April 2017

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of April 23, 2017

Police detain a protester outside the Supreme Board of Elections in Ankara, April 16, 2017. (AP/Burhan Ozbilici)

Italian filmmaker deported
Turkish authorities deported Italian documentary filmmaker Gabriele Del Grande, the English-language Hürriyet Daily News reported today. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano would meet the filmmaker at the airport in Italy, the newspaper reported, citing AFP. Police detained Del Grande in the southeastern province of Hatay on April 11.

Alerts   |   Turkey

Journalists detained in wake of Turkey referendum

Supporters of the 'No' campaign in Turkey's referendum protest in Istanbul on April 17. At least three journalists covering opposition to the vote have been detained. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)

New York, April 21, 2017--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Turkish authorities to stop jailing journalists and suppressing dissent in the wake of a referendum to change Turkey's system of governance from parliamentary to presidential. In the past week, police arrested at least three journalists and raided the newsroom of leftist website Sendika for reporting on protests over alleged irregularities in the referendum.

Alerts   |   Somalia

Somaliland editor detained after trading himself for colleague's freedom

New York, April 20, 2017--Somaliland authorities should immediately release Ibrahim Osman Ahmed, editor of Hangool News, who has been held without charge since April 15, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Ibrahim is in custody in Hargeisa Central Police Station after handing himself over to police to secure the release of Abdirahman Arab Da'ud, also from Hangool News, Guleid Ahmed Jama, chairperson of the Human Rights Center in Somaliland, told CPJ.

Statements   |   Cameroon

Cameroonian military court convicts journalist Ahmed Abba of terrorism charges

New York, April 20, 2017--A military court in Cameroon today convicted Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale's Hausa service, on charges of "non-denunciation of terrorism" and "laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts," according to his lawyer and RFI. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Cameroonian authorities not to contest the journalist's appeal and to release him without delay.

April 20, 2017 3:57 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Russia

Russian journalist dies after severe beating

Nikolai Andrushchenko poses for a photograph in St. Petersburg, October 9, 2016. (Denis Usov)

New York, April 20, 2017-- Russian federal authorities should swiftly bring to justice all those responsible for the murder of Nikolai Andrushchenko, co-founder of the weekly newspaper Novy Peterburg, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist, known for his reporting on corruption and police brutality, died in a St. Petersburg hospital yesterday of injuries sustained in a beating last month. His killing marks the first CPJ has recorded of a journalist in Russia since 2013.

April 20, 2017 3:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Germany

Proposed German legislation threatens broad internet censorship

A German legislator uses a mobile device during a session of the Bundestag in Berlin, March 1, 2013. (AP/Gero Breloer)

The German cabinet on April 5 approved a "Draft Law to Improve Law Enforcement in Social Networks" (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz), ostensibly aimed at combatting disinformation and hate speech, that raises concerns about restrictions on free expression and the privatization of censorship. The law would compel social media companies to remove content or risk fines as high as 50 million euros. Human rights and press freedom groups, including CPJ, joined several social media companies that have been at the center of the debate over "fake news" and hate speech to express concern over the proposed law.

April 20, 2017 9:53 AM ET

Blog   |   Macedonia

In Macedonia, anti-press rhetoric leaves journalists feeling vulnerable

Election posters for Nikola Gruevski, of Macedonia's VMRO-DPMNE party, in Skopje in December. Gruevski, who is struggling to form a coalition government, accuses critical media of being foreign mercenaries. (AP/Boris Grdanoski)

As the political crisis in Macedonia, triggered by allegations of mass surveillance by intelligence agencies, deepens the environment is increasingly unsafe for journalists who report critically on the ruling Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) and its leader, Nikola Gruevski.

Statements   |   Russia

Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta receives white powder in mail

A man leaves the editorial office of Novaya Gazeta in Moscow, January 26, 2009. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

New York, April 19, 2017--The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta received an envelope containing an unidentified white powder this morning, the newspaper reported. The envelope's only return address was "Grozny," the capital of Chechnya, where preachers and political officials have recently threatened the newspaper for reporting on the alleged torture and detention of men suspected of homosexuality. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Russian authorities to swiftly bring to justice those responsible for the threat.

April 19, 2017 1:11 PM ET

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Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of April 16, 2017

Opposition protesters shout slogans in Istanbul, April 17, 2017. (Reuters/Yagiz Karahan)

Wire reporter jailed
The Supreme Court of Appeals on April 14 upheld the Second Mardin Court for Serious Crimes' November 2016 sentence of two years and four months in prison against Meltem Oktay on charges of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization," the news website Dihaber reported yesterday.

Blog   |   USA

CPJ joins Fly Don't Spy campaign to protect journalists and their sources

(Access Now)

Over the past several months, the Committee to Protect Journalists has raised concerns over U.S. border agents' use of secondary searches of journalists and their devices at U.S. borders, and government proposals to require travelers to hand over social media account passwords as a condition of entry to the U.S. That is why today CPJ joined with 29 organizations to launch the Fly Don't Spy campaign. CPJ supports the rights of journalists to protect confidential information when traveling and is concerned about proposals that could undermine these values.

Statements   |   Ecuador, Peru

Journalist facing charges in Ecuador files for asylum in Peru

New York, April 18, 2017--Ecuadoran journalist Fernando Villavicencio, director of the news website Focus Ecuador and a critic of outgoing President Rafael Correa, today filed a petition for political asylum in Lima, Peru. A statement from the regional press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS) said the journalist, who fled to Lima after presidential elections on April 2, is not guaranteed a fair trial in Ecuador, where he faces charges of distributing allegedly confidential emails sent by public officials.

April 18, 2017 4:52 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Maldives

CPJ calls on Maldives to drop case against Raajje TV journalist

New York, April 18, 2017--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on the Maldives' prosecutor general to drop the legal case against Raajje TV journalist Mohamed Wisam, who was acquitted last month of obstructing police at an anti-government protest in 2015. The prosecutor general lodged an appeal with the high court on April 5.

April 18, 2017 4:34 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican crime reporter murdered

A man attaches crosses to the fence of the attorney general's office (PGR) in Mexico City to protest the murder of journalists, April 1, 2017. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

Mexico City, April 17, 2017--Mexican authorities should swiftly and credibly investigate the murder of crime reporter Maximino Rodríguez, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Unknown assailants shot and killed Rodríguez on April 14 in the northern Mexican city of La Paz, according to his employer.

April 17, 2017 5:13 PM ET

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Statements   |   Russia

Russian journalist flees Moscow following threats

People lay flowers made of newspapers to pay respects to slain Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya outside the newspaper's office in Moscow, October 7, 2014. (AP/Ivan Sekretarev)

New York, April 17, 2017--Russian authorities should immediately and thoroughly investigate threats made against Elena Milashina, an investigative journalist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a former correspondent for the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ said today. In an April 15 interview with The Washington Post, Milashina said that she left Moscow following threats to Novaya Gazeta's staff since she reported earlier this month that gay men were being detained and tortured in Chechnya.

Alerts   |   Belarus

Journalists face trial for covering protests in Belarus

Belarusian police detain a man at a March 25, 2017, protest in Minsk. (AFP/Vasily Maximov)

New York, April 12, 2017--Belarusian authorities should immediately drop all charges against journalists for covering protests and should allow the news media to work unobstructed, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Alerts   |   Venezuela

Journalists covering Venezuela protests harassed, attacked, and news websites blocked

A Reuters photojournalist runs as Venezuelan National Guard soldiers charge during a protest outside the Supreme Court in Caracas on March 31. Several journalists have been injured covering the unrest. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

New York, April 12, 2017--Venezuelan authorities should ensure that journalists can cover protests safely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Several reporters have been detained, injured, or had equipment seized while covering ongoing protests over a Supreme Court ruling to strip the opposition-led National Assembly of its lawmaking powers, according to news reports and local press freedom organizations. Access to at least three independent news websites that broadcast footage of the protests is blocked in Venezuela, according to reports.

Blog   |   Egypt

Egypt's state of emergency may act to further silence press

Egypt's President Sisi, pictured in Cairo in March 2017, has declared a state of emergency and said the press needs to be more responsible. (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

Hours after two bombs ripped through packed Palm Sunday services in Coptic Churches in Alexandria and Tanta on April 9, killing nearly 50 people, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced a three-month state of emergency. The measure is in many ways an extension of what has already been in place in parts of the Sinai Peninsula since 2014, and a further sign of Sisi's determination to control the flow of information in the country.

Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of April 9, 2017

Opposition politicians and press freedom advocates call for the release of journalists jailed in Turkey in an April 9, 2017, protest in Istanbul. (AFP/Yasin Akgul)

Erdoğan vows jailed Die Welt correspondent will never return to Germany
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last night vowed that Die Welt Turkey correspondent Deniz Yücel, a dual citizen of Germany and Turkey would never be allowed to return to Germany so long as he was president, the online newspaper Diken reported.

Case   |   Brazil

In Brazil, attacker fires at political blogger's car

Political blogger Márcio Prado was at his home in Rio Grande da Serra, one of the municipalities that ring Brazil's biggest city São Paulo, in the early hours of April 1, 2017, when he heard gunshots, he told CPJ in a telephone interview. The blogger said he went downstairs to see what was going on but the streets in front and behind his house were empty and he did not see where the shots came from or who or what the attacker might be shooting at.

Statements   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia Supreme Court says two Zone 9 bloggers should face incitement charges

Members of the Zone 9 blogging group. (Endalkachew H/Michael)

New York, April 6, 2017--Ethiopia's Supreme Court today ruled that two bloggers from the Zone 9 collective, previously acquitted of terrorism charges, should be tried instead on charges of inciting violence through their writing. If convicted of the charge, Atnaf Berhane and Natnail Feleke would face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, according to the Addis Standard newspaper.

Blog   |   Brazil

In Brazil, outdated defamation laws and costly court cases used to pressure critics

Brazilian journalist Erik Silva never imagined that printing information from a municipal government website would see him accused of defamation and lead to a drawn-out court case. But almost a year after writing about the size of salary earned by a municipal accountant in Corumbá, a city of just under 100,000 people on Brazil's western border with Bolivia, he is still fighting to clear his name.

Impact

CPJ Highlights: March edition

Standing in solidarity with the U.S. press

In recent months, CPJ has documented charges brought against at least 10 journalists who were covering protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota and Lee County, Iowa. We have consistently called on authorities to drop the charges against the journalists, most recently in a letter sent to the Morton County State's Attorney office in early March. The letter was co-signed by a coalition of free press organizations and others, including representatives from the Native American Journalists Association, Reporters Without Borders, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

April 5, 2017 12:29 PM ET

Alerts   |   Libya

AFP photographer repeatedly harassed by Libyan security forces

Libyans attend a candlelit concert in Benghazi to mark "Earth Hour," on March 25, 2017. Security forces have detained AFP photographer Abdullah Doma twice since he covered the event. (AFP/Abdullah Doma)

New York, April 4, 2017--Security forces in Benghazi should stop harassing AFP photojournalist Abdullah Doma and ensure that he can work safely and without fear of reprisal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Security forces in the eastern Libyan city have twice detained Doma in the last week, according to AFP and other news reports.

April 4, 2017 4:46 PM ET

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Blog   |   Turkey

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of April 2, 2017

Security forces stand guard atop a building in Istanbul as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gives a speech in favor of amendments to the constitution that would increase his powers, March 26, 2017. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

Cumhuriyet journalists respond to indictment

Cumhuriyet journalists Kadri Gürsel and Murat Sabuncu, who were listed in an indictment against the Turkish daily earlier this week, reacted to the accusations presented to the court, online newspaper Demokrat Haber and Cumhuriyet reported yesterday.

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