CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Americas

2012


Blog   |   Iraq, Security, Somalia, Syria

Combat deaths at a high, risks shift for journalists

Ambulances carry the bodies of Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, who were killed in government shelling in Syria. (Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri)

Murder is the leading cause of work-related deaths among journalists worldwide--and this year was no exception. But the death toll in 2012 continued a recent shift in the nature of journalist fatalities worldwide. More journalists were killed in combat situations in 2012 than in any year since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Journalists still murdered where impunity reigns

(AFP/Pedro Pardo)

Almost half of the 67 journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were targeted and murdered for their work, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The vast majority covered politics. Many also reported on war, human rights, and crime. In almost half of these cases, political groups are the suspected source of fire. There has been no justice in a single one of these deaths.

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil

Brazil murders reflect tough reporting, lack of justice

Journalists take cover in a shootout between police and drug traffickers in Brazil. (AP/Silvia Izquierdo)

There are many complex reasons why Brazil has become a dangerous place to practice journalism. I will cite two possible explanations for the increase in deaths of journalists in the country, where seven journalists have been confirmed killed for the work over the past two years. First, the press is producing more investigative reports on government and police corruption, the misdeeds of politicians, organized crime, and human rights violations. Journalists are killed in reprisal for this type of reporting. The second explanation has to do with impunity. The lack of thorough investigations for these crimes has created a feeling amongst the perpetrators that they will not be identified or punished.

December 18, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

In Internet freedom fight, why the ITU matters (for now)

Hamdoun Toure, ITU secretary general, speaks at the group's conference in Dubai. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)

For most of its almost-150-year history, the meetings of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations' communications standards body, have been rather predictable affairs.

December 14, 2012 12:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Security, Sri Lanka

Integrity vs. authenticity in video journalism

A still from the video showing a Sri Lankan soldier about to execute a prisoner. (AFP/Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka)

Back in November 2010, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a leaked video that appears to show men in Sri Lankan military uniforms executing bound prisoners, the camera panning across a series of bodies laid out in a ditch. Family and friends identified one of those bodies as that of Tamil Tiger TV newscaster Shoba, also known as Isaipriya. If authenticated, the video could constitute evidence that Isaipriya was murdered. It would be one step toward accountability in a long string of unsolved murders of journalists in Sri Lanka. It would also be evidence of war crimes that are said to have been committed during the final phases of the 27-year civil war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE. But disputes have ensued between the United Nations, which claims the video is authentic, and the Sri Lankan government, which claims that it is fake.

Blog   |   CPJ, Ethiopia, Journalist Assistance

Video: Campaign to free the press

(CNN)

The imprisonment of journalists hit a record high in 2012, driven by the growing use of anti-terrorism charges to silence critical voices. This video, a centerpiece of CPJ's new Free the Press campaign, details the plight of imprisoned journalists worldwide and describes how international advocacy can make a difference in winning the freedom of jailed reporters, editors, photojournalists, and bloggers. (4:40)

Read our special report "Number of jailed journalists sets global record" and view our database of journalists in prison.

December 11, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Audio: From Cuban prison, reporter speaks out

Cuba, historically one of the world's worst jailers of journalists, has returned to CPJ's prison census after a one-year absence. Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a reporter for the independent news agency Centro de Información Hablemos Press, was imprisoned in September after he started looking into why an international shipment of medicine was allowed to go bad, according to news reports.

December 11, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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On Human Rights Day, make your voice heard on impunity

In 1950, the United Nations General Assembly declared December 10 Human Rights Day in commemoration of the adoption and proclamation two years earlier of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year, on this day, the U.N. chooses one right to highlight and advocate. This year, Human Rights Day is focused on the right of all people to make their voices heard. This is not possible when journalists worldwide are being murdered.

Blog   |   Brazil, CPJ, India, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia

Speak Justice campaign fights impunity in press murders

The tortured and decapitated body of 39-year-old María Elizabeth Macías Castro was found on a Saturday evening in September 2011. It had been dumped by the side of a road in Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican border town ravaged by the war on drugs. Macías, a freelance journalist, wrote about organized crime on social media under the pseudonym "The Girl from Laredo." Her murder, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, was the first in which a journalist was killed in direct relation for reporting published on social media. It remains unsolved.

Blog   |   Argentina

In battle with Argentine president, a misstep by Clarín

A newspaper stand displays Argentina's largest newspaper, Clarín. President Kirchner's government has given Clarín a December 7 deadline to sell off some of its holdings. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)

The debut of the HD version of Grupo Clarín's cable news station TN could not have come at a worse time for the Argentine media conglomerate. Conspicuously missing from Monday's premiere was coverage of a new criminal complaint in which Clarín's lawyers accused the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of inciting violence against the media group. In what the company now acknowledges was a misstep, the complaint named six pro-government journalists. 

Blog   |   Philippines

To fight impunity, cycle of fear, silence must be broken

Three years ago, on November 23, 2009, 30 journalists and two media workers were brutally killed in the southern Philippine city of Maguindanao while travelling in a convoy with the family and supporters of a local politician. To this day, not a single suspect has been convicted, though local authorities have identified close to 200. The botched trial has been stalled with procedural hurdles. Victims' families have been threatened and key witnesses have been slain.

November 23, 2012 9:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, China, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, UK

Awardees say indignation trumps intimidation

Mauri König (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The battle for a free press sometimes feels like a war between indignation and intimidation. Journalists learn of abuses of power, crime, or corruption, and--indignant--they speak out. In response, the perpetrators of those abuses--be they government officials or criminals--try to intimidate the journalists into silence with threats, lawsuits, jail, or even murder. Last night, the Committee to Protect Journalists paid tribute to a handful of journalists for whom indignation is a driving force, no matter the scale of intimidation.

Blog   |   Brazil, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Security, Somalia, Syria

Will UN plan address impunity, security for journalists?

A woman stands next to a banner reading "No more impunity" in Colombia. (AFP/Raul Arboleda)

Here are the facts:

  • A journalist is killed in the line of duty somewhere around the world once every eight days.
  • Nearly three out of four are targeted for murder. The rest are killed in the crossfire of combat, or on dangerous assignments such as street protests.
  • Local journalists constitute the large majority of victims in all groups.
  • The murderers go unpunished in about nine out of 10 cases.
  • The overall number of journalists killed, and the number of journalists murdered, have each climbed since the 1990s.

Blog   |   Mexico

Officials, journalists cast doubt on Veracruz murder case

Regina Martínez was killed in one of the most politically corrupt Mexican states. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

Veracruz is a beautiful, long, thin state on the Gulf coast of Mexico where many journalists are terrified not only of the rampant organized crime groups that kill and control, but also of the state government. Fear that state officials will order them murdered for what they investigate or write has forced about a dozen journalists to flee the state, claiming that fear also puts a clamp on coverage for those who remain. Many journalists still working in the state tell CPJ they agree.

November 2, 2012 5:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belarus, CPJ, Philippines, Russia

Twenty-three days to take action against impunity

Approximately 30 journalists are targeted and murdered every year, and on average, in only three of these crimes are the killers ever brought to justice. Other attacks on freedom of expression occur daily: bloggers are threatened, photographers beaten, writers kidnapped. And in those instances, justice is even more rare. Today, the Committee to Protect Journalists joins freedom of expression advocates worldwide in a 23-day campaign to dismantle one case at a time a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to gag journalists, bloggers, photographers and writers, while keeping the rest of us uninformed.

Blog   |   CPJ, Ecuador, USA, Venezuela

Correa supporters protest as Cabot winners celebrated

Protesters gather outside the Cabot Awards on Thursday. (CPJ/Sara Rafsky)

The Maria Moors Cabot Prizes, administered by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in recognition of journalistic contributions to Inter-American understanding, are the oldest international prizes in journalism. But Josh Friedman, director of the prizes, said this year marked the first time he remembered arriving at the awards ceremony to be greeted by protesters screaming from behind barricades. The tuxedo and gown-clad guests last night shot confused glances across the street from Columbia's Italian Academy building, where about 20 protesters brandishing Ecuadoran flags and pictures of President Rafael Correa yelled slogans like "Down the with corrupt press!" and "Long live President Correa!" One sign identified a long list of alleged "enemies of Latin American democracy" that managed to include the leading dailies of South America, the United States, Spain, the Ecuadoran press freedom group Fundamedios and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Blog   |   Security, USA

CIA case highlights need for digital security

Ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou has pleaded guilty to leaking information to a journalist. (AP/Cliff Owen)

Few cases better underscore the need for digital security among journalists. On Tuesday, ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou pleaded guilty to leaking the identity of another CIA operative to Matthew Cole, a journalist formerly with an ABC News investigative team. In a 2007 interview with ABC, Kiriakou became the first CIA official to confirm that waterboarding had been used on Al-Qaeda suspects.

Blog   |   CPJ, UK

London statement urges strong steps to protect journalists

The London symposium brought together, from left, International Press Institute's Galina Sidorova; BBC's Peter Horrocks; William Horsley of Centre for Freedom of the Media; Guy Berger, UNESCO; and Rodney Pinder, International News Safety Institute. (Centre for Freedom of the Media)

More than 40 media organizations worldwide are demanding urgent action by governments, the United Nations, and the industry to stop violence against journalists and end impunity in attacks on the press. They made their position known in a joint statement delivered today to the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Blog   |   CPJ, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Venezuela

Latin American press faces violence, legal harassment

As Venezuela's election nears, President Hugo Chávez has a clear advantage in media access because he has broken down the independent press with threats and regulations while building up a huge state media apparatus. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Violence and legal harassment: the two greatest obstacles to press freedom in Latin America today. That's the message that CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon is delivering this morning in Washington, D.C., at a briefing hosted by Congressman Sam Farr. Farr, a California Democrat, hosts a monthly series looking at emerging trends in the Western Hemisphere. The panel today also includes Commissioner Dinah Shelton of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Delphine Halgand of Reporters Without Borders.

Blog   |   Ethiopia, USA

Vigil in DC honors Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega

People gather at a candlelight vigil to commemorate the first anniversary of the arrest of imprisoned blogger Eskinder Nega. (George Newcomb)

Writer, journalist, blogger, and free speech activist Eskinder Nega, the 2012 recipient of PEN American Center's Freedom to Write Award, lived in Washington, D.C., before returning to his native Ethiopia to start one of the country's first-ever independent newspapers. On Friday, Eskinder was back in D.C.--not physically, but as the subject of a candlelight vigil at the African American Civil War Memorial that commemorated the first anniversary of the blogger's arrest and sent the message that those jailed for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of speech are never forgotten.

Blog   |   China, Denmark, Germany, USA

Thorning's chance to press China for media freedom

Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is in China this week to meet with top leaders, according to international news reports. CPJ's Advocacy and Communications Associate Magnus Ag and Senior Asia Program Researcher Madeline Earp co-wrote an op-ed calling on Thorning--as she is called in the Danish press--to raise the issue of press freedom. An edited version ran in the Danish newspaper Politiken today.

Speaking truthfully to China on its repression of human rights can be a tricky endeavor in diplomatic affairs, but Helle Thorning-Schmidt has a prime opportunity to raise press freedom on her trip to China. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not give the issue public priority during their visits earlier this month, but as Thorning meets with top Communist Party leaders and addresses a World Economic Forum meeting in Tianjin, the opportunity must not be wasted.

Blog   |   Security

In Cryptocat, lessons for technologists and journalists

Alhamdulillah! Finally, a technologist designed a security tool that everyone could use. A Lebanese-born, Montreal-based computer scientist, college student, and activist named Nadim Kobeissi had developed a cryptography tool, Cryptocat, for the Internet that seemed as easy to use as Facebook Chat but was presumably far more secure.

September 11, 2012 12:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet

Dear CPJ: Some malware from your 'friend'

An analyst looks at malware code in a lab. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

We talk a lot about hacking attacks against individual journalists here, but what typifies an attempt to access a reporter's computer? Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director, received an email last week that reflects some characteristics of a malware attack against a journalist or activist. There was nothing particularly notable about the targeting. (Like many reporters, CPJ receives such attempts occasionally). The attack failed at the first fence, and my casual investigation into the source was inconclusive. There are no shocking answers or big headlines to draw from this attack. But it does illustrate a contemporary reality: Opportunistic assailants regularly shower journalists with software attacks.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Attacks on press in Venezuela expand online

Chávez' Twitter page. (AFP/Juan Barreto)

Online penetration in Venezuela has increased in recent years, with 40 percent of its population online, according to the International Telecommunication Union. A significant amount of activity takes place on Twitter, where Venezuela has the highest penetration in the region after Uruguay, according to local research company Tendencias Digitales. President Hugo Chávez Frías, who has more than three million followers on Twitter, uses the platform regularly to convey official news--as he did on Tuesday when a raging fire at an oil refinery was extinguished, leaving 48 people dead, according to a report on EFE.

Blog   |   Security, USA

Resources, tips for journalists covering conventions

Journalists view the stage for the coming Republican National Convention. (Reuters/Scott Audette)

With up to 15,000 journalists expected in Tampa, Fla., for next week's Republican National Convention, some reporters and photographers will undoubtedly encounter problems concerning access to news events and coverage of related protests. Several journalism organizations have compiled resource materials and tips for journalists headed to the GOP gathering, which starts August 27, and the Democratic convention that begins September 3. Here are some of those resources:

Blog   |   Mexico, Security, USA

Mexico must back up federal measure to protect press

Journalists protest the murder of a Mexican journalist earlier this year. (AFP/Sergio Hernandez)

Using guns, grenades, explosives, and other deadly means, criminals have assaulted four Mexican newsrooms in less than six weeks. One of the country's top journalists, Lydia Cacho, was the target of a chilling death threat last month. Journalists in Veracruz have gone missing or been killed this year. Press fatalities in Mexico remain among the highest in the world, leading to vast self-censorship. And the perpetrators? They are not only well organized and heavily armed, they enjoy near-complete impunity for their attacks on the press. Mexican lawmakers began to address the crisis this year, but now they risk losing the momentum.

Blog   |   Ecuador, Sweden, UK, USA

As it backs Assange, Ecuador stifles expression at home

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa holds the hands of Christine Assange, the mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, during a meeting in Quito, Ecuador, Aug. 1. (AP/Martin Jaramillo)

The Quito government's decision to grant Julian Assange political asylum comes at a time when freedom of expression is under siege in Ecuador. President Rafael Correa's press freedom record is among the very worst in the Americas, and providing asylum to the WikiLeaks founder won't change the repressive conditions facing Ecuadoran journalists who want to report critically about government policies and practices.

Blog   |   Security, USA

What to do if you are detained or arrested at conventions

A demonstrator is arrested in downtown Chicago during a protest against the NATO Summit in May 2012. (Mickey H. Osterreicher)

As a follow-up to my previous "What to know about covering the conventions," the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has been working with a number of organizations in order to provide support for journalists covering the U.S. national political conventions in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., this month and next. Some things for those journalists to keep in mind:

August 9, 2012 11:16 AM ET

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Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

US pursues return of Palestinian TV station's equipment

For more than five months, the Ramallah-based private television broadcaster Wattan TV has been without key equipment, including transmitters, computers, files, and archives. On February 29, Israeli soldiers and officials from the Ministry of Communications raided the station without a warrant, saying it was broadcasting illegally and interfering with aircraft transmissions.

August 7, 2012 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Syria, USA

Weak cyber protections lead to personal, institutional risk

The Syrian civil war is also a propaganda war. With the Assad regime and the rebels both attempting to assure their supporters and the world that they are on the brink of victory, how the facts are reported has become central to the struggle. Hackers working in support of Assad loyalists this week decided to take a shortcut, attacking the Reuters news agency's blogging platform and one of its Twitter accounts, and planting false stories about the vanquishing of rebel leaders and wavering support for them from abroad.

August 6, 2012 6:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

Stressed out: How should newsrooms handle trauma?

A TV crew reports on the shooting in Colorado from a parking lot across the street. (AFP/Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

The rampage inside a Colorado movie theater that killed 12 people and injured dozens more is the most recent reminder that a journalist anywhere can face sudden, great emotional stress. Any story involving tragedy--from domestic violence to natural disasters--can inflict an emotional toll on field journalists. The very empathy that makes a journalist a good storyteller puts him or her at risk.

July 27, 2012 1:49 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain, China, Internet, UK

For journalists, danger lurking in your email

A protester in Jidhafs, Bahrain. (AP/Hasan Jamali)

This week, Morgan Marquis-Boire and Bill Marczak of the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab provided a disturbing look into the likely use of a commercial surveillance program, FinFisher, to remotely invade and control the computers of Bahraini activists. After the software installs itself onto unsuspecting users' computer, it can record and relay emails, screenshots, and Skype audio conversations. It was deployed against Bahraini users after being concealed in seemingly innocent emails.

Blog   |   CPJ, Honduras, Russia, Turkey

CPJ testifies on global threats to freedom of expression

CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington on Wednesday, highlighting global attacks on press freedom and, in particular, assaults on the press in Honduras, Russia, and Turkey.

Blog   |   Cuba

Press loses a friend with death of Cuban Oswaldo Payá

Hundreds attended the funeral of Oswaldo Payá, a Cuban activist, on Monday. (AFP/Adalberto Roque)

A friend delivered the shocking news in a telephone call on Sunday. Oswaldo Payá, an activist and a tireless advocate for freedom of expression, had died in a car accident that afternoon. 

July 25, 2012 3:58 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

Face-blurring comes into focus for journalists

From YouTube's demonstration page

This week, YouTube announced a feature that should catch the eye of video journalists and bloggers working in dangerous conditions. After uploading a video to YouTube, you can now deploy a "blur faces" post-production tool that, in theory, should disguise the visual identity of everyone on the screen. The Hindu newspaper has an excellent how-to guide for their readers.

July 20, 2012 5:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, Security

Bossa Nova's home and Olympics host is risky for press

The Rocinha neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. Such neighborhoods, or favelas, have been risky for reporters. (AP/Felipe Dana)

The jagged mountains ringing Rio de Janeiro descend to a temperate valley with two storied beaches on the Atlantic. Here is the city that gave the world a new, eclectic musical beat with the Bossa Nova, the South American jewel that will host the summer Olympic Games in 2016. Yet Rio has also been the setting for violence against journalists, a trend that is on the upswing again throughout this nation. 

July 13, 2012 3:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia

Uribe's angry tweets do more than antagonize

Álvaro Uribe speaks at a 2011 congressional hearing about his alleged responsibility in the wiretapping of political opponents and journalists. (AP/William Fernando Martinez)

More than a year after he left office, Álvaro Uribe Vélez confessed that "it was not in him" to live as a former president. And in fact, having dominated Colombian politics for eight years, it has been impossible for Uribe to fade from the public eye since leaving office in August 2010. Instead of retiring to his ranch in Antioquia, he has lived in a heavily protected compound in the capital, Bogotá, with his wife and two sons. He spends his time traveling abroad for speaking engagements, has been a scholar at Georgetown University, and more recently announced the creation of a new political platform to oppose current President Juan Manuel Santos.  

Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

What to know about covering the conventions

Members of the press get their first look at the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. Security zones have been established outside to ensure people's safety. (AP/Brian Blanco)

If May's NATO Summit in Chicago is any indication, journalists covering events outside the national political conventions in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., later this summer can expect that everyone--mainstream media, bloggers, citizen journalists, protesters, and bystanders--will have a camera of one kind or another. With the widespread proliferation of cellphone cameras, capable of recording high-quality images along with audio and video, it seemed like everybody was documenting everything and everyone.

Blog   |   China, UK, USA

The New York Times takes on China's censors

Well, that didn't take long. Just days after The New York Times' soft launch of its Chinese-language edition and accompanying microblog accounts, Berkeley-based China Digital Times website reports that the @nytchinese Sina Weibo feed is no longer accessible in China, along with two accounts hosted by Netease and Sohu. We couldn't pull them up this morning from New York, either.

Blog   |   Mexico, USA

Film 'Reportero' features tenacious Mexican magazine

Zeta reporter Sergio Haro in the film 'Reportero.' (Courtesy Quiet Pictures)

A week before Sunday's crucial presidential elections in Mexico, CPJ participated on a panel with filmmaker Bernardo Ruíz and Mexican journalist Sergio Haro about the perilous conditions for journalists in that country, where CPJ research shows 48 journalists have been murdered or disappeared since outgoing President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006.

Blog   |   Security, USA

Author of Chauncey Bailey book: 'We had to do this'

AP/Crown

When Thomas Peele came into the CPJ offices last week to discuss Killing the Messenger, his book about the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey, he described a story that was layered with scandal, including a polygamous cult, bankruptcy, kidnapping, rape, a flawed confession, leaked evidence, and secret alliances--not to mention the aggressive attack on a free press. Peele, motivated in part by the blatant demonstration of corruption in the investigation into Bailey's death, intended to reveal the truth about the circumstances surrounding the case. Accompanying Peele at CPJ was our own senior adviser for journalist security, Frank Smyth, who became involved in the case as a CPJ representative.

June 22, 2012 3:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet

What to do if Google warns of state-sponsored attack


(Google)

Some journalists continue to receive the warning from Google about state-sponsored attacks that we mentioned last week. The message appears on top of logged-in services like Gmail. Occasionally it will disappear for a few hours and then reappear, but there is no way to remove it.

June 22, 2012 12:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

Don't punish Chinese restrictions with more restrictions

The Committee to Protect Journalists is watching with concern the progress of H.R. 2899, the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011, which is under discussion Wednesday in front of the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. The bill seeks to reduce the number of visas available to journalists (and their families) working in the United States for 13 Chinese state-controlled publications. The aim is to pressure Beijing into allowing more Voice of America reporters into China; VOA staffers tell us that they are allowed only two China visas to cover a country of more than 1.3 billion people.

Blog   |   Canada, Russia, Security, Syria, USA

Skype Trojan targets Syrian citizen journalists, activists

The Russian manufacturer promises results. The software can be used to control your own or, say, a customer's computer by making it a remote software client. Or it could be used for spying on others.

June 20, 2012 3:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Guatemala

Displaced by threats, old life gives way to new

A soldier patrols a lake in the town of Panajachel, where journalist Lucía Escobar used to live. (AFP/Orlando Sierra)

For seven years I lived in Panajachel, a tourist town on the beautiful Atitlán Lake in Guatemala. There, my husband, Juan Miguel Arrivillaga, and I started a family and the independent news outlet Anti Magazine. We also hosted a radio program on the local station Radio Ati.

June 19, 2012 12:04 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia, USA

US senator condemns Ethiopia's persecution of the press

The success of a U.S. partnership with Ethiopia on food security depends in large part on a free press in the Horn of Africa nation, a senator argued yesterday. Above, Obama and Meles at the G8 summit in 2010. (White House)

On Wednesday, the same day the White House announced a strategic plan committing the United States to elevating its efforts in "challenging leaders whose actions threaten the credibility of democratic processes" in sub-Saharan Africa, a senior member of the U.S. Congress challenged the erosion of press freedom in a key U.S. strategic partner in the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia.

Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

Spreading the security message


Video streaming by Ustream

On the frontlines of global reporting, knowledge is safety. CPJ's event series to promote our new Journalist Security Guide continued Wednesday in Washington, D.C. where we teamed up with Internews for a panel discussion on journalist security on-site and online. 

Blog   |   Brazil, Ecuador, India, Pakistan

Brazil restates commitment to press freedom, UN plan

CPJ has received an encouraging letter from Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil's permanent representative to the United Nations, affirming the country's support for the UNESCO-led U.N. Plan of Action for Security of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity

Blog   |   Honduras

Amid violence, lack of unity among Honduran journalists

Journalists protest violence against members of the media in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, May 25. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

On May 25, the Honduran press corps took to the streets of Tegucigalpa and four other cities to reject the growing levels of violence against members of the media.  Many marchers donned yellow-and-black t-shirts emblazoned with the words: "Killing journalists will not kill the truth."

Blog   |   China, Internet, Iran, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

State-sponsored attacks: open season on online journalists

The last few weeks have offered the strongest indications yet that nation-states are using customized software to exploit security flaws on personal computers and consumer Internet services to spy on their users. The countries suspected include the United States, Israel, and China. Journalists should pay attention--not only because this is a growing story, but because if anyone is a vulnerable target, it's reporters.

Blog   |   Internet, Thailand

Computer crime laws belie Thai claim to modern society

At online discussion sites all over the world, comments are posted on the Web as soon as they are written. People argue, inform, express anger, and voice fears. Some say things in the heat of the moment that they might go on to regret. Others are elliptical and obscure. The enabling of such conversations is an important modern method of discovering and re-telling the news, and encourages previously uninvolved readers of the news to help gather and disseminate it--especially in times when traditional media is censored or afraid.

Blog   |   Bolivia, CPJ, Ecuador, Security

Free expression in Americas goes beyond left or right

On Sunday the general assembly of the Organization of American States will convene in Bolivia in the verdant, highland valley city of Cochabamba. The 35 member states (every nation in the region except Cuba) are expected to vote on a measure that, if passed, could curtail free expression and press throughout the hemisphere and put journalists and others at greater risk.

Blog   |   CPJ, El Salvador, Security

Solidarity, a key to security, eludes Salvadoran press

Visitors look at an exhibit displaying the bloodstained clothes of the Jesuit priests murdered by the Salvadoran military in 1989. (AP/Luis Romero)

No other journalists are remembered quite like this. Visitors looking through the glass display at the Monsignor Romero Center & Martyrs Museum in San Salvador see the pajamas and other clothes that three Jesuit university priests were wearing when they were shot down by automatic rifle fire. A series of clear containers are filled with dark blades of grass cut from the campus lawn where each had spilled his blood.

Blog   |   CPJ, Somalia

At CPJ Debrief, Gettleman cites Somalia danger, reward

Sebastian Junger, left, introduces fellow journalist Jeffrey Gettleman at the Half King. (Nicole Schilit)

Jeffrey Gettleman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent, says he travels with "a small militia" whenever he reports from Somalia, the East African country afflicted by armed insurgency, poverty, and hunger. As intrusive as the security detail might be, he feels far more fortunate than the local reporters who face sustained and often deadly risks, or the freelance journalists who don't have the extensive support system the Times can provide.

Gettleman spoke to a crowd of about 100 at the Half King pub in Manhattan on Tuesday in the first event in the new CPJ discussion series, "CPJ Debrief." Gettleman, the East Africa bureau chief for the Times, has worked in the region for six years. With East Africa's needs so acute, and the volume of international reporting on the decline, the assignment has given him a chance to have a profound impact.

May 24, 2012 5:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

Nations urge Ecuador to guarantee freedom of expression

Foreign Affairs
Minister Ricardo Patiño said 'ignorance' was behind
international criticism of press freedom conditions in Ecuador. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

Stressing concerns of human rights groups about the deterioration of press conditions under the administration of President Rafael Correa, 17 members of the United Nations submitted recommendations to Ecuador on freedom of expression issues before the U.N. Human Rights Council this week. While Ecuador tried to pass off the criticism as resulting from ignorance, the states' observations made clear that the international community is fully aware of Correa's repressive tactics against the local media.

Blog   |   Mexico

El Mañana cedes battle to report on Mexican violence

Investigators photograph graffiti implicating the Zeta cartel near where 49 corpses were found on the road near Monterrey, Mexico, on May 13. (AFP/Julio Cesar Aguilar)

They would tell you that the killers haven't let them cover real news for several years--if you call news serious information that's important to the public, like why the police didn't investigate so many murders or kidnappings or extortions. Or why drugs were sold so openly. Or that three former governors are being investigated for laundering money for the organized crime cartel that runs much of the state of Tamaulipas.

May 23, 2012 3:13 PM ET

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Blog   |   Security, Syria

Don't get your sources in Syria killed

Journalists covering the Syrian uprising have been targeted with government surveillance, hacking, and malware. (AP/Bassem Tellawi)

Because foreign journalists have been virtually banned from Syria during the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's regime, news coverage has relied heavily on citizen journalists and international reporters working with sources inside the country. Syrians who communicate with foreign news media run the risk of being threatened, detained, tortured, or even killed.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan, USA, Uzbekistan

CPJ calls for release of jailed reporters in Central Asia

World leaders must hold Central Asian regimes responsible for denying global access to information by throwing critical reporters behind bars, CPJ Eurasia researcher Muzaffar Suleymanov told the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe  at a briefing Tuesday on political prisoners in Central Asia.

Blog   |   Libya, South Africa, USA

Audio slideshow: Supporting family of Anton Hammerl

Freelance photographer Anton Hammerl was killed in Libya on April 5, 2011. Friends of Hammerl are holding an auction May 15 to raise funds for his three children. James Foley elaborates.

May 14, 2012 5:05 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

Should J-School grads just get up and go overseas?

Photographers take cover behind a barricade during a protest in Egypt last year. Journalists are often forced to take deadly risks when working in war zones, usually with limited training and no insurance. (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

The guidance is hardly clear. At a Columbia University event last week pegged to the release of the new CPJ Journalist Security Guide, one journalism student said he and his classmates are getting contradictory advice. Many J-school professors, he said, have encouraged him and others to just get up, go overseas, and try to make it as a freelancer. But the experienced journalists speaking at the event advised caution.

Blog   |   CPJ, Security, USA

In digital security, knowledge and simplicity are keys

Panelists at the launch of the new CPJ Journalist Security Guide at Columbia University. (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

Governments and criminal organizations are stepping up digital surveillance of journalists, but the press is not keeping pace in meeting the challenge, a panel of experts said Wednesday at an event marking the launch of the CPJ Journalist Security Guide. Reporters are using unsecure consumer electronic products for sensitive tasks such as note-taking and source management, the experts said, without sufficiently assessing the risks.

Blog   |   Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Internet, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Uzbekistan

Most censored nations each distort the Net in own way

Iran has invested in technology with the explicit intent of restricting
Internet access. (Reuters/Caren Firouz)

One big reason for the Internet's success is its role as a universal standard, interoperable across the world. The data packets that leave your computer in Botswana are the same as those which arrive in Barbados. The same is increasingly true of modern mobile networks. Standards are converging: You can use your phone, access an app, or send a text, wherever you are.

May 2, 2012 4:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

China's media conditions threaten Chen Guangcheng

The battle over blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng's freedom and well-being is a battle over information. Both Chinese and U.S. officials are trying to spin the story their way. A few activists and media claim to speak for Chen, and in China's anti-press environment they are putting themselves at risk. Direct interviews with the man himself are hard to come by.

Blog   |   Belarus, CPJ, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Libya, Mexico, Mozambique, Russia, Security, Syria, Uganda

Safer mobile use is key issue for journalists

A journalist talks on his satellite phone outside the Rixos Hotel in Libya in August 2011. (AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

As the Internet and mobile communications become more integrated into reporters' work, the digital threats to journalists' work and safety have increased as well. While many press reports have documented Internet surveillance and censorship--and the efforts to combat them--mobile communications are the new frontline for journalist security.

Blog   |   Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Syria

Assisting journalists forced to flee censorship

Javad Moghimi Parsa is one of many Iranian journalists forced to flee his heavily censored country. (Javad Moghimi Parsa)

CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program supports journalists who cannot be helped by advocacy alone. In 2011, we assisted 171 journalists worldwide. Almost a fourth came from countries that made CPJ's Most Censored list. Eight journalists from Eritrea, five from Syria, six from Cuba, and a whopping 20 from Iran sought our help after being forced to leave their countries, having suffered the consequences of defying censorship at home.

Blog   |   China, USA

New film "High Tech, Low Life" on Chinese bloggers

Director Stephen Maing, right, and Chinese blogger Zola answer questions at the Tribeca Film Festival. (CPJ/Gregory Fay)

"High Tech, Low Life," a new documentary about Chinese bloggers directed by Stephen Maing, debuted at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 19. It documents the lives of Zola (Zhou Shuguang) and Tiger Temple (Zhang Shihe), as they blur the lines of citizen journalism and activism though their reporting on evictions, pollution, and official cover-ups in China. Zola was in town for the premiere, and he and the director fielded questions from the audience after the film's showing.

Blog   |   CPJ, Libya, Security

For conflict journalists, a need for first-aid training

After photographer Tim Hetherington, seen here in Libya, died in April 2011, friend Sebastian Junger started an organization to train freelancers in battlefield first aid. (Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly)

Stop the bleeding. It's a critical and fundamental step in aiding a journalist or anyone wounded in conflict. Hemorrhage is the number one preventable death on the battlefield. And yet large numbers of journalists covering wars and political unrest all across the world are untrained in this life-saving skill. It doesn't need to be that way.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, CPJ, Egypt, El Salvador, Security, Syria, USA

Why journalists need new ways to stay safe

Gang members at a prison in Izalco shortly after a government-brokered truce. (Reuters/Ulises Rodriguez)

After the Salvadoran online newsmagazine El Faro exposed a secret government deal with criminal gangs last month, its staff faced repercussions that illustrate the new and complicated risks facing journalists worldwide. El Faro's report, which said the government provided more lenient treatment of imprisoned gangsters in exchange for the groups' agreement to slow down their murderous practices, addressed one of the most sensitive topics facing journalists today--crime and its many interconnections with government.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, USA

Afghan journalist's death must lead to better combat rules

Wednesday, the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) released its report, "Death of an Uruzgan Journalist: Command Errors and Collateral Damage," by Kate Clark on the July 2011 shooting death of journalist Omaid Khpalwak. Clark's details on how Khpalwak died corroborate and then go beyond the investigation already conducted by the U.S.-led NATO forces who were responsible. Her report was important to write, and is important to read.

Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, USA

Palestinian TV wants US help retrieving seized transmitter

Wattan TV bills itself as the voice of the voiceless. But since the Israeli army gutted its Ramallah headquarters in a predawn raid two months ago, that voice has been reduced to a whisper.

April 24, 2012 5:47 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ

Internet giants submit to external free expression scrutiny

Journalists and bloggers in authoritarian countries have their work cut out thwarting governments that try to restrict their writing and reporting. The last thing they need to worry about is the provider of their publication platform helping authorities with censorship or surveillance. Cue the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a voluntary grouping of Internet companies, freedom of expression groups, progressive investors, and academics. 

Blog   |   Colombia

Statute of limitations, the challenge for Colombian justice

The issue of impunity affects all Colombian citizens' access to real justice; it is not only a problem for crimes against journalists. Several human rights bodies and non-governmental organizations agree that Colombia dwells in a striking situation of impunity, especially concerning crimes committed during the ongoing armed conflict.

Blog   |   Cuba, Journalist Assistance, Spain

Expelled from Cuba jails, journalists languish in Spain

Ricardo González Alfonso (left) and Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez at a press conference in Vallecas in July 2010. (AFP/Dominique Faget)

In 2010, following midsummer negotiations between the Catholic Church and the government of President Raúl Castro, Cuban authorities began releasing imprisoned journalists, sending them into forced exile with their families. In April 2011, the last of more than 20 journalists arrived in Spain. They had been granted liberty and respite, and were promised support from Spanish authorities while they settled into the new country. But almost two years after the first crop of journalists arrived in Spain, the four who remain in the country are living under extremely difficult conditions, struggling even to feed themselves.

Blog   |   Cuba, Journalist Assistance, Spain

Cubans exiled in Spain: Integration or disintegration?

Ricardo González Alfonso (AFP)

Desperate realities call for hope. It is not just a game of words, because you don't play with hunger and the future (my own and my family's). It is about going deeper into another version of circumstances. And seeing the rainbow where others see a gloomy sun and a stubborn and relentless rain.

I am writing this declaration of optimism now that the Spanish government has withdrawn the financial aid that it had provided us, when in the summer of 2010, directly from the Cuban jails, we arrived as former prisoners of conscience along with others there just by coincidence, or not.

April 17, 2012 10:08 AM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, CPJ, India, Pakistan

Brazil, Pakistan, India fail test on journalist murders

At a protest against the murder of a journalist in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a sign reads: "Enough of violence, exclusion and impunity." (AP/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Brazil, Pakistan, and India--three nations with high numbers of unsolved journalist murders--failed an important test last month in fighting the scourge of impunity. Delegates from the three countries took the lead in raising objections to a U.N. plan that would strengthen international efforts to combat deadly anti-press violence.

Blog   |   Mexico

Amid Mexican impunity, paper in the crossfire

The offices of El Siglo de Torreón after the November 2011 attack. (Courtesy El Siglo de Torreón)

It was 3 o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, when a car stopped in front of the offices of El Siglo de Torreón, the most widely read newspaper in the northern Mexican states of Coahuila and Durango. The driver pulled the vehicle onto the shoulder, stepped out, poured gasoline on it, and lit it on fire. From another car, AK-47 shots were fired at a window in the newspaper's offices across the street.

The attack lasted less than five minutes, enough time to complete the job without disturbance. Fortunately, the doors were locked and the staffers who remained inside were in the printing room, protected from the assault. We never found out who torched the car or shot at the windows. That November 15, we received calls from all types of authorities as well as promises of a thorough investigation that never happened.

April 17, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog   |   USA

In Boston, journalist Moloney battles to protect sources

In December 2002, the U.N. Tribunal charged with prosecuting war crimes in the former Yugoslavia ruled that Washington Post reporter Jonathan Randal could not be compelled to provide testimony in the case of a Bosnian Serb official accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing."If war correspondents were to be perceived as potential witnesses for the Prosecution," the Tribunal noted, they "may shift from being observers of those committing human rights violations to being their targets." As a result of that ruling, war correspondents enjoy some immunity against compelled testimony at the international level. But this is not necessarily the case in the United States.

Blog   |   Cuba

Remembering Cuba's Du Bouchet Hernández

Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández (Juan
Carlos Herrera Acosta)

On Wednesday morning, exiled Cuban journalist Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández took his own life, according to reports in the Cuban exiled media. He was the last of more than 20 Cuban journalists to be released from prison and sent to Spain following July 2010 talks between the government of Cuban President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church. Du Bouchet Hernández, who reported opposition political news, endured inhumanity at home and, ultimately, suffered hardship in exile.

April 6, 2012 2:32 PM ET

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Blog   |   El Salvador

El Salvador government pledges to protect El Faro

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes denies that his government has engaged in negotiations with gangs to lower the rate of homicides. (AP/Luis Romero)

"El Salvador is committed to guaranteeing the safety of El Faro and its staff so they can continue their investigative work," David Rivas, spokesman for President Mauricio Funes Cartagena, told CPJ in a recent phone conversation. The government's pledge came after groundbreaking reporting by the digital newspaper about secret negotiations in which local gangs, known as Maras, said they would limit murders in exchange for official concessions, like having imprisoned gang members transferred to lower-security prisons.

Blog   |   Internet, Mexico

Defining who is a journalist, Mexican style

This month, the Mexican Senate approved an amendment to the country's constitution that would make attacks on journalists a federal crime in Mexico.

March 26, 2012 1:16 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan, USA

Ahmed Rashid on U.S. policy in South Asia

At Columbia University on Monday evening, CPJ board member Ahmed Rashid held forth to a full house in a conversation with Steve Coll about U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you're reading this blog, there's most likely no need to explain who Rashid is--or Coll, for that matter. The earliest reference I could find on cpj.org to Rashid dated back to 2000, about events in 1999, when he was the Islamabad bureau chief for the now-defunct Far Eastern Economic Review. His latest book, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, is the most recent installment in a steady stream of trenchant, reliable, reality-based analysis of geopolitical affairs in Central and South Asia. If you need to be convinced, check out Foreign Policy's list of Top 100 Global Thinkers.

A video of the event, which was co-sponsored by CPJ, is now available here.

Blog   |   Security, Syria, USA

From Small World, timely advice on safe satphone use

Journalists and technologists often speak different languages. But a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit, Small World News, is bridging the gap with a new guide on the safe use of satellite phones. It comes at a critical time.

The group's Guide to Safely Using Satphones just went online, less than three weeks after the deaths of international journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik in Homs, Syria. Several journalists who worked in Homs suspected the Syrian government targeted the building where Colvin, Ochlik, and other journalists were working. If government forces indeed targeted the building, they could have relied on several forms of intelligence, including the tracking of journalists' satellite signals.

March 13, 2012 2:43 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican senators say journalist murders to be federal crime

The author, right, looks on as Sen. José
González Morfín, center, confers with CPJ Americas Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría. (Ignacio González Anaya)

With near impunity in the murders of journalists a persistent reason for the terror and self-censorship among Mexican news organizations, legislators say the national Senate is on the verge of passing a constitutional amendment that would allow federal authorities to take over cases of crimes against freedom of expression. Passage would mean that the typically less corrupt and more effective federal police and prosecutors would move aside state authorities to tackle cases of murdered journalists or those living under threat.

March 9, 2012 5:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Solidarity in Sinaloa: Journalists, others address crisis

Citizens, officials, and civil society groups joined journalists for Tuesday's discussion on the state of press freedom in Sinaloa. (Ron Bernal)

A unified front is crucial when facing a crisis in press freedom like that in the violent state of Sinaloa in Mexico, Colombian journalist and CPJ board member María Teresa Ronderos said this week. She was speaking to a packed room of print, radio, and television reporters; members of civil society groups; state legislators; union leaders; human rights activists; and even ordinary citizens, who had gathered for a discussion on the press in one of Mexico's most dangerous cities, Culiacán.

Blog   |   Internet, Mexico

Online news sites as battleground for Mexican drug war

Danny O'Brien, left, consults with Carlos Lauría, senior program coordinator for the Americas, outside the offices of Noroeste. (Ron Bernal)

I'm in Culiacán, the capital of the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Part of my work here has been to investigate and highlight the cyber-attacks that the award-winning weekly local newsmagazine Ríodoce has encountered in its coverage of the violent drugs war here.

But discussing the experiences of online editors at other publications here has shown just how intertwined the Net, the work of reporters, and the drug war have become.

March 7, 2012 12:45 PM ET

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Blog   |   Haiti, USA

Was letter to Haiti website just part of Martelly's theatrics?

Demonstrators burn signs with images of Haitian President Michel Martelly during a protest in Port-au-Prince on February 7, 2012. (AP/Ramon Espinosa)

As a former entertainer better known as "Sweet Micky," it is perhaps unsurprising that Haitian President Michel Martelly has been theatrical at times in his dealings with the press. At one media event in October, the President answered a critical question posed by a journalist by telling him, "I curse your mother," according to press reports. On another occasion in late December, Martelly was so elated by a supporter's sign that instructed the press to "give the president a chance," that he told the citizen, "You deserve US$100,000." The man received a free motorcycle instead, Radio Kiskeya reported.

February 24, 2012 12:59 PM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka, Syria, UK, USA

Recalling Marie Colvin, the 'greatest of our generation'

In her final hours, Marie Colvin gave this damning report to CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Bravery, generosity, and commitment: These are the three characteristics of Marie Colvin that have surfaced, again and again, in the many tributes spoken and published since the veteran Sunday Times reporter was killed Wednesday in the besieged city of Homs by Syrian forces.

February 23, 2012 3:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt, Libya, Security, Syria, UK, USA

To quote Marie Colvin: 'What is bravery, and what bravado?'

Not since the worst period of the Iraq war, or in the Balkans the decade before, have so many storied journalists been killed or seriously injured in such a short period of time. Inevitably, the spate of deaths leaves many journalists asking questions about whether and how much they are willing to risk their own lives, and possibly the lives of others. Many experienced journalists might agree on one thing: the decisions one makes about risk are among the most intimate decisions they will ever make.

Blog   |   Syria, USA

As live streaming expands, challenges intensify

This screenshot from YouTube dated Wednesday is said to show the shelling of Homs as recorded by Rami al-Sayed before his death.

The world lost one of the only direct windows into the carnage in Homs, Syria, when Rami al-Sayed's video live stream went dark Tuesday. A citizen journalist, al-Sayed was live streaming the Assad regime's bombardment of Baba Amr and the brutal after-effects when he was struck by shrapnel and bled to death soon after, according to news reports. When outlets including the BBC World, SkyNews, and Al Jazeera aired his live footage, they highlighted how important this medium has become to journalism. And when the Syrian army took his life they proved how vulnerable it is.

Blog   |   France, Syria, UK, USA

Risk and reporting

Last night at London's Frontline Club, CPJ launched its global survey of press freedom conditions, Attacks on the Press. The topic of discussion was the safety of journalists covering conflict and the panel consisted of journalist and documentarian Jenny Kleeman, ITN safety guru Colin Pereira, and journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned in Iran following the disputed 2009 presidential elections.

Blog   |   Ecuador

In Ecuador, a crushed and silenced democracy

El Universo staff members carry a mock coffin to protest the court ruling that upheld the verdict against their colleagues. (AFP/Camilo Pareja)

The sentence against Ecuadoran newspaper El Universo, its opinion editor, Emilio Palacio Urrutia, and its three top executives, Carlos Eduardo Pérez Barriga, César Enrique Pérez Barriga, and Carlos Nicolás Pérez Lapentti, for supposed offenses against Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa in Palacio's article "NO to lies," is a worn-out manifestation of the perverse concept of public freedoms that certain elected governments manipulate. They pervert their legitimacy with an authoritarian self-assuredness that permeates their exercise of power.

Blog   |   China, USA

Archaic media policies make China a poor partner

President Obama meets with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Tuesday at the  White House. (AP/Susan Walsh)

President Obama has promised to raise issues of human rights when he and his administration meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in the next day. After that, Xi, billed as China's next leader, is expected to make some speeches, visit a few factories, stop at the Pentagon, sign some contracts that will strengthen economic ties between the two countries, and then head home.

February 14, 2012 3:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, China, Internet, Mexico, USA

Brazil set to test Twitter's selective blocking policy

I've been telling reporters that Twitter's new national blocking policy was like Chekhov's gun. Its recent appearance inevitably prefigured its future use.

February 10, 2012 4:52 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil, Cuba

Rousseff quiet as Cuban blogger denied travel to Brazil

Blogger Yoani Sánchez says she has been denied permission to leave Cuba 19 times. (AFP/Adalberto Roque)

The response from Cuban officials did not take anyone by surprise. Prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez had been, once again, denied permission to leave her country after she was granted a visa by the Brazilian Embassy in January to attend a film festival. "I feel like a hostage kidnapped by someone who doesn't listen nor provide explanations. A government with a ski mask and a gun in a holster," tweeted Sánchez on Friday after the Cuban government denied her request to travel to Brazil. It was, according to the blogger, the 19th time Cuban officials have turned down her request to leave the island. As in the past, officials gave no reason for the rejection.

February 9, 2012 10:06 AM ET

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Blog   |   USA

Accreditation disputes at center of US arrests

Several journalists have been arrested for not having proper accreditation at Occupy Oakland protests like this one. (Reuters/Stephen Lam)

The issue of press accreditation continues to reverberate. In November, when the Occupy movement came into conflict with law enforcement across the country and at least 20 journalists covering the events were arrested, CPJ reported that disputes over press accreditation were at the center of many of those arrests. Last week, credentials played a role in the arrests of journalists not only at tumultuous Occupy demonstrations in Oakland but also inside the more hushed chambers of Capitol Hill.

Blog   |   China, Internet, UK, USA

Can selective blocking pre-empt wider censorship?

A screen shot showing part of a Twitter blog post in which the company announced it could now censor messages on a country-by-country basis. (AP/Twitter)

Last week, Twitter provoked a fierce debate online when it announced a new capability--and related policy--to hide tweets on a country-specific basis. By building this feature into its website's basic code, Twitter said it hoped to offer a more tailored response to legal demands to remove tweets globally. The company will inform users if any tweet they see has been obscured, and provide a record of all demands to remove content with the U.S.-based site chillingeffects.org.

February 3, 2012 5:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, USA

Does the Internet boost freedom? We decide, book says

Rebecca MacKinnon, shown here in Tunisia last year, asserts in a new book that citizens and governments must decide the power of the Internet. (AFP/Fethi Belaid)

The Internet doesn't bring freedom. Not automatically, anyway.

That's one of the main messages of Rebecca MacKinnon's new book, Consent of the Networked, which had its New York launch at the offices of the New America Foundation last night. In a conversation with CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker, MacKinnon, a CPJ board member, said it's up to concerned citizens, governments, and corporations to make decisions about how the Internet is used. She contrasted the Twitter-powered revolt in Egypt last year with the "networked authoritarianism" of China, where corporations are collaborators in a system designed to preserve Communist Party rule.

Blog   |   Argentina

Cabezas' convicted killers are free, 15 years after murder

Photojournalists raise photos of José Luis Cabezas as thousands gathered in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, February 25, 1997, to protest Cabezas' murder the previous month. (AP/Daniel Muzio)

It was a cold winter morning more than 15 years ago. As part of my daily routine as a foreign correspondent, I opened my laptop to read the Argentine papers. I was shocked by a headline: my colleague José Luis Cabezas, a photographer for the newsweekly magazine Noticias, had been murdered. His bullet-ridden body was found on January 25, 1997, inside a burned car, handcuffed and charred, on the outskirts of the beach resort of Pinamar.

January 31, 2012 4:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

In Mexico mission, PEN speaks for a silenced press

Mexican writer Eduardo Lizalde speaks out at a PEN International event. (Reuters/Henry Romero)

The leading American author Russell Banks set the tone on Sunday as he stood among international writers and their local colleagues in Mexico City: "A nation's journalists and writers, like its poets and story-tellers, are the eyes, ears, and mouths of the people. When journalists cannot freely speak of what they see and hear of the reality that surrounds them, the people cannot see, hear, or speak it either." Banks is among the leaders of a high-level PEN International delegation that is meeting with top Mexican officials to pressure them to improve law enforcement in the murders of journalists, and to change the law to bring more cases under the federal government's jurisdiction. 

January 30, 2012 2:55 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Colombia, Mexico, Security, USA

For journalists, cyber-security training slow to take hold

For centuries, journalists have been willing to go to prison to protect their sources. Back in 1848, New York Herald correspondent John Nugent spent a month in jail for refusing to tell a U.S. Senate committee his source for a leak exposing the secret approval of a treaty with Mexico. In a digital age, however, journalists need more than steadfast conviction to keep themselves and their sources safe. Government intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates are using electronic surveillance to learn what journalists are doing and who their sources are.  It seems many journalists are not keeping pace.

Blog   |   Colombia

Criminal gangs intimidate, silence Córdoba journalists

People remain stranded at the North Bus Terminal in Medellin, Antioquia department, on January 5, 2012 during an armed strike imposed by the criminal gang Los Urabeños. (Raul Arboleda/AFP)

At most newspapers, reporting for the society page isn't especially dangerous. But in the northern Colombian department of Córdoba, which is under siege from drug-trafficking gangs, even covering birthday parties can be risky.

January 26, 2012 12:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

In Ecuador, defamation case could set dangerous precedent

The president's defamation case could severely damage free expression in Ecuador. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)

A controversial 2011 defamation verdict against the leading Ecuadoran daily El Universo, which became a symbol of vastly deteriorating press conditions under President Rafael Correa, appears headed to a final determination. The nation's highest court is due to hear the newspaper's appeal, although the hearing date itself is still subject to intense debate. The ramifications are enormous for free expression in Ecuador: The verdict, if upheld by the high court, could bankrupt the newspaper, put its managers in jail, and send a chill quashing dissent for years to come. As it fights for its existence, the paper has mounted an aggressive defense that includes an allegation that the trial judge allowed the president's own lawyer to write the verdict. 

January 17, 2012 3:03 PM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina

Both sides cry 'press freedom!' in Argentine newsprint battle

Newsprint manufacturer Papel Prensa is the recent focus of an ongoing battle between two dailies and Argentina's government. (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)

Argentine Secretary of Commerce Guillermo Moreno made headlines in August 2010 when, at a meeting with the directors of newsprint manufacturer Papel Prensa, he whipped out a pair of boxing gloves, told the women present to clear out of the way, and after dimming the lights, challenged the men to a fight. Moreno's invitation to spar, though presumably in jest, set the stage for last month's legislative debate on Papel Prensa's future, which though lacking for props was no less combative.

January 5, 2012 1:11 PM ET

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