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Letters

2012


Dear Prime Minister Singh: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by Indian authorities' continued abuse of a colonial-era sedition law to stifle freedom of expression. CPJ calls on your government to begin taking action toward repealing the law, section 124A in the Indian penal code, which Indian lawmakers have deemed punitive and outdated.

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu: The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned that Israeli airstrikes targeted individual journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip between November 18 and 20. Journalists and media outlets are protected under international law in military conflict.

Dear President Obama: We are pleased that you will begin your second term as U.S. president with a trip to Southeast Asia. As you visit Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand from November 17 through 20 while attending the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related meetings in Phnom Penh, we hope that your commitment to human rights and the fundamental right to free expression remains an important aspect of your agenda.

Dear Mr. Jaramillo: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the closure of at least 11 Ecuadoran broadcasters since May. Our review of the closures, detailed in an attached list, found that in some instances government regulators did not follow the due process guarantees specified by law. CPJ's review also found that more than half of the stations that were closed had been critical of the government. While the government has the right to regulate the airwaves, it also has an obligation to do so in a transparent and unbiased manner.

Dear Secretary Clinton: We are writing to bring to your attention the Israeli Ministry of Communication's refusal to return U.S.-funded equipment that was confiscated from a private Palestinian broadcaster about four months ago.

Dear President Ahmed Mohamoud Silyano: We are writing to express our alarm over deteriorating conditions for independent journalists in Somaliland. The Committee to Protect Journalists has monitored 58 cases of journalist detentions by authorities since the beginning of the year. We urge you to use your office to reverse this trend of harassment and uphold your 2010 election campaign pledge to respect and improve freedom of the press.

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.

Dear Secretary Clinton: We are writing in advance of the third India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue coming up on June 13, which you will co-chair in Washington, D.C., with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. India is host to a vital and thriving news media, but CPJ has documented several violations against Indian journalists that are undermining the country's tradition of a free press.

New York, May 16, 2012--President Obama should acknowledge the role that independent news reporting plays in assessing agricultural challenges and facilitating the response to famine, the Committee to Protect Journalists stated in a letter to the White House. Ethiopia in particular downplays the extent of food crises and undermines the ability of donor nations and aid groups to help by denying journalists access to sensitive areas and censoring independent coverage.

New York, May 14, 2012- Togolese authorities should ensure that security forces allow journalists to do their jobs and that officers involved in acts of abuse are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists stated in a letter to Togo's security minister.

Dear Minister Kachlon: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the confiscation of equipment and archives belonging to the private Ramallah broadcaster Wattan TV more than two months ago.

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.

Dear Mr. Cordero: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about a new Ecuadoran communications bill currently under debate in the National Assembly that would roll back press freedom by promoting self-censorship and restrictions on criticism of public officials.

Dear President Rousseff: We are writing to bring to your attention recent actions taken by the Brazilian government that contradict your expressed commitment to guarantee freedom of expression and make human rights a priority in the country. While we recognize that the Brazilian authorities have made strides in bringing journalist killers to justice in recent years, we ask that you assert global leadership to ensure that the fundamental right of freedom of expression is afforded to all.

Dear Prime Minister: The International Fact Finding and Advocacy Media Mission to Nepal that met with you in February has finished its review of specific provisions from the country's draft constitution that the Constituent Assembly will finalize by May 28. As one of the groups on the mission, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges you to encourage the assembly to incorporate the group's recommended changes before the constitution is finalized. The review and recommendations pertain to freedom of expression, the right to information, and freedom of the press.

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.

Dear President Johnson Sirleaf: The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by threats made against Liberian journalist Mae Azango, who has been in hiding since last week after she reported on the practice of female genital mutilation. We urge you, Madam President, as Africa's first and only female head of state and a champion of women's rights, to direct the Liberian authorities to ensure her safety and fully investigate the threats made against her.

Dear President Karzai: We are deeply concerned by the potential repercussions of a March 10 statement released by Ministry of Defense spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi over an article written by The Wall Street Journal reporter Maria Abi-Habib. The statement, which personally attacks the journalist, sends a chilling message to other reporters who write about alleged government misconduct. We call on you to publicly address Azimi's statement and ask all government officials to refrain from attacks on journalists. We also ask you to uphold your commitment to a free press in Afghanistan that you have made many times in the past.

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.

Dear President Obama: When you meet with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping tomorrow at the White House, we urge you to raise concerns about media restrictions in China.

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu: The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by ongoing attacks on and detention of journalists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as by a recent series of developments that restrict freedom of the press in Israel. Physical attacks, arrests, and other restrictions are creating an environment that undermines the vitality of the media, a key component of Israel's democracy.

Dear Mr. Insulza: The Committee to Protect Journalists has been monitoring with increasing concern an offensive launched by the government of Ecuador aimed at weakening the Inter-American human rights system, an effort that if successful could represent a serious blow to freedom of expression in the hemisphere.

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