This week, members of UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication will meet to discuss the director general's biannual report, which examines the cases of nearly 600 journalists killed around the world from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2013. The report, and lacklustre response from member states who had been asked to provide status updates to the cases, highlights why the campaign to end impunity is so vital.
Chinese President Xi Jinping issued tough words on the visa woes of international media outlets today, arguing that journalists facing visa restrictions had brought trouble on themselves and signaling that there will be little respite for the international media in China.
The well-known and controversial Pakistani television talk show host Hamid Mir survived a murder attempt on April 19, even though he was hit with six bullets--two of which are still in his body. "I can move, I can walk and I can talk, but I am still undergoing physiotherapy and taking medication," he emailed to a small group of associates, including CPJ, over the weekend.
On October 14, as Japan prepared to mark Newspaper Week--an event set up to promote the public right to know--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet publicly announced guidelines on how the country's security law, which was passed in December 2013, is to be implemented. This date will be remembered as the point at which the public's access to government information was decimated. Under the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets Act (SDS), whistleblowing civil servants face up to 10 years in prison and the journalists who work with them could face up to five years for leaking state secrets. The guidelines will come into force on December 10, with no opportunity before that date for the public or lawmakers to change them.
Political tensions are rising in Taiwan ahead of local and municipal elections due at the end of November. The vote is expected to test the popularity of the ruling Kuomintang Party (KMT), which advocates greater integration with China and which earlier this year sparked protests when it tried to pass a new economic cooperation deal with the mainland. The vote also comes as the Taiwanese are closely watching how Beijing responds to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests are among the best covered in history. The city is saturated with print, broadcast, and social media, traveling across some of the best networks on earth. Its citizens are among the most connected in the world. And for all the media's flaws, consumers expect them to deliver.
Pakistani journalists I have met over the years know that while I might be an American, I have never been an apologist for the U.S. government. The goal of the Committee to Protect Journalists is to assist members of the press no matter where they are, and if we have to criticize their governments, well that's part of the job. We don't accept money from any government, and we don't promote any government's policies. We stay focused on journalists, their safety, and their rights. My beat is Asia, and the threats and intimidation faced by journalists working in that region is where our Asia team puts its focus.
We have been receiving reports of harassment and the use of force directed toward journalists covering the demonstrations in Hong Kong. Most of the incidents came over the weekend with the government's ill-advised attempt to end the protests with police force. But with tensions building today, more clashes with police seem possible.
EDITOR'S NOTE: As pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong intensify ahead of China's National Day on Wednesday, some reporters have been caught in the melee. But for Hong Kong's journalists, there is more at stake than run-ins with the riot police.
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