CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Middle East & North Africa

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   |   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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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   |   Internet, Syria

Syria's desperate move to cut links won't succeed

This image provided by Edlib News Network shows an anti-Syrian regime protester holding up a placard reading: 'the victory fingers over the Place (the presidential palace),' during a demonstration at Binnish village, Idlib province, on Friday. (AP/Edlib News Network ENN)

The Syrian Internet, like the country, appears to have been collapsing into a patchwork of unconnected systems for some time. I spent time talking to Syrians tech activists this week in Tunisia before Thursday's shutdown, and their reports from the front painted a picture of two different networks.

November 30, 2012 1:52 PM ET

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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, 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   |   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, 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   |   France, Libya, Syria

At Bayeux, war correspondents stress duty to report

Winners of this year's Bayeux-Calvados prizes, which largely recognized reporting in Libya and Syria, are honored in Bayeux, France. (Anne-Marie Impe)

Syria and Libya were the main themes at the 19th edition of the Bayeux-Calvados Prize for War Correspondents, which took place this weekend in the historical city of Bayeux, a few miles away from the Normandy beaches where Allied forces landed in June 1944 to liberate Europe from the Nazi yoke.

Blog   |   Tunisia

Receding hopes for press freedom in Tunisia

Tunisian journalists from Assabah call for more freedom at a protest in Tunis on September 11, 2012. (AFP/Khalil)

These days, press freedom in Tunisia feels ever more distant.

Many journalists believed that media freedoms, which were virtually nonexistent under former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, would grow after his ouster. During the aftermath of the December 2010 uprising, an independent press blossomed and special commissions were set up to reform the media sector. But since the elected government took office nine months ago, the tide has slowly reversed.

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   |   Bahrain, Somalia, Syria

Syria, Somalia, Bahrain--where fathers bury their sons

From left: Anas al-Tarsha, 17, Syria; Ahmed Addow Anshur, 24, Somalia; Mahad Salad Adan, 20, Somalia; Hassan Osman Abdi, 24, Somalia; Mazhar Tayyara, 24, Syria.

The 17-year-old videographer Anas al-Tarsha regularly filmed clashes and military movements in the city of Homs in Syria, and posted the footage on YouTube. On February 24, he was killed by a mortar round while filming the bombardment of the city's Qarabees district, according to news reports. The central city had been under attack for more than three weeks as Syrian forces stepped up their assault on opposition strongholds.

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   |   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   |   Egypt

Egypt's state-run media threatened by Shura move

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a press conference in Cairo on Saturday. (AP/Brendan Smialowski)

The first test for the future of press freedom in Egypt since President Mohamed Morsi took office is not going well.

Blog   |   Egypt, Security

Another journalist reports sex assault in Tahrir Square

People gathered in Tahrir Square Sunday. (AFP /Khaled Desouki)

The story sounds hideously like another--one of a chaotic, predatory attack on a woman journalist in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Clothes torn from her body, hundreds of men surging to grab her breasts and claw at her. A woman wondering, "Maybe this is how I go, how I die." It has been almost a year and a half since CBS correspondent and CPJ board member Lara Logan endured an attack like this. Now, an independent journalist and student named Natasha Smith reports that it has happened to her.

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   |   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   |   Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan

Video: Journalists in exile

Four East African journalists who were forced to flee their countries tell about their experiences, difficulties, and hopes for the future. (3:43)

Read CPJ's report, "Journalists in exile: Crisis in East Africa," for more information about journalists forced to go into exile.

Blog   |   Eritrea, Sudan

For exiled Eritreans in Sudan, fear greater than most

The border between Sudan and Eritrea is heavily patrolled. (AFP/Thomas Goisque)

With the launch of CPJ's most recent exile report, I will have worked exactly three years for our Journalist Assistance program. More than 500 cases later, I have helped journalists who have gone into hiding or exile to escape threats; those in need of medicine and other support while in prison, and journalists injured after violent attacks. The most harrowing accounts of all, however, come from those crossing from Eritrea into Sudan. And things seem to be getting worse, not better.

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   |   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   |   Bosnia, Poland, Rwanda, Serbia, Sudan

Defining role of the press in genocide prevention

Talking about genocide prevention in the shadow of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps brings an intense and unique gravity to the discussions. The academic presentations cannot extract themselves from the looming presence of the barbed wires and grim towers surrounding the Nazis' most infamous death factory.

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   |   Sudan

Sudan's press under siege

Press freedom in Sudan is rapidly deteriorating, with confiscation of newspapers by the security agency becoming a norm. The scope of violations committed against publications and journalists by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) is widening by the day.

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   |   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   |   Bahrain, CPJ

Breaking pledge, Bahrain bars free expression mission

King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa's government breaks a promise to allow an international mission to assess free expression in Bahrain. (AP/Hasan Jamali)

Reneging on a promise made just weeks earlier, Bahraini authorities have denied visas to representatives of several free expression organizations who planned to travel to the kingdom next week to assess press and free speech conditions. CPJ is among several organizations that have signed a joint letter to Bahrain's director of human rights organizations condemning the action.  

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   |   Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma, China, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Nepal, North Korea

China not most censored, but may be most ambitious

Chinese official Jia Qinglin, fifth from left, hands over keys to the China-built African Union headquarters to AU Chairman and Equatorial Guinea President Theodoro Obiang. (AFP/Tony Karumba)

China didn't make the cut for our 10 most censored countries. While the Chinese Communist Party's censorship apparatus is notorious, journalists and Internet users work hard to overcome the restrictions. Nations like Eritrea and North Korea lack that dynamism.

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   |   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   |   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   |   Bahrain

CPJ in joint call for release of bloggers, activists in Bahrain

Police used sound grenades Wednesday to disperse an anti-government rally demanding the release of human rights activists in Manama. (Reuters/Darren Whiteside)

CPJ is among 50 organizations that have signed a joint letter to Bahrain's king calling for the release of detained bloggers, activists, and human rights defenders and to drop all charges that violate the right to peaceful expression ahead of the Formula One motor racing event to be held in Manama on April 22.

Blog   |   Sudan

In Sudan, a new strategy to censor the press

Journalists with Al-Tayar protest government censorship of their paper. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Sudanese authorities have a long history of closing newspapers and silencing journalists. But the government security agents who carry out official censorship have launched a new strategy this year that focuses on economic impoverishment--leaving newspapers more vulnerable than ever.

Blog   |   Syria

Syrian cartoonist, attacked in August, returns to drawing

Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat is wielding his pen once more. According to news reports, the famous cartoonist, who suffered a severe beating in August, has regained 90 percent of the movement in his hands, which were deliberately targeted by his attackers before they dumped him on the side of a road.

March 30, 2012 5:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Iraq

Iraqi cybercrime bill is the worst kind

After the rash of political revolutions and criminal attacks on governments and companies last year, it wasn't hard to predict that 2012 would be the year of a cybercrime crackdown. The United States is considering its own cybercrime legislation, and the European Union is seeking to harmonize its member state's computer crime laws. Governments understandably want to prevent further online attacks. Journalists suffer these attacks also, but they don't necessarily gain from fiercer laws. And in the case of a proposed new cybercrime law in Iraq, they may face life imprisonment for simply doing their job.

March 30, 2012 1:35 PM ET

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Blog   |   Syria

Chair of UN panel on Syria pledges to probe attacks

The chair of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro, has criticized Syria's policy on the media but refrained from blaming the regime for journalists' deaths. (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

Paulo Pinheiro, the chair of the International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, is a seasoned diplomat trained in the tradition of Brazil's foreign affairs ministry, Itamaraty, with its celebrated emphasis on impartial mediation, dialogue, and strong skepticism toward foreign intervention to resolve international conflicts.

March 16, 2012 1:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Syria

In Syria, killing the messenger hasn't killed the message

This image from a March 13 YouTube video is said to show regime forces shelling the restive Idlib province. The video was shot by a local videographer. (AFP/YouTube)

A report on the first anniversary of the Syrian uprising

Weeks of sporadic protests seeking government reform burst into full-fledged unrest on March 15, 2011, when thousands of demonstrators gathered in four Syrian cities. Within days, authorities had cut off news media access to Daraa, a center of the unrest, beginning a sustained effort to shut down international news coverage of the uprising and the government's increasingly violent crackdown. As the civilian death toll has reached well into the thousands, according to U.N. figures, the last four months have taken a particularly dark turn for the press. Eight local and international journalists have been killed on duty since November, at least five in circumstances that raise questions about government culpability. Yet one year after the Syrian uprising began, killing the messenger has not silenced the message.

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   |   India, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Arrest in bombing case prompts scrutiny in India

Plainclothes police escort Syed Mohammed Kazmi, an alleged suspect in last month's bombing of an Israeli diplomatic vehicle, from a local court, in New Delhi Wednesday. (AP/Manish Swarup)

To many in the Indian media community, the arrest of independent journalist Syed Mohammad Kazmi by the Delhi police's Special Cell on March 6 for his alleged involvement in a bombing brings back troublesome memories.

March 9, 2012 5:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt

Egyptian journalists pressured by military, Islamists

Veteran Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Eissa. (CPJ)

For a few weeks after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, it looked as if Egypt might do the unthinkable and do away with the ministry of information. New publications and TV stations sprouted up, newspaper circulation soared, and a new breed of citizen journalists and bloggers opened a space for reporting and comment that a year earlier would have led to a jail sentence.

For a growing number of independent journalists and bloggers, the memory of that press freedom euphoria is as hazy as the Cairo skyline.

March 6, 2012 3:21 PM ET

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Blog   |   Belgium, France, Syria

Recalling Rémi Ochlik, 'a man of great value'

Rémi Ochlik (AP/Julien de Rosa)

I liked Rémi a lot.

Rémi was fragile, yet he didn't really try to conceal the fact. His fragility was his strength, a formidable one at that. Unlike so many journalists of today, Rémi was a true idealist, a rare mix of innocence and panache, compassion and bravery.

February 25, 2012 1:13 PM ET

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Blog   |   Security, Syria

Caveat utilitor: Satellite phones can always be tracked

The Telegraph in London was the first to report that Syrian government forces could have "locked on" to satellite phone signals to launch the rocket attacks that killed journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, as well as many Syrian civilians, besides wounding dozens more including two more international journalists. Working out of a makeshift press center in Homs, foreign correspondents and local citizen journalists alike have been using satellite phones to send images of attacks on civilians around the world.

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   |   Syria

Paul Conroy appeals for help from Homs


In a video posted to YouTube by a Syrian activist, injured Sunday Times photographer Paul Conroy speaks from Homs with his local doctor, describing his injuries and asking for humanitarian assistance, cessation of the shelling, and safe passage out. In English with some Arabic.

Click here for Edith Bouvier and William Daniels' appeal video.

February 23, 2012 11:39 AM 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

From Homs, injured journalists seek world's help


In this video posted to YouTube by a Syrian activist, injured Le Figaro reporter Edith Bouvier and Sunday Times photographer William Daniels speak from Homs along with the local doctor who has been treating them. They are pleading with the world to make the barrage of rockets stop and to allow Bouvier to get urgent medical care. They speak in Arabic, English, and French.

Click here for Paul Conroy's appeal video.

February 23, 2012 9:56 AM ET

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Blog   |   Syria

Slideshow: Colvin, Ochlik at work

International journalists Marie Colvin, 55, and Rémi Ochlik, 28, were killed Wednesday during shelling of the besieged city of Homs in Syria.

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Pictured are Colvin, an American reporting for the Sunday Times, in Cairo's Tahrir Square (AP/Ivor Prickett); Ochlik, a French photojournalist (AP/Julien de Rosa); Colvin with Libyan rebels in Misurata on June 4, 2011 (Reuters//Zohra Bensemr); Ochlik covering demonstrations in Cairo (AP/Julien de Rosa); Ochlik, who quit his studies at age 20 to report on Haiti and then covered many of the recent upheavals in the Arab world (AP/Lucas Dolega); both journalists (Sunday Times and AFP); and Colvin being treated by Sri Lankan army medical staff on Tuesday, April 17, 2001, at a field hospital in Vavuniya, northeast of Colombo (AP).

February 22, 2012 3:11 PM ET

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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   |   CPJ, Egypt

At Attacks launch, a look at Cairo's post-revolution press

A year ago, police confront demonstrators outside the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate in Cairo. (AP/Ben Curtis)

What a difference a year makes. In January 2011, we had to scrap plans for our regular Middle East launch of Attacks on the Press at the headquarters of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate in downtown Cairo. Just a few blocks away, in Tahrir Square, journalists were busy fending off their own attackers as pro-regime thugs tried to thwart young Egyptians' ultimately successful attempt to topple Hosni Mubarak. 

February 21, 2012 11:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bahrain

A year of repression: Bahrain continues crackdown on press

Journalists from Al-Wasat newspaper leave a Bahraini court after being fined US$2,650 each for publishing false news. (Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed)

In the year since peaceful protests began in Bahrain on February 14, 2011, the government has targeted the press corps with assault, detention, harassment, and torture to obstruct their coverage. My organization, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, has documented a systematic campaign by authorities to silence coverage of our country's unrest. Here are just some of the many attacks on the press:

February 13, 2012 1:59 PM ET

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   |   Tunisia

Tunisian media: One year after the revolution

The doses of freedom that the Tunisian revolution injected into national media have not been sufficient to revive it after decades of systematic destruction. It is not surprising that our evaluation of media one year after the tyrant fell reveals more negativity and pessimism.

January 23, 2012 1:42 PM ET

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Blog   |   France, Syria

Jacquier's killing raises chilling questions on Syria

Syrians hold a candlelight vigil as the body of French tv reporter Gilles Jacquier is taken out of a hospital in Homs to be transported to Damascus early on Thursday. (AFP/Joseph Eid)

The killing on January 11 of a French TV reporter has sent a chill through the international press corps trying to cover the violence in Syria. Gilles Jacquier, 43, who was on assignment for the French public service channel France 2, was a seasoned journalist and the laureate of France's most prestigious journalism prizes. As a special reporter for "Envoyé special," France's equivalent of "60 Minutes," he had covered dozens of wars, from Kosovo to Afghanistan, and was considered one of the most professional French war correspondents.

January 13, 2012 6:44 PM ET

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