Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, is hugged by his parents at his home in Cairo, Egypt, on March 4, 2019. (Amr Nabil/AP)

This week in press freedom: Egyptian photojournalist free after over 5 years in prison

March 8, 2019 12:00 AM ET

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Egyptian photojournalist and CPJ's 2016 International Press Freedom Award winner Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, was released from prison on Monday after spending over five years in detention on anti-state charges. The conditions of his release, however, are arduous: he will be under "police observation" for five years, meaning he will have to appear at a police station every day at sunset, and is prohibited from managing his financial assets and properties. Shawkan and his lawyer plan to appeal the verdict in Egypt's court of cassation.

CPJ explores how the Trump administration's emerging record of prosecuting those who allegedly leak information to the press is affecting journalists covering national security. Many fear that Trump's anti-press attitude could translate into criminalizing reporting on leaks.

Global press freedom updates

  • NBC7 San Diego reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had adopted a policy of targeting reporters, confirming CPJ suspicions
  • Read the latest Turkey Crackdown Chronicle, CPJ's weekly round-up of press freedom violations in the country
  • Tanzania imposes seven-day publication ban on The Citizen
  • Mission Journal: One year on, Ján Kuciak murder seen as turning point by Slovak press
  • Venezuelan counterintelligence agents detain U.S. freelancer, Venezuelan fixer
  • U.N. commission: Israeli snipers 'intentionally shot' Palestinian journalists in 2018, killing two


As of December 1, 2018, CPJ documented 32 female journalists behind bars (Graphic: CPJ)

Around the world, female journalists work tirelessly to bring the news to their communities in the face of threats like online harassment, sexual violence, and imprisonment.

As part of International Women's Day, March 8, CPJ has released a series of infographics taking a look at the 32 female journalists behind bars for their work. Learn more about these brave journalists, and CPJ's reporting on gender here. CPJ is also excited to take part in a panel next week at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.

As the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker found, physical and digital attacks on journalists in the United States are increasing, and CPJ's reporting has found that women and gender nonconforming journalists face many overlooked challenges. We are currently collecting feedback from women and gender nonconforming journalists based in the U.S. and Canada in an online survey to improve our safety resources.

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