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Journalist Amr Alfiky is arrested in New York on February 11, 2020. (Screenshot of video taken by Mostafa Bassim)

NYC police arrest and charge photojournalist

February 14, 2020 12:05 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.

In New York City, police arrested photojournalist Amr Alfiky on Tuesday as he filmed an arrest underway on the street. Police held Alfiky in custody for about 3.5 hours and confiscated his press credentials. He was released after being charged with disorderly conduct. An NYPD spokesman told New York Daily News that Alfiky did not identify himself as a journalist until after he was in custody. In a video of the arrest, Alfiky can be heard repeatedly and loudly telling police officers that he is a journalist and offering to show his press credentials.

CPJ’s Patti Birch Fellow for Data Journalism, Coral N. Negrón Almodóvar, reports on two new laws in Puerto Rico that obstruct the work of investigative journalists. Journalists say that the laws make it harder to obtain public documents, speak with officials, and trust available data.

In Chechnya on February 6, a group of unidentified people attacked investigative journalist Elena Milashina and human rights lawyer Marina Dubrovina. In her statement to police, the journalist said she believed the attack was linked to her work, as she had been threatened by Chechen authorities before, and by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov personally.

Global press freedom updates

  • CPJ Senior Africa Researcher Jonathan Rozen reports on how Nigeria’s police used telecom surveillance to lure and arrest journalists
  • Al-Rasheed TV CEO Nizar Thanoun shot and killed in Baghdad
  • CPJ calls on Canadian police to let journalists work freely at indigenous protest sites as police detain and obstruct journalists covering raid on protesters
  • Explosive device detonated at home of journalist in Ecuador
  • Chinese video journalist Chen Qiushi, who covered coronavirus, goes missing
  • Brazilian journalist and 2019 IPFA honoree Patrícia Campos Mello faces online harassment campaign
  • A Brazilian judge declined to move forward with charges against Glenn Greenwald CPJ reacted by demanding that authorities in this country stop the pattern of criminalizing journalists
  • Peruvian journalists threatened, surveilled over coverage of politician
  • Pakistan threatens journalist with terrorism charges, extradition from UK
  • Slovak authorities file criminal defamation charges against columnist Michal Havran
  • U.S. journalist Michael Yon barred from entering Hong Kong
  • Philippines solicitor general petitions to strip news broadcaster ABS-CBN of its franchise.
  • CPJ joins call for Turkish authorities to lift advertising ban on leftist dailies
  • Proposed law introducing the so-called “right to be forgotten” in Uruguay raises concerns

Spotlight

People line up to purchase face masks as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in Hong Kong on February 5, 2020. (AFP/Anthony Wallace)

This week, CPJ Emergencies published an advisory with information on ways journalists can stay safe while reporting on the coronavirus. It includes information on preparing ahead of assignments, avoiding infection, travel, as well as safety precautions post-assignment.

For more information, explore CPJ’s online Safety Kit, which provides journalists and newsrooms with basic safety information on physical, digital, and psychological safety resources and tools, including on covering civil unrest and elections.


CPJ Emergencies has also developed a safety kit for journalists in the U.S. covering the elections. If you are a journalist covering the U.S. 2020 election, sign up for our #PressSafety2020 mailing list to receive safety advisories and updates from CPJ Emergencies.

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