Attacks on the Press in 2005: Headlines

January 11: A killing in Colombia reinforces self-censorship — Gunmen kill radio news host Julio Hernando Palacios Sánchez as he drives to work in Cúcuta. Attacked from all sides, the Colombian press censors itself to an extraordinary degree, CPJ later reports. Probing journalists are killed, detained, or forced to flee. Verified news is suppressed, and investigative reports are abandoned.

February 1: A royal coup in Nepal leads to vast restrictions — King Gyanendra dismisses his multiparty government and declares a state of emergency, curtailing civil rights and instituting broad press restrictions. His forces cut telephone lines, block Internet service, and occupy major media outlets to censor the news line by line. Hundreds are detained.

March 1: In Ukraine, progress and frustration in probe — New President Viktor Yushchenko says investigators have detained suspects in the 2000 murder of Internet reporter Georgy Gongadze–the first real development in the long-stalled probe. Three defendants face trial at year’s end, but critics say the government is not pursuing the former high-level officials who plotted the killing.

March 4: A kidnapping, then a shooting in Baghdad Italian security agent Nicola Calipari is killed and journalist Giuliana Sgrena is wounded when U.S. forces fire on their car near the Baghdad airport. Kidnappers had released Sgrena just hours earlier. CPJ and others urge safety improvements at military checkpoints.

March 16: Solidarity in Latin America for jailed Cubans More than 100 prominent writers from Latin America join CPJ in calling on Cuban President Fidel Castro to release two dozen imprisoned journalists. Among the petitioners: Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, Argentine author Tomás Eloy Martínez, Brazilian journalist Geraldinho Vieira, and Venezuelan editor Teodoro Petkof.

May 13: Massacre in Uzbekistan leads to a clampdown — Uzbek soldiers open fire on demonstrators in the eastern city of Andijan, killing hundreds. The government clamps down on press coverage, blocking foreign news agencies and shutting domestic news outlets. It wages a campaign to persecute independent reporters, driving out more than a dozen foreign correspondents and local reporters working for foreign media.

June 2: Lebanese columnist killed in wave of attacks — Samir Qassir, columnist for the daily Al-Nahar, is killed outside his Beirut home by a bomb planted in his car. Violence against Lebanese journalists continues. May Chidiac, a TV news anchor, is wounded when her car explodes in September. Gebran Tueni, Al-Nahar columnist and managing director, is murdered in a December car bombing.

July 6: U.S. reporter jailed in CIA leak probe— A U.S. judge jails New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to reveal a confidential source to a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative’s identity. Miller serves 85 days before she agrees to testify. White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is later indicted.

July 7: Families of slain Russian journalists seek justice — The families of 12 journalists slain since 2000 gather in Moscow to seek justice in the string of unsolved murders. The families ratify a declaration calling on President Vladimir Putin “to publicly acknowledge these horrible crimes, express sympathy for the families and colleagues of slain journalists, and demonstrate his commitment to implementing the rule of law.”

August 15: Lawlessness, impunity threaten Philippine press — Corruption, easy access to guns, and an ineffective justice system threaten the Philippine press, CPJ reports. Rural radio commentators have been killed in record numbers since 2000. Journalists call for higher professional standards for broadcasters.

September 14: U.S. fails to investigate journalist killings in Iraq — Thirteen journalists have been killed in Iraq by U.S. forces, but the military has not fully investigated the killings or followed its own recommendations to improve press safety, CPJ reports.

September 20: A murder in Mosul makes Iraq the deadliest conflict — Firas Maadidi, Mosul bureau chief for the daily As-Saffir, is murdered by suspected insurgents in Iraq. He is the 59th journalist killed since hostilities began in March 2003, making Iraq the deadliest conflict in CPJ’s 24-year history. Fifty-eight journalists were killed in Algeria in the 1990s.

October 19: Zimbabwean press driven from homeland — Many of the nation’s top journalists–at least 90 to date–have fled a systematic and brutal crackdown by the government of President Robert Mugabe, CPJ reports. The exodus has devastated the Zimbabwean media, once one of Africa’s most vital.

November 2: After civil unrest, Ethiopia sweeps up journalists — Ethiopia launches a massive crackdown on the press, arresting more than a dozen journalists in an effort to quell dissent amid civil unrest. Police block private newspapers from publishing and issue a “wanted list” of editors, writers, and dissidents.

December 13: With much in common, China and Cuba are top jailers — China and Cuba continue to be the world’s top jailers of journalists, CPJ reports. In both countries, the vast majority of cases are brought under vague “antistate” laws. Many are journalists whose work appears on the Internet. China imprisons 32, and Cuba jails 24.