Blog   |   New Zealand, USA

New Zealand, US may have spied on McClatchy reporter

Concern over government surveillance of journalists has washed up on the faraway shores of New Zealand, with a report in the country's Sunday Star this week asserting that the military there, with help from U.S. intelligence, spied on an investigative journalist who had been critical of its activities in Afghanistan. 

Blog   |   Syria

Attacks on Orient News illustrate Syria's many threats

Obaida Batal, correspondent for Orient News, has been taken hostage in Syria. (Orient News)

It is increasingly difficult to document violations against the press in Syria, let alone hold those responsible to account. It has always been hard to verify facts within the country. But now, the sheer number of violations and the expanding list of violators have become admittedly overwhelming. 

Blog   |   Burkina Faso

Jailed Burkinabe journalist appeals to African Court

Lohé Issa Konaté (Lydia Ouédraogo)

Journalist Lohé Issa Konaté has been imprisoned in Burkina Faso since he was convicted in October of criminal defamation over articles in private weekly L'Ouragan alleging corruption and abuse of power at the office of the public prosecutor. In May, an appeals court rejected his appeal and upheld the 12-month sentence, according to defense counsel Halidou Ouedraogo. Now, after exhausting all domestic legal remedies, Konaté has filed a complaint with the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in Tanzania. 

Blog   |   Zimbabwe

Q&A: Zenzele Ndebele promotes radio in Zimbabwe

Zenzele Ndebele (Liesl Frankson/Wits Vuvuzela)

With Zimbabwe elections days away, the fight over access to the airwaves has intensified. The media environment has loosened slightly compared with previous years, but most Zimbabweans still lack access to independent sources of news, including radio. One person familiar with obstacles to broadcasting is Zenzele Ndebele, editor of Radio Dialogue, a community radio station based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, founded in 2001.

Blog   |   China

Chinese censors silence corruption blogger

Chinese censors have cracked down on blogger Zhu Ruifeng, an apparent signal that there are limits to the government's tolerance for citizens assisting with the exposure of corrupt officials.

On July 16, one day after the Beijing-based blogger and founder of an anti-corruption website published corruption allegations about the chief secretary of Jinjiang city in Fujian province, his online presence disappeared.

Blog   |   Afghanistan

Afghan journalists in good hands--their own

I've been making the rounds of journalists and organizations in Kabul for the last several days. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been asked to come up with a support plan for journalists after next year's presidential elections, the drawdown of international troops, and an expected reduction in international aid.

Blog   |   CPJ

After Security Council, what next for journalist safety?

NBC's Richard Engel and AP's Kathleen Carroll at the U.N. Security Council. (AP/Mary Altaffer)

Speaking at a U.N. Security Council discussion about the protection of journalists, Associated Press Executive Editor and CPJ Vice Chair Kathleen Carroll remembered the 31 AP journalists who have died reporting the news and whose names grace the Wall of Honor that visitors pass as they enter the agency's New York headquarters. Most were killed covering war, from the Battle of the Little Big Horn to Vietnam to Iraq. But around the world, Carroll noted, "most journalists who die today are not caught in some wartime crossfire, they are murdered just because of what they do. And those murders are rarely ever solved; the killers rarely ever punished."

Blog   |   France

Mediapart complies with ruling, but vows to fight on

At midnight on Monday, the French news website Mediapart complied with the Versailles court of appeal which last week ordered the site to withdraw articles referring to the Bettencourt recordings--the secret tapings of Liliane Bettencourt, the richest woman in France, by her butler. Mediapart as well as the newsweekly Le Point had been sued for violation of privacy by the Bettencourt family and by the L'Oréal heiress' legal tutor and fund manager, Patrice de Maistre. Le Point withdrew its articles on Friday.

Blog   |   Colombia

Protests in Catatumbo add to risk in Colombia

Reporting from Catatumbo, a region in northern Colombia dominated by guerrillas and drug traffickers, has always been challenging.  But working conditions for journalists have seriously deteriorated amid nearly two months of anti-government protests pitting thousands of angry peasant farmers against soldiers and riot police.

Blog   |   India

Kashmir's Internet suspension fits pattern of restrictions

A Kashmiri youth throws a piece of brick at Indian police during a protest in Srinagar on July 18. Indian paramilitary soldiers fired at protesters in the region last week, killing four. (Reuters/Danish Ismail)

Curbing the flow of information during heightened periods of tension has become routine business by authorities in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Access to mobile Internet service was suspended Thursday after violent protests erupted in the state. Although the service was restored late that night, the episode is another example of the government's heavy-handed tactics.

July 22, 2013 1:35 PM ET

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Surveillance detection for journalists in the field

Outside the Moscow apartment building of Anna Politkovskaya on the night of her murder in 2006. A ex-police officer pleaded guilty to orchestrating extensive surveillance leading to her slaying. (AP/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Much has been made recently about the digital surveillance of journalists--and rightly so--but physical surveillance remains a key tactic of security forces, law enforcement, and private entities. These operatives are monitoring journalists, gathering intelligence on them, and potentially obstructing journalists' work or putting them at risk.

July 22, 2013 8:22 AM ET

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Blog   |   Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe vote nears, state media drown out others

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace greet party supporters on their arrival at a campaign rally in Chitungiwiza, Zimbabwe, on Tuesday. (AP/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

When Star-FM launched on June 25, 2012, it was the first time in 30 years that Zimbabweans, who have known no other radio besides the state-controlled Radio Zimbabwe, had the chance to call in to a radio station to express their views. 

Blog   |   Internet, USA

CPJ, coalition press for information on surveillance

CPJ today joined an unprecedented coalition of leading Internet companies and civil liberty activists in the United States to press Washington to be more open about its massive and controversial surveillance programs.

Blog   |   Afghanistan

For Afghan journalists, elections, not troops, are key

A man offers evening prayers on a hilltop overlooking Kabul on Wednesday. As the devout mark the holy month of Ramadan, Afghanistan's warlords and powerbrokers must decide on a successor to President Hamid Karzai. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani)

I'm in Kabul for several days, making the rounds of journalists' organizations and media houses. My brief is to see what, if anything, can be done to protect journalists after the withdrawal of NATO troops during and after 2014. But "post-2014" has much different connotations for the Afghans with whom I've spoken or been in email correspondence. They see post-2014 as the period that follows national elections. With foreign troops increasingly staying close to their bases, Afghans are fully aware their future is in their own hands.

July 18, 2013 11:28 AM ET

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Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Doubts as Sri Lanka says Commonwealth meeting open

As Sri Lanka prepares to host the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November, some journalists have wondered whether they will be able to access the summit given the island nation's abysmal press freedom record.

Blog   |   Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso state media journalists protest censorship

Journalists working for state media protest Tuesday in front of the Communications Ministry in Ouagadougou against authorities' meddling in their work. (AFP/Ahmed Ouoba)

In Burkina Faso, tens of journalists from state media today held a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Communications in the capital Ouagadougou to protest what they deem to be excessive government censorship of news coverage.

Blog   |   France

French website Mediapart faces crippling judgment

Three years ago, revelations by the independent news website Mediapart on the "Bettencourt affair"-- allegations of illegal funding of former President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party by the heiress of the L'Oréal fortune, Liliane Bettencourt--put the fledgling site on the map, helped it build a reputation as a dogged and fearless muckraker, and boosted its subscriber base.

Blog   |   Russia

Anniversaries of Russian journalist murders pile up

(Clockwise from top right: AFP, AP, AP, Facebook)

Last week, I was preparing to write a column about the anniversary of Paul Klebnikov's murder. The American editor of Forbes-Russia was murdered contract-style nine years ago in Moscow at the age of 41. He had investigated connections between Russian business and organized crime, as well as ethnic and political tensions in Chechnya. Despite numerous official promises to solve the July 9, 2004, killing, Klebnikov's murderers--as well whoever ordered him killed-- are still nowhere near the dock.

Blog   |   Burundi, Gambia, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

A bid to rid Africa of criminal defamation, sedition laws

The African Union's special rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, has launched an auspicious initiative in East Africa to counter criminal defamation and sedition laws. Since independence, authorities and business interests in the East and Horn region have used criminal laws on sedition, libel, and insult--often relics of former, colonial administrations--to silence their critics in the press. "Criminal defamation laws are nearly always used to punish legitimate criticism of powerful people, rather than protect the right to a reputation," Tlakula said in a statement.

July 12, 2013 3:48 PM ET

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Blog   |   Egypt

Amid upheaval, Egypt's media blunders

A rally in Cairo this week. (AP/Hussein Malla)

The unfolding political tumult in Egypt over the past week has not only captured headlines worldwide, it has taken its toll on journalism and reporting as well. While much of the international media turned their attention away from the country over the past year and assumed democracy was marching along, trouble was brewing in the Arab World's most populous nation. 

July 12, 2013 10:32 AM ET

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Blog   |   French Polynesia

JPK's disappearance becomes murder case in Tahiti

Jean-Pascal Couraud was known for his hard-hitting investigative reporting. (AFP)

Since Jean-Pascal Couraud's disappearance in mid-December 1997 his friends had been fighting to debunk the notion that he had committed suicide. In 2004 they had thought they could prove that the 37-year-old muckraker had been a victim of foul play. Vetea Guilloux, a member of the local militia Groupe d'intervention de Polynésie (GIP), had alleged that two of his colleagues had killed the investigative journalist. He soon retracted his claim, apparently fearing retaliation.  

July 11, 2013 3:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In China, foreign correspondents see worsening conditions

Many international correspondents in China believe reporting conditions have worsened over the past year, according to a new survey by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China that also finds the Chinese government has "increasingly resorted to threats and intimidation against foreign media."

Blog   |   Colombia

Colombian TV director resigns from network in protest

A Colombian TV news director, who oversaw hard-hitting political coverage in central Antioquia department, resigned on June 28 after his editorial meeting was secretly recorded and used by politicians to push for his ouster.

Blog   |   Macedonia

Hopes dashed again for more press freedom in Macedonia

On June 21, Macedonian journalists, intellectuals, artists, and free thinkers breathed a sigh of relief. The U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, visited Skopje and held one of the most straightforward and honest press conferences on the state of freedom of the media we had seen in years. La Rue's fact-finding mission concluded that even though the Macedonian legal framework for media freedom is satisfactory, its politicized practice raises serious concerns. Here are some points the rapporteur highlighted:

Blog   |   Bangladesh

Historic judgment for Gautam Das murder in Bangladesh

Almost eight years have passed since the murder of Bangladeshi journalist Gautam Das, but the slow wheels of justice have finally rotated. Late last month, a court sentenced nine individuals to life in prison in connection with the scribe's murder. Many local journalists have hailed the verdict as a landmark, the first time a Bangladeshi court has successfully prosecuted a murder of a journalist.

Blog   |   China

China, local leaders threaten Hong Kong press freedom

A defaced picture of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is displayed during an annual pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on July 1.(AP/Vincent Yu)

In "Dark Clouds on the Horizon," the Hong Kong Journalists Association's latest annual report, the group warns that China is tightening its grip over Hong Kong media. The findings come at a time when attacks on a pro-democracy media group, Next Media, have raised fears of aggression against news outlets known for being critical of China. 

Blog   |   Russia

The targeting of Russian blogger Aleksei Navalny

Aleksei Navalny attends his court hearing on July 2. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

The trial of Aleksei Navalny is coming to an end at the Leninsky District Court in the river city of Kirov, 500 miles northeast of Moscow. Navalny, a charismatic 37-year-old lawyer, was propelled to fame through his activities as an anti-corruption blogger, activist, and a leader of Russia's opposition movement. Most recently, he pledged to compete in future presidential elections, and sought registration to run in the Moscow mayoral election. Both his activities as a blogger and his budding presidential ambitions have earned him the attention of Russian authorities eager to eliminate any opposition that would shake the political status quo.

July 8, 2013 5:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   Iran

Rouhani can take steps to improve Iran press freedom

Hassan Rouhani leaves a conference in Tehran on June 29. Iran's president-elect called his win in national elections this month a vote for change. (AP/Office of the President-elect)

After eight hellish years for Iran's journalists under outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the election of Hassan Rouhani was welcomed with hope for a better future. As soon as he takes office in August, he should act on his view and take steps to protect journalists in Iran.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Ecuador loses investigative journal Vanguardia

Like the death of a loved one.

That's how Juan Carlos Calderón, editor of the newsmagazine Vanguardia, described the June 28 closing of the newsweekly that for eight years published hard-hitting investigations about public officials and faced frequent government harassment. Yet the final days of Vanguardia were almost as controversial as its stories.

Blog   |   USA

Post-Snowden, time for journalists to get smart

Let's be clear: Everything journalists do in the digital world is open to scrutiny by suspicious minds because that's the way intelligence agencies work. If state eavesdroppers didn't make use of this amazing opportunity they wouldn't be very good at their job.

Blog   |   Brazil, Egypt, Turkey

Attacks in Egypt highlight risk of covering protests

Tahrir Square erupts after the army ousts Morsi. (AP/Amr Nabil)

From São Paulo to Istanbul to Cairo, coverage of street demonstrations has re-emerged as an exceptionally dangerous assignment for journalists. Since June 1, CPJ has documented more than 120 attacks on the press amid the civil unrest in Brazil, Turkey, and Egypt--the biggest surge of attacks in such circumstances since the uprisings that swept the Arab world in 2011. My colleague Özgür Öğret described the danger in Turkish streets last week, and CPJ issued several alerts on assaults on the press in Brazil. The massive protests in Egypt have already resulted in more than three dozen anti-press attacks, including one fatality, and bring to mind the record-setting violence of two years ago.

July 3, 2013 4:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

In Hong Kong law, privacy may trump public interest

Demonstrators fill Hong Kong's financial district. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

Tens of thousands of residents demonstrated on the streets of Hong Kong on Monday, the 16th anniversary of the city's return to Chinese rule. The protests have become an annual rite, but the demonstrators' demands were quite specific this year. They wanted the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and they called for direct elections. These demonstrators look around and see eroding freedoms and what one commentator, Emily Lau, called "a rule of law in a precarious state." Journalists are uneasy as well. Vague and potentially onerous aspects of recently passed privacy legislation could put them at risk of harsh punishment.

July 2, 2013 3:43 PM ET

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