom, restored access to the website, Daniil Kislov, Ferghana's editor, told CPJ.

April 11, 2013 5:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, climate worsens for journalists

Activists demonstrate in Dhaka over the weekend, calling for bloggers to be given the death penalty. (Reuters/Andrew Biraj)

This past weekend, hundreds of thousands of Islamists took to the streets in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, demanding death for bloggers whose work they see as blasphemous. The demonstrations highlight the deteriorating climate for journalists, both those whose work is the target of the protests and those who have tried to cover the events. Several journalists were assaulted while covering the day-long demonstrations, including reporter Nadia Sharmin of the private broadcaster Ekushey Television. She was assaulted by a group of 50 to 60 Islamists who threw her to the ground, beat her, and told her that reporting was an unfit profession for a woman, news reports said.

Blog   |   Russia

Beketov's untimely death, and Putin's unfulfilled promise

Mikhail Beketov's recovery, in photos by CPJ and news agencies.

Mikhail Beketov, the former crusading editor of the independent newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda in the Moscow suburb, Khimki, died this afternoon at a Moscow hospital. A choking episode during lunch led to heart failure, Elena Kostyuchenko, Beketov's friend and a reporter for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, told CPJ by phone from Moscow. Really, though, Beketov's life was taken by the thugs who smashed his skull, broke his legs, pulverized his hands, and left him to die in the freezing cold nearly five years ago. He defied them, surviving that November 2008 night and valiantly rallying in the ensuing years, but the once robust and fearless editor was never the same.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey peace talks positive; press freedom still in peril

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is known for his intolerance to criticism. (Reuters/Peter Dejong/Pool)

Today, hope for peace between the government of Turkey and Kurdish rebels is closer than ever to becoming reality. A resolution to the conflict, after more than 30 years, could have ramifications for Turkey's standing as the world's worst jailer of journalists. According to CPJ research, three-quarters of the journalists imprisoned in Turkey are from the pro-Kurdish media.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

UN panel: Eskinder Nega jailing violates international law

Eskinder Nega (Eskinder family)

Authorities in Ethiopia describe Eskinder Nega, a prominent columnist and government critic jailed since September 2011 on vague terrorism charges, as a dangerous individual bent on violent revolution. However, in an opinion handed down in 2012--publicized only this week by Washington, D.C.-based legal advocacy group Freedom Now--a United Nations panel of five independent experts ruled that Eskinder's imprisonment came "as a result of his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression."

April 5, 2013 2:35 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, USA

Attacks on Knight Center sites reflect digital dangers

The two websites at the University of Texas at Austin, at first blush, seemed to have been unlikely targets for attack. The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and its blog cover news about journalism, press freedom and journalist safety throughout the Western hemisphere, with an emphasis on trends in Latin America. The website of the International Symposium for Online Journalism provides information about meetings and other professional issues. Both websites were shut down for two weeks last month in a targeted cyber-attack.

Blog   |   China

Zeng Li: A rueful look at how censorship works in China

A man reads the Southern Weekly cover story at a newsstand in Beijing on January 10. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

Three days into his retirement, Zeng Li (曾礼) died yesterday at age 61, apparently of intestinal bleeding. Surprisingly, his March 28 farewell letter has spread across China's social media sites and blogs. The letter is an apology, an explanation of sorts, and an admission of regret regarding the latter part of his career. Zeng served in Southern Weekly's internal censorship program--his title there most likely translates best as "news examiner."

April 4, 2013 6:53 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Haunted by cancer after Cuba's Black Spring

As the world welcomes celebrated Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez on her first international tour in a decade, we must also remember journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, who continues to be confined not only to the island nation, but to a prison cell in Havana Province.

April 2, 2013 3:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Somalia

CPJ launches Somali Security Guide

Last week, two gunmen waited near the home of a young Somali journalist, Rahmo Abdulkadir, who had recently returned to the capital from the Galgadud district in central Somalia where she worked as a reporter for Radio Abudwaq (Worshipper). According to local journalists, 25-year-old Rahmo had just left an Internet café in Mogadishu around 9:30 p.m. on March 24 with a friend when she was shot and killed. Her companion was not harmed.

April 1, 2013 1:01 PM ET

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