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 Emergencies has updated its safety advisory for journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic. The advisory includes information on pre-assignment preparations, travel planning, avoiding infection, and post-assignment considerations. Sign up to receive further updates and safety advisories from CPJ Emergencies here. The report is also available in Español, فارسی, and العربية
CPJ Digital Manger Ahmed Zidan interviewed the University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab about their recent report on Chinese social media censorship around COVID-19. One of the report’s co-authors told CPJ, “Broad censorship of neutral and even factual information related to the virus might have limited the public's ability to share and discuss knowledge of the prevention of the disease.”
In Vietnam, Radio Free Asia journalist Truong Duy Nhat was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday. Nhat had been held in pre-trial detention in Vietnam since January 28, 2019, two days after he went missing from a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand.
“No matter how long they want to imprison my dad, I’m sure that he did nothing wrong,” his daughter, Thuc Doan Truong, told CPJ. “[Today’s sentencing] is just an excuse for them to stop him from writing critical articles.”
In the United Kingdom, a report published by the U.K. Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office revealed that authorities requested six warrants for surveillance efforts that “would relate to journalistic confidential material” in 2018. The report also stated that law enforcement and state security agents made 203 communications data requests “in relation to an individual of journalistic profession” in 2018.
Global press freedom updates
- Myanmar army files criminal defamation complaint against Reuters over Rohingya killing report
- CPJ demands Algeria release journalist and RSF correspondent Khaled Drareni
- Turkey arrests four more journalists for covering intelligence officer death
- Guatemalan journalist Bryan Guerra shot dead in Chiquimula
- India temporarily bans two news channels over coverage of Delhi riots and journalists in the country continue to be harassed and attacked while covering the riots. Separately, reporter M. Karthi attacked, threatened in Tamil Nadu
- Journalist Adalbert Hiol jailed since November in Cameroon
- Government supporters attack journalists covering funeral in Nicaragua. In a separate case in Nicaragua, journalist Emiliano Chamorro faces police harassment and surveillance
- Bomb explodes at offices of Cyprus Times
- Hong Kong police attack and detain journalists covering protester vigils
- Liberian police assault editor Christopher Walker at soccer tournament
- Anti-refugee protesters attack journalists in Greece
- Radio Tongu broadcaster suspended, director arrested in Ghana
- EU online terrorist content legislation risks undermining press freedom
To mark International Women’s Day last Sunday, CPJ highlighted the voices and work of courageous female journalists. The Twitter coverage included interviews with six journalists and former International Press Freedom Award recipients, who gave their perspectives and advice for others in the field.
CPJ also highlighted some of the specific threats and challenges faced by women in media, including the prevalence of online harassment, CPJ’s 2019 survey on threats to female and gender non-conforming journalists in the U.S. and Canada, and the dangers associated with particular beats like sports and elections.
Explore CPJ’s reporting and safety advice related to gender here.
Are you a student passionate about press freedom? MKL Public relations, with support from CPJ and media outlets from around the country, is hosting a national student essay competition. Students are encouraged to submit an essay on the importance of press freedom in the United States, and separate awards will be granted to students in grades six to eight, nine to twelve, and university and college students. Learn more here.
What we are reading
- How Covid-19 is affecting Italian journalism — Daniel Green, Journalism.co.uk
- Truth Has Become a Coronavirus Casualty — Suzanne Nossel, Foreign Policy
- A matter of life or death: Syrian journalists have nowhere to turn — CPJ Middle East and North Africa representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado Culebras, OpenDemocracy
- Apple’s Silence on Chinese Censorship Raises Questions About the Company’s Commitment to User Privacy and Human Rights — Scott Ikeda, CPO Magazine
- Congress wants accountability for Khashoggi. Trump breaks the law to stop them — The editorial board, The Washington Post
- Delhi Violence: When the Cost of Reporting Is Trauma — Abhishek Ranjan, Shiv Kumar Maurya, and Puneet Bhatia, The Quint
- The legal needs of local news: What we learned from the Local Legal Initiative proposal process — Chris Young, Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press
- Social media giants are fighting coronavirus fake news. It’s still spreading like wildfire. — Mark Scott, Politico
- After exploiting music loophole, Reporters Without Borders hides censored news in Minecraft — John McCarthy, The Drum
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