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Censorship 2.0: #MostCensored countries use digital and traditional tactics to silence media

September 13, 2019 10:28 AM ET

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.

CPJ released its report on the world’s 10 most censored countries on Tuesday. We found that repressive governments are using sophisticated digital censorship and surveillance alongside more traditional methods to silence independent media. Read more here.

On July 4, the Cuban government issued Decree 370 that establishes the “informatization of society.” Article 68 bans “hosting a site on servers located in a foreign country” and disseminating “information contrary to the social interest, morals, good manners and integrity of people” on public networks. A Cuban blogger, who runs a website hosted abroad, told CPJ, “What do they mean by ‘moral’? Socialist moral? Revolutionary moral? It’s a trap.” Read more here.

Separately in Cuba, Roberto Quiñones, a contributor for the news website CubaNet, was taken to prison Wednesday to serve a year-long sentence of “correctional labor.” Quiñones was arrested and beaten while covering a trial in Guantánamo in April.

Meanwhile in Iran, a columnist was sentenced to 6 months in prison for an Instagram post.

Global press freedom updates

  • Five staffers of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper released from jail
  • Project Miroslava’ finds flaws in Mexico’s investigation of journalist murder
  • CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas
  • In Iraqi Kurdistan, freedom of expression is “on the brink of extinction,” a freelance journalist told CPJ recently. Separately in the autonomous region, Roj News journalist Bryar Muhamad Mustafa has been detained without charge by Asayish security forces since August 21. The same security forces, affiliated with the ruling KDP, has also detained Spanish reporter Ferran Barber, who contributes to Publico and El Mundo, between August 8 and September 4, then deported him a few days later
  • Asia Plus, one of Tajikistan’s largest independent news agencies, reported via a mirror site earlier in September that its main websites and business emails stopped working completely on August 19
  • Syrian reporter Ahmed Rahal abducted by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militant group in Idlib
  • Somaliland police raid Horyaal 24 TV offices, arrest owner Mohamed Osman Mireh
  • Nigerian publisher Agba Jalingo charged with treason
  • Police hold 2 journalists for 13 days without charge in Equatorial Guinea
  • Egyptian security forces arrest son of al-Mashhad editor Magdi Shandi
  • Nicaraguan customs authorities target 2 newspapers with ink, paper seizures
  • El Salvador bans 2 investigative outlets from press conferences at presidential residence
  • Montenegro authorities should not contest journalist Jovo Martinović’s appeal
  • Hong Kong police hit journalists covering protests with tear gas and pepper spray

Spotlight

Clashes between protesters and police in Cairo on January 29, 2013, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. (Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan) Shawkan’s work is on display at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn through October 6.

If you happen to be in New York before October 6, make sure to head to St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, where CPJ has collaborated on a photo exhibit titled “Journalists Under Fire.” The exhibit is part of Photoville, an annual outdoor photography festival. Inspired in part by CPJ’s book and digital campaign, “The Last Column,” the display presents work of several visual journalists who have been killed or are currently working under threat. It also uses CPJ data to highlight the risks photojournalists face in the line of duty.

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