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.
Chinese authorities on Wednesday revoked the press credentials of Wall Street Journal journalists Josh Chin, Chao Deng, and Philip Wen in retaliation for a headline in the paper’s opinion section, and ordered them to leave the country within five days. China's expulsion of the journalists “makes the country appear less like a confident rising power than a thin-skinned bully,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler. “During a global health emergency, it is counterproductive for the Chinese authorities to be limiting the flow of news and information,” he added.
In Somalia, broadcast journalist Abdiwali Ali Hassan was shot several times on February 16 near his home in the town of Afgooye and died en route to the hospital. Abdiwali was a freelance correspondent in the Lower Shabelle region, which has recently been the scene of attacks by the militant group Al-Shabaab. Two weeks before his death, unidentified people posted the journalist’s photo on a Facebook page saying that “Abdiwali was killed” and, on at least two occasions, armed men came to the journalist’s house looking for him.
In the Paraguayan city of Pedro Juan Caballero on the Brazil-Paraguay border, masked men shot and killed Brazilian journalist Lourenço “Léo” Veras on February 12. Veras was the owner and manager of Porã News, a news website covering organized crime. Previously, while a correspondent for Paraguayan daily ABC Color, Veras was granted police protection after receiving threats from members of an organized crime group. The killing echoes the 2015 murder of journalist Gerardo Ceferino Servían Coronel in Ponta Porã, on the Brazilian side of the border, and the 2014 killings of Pablo Medina Velázquez and Fausto Gabriel Alcaraz Garay.
Global press freedom updates
- Pakistani journalist Aziz Memon was found strangled to death after warning of threats against him
- Mexican police attack reporters during protests in Veracruz
- Pro-government groups attack reporters covering Juan Guaidó’s return to Venezuela
- Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo jailed since January on defamation charges
- Arrest warrant issued for Colombian journalist Edison Lucio Torres
- NYPD subpoenaed journalist’s Twitter data, citing anti-terrorism law
- Manipur High Court moves defamation case against Imphal Free Press forward
- Jammu and Kashmir police question three journalists amid social media ban
- Pakistan government secretly passes strict social media regulations
Brazilian investigative journalist and 2019 International Press Freedom Awardee Patrícia Campos Mello has faced an online harassment campaign after a former employee of a digital marketing company gave a statement attacking her during a congressional hearing on fake news in Brazil. Several politicians, including Eduardo Bolsonaro — a congressman and son of President Jair Bolsonaro — shared and repeated allegations against her on Twitter.
Journalists are frequently at risk of being harassed online in an attempt to intimidate or force them into silence. The harassment, most commonly directed at female journalists, often includes threats of violence against the journalist and their family and friends. CPJ Emergencies’ safety kit provides information for how journalists can protect their mental health amid online harassment.
What we are reading
- Governments of the world just ramped up spying on reporters — Ahana Datta, Columbia Journalism Review
- How do newsrooms get their news tips? We reviewed over 80 news outlets — Parker Higgins, Freedom of the Press Foundation
- How Saudi Arabia Infiltrated Twitter — Alex Kantrowitz, BuzzFeed News
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