September 2015

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CPJ newsletter: September 2015

September 30, 2015 3:58 PM ET

CPJ hosts press conference for journalists convicted in absentia in Egypt...

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Beyond the pardons, press freedom still under threat in Egypt

September 29, 2015 6:09 PM ET

Today the Committee to Protect Journalists hosted a press conference for three Al-Jazeera journalists who have been convicted in absentia in Egypt. The journalists expressed solidarity with other members of the press who have been charged by the Egyptian government, and called on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to intervene...

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CPJ joins call for Morocco to end harassment of journalists

September 29, 2015 2:37 PM ET

The Committee to Protect Journalists has joined the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and three other human rights groups, in calling on the government of Morocco to stop its harassment of journalists and human rights defenders. The statement was delivered during the general debate at the United Nations Human...

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Internet gateway plan threatens online freedoms in Thailand

September 29, 2015 10:58 AM ET

Bangkok, September 29, 2015--An initiative in Thailand to create a single government-controlled gateway for international Internet traffic represents a clear danger to online freedoms, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement today. CPJ calls on Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to drop the proposed plan and stop harassing journalists...

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Balancing Act

September 29, 2015 4:00 AM ET

Press freedom at risk as EU struggles to match action with values The European Union strives to be a global leader in press freedom but faces challenges from member states that have criminal defamation and blasphemy laws, and have introduced counterterrorism measures, including mass surveillance. The EU has made press...

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Balancing Act

September 29, 2015 4:00 AM ET

Summary The European Union describes itself as a model for press freedom and an exemplary global power. Although many of its 28 member states feature at the top of international press freedom rankings, there are significant challenges that undermine press freedom and new threats are emerging....

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Cap and trade: How China maintains positive coverage with limit on negative news

September 25, 2015 4:22 PM ET

China's President Xi Jinping announced a major cap-and-trade program on carbon emissions at the White House today, but a cap on press freedom back home has long been in place....

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Indian journalist named on hit list as threats against critical voices escalate

September 25, 2015 12:58 PM ET

"These people will kill you," Nikhil Wagle, a prominent journalist in India, told me as we discussed reports of him being named as a target by a member of a hard-line Hindu group who is being questioned by police over the murder of a writer....

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CPJ urges Sisi to release all journalists jailed in Egypt

September 24, 2015 8:16 AM ET

Dear President el-Sisi: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to express concern about the deteriorating climate for press freedom in Egypt, days before you address the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

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Turkey jails reporter, charges him with anti-state activities

September 23, 2015 3:53 PM ET

Istanbul, September 23, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrest and subversion charges filed against Gültekin Avcı, a columnist for the independent daily Bugün, and calls on Turkish authorities to drop the charges and release him immediately....

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CPJ welcomes Al-Jazeera pardons, calls for all other journalists in Egypt to be freed

September 23, 2015 10:59 AM ET

New York, September 23, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the presidential pardon today of Al-Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who have been in prison since they were sentenced in a retrial on charges including "aiding a terrorist organization." Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi pardoned 100 prisoners today,...

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CPJ backs Manila Principles to help protect Internet intermediaries

September 23, 2015 10:35 AM ET

The Committee to Protect Journalists has signed on to the Manila Principles, a set of best practices launched at RightsCon 2015, a digital rights conference CPJ attended in the Philippines in March. With journalists facing increased risks, the principles offer a way to protect the platforms on which they...

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Has White House finally got the message about strong encryption? Welcome shift seen in speeches and policy memo

September 22, 2015 5:12 PM ET

Yesterday, during a panel on encryption policy hosted by Just Security, an online forum covering national security law and policy, top U.S. intelligence lawyer Robert S. Litt pressed the case for engineering backdoors in encryption without undermining computer security as a whole. As CPJ has documented, leading security and...

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Don't Forget Rasool: In international reporting, local journalists often suffer

September 21, 2015 12:30 PM ET

When two journalists from VICE, Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, were arrested with Iraqi journalist Mohammed Ismael Rasool on August 28, a familiar scenario unfolded. A week later, Hanrahan and Pendlebury were released following a media flurry and worldwide attention. Still behind bars is Rasool, an experienced journalist and translator...

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CPJ welcomes arrests in 2011 murder of Philippine journalist

September 21, 2015 11:34 AM ET

Bangkok, September 21, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the arrest in Thailand of two former Philippine politicians wanted in the 2011 murder of environmental journalist Gerardo Ortega. Joel Reyes, a former governor of Palawan province, and his brother, Mario Reyes, a former municipal mayor in the same province, were...

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CPJ welcomes release of Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan

September 20, 2015 9:16 AM ET

New York, September 20, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from prison of Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan and calls on authorities to release all other journalists and bloggers imprisoned in the country. Tan was freed from prison and traveled to the United States, where she arrived late...

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In Azerbaijan, Meydan TV reporters harassed, jailed

September 18, 2015 3:41 PM ET

New York, September 18, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the harassment of independent news outlet Meydan TV by Azerbaijani authorities. This week Shirin Abbasov, a reporter for the outlet, was imprisoned, authorities searched the home of another of its reporters, and questioned two journalists who work for the outlet....

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In Hungary, police beat journalists covering refugee crisis at border

September 17, 2015 6:13 PM ET

New York, September 17, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the actions of Hungarian police who, according to reports, attacked journalists covering the arrival of refugees at the Serbian-Hungarian border. At least seven international journalists were beaten by riot police yesterday, and a video journalist from The Associated Press was...

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All journalists should be removed from Ukraine's list of banned individuals

September 17, 2015 1:22 PM ET

New York, September 17, 2015--Ukrainian authorities today removed six international journalists from a list of at least 41 journalists and bloggers who have been banned from visiting the country for one year, according to news reports. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the decree on Wednesday which banned a total of...

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Harassment in China: Foreign correspondents' club releases report

September 17, 2015 1:03 PM ET

From being followed by plain clothes policemen to being locked in a hotel conference room, the life of an international journalist in China comes with its challenges. The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China released details on September 13 of six cases of members being harassed by authorities between March and...

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Peru's Urresti has eyes on presidency despite being charged in 1988 journalist murder

September 17, 2015 12:00 AM ET

Almost 30 years after Peruvian war correspondent Hugo Bustíos Saavedra was shot dead, the suspected mastermind is on trial. The man accused in the murder, Daniel Urresti Elera, plans to run for president. A special report by CPJ Andes Correspondent John Otis...

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Ukraine bans 41 international journalists and bloggers

September 16, 2015 6:24 PM ET

New York, September 16, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores a decree signed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today which, according to a copy viewed by CPJ, bans at least 41 international journalists and bloggers from Ukraine for one year. The journalists and bloggers were among 388 people named as...

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CPJ calls on authorities to release imprisoned Brazilian blogger

September 15, 2015 4:53 PM ET

São Paulo, September 15, 2015--A Brazilian blogger who has spent more than two months in jail in connection with a 2011 criminal defamation conviction should be released immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today....

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Prominent Thai reporter held by military government

September 14, 2015 3:17 PM ET

New York, September 14, 2015-- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the detention of Pravit Rojanaphruk, a prominent Thai journalist at the English-language daily The Nation, who is being held in military detention at an undisclosed location, according to reports....

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Violence escalates against journalists amid unrest in Nepal

September 14, 2015 2:54 PM ET

New York, September 14, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by increasing attacks on journalists in Nepal amid ongoing political unrest in the country....

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Shooting of freelance reporter increases fear for South Sudan's press

September 11, 2015 4:44 PM ET

Freelance journalist Peter Julius Moi used to ride a motorbike without wearing a helmet, despite warnings from one of his colleagues to be more careful. Moi would just shrug off those concerns, saying that as a South Sudanese journalist "risk was simply part of life." Last month, the reporter...

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Colombian journalist shot to death in Huila state

September 11, 2015 12:07 PM ET

Bogotá, Colombia, September 11, 2015--A Colombian journalist was shot dead on Thursday in front of the radio station where she worked, according to news reports. Flor Alba Núñez Vargas had received threats in connection with her reporting, a local journalist told the Committee to Protect Journalists....

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In China, last of the liberals under pressure to toe party line

September 11, 2015 10:32 AM ET

The day after a lavish military parade was held in Beijing on September 3 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and China's role in defeating Japan, three major Chinese newspapers--Southern Weekend, Southern Metropolis, and Southern Daily--published pages of photographs and articles brimming with...

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DRC government bans screening of documentary on rape

September 11, 2015 10:09 AM ET

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo said on September 3, 2015, that it had banned the screening of a documentary about rape and a doctor who treats rape victims....

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Russia charges three suspects over 2010 attack on reporter Oleg Kashin

September 9, 2015 5:59 PM ET

New York, September 9, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the announcement that authorities have detained three suspects in the November 2010 attack that severely injured Russian reporter Oleg Kashin. CPJ urges Russian investigators to further investigate the case and bring all those responsible to justice....

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Press freedom group Fundamedios fears closure over Ecuadoran government pressure

September 9, 2015 4:21 PM ET

Bogotá, Colombia, September 9, 2015--Fundamedios, Ecuador's only independent press freedom organization, will likely be forced to close amid allegations by the government that it has transformed into a political organization critical of President Rafael Correa's administration, according to news reports....

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Reporter killed in third attack on Pakistani journalists in 24 hours

September 9, 2015 4:00 PM ET

New York, September 9, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the violence against journalists and media workers in Pakistan after three separate attacks in 24 hours. Former Geo News business reporter Aftab Alam was killed outside his home in Karachi today by two gunmen, according to media reports....

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Turkey deports Dutch reporter Frederike Geerdink

September 9, 2015 2:36 PM ET

New York, September 9, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores today's decision by the Turkish authorities to deport freelance journalist Frederike Geerdink, who had been held in state custody since September 6, 2015 in Yüksekova, southeastern Turkey, according to reports. Geerdink's lawyer, Davut Uzunköprü, told CPJ he would be appealing...

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Indonesia should pursue justice in 1996 murder of journalist Udin

September 9, 2015 8:08 AM ET

This past month marked 19 years since Indonesian journalist Fuad Mohammad Syfruddin was murdered. On August 16, 1996, Udin, as he was popularly known, died from injuries he sustained during an attack by unidentified assailants in his home. Udin, a correspondent for the Yogyakarta daily Bernas, had written articles on...

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Gunmen open fire on Geo TV broadcast van in Karachi, killing one

September 8, 2015 5:55 PM ET

New York, September 8, 2015--A Geo TV technician was killed and a driver for the privately owned Pakistani station was injured today in a shooting in Karachi, according to media reports. Arshad Ali Jafri, the technician, was shot seven times in the attack, and the driver was shot twice in...

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Regional court orders Venezuela to reinstate RCTV on the air

September 8, 2015 4:35 PM ET

New York, September 8, 2015--A recent ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordering Venezuela to reinstate the broadcasting license of Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, sets an important precedent for freedom of expression in the hemisphere, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. RCTV has been confined to...

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CPJ joins call for Canada to help free Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy

September 8, 2015 3:56 PM ET

The Committee to Protect Journalists has signed a joint letter calling on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take immediate action to have jailed Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy deported from Egypt to Canada. CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon and Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour signed the...

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In Turkey, VICE News journalist behind bars, freelance journalist detained

September 8, 2015 3:34 PM ET

New York, September 8, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the ongoing detention of a VICE News journalist and the detention on Sunday of a Dutch freelance reporter....

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Radio France Internationale correspondent in Cameroon held over a month, denied access to lawyer

September 8, 2015 3:25 PM ET

New York, September 8, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the detention of a Nigerian journalist who has been held for more than a month in Cameroon and denied access to his lawyer for two weeks. CPJ also calls on Cameroonian authorities to explain the reason for Ahmed...

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Firing of critical newspaper editor raises concern in Ecuador

September 4, 2015 1:01 PM ET

When the Quito daily El Comercio was sold in December to a Latin America media tycoon known for avoiding editorial conflict, press freedom advocates feared the newspaper would soften its coverage of the Ecuadoran government. Those concerns have now increased with last month’s firing of Martín Pallares, one of El...

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Sudanese journalist arrested in Saudi Arabia, faces deportation

September 3, 2015 2:54 PM ET

New York, September 3, 2015--A Sudanese journalist has been detained for more than a month without charge in Saudi Arabia, according to news reports. Waleed al-Hussein al-Dood could face deportation to Sudan, where he is at risk of arrest and abuse by security forces who have threatened his life, according...

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Turkey frees 2 VICE News reporters but third remains in custody

September 3, 2015 12:32 PM ET

New York, September 3, 2015--A Turkish court early today ordered the release of VICE News' British journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, according to their outlet. A third journalist, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, an Iraqi who is based in Turkey, is still in custody and is being questioned by Turkish authorities,...

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Turkish authorities raid independent media company

September 2, 2015 4:57 PM ET

New York, September 2, 2015--Turkish police on Tuesday raided the offices of a media group, in what one editor called an attempt to silence opposition media ahead of November parliamentary elections, according to news reports. The move follows terrorism charges leveled against VICE News journalists who have been detained while...

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Case will test Bangladesh and its commitment to justice for bloggers

September 2, 2015 4:21 PM ET

Murder charges filed this week against five suspected Islamist militants in the killing of a Bangladesh blogger give the government a chance to prove it's serious about protecting the nation's bloggers. The formal charges, filed in connection with the March killing of Washiqur Rahman Babu, mark the first time...

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Newspaper columnist kidnapped from her home in Nigeria

September 2, 2015 4:17 PM ET

Abuja, September 2, 2015--A Nigerian newspaper columnist was abducted from her home early Sunday, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Nigerian authorities to do their utmost to find Donu Kogbara, establish a motive for the abduction, and apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators....

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Journalist detained for four days in Cameroon, accused of espionage

September 2, 2015 10:18 AM ET

Simon Ateba, a freelance Cameroonian journalist, was arrested at the Minawao refugee camp in the far north of Cameroon at around noon on August 28, 2015, according to news reports....

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In Iran, journalists accused of espionage, sentenced to prison

September 2, 2015 10:06 AM ET

Iranian government-run media outlets in mid-August 2015 accused Farnaz Fassihi, a New York-based senior reporter for the Wall Street Journal, of being a liaison between the U.S. government and the opposition. After Kayhan, a newspaper closely associated with the Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, accused Fassihi of conspiring against the...

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'Pedro Canché Law' obscures the real problem in Quintana Roo

September 1, 2015 2:00 PM ET

Mayan journalist Pedro Canché spent 271 days in prison on charges of sabotage. Authorities alleged Canché organized protests one year ago against rising water bills in the Zona Maya south of Cancún, in Quintana Roo state, where demonstrators stormed the offices of the local waterworks, CPJ research shows....

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Turkey should drop terrorism charges against detained VICE crew

September 1, 2015 1:52 PM ET

Dear Prime Minister Davutoğlu: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent international press freedom organization, is writing to express its concern about recent charges leveled against two British journalists and a local fixer who were detained while reporting from the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir.

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CPJ welcomes acquittal of journalists charged with defamation in Thailand

September 1, 2015 9:18 AM ET

Bangkok, September 1, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's court decision in Thailand to acquit two journalists of criminal defamation and cybercrime charges. Phuketwan journalists Alan Morison, an Australian national, and Chutima Sidasathian, a Thai citizen, had each faced up to seven years in prison....

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CPJ condemns 7.5-year prison term for Khadija Ismayilova

September 1, 2015 8:32 AM ET

New York, September 1, 2015--The Baku Court of Serious Crimes today convicted Khadija Ismayilova, one of Azerbaijan's most prominent investigative reporters, of illegal business, tax evasion, abuse of power, and embezzlement, and sentenced her to seven and a half years in prison, according to local press reports. The court dropped...

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