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spring1997


Attacks 1997 CPJ Home 

Enemies of the Press: The 10 Worst Offenders of 1997

On May 3, in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day, CPJ announced its annual choices of the top 10 Enemies of the Press worldwide. Those who made the list this year, as in the past, earned the dubious distinction by exhibiting particular zeal for the ruthless suppression of journalists. For the second consecutive year, the leader of Algeria's Armed Islamic Group took first place in a roster that includes a number of repeat offenders and a troubling cast of newcomers.
Kuwait Releases Journalists From Prison

Six Jordanian journalists were among 405 prisoners released from Kuwaiti prisons on Feb. 25 as part of a pardon by Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah marking the sixth anniversary of the country's liberation from Iraqi occupation.

West Africa's Independent Radio Broadcasters Targeted

Six months after the coup in Niger led by General Ibrahim Mainassara, during the July 1996 national elections, Radio Anfani managing director Gremah Boucar faced down numerous attempts by Mainassara's military regime to force the station permanently off the air, including a one-month period where soldiers stormed and occupied the Anfani studios. Almost a year later, Boucar is still paying a high price for his commitment to airing uncensored international and local news: At 3:30 a.m. on March 3, five unidentified armed men wearing military uniforms ransacked the Radio Anfani studios and destroyed recently installed equipment valued at $80,000.

Shin Bet Agent Impersonates Israeli Journalist

In what may be part of a systematic effort by Israeli internal security forces to use journalism as a cover for intelligence-gathering, agents from Israel's General Security Services, also known as the Shin Bet, impersonated a veteran Israeli television news correspondent. The impersonated journalist, Yoram Cohen, who works for Channel 1TV covering the West Bank and Gaza, learned of the ruse on Feb. 29 from Palestinian and Israeli colleagues, and later read about it in the Israeli daily Maariv, which quoted a Palestinian journalist who had been "interviewed" by the journalist-impostor on Feb. 28.

Press Freedom Proves Elusive in Sierra Leone

The promise of a democratic society was fleeting in Sierra Leone, a country that ushered in an elected government under President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in March 1996. After a grace period when newspapers began to be published, the state launched a campaign of intolerance against the print media, attempting to cow them into self-censorship or precipitate their collapse.

Two Nigerian Journalists Released as Abacha Bends to International Pressure

T hree weeks after exiled Nigerian journalist Dapo Olorunyomi spoke of his imprisoned wife's plight at an April CPJ roundtable on Gen. Sani Abacha's media crackdown, she was released. Nigerian authorities had held Ladi Olorunyomi, a journalist and women's rights advocate affiliated with the Independent Journalism Center in Lagos, for 68 days without criminal charges. Within 24 hours of her release, Godwin Agbroko, editor in chief of The Week magazine, was freed after a 15-week detention.

Turkey's Journalists View Amnesty Plans With Caution

When the Turkish government in March announced a plan to coordinate the release from prison of some of the many journalists who have been convicted under the country's infamous anti-terror law, Turkish journalists greeted the announcement with skepticism. Given Turkey's dismal press freedom record under the government of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, and that of his predecessor, Tansu Ciller, the journalists' skepticism is well-founded: Turkey, according to information CPJ documented in January, holds 78 journalists in its prisons--more than any other country.

Argentina Outraged Over Journalist's Murder

For most of the U.S. media, there was only one "South America story" last winter and well into the spring: the four-month stand-off in Lima between the hostage-holding Tupac Amaru guerrillas and the government of Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. The media's focus on Peru obscured an important story that galvanized public opinion in another major country in the region--the brutal execution-style slaying of a photojournalist in Argentina.