CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Jason Stern

Jason Stern is a research associate for CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program. He has a master’s in Middle East Studies from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in government from Cornell University.

Blog   |   Syria

Two years and no word of Osama al-Habaly

Osama al-Habaly's health, whereabouts, and status remain unknown. (Facebook/Freedom for Ousama Alhabaliy)

It's been exactly two years since citizen photojournalist Osama al-Habaly disappeared into regime custody as he crossed from Lebanon back to his home country of Syria. His friends and colleagues tell CPJ they have not heard a definitive word about him since.

Blog   |   Iran

Iran must explain journalist arrests

Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Saleh (AFP)

It has now been six days since the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian, The National's Yeganeh Salehi and two others were arrested in Iran, but we are no closer to understanding who detained them or why. Even the number of journalists arrested is in dispute.

The Washington Post originally said its correspondent Rezaian, his wife Salehi, and two unnamed photojournalists had been detained on July 22, a report we repeated in our statement Thursday calling for their release. But our colleagues at Reporters Without Borders reported only three journalists were arrested--Rezaian, Salehi, an unnamed Iranian-American freelance photographer, and her non-journalist husband--saying the photographer's family had asked for her name to be withheld. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran also said the fourth individual, the husband, is not a journalist.

Blog   |   Iran

The 2009 Iran crackdown continues today

Five years ago on Monday, CPJ announced that Iran had officially become the world's leading jailer of journalists in the world. The announcement came on the heels of an unprecedented crackdown on the press that began on June 12, 2009, the day of Iran's tumultuous presidential election that sparked a mass protest movement.

Blog   |   Iran

Time to end a five-year crackdown in Iran

Thousands of protesters gather in Tehran to protest the result of the presidential election in 2009. (AP/Ben Curtis)

This Thursday, CPJ will launch a social media campaign calling for the end of the press crackdown that began on June 12, 2009, the day of Iran's tumultuous presidential elections.

Blog   |   Saudi Arabia

Saudi censorship blurs lines between journalism, activism

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has decreed several laws that censor the press. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Since the surprise Arab uprisings of 2011, the Saudi government has worked assiduously to ensure it has all the tools of censorship it needs to control dissent. These tools--a combination of special courts, laws, and regulatory authorities--are starting to fire on all cylinders. The result has been a string of arrests and prosecutions in recent months of independent and dissident voices.

Blog   |   Lebanon, Syria

For journalists in Lebanon, Syrian dangers loom larger

Lebanese army soldiers and residents gather at the site of an explosion in Nabi Osmane in the Bekaa Valley on March 17. (Reuters/Hassan Abdallah)

The recent kidnapping of two journalists in Lebanon is the latest and most troubling evidence that the press is in increasing danger as the Syrian civil war spills over into Lebanese politics.

March 17, 2014 2:25 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain

Bahrain racing in circles

Anti-government protesters take cover from teargas fired by riot police in the village of Daih on March 3. (Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed)

Thursday, the official Bahrain News Agency announced the "final 30-day countdown [to] the Formula One extravaganza" to take place the first week of April. Every year the race acts as a lightning rod for criticism of the Bahraini government, which seeks to use high-profile international events like the F1 to gloss over human rights violations in the country.

Blog   |   Bahrain

Press freedom in Bahrain three years after #Feb14

Three years ago, hundreds of thousands of Bahrainis descended to the streets to demand change. A harsh government crackdown and the turn to violence by some protesters have since dampened the hope lit on February 14, 2011. In this context, we asked Bahrainis and Bahrain observers on Twitter how they think the status of press freedom has changed in the country. We know what we think: The Bahraini government has fallen terribly short of its own rhetoric of reform. But we wanted to hear directly from those who work and live in Bahrain every day.

Below is a Storify of some of the answers we received. 

Blog   |   Syria

Put Syrian press freedom on Geneva agenda

Today the Committee to Protect Journalists joins 15 other press freedom and media development organizations calling on the participants of the Syrian peace conference in Geneva to include freedom of the press and expression as "fundamental cornerstones in any viable political settlement."

January 22, 2014 12:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Syria

Behind the numbers: Researching Syria's killed journalists

Mourners carry the coffin of Yasser Faisal al-Jumaili, who was killed on assignment in Syria, at his funeral in Falluja, Iraq, on December 8. (Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani)

This year, CPJ researchers confirmed that at least 29 journalists died while covering the Syrian conflict. How did we arrive at that number?

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