CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Americas

2011


Blog   |   Mexico

The press silenced, Nuevo Laredo tries to find voice

Javier Soto plays his accordion as he searches for tourists in a vacant downtown market in Nuevo Laredo on January 26, 2006. (AP/Gregory Bull)

You don't notice it at first. Not with the people seemingly moving as normal on the sidewalks and the happy recorded music blaring across the plaza in front of city hall to announce the annual cowboy parade. No, at first Nuevo Laredo looks like a regular border town, until the military armored car goes by a block away and rotates the heavy machine gun toward the plaza. Are the soldiers just curious? Or do they see something they want to shoot? Who will be hit if they do open fire? Then other images come into focus, like the blocks of closed shops, with for sale signs only on the most recently closed because the owners of the older, more dilapidated shops, have given up even that hope.

Blog   |   Mexico, Pakistan, Russia

Journalists killed: Inside the numbers

CPJ today released its annual tally of the journalists killed around the world. This is always a somber occasion for us as we chronicle the grim toll, remember friends who have been lost, and recommit ourselves to justice. It's also a time when we are asked questions about our research and why our numbers are different - invariably lower - than other organizations.

December 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Mexico

Ríodoce attack shows need for denial-of-service defenses

A founder of Mexican news weekly Ríodoce, Javier Valdez Cárdenas, traveled to New York in November to receive CPJ's International Press Freedom Award at our annual benefit dinner. No sooner had he returned to Mexico than Ríodoce's website was thrown offline by a denial of service (DOS) attack, in which multiple computers are used to flood a webserver with fake requests, slowing down the site so that it cannot serve legitimate requests.

December 12, 2011 11:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, USA

Clinton must tread carefully in Burma

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinto is greeted by Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Myo Myint, right, upon her arrival in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Wednesday. (AP)

When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets this week with Burmese President Thein Sein, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and senior ranking members of the military establishment, she conspicuously will not have the opportunity to meet with journalist Sithu Zeya.

Sithu was detained by police after recording the impact of a bomb that exploded in a crowded Burmese marketplace in April 2010. The journalist was sentenced to 17 years in prison on charges related specifically to his reporting activities, with an additional 10 years tacked on this year -- soon after Thein Sein announced his intention to increase media freedom in Burma.

November 30, 2011 1:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, USA

What we have learned from fighting impunity


Press freedom groups worldwide are banding together today, the International Day to End Impunity, to demand justice for hundreds of journalists murdered for their work. On this day, the Committee to Protect Journalists and dozens of other members of the International Freedom of Information Exchange are remembering journalists killed, and urging governments to take action against those responsible for their deaths. We are also looking for lessons learned in past fights--like the one led by a group of journalists from the San Francisco Bay area, who battled tirelessly to ensure that justice was served in the slaying of their colleague Chauncey Bailey.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, CPJ, Mexico, Pakistan

Awardees to their colleagues: Buck the system

CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards dinner took place at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria might seem like an odd venue to stage a call for resistance. Nine hundred people in tuxedos and gowns. Champagne and cocktails. Bill Cunningham snapping photos. This combination is generally more likely to coax a boozy nostalgia than foment a revolution. But the journalists honored last night at CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards had a clear message to their colleagues: Fight the power.

Blog   |   Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines

A call to continue the struggle against impunity

Umar Cheema, left, of Pakistan and Javier Valdez Cárdenas of Mexico, both 2011 International Press Freedom Award winners, are all too familiar with the culture of impunity. (CPJ)

Last night, hundreds of journalists and members of New York's press freedom community met at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan for the Committee to Protect Journalists' XXI annual International Press Freedom Awards. At the event--celebrating the extraordinary courage of five journalists from across the globe--guests and award recipients unanimously expressed their commitment to fighting impunity in the murders of journalists.

Blog   |   USA

At Occupy protests, U.S. journalists arrested, assaulted

KGO cameraman Randy Davis was assaulted during an Occupy Oakland protest like this one. (AP)

As the Occupy movement has spread beyond Wall Street, at least seven U.S. journalists have been detained and one television crew attacked by U.S. law enforcement officers during turbulent encounters between police and protesters. Occupy demonstrators have attacked journalists in two other instances, including an assault this week in Oakland, Calif., that left a cameraman with a concussion.

Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican cartels keep up social media intimidation

A marcher stops to write a peace slogan during an August 2011 protest against Mexican violence. (AP)

The dissemination of reports and graphic photos of a dead man, reportedly decapitated and left in the border city of Nuevo Laredo with a warning that he was murdered for using a chat room, appears to be the latest attempt by organized crime to intimidate social media users and control the online agenda.

While it's impossible to know the man's identity, the reason for his death, or other details, the veracity of the reports and photos are nearly beside the point. In Mexico's current climate, where CPJ research shows criminal organizations control the information agenda in many cities, what matters is the success of such attempts to scare professional and, increasingly, citizen journalists.

November 11, 2011 10:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Nicaragua

Secretive Ortega frustrates Nicaraguan press

The media strategy of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, shown after casting his ballot in Sunday's election, is to ignore journalists. (AP)

It used to be that covering the Nicaraguan presidency was a coveted job for reporters. Now, it's a frustrating exercise that borders on stenography.

November 7, 2011 1:08 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

Appeal against Risen keeps source protection in focus

A reporter's right to protect confidential sources, a topic of debate both in the U.S. and internationally, will undergo another round of legal scrutiny after federal prosecutors formally appealed a decision shielding journalist James Risen's sources in a CIA leak case.

October 25, 2011 1:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Recalling Laura Pollán, leader of Cuba's Ladies in White

Pollán leads the Ladies in White in March 2011. (AP/Javier Galeano)

Cuban human rights defender Laura Pollán, who died Friday from respiratory complications at a Havana hospital, fought a mighty battle against the Cuban government for almost a decade. Pollán, 63, leaves behind her husband, the award-winning independent journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, and a daughter. She also leaves a legacy of determination, courage, and creativity. Her powerful belief in justice was ultimately rewarded when dozens of wrongly imprisoned dissidents and journalists, including her husband, were freed from prison over the last two years, in large part due to her efforts.

October 17, 2011 2:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

Colombian journalists: between threats, exile

Medellín has the highest homicide rate in Colombia . (Reuters)

To be a journalist in Colombia, in a city like Medellín, is not easy -- even less so if you cover issues related to narcotrafficking.

Despite efforts by the authorities to control outbreaks of violence linked to drug trafficking, especially in the city's poorest neighborhoods, the situation isn't improving. According to the prosecutor's office, Medellín has the highest homicide rate in the country and one of the worst in Latin America.

October 7, 2011 4:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexico murder may be social media watershed

María Elizabeth Macías Castro's killers left this note. (AFP)

María Elizabeth Macías Castro's killers made sure their actions were understood. In a macabre, carefully orchestrated mise-en-scene, they placed her body in front of a poster with the ominous note. Nearby they left a computer keyboard, with a pair of headphones on her decapitated head.

September 30, 2011 10:15 AM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina

Fighting abusive litigation against journalists

CPJ and others who defend the rights of journalists are rightly alarmed when public officials and other powerful figures instigate baseless criminal prosecutions that can send journalists to prison and force them to pay heavy fines. A case pending in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Fontevecchia & D'Amico vs. Argentina, shows how abusive civil litigation can be just as bad for journalists as criminal prosecution. CPJ filed an amicus curiae brief in the case. A favorable decision by the court would be a step toward ending the use of meritless civil lawsuits to intimidate and harass the press.

Blog   |   Ecuador

President Correa is not a criminal (but he is intolerant)

In a truly bizarre exchange that took place at Columbia University Friday, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa responded to a question from CPJ's Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría by calling him a liar.

September 27, 2011 1:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

Correa lambastes press in Columbia speech

President Correa discusses press freedom at Columbia University. (Reuters)

"Sir, you are lying and a liar." With these words, uttered before an audience of around 150 people, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa dispelled any doubt as to whether he might cool his explosive rhetoric in the face of criticism. His harsh words came in response to a critical question posed by CPJ's senior coordinator for the Americas, Carlos Lauría, after a speech on Friday hosted by the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University in New York.

September 26, 2011 2:35 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Motive unclear, but murders become rallying point

The brutal, September 1 murders of two women from the world of mass communications drew international headlines as the latest attack against the Mexican news media. But the sensational case--the two were found strangled in a park in the heart of Mexico City--illustrates the complexities of determining motives amid the pervasive violence afflicting Mexico. Since President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa took office in December 2006 and deployed thousands of troops to fight criminal organizations, more than 40,000 people have been killed in violence between organized crime gangs or between the gangs and authorities, according to the attorney general's office.

September 19, 2011 4:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

Colombian journalists in Arauca pressured from all sides

Colombian police officers stop a car at the Arauca City border. (Reuters)

Although a long-running army offensive has improved security in much of Colombia, the oil-rich eastern province of Arauca remains a hot zone--for both combatants and journalists. This week, for example, the National Liberation Army (ELN), the smaller of the country's two guerrilla groups, called a transportation strike, effectively shutting down traffic and commerce throughout the province and making any vehicles on the highways fair game--no small event.

Blog   |   Ecuador

In response, Ecuadoran secretary misses the point

A man protests a proposed communications law. (AP)

Back in April, before leaving on a research trip to Ecuador, I contacted Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado by phone and email in hopes of meeting with him to discuss press freedom concerns that have emerged under President Rafael Correa. The secretary was among the high-ranking administration officials who did not respond to CPJ's requests for meetings or to our subsequent efforts to obtain comment for our special report, "Confrontation, repression under Correa's Ecuador." So it was interesting to see that a week after the report's launch in Quito that Alvarado wrote an open letter to CPJ on his personal blog.

September 13, 2011 5:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

In Ecuador, CPJ highlights press freedom decline

Lauría in Ecuador. (Fundamedios)

The turning point in President Rafael Correa's aggressive campaign against the private media, Ecuadoran journalists say, came in July with the criminal defamation convictions of four managers of the Guayaquil-based daily El Universo. Bad went to worse when the paper's former opinion editor and three of its executives were sentenced to jail and fined, along with their newspaper, a total of $40 million over a piece that called the president a "dictator." Emilio Palacio, who wrote the critical op-ed that infuriated Correa and motivated the lawsuit, fled the country last week after saying that he is being persecuted and justice will not be served. 

September 2, 2011 7:15 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

In lawsuit, Chinese writers allege Cisco aids government

In Hong Kong, a protester holds a portrait of the jailed writer Liu Xianbin. (Reuters)

Three Chinese writers who have spent time in prison for articles published online are suing California-based Cisco Systems Inc., according to international news reports. The suit accuses the company of providing information and technology to Chinese authorities that facilitated the writers' detentions--allegations that Cisco flatly denies. Chinese security officials have already interrogated one of the plaintiffs, according to his lawyer. Will the case against Cisco protect him and others in China from further repercussions? 

August 24, 2011 5:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   Haiti

Left for dead in Haiti: How CPJ helped one journalist

Pierre Elisem was shot by Aristide supporters in Port-au-Prince in February 2004. (AP/Walter Astrada)

Ten years ago I joined the staff of the Committee to Protect Journalists to launch the Journalist Assistance program, an initiative, as CPJ board member Gene Roberts describes, developed to establish a standing direct response mechanism for journalists facing threats and attacks. When I left the position in 2009, many people asked me what case stood out the most. 

August 19, 2011 2:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Canada

A global partnership to assist journalists in distress

One of the most rewarding parts of my job at Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) for the last eight years has been my work on our Journalists in Distress program. Through this program I have had quick glimpses into the lives of hundreds of courageous journalists from countries all over the world. Most of these journalists I will never meet, as I do this work sitting at my desk in Toronto, trying to get details about where they have come from, what danger they face, and what help they need. 

August 15, 2011 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Assisting journalists in Cuba: Hurdles in prison and beyond

CPJ's Journalist Assistance program helped support the families of Cuban journalists held in jails like this one on the outskirts of Havana. (Reuters/Claudia Daut)

In mid-2006, CPJ's Journalist Assistance program began sending regular remittances to the families of independent Cuban journalists in prison. By CPJ's count, of the 29 journalists jailed during a massive crackdown in 2003, 24 were still in prison at the time--making Cuba the world's second-worst jailer of journalists in the world. The remittances, sent monthly, helped families cover travel expenses to the prisons--sometimes two days away on shabby buses--and basic maintenance for the jailed editors and reporters--ranging from food staples like rice and beans, to clothes, bowls and spoons, to aspirin and specialized medications, all unavailable behind bars. At the time, I was the Research Associate for the Americas program, and my job was to contact families and catalog urgency and needs.

Blog   |   Mexico

Journalists flee Veracruz as cartels crack down

In the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, reporters are fleeing for their lives or are in hiding, according to Notiver, the city's principal newspaper, and local reporters. This flight began on Wednesday after the decapitated body of Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, a police beat reporter for Notiver for nearly three decades, was found near the building of Imagen, another local newspaper. Journalists in the city told CPJ that they assumed the murder was a general threat to reporters working for all news organizations. This follows the murders on June 20 of the city's most well-known columnist, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, his wife, Agustina, and their son, Misael. Both father and son worked at Notiver.

Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka, UK, USA

Journalists take stage: Q&A with 'Record' playwright

A promotional image for "On the Record," which opens this week at London's Arcola Theatre.

The true stories of journalists from Mexico, Sri Lanka, Russia, the United States, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories will hit the stage July 20 at London's Arcola Theatre. "On the Record," which runs through August 13, examines the careers of six journalists, the risks they face, and their determination to make an impact through their work. This is the latest production by the UK-based Ice and Fire theater company, founded in 2003 to explore human rights stories through performance. Christine Bacon, Ice and Fire's artistic director and co-author of "On the Record," discusses the production's inspiration, messages, and challenges in this CPJ interview. 

Blog   |   Internet, USA

Google+ for journalists at risk

A Google developers conference in May. (Reuters/Beck Diefenbach)

When they're creating new features, software designers talk in terms of "use cases." A use case describes steps that future customers might perform with a website. "Starting a group with friends," would be a use case for Facebook. "Buying a book" would be case for Amazon's designers. 

Blog   |   Colombia

Death threats force Colombian reporter to relocate

I was on assignment in a slum in the town of Aguachica, Cesar Province, on February 24 when gunmen cut me off and threatened to kill me. "Journalist, shut up or die," said one of the men, who identified themselves as members of "Los Urabeños," a criminal gang that operates in Cesar and neighboring provinces. They didn't mention any specific story I had covered. They just said, "Be careful; if you open your mouth or sniff into things that are none of your business, your family will be punished."

June 30, 2011 1:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba, Eritrea, Haiti, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe

CPJ's exiled journalists survey: Behind the numbers

Berhane (Colin McConnell/Toronto Star)

In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the number of cases began counting into the hundreds, it became clear that what we had was a new indicator of press freedom conditions. Today, we're marking our fifth year of publishing the CPJ survey of journalists in exile, which is based on 10 years of data on 649 cases. 

Blog   |   Security, USA

Justice served in Chauncey Bailey murder

After a lengthy police investigation that involved a number of questionable irregularities, a jury in Oakland, Calif., today found two men guilty of the 2007 murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey. Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey were both convicted of first-degree degree murder in Bailey's slaying.

June 9, 2011 7:30 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Security

In journalist security field, maturing and understanding

Journalists are facing increasing risk at public demonstrations. Here, a March rally in Islamabad to denounce the CIA. (Reuters/Mian Khursheed)

Journalist security is still a maturing field, but news organizations are devoting more attention to preparing their reporters and photographers for the dangers particular to the profession. That means understanding risks that are constantly evolving. The brutal attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan at a Cairo demonstration has drawn worldwide attention to the issue of sexual assault against journalists--CPJ issued new guidelines on the threat today--but the case also points to an emerging, if lesser-known threat. In the past 18 months, more journalists have been killed covering violent demonstrations and other non-military events than at any time since CPJ began keeping detailed records two decades ago.

June 7, 2011 8:57 AM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

The best day of the last 2,684: A Cuban prisoner deported

When I awoke on the morning of July 8, 2010, in the Guamajal Prison in Villa Clara, I couldn't have imagined that five days later I was going to be landing at Barajas International Airport in Spain, accompanied by five of my comrades.
May 31, 2011 3:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela

Latin America democracy violated by killings

Lately, we have come to expect violence against journalists in certain regions, such as the Middle East. But here at CPJ, 2011 has also been troubling for the number of journalists killed in an entirely different part of the world, the Americas. 

Blog   |   Cuba

From a Cuban youth movement, to journalism, to jail

I joined the political civilist youth movement in 1991. Curiously, what I remember most from that period is how my apprehensions led me to disguise myself with a hat and glasses when traveling from my town of Artemisa to Havana to meet with other activists. These feelings of fear, defenselessness, and even blame, are common to those who live in Cuba, stifled by oppression and numbed by endless totalitarian propaganda.

May 25, 2011 10:40 AM ET

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Blog   |   Peru

Peru candidates pledge to respect press freedom--will they?

A worker inspects ballots with images of presidential candidates in Peru. Keiko Fujimori will face Ollanta Humala in a presidential runoff on June 5. (AP/Martin Mejia)

Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala, the two candidates for the June 5 presidential runoff in Peru, barely raised freedom of expression issues during the political campaign. So Friday's event organized by the regional press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS) in Lima provided a great opportunity to measure their commitment on press freedom, especially important for candidates with questionable democratic credentials.  

May 6, 2011 11:05 AM ET

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Blog   |   Security, USA

State Department falls short in first Pearl Act reports

The State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights this week. In preparing this year's reports, Foggy Bottom had to comply for the first time with the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act. Signed into law in May 2010, the Pearl Act requires descriptions, identifications, and assessments of press freedom conditions, including whether "severe violations" have occurred and "whether government authorities" have been complicit in press freedom violations. As I note in a blog in TheHill.com, though, the State Department's first attempt falls short, providing too little context and assessment.

April 15, 2011 5:23 PM ET

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Blog   |   Security, USA

Writer threatened during Bailey murder trial

As the trial of suspects
charged with murdering Oakland,
Calif., reporter and editor Chauncey Bailey continued,
a reporter who has written dozens of articles about the case was himself threatened
as he investigated allegations
of real estate fraud
by a business tied to the suspects on trial.

April 13, 2011 1:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

In Mexico, a chance for justice

"We have a big story coming out tomorrow," Adela Navarro Bello, the co-editor of the muckraking Tijuana weekly Zeta, said when I visited the newspaper last Thursday. "There's a breakthrough in the investigation into the murder of Ortiz Franco."

April 11, 2011 12:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Cuban journalist Fernández Saínz: I was a reporter in prison

Fernández Saínz reported the stories of his fellow prisoners from inside a jail like this one on the outskirts of Havana. (Reuters//Claudia Daut)

I went to prison for practicing independent journalism in Cuba. As soon as you get there, you must prepare yourself to narrate the horrors of the hellhole you've ended up in. And Cuban prisons are horrendous. But the horrors start not one step back in the penal tribunal, not two steps back with the police chief, but three steps back, with the Cuban penal code, which reflects the social decomposition of post-Soviet Cuba. The government's legal response to a wave of robberies (and to a similar wave of political unrest) is to make sentences more severe. Are they trying to punish the innocent? No, they want to "save the revolution," and since "the end justifies the means," toughness is expected from the police and from prosecutors, who are judged on their ability to quickly resolve cases; and from judges, who grow accustomed to handing down harsh sentences. In such a way, they get used to tough sentencing as they continue to lose their humanity.

Blog   |   Argentina, Venezuela

Hugo Chávez, free expression prize winner

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez holds up a free expression prize from Argentina's University of La Plata in La Plata. (AP/Jorge Araujo)

Just as the awardee himself anticipated (in his subconscious, after all, he is no idiot), this "freedom of expression award" stirred up disapproval and indignation across the board. Notwithstanding, no one should question the decision of Argentina's University of La Plata. If anyone has freedom of expression in Venezuela, it's the prize-winner: He talks and talks without limits, his discourse immune to any attempts to be reined in. 

April 1, 2011 3:18 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

For Cuban blogger Sánchez, a government 'distinction'

Yoani Sánchez at home in Cuba. (Reuters)

Acclaimed Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez has had her share of honors lately. Last year alone, her blogging, which offers a personal and critical view of life in Cuba, was honored by the Dutch Prince Claus Fund, the International Press Institute, and the Danish Centre for Political Studies. This week, Sánchez received a very different type of distinction--from the Cuban government. She was featured on Monday night's installment of "Las Razones de Cuba" (Cuban Reasons), a state-sponsored TV program and website that chronicles perceived threats to the government and singles out independent journalists as enemies of the state. 

March 25, 2011 12:28 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

In breakthrough, Mexican media sign crime accord

Major Mexican press organizations agreed today on a code for coverage of organized crime, a step seen as a national breakthrough that could set professional standards well into the future. Though organized crime has been the major story in Mexico for several years, coverage has been haphazard based on time, place, and news organization. The problem with today's agreement is that organized crime cartels are so powerful in many parts of the country that they will likely be able to block some of the most important elements of the accord with the same intimidation they use to control much of the press already.

March 24, 2011 4:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, France, USA

Remembering Bernard Estrade, a friend and AFP legend

Legendary Agence France-Presse correspondents Bernard Estrade died last week in Paris after a long illness. He was one of the great reporters of his era and a great friend of CPJ.

March 21, 2011 3:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

A not so dark Cuban Black Spring anniversary

From left: Carlos Lauría, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Raúl Rivero, and Fernando González Urbaneja at CPJ's Madrid presentation of its report on the Black Spring, in March 2008.

March 18 is not a day we usually look forward to at CPJ. On this day in 2003, the Cuban government launched a massive crackdown on the independent press resulting in the jailing of 29 reporters. But this year we have reason to feel encouraged. On March 4, with the release of Pedro Argüelles Morán, the last of the Black Spring journalists was released. 

Blog   |   Cuba

Cuban journalist survives 'hell' and emerges ready to fight

Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez walks free with his wife (right), while followed by government supporters jeering his release. (Reuters/Desmond Boylan)

On March 18, 2003, our people endured one of the worst episodes in Cuba's history. The peaceable political dissident community, human rights defenders, trade unionists, and independent journalists, along with representatives of the emergent and democratic civil society--74 men and one woman--were the victims of the most absolute, merciless, and cruel government power.

March 18, 2011 2:05 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

A new spring, and a couple's devotion blossoms anew

Pollán and Maseda, their love still rooted, are together again. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

When I wake up and sense my husband's body next to mine, I ask myself if I'm dreaming or if it is true that he has returned to our home.

Eight years have passed since 75 Cubans were uprooted from their homes for thinking differently than the governmental discourse and having the courage to express it publicly. So many days and nights of agony and suffering for their parents, wives, children, and grandchildren; so much accumulated pain. But the important thing is that they couldn't uproot our love. Our love gave us the motivation needed to undertake a tenacious and constant fight for the release of our loved ones. 

Blog   |   CPJ, Egypt, Internet, USA

At SXSW Interactive, theory and reality converge

I've just returned from a hectic week at SXSW Interactive, the annual gathering of digital technologists and creators in Austin, Texas. Conferences like this are often moments of isolation from the rest of the world, where attendees become consumed with the trivia of the event itself. But because many of those attending SXSWi are prolific online journalists, bloggers, and social media users, the conference's self-obsession doesn't stay confined to Austin. One tech startup even offered a browser plugin that would hide any Twitter with the "#SXSW" tags to hide the constant chatter from the rest of the world.

March 17, 2011 5:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican court rules critical documentary can be shown

A notice on the film's website says its distributor will resume screening.

When a federal judge issued an order last week to suspend screenings of documentary that investigates incompetence in the Mexican judicial system, it looked like the film might be falling victim to the very system it criticizes. The film, "Presumed Guilty" ("Presunto Culpable" in Spanish), exposes flaws in the Mexican judicial system as it charts two Mexican attorneys' efforts to exonerate street vendor Jose Antonio Zúñiga, who was convicted of murder in 2005 and was serving a 20-year sentence.

March 11, 2011 4:13 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Moments before arrest in Cuba

José Luis García Paneque, center, at a news conference in Madrid in July, with other freed Cuban journalists. (Reuters/Andrea Comas)

On March 18, 2003, I got up early as usual, connected my shortwave radio receiver, and tuned into a number of radio stations in the south of Florida in search of the day's most important news. As always, the radio interference was brutal and made it hard to hear. Still, I had to make the effort to obtain even a minimum amount of information that, as an independent journalist, would permit me to counter the official news provided by the regime through our small news agency, Agencia Libertad. 

March 8, 2011 10:31 AM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

After 'trial by fire,' Cuba's Maseda back to journalism

Maseda holds a document proving his release from prison next to his wife, Laura Pollán. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

Almost three weeks after being released from jail following eight years of inhumane treatment in Cuba's infamous prison system, CPJ's 2008 International Press Freedom award winner Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez said he is committed to going back to independent journalism. "That's my will, and I have decided to do it here in Havana," Maseda said in a telephone conversation from Cuba's capital.

March 3, 2011 12:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil

Brazilian officials tell CPJ they see judicial censorship

CPJ's Carlos Lauría meets with Antonio Cezar Peluso, president of the Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal. (CPJ)

Government officials in the administration of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff acknowledged that judicial censorship is inhibiting the work of the local press during meetings with CPJ on Thursday and Friday. At the same time, they said that due to the separation of powers under the Brazilian constitution, there is not much they can do to influence the judiciary.

February 23, 2011 5:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil

Attacks launch: Judicial censorship strikes a chord in Brazil

CPJ's launch of Attacks on the Press in Brazil garnered big media attention and brought about government meetings. (CPJ/ABRAJI)

During the presentation of our annual survey, Attacks on the Press, in Sao Paulo, there was clear concern about the ability of the local media to report on issues of public interest without judicial interference. Journalists for three of the largest national dailies--O Estado de Sao Paulo, Folha de Sao Paulo, and O Globo--together with reporters for Sao Paulo's main radio stations and a group of local advocates, gathered at the Blue Tree Hotel in the booming Brazilian city to hear perspective on the status of press freedom in the country.

February 17, 2011 12:09 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan

Documenting sexual violence against journalists

Jineth Bedoya takes notes in December 2000 under the watch of a bodyguard in Bogotá in an armored car after she was kidnapped, beaten, and raped in April that year. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

The news of the sexual assault against CPJ board member and CBS correspondent Lara Logan hit us hard on Tuesday. At CPJ, we work daily to advocate on behalf of journalists under attack in all kinds of horrific situations around the world. Because of Lara's untiring work with our Journalist Assistance program, she's well known to everyone on our staff.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Is Chávez promoting free expression? Check the facts

In Caracas, people pass by a mural of Chávez. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Venezuelan Information Minister Andrés Izarra declared on the state television channel VTV last week that "never has so much been done to guarantee, promote, and drive freedom of expression than in the government of President Hugo Chávez." Izarra needs to hire a fact-checker. 

February 14, 2011 2:51 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Aristegui's dismissal is troubling and inappropriate

Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui tells the media today she was fired from MVS for refusing to apologize for comments last week on her radio show. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)

On Friday, opposition legislators in Mexico disrupted a congressional session by raising a banner with an image of President Felipe Calderón and a message that read: "Would you let a drunk drive your car? No, right? So why would you let one drive your country?" Radio MVS' Carmen Aristegui, one of Mexico's most popular journalists, addressed the issue on her weekly radio show, asking on the air whether Calderón should give a formal answer as to whether he had a drinking problem. MVS then fired Aristegui for allegedly violating the station's code of ethics.

February 9, 2011 4:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia, USA

Coronell leaves Colombia again, this time for opportunity

Coronell (Judith Calson)

In 2005, a series of chilling death threats compelled award-winning Colombian journalist Daniel Coronell to leave Bogotá with his family for what ended up being a two-year stay in California. Today, more than three years after his return from exile, Coronell and his family are moving back to the States, this time by choice. CPJ spoke to him last week about how his return U.S. to take on a high-level position at a major TV network compares to his exile in 2005, and the press freedom conditions he's leaving behind in Colombia. 

February 9, 2011 3:43 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

A Cuban journalist in exile: Unkept promises

Gálvez Rodríguez shows his passport to the media after his arrival in Spain. (Reuters)

The clouds of exile are twice as bitter. Being forced from your birthplace and into legal limbo in the land of your grandparents where you're met by complete official abandonment only deepens the wounds. My gloominess has nothing to do with the affection and solidarity shown by the Spanish people, especially the citizens of Madrid. Thanks to many of them my family--my wife and my little 5-year-old Emmanuel--have clothes and shoes. We arrived with nothing. Or worse yet: We arrived loaded down with the heavy baggage of my long imprisonment.

Blog   |   Haiti

Haitian journalist Montas levels charges against Baby Doc

Montas is seeking justice in a criminal complaint against Duvalier. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

Former dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier is facing some blowback after breezing into Haiti last Sunday following a 25-year absence. On Wednesday, prominent Haitian journalist and former UN spokesperson Michele Montas joined three others in filing criminal complaints against the former dictator who returned to the country Sunday, just days after the anniversary of last year's devastating earthquake. 

January 20, 2011 4:43 PM ET

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Blog   |   Haiti

On earthquake's anniversary, Haiti's media recovering

A woman prays in the rubble of the national cemetery in Port-au-Prince today, one year after a devastating eartthquake. (AP/Ramon Espinosa)

One year after the devastating January 12, 2010, earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and crippled Haiti's media infrastructure, the country's media have made significant strides toward recovery even as they face enormous ongoing challenges. 

January 12, 2011 4:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

For Cuban dissidents, prison is the only destination

Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta arrives in Spain in August. (AFP)

I was born beneath the yoke of a tyranny, now more than 50 years old, in which prison is the only destination for its deterrents. I first came across this destination in 1997, when I was sentenced to five years in prison for the alleged crime of committing an outrage "against state security." In Cuba, besides being a journalist, I was the coordinator of the Cuban Youth for Democracy Movement, an organization that defends the many truncated rights within higher learning institutions, such as a university's autonomy. The answer to our demands? Prison. 

January 11, 2011 10:14 AM ET

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