CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Sara Rafsky

Sara Rafsky is research associate in CPJ's Americas program. A freelance journalist in South America and Southeast Asia, she was awarded a 2008 Fulbright Grant to research photojournalism and the Colombian armed conflict.

Blog   |   USA

Eight days in Hong Kong: Laura Poitras on documenting Snowden for 'Citizenfour'

Laura Poitras's highly anticipated documentary Citizenfour was shown last week in New York. (AP/Charles Sykes/Invision)

The world premiere of Laura Poitras's highly anticipated documentary "CITIZENFOUR" at the New York Film Festival occurred with the appropriate amount of intrigue for a film about last year's dramatic revelations of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. The press and premiere screenings were clocked to begin simultaneously on Friday so no breaking news could be leaked. The movie was a last-minute addition to the festival and the first complete screening even for film industry professionals, who had previously seen it only with crucial redactions. In a surreal touch, a 9-foot tall statue of the film's protagonist, Edward Snowden, mysteriously appeared in a park in New York earlier that day at the very moment--and apparently coincidentally--in which another principal character, journalist Glenn Greenwald, was there having breakfast.

Blog   |   USA

One year after CPJ's US report, little has changed between Obama and press

President Barack Obama speaks to journalists in Edgartown, Mass. in August. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

After a summer plagued by war and disease abroad and partisan fighting at home, it was not hard to fathom why President Barack Obama would yearn for a retreat. But from which of the mounting crises did the president hope to escape: Ukraine? Islamic State? Ebola? The Tea Party? None of the above, according to an interview with Obama on the Sunday television news program "Meet the Press," in early September. "What I'd love," he said, "is a vacation from the press."

Blog   |   USA

Obama transparency record remains unimpressive

President Obama speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington on May 3. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Nearly seven months ago, CPJ published its first in-depth report on press freedom in the United States, concluding that the Obama administration's aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information, broad surveillance programs, and moves to stem the routine disclosure of information to the press meant that the president had fallen far short of his campaign promise to have the most open government in U.S. history. What's changed since? A quick survey of recent events suggests not much. 

Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican documentary 'Presumed Guilty' finds justice

In this still from the film 'Presumed Guilty,' Layda Negrete explains how lawyers will prove Antonio Zúñiga's innocence. (Lawyers with Cameras, 2009)

In the three years since its theatrical premiere, the Mexican documentary "Presumed Guilty" ("Presunto Culpable") has earned enough headlines to make any film publicist envious. The movie has been banned, disparaged, acclaimed, and the subject of multiple lawsuits. Along the way, it has broken every documentary box office record in Mexico. Now a series of judicial decisions in the past week suggests that, while the discussion it sparked will continue, the film's legal battles may be drawing to a close. 

February 7, 2014 12:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

Correa steps up fight; hacking alleged on both sides

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, on a visit to Moscow in October 2013. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

Seven months after Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa flirted with the idea of offering asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, intercepted communications and leaked emails are again making headlines in the Andean country. This time, the story is not about international surveillance but a window onto the latest front in the ever-escalating war between the president and his critics.

Blog   |   USA

Censorship in Alabama's Shelby County

Before his staffers, under government duress, took power drills and angle grinders to destroy company Macbooks in the newspaper's basement, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger made sure to send Edward Snowden's leaked documents to New York newsrooms for safekeeping.

November 13, 2013 5:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   USA

Goodale: Pentagon Papers have lessons for AP case

James Goodale speaks at the luncheon at CPJ's offices. (CPJ/Sumit Galhotra)

Forty-two years ago next month, The New York Times published the first of the Pentagon Papers, a trove of classified documents on U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, sparking a landmark legal case on press freedom.

Blog   |   Brazil

In Brazil, awakening 'Rodrigo Neto in each of us'

Rodrigo Neto was killed after investigating possible police involvement in a series of local murders. (Diário Popular)

One month after their colleague Rodrigo Neto was gunned down on the street after eating at a popular outdoor barbecue restaurant, the journalists of Vale do Aço, Brazil, were indignant. Denouncing a sluggish investigation and the possibility of police involvement in the murder, they strapped black bands to their wrists in a sign of solidarity, put on T-shirts bearing Neto's name, and took to the streets to demand justice. Six days later, Walgney Assis Carvalho, a photographer who claimed to have knowledge of the crime, was shot twice in the back by a masked assassin as he sat at a fish restaurant. The journalists of Vale do Aço are still indignant, but now they are terrified.

Blog   |   Libya, USA

Two years after his death, Hetherington studied, celebrated

Tim Hetherington, center, is the subject of a new documentary. (HBO)

Two years ago this week, on the central boulevard of the Western Libyan city of Misurata, freelance photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed by mortar rounds from government forces. Hondros lost consciousness almost immediately. Hetherington bled out in the back of a pick-up truck as he clutched the hand of a Spanish photographer. 

Blog   |   Cuba

Sánchez, Cuba's blogging pioneer, eyes a new trail to blaze

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez. (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

Having broken through one long-standing barrier, Yoani Sánchez, the pioneering figure in Cuba's independent blogosphere, is looking to smash another. "It seemed like an impossible dream, but here I am," Sánchez told a gathering today at CPJ's New York offices. After being denied travel authorization at least 20 times in the past, Sánchez is in the midst of her first trip abroad in a decade. And now, Sánchez said, she plans to launch a new publication upon her return to the island nation. Though the project is still in conception, she hopes the result will be modern and innovative in look and content, carrying everything from comprehensive sports coverage to critical opinion columns.

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