CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Bob Dietz

Bob Dietz, coordinator of CPJ’s Asia Program, has reported across the continent for news outlets such as CNN and Asiaweek. He has led numerous CPJ missions, including ones to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Follow him on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.

Blog   |   Afghanistan

Free press commitment from both contenders for Afghan presidency

With little good news coming from Afghanistan amid the escalating violence and electoral standoff, here is something that goes against that tide. A coalition of Afghan journalist groups has got both presidential candidates in the disputed runoff election to endorse a 12-article statement of support for Afghanistan's media -- "Commitment of the Candidates of the Presidential Election's Runoff Phase In Support of Free Media and Journalists." Article 1: "I respect the value as an [sic] non-violable principle and pledge to spare no legal measures to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of speech." (The letter is also available in Dari and Pashto.)

Blog   |   Pakistan

Q&A: Pakistan's Hamid Mir speaks about climate for press freedom following attack

Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir after being attacked by unknown assailants. (AP/Anjum Naveed)

In April, Geo News senior anchor Hamid Mir was shot multiple times shortly after a CPJ delegation met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who pledged to take several steps to improve journalist security. The investigation into the attack has yielded no accountability. And since the attack, two arrest warrants have been issued by courts in Quetta and Lahore against Mir, and Geo continues to face challenges.

August 5, 2014 3:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan

A message from the Pakistan Taliban

Villagers flee Pakistani tribal areas in North Waziristan following a massive crackdown on militants by the Pakistan army. (AP/B.K. Bangash)

CPJ received an email message from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan-- the Pakistan Taliban--this morning. Signed by the "Media commission, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Mohmand agency," the message was addressed to CPJ and our colleagues at Reporters Without Borders.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka crackdown, mobs and death threats turned on journalists

Sunil Jayasekera, convener of the Sri Lankan Free Media Movement, talks to journalists in Colombo in June. (AFP/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)

There is genuine cause for alarm about the anonymous death threats going to Sunil Jayasekara's phone. They started streaming to Jayasekara, the convener of Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement, an umbrella group (hence calling the leader a convener) of journalists' organization in Sri Lanka, just before an FMM press conference on Saturday in Colombo.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan

Seeking release of Pakistani journalist Faizullah Khan, jailed in Afghanistan

People buy garments ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Thursday. (AP/Mohammad Sajjad)

It's not often that CPJ agrees with the Pakistan government, but here is one of the rare occasions when we do. While Pakistan journalists have been pushing for quite a while for the release of one of their colleagues, Faizullah Khan, being held in Nangahar in Afghanistan, the Islamabad government has apparently been working diplomatic back channels. But Thursday, Pervez Rashid, Pakistan's minister for information, went public. He urged Afghanistan's leader to issue a presidential pardon. "I appeal to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to use his powers," to pardon Khan, Rashid said in a press conference in capital Islamabad. He also said the government will pursue his release through legal channels.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Security

An Afghan conviction, but little sense of victory

Associated Press Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carrol, left, speaks during the funeral of Anja Niedringhaus in Hoexter, Germany, on April 12, 2014. (AP/Frank Augstein)

Naqibullah, the Afghan police commander who killed The Associated Press' Anja Niedringhaus, has been given a death sentence after being convicted of murder and treason. He was also given a four- year sentence for shooting the AP's Kathy Gannon. Naqibullah (who goes by one name, as many Afghans do) opened fire at near-point-blank range on the AP photographer/reporter team in the southeastern city of Khost on April 4, 2014, as they were covering preparations for the first round of voting in Afghanistan's still-contested presidential elections. Wednesday's conviction and sentencing were the first steps along the legal path to a final conviction and sentence, which might not come for years.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement speaks out against government

In a high-risk move, the Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka released a statement condemning the government's ban on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) holding press conferences and issuing press releases. CPJ blogged about the government's move last week.

July 14, 2014 1:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

Ever broader restrictions handed down for China's reporters

Yet another set of rules restricting the work of journalists in China takes the concept of "overbroad" to new heights. According to guidelines made public Tuesday by the official state news agency Xinhua, the new rules cover various "information, materials, and news products that journalists may deal with during their work, including state secrets, commercial secrets, and unpublicized information."

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka moves to silence NGOs, press groups

The Sri Lankan government has taken yet another step to silence critical media coverage, banning non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from holding press conferences and issuing press releases, as well as running workshops or training sessions. The action, announced Sunday by Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defense, left the country's many press groups wondering whether they are even allowed to issue a statement criticizing the decision.

Blog   |   China

Conditions for international reporters deteriorating in China

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China released at the end of May its annual report on conditions for international journalists working in the country. As we have done in the past, we're posting this year's report as a PDF. The takeaway is that conditions have certainly not gotten better and many feel they have gotten worse, according to the 123 respondents to the survey, slightly more than half of its membership of 236.

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