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Tipping the scales: Journalists’ lawyers face retaliation around the globe

The smears began the day Christian Ulate began representing jailed Guatemalan journalist José Rubén Zamora: tweets accusing the lawyer of being a leftist or questioning his legal credentials. He began to fear he was being surveilled.  Ulate had taken over the case in August 2022 from two other lawyers, Romeo Montoya García and Mario Castañeda,…

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Marion County Record owner and editor Eric Meyer holds a freshly printed edition of the newspaper on August 16, 2023, as he addresses an impromptu press conference for reporters in Marion to cover the aftermath of a police raid on the publication five days earlier. (Photo: Katherine Jacobsen)

Defiant Marion County Record hits newsstands following police raid

MARION, Kansas, August 17, 2023—At midday Wednesday, television crews were setting up for live broadcasts outside the Marion County Record; phones were ringing off the hook; and the paper’s owner, Eric Meyer was on a carousel of interviews about the police raid on their offices five days earlier. In the back room, surrounded by old…

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‘This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated’: Police raid on Kansas newspaper alarms media, press freedom groups

A police raid on a small-town Kansas newspaper, the Marion County Record, has sent shockwaves through the local community and raised national alarm among press freedom and civil rights groups about its potential to undermine press freedom in the United States. The search warrant, which was signed on Friday and alleges identity theft and unlawful…

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The legal battle to protect slain reporter Jeff German’s electronic devices–and why it’s so concerning for press freedom

A district judge last week barred police from accessing electronic devices used by Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German before his fatal stabbing in September – but only for a while.  The measure was a preliminary injunction against searching German’s cellphone, hard drive, and computers, but a further ruling expected this week could authorize a…

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US reporters wary of online, legal threats in the wake of the overturn of Roe v. Wade

In May, editors at the pro-abortion rights news website Rewire took the extraordinary step of removing reporters’ biographies from the web site.   The move was a safety precaution: After the leak of a draft of a majority Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn the constitutional right to abortion, reporters at Rewire grew concerned about…

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‘It made me more determined’: Iranian American journalist Masih Alinejad won’t stop reporting after Salman Rushdie stabbing

After novelist Salman Rushdie, the target of an Iranian fatwa, was stabbed in western New York last week, Iranian American journalist Masih Alinejad said she saw messages on social media saying she should be punished next. Alinejad, who has extensively covered human rights in Iran and campaigns against the country’s compulsory hijab rule, is no…

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Seeking ‘answers and accountability’: Reporters cover Uvalde shooting amid police obstruction

False narratives, threats of arrest, and a biker group blocking access. These are just a few of the challenges journalists have faced while covering the aftermath of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Threats to press freedom are hardly the main story in Uvalde, where police failed to stop the…

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As Russia’s war in Ukraine drags on, Ukrainian journalists get help from Polish colleagues 

On a recent April morning in Warsaw, Joanna Krawczyk was sitting inside a café in the city center, her phone pinging nonstop. The head of Wyborcza Foundation, a Polish media support initiative, Krawczyk was fielding messages from colleagues coordinating the passage of a truckload of reporting equipment from Poland to Ukraine.  “It’s like a rotating menu…

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Many journalists in exile have to leave the profession. This one saved a local Canadian newspaper

When reporters flee their home countries, many are forced to leave the profession after finding few opportunities in journalism and facing other pressures in exile. CPJ recently spoke with a Pakistani refugee reporter who not only stayed in journalism, but saved a local newspaper in his adopted country, Canada. In 2002, Mohsin Abbas was a…

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‘Censor yourself or don’t work at all’: Why squeezed Russian journalists are fleeing in droves

Last week, Taisia Bekbulatova, chief editor of Russian independent news site Holod, began frantically looking for plane tickets. Bekbulatova, who is based in Georgia, wanted to evacuate her Russia-based staff after the country passed legislation threatening up to 15 years in prison for the publication of “fake” information about the invasion of Ukraine.  “It was apparent that the law was…

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