The Torch is a weekly newsletter from the Committee to Protect Journalists that brings you the latest press freedom and journalist safety news from around the world. Subscribe here.
Popular broadcaster Geo News was forced off the air in Pakistan hours before Prime Minister Imran Khan began his official visit to the United States. Earlier this month, Pakistan's media regulator blocked broadcasts from at least three news outlets that aired speeches by an opposition leader. CPJ's Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post about Pakistan's crackdown on the press, which he says is "getting worse by the day."
In Syria, the family of Alaa Nayef al-Khader al-Khalidi, a freelance photojournalist also known as Wissam al-Dimashqi, was told by a prison official that the journalist had died under torture in Sednaya Military Prison.
Global press freedom updates
- Gambian ex-President Jammeh ordered editor Deyda Hydara's murder in 2004, truth commission told
- Espionage trial to begin for former Radio Free Asia reporters in Cambodia
- In Mexico, attackers steal investigative reporter Lydia Cacho's equipment and reporting information, and kill her dogs
- In a Q&A with CPJ, a broadcast reporter talks about the climate for journalists in Puerto Rico amid protests calling for the governor's resignation
- Killing of a radio journalist highlights dangers for local reporters in Colombia's border region
- Haitian journalist Kendi Zidor survives shooting attempt
- Ingushetia court orders journalist Rashid Maysigov to remain in pre-trial detention for two months
- Kazakhstan government-backed security certificate raises censorship, surveillance concerns
This week, a cyber-libel trial began in Manila against Maria Ressa, veteran journalist and executive editor of the Philippine news outlet Rappler, over critical reporting in the outlet. If found guilty under the 2012 Cybercrime Prevention Act, Ressa faces a possible six years in prison, depending on how judges interpret the law. CPJ has reported on the ongoing harassment Ressa has faced, and in 2018 awarded her with our Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.
In 2018, the Committee to Protect Journalists partnered with First Look Media on the Press Freedom Defense Fund, a fundraising campaign to provide legal support for journalists facing extensive legal battles meant to suppress critical journalism. Rappler and Ressa were the first recipients of the campaign.
What we are reading
- Journalism can get you killed in Somalia, but we are not just poster children for desperation -- Noor Ibrahim, The Guardian
- How Mada Masr is surviving Egypt's authoritarianism -- Jahanzeb Hussain, Dawn
- A Proposed Response to the Commercial Surveillance Emergency-- Siena Anstis, Ronald J. Deibert, and John Scott-Railton, Lawfare
- Neo-Nazi SWATters Target Dozens of Journalists -- Brian Krebs, Krebs On Security
- A New York Times blockchain project aims to help convince people that a photo really is (or isn't!) what it seems to be -- Joshua Benton, Nieman Lab
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