New York, May 9, 2016–The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the detention and subsequent expulsion of a BBC crew visiting North Korea.
Authorities on Friday detained the BBC’s Tokyo-based correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, producer Maria Byrne, and cameraman Matthew Goddard in Pyonyang, as they were about to leave the country. They held and questioned Wingfield-Hayes for eight hours, made him sign a statement, and on Monday put the three on a flight to Beijing, the BBC reported. The team was following a group of Nobel-Prize laureates on a research trip to the country.
“North Korea cannot allow journalists into the country and then obstruct and harass them when they do their jobs,” CPJ Asia Program Senior Research Associate Sumit Galhotra said. “Pyongyang has sent a clear signal that it remains deeply hostile to journalists.”
North Korea ranked second on CPJ’s 2015 list of 10 most-censored countries, which is based on research into the use of tactics ranging from imprisonment and repressive laws to harassment of journalists and restrictions on the Internet. While the country has allowed a handful of news organizations to operate in the country, it maintains heavy restrictions on reporting.