April 2013


Mohamed Ahmed Jama's arm was broken in the attack. (Hubaal Media Network)

New York, April 30, 2013--A senior administration official in Somaliland has said that police officers were the perpetrators of an April 24 attack on the owner of a media network, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the semi-autonomous republic to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice.

Two masked gunmen burst into the offices of the critical independent daily Hubaal in the capital, Hargeisa, at around 11:30 p.m. as the paper's employees were proofreading the next day's issue, according to local journalists and news reports. One assailant fired at least once at Mohamed Ahmed Jama, but missed, the reports said. Mohamed is the owner and manager of the Hubaal Media Network, which publishes Hubaal and the English daily The Independent, according to Hubaal Editor-in-Chief Hassan Hussein Abdillahi. Mohamed is also the manager of both papers.

New York, April 30, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the well-being of two European journalists who went missing in western Syria three weeks ago. News reports identified the journalists as Domenico Quirico, a veteran reporter for the Italian daily La Stampa, and Pierre Piccinin da Prata, a Belgian academic and freelance writer, although the accounts did not say if the two were traveling together.

Reuters

A legislative milestone in Mexico

In what CPJ called "a step forward in the fight against impunity," Mexico approved legislation that would implement a constitutional amendment giving federal authorities broader jurisdiction to prosecute crimes against freedom of expression. 

The legislation, passed on April 25, will implement a constitutional amendment approved by the Mexican federal congress in 2012. The measure will establish accountability at senior levels of the national government, evading the more corrupt and less effective state law enforcement officials. CPJ had advocated widely for the passage of this legislation. In 2008 and 2010, a CPJ delegation met with former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, who promised he would implement the bill. 

Police in Minsk on April 26, 2013, detained for three days two reporters for the Poland-based Radio Racyja, according to the local press. The journalists, Gennady Barbarich and Aleksandr Yaroshevich, were taken into police custody on disobedience charges after reporting on a state-authorized rally, called Chernobylskiy Shlyakh, in commemoration of the April 1986 nuclear plant explosion in Chernobyl.

Two major security efforts coincide with World Press Freedom Day.

In the past, donors and groups providing security to journalists in less-developed nations tended to export a Western, military-style of training designed for a war-time environment. But the danger of covering combat is one thing. Being fired upon by a motorcycle-riding assassin is another--as is being sexually molested in a crowd, discovering a video camera in one's bedroom, or having one's phone calls intercepted. And then there is emotional toll of losing dear colleagues, and wondering whether you or your family will be next.

Two men, one wearing a mask depicting President Enrique Peña Nieto, protest to demand justice in the Regina Martínez case a year after her murder on April 28. (AP/Felix Marquez)

He certainly looked guilty of something, and as if he'd finally been caught. With either his head down or with a kind of scared, dead-eyed stare, in a white jumpsuit, in front of the four Veracruz state police officers crowded behind him. They were all in black uniforms, with a strip of face and eyes showing through black masks, with four matte black assault rifles menacingly at the ready to guard a slim man in handcuffs. (Actually, had there been any gunfire, the police were so over-armed and so close together that it's likely one of them would have been the first victim.) Still, it all looked good for the cameras and reporters summoned to hear about the man's arrest and the end of a most doggedly troublesome case for state officials: the murder of Regina Martínez Pérez on April 28 last year.

New York, April 29, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an attack on Al-Jazeera journalists and threats against a Sky News Arabia news crew by anti-government protesters in Aden on Saturday--the latest in a wave of violence against the press in the country.

Sunni Muslims chant during an anti-government protest in Samarra. (Reuters/Bakr al-Azzawi)

New York, April 29, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Iraqi government's decision on Sunday to suspend the licenses of 10 mostly pro-Sunni satellite channels accused of sectarian incitement.

New York, April 29, 2013--Part-time reporter Jitendra Singh was killed Saturday in Khunti district, Jharkhand state, according to news reports. Members of the People's Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a breakaway Maoist faction, claimed responsibility, but the motive is unclear. Singh also ran a construction business.

New York, April 26, 2013--Venezuelan authorities on Wednesday arrested a U.S. citizen working on a documentary film in the country and accused him of instigating unrest.

New York, April 26, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a series of serious assaults on the Yemeni press that have left at least five journalists or their family members injured.

Protesters seek justice in journalist murders in Veracruz, one of the nation's deadliest places for the press. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

Who can say exactly when the work of press freedom groups, human rights defenders, and budding networks of Mexican journalists became a movement? It would have been many murders, many funerals, many orphans ago. It would have been countless news events--about crime, corruption, violence--that went uncovered because reporters and news organizations concluded that the only way to survive was to stay silent. But finally, several years ago, the work of all these groups began to push the massacre of the Mexican press on to the national agenda. On Thursday, the movement led to a bill that gives the federal government jurisdiction over crimes against journalists. Today, the measure awaits only the president's approval. 

New York, April 26, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the health of editor Amara al-Khatabi and calls on Libyan authorities to allow him to travel in order to receive urgent medical assistance abroad. 

Vladimir Putin speaks to the media following a live nationwide broadcast phone-in, in Moscow Thursday. (Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti)

In the year since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency, independent media, civil society groups, and opposition activists have been under attack. But as he has done in the past, Putin recently asserted that his government is not engaged in political repression.

As if a faltering media industry and rising risks to endangered journalists as NATO reduces its forces in 2014 aren't bad enough, add in a president pandering to religious conservatives in a pre-presidential election run-up. Reporting from Kabul, Reuters said Wednesday:  

Bangkok, April 26, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the decision by Thailand's Ministry of Culture to reverse its earlier imposed ban on the locally produced documentary Fah Tam Pan Din Soon (Boundary).

"The ministry's reversal of its censorship order against director Nontawat Numbchapol's documentary is a step in the right direction," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. "We would encourage government authorities to reconsider their banning of various other politically-oriented films, books and websites currently censored."

Mexico City, April 25, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists joins journalists with the Mexican daily Vanguardia in calling on authorities to launch an efficient and thorough investigation into the murder of photographer Daniel Martínez Balzaldúa.

At least five journalists reported being attacked on April 13, 2013, while covering alleged extortion by students at Dhaka University in the capital. News accounts said the students had been extorting money from drivers of vehicles in the surrounding area, but did not offer further details.

A police van takes defendants in the rape trial to court. (Reuters/Adnan Abidi)

A British journalist trying to cover the Delhi gang rape trial was asked to leave the courtroom on Tuesday after the prosecution objected to the presence of the international press. Andrew Buncombe, a correspondent for The Independent of London, was ejected from a court in the Indian capital even though a wide-ranging order restricting press coverage had been lifted last month. 

In a welcome move Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah offered to shelve Kuwait's controversial draft media law, according to news reports. The announcement came in what the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) called a "candid, frank, and expanded meeting with chief editors of Kuwaiti press." 

Istanbul, April 25, 2013--An Istanbul court convicted a Turkish editor of "publicly insulting the president" and sentenced him to a conditional term of 14 months in prison, according to news reports. Ali Örnek would be jailed if he repeats the perceived offense sometime in the next five years under amendments to Turkey's criminal code introduced in 2012.

New York, April 25, 2013-The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the approval today of legislation that will implement a constitutional amendment that gives federal authorities in Mexico broader jurisdiction to prosecute crimes against freedom of expression. 

"This is a legislative milestone and a step forward in the fight against the impunity that persists in crimes against the press," said CPJ senior Americas program coordinator, Carlos Lauría. "We urge President Enrique Peña Nieto to immediately sign these measures into law and then ensure that authorities effectively use this new tool to bring the killers of journalists to justice."   

Bangkok, April 25, 2013--Thailand's Ministry of Culture has banned the locally produced documentary Fah Tam Pan Din Soon (Boundary) on grounds that it could "mislead and disrupt public order," according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the censorship order and calls on ministry officials to reverse the arbitrary decision.

More than a quarter million Twitter accounts have been hacked worldwide, the social media company disclosed in February, but Tuesday's attack on The Associated Press's verified account, @AP, had unusual effect. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 143 points after someone hijacked the AP's account to falsely tweet that two explosions at the White House had wounded President Barack Obama. The market recovered, but the hacking--just the latest in a series of attacks on news organizations--sent shudders through a profession that's grown accustomed to breaking its news on Twitter.

Kyrgyzstan has endured a turbulent past and continues to face significant challenges, but its leaders are committed to a democratic future, Djoomart Otorbayev, the nation's deputy prime minister, told human rights and press freedom advocates in New York this week. The country still grapples with the repercussions of the brutal June 2010 ethnic conflict that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. Journalist Azimjon Askarov remains in prison on charges that CPJ and numerous human rights groups have determined to be in retaliation for his work in uncovering official abuses during the unrest.

Supporters of Kuwaiti opposition politician Musallam al-Barrak pray in the yard of his house in Andulos, after he was sentenced to jail for insulting the emir, April 15. (Reuters/Stephanie McGehee)

On April 8, the Kuwaiti cabinet approved a draft media law that would severely undermine press freedom in the country. But it is not too late to prevent a bad bill from becoming a bad law.

The last several months in Italy have seen a few disquieting attacks against independent media and an investigative reporter. In one case, the widely distributed independent newspaper La Stampa received an explosive device in the mail.  The Federazione Anarchica Informale/Fronte Rivoluzionario, an anarchist organization, claimed responsibility and ominously noted that La Stampa was just one of many newspapers that could be a target of the group's war against the state. CPJ research shows that the state of press freedom in Italy is among the most volatile in Western Europe, with violence and legal action sometimes perpetrated by criminal groups or political actors.

New York, April 23, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Swaziland's appeals court to overturn last week's conviction of an editor for "contempt by scandalizing the court" in relation to two articles criticizing the country's chief justice.

Muslim Brotherhood members shout slogans during a protest in front of the Supreme Judicial Council in Cairo on Friday. Arabic on the T-shirt reads, 'clean judiciary.' (AP/Amr Nabil)

New York, April 23, 2013--At least 13 journalists were attacked amid clashes between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition Friday in Cairo and Alexandria. Demonstrators supporting the Muslim Brotherhood were calling for reform of Egypt's judiciary, while opposition groups were protesting the Brotherhood and the government it leads. 

New York, April 23, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the passage in the Senate of highly restrictive amendments to Burundi's Press Law and calls on President Pierre Nkurunziza to reject the bill when it comes to him for confirmation.

It seemed clear-cut and sadly familiar: A journalist was shot and killed while walking in Mogadishu, one of the deadliest places in the world for the press. Yet in the four weeks that have passed since those initial reports from international and local news agencies--accounts that were then amplified by the United Nations, CPJ, and numerous human rights groups--virtually everything about the case has been cast into doubt. Was there a murder, after all? Who was the woman said to have been targeted? Does she even exist, at least as she was described? What did the people described as eyewitnesses really see? And why, after telling local journalists early on that the case was actually being investigated as a false report, have police gone silent for weeks?

Mourners carry the coffin of Somali journalist Mohamed Ibrahim Raage in Jazira on the outskirts of Mogadishu on Monday. (AFP/Mohamed Abdiwahab)

Nairobi, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Somali authorities to keep their promise to prosecute journalists' killers by investigating the murder of Mohamed Ibrahim Raage. Two unidentified gunmen shot Mohamed around 5:30 p.m. Sunday near his home in Mogadishu's Dharkenley district, according to local journalists.

Mexico City, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Mexican authorities to fully investigate the disappearance of journalist Sergio Landa Rosado in the state of Veracruz. Landa, who covers the crime beat for the local daily Diario Cardel, has been missing since January, according to news reports.

New York, April 22, 2013--Authorities in the Philippines should thoroughly investigate today's murder of a radio journalist, identify the motive, and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Mario Vendiola Baylosis was killed by two unidentified gunmen in the town of Kabasalan in the southern province of Zamboanga Sibugay, according to news reports.

New York, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a death threat sent to the Mexico office of the international freedom of expression organization Article 19.

"Mexican authorities must launch an exhaustive investigation into this threat and bring those responsible to justice," said CPJ Senior Americas Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría. "The authorities have a responsibility to ensure that journalists and defenders of press freedom can work without fear for their safety."

(Awramba Times)

New York, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists protests Ethiopian authorities' transfer of independent newspaper editor Woubshet Taye to a remote prison several hours away from his family's home. Woubshet has been imprisoned since June 2011 on vague terrorism charges that CPJ has determined to be unsubstantiated.

New York, April 19, 2013--The Bahraini government ordered three journalists from the British television network ITV to leave the country today, according to news reports citing an ITV spokesman. The journalists, who were also briefly detained on Thursday, are in the process of leaving the country.

Ali and Namu are threatened after suggesting foul play in a government official's death. (The Standard)

Nairobi, April 19, 2013--Two investigative journalists have reported receiving death threats in Kenya shortly after airing a story suggesting foul play in a government official's death, according to news reports and local journalists.

Two journalists with a daily paper in Nigeria have been charged with forgery. (Courtesy Leadership)

Lagos, Nigeria, April 19, 2013--Two Nigerian journalists and their employer have been charged with forgery in connection with their publication of a memo reported to be from President Goodluck Jonathan, according to news reports. If convicted, the journalists could face life terms.

As political turmoil continues between Islamists and secularists in Bangladesh, the climate for press freedom is rapidly deteriorating. The tensions stem from an ongoing war crimes tribunal tasked with prosecuting genocide, crimes against humanity, and other crimes dating back to the 1971 war of independence. 

The cover of the Belarus Press Photo Album. (AP)

Thursday's court ruling in the western Grodno region of Belarus is not befitting a modern European country, where servants of justice--prosecutors and judges--are expected to ensure protection for press freedom and human rights. Instead, it is reminiscent of medieval Europe, where dissent was declared heresy and ordered destroyed.

The Oshmyansky District Court ruled that the 2011 edition of the Belarus Press Photo album contained extremist materials that "deliberately contort" social, economic, and political life in the country. Belarus Press Photo is an independent press photography contest that aims to support, promote, and develop local photojournalism, according to its mission statement.

Tim Hetherington, center, is the subject of a new documentary. (HBO)

Two years ago this week, on the central boulevard of the Western Libyan city of Misurata, freelance photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed by mortar rounds from government forces. Hondros lost consciousness almost immediately. Hetherington bled out in the back of a pick-up truck as he clutched the hand of a Spanish photographer. 

You have to wonder how this will be enforced, but China's State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television has issued a "Notice on Strengthening Control of Media Personnel's Online Activities" (关于加强新闻采编人员网络活动管理的通知). Chinese media organizations have been told to stop posting foreign media news without government permission:  "Without authorization, no kind of media outlets shall arbitrarily use media release from overseas media agencies and media websites," is the way Caijing magazine translated it.

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, is disturbed by the ongoing campaign by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) to intimidate journalists and interfere in their work, including by censoring newspapers. In particular we are concerned for the safety of the Khartoum bureau chief for international news network Al-Jazeera, Almassllmani Al-Kabashi, who has been repeatedly harassed by NISS.

New York, April 18, 2013--The cases of an Iranian blogger imprisoned for seven months without trial and a prominent freelance journalist whose health has deteriorated in prison illustrate the ongoing abuses being perpetrated by Iranian authorities, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

There is good news from Strasbourg that follows up on my entry from earlier this week, "European Parliament has chance to take on Vietnam." Today, the European Parliament did exactly that when they unanimously adopted an Urgent Resolution on Vietnam. It was a wide-ranging document, but a large part was devoted the freedom of expression issues that are central to CPJ's concerns. In Article 7, the European Parliament:

New York, April 18, 2013--Yemeni authorities must investigate a series of assaults on the press in the past two weeks and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A bomb was discovered at a building that houses media outlets and three journalists received death threats, according to news reports and journalists who spoke to CPJ.

An Afghan journalist films in Kabul as a military helicopter flies above. (Reuters/Ahmad Masood)

Considering the worst-case scenarios for post-2014 Afghanistan, international news agencies should start planning a range of assistance responses for locally hired journalists and media staff. By the end of 2014, NATO troops will have largely withdrawn and the Karzai government will make way for a new administration. If the situation becomes chaotic, Afghans working for foreign and local media could become targets for retribution for their work as journalists.

Mexico City, April 17, 2013--The national Mexican magazine Proceso reported Tuesday that it has learned of a plot by officials in the government of Veracruz to harm journalist Jorge Carrasco, who has reported extensively on the murder of the magazine's correspondent in that state.  The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to fully investigate the alleged threats and to ensure Carrasco's safety. 

Lagos, Nigeria, April 17, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a recent decision by the Nigerian government to ban the exhibition and distribution of a documentary film on corruption in the state's management of oil wealth, "Fuelling Poverty."

The site of a suicide bombing in Peshawar today, where more than 20 people, including at least one journalist, were killed. (AFP/A. Majeed)

New York, April 16, 2013--At least one journalist was killed and two were injured in a suicide bomb attack during a political rally today in Pakistan's northwestern provincial capital of Peshawar, according to news reports.

New York, April 16, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the official harassment of a pro-opposition daily in Dhaka and calls on all parties to ensure a free and vibrant press is allowed to function amid ongoing political turmoil.

Dear President Nkurunziza: We are writing to bring to your attention restrictive amendments to Burundi's 2003 Press Law that were passed in the National Assembly on April 3. The bill will go before the Senate and if passed, will soon come to you for confirmation. We ask that you use the power of your office to reject this severely restrictive bill, thus reaffirming your government's commitment to press freedom.

New York, April 15, 2013--Brazilian authorities must bring to justice the assailants involved in the murder of a crime photographer on Sunday night, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Walgney Assis Carvalho was a freelance photographer who contributed to the daily Vale do Aço in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

The Italian Foreign Minister announced in a statement on April 13, 2013, that four Italian journalists abducted in northern Syria on April 4, 2013, had been released. News accounts reported that the journalists were believed to have been held for more than a week by the rebel group, Jabhat Al-Nusra, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, but the foreign ministry did not immediately confirm the information.

The offices of the Sri Lankan daily Uthayan after the attack. (AP/Marythas Newtan)

New York, April 15, 2013--Sri Lankan authorities must immediately investigate an attack on the offices of a Tamil-language newspaper and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The offices of Uthayan have been attacked twice in two weeks.

New York, April 15, 2013--Prosecutors in Abakan, capital of the Republic of Khakassia in southern Siberia, should drop the criminal defamation charges against an online journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. News accounts are reporting that after four months of investigation, Mikhail Afanasyev's case is moving to court, although no date has yet been set.

On Thursday, April 18, the European Parliament will discuss Vietnam's human rights in a plenary session. At the top of the agenda will be freedom of expression. Over the weekend, CPJ's Brussels-based Senior Adviser Jean-Paul Marthoz blogged about the issues the parliament must confront in Le Soir.  

Political prisoners leave Kober Prison in Khartoum on April 2. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's call to release political prisoners and launch dialogue with the opposition coincided with a return to pre-publication censorship. (Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

In a return to old tactics, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Sudan have resumed strict pre-publication censorship.

New York, April 12, 2013--Amid growing political conflict that threatens even more violence in Bangladesh, an editor of a pro-opposition newspaper in Dhaka has been arrested on accusations of inciting religious tension, according to news reports. The editor faces earlier charges of sedition as well, the reports said.

At least four local Egyptian journalists were physically attacked during a weekend of street violence that began April 5, 2013, according to news reports. The reports said an international journalist was also briefly detained.

A short note to follow up on an alert we posted Wednesday on the threatened deportation of Lohini Rathimohan  (also spelled Lokini), a former television journalist and one of 19 Tamil refugees facing deportation from the United Arab Emirates. Earlier reports said the refugees, who reached Dubai illegally, could be deported this week.

Tibetan blogger Woeser waves from the balcony of her home in Beijing on March 8. She was named an International Woman of Courage by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, but rather than being allowed to accept it, she was placed under house arrest. (Reuters/Petar Kujundzic)

As John Kerry visits China this weekend in his first trip there as U.S. secretary of state, he should take the opportunity to engage Chinese leaders on their problematic record regarding press freedom. 

Umar Cheema, a CPJ International Press Freedom Award winner in 2011, was a strong runner-up for this year's Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, awarded for the last 10 years by the Asia Society in New York. Umar's report, Representation Without Taxation, analyzed the tax returns of Pakistani members of parliament for 2011.

Israeli forces shot Palestinian freelance photographer Mohammed al-Azza, 23, in the face with a rubber-coated bullet on April 8, 2013, in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, according to local news reports. Al-Azza was taken to a local hospital, where he underwent several surgeries to repair the broken bones in his face.

On Wednesday, more than a year after being blocked in Kyrgyzstan by government order, Ferghana News was again accessible to the public without the aid of proxy servers. Most local Internet providers, including the state-owned Kyrgyz Telecom, restored access to the website, Daniil Kislov, Ferghana's editor, told CPJ.

New York, April 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's announcement that he will withdraw legal complaints against journalists who "spread wrong information." The announcement was posted on the presidency's Twitter account and confirmed by Presidential spokesman Ehab Fahmy.

The office of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said a memo published by Leadership newspaper was fictitious. (AP/Sunday Alamba)

Lagos, Nigeria, April 10, 2013--Nigerian police should stop harassing the staff of the leading independent daily Leadership over a story critical of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On Monday, police in the capital Abuja summoned four Leadership journalists for questioning over an April 3 story entitled "Outrage Trails Presidential Directive on Tinubu, APC," according to the newspaper. The story reported on public criticism of Jonathan following Leadership's publication a day earlier of a purported presidential memorandum in which Jonathan allegedly laid out plans to increase petrol prices and sabotage a merger of opposition political parties ahead of the 2015 elections by targeting their leaders' business interests.

Syrian security forces assaulted and briefly detained a Sky News Arabic crew on Monday, April 8, 2013, according to correspondent Khalil al-Hamlu. In a live broadcast, al-Hamlu said his crew was reporting on a car bomb in central Damascus when Syrian security forces confronted the group. The crew were beaten and detained for a few hours before being released without serious injuries.

Sri Lankan Tamils hold photos of family members who disappeared in the war between Sri Lankan government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels as they wait to hand over a petition at the U.N. office in Colombo on March 13. (Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte)

New York, April 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by news reports that a Tamil journalist in the United Arab Emirates may be deported to Sri Lanka this week despite her United Nations refugee status, and calls on authorities in the UAE to halt any such deportation measures.

New York, April 10, 2013--Unidentified gunmen apparently fired upon a Honduran TV journalist whose work had included coverage of a sensitive land conflict, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to conduct a thorough and effective investigation that leads to arrests in the attack against journalist Fidelina Sandoval, who was unharmed.

New York, April 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Cuban journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a reporter with the independent news agency Centro de Información Hablemos Press, who had been imprisoned since September while reporting on an international medical donation to Cuba.

Dear Minister Birhan Hailu: We are writing to bring to your attention the case of Ethiopian journalist and teacher Reeyot Alemu, whose health has deteriorated since her imprisonment in June 2011 on terrorism charges and who is now being threatened with solitary confinement. The Ethiopian Ministry of Justice has publicly subscribed to a vision in which "human and democratic rights are respected," yet Reeyot's full human rights are being denied to her in Kality Prison.

New York, April 9, 2013--Kuwaiti authorities are undermining freedom of expression with a series of arrests and prosecutions intended to stifle dissent, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At least six Kuwaiti journalists are facing legal action in reprisal for their work, according to news reports.

New York, April 9, 2013--Lawyers for Ferghana News, a website blocked in Kyrgyzstan for more than a year, have filed an appeal urging the courts to overturn the ban that they say violates fundamental civil rights. The Committee to Protect Journalists urges the court to find in favor of the website and order restoration of domestic access immediately.

Several journalists were attacked in an altercation with doctors and medical interns outside the Agartala Government Medical College in the state of Tripura on April 5, 2013, according to news reports. The journalists had arrived on the scene to cover allegations by family members of a patient who the relatives said had died of improper treatment, the reports said.

Activists demonstrate in Dhaka over the weekend, calling for bloggers to be given the death penalty. (Reuters/Andrew Biraj)

This past weekend, hundreds of thousands of Islamists took to the streets in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, demanding death for bloggers whose work they see as blasphemous. The demonstrations highlight the deteriorating climate for journalists, both those whose work is the target of the protests and those who have tried to cover the events. Several journalists were assaulted while covering the day-long demonstrations, including reporter Nadia Sharmin of the private broadcaster Ekushey Television. She was assaulted by a group of 50 to 60 Islamists who threw her to the ground, beat her, and told her that reporting was an unfit profession for a woman, news reports said.

New York, April 8, 2013--Pierre Borghi, a French photographer who was abducted in Kabul more than four months ago, has escaped his captors, according to news reports citing the Afghan government. Borghi's disappearance had not been made public in 2012 at the request of the French authorities who were trying to secure the journalist's release.

Mikhail Beketov's recovery, in photos by CPJ and news agencies.

Mikhail Beketov, the former crusading editor of the independent newspaper Khimkinskaya Pravda in the Moscow suburb, Khimki, died this afternoon at a Moscow hospital. A choking episode during lunch led to heart failure, Elena Kostyuchenko, Beketov's friend and a reporter for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, told CPJ by phone from Moscow. Really, though, Beketov's life was taken by the thugs who smashed his skull, broke his legs, pulverized his hands, and left him to die in the freezing cold nearly five years ago. He defied them, surviving that November 2008 night and valiantly rallying in the ensuing years, but the once robust and fearless editor was never the same.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is known for his intolerance to criticism. (Reuters/Peter Dejong/Pool)

Today, hope for peace between the government of Turkey and Kurdish rebels is closer than ever to becoming reality. A resolution to the conflict, after more than 30 years, could have ramifications for Turkey's standing as the world's worst jailer of journalists. According to CPJ research, three-quarters of the journalists imprisoned in Turkey are from the pro-Kurdish media.

New York, April 8, 2013--A Yemeni news editor who reported frequently on alleged misuse of a public reconstruction fund was sentenced to a three-month jail sentence in relation to one of his articles, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on an appellate court to overturn the conviction.

New York, April 8, 2013--Pakistani authorities should immediately investigate an attack on the Karachi bureau of the Urdu-language Daily Tawar and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

The Baghdad offices of at least four independent daily newspapers were attacked on April 1, 2013, with the assailants destroying equipment and injuring several employees.

New York, April 5, 2013--An Azerbaijani court has sentenced the editor of a religious news website to eight years in prison on charges related to his coverage of events involving the Muslim community. The Committee to Protect Journalists considers the charges to be fabricated and calls on the courts to overturn the conviction on appeal.

Eskinder Nega (Eskinder family)

Authorities in Ethiopia describe Eskinder Nega, a prominent columnist and government critic jailed since September 2011 on vague terrorism charges, as a dangerous individual bent on violent revolution. However, in an opinion handed down in 2012--publicized only this week by Washington, D.C.-based legal advocacy group Freedom Now--a United Nations panel of five independent experts ruled that Eskinder's imprisonment came "as a result of his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression."

The two websites at the University of Texas at Austin, at first blush, seemed to have been unlikely targets for attack. The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and its blog cover news about journalism, press freedom and journalist safety throughout the Western hemisphere, with an emphasis on trends in Latin America. The website of the International Symposium for Online Journalism provides information about meetings and other professional issues. Both websites were shut down for two weeks last month in a targeted cyber-attack.

New York, April 5, 2013--Police in Somalia say they have been holding a woman in custody for much of this week after they say questions were raised about the veracity of reports that a journalist was fatally shot in Mogadishu on March 24.

A man reads the Southern Weekly cover story at a newsstand in Beijing on January 10. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

Three days into his retirement, Zeng Li (曾礼) died yesterday at age 61, apparently of intestinal bleeding. Surprisingly, his March 28 farewell letter has spread across China's social media sites and blogs. The letter is an apology, an explanation of sorts, and an admission of regret regarding the latter part of his career. Zeng served in Southern Weekly's internal censorship program--his title there most likely translates best as "news examiner."

Lagos, Nigeria, April 4, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on authorities in Togo to investigate an apparently deliberate hit-and-run attack Wednesday on freelance photojournalist and videographer Koffi Djidonou Frédéric Attipou. 

New York, April 4, 2013--A Kuwait-based Syrian businessman has announced a monetary reward for any individuals who capture and turn over to security forces journalists affiliated with the pan-Arab channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called the announcement a deplorable effort to silence news coverage that is critical to the world's understanding of the conflict.

Bangladeshi bloggers form a human chain to protest the detention of their colleagues. (AFP/Munir uz Zaman)

New York, April 4, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the recent arrests of four Bangladeshi bloggers in Dhaka in connection with their Internet posts that police said hurt the religious beliefs of people.

The National Communications Council suspended Ruben Malick Djoumbissie, host of Canal 2tective, for three months. The investigative TV show has been banned indefinitely. (Canal 2 International)

New York, April 3, 2013--In a wave of censorship, Cameroon has indefinitely banned two TV programs for what regulators considered violent content and another three radio programs on vague charges of ethics violations, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the move, which also includes the suspension of at least seven journalists.

Six masked assailants on April 3, 2013, attacked the offices of a Tamil-language newspaper in the town of Kilinochchi in the Northern Province, injuring several employees and damaging equipment, according to news reports.

New York, April 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by news reports that its Middle East consultant, Shaimaa Abulkhair, would be investigated by national security prosecutors in Egypt for comments she made about the widely criticized criminal case against satirist Bassem Youssef.

Dear Prime Minister Cameron: You recently spoke out in defense of press freedom in Africa by raising the case of an imprisoned Somali journalist when you met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The journalist was subsequently released. The moral authority of a British prime minister to mount such a defense stems in part from Britain's history of nearly 300 years without government regulation of the press.

A man shovels snow on the destroyed Yalu bridge, right, next to the Friendship Bridge linking China and North Korea. (AP/Aritz Parra)

New York, April 2, 2013--An editor for an influential Chinese Communist Party journal said Monday he was suspended after his column appeared in a British publication calling on China to re-evaluate its relations with North Korea, according to news reports.

As the world welcomes celebrated Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez on her first international tour in a decade, we must also remember journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, who continues to be confined not only to the island nation, but to a prison cell in Havana Province.

New York, April 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ongoing imprisonment of independent Uzbek editor Muhammad Bekjanov, whose health has severely deteriorated in jail, and urges authorities to immediately release him so that he may receive medical care. Bekjanov and a colleague, both of whom were jailed in 1999, have been in prison for longer than any other journalists worldwide, according to CPJ research.

(Boukary Daou)

New York, April 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's decision by a judge in Mali to grant bail to a journalist who was jailed for 27 days in connection with his paper's publication of a letter critical of a military leader. CPJ calls on the public prosecutor to drop the charges against Boukary Daou, an editor of the daily Le Républicain.

Daou was released from the central prison in Bamako, the capital, at around 3 p.m. after the judge granted his application for bail pending trial, Assane Koné, editor-in-chief of the paper, told CPJ. Daou told CPJ he shared a cell with about 50 other inmates. Daou has been charged with incitement to mutiny and publishing false information and faces up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of 150 million CFA francs (US$293,000) if convicted, according to local journalists. His trial is scheduled to resume on April 16.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pardoned Al-Quds TV journalist Mamdouh Hamamreh on March 28, 2013, the same day that a West Bank appeals court upheld his one-year sentence for insulting the presidency, according to news reports.

Wesonga

Nairobi, April 1, 2013--A correspondent for The Star daily newspaper was found dead Sunday morning in his house in the coastal city of Mombasa, local journalists told CPJ. A housemate found reporter Bernard Wesonga with blood on his nose and mouth at around 11:30 a.m., Star Deputy Editor Charles Kerich said.

Jörg Armbruster, a correspondent for the German public broadcaster ARD, was seriously injured by gunfire during a military clash in Aleppo on March 29, 2013, according to news reports.  After emergency surgery inside Syria on the same day, Armbruster was transferred by ambulance to Turkey, where he was treated by an emergency medical team. After his condition stabilized, he was evacuated to Stuttgart on April 1, according to the ARD subsidiary SWR.

Last week, two gunmen waited near the home of a young Somali journalist, Rahmo Abdulkadir, who had recently returned to the capital from the Galgadud district in central Somalia where she worked as a reporter for Radio Abudwaq (Worshipper). According to local journalists, 25-year-old Rahmo had just left an Internet café in Mogadishu around 9:30 p.m. on March 24 with a friend when she was shot and killed. Her companion was not harmed.