News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, April 2010
The petition, delivered on April 6 to Iran’s Permanent Mission in New York, was signed by more than 50 prominent writers and journalists such as Martin Amis, Jon Lee Anderson, Margaret Atwood, E.L. Doctorow, Jonathan Franzen, Thomas L. Friedman, Nadine Gordimer, Gwen Ifill, Ahmed Rashid, Jon Stewart, and Mario Vargas Llosa. The entire list can be viewed on the campaign Web site.
“We hope those in jail will be heartened by this level of international attention,” said
As of April 1, at least 35 journalists were jailed in Iran. Another 18 were free on short-term furloughs coinciding with the Iranian New Year. CPJ has been conducting a monthly census of journalists jailed in Iran, now the world’s worst jailer of the press. Those interested in joining the petition may still do so by visiting the “Our Society Will Be a Free Society” campaign at www.oursocietywillbeafreesociety.org.
Journalists released from prison
On March 19, we welcomed the release from prison of Azerbaijani editor Genimet Zakhidov, who served more than half of a four-year term on fabricated “hooliganism” charges in retaliation for his critical journalism. Zakhidov, editor of the Baku-based, pro-opposition daily Azadlyg, told CPJ that he will resume work after a short break.
CPJ is calling for the release of three journalists still in prison in Azerbaijan: editor Eynulla Fatullayev and video bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, all of whom have been imprisoned for their work.
Last month, CPJ also welcomed the release of three Yemeni journalists from prison, one week after CPJ wrote to President Ali Abdullah Saleh about their cases: Muhammad al-Maqaleh, editor of the Yemeni Socialist Party news Web site Aleshteraki. Al-Maqaleh was kidnapped in September 2009 but appeared in government custody in February alleging that he had been tortured. Fuad Rashid, editor-in-chief of Mukalla Press Web site, was released along with all detainees in connection with anti-government protests in Hadramout province. Hisham Bashraheel, editor of the daily Al-Ayyam, who had been in custody since January 6, was released for “health reasons.”
CPJ expands protection of online journalists
We welcome Danny O’Brien, CPJ’s Internet advocacy coordinator, a new position created to track the growing threats to online journalists around the world. Danny joins CPJ from the Electronic Frontier Foundation where he was international outreach coordinator.
Danny has documented and fought for digital rights for over a decade. In 2006, he helped found the Open Rights Group, a grassroots British digital rights organization and assisted in building tools for open democracy like Fax Your MP. Danny has also worked as a journalist covering technology and culture for Wired UK, The Sunday Times of London, and The Irish Times.
New pages for CPJ’s Journalist Assistance program
CPJ has revamped pages on our Web site for Journalist Assistance and the Global Campaign Against Impunity. The redesigns highlight the great work done by the two programs and offer more practical content for journalists. Be sure to watch the compelling story of “A Somali Journalist in Exile.”
On April 20-21, CPJ, along with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and IFEX, will sponsor “Fighting Back: Bringing the Killers of Journalists to Justice,” a two-day summit on impunity at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The event will gather leading press freedom experts and advocates to examine strategies fighting impunity.
CPJ is grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for underwriting its Global Campaign Against Impunity.