Europe & Central Asia

2012


Alerts   |   Turkey

In Turkey, Odatv publisher conditionally released

Istanbul, December 28, 2012--Turkish authorities on Thursday released Soner Yalçın, owner and publisher of the ultranationalist-leftist news website Odatv, from prison for the duration of his trial, according to news reports. Yalçın, who has been jailed since February 2011 on anti-state charges, could be re-arrested and jailed if he is convicted.

December 28, 2012 4:14 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ethiopia

Members of European Parliament call to free Eskinder

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session in Strasbourg, France, on June 13, 2012. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

On December 18, 16 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) wrote an open letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn calling for the immediate release of the independent journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who was condemned in July to 18 years in prison under the country's tough 2009 anti-terrorism legislation.

December 19, 2012 6:35 PM ET

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Alerts   |   UK

Two journalists attacked in a week in Northern Ireland

Protesters block the road in front of Belfast City Hall to protest a decision to limit display of the union flag. (Reuters/Cathal McNaughton)

London, December 19, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed that two attacks against journalists in Northern Ireland have taken place over the past week. On Friday, a pipe bomb was left at the door of the home of freelance press photographer Mark Pearce. On Monday, Adrian Rutherford, a reporter with the daily Belfast Telegraph, was attacked by a gang while covering Loyalist protests in East Belfast.

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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Alerts   |   Russia

Russia still far from solving Politkovskaya murder

Former police official Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov arrives in court Friday. He was jailed for 11 years for his role in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. (Reuters/Anton Petrov)

New York, December 17, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for a retrial of a key defendant in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. The defendant, a former senior police official, was sentenced Friday in a deal that Politkovskaya's family and colleagues fear will not ultimately identify the crime's true masterminds.

Moscow City Court wrapped up the two-day, closed trial of former police Lt. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who was originally charged with organizing the 2006 killing of the prominent Novaya Gazeta correspondent but, under a deal he cut with investigators, was tried only for being an accomplice. According to the deal, Pavlyuchenkov was obligated to fully confess his role in the murder and name its mastermind, Novaya Gazeta said. The journalist's family and colleagues say Pavlyuchenkov did not fulfill those conditions, but their appeals to invalidate the deal were denied.

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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Blog   |   Turkey

For Turkey, world's leading jailer, a path forward

Journalists call for freedom of the press in a 2011 rally in Ankara. (AFP/Adem Altan)

Turkey has no business being the world's leading jailer of journalists. But the numbers don't lie. With 49 journalists imprisoned for their work, according to CPJ's annual worldwide prison census, released today, Turkey holds more individuals behind bars than Iran (45), China (32), or Eritrea (28). How did Turkey find itself in this situation? Unlike the other countries that top CPJ's imprisoned list, Turkey has a relatively open and vibrant media. It is an emerging democracy, a NATO member, and a candidate for European Union integration.

December 11, 2012 12:00 AM ET

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Blog

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   |   China, Kyrgyzstan

Nearly 20,000 call to free Kyrgyz, Tibetan journalists

CPJ is petitioning for release of Tibetan Dhondup Wangchen from Chinese jail. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

"I remain hopeful that I will one day see the sun once more--not through the barred window of my prison cell but as a free man." -Azimjon Askarov

Today, on International Human Rights Day, CPJ and close to 20,000 supporters are calling on the governments of China and Kyrgyzstan to release two journalists imprisoned for reporting on minorities' grievances and human rights violations.

Alerts   |   Mexico, Romania

Photographer arrested during protests in Mexico

Demonstrators clash with the police in Saturday's protest in Mexico City. (AFP/Pedro Pardo)

Mexico City, December 7, 2012--Mexican authorities must immediately release a freelance Romanian photojournalist who was detained on Saturday while covering a protest related to the presidential inauguration, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

December 7, 2012 4:02 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

News anchor shot dead in Russia's North Caucasus

Kazbek Gekkiyev was shot dead on Wednesday. (Reuters/VGTRK)

New York, December 6, 2012--Authorities should immediately investigate Wednesday's murder of a journalist in Russia's volatile North Caucasus and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Two unidentified men shot Kazbek Gekkiyev, 28, in the head three times while he was returning home from work with his friend at around 9 p.m. in Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, according to local and international news reports. The gunmen asked Gekkiyev his name before they shot him and then fled in a getaway vehicle, according to the state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta. The journalist's friend was unharmed, news reports said.

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Kazakh court bans broadcaster, suspends news website

New York, December 6, 2012--A court in Kazakhstan has banned an independent news outlet on charges of extremism, a ruling that comes within weeks of the country's election to the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to news reports. Dozens of other independent and opposition news outlets face similar charges that could result in their being shut down.

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.

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, news outlets face charges of extremism

New York, November 28, 2012--The politicized prosecution of dozens of independent news outlets in Kazakhstan is at odds with the country's commitment to press freedom and deeply stains its recent election to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ calls on Kazakh authorities to dismiss the case and allow the outlets to operate freely.

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, China, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, UK

Awardees say indignation trumps intimidation

Mauri König (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for CPJ)

The battle for a free press sometimes feels like a war between indignation and intimidation. Journalists learn of abuses of power, crime, or corruption, and--indignant--they speak out. In response, the perpetrators of those abuses--be they government officials or criminals--try to intimidate the journalists into silence with threats, lawsuits, jail, or even murder. Last night, the Committee to Protect Journalists paid tribute to a handful of journalists for whom indignation is a driving force, no matter the scale of intimidation.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey, jailer of journalists, hedges bets on democracy

Protesters mark the fifth anniversary of the killing of Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink in Istanbul January 19, 2012. (Reuters/Osman Orsal)

More reporters are jailed in Turkey than in any other country in the world. According to CPJ's recent survey, at least 61 are imprisoned directly for their work, representing the second biggest media crackdown in the 27 years we have been documenting such records. (Only Turkey itself has rivaled the extent of this crackdown, when it jailed 78 journalists in 1996.) In the country hailed as the model moderate Islamic republic, how is this possible?

Alerts   |   Syria, Ukraine

Video emerges of Ukrainian journalist captive in Syria

A still from the November 7 video. (YouTube)

New York, November 14, 2012--A Ukrainian journalist who was kidnapped in Syria in mid-October appeared in a short video last week pleading for her embassy to meet the demands of her captors, according to news reports. At least two other international journalists are believed to be held captive in Syria and the whereabouts of a third are unknown, according to CPJ research.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

In UN complaint, Azimjon Askarov seeks justice, freedom

Lawyers for imprisoned investigative reporter Azimjon Askarov, who is serving a life term in Kyrgyzstan on charges widely seen as politically motivated, filed an appeal today with the U.N. Human Rights Committee that seeks his release.

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.

Alerts   |   Guinea-Bissau, Portugal

Guinea-Bissau expels journalist; another flees into hiding

Authorities in Guinea-Bissau have expelled a journalist whose news outlet had covered former prime minister Carlos Gomes Junior, seen here voting in a 2012 election he was favored to win, but lost. (AFP/Issouf Sanogo)

New York, November 1, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Monday's decision by authorities in Guinea-Bissau to expel Portuguese journalist Fernando Teixeira Gomes from the country in connection with his critical coverage of the transitional government.

Blog   |   CPJ, Turkey

Questions about CPJ's Turkey report? Here, our answers.

Dozens of journalists for leftist Turkish newspaper Tutuklu Gazete have been jailed. The paper's headline reads, 'Resistance Against Censorship.' (Reuters)

Last week's release of CPJ's report on Turkey's press freedom crisis generated widespread domestic media coverage and sparked a robust public debate. The response from Turkish journalists and commentators was largely positive, but there were some negative reactions as well. Turkey's Justice Ministry has promised a detailed response this week. Here is a summary of the criticism we received during several days of intensive media interviews, along with our responses.

October 29, 2012 11:05 AM ET

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Blog   |   Turkey

Mission Journal: First of two CPJ delegations visits Turkey

A passer-by looks at Turkish newspapers at a kiosk in Istanbul. (AP/Thanassis Stavrakis)

This week I joined CPJ board Chairman Sandra Mims Rowe, Executive Director Joel Simon, and Turkish researcher Özgür Ögret in Istanbul to present CPJ's latest report, "Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis," and convey our main press freedom concerns, including the mass imprisonment of journalists.

Blog   |   UK

UK parliamentarians scrutinize digital surveillance plan

Parliament launched a scrutiny committee in a bid to cool down social debate over its communications data bill. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

"The rules of the game have changed," then-Prime Minister Tony Blair said after the July 7, 2005, terrorist attacks in London as he announced that the U.K. government would clamp down on terrorists "whatever it takes." Now, the limits of such bold but vague intentions are on show as the draft Communications Data Bill undergoes pre-legislative scrutiny in a joint committee of British Members of Parliament and Peers. Is gathering digital data from the general population a necessary upgrade of law enforcement capabilities, as the British Government argues, or does it dilute the liberal tenets of British democracy for the sake of security?

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan

Five years on, no resolution to Alisher Saipov's murder

Alisher Saipov (Ferghana News)

Five years ago today, press freedom in Kyrgyzstan received a deadly blow from which it has never recovered. Alisher Saipov, one of most promising and prominent regional reporters of his time, was murdered in his native city of Osh. Since that October night, authorities have promised to solve his killing, but impunity reigns to this day, Shohruh Saipov, his brother and also a journalist, told CPJ.

At the time of his murder, Saipov edited his own independent newspaper, Siyosat (Politics), but his resume was impressive for a 26-year-old reporter. In his short career, Saipov contributed to the BBC World Service, the U.S. government-funded outlets Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Moscow-based regional news website Ferghana News.

October 24, 2012 4:20 PM ET

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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).

Reports   |   Turkey

Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis

The Dark Days of Jailing Journalists and Criminalizing Dissent

Turkish authorities are engaging in widespread criminal prosecution and jailing of journalists, and are applying other forms of severe pressure to promote self-censorship in the press, a CPJ analysis shows. CPJ has found highly repressive laws, particularly in the penal code and anti-terror law; a criminal procedure code that greatly favors the state; and a harsh anti-press tone set at the highest levels of government. Turkey’s press freedom situation has reached a crisis point. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists


October 22, 2012 12:01 AM ET

Reports   |   Multimedia, Turkey

Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis

Podcast With CPJ's Nina Ognianova

CPJ’s Nina Ognianova describes the widespread criminal prosecution and jailing of journalists in Turkey. A vast and repressive legal structure, combined with a harshly adversarial tone set at the highest levels of government, have created a crisis, says Ognianova, lead author of a new CPJ special report. Listen to the podcast on the player above, or right click here to download. (2:22)

Read CPJ's special report, "Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis."

October 22, 2012 12:01 AM ET

Alerts   |   Syria, Ukraine

One journalist killed, another reported missing in Syria

New York, October 16, 2012--The heavy toll on news media covering the conflict in Syria has grown yet again over the past week as a journalist for a pro-government TV station was killed and a Ukrainian journalist working for Russian news outlets is believed to be kidnapped.

Blog   |   Turkey

Q&A: Yavuz Baydar on Turkey's press freedom climate

Under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government, Turkey has been one of the world's top jailer of journalists. (AFP/Burhan Ozbilici)

For the past several months, CPJ staff has been researching pervasive press freedom problems in Turkey, including the criminal prosecution of journalists, the use of governmental pressure to engender self-censorship, and the presence of a repressive legal structure. This month, CPJ will release an in-depth report on Turkey's press freedom crisis. In advance of our report, we are publishing this illuminating interview with Yavuz Baydar, ombudsman for the Turkish newspaper Sabah and columnist for Today's Zaman. The interview was conducted via email.

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   |   Security, Ukraine

Finding common cause from first online journalist murder

Georgy Gongadze, shown here the summer of 2000, was the first online journalist killed in retaliation for his work. (AFP/Dima Gavrish)

The first online journalist killed for his work disappeared one night 12 years ago in the Ukraine. Georgy Gongadze, 31, left a colleague's house to return home to his wife and two young children. He never arrived. Seven weeks later, a farmer, a few hours' drive away, discovered the journalist's headless corpse.

Gongadze edited the website Ukrainska Pravda and ran stories about corruption and cronyism like no one else in the nation's state-dominated print and broadcast media. Later, the country's then-president was implicated in an audiotape in which he was allegedly heard speaking to aides about the need for Gongadze's murder.

Blog   |   Turkey

Q&A: Nedim Șener, a Turkish journalist under fire

Nedim Sener (AFP)

For the past several months, CPJ staff has been investigating pervasive press freedom problems in Turkey, including the widespread jailing of journalists. This month, CPJ will release an in-depth report on press conditions in Turkey. In advance of our report, we are publishing this interview with Nedim Șener, an investigative reporter who was jailed for more than a year in 2011-12. The interview was conducted via email and translated from the original Turkish.

Alerts   |   Russia

Russia must investigate threats against leading researcher

Tanya Lokshina announced today that she has received threatening text messages. (AFP/Natalia Kolesnikova)

New York, October 4, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns threats against Tanya Lokshina, a leading Russian researcher and writer known for her work documenting human rights abuses in the North Caucasus. CPJ calls for an urgent, thorough, and effective investigation that tracks down all responsible.

Alerts   |   Italy

Editor sentenced to prison for libel in Italy

Alessandro Sallusti (AP/Luca Bruno)

Brussels, September 28, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the criminal defamation conviction and 14-month prison sentence handed to Alessandro Sallusti, editor-in-chief of the Milan-based daily Il Giornale, and calls on Italian authorities to reform the country's defamation laws.

On Wednesday, the Fifth Chamber of the Cassation Court, Italy's highest, upheld an earlier guilty verdict delivered against Sallusti by a lower court in Milan in June, 2011. 

Blog   |   Turkey

Bewildering Odatv trial continues in Istanbul

Journalists and activists call for press freedom in Ankara on March 19, 2011, after the arrest of 10 journalists as part of investigations into the alleged Ergenekon plot. (Reuters/Umit Bektas)

In Istanbul, the trial of several suspects in the case of Odatv, an ultranationalist website harshly critical of the government, continues to great consternation. When the case began in early 2011, a dozen journalists were charged, 10 of whom were incarcerated. The prosecution said Odatv staffers, along with prominent investigative reporters Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, were involved in the alleged Ergenekon plot--a supposed large-scale conspiracy to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Blog   |   France

Charlie Hebdo cartoons set off fierce debate in France

Stéphane Charbonnier, publisher and cartoonist of Charlie Hebdo, draws on the magazine's latest issue, which features several cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammed. (AFP/Fred Dufour)

Connection impossible! The Charlie Hebdo website was not accessible on Wednesday afternoon after the French satirical magazine proclaimed that it had published fresh cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Stéphane Charbonnier, its editor-in-chief, confirmed that the site had been attacked by hackers.

Alerts   |   Belarus

AP, Reuters journalists beaten, detained in Belarus

AP photographer Sergei Grits. (AP/Vasily Fedosenko)

New York, September 18, 2012--Authorities in Belarus must immediately investigate the attack and detention of at least seven journalists reporting on a protest in downtown Minsk today and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Agents in plainclothes repeatedly hit several journalists covering an opposition protest organized by activists calling for a boycott of Sunday's parliamentary vote, according to news reports. Sergei Grits, a photographer for The Associated Press, said his face was covered with blood after one of the assailants punched him and broke his glasses, according to AP.

Blog   |   Turkey

Erdoğan tells media not to cover Kurdish conflict

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instructed the country's journalists not to cover soldiers' deaths or other news related to the conflict with Kurd separatists. (AP)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey is known to lash out publicly at journalists of whose coverage he disapproves. He has called on media owners and editors to discipline reporters and columnists critical of his policies, particularly when it comes to the sensitive Kurdish issue. In more than a few cases, to avoid trouble, newsroom managers have listened and dismissed the staffers in question.

September 12, 2012 5:02 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ethiopia, Sweden

Ethiopia should release journalists still in prison

Swedish journalists Johan Persson
and Martin Schibbye appear on state television. (ETV/YouTube)

Nairobi, September 11, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Ethiopian government to set free six journalists in prison for their work, a day after Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were pardoned and released from Kality Prison in the capital Addis Ababa.

Blog   |   CPJ, Turkey

Isik Yurtçu and Turkey's stubborn lack of press freedom

 Isik Yurtçu

The Committee to Protect Journalists is saddened by the death of Isik Yurtçu, who died Saturday in Istanbul of cancer at the age of 67.

In July of 1997, a bus full of international and Turkish journalists pulled up to the plain iron gate of Sakarya Prison east of Istanbul. Cameras rolling, representatives of CPJ, the International Press Institute, Reporters Sans Frontieres and Turkey's Press Council and Union of Newspaper Editors pressed toward the startled guard who swung the gate open just a foot or two and peered out.

September 11, 2012 2:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Denmark, Germany, USA

Thorning's chance to press China for media freedom

Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is in China this week to meet with top leaders, according to international news reports. CPJ's Advocacy and Communications Associate Magnus Ag and Senior Asia Program Researcher Madeline Earp co-wrote an op-ed calling on Thorning--as she is called in the Danish press--to raise the issue of press freedom. An edited version ran in the Danish newspaper Politiken today.

Speaking truthfully to China on its repression of human rights can be a tricky endeavor in diplomatic affairs, but Helle Thorning-Schmidt has a prime opportunity to raise press freedom on her trip to China. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not give the issue public priority during their visits earlier this month, but as Thorning meets with top Communist Party leaders and addresses a World Economic Forum meeting in Tianjin, the opportunity must not be wasted.

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   |   CPJ, Russia

Mission Journal: Putin imposes harsh climate on Russia

A security guard at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, right, runs toward Pussy Riot supporters holding Cyrillic letters reading 'Blessed are the Merciful' in Moscow on Aug. 15. (AP/Novaya Gazeta, Yevgeny Feldman)

Record-high temperatures swept most of Europe this summer, but in Moscow the weather, much like the political climate, was chilly. I spent three months in the capital at the invitation of the Russian Union of Journalists, and witnessed how Vladimir Putin's third term in office kicked off with the passage of restrictive laws, harassment and prosecution of dissent, the jailing of an irreverent punk-rock band, and death threats by a top-ranking official against a prominent editor. 

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.

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Independent journalist jailed in Azerbaijan

New York, August 27, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a prison sentence imposed Thursday against Faramaz Novruzoglu, a freelance journalist who has faced years of persecution in reprisal for his coverage of alleged government corruption. CPJ also calls for an appeals court to reverse last week's unjust ruling and release Novruzoglu on appeal.

Blog   |   Russia

Criminalization of speech a serious setback for Russia

Thousands gathered in December 2011 to protest the alleged vote rigging in parliamentary elections. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Shortly after the May 7 presidential inauguration of Vladimir Putin, the Russian parliament passed four major bills in record time--all of them meant to counter the protests that first erupted in the country in December 2011.

Blog   |   Spain

The long shadow of Spanish politics over public media

A recent wave of personnel changes at Spanish state-owned broadcaster Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) has raised concerns about political and ideological influence, with many fearing that journalists closer to the current conservative government are being promoted at the expense of those with alleged progressive views. It is the latest controversy in a long debate about the model for Spain's flagship public broadcaster and, especially, its relations with the government of the hour.

Blog   |   Ecuador, Sweden, UK, USA

As it backs Assange, Ecuador stifles expression at home

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa holds the hands of Christine Assange, the mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, during a meeting in Quito, Ecuador, Aug. 1. (AP/Martin Jaramillo)

The Quito government's decision to grant Julian Assange political asylum comes at a time when freedom of expression is under siege in Ecuador. President Rafael Correa's press freedom record is among the very worst in the Americas, and providing asylum to the WikiLeaks founder won't change the repressive conditions facing Ecuadoran journalists who want to report critically about government policies and practices.

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Two journalists brutally beaten in Kazakh capital

New York, August 14, 2012--Authorities in Kazakhstan must thoroughly investigate attacks on two journalists in separate episodes in the past week and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Blog   |   Italy, UK

Council of Europe foreign ministers call for libel reform

Trickling back from the summer recess, European press freedom advocates and media lawyers are taking stock of facts and statements that went underreported during the holiday lull. And libel reform stands on top of the pile.  

Blog   |   China, UK

Viewing the London Olympics coverage from China

Chinese propaganda officials must be thrilled that they're not responsible for the Olympics coverage in the British papers. Back during the Beijing Games, they worked hard to censor unrest and dissatisfaction in the domestic media. Reports of China's press freedom and human rights abuses were blocked, the kind of information control idiomatically referred to as "harmonizing."

July 27, 2012 2:09 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.

Alerts   |   Tajikistan

News site blocked after covering Tajik official's murder

New York, July 24, 2012--Authorities in Tajikistan blocked domestic access to the independent regional news website Asia-Plus on Monday after the outlet reported on the murder of a high-ranking security official and its aftermath, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the government to immediately restore access to the site.

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   |   Russia

Three years on, Natalya Estemirova's murder unsolved

People pray at the burial of Natalya Estemirova in Chechnya July 16, 2009. (AP/Musa Sadulayev)

Three years ago this week, Natalya Estemirova, a contributor to the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a local staffer for the Moscow-based rights group Memorial, was murdered in the North Caucasus, Russia's volatile region, where she was famous for her work as a defender of human rights. 

July 19, 2012 4:16 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Belarus

KGB puts editor in jail over photos of teddy bears

A teddy bear carrying messages of press freedom lands in a tree. (Studio Total)

New York, July 18, 2012--Belarusian security agents should immediately release a website editor who has been jailed for publishing photographs of teddy bears, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The KGB, the nation's security service, is holding Anton Suryapin for alleged complicity in an illegal border crossing--a charge that can bring up to seven years in prison--after the editor ran photos of the stuffed animals, which were reportedly dropped from the skies over Minsk as part of a publicity stunt.

"Are Belarusian security agents worried that teddy bears are engaged in an illegal border crossing? It would be hard to keep a straight face about these absurd charges were it not for the fact that Anton Suryapin is sitting in jail," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "We call on authorities to immediately release Suryapin and drop these senseless criminal charges against him."

Alerts   |   Russia

Former police colonel indicted in Politkovskaya murder

Retired police lieutenant colonel Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, seen here in detention in 2011, was indicted in the Politkovskaya murder today. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

New York, July 16, 2012--Russian authorities have formally indicted retired police Lt. Col. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov on charges of complicity in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Russia's Investigative Committee said today. Politkovskaya, an investigative reporter with the Moscow-based independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a fierce critic of the war in Chechnya, was slain in her apartment building on October 7, 2006. 

Blog   |   Internet, Russia

Internet law: a good bad example of Russia's backsliding

Russia's State Duma has passed a number of new laws in the past week, all seemingly aimed at reining in civil society and criticism of public figures. The bills would re-criminalize defamation and impose limits and labels on NGOs. They follow the introduction last month of excessive fines for unauthorized protests.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

A litmus test for Kyrgyzstan's anti-corruption campaign

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, right, has said stamping out corruption is a priority. (Reuters//Vladimir Pirogov)

Campaigners from local rights activists to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay are urging Kyrgyz authorities to review the case of Azimjon Askarov, an investigative reporter and human rights activist serving a life sentence in Kyrgyzstan. 

Blog   |   France

Victory for press freedom in Sarkozy video case

From left, Rue89's Pierre Haski, Augustin Scalbert, and two France 3 journalists were summoned in 2009 over a video of then-President Nicolas Sarkozy. (AFP/Jacques Demarthon)

"Champagne." Augustin Scalbert's tweet on Monday could not have better expressed the joy and relief at Rue89, a leading French news website. After four years of legal procedures, a Paris judge had just announced he was dropping all charges against the journalist  "for lack of evidence" in a case that was seen as a litmus test for the independence of the French press in reporting on the presidency. 

Blog   |   China, UK, USA

The New York Times takes on China's censors

Well, that didn't take long. Just days after The New York Times' soft launch of its Chinese-language edition and accompanying microblog accounts, Berkeley-based China Digital Times website reports that the @nytchinese Sina Weibo feed is no longer accessible in China, along with two accounts hosted by Netease and Sohu. We couldn't pull them up this morning from New York, either.

Alerts   |   Belarus, Poland

In Belarus, journalist charged with libeling Lukashenko

Andrzej Poczobut, a correspondent for Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza, was convicted of insulting Aleksandr Lukashenko in 2011 and given a suspended sentence. (AP/Sergei Grits)

New York, July 2, 2012--Andrzej Poczobut, the prominent Grodno-based correspondent for the largest Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, was formally indicted Saturday on criminal charges of libeling President Aleksandr Lukashenko through a series of articles critical of administration policies.

Alerts   |   Belarus

Journalists imprisoned, threatened in Belarus

New York, June 26, 2012--Belarusian authorities should immediately release a critical journalist who was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison in a single day on a vague charge of hooliganism, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In an unrelated incident, a Belarus correspondent for the independent Moscow-based newspaper Novaya Gazeta received a threatening package in the mail, the paper reported.

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   |   Kyrgyzstan

Investigative reporting and Kyrgyzstan's selective justice

At a Bishkek roundtable Tuesday called "The Fourth Estate: Rule of the Game," Almambet Shykmamatov, Kyrgyzstan's justice minister, encouraged local reporters to expose government corruption, local press reported. The minister said authorities would follow up on such reports, grant security to investigative journalists, and might even pay them up to 20 percent of the funds that corrupt officials return to state coffers.

Alerts   |   Belarus

In Belarus, journalist arrested, charged with libel

Andrzej Poczobut, seen here outside a courthouse in 2011, has been arrested and charged with libel. (AFP/Kseniya Avimova)

New York, June 21, 2012--Authorities in Belarus must drop the charges against a prominent journalist arrested today for libel against the president, and immediately release him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Andrzej Poczobut has been targeted in the past for his critical writing, CPJ research shows.

Blog   |   Russia

Q&A: Nadira Isayeva on exile from Dagestan, in US

Nadira Isayeva (AP/Sergei Rasulov)

Nadira Isayeva, a 2010 CPJ International Press Freedom Award winner, has been living in exile since she left her native Dagestan, in Russia's volatile North Caucasus, in November 2011. Isayeva, the editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Chernovik, had been harassed by security forces for her relentless, critical coverage of their heavy-handed anti-terrorism operations in the region. Yet she was hesitant to leave, unable to imagine herself not reporting on these issues.

After fellow human rights advocates finally convinced Isayeva to leave, she came to New York, where she works as a fellow at Columbia University's Harriman Institute. (The interview has been edited).

June 19, 2012 12:02 AM ET

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Reports   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Journalist Assistance, Kenya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, Syria, Uganda

Journalists in exile 2012

Crisis in East Africa

Fifty-seven journalists fled their country in the past year, with Somalia sending the greatest number into exile. Journalists also fled Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Rwanda--mostly for Kenya and Uganda. Exiles in East Africa must grapple with poverty and fear. A CPJ special report by María Salazar-Ferro and Tom Rhodes

Somali journalists carry the body of Abdisalan Sheikh Hassan of Horn Cable TV who was killed in December 2011. Fear of violence is one of the top reasons why journalists flee into exile. (AFP/Mohamed Abdiwahab)

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Photojournalist faces criminal charges in Azerbaijan

Moscow, June 14, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Azerbaijani authorities to immediately drop criminal charges against Mehman Huseynov, a photojournalist and blogger with the Baku-based Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and the independent Azerbaijani news agency Turan.

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. 

Letters   |   Kyrgyzstan

CPJ urges Kyrgyzstan to release Azimjon Askarov

Dear President Atambayev: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to bring to your attention a new report we have issued on Azimjon Askarov, an investigative journalist and human rights defender who was sentenced in September 2010 to life in prison. CPJ's review of Askarov's case, outlined in the attached report, has found that his probe and trial were marred by numerous procedural violations, including his torture in custody and the lack of any evidence implicating him in criminal activity.

June 13, 2012 1:00 PM ET

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Reports   |   Kyrgyzstan

In Kyrgyzstan, injustice and torture in Askarov case

Azimjon Askarov, an investigative reporter and human rights defender, had ended careers and embarrassed officials time and again with his reporting on law enforcement abuses in southern Kyrgyzstan. When ethnic unrest broke out in June 2010, authorities struck back with a vengeance. A CPJ special report by Muzaffar Suleymanov

This photo of Askarov was taken at the start of the trial in September 2010. (Nurbek Toktakunov)

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   |   Azerbaijan, CPJ

As Eurovision starts, partnership cites Baku repression

Police in Baku arrest a man during a protest seeking reforms in conjunction with Eurovision. (DAPD/Joern Haufe)

As the Eurovision song contest gets under way in Baku, Azerbaijani authorities continue to suppress freedom of expression, detaining 10 protesters on Monday, Reuters reported. The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan, a coalition of free expression organizations that includes the Committee to Protect Journalists, has launched a website, Facebook and Twitter pages to highlight the country's long record of repression. 

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   |   Kyrgyzstan, USA, Uzbekistan

CPJ calls for release of jailed reporters in Central Asia

World leaders must hold Central Asian regimes responsible for denying global access to information by throwing critical reporters behind bars, CPJ Eurasia researcher Muzaffar Suleymanov told the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe  at a briefing Tuesday on political prisoners in Central Asia.

Alerts   |   Syria, Turkey

Syria detains journalists, releases others

Turkish journalist Adem Özköse, pictured Monday at the Istanbul office of his newspaper Milat, and freelance cameraman Hamit Coşkun were released Saturday from detention in Syria. (AP/Chris Torchia)

New York, May 14, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Syria's release of several journalists and press freedom activists over the weekend, but condemns the continued detention of at least nine journalists--and likely several more--including two journalists arrested without charge in the past month.

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   |   Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Romania, UK

Greek far-right party casts shadow on Europe press freedom

The celebration Tuesday of the 50th anniversary of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) should have been a joyful and lighthearted affair. Dozens of journalists from all parts of the European Union had traveled to Brussels to share memories, new projects, champagne, and petits fours.

Blog   |   Pakistan, UK

In UK talks, some practical solutions for Pakistani press

British Prime Minister Cameron and Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani at a joint press conference in Islamabad in 2011. (AFP/Aamir Qureshi)

Amid political tumult in Islamabad, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and a team of six ministers are in London for far-ranging meetings today through May 13. The Pakistan-U.K. Enhanced Strategic Dialogue will review education, health, defense, security, and cultural cooperation. CPJ has written a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron to urge that press freedom conditions be raised as well.

Letters   |   Pakistan, UK

Cameron and Gilani should discuss journalist security

Dear Prime Minister Cameron: As you begin your meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to review the Pakistan-U.K. Enhanced Strategic Dialogue, we would like to draw your attention to concerns regarding the protection of journalists in Pakistan. CPJ data show that the country has been ranked the deadliest in the world for journalists for two consecutive years. This year, Pakistan also placed 10th on CPJ's Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are regularly murdered and their killers go free.

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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Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Uzbekistan

Video: 10 Most Censored Countries

CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney counts down the 10 countries where the press is most tightly restricted. How do leaders in these nations silence the media? And which country is the worst of all? (4:03)

Read CPJ's report on the 10 Most Censored countries for more detail on how censorship works, and which countries were the runners-up.

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   |   Azerbaijan

As Eurovision host, Azerbaijan must promote free press

Today in its report on the Most Censored Countries in the world, CPJ singled out Azerbaijan for its lack of foreign or independent broadcasters and because the handful of journalists there who manage to work on independent newspapers or websites are subjected to intimidation, harassment, physical attacks that occur with impunity for those responsible, and imprisonment on fabricated charges. Recently, CPJ urged President Ilham Aliyev to reverse a crackdown on the press that has led to the jailing of at least six journalists.

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.

Alerts   |   Montenegro

Journalist sentenced to jail for libel in Montenegro

New York, April 30, 2012--The appeals court in Montenegro must overturn a libel verdict and four-month jail sentence given to journalist Petar Komnenic, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The Montenegrin authorities, who are seeking to join the European Union, decriminalized libel after the journalist's original conviction, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Kazakhstan

Journalist as a threat to Kazakhstan's national security

Police stand guard outside a court where defendants accused of participating in December's deadly clashes in Zhanaozen are on trial in the Caspian port city of Aktau March 28. (Reuters/Vladimir Tretyakov)

In a reply to CPJ's protest letter regarding the politicized imprisonment of journalist Igor Vinyavsky, Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office said the prosecution wasn't retaliatory nor related to his journalism. CPJ publicly appealed to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev after his country's security service, the KNB, raided Vinyavsky's newsroom and apartment, confiscated reporting equipment, and imprisoned the journalist for two months. The KNB also harassed and interrogated Vinyavsky's family and local journalists who protested against his incarceration.

April 27, 2012 11:55 AM ET

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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.

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Kazakh journalist in surgery after being shot, stabbed

New York, April 19, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's attack on a reporter in Kazakhstan and calls on authorities to immediately investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Unidentified assailants shot and stabbed Lukpan Akhmedyarov, a journalist with the independent newspaper Uralskaya Nedelya, in Uralsk, a city in western Kazakhstan, as he returned home from work at around 10:30 p.m., Akhmedyarov's chief editor, Tamara Eslyamova, told CPJ today. Eslyamova said the journalist was in surgery late today.

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. 

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Several reporters assaulted, one hospitalized in Baku

Idrak Abbasov was hospitalized Wednesday. (IRFS)

New York, April 18, 2012--Azerbaijani authorities must promptly investigate and bring to justice perpetrators of today's brutal assault in Baku on five independent reporters, including award-winning journalist Idrak Abbasov, who is now hospitalized, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Blog   |   Cuba, Journalist Assistance, Spain

Expelled from Cuba jails, journalists languish in Spain

Ricardo González Alfonso (left) and Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez at a press conference in Vallecas in July 2010. (AFP/Dominique Faget)

In 2010, following midsummer negotiations between the Catholic Church and the government of President Raúl Castro, Cuban authorities began releasing imprisoned journalists, sending them into forced exile with their families. In April 2011, the last of more than 20 journalists arrived in Spain. They had been granted liberty and respite, and were promised support from Spanish authorities while they settled into the new country. But almost two years after the first crop of journalists arrived in Spain, the four who remain in the country are living under extremely difficult conditions, struggling even to feed themselves.

Blog   |   Cuba, Journalist Assistance, Spain

Cubans exiled in Spain: Integration or disintegration?

Ricardo González Alfonso (AFP)

Desperate realities call for hope. It is not just a game of words, because you don't play with hunger and the future (my own and my family's). It is about going deeper into another version of circumstances. And seeing the rainbow where others see a gloomy sun and a stubborn and relentless rain.

I am writing this declaration of optimism now that the Spanish government has withdrawn the financial aid that it had provided us, when in the summer of 2010, directly from the Cuban jails, we arrived as former prisoners of conscience along with others there just by coincidence, or not.

April 17, 2012 10:08 AM ET

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Reports   |   Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Multimedia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Video: Getting Away With Murder


CPJ's María Salazar-Ferro names the 12 countries where journalists are murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Where are leaders failing to uphold the law? Where are conditions getting better? And where is free expression in danger? (4:46)

Read CPJ's 2012 Impunity Index. And visit our Global Campaign Against Impunity and see how you can help.

April 17, 2012 12:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, UK

UK surveillance plan must be watched carefully

When journalists make enemies in high places, they become vulnerable to the powers those figures wield. One such power is the state's capacity to wiretap and obtain personal records from communications companies. From Colombia's phone-tapping scandal to last year's case of Gerard Davet--a Le Monde reporter whose phone records were obtained by the French intelligence service in apparent violation of press freedom laws--state surveillance has a long history of being misused against reporters.

Blog   |   CPJ, France, Italy, Romania, Russia, Turkey, UK, Ukraine

Defending the European Court of Human Rights

Judges hear a case in the European Court of Human Rights. More than 60,000 people sought the court's help in 2011. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

The European Court of Human Rights is a victim of its success. In 2011, more than 60,000 people sought its help after exhausting all judicial remedies before national courts. But now, some member states of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe are pushing for reforms of the prestigious institution and are pointing at the number of cases to make their argument. Instead of enhancing the court's capacity to deal with the backlog of cases, their moves would clip the court's prerogatives and undermine a citizen's capacity to defend his most fundamental rights.

Letters   |   Azerbaijan

In Azerbaijan, crackdown on press as contest nears

Dear President Aliyev: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by the recent wave of journalist imprisonments in Azerbaijan. With at least six journalists currently behind bars, Azerbaijan is now among the top 10 global jailers of the press, ahead of Uzbekistan and just behind Ethiopia, according to CPJ research. This crackdown comes in the run-up to Eurovision, the international song contest that Baku is hosting in May, which will gather journalists from more than 40 participating countries and fix the world's eyes on Azerbaijan.

Blog   |   Portugual

Portuguese police assault AFP photographer

(Reuters/Hugo Correia)
This combination of pictures shows a policeman beating Agence France-Presse photojournalist Patricia de Melo Moreira during a Portuguese general strike in downtown Lisbon yesterday, according to Reuters. The strikers were protesting economic austerity measures. A number of Melo's photos from the strike can be viewed on the Guardian's website.
March 23, 2012 5:37 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Turkey

Investigation, threats against freed Turkish journalists

Journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık were threatened shortly after their release from prison. Here, colleagues protest the journalists' imprisonment, which lasted more than a year. (AP)

New York, March 22, 2012--Turkish authorities must immediately dismiss the new criminal investigation against journalist Ahmet Şık and should thoroughly investigate threats made against Şık and investigative journalist Nedim Şener, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Statements   |   Turkey

Turkey releases journalists, grave concerns remain

New York, March 12, 2012--The release of Turkish journalists Nedim Şener, Ahmet Şık, Muhammet Sait Çakır, and Coşkun Musluk, who are among dozens of journalists imprisoned in Turkey for alleged participation in a purported antistate plot known as Ergenekon, is a welcome development, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

March 12, 2012 2:21 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Moscow police must investigate attacks on journalists

Police and protesters at Pushkin Square on Monday. (AP/Sergey Ponomarev)

New York, March 7, 2012--A reporter covering a post-election protest in Moscow suffered a concussion after being assaulted by police, the most serious of at least three attacks on journalists reporting on demonstrations on Monday, news reports said. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the assaults and calls on police to hold the assailants accountable under the law.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan, Hungary, Turkey

The global impact of EU media policies

European Parliament President Martin Schulz shakes hands with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, right, during an EU leaders' summit in Brussels Thursday.(Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

The state of press freedom inside the European Union has a significant effect on press freedom outside the EU. That was the message that CPJ Senior European Adviser Jean-Paul Marthoz and I delivered this week when Brussels' leading think tank, the European Policy Center (EPC), hosted us for a policy dialogue marking the launch of our annual survey, Attacks on the Press.

Blog   |   Russia

Ahead of elections, Russian media are duly warned

Independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta is suffering from a raid and audit on its major shareholder. (AP)

Russia's leading independent media head into Sunday's elections--in which Vladimir Putin is expected to be handed his third presidential term--burdened by a series of warnings. Over the past few months, beginning with the parliamentary elections held December 4, Kremlin allies have taken several steps designed to put news outlets on alert for uncensored coverage of nationwide protests, in which a surprising number of Russians have demanded an end to elections fraud and called on Putin to step down from his current post of prime minister.

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   |   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   |   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   |   France, Germany, Turkey

Attacks on Zaman test EU-Turkey ties

Last week, suspected supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, took their confrontation with the Turkish state to Western Europe, attacking the French and German offices of one of Turkey's most influential newspapers, Zaman.

February 22, 2012 11:20 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Azerbaijan, Iran

Journalist for Iranian media imprisoned in Azerbaijan

New York, February 22, 2012--Anar Bayramli, Baku-based correspondent for Iranian broadcaster Sahar TV and news agency Fars, has been imprisoned for two months pending trial over drug charges. The Committee to Protect Journalists has determined the charges are fabricated and calls on authorities in Azerbaijan to release him immediately.

February 22, 2012 11:16 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Bahrain, Belarus, Mexico, Pakistan

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Profiles in Freedom

CPJ awardee Natalya Radina.

How does one negotiate the choice to stay and report potentially dangerous news, rather than take a less risky assignment, leave the profession, or flee the country? The recipients of the 2011 International Press Freedom Awards explain. By Kristin Jones

Attacks on the Press   |   Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Romania, Spain, Turkey, UK

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Europe, a Leader That Lags

Until his last days in office, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi pursued restrictive legislation known as the 'gag law.' (Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo)

In the EU, some countries appear more immune than others to scrutiny and reproach. Anti-terror laws, political and economic concerns, and a lack of common standards all challenge the credibility of the EU's diplomacy. By Jean-Paul Marthoz

Attacks on the Press   |   Russia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Impunity Still the Norm in Russia

Russian investigators have adopted a more serious tone when discussing unsolved journalist murders, but officials still lack the will to apprehend masterminds of the killings. The lack of convictions takes a serious toll on investigative journalism. By Nina Ognianova

Attacks on the Press   |   Turkey

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Turkey's Legal Problem

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, buoyed by a landslide election victory, has led an attack on press freedom. (AP/Boris Grdanoski)

With the aid of anachronistic legislation and a rigid judiciary, Turkish officials and politicians have curbed free expression by subjecting journalists to endless court proceedings and legal costs. The EU and the U.S. are no help. By Robert Mahoney

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Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press in 2011: The Year in Photos

Photographers from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and other news outlets documented historic events in 2011, often at great peril. The Year in Photographs: Press Freedom in 2011 features images from the Arab uprisings, South Asia's armed conflicts, and political repression in the Americas, Africa, and Europe.

February 21, 2012 11:16 PM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Uzbekistan

Authoritarian leader Islam Karimov marked Media Workers Day by calling for an independent domestic press, the state news agency UzA reported, but his long-standing policies of repression belied such statements. The regime is a persistent jailer of journalists, often ranking among the worst in the region. Embattled reporter Abdumalik Boboyev faced official obstruction when he tried to travel to Germany; officials cited his prosecution in 2010 on charges of “insulting the Uzbek nation” as reason. Two other reporters faced retaliation after they participated in media seminars outside Uzbekistan. In the face of official intimidation, domestic media complied with censorship regulations and refrained from covering the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa. Mindful of the role the Internet played in the Arab revolutions, Uzbek authorities expanded their list of internally blocked news websites and created a state commission to censor content in the Uzbekistan domain.

February 21, 2012 12:56 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ukraine

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Ukraine

The government failed to deliver on President Viktor Yanukovych's promises to investigate official harassment of news media and ensure justice in the 2000 murder of online journalist Georgy Gongadze. Prosecutors indicted former President Leonid Kuchma on abuse-of-office charges in connection with the Gongadze slaying, alleging that he had ordered subordinates to silence the journalist. But after the Constitutional Court found that a key audiotape was inadmissible, a trial court in Kyiv dismissed the case in December. The ongoing trial of Aleksei Pukach, the former Interior Ministry general charged with strangling Gongadze, was marked by irregularities, delays, and secrecy. The developments were seen as significant setbacks in the fight against impunity. As in past years, the domestic press faced persistent danger as reporters endured threats, physical attacks, and censorship. Investigators reported no progress in the case of Vasyl Klymentyev, an editor who went missing in 2010 after reporting on alleged local corruption. Kharkiv-based cable television carriers stopped carrying programming from the independent news outlet ATN in August, according to press reports. ATN said regional authorities pressured the carriers to drop its critical news coverage.

February 21, 2012 12:55 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Tajikistan

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Tajikistan

Investigative journalists were targeted with retaliatory arrests and debilitating lawsuits, marking a decline in press freedom conditions. Makhmadyusuf Ismoilov, a reporter for the independent weekly Nuri Zindagi, was imprisoned for nearly a year on defamation charges related to stories on government corruption in the northern Sogd region. BBC correspondent Urinboy Usmonov spent a month in jail after security agents arrested him on extremism charges stemming from his reports on the banned Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir. The independent newspaper Asia Plus and reporter Ramziya Mirzobekova faced a civil lawsuit from a senior Interior Ministry official who accused them of spreading false information in a story about a man who died in government custody, press reports said. And a Dushanbe-based independent newspaper, Paykon, was forced to close after a state agency won a sizable judgment in a defamation case related to a letter alleging corruption. In September, President Emomali Rahmon ended the requirement that senior officials convene quarterly press conferences, diminishing already-limited access to leaders.

February 21, 2012 12:54 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Russia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Russia

Authorities detained at least six journalists covering December protests over flawed parliamentary elections, but in a rare phenomenon Kremlin-controlled television reported on demonstrations that brought tens of thousands of Muscovites onto the streets. In December, a gunman killed the founder of the weekly Chernovik, the 20th work-related murder in Russia since 2000. CPJ advocated extensively against impunity in anti-press attacks, calling on the European Commission to press the issue in meetings with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Authorities made progress in two murder cases. In April, two suspects were found guilty in the 2009 murders of journalist Anastasiya Baburova and human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov; in May, the defendants were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. The suspected gunman and several suspected organizers in the 2006 killing of Anna Politkovskaya were indicted. But impunity prevailed in the savage beatings of journalists Mikhail Beketov and Oleg Kashin. Authorities retaliated against one international reporter. Luke Harding, Moscow correspondent for The Guardian of London, was barred from re-entering the country in February after writing about U.S. diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks that described Kremlin officials in unflattering terms.

February 21, 2012 12:53 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Kyrgyzstan

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Kyrgyzstan

As President Roza Otunbayeva declared her commitment to press freedom, parliament decriminalized libel, eliminating a tool used by authorities in the past to suppress critical journalism. But rising violence, censorship, and politically motivated prosecutions marred the year in Kyrgyzstan. Parliament ordered state agencies to block domestic access to the critical website Fergana News, although the order was not immediately implemented. Ahead of the October 30 presidential vote won by Almazbek Atambayev, legislators ordered domestic broadcasters to screen foreign-produced programming and remove content that could insult the candidates. An investigative commission under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe found Kyrgyz authorities complicit in the ethnic conflict that gripped the south in June 2010. The conflict continued to cast a dark shadow over press freedom. Authorities brought trumped-up extremism charges against two ethnic Uzbek media owners, who went into exile after being compelled to give up their news assets. Another ethnic Uzbek journalist, Azimjon Askarov, was serving a life prison term on fabricated charges despite international calls for his release. Legislators banned local media from publishing images of the conflict on its anniversary.

February 21, 2012 12:52 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Kazakhstan

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Kazakhstan

The convictions of three men in the 2009 murder in Almaty of prominent Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk was a bright spot in Kazakhstan's otherwise grim press freedom record. The government had yet to reform its media laws in line with international standards, despite its promises to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE. To the contrary, the upper chamber of parliament approved a bill in December requiring international broadcasters to register with the government and imposing limits on foreign content aired by local cable carriers. Editor Ramazan Yesergepov continued to serve a three-year prison term on fabricated charges of collecting state secrets after a local court denied him early release. In November, an Almaty court convicted reporter Valery Surganov on defamation charges stemming from an article alleging police improprieties; the court imposed severe restrictions on his movements as penalty. The cases were a sobering reminder of the cost of critical journalism. In April, President Nursultan Nazarbayev won a fourth term in an election so uncompetitive that he took 95 percent of the vote, according to official results. OSCE monitors criticized the restrictive media climate in the run-up to the vote.

February 21, 2012 12:51 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Hungary

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Hungary

On January 1, 2011, the day Hungary assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union, a restrictive new media law came into force. The law created a National Media and Infocommunications Authority--staffed with appointees of the ruling Fidesz party--that was given vast powers to regulate news media. The law established heavy fines for violations such as carrying "imbalanced news coverage" or running content that violates "public morality." The law applied to all news media, reaching beyond national borders to foreign outlets "aimed at the territory of Hungary." The measure triggered protests in Hungary and throughout Europe, where it was seen as violating the Charter of Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. Hungarian lawmakers agreed to minor changes in response to pressure from the European Commission. In December, the country's Constitutional Court struck down a provision that would have obliged journalists to reveal confidential sources. The court also exempted print media from the law as of May 2012, although it left intact most other anti-press provisions. The domestic media scene reflected deep polarization between supporters and adversaries of the center-right Fidesz. Political pressures were rife in public broadcasting: In July, 570 employees of the four state-run media companies were dismissed, representing about 16 percent of the workforce. Authorities reassigned the broadcast frequency of the largest opposition radio station, Klubradio, to an entertainment broadcaster in December, citing a higher bid.

February 21, 2012 12:50 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Belarus

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Belarus

After a rigged December 2010 presidential vote, authoritarian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko unleashed two waves of repression against critics and political opponents, one in early year and one in summer. The KGB and police raided independent newsrooms and journalists' homes, confiscated reporting equipment, and jailed independent reporters. Politicized courts handed suspended prison terms to prominent journalists Irina Khalip and Andrzej Poczobut. Police used brutal force against reporters who covered nationwide anti-government protests. Critical news websites experienced multiple denial-of-service attacks and official blocking. The suspicious 2010 death of Aleh Byabenin, founder of the pro-opposition news website Charter 97, remained unexamined. With a domestic economy suffering, Lukashenko promised to free jailed critics if the European Union lifted travel and trade sanctions. During a year of relentless attacks on journalists, the Lukashenko administration reinforced its reputation as Europe's most repressive regime for the press.

February 21, 2012 12:49 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Azerbaijan

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Azerbaijan

Four years after Eynulla Fatullayev was imprisoned on a series of fabricated charges, and more than a year after the European Court of Human Rights ordered his immediate release, the editor finally walked free. In an interview with CPJ, Fatullayev praised the international community for its sustained support. Attacks against domestic journalists covering sensitive subjects continued with impunity. Freelance reporter Rafiq Tagi, who wrote critically about Islamist politics and government policies, died after being stabbed on a Baku street. Two reporters for the pro-opposition newspaper Azadlyg were beaten in reprisal for their work, while the editor of the independent newspaper Khural was jailed in late year on retaliatory charges. Hostility toward international reporters was on the rise: Members of a Swedish television crew working on a human rights documentary were deported; a U.S. freelancer and a British researcher were assaulted; and a photojournalist was denied entry based on her Armenian ethnicity.

February 21, 2012 12:48 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Italy

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Italy

Silvio Berlusconi’s government crumbled in November amid the country’s economic crisis, ending a tenure marked by manipulation and restriction of the press. As prime minister and media owner, Berlusconi owned or controlled all of Italy’s major national television channels, ensuring news coverage favorable to his administration. He worked methodically for three years to enact controversial legislation to prevent print and online media from publishing embarrassing information about alleged corruption in his government and his dalliances with young women. Even in the final days of his tenure, Berlusconi sought to revive a bill that would have limited the use of police wiretaps, penalized journalists for publishing the contents of wiretaps, and forced websites to publish “corrections” to information considered damaging to a person’s image within 48 hours of receiving a complaint. Parliament had already postponed action on the measure, termed Berlusconi’s “gag law,” in 2010. In Perugia, prosecutor Giuliano Mignini used Italy’s harsh defamation laws to intimidate journalists, authors, and media outlets--in Italy and the United States--that reported critically about his performance in two high-profile cases.

February 21, 2012 12:04 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   UK

Attacks on the Press in 2011: United Kingdom

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal and subsequent public inquiry raised concerns that public interest journalism could suffer from efforts to curtail unethical practices through regulation. While investigating related police leaks, Scotland Yard invoked the Official Secrets Act to pressure a journalist to reveal sources for her coverage of the scandal. Authorities ultimately backed down from the unprecedented effort. Several journalists came under attack while covering mass riots in urban areas in August. Prime Minister David Cameron said news outlets must hand over raw footage of rioters and suggested the government restrict social media tools to curb street violence. The government drafted a defamation bill aimed at reforming the U.K.'s much-criticized libel laws. The measure had yet to go through parliament.

February 21, 2012 12:03 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   France

Attacks on the Press in 2011: France

France’s press freedom record continued a downward slide, in large part because authorities attempted to violate the confidentiality of journalists’ sources and interfere with editorial decisions. Most of the recent cases stemmed from the “Bettencourt affair,” the alleged illegal financing of the presidential party by the billionaire Liliane Bettencourt. In 2010, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office ordered the secret services to identify sources leaking information about the matter to the press. Journalists from major media outlets were targeted, and the secret services obtained phone records of a Le Monde journalist. In October, the director of domestic intelligence was charged with violating the secrecy of correspondence and confidentiality of sources. Press-government relations were further strained during the 18-month abduction of two France 3 journalists in Afghanistan, which ended in June. Élysée Palace and the army had criticized the “recklessness” of the reporters. In November, the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo were firebombed and its website was hacked after the satirical weekly published a spoof edition “guest-edited” by Prophet Muhammad.

February 21, 2012 12:02 AM ET

Blog   |   Rwanda, Sweden

Rwandan exiled journalist comes out of hiding

Gasasira in exile. (Gasasira)

I must have received at least a dozen communications from worried friends and colleagues, asking the whereabouts of the chief editor of the highly critical Rwandan website, Umuvugizi. By mid-January, no one had heard from John Bosco Gasasira, nothing new had been published on Umuvugizi since January 11, and his cell phones were switched off. Last week, concerned colleagues wrote a public letter expressing concern over their missing colleague.

February 16, 2012 3:08 PM ET

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Letters   |   Kazakhstan

CPJ urges Kazakhstan to stop repressing media

Dear President Nazarbayev: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by the ongoing crackdown by Kazakhstan's security service, the KNB, against independent journalists. The imprisonment of Vzglyad editor Igor Vinyavsky and interrogations of independent reporters by KNB agents appear to be reprisals for critical reporting on government policies, including a December 2011 confrontation in which authorities killed civilians.

February 16, 2012 3:02 PM ET

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Blog   |   Russia

Ekho Moskvy board shuffled ahead of Russian election

A poster depicts Vladimir Putin as the Grim Reaper on one of Ekho Moskvy's studio doors. (CPJ/Nina Ognianova)

The Russian blogosphere erupted with comments today following an announcement that the board of directors of the iconic radio station, Ekho Moskvy, will be changed. The timing of the development--weeks before presidential elections--and the potential consequences for Ekho's editorial policy threw listeners into a frenzy of worry and speculation.

Blog   |   Belgium, Democratic Republic of the Congo

DRC journalist Solange Lusiku honored for fortitude

Solange Lusiku Nsimire is honored by the Université catholique de Louvain for her courage as a journalist and women's rights defender. (Anne-Marie Impe)

Seated near the fireplace in a historical home in Tournai, a medieval town 70 miles from Brussels and a stone's throw from the French border, while snow fell outside, Solange Lusiku Nsimire was enjoying not only the company of friends, but the chance to live for a few days without fearing suspicious noises in the garden or ominous knocks on the door.

February 8, 2012 3:42 PM ET

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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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Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Kazakh authorities interrogate editor, raid newsroom

New York, February 2, 2012--The Kazakh security service, or KNB, must immediately cease intimidating Oksana Makushina, deputy editor of Golos Respubliki, and return reporting equipment confiscated today from the independent weekly, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Alerts   |   Kazakhstan

Editor detained, newsrooms raided in Kazakhstan

New York, January 24, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention by the Kazakh security service, or KNB, of Igor Vinyavsky, editor of the Almaty-based independent weekly Vzglyad, and calls for his immediate release. Vinyavsky was detained in an ongoing crackdown by the KNB on critical media and opposition activists, which also involved a raid on independent broadcaster Stan TV.

January 24, 2012 5:20 PM ET

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Blog   |   Hungary

Criticism of Hungary's media controls keeps growing

Hungarians demonstrate against the government's media law during a protest in support of the largest opposition radio station in Budapest Sunday. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

"Klubrádió solely wants to provide news and present different opinions and never meant to play any emblematic role. But, because of the decision of the Media Authority, it has became the symbol of free speech in Hungary," stated the broadcaster's CEO, András Arató, on Sunday when addressing thousands of demonstrators who gathered in central Budapest to express their support for the station. Once this popular talk radio broadcaster loses its frequency license (which was reallocated to a previously unknown media group that tendered a higher price) in a matter of weeks, pro-government dominance will be nearly complete in terms of broadcast news programs in the country.

January 24, 2012 11:23 AM ET

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Blog   |   Denmark, France, Turkey

Minority media rights, terrorism laws at issue in Roj TV case

French satellite provider Eutelsat announced yesterday it is suspending Kurdish satellite station Roj TV after a Danish court last week levied a hefty fine against the satellite station for promoting terrorism. Eutelsat's decision comes despite Roj TV's appeal before the Danish High Court, which is pending. The case has implications for how media content is evaluated, the rights of minority media, and how terrorism laws are balanced with human rights.

January 20, 2012 2:33 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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Blog   |   Belarus, Uzbekistan

What US can't accept in Belarus, it supports in Uzbekistan

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in Tashkent in October 2011. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Last week, President Obama signed into law a bill that expands sanctions against Belarus, whose authoritarian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko continues to imprison his opponents and critics. Lukashenko unleashed the latest crackdown hours after the flawed December 2010 presidential vote, which declared him winner of a fourth term. Repression in Belarus is ongoing. Last week, authorities further tightened their grip on the media by restricting access to blacklisted websites. On Monday, a district court in Minsk jailed an independent reporter for filming a one-man protest vigil in front of the KGB headquarters.

January 11, 2012 2:15 PM ET

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