Journalists die at high rates while covering protests in the Arab world and elsewhere. Photographers and freelancers appear vulnerable. Pakistan is again the deadliest nation. A CPJ special report
Journalists die at high rates while covering protests in the Arab world and elsewhere. Photographers and freelancers appear vulnerable. Pakistan is again the deadliest nation. A CPJ special report
New York, December 19, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Egyptian authorities to halt the assaults on journalists and attacks on news outlets which are effectively censoring coverage of ongoing protests in Cairo. In recent days, CPJ has documented at least 15 attacks on the press during clashes between security forces and protesters in central Cairo.
New York, December 14, 2011-- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the sentencing of Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad by a military court to two years in prison and a fine for insulting the military and calls for his immediate, unconditional release. Sanad, initially arrested in March was sentenced in April by a military court to three years in prison.
December 9, 2011
Prime Minister Kamal El Ganzory
2 Maglis Al-Shaab Street
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Excellency Prime Minister El Ganzory:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to bring to your attention the mounting press freedom violations in Egypt. Between November 19 and 24, we documented at least 35 cases of journalists who were attacked in Cairo and Alexandria when protesters clashed with the military and police. We are attaching the list here and ask specifically for you to note the deteriorating state of press freedom in your country.
Stark regional differences are seen as jailings grow significantly in the Middle East and North Africa. Dozens of journalists are held without charge, many in secret prisons. A CPJ special report
New York, November 21, 2011 - Clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo and other Egyptian cities have led to at least 17 assaults on the press over the past couple of days, including a shooting, detentions, and a beating by unidentified security personnel while in custody. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks and calls on authorities to bring them to an immediate end.
"Journalists must be allowed to carry out their work without threat of assault," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "Furthermore, prosecutors have an obligation to investigate claims of abuse by military and police against journalists."
New York, October 31, 2011--Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd el-Fattah, jailed Sunday after he objected to interrogation by military prosecutors, should be released immediately and without condition, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
When Egyptian security forces stormed the Cairo offices of U.S. government-funded Al-Hurra television station Sunday night, the studio was live on the air, covering clashes just outside its building between the military and civilians that left dozens dead (including Al-Tareeq cameraman Wael Mikhael). During the raid, Al-Hurra anchor Amr Khalil continued to broadcast as he tried to calm the soldiers who stormed the office brandishing automatic weapons. Al-Hurra has provided English subtitles of his broadcast.
New York, October 12, 2011 -- A demonstration Sunday against religious persecution by Coptic Christians and their supporters turned into fatal confrontations between the military and civilians that left dozens dead, including a journalist. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns raids on two television studios and the cutting of electricity, telephone, and Internet service to a leading independent newspaper that occurred at the same time. CPJ is also alarmed by what appears to constitute incitement to violence on Egypt's state-owned television during the same period.
New York, September 29, 2011--Egyptian plainclothes police stormed the office of an Al-Jazeera affiliate today for the second time this month, detaining a journalist. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the raid and calls on the authorities to end what has become a policy of censorship and intimidation of the media.
New York, September 27, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the censorship of two newspapers in the past four days, the first instances of their kind since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak in February. Production of the Saturday edition of the independent weekly Sawt al-Umma was halted, while the daily Rose al-Youssef was prevented from printing a page in today's paper that was to feature a controversial story.
New York, September 13, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the new measures taken by Egypt's ruling military council. In recent days, the military announced that it would actively enforce the Hosni Mubarak-era Emergency Law, which allows civilians, including journalists, to be tried in state security courts. Other recent anti-press measures include an Al-Jazeera bureau being raided and shut down, the military announcing a "temporary freeze" on issuing licenses to satellite television stations, and a foreign blogger being denied entry into the country.
New York, July 12, 2011--The reinstatement of Egypt's Information Ministry that was abolished in February constitutes a substantial setback for media freedom in Egypt, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Few cases of sexual assault against journalists have ever been documented, a product of powerful cultural and professional stigmas. But now dozens of journalists are coming forward to say they have been sexually abused in the course of their work. A CPJ special report by Lauren Wolfe
New York, June 2, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to stop its harassment of journalists who report critically on the military. Officers and military prosecutors have censored, harassed, or otherwise intimidated numerous critical journalists since February, and particularly in recent weeks.
I have been blogging in various platforms since 2006, focusing on human rights conditions and police abuses in Egypt. During this time, the Egyptian regime was widely described as one of the most "liberal-moderate" and sometimes "semi-democratic" regimes in the region, but meanwhile, hundreds of young people were hijacked, jailed, fined, and intimidated. Egypt has been named by CPJ as one of the worst countries to be a blogger, and now resides on its list out today of "10 Tools of Online Oppressors."
In our special report, "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors," CPJ examines the 10 prevailing strategies of online oppression worldwide and the countries that have taken the lead in their use. In this accompanying podcast, CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney notes that these strategies range from sophisticated cyber-attacks to traditional brute-force techniques. Listen to the podcast on the player above, or right click here to download an MP3. (2:47)
Read CPJ's special report, "The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors."
New York, April 13, 2011--A new requirement by the Egyptian military that local print media obtain approval for all mentions of the armed forces before publication is the single worst setback for press freedom in Egypt since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, April 11, 2011--Continuing a weeks-long pattern of seizing journalists covering the Libyan conflict, the government of Muammar Qaddafi is detaining two more television journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. And in Egypt, in a serious setback for press freedom under the transitional government, a court has sentenced a blogger to a three-year prison term for "insulting the military."
New York, April 8, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the fate of American freelance journalist Matthew VanDyke, who has been missing in Libya since mid-March, according to his family and news reports. He is among 15 reporters either missing or in government custody in Libya.
New York, April 6, 2011--More than 20 foreign journalists were told that they would have to leave Libya within 24 hours, National Public Radio said today. NPR reported that Libyan authorities asked journalists from different international news outlets to leave the country. The media outlets include Britain's Channel 4, CNN, Fox News, The Independent, Italian TV, ITV, Le Figaro, Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, NBC News, The New York Times, RAI, RTL, and The Sunday Times of London. The government has also decided to not issue new visas for journalists who wish to cover the unfolding conflict, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reported from Tripoli.
New York, April 1, 2011--Al-Jazeera said today that Libyan authorities re-arrested four of its journalists just hours after they had been released. A Syrian journalist who spoke critically of Libyan government policies was also reported in state custody. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ongoing attacks on the press in Libya, and calls on authorities to immediately release all journalists in custody.
New York, March 30, 2011--A CNN crew was detained today in Manama while interviewing a prominent Bahraini human rights defender, according to a Twitter posting by the network and a CPJ interview. The detentions come amid a recent series of repressive actions by the Bahraini government, which included today's arrest of a well-known blogger. Anti-press actions were also reported in Egypt, Syria, and Libya, CPJ research shows.
For the millions of non-Arabic speakers around the world who followed Egypt's revolution live one journalist stood out--Ayman Mohyeldin of Al-Jazeera English. Mohyeldin, 32, used his knowledge of the region and of the West to make sense of the events unfolding in Cairo's Tahrir Square for an international audience. He also witnessed the unprecedented wave of assaults on journalists by supporters and hired thugs of the crumbling Mubarak regime. Mohyeldin was himself detained while reporting.
Mohyeldin visited CPJ's office in New York March 23 to speak with supporters, friends and staff about the role of the pan-Arab satellite channel since a Tunisian fruit-seller in the town of Sidi Bouzid set himself on fire in December in frustration at the dead hand of political repression.
I've just returned from a hectic week at SXSW Interactive, the annual gathering of digital technologists and creators in Austin, Texas. Conferences like this are often moments of isolation from the rest of the world, where attendees become consumed with the trivia of the event itself. But because many of those attending SXSWi are prolific online journalists, bloggers, and social media users, the conference's self-obsession doesn't stay confined to Austin. One tech startup even offered a browser plugin that would hide any Twitter with the "#SXSW" tags to hide the constant chatter from the rest of the world.
New York, March 9, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by an attack on the Ouzo Hotel in the rebel-held city of Benghazi in eastern Libya on Tuesday. Unknown assailants threw an explosive device into the hotel, which has been the primary residence for journalists in the city, in the early morning hours, according to international news reports. Foreign journalists have also been detained in various towns in Libya by the authorities; all were eventually released. In Yemen, a correspondent was attacked and threats were made against Al-Jazeera. In Egypt, officers beat and injured a local journalist.
The right to receive and impart information is a fundamental human right enshrined in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but in Zimbabwe, watching news of North African and Middle East protests apparently amounts to treason.
New York, February 23, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the ongoing attack on journalists and bloggers in the Middle East. Today the Libyan deputy foreign minister warned foreign journalists crossing the eastern border that they will be treated as "outlaws," according to news reports. In Iraq, gunmen raided the office of a local press freedom group; in Egypt, pro-government supporters attacked a group of local journalists; and in Syria, a young blogger was arrested on Sunday, according to news reports.
Craig Labowitz at Arbor has been sifting through the evidence of how countries in the Middle East have been blocking and throttling the Internet in the last week. His analysis indicates that while both Bahrain and Yemen had periods of slowed or impaired access, only Libya seems to have taken the drastic step of shutting off the Net entirely.
The news of the sexual assault against CPJ board member and CBS correspondent Lara Logan hit us hard on Tuesday. At CPJ, we work daily to advocate on behalf of journalists under attack in all kinds of horrific situations around the world. Because of Lara's untiring work with our Journalist Assistance program, she's well known to everyone on our staff.
New York, February 15, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by news that CBS correspondent and CPJ board member Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and beaten in Cairo on Friday while covering rallies marking the resignation of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. "We have seen Lara's compassion at work while helping journalists who have faced brutal aggression while doing their jobs," CPJ Chairman Paul Steiger said. "She is a brilliant, courageous, and committed reporter. Our thoughts are with Lara as she recovers."
By Mohamed Abdel Dayem
Relying on an extensive network of sources in the military, government, and Islamist groups, Yemeni freelance journalist Abdulelah Shaea had become a frequent and pointed critic of the administration's counterterrorism efforts. By July, President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government had enough, dispatching security agents to seize and roughly interrogate Shaea for several hours about his reporting.
Today, on its 18th day, the Egyptian revolution has finally achieved its goal, deposing Hosni Mubarak and his regime. Egyptian journalists who have courageously found ways to work under the yoke of Mubarak's censorship and repression are releasing a sigh of relief that they've held in for three long decades.
When Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reporter Robert Tait was taken into custody by Egyptian authorities at a police checkpoint near central Cairo on February 4, he didn't know he'd become witness to torture. But, cuffed and blindfolded for 28 hours, Tait heard and saw beatings and electrocutions. "My experience, while highly personal, wasn't really about me or the foreign media," Tait writes in the U.K. Guardian. " It was about gaining an insight--if that is possible behind a blindfold--into the inner workings of the Mubarak regime." It is exactly that kind of insight that can be gained when reporters are allowed to do their jobs, and it is why CPJ exists--to fiercely defend the rights of journalists to do their work. Take a read of our recent Egypt coverage here to get a sense of the massive scale in which journalists have been attacked and detained, and see Tait's whole piece in the Guardian here.
New York, February 9, 2011--Egyptian authorities are obstructing international news coverage of the country's political crisis by withholding press credentials and, in one instance, invading the home of a foreign journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A well-known Egyptian blogger also remains unaccounted for after being seized by suspected government agents earlier this week.
CPJ's executive director lays out "What Is at Stake With Egypt's Media Crackdown" in a February 3 piece on the Huffington Post. Joel Simon writes: "With no witnesses, those undertaking the violence in Egypt will have a free hand to carry out their brutal campaign without restraint. Standing up for the rights of journalists at this crucial moment may be our last, best hope of stemming an impending bloodbath that could go down in history as the gravest example of political repression." Read the rest of his article here.
CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem spoke to Democracy Now! on February 5 about the deteriorating environment for journalists in Egypt. He told host Amy Goodman that state news outlets have become something unrecognizable: "State-owned media are no longer engaged in the business of news," Abdel Dayem said. "They are there to propagate things that are simply not true. " See the rest here:
New York, February 7, 2011--Egyptian authorities have shifted their strategy for obstructing the press as protests enter their 14th day: The military has become the predominant force detaining journalists and confiscating their equipment rather than plainclothes police or government supporters, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities have also put in place new bureaucratic obstacles for journalists covering the anti-Mubarak protests on Tahrir Square, with the military instructing reporters to seek new press credentials from the government.
New York, February 5, 2011--As journalists face ongoing attacks and detentions in Cairo, they are increasingly concerned that state broadcasts are creating an atmosphere that is encouraging violence against the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. State television and radio, along with pro-Mubarak private stations, are giving frequent airtime to presenters and guests who claim that foreigners, including international journalists, have a "hidden agenda" against the government, according to CPJ research. Local journalists have been called "infidels" for working with international media while Al-Jazeera has been accused of "inciting the people."
New York, February 3, 2011--Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak unleashed an unprecedented and systematic attack on international media today as his supporters assaulted reporters in the streets while security forces began obstructing and detaining journalists covering the unrest that threatens to topple his government.
New York, February 2, 2011--Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak have begun violently attacking journalists reporting on the streets of Cairo today, a shift in tactics from recent media censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. CPJ calls on the Egyptian military to provide protection for journalists.
"The Egyptian government is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "The government has resorted to blanket censorship, intimidation, and today a series of deliberate attacks on journalists carried out by pro-government mobs. The situation is frightening not only because our colleagues are suffering abuse but because when the press is kept from reporting, we lose an independent source of crucial information."
Internet connectivity has been restored to Egypt, though it's hard to tell from the outside just how reliable that connection is. Monitoring organizations Renesys and BGPMon provide technical details on their blogs. For a more dynamic display, RIPE, the community which helps co-ordinate the European Internet, has a live graph of the numbers of Internet routes to Egypt which currently shows the country's return.
Last night at 20:54 UTC, Noor Group, the only remaining Internet service provider in Egypt with a consumer broadband service, depeered with the rest of the Internet. There are now only 12 Egyptian networks connected to the Net, none of which appear to be offering public connections.
As massive protests endure throughout Egypt, the regime continues to disrupt the media as well as phone and Internet service. CPJ is closely following the censorship of the news, and will update on our blog today as developments break. Here's what's new:
Hosni Mubarak's regime has had 29 years to perfect its always brazen but never convincing justifications for repressing journalists who expose the travesties he and his henchmen regularly visit upon the people of Egypt. It has also long enlisted state-owned media to disseminate the ruling party's half-truths and outright lies. But over the past week, Mubarak's propaganda machine has hit a new low.
Chinese information authorities are filtering results of Chinese-language Internet searches for "Egypt" and "Cairo," according to Global Voices Online and The Wall Street Journal. The unrest raging there could prompt comparison with the student-led protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 or incite anti-government demonstrations.
New York, January 31, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Egyptian government to stop obstructing reporters' work and to immediately return equipment confiscated from Al-Jazeera and other news outlets. Internet and SMS messages services remain disabled and must be restored without delay, CPJ said today.
New York, January 30, 2011--Nilesat, the satellite transmission company owned by the Egyptian Radio and Television Union and other government agencies, has stopped transmitting the signal of Al-Jazeera's primary channel, the station and others reported today. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the actions of Egyptian authorities to disrupt media coverage by Al-Jazeera and calls on them to reverse the decision immediately.
New York, January 28, 2011--Egyptian authorities have taken unprecedented measures to block media coverage of widespread protests against the government, which are on their fourth day. CPJ condemns Cairo's news blackout and calls for authorities to immediately restore Internet and mobile phone services, end the targeting of the press, and allow media to conduct their work freely.
My colleague at CPJ, Mohamed Abdel Dayem, was the first to mail me. "Just a second ago," he wrote, "about 10 contacts of mine all disappeared off instant messaging in unison. That cannot be a coincidence."
New York, January 26, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the violence against journalists covering demonstrations in Egypt. Plainclothes and uniformed security personnel have beaten at least 10 journalists between Tuesday and today and detained others. Egyptian authorities have also shut down the websites of two popular independent newspapers and a number of social media sites.
As anti-government demonstrations continue in Cairo, Jack Shenker, a reporter for the U.K. Guardian, has captured some remarkable audio. Shenker, dragged around, punched and abused, was taken into a security truck with protesters on Tuesday night--then he turned on his recorder. He describes how "police have been incredibly violent" and how in the hot, tightly packed truck, several people fainted. Click here to hear his story.
Watching the stream of reporting from Egypt today, I've noticed some unconfirmed reports that videos of the events uploaded to YouTube have been taken down by the company.
I haven't been able to find any concrete examples, so I can't say whether this is true. YouTube takedowns did happen for a few of the more disturbing footage in the Tunisian protests, however, so I thought I'd give some general advice for preventing such removals.
In general, if you're uploading video that includes violence or upsetting imagery, YouTube may remove your content as a simple violation of its Terms of Service and Community Guidelines rather than consider its importance in a wider news context.In its Community Guidelines, YouTube writes:
"The world is a dangerous place. Sometimes people do get hurt and it's inevitable that these events may be documented on YouTube. However, it's not okay to post violent or gory content that's primarily intended to be shocking, sensational or disrespectful. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information. For instance, including a clip from a slaughter house in a video on factory farming may be appropriate. However, stringing together unrelated and gruesome clips of animals being slaughtered in a video may be considered gratuitous if its purpose is to shock rather than illustrate."
What this means is that context is important. When you are using YouTube in your reporting, the best context you can provide is a detailed explanation in the Title, Description and Tags when you upload the video. Your audience may know what is going on because you are linking from your news site or blog, but YouTube's staff will not. Even a link back to your main writing will help.
Most importantly, don't use misleading descriptions or tags in an attempt to get more views. A scene from a street demonstration that is tagged "Lady Gaga" in order to catch a wider audience will simply result in your video being deleted.
Less likely in cases of reporting live events is an accusation of copyright infringement. YouTube does have an automatic content-detection system that can sometimes be triggered by music or movie imagery included in a video. EFF has a detailed document on restoring videos if you think that may be the problem.
If you do have journalistic content taken down by a hosting provider, whether it's video, a blog, or an entire website, do let me know (I'm dobrien at cpj.org, or @danny_at_cpj on Twitter). I can't always help in every case, but sometimes being able to see a trend in takedowns means I can warn these hosts that they're making a mistake - or warn off journalists from depending on their sites.
(Thanks to Jillian York at the Berkman Center for much of the advice in this post. Victoria Grand, YouTube's senior management for communications, spoke at the GlobalVoices Citizen Media Summit last year, and discussed how their takedown process works in some detail, with a particular eye to reporting and activism in countries like Egypt. If you want to know more details, I'd recommend watching the video of her talk.)
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