New York, December 18, 2013--Argentine authorities should immediately release a journalist who has been detained for more than a week and accused of sedition, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Unidentified assailants threw an explosive device at the house of a Peruvian journalist at 2 a.m. on December 10, 2013, according to news reports.
New York, November 18, 2013--Brazil should make a strong statement committing to reverse the country's long history of impunity in journalist murders on November 23, the International Day to End Impunity, the Committee to Protect Journalists stated in a letter to Dilma Vana Rousseff, president of the Federal Republic of Brazil.
CPJ's 2013 International Press Freedom Awards
New York, November 13, 2013 -- Four outstanding journalists who have endured and defied media repression in Ecuador, Egypt, Turkey, and Vietnam will be honored with the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2013 International Press Freedom Awards, an annual recognition of courageous journalism. All have faced recrimination for their work, including harassment, imprisonment, and censorship. CPJ will present Paul Steiger, founding editor-in-chief of ProPublica and former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in the cause of press freedom. The awards dinner is open for press coverage. Accreditation requests are accepted until noon on November 25.
New York, November 7, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the repeal of criminal libel provisions by the Jamaican Parliament on Tuesday as a step forward in the campaign to eliminate criminal defamation in the Americas.
CPJ launches US report
Following CPJ's release of its report on the state of press freedom in the United States, the organization is pursuing high-level meetings with the White House. CPJ had drafted six recommendations that were shared with President Obama, including calling for a guarantee that journalists would not be at legal risk or prosecuted for receiving confidential and/or classified information.
CPJ continues to work toward securing a meeting with the Obama administration in order to discuss the report's findings.
"Given our 32-year history fighting for press freedom around the world, we believe CPJ can make an important contribution to the press freedom concerns and debate in the United States," CPJ Chairman Sandy Rowe wrote in a blog published the day after the report.
Two Peruvian journalists in the central Peruvian city of Ayacucho who had reported on alleged government corruption were convicted of criminal defamation, fined, and handed suspended jail sentences in two separate cases on October 21, 2013, according to news reports.
Washington, October 10, 2013--The Obama administration's aggressive war on leaks and other efforts to control information are without precedent, according to 30 experienced Washington journalists interviewed for a new report released today by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The report found that despite President Barack Obama's promise to head the most open government in American history, White House policies have chilled the conversation between journalists and their sources.
Dear President Obama: We are writing to express our concern regarding a pattern of actions taken by your administration that impedes the flow of information on issues of great public interest and thwarts the free and open discussion necessary to a democracy. We cite specifically the use of secret subpoenas against news organizations, prosecutions that equate leaking classified documents to the press with espionage, and the increased limitations on access to information that is in the public interest.
Bogotá, October 1, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Saturday's murder of a Colombian newspaper vendor who had collaborated with journalists on exposing misbehavior by guards at a local prison, and calls on authorities to investigate.
Upon receiving the news, Hinostroza told CPJ: "It will be an honor for me to receive this recognition, which will drive me to continue working for freedom of expression in my country and support the different processes that are being developed around the world to defend this right."
Upcoming report looks at leak investigations and surveillance
New York, September 30, 2013-- The Committee to Protect Journalists will release its first comprehensive report on press freedom conditions in the United States. Leonard Downie Jr., former Washington Post executive editor and now the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is the author. The report will be released at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on October 10.
Peruvian journalist Humberto Espinoza Maguiña was convicted twice in two consecutive days in September 2013 on charges of defaming the governor of the northeastern state of Ancash, according to news reports. He received a two-year suspended prison sentence and was fined US$2,000 in damages.
Bogotá, September 16, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Colombian authorities to launch a full investigation into the murder of a radio host on Wednesday. Édison Alberto Molina, a lawyer and politician who hosted a radio program that he used to denounce government corruption, was shot and killed in the town of Puerto Berrío, according to news reports.
New York, September 6, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged by the decision of a Mexican judge to dismiss charges against Marco Arturo Quiñones Sánchez, one of the gunmen implicated in the 1997 assassination attempt against J. Jesús Blancornelas, founder and former editor of the Tijuana-based weekly magazine Zeta. The editors of Zeta told CPJ they were informed of the ruling on Thursday.
New York, September 1, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by a report by Der Spiegel saying the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) accessed Al Jazeera's internal communications. Citing documents from former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel reported that the NSA hacked into the network's internal communications system.
New York, August 28, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by cyber-attacks on several websites on Tuesday, including The New York Times, whose site was disabled for several hours. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, took credit for the attack via its Twitter account. The group also claimed to have attacked the websites of Twitter and The Huffington Post U.K.
New York, August 21, 2013--The 35-year prison sentence handed down today to Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on charges of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks could chill the work of journalists covering national security issues.
New York, August 20, 2013--Authorities in Guatemala should conduct a full investigation into the murder of a TV and radio journalist who was found on Monday after being reported missing for several hours, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Carlos Alberto Orellana Chávez was killed seven days after another journalist was shot and wounded in the same state.
New York, August 12, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the ruling by a Venezuelan judge against two dailies last week that bans the publication of violent photographs and imposes hefty fines, according to news reports.
New York, August 9, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Tuesday's conviction for the 2010 murder of Brazilian radio journalist and blogger Francisco Gomes de Medeiros. João Francisco dos Santos was sentenced to 27 years in prison on charges of shooting and killing the journalist in the northeastern city of Caicó, according to news reports.
New York, July 30, 2013--Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, whose leak of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks sparked a military court-martial that raised alarms about the chilling effect on the press, was convicted today on six counts of violating the Espionage Act, along with theft and other charges, but was acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, according to news reports. The case has become emblematic of U.S. authorities' aggressive crackdown on leaks of secret information.
Mexico City, July 18, 2013--Mexican authorities should conduct an open and thorough investigation into the murder of a crime reporter whose body was found on Wednesday in Oaxaca City, the capital of Oaxaca state, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Alberto López Bello had been badly beaten and shot, government officials told CPJ.
New York, July 11, 2013--The body of Honduran radio journalist Aníbal Barrow was found on Tuesday on the riverbank of a lagoon near the city of San Pedro Sula, according to news reports. Barrow had been kidnapped from his car on June 24, the reports said.
"We are saddened by the death of journalist Aníbal Barrow and send our condolences to his friends, family, and colleagues," said CPJ Senior Program Coordinator for the Americas Carlos Lauría. "Lethal violence against the press and the endless cycle of impunity is compromising democracy in Honduras. Local authorities must thoroughly investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice."
Bogotá, July 9, 2013--Peruvian authorities should immediately investigate a bomb attack on the offices of Radio Tropicana in the town of Satipo on July 4, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. No one was hurt, but the station's offices were badly damaged, the station's manager told CPJ.
Dear Prime Minister Sharif: We are writing to express our deep concern about the expulsion of at least three foreign journalists from Pakistan. While Pakistan remains a dangerous country for journalists, we are concerned that it is also fast becoming inhospitable to international correspondents.
New York, June 25, 2013--Authorities must do everything in their power to ensure the safe release of Honduran television journalist Aníbal Barrow, who was abducted on Monday, and to bring the kidnappers to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Dear President Obama: Ahead of your first trip to East Africa, we would like to bring to your attention the deteriorating state of press freedom in Tanzania. In your meetings with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, we ask that you discuss the critical importance of press freedom to economic development and democracy.
New York, June 21, 2013--At least 25 journalists have reported being attacked or detained amid protests that have swept Brazil over the past two weeks, growing from discontent in São Paulo over public transportation fare hikes to wider nationwide demonstrations against government policies.
New York, June 14, 2013--The new Communications Law approved today by the Ecuadoran National Assembly represents a severe blow to freedom of expression, said the Committee to Protect Journalists. The law establishes regulation of editorial content and gives authorities the power to impose arbitrary sanctions and censor the press.
New York, June 13, 2013--Brazilian authorities must identify the motive behind Tuesday's murder of a media executive, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Four masked men shot José Roberto Ornelas de Lemos at least 41 times while he was at a bakery in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, according to news reports.
New York, June 13, 2013--At least three Brazilian journalists were detained by military police while covering a protest on Tuesday, with one still in custody, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Brazilian authorities to allow journalists to be able to work freely without fear of harassment.
New York, June 5, 2013--A U.S. filmmaker jailed in Venezuela since April on trumped-up charges of espionage has been freed and deported from the country, news accounts reported today. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Timothy Hallet Tracy, and calls on Venezuelan authorities to allow all journalists to work without interference.
Peruvian journalist Jorge Alberto Moncada Mino was attacked by unidentified assailants in the city of Chiclayo in the northern department of Lambayeque on May 24, according to news reports. Moncada, who reports for the daily El Ciclón de Chiclayo and Radio Caliente, was entering a store near his home to buy bread when two men got out of a vehicle and beat him with the butt of a gun and a wrench. The journalist was hospitalized with several bone fractures and wounds to his abdomen and head.
Bogotá, Colombia, May 28, 2013--An attack on a community radio station in central Bolivia constitutes a politically motivated attempt to censor its news coverage, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today as it called on authorities to investigate and apprehend the attackers.
New York, May 23, 2013--Honduran authorities must conduct a full and thorough investigation into Monday's attack on two journalists in the northern town of La Ceiba, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, May 21, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports of a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the newsgathering activities of a Fox News reporter, which come a week after revelations that the government seized phone records of The Associated Press.
Dear Attorney General Holder and Deputy Attorney General Cole: CPJ's board of directors rarely has seen the need to raise its collective voice against U.S. government actions that threaten newsgathering. Today, however, we write to vigorously protest the secret seizing of phone records of The Associated Press. The overly broad scope of the subpoena and the lack of notification to the AP represent a damaging setback for press freedom in the United States and set a terrible example for the rest of the world.
Dear Mr. Secretary: We are writing to bring to your attention the deteriorating state of press freedom in Ethiopia, where you will attend this year's African Union Summit. A vibrant press and civil society is fundamental to hold governments accountable and to ensure long-term development and stability. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, we ask that you include the issue of press freedom in your discussion of the challenges that Africa will face in the next half-century.
Bogotá, May 15, 2013--Colombian authorities must bring to justice all those responsible for an alleged plot to assassinate a journalist and two political analysts who had been investigating links between local politicians and organized crime, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bogotá, Colombia, May 8, 2013--A shadowy group that claims to oppose land restitution efforts in Colombia has told eight journalists who cover the issue to leave the northern city of Valledupar or be killed, according to CPJ interviews and news reports.
New York, May 2, 2013--The Guatemalan news outlet elPeriódico has been targeted in a series of cyberattacks as it published stories alleging corruption in President Otto Pérez Molina's administration. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to investigate immediately and put an end to the harassment.
New York, May 2, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Colombian authorities to fully investigate an attack against editor Ricardo Calderón, whose car was shot at by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday night in the town of Girardot. Calderón was unharmed.
New York, April 26, 2013--Venezuelan authorities on Wednesday arrested a U.S. citizen working on a documentary film in the country and accused him of instigating unrest.
Mexico City, April 25, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists joins journalists with the Mexican daily Vanguardia in calling on authorities to launch an efficient and thorough investigation into the murder of photographer Daniel Martínez Balzaldúa.
New York, April 25, 2013-The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the approval today of legislation that will implement a constitutional amendment that gives federal authorities in Mexico broader jurisdiction to prosecute crimes against freedom of expression.
"This is a legislative milestone and a step forward in the fight against the impunity that persists in crimes against the press," said CPJ senior Americas program coordinator, Carlos Lauría. "We urge President Enrique Peña Nieto to immediately sign these measures into law and then ensure that authorities effectively use this new tool to bring the killers of journalists to justice."
Mexico City, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Mexican authorities to fully investigate the disappearance of journalist Sergio Landa Rosado in the state of Veracruz. Landa, who covers the crime beat for the local daily Diario Cardel, has been missing since January, according to news reports.
New York, April 22, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a death threat sent to the Mexico office of the international freedom of expression organization Article 19.
"Mexican authorities must launch an exhaustive investigation into this threat and bring those responsible to justice," said CPJ Senior Americas Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría. "The authorities have a responsibility to ensure that journalists and defenders of press freedom can work without fear for their safety."
Mexico City, April 17, 2013--The national Mexican magazine Proceso reported Tuesday that it has learned of a plot by officials in the government of Veracruz to harm journalist Jorge Carrasco, who has reported extensively on the murder of the magazine's correspondent in that state. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to fully investigate the alleged threats and to ensure Carrasco's safety.
New York, April 15, 2013--Brazilian authorities must bring to justice the assailants involved in the murder of a crime photographer on Sunday night, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Walgney Assis Carvalho was a freelance photographer who contributed to the daily Vale do Aço in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.
New York, April 10, 2013--Unidentified gunmen apparently fired upon a Honduran TV journalist whose work had included coverage of a sensitive land conflict, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to conduct a thorough and effective investigation that leads to arrests in the attack against journalist Fidelina Sandoval, who was unharmed.
New York, April 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Cuban journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a reporter with the independent news agency Centro de Información Hablemos Press, who had been imprisoned since September while reporting on an international medical donation to Cuba.
New York, March 19, 2013--During his trip to the region this week, U.S. President Barack Obama should call on Israeli authorities to return the equipment of an independent broadcaster that was seized more than a year ago, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Letters | Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela
Dear OAS Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Ahead of the assembly of the Organization of American States on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges you to oppose any attempts to debilitate the regional human rights system. The failure of member states to preserve the autonomy and independence of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its special rapporteur on freedom of expression would make citizens throughout the hemisphere more vulnerable to human rights violations and represent a blow to democracy in the Americas.
New York, March 12, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the prison sentence issued Friday to Yaco Martínez, director of the daily La Nación in the province of Carchi. Martínez was convicted of defaming a former governor with an article published in his newspaper, according to news reports.
Bogotá, Colombia, March 11, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Colombian authorities to investigate an attack on a journalist who had denounced political corruption and the activities of leftist guerrilla groups in the region. Juan David Betancur received a letter bomb in the mail on Thursday that failed to explode and did not injure him, according to news reports.
New York, March 8, 2013--Brazilian authorities must immediately investigate today's murder of a journalist and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Gunmen shot at the offices of the daily El Diario de Juárez and the television station Channel 44 in Ciudad Juárez early in the morning of March 6, 2013, according to news reports. The attacks resulted in slight material damage to the buildings, but no injuries.
New York, March 6, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Tuesday's attack on Carmen Andrea Rengifo, a correspondent for the Colombian TV station RCN, by crowds who had gathered in Caracas to mourn the death of President Hugo Chávez. CPJ calls on authorities to investigate the assault immediately.
Mexico City, March 5, 2013--Mexican authorities must identify the motive in the weekend murder of a news website editor in Chihuahua state and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, February 28, 2013--Cuban writer and blogger Ángel Santiesteban Prats is expected to begin serving a five-year jail sentence today on assault and trespassing charges brought by his former wife, accusations he has insisted have been fabricated.
Bogota, Colombia, February 25, 2013--Authorities in Peru should immediately determine the motive behind the murder of a journalist on Saturday and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, February 25, 2013--A local radio reporter who often denounced crime on his show was shot dead on Friday in northern Brazil, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder and calls on Brazilian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.
CPJ's Robert Mahoney identifies the 10 countries where press freedom suffered the most in 2012. They include Syria, the world's deadliest country for the press; Russia, where repressive laws took effect; Brazil, where journalist murders soared; and Ethiopia, where terror laws are used to silence the press. (3:26)
Fresh from his re-election in October, President Hugo Chávez Frías sought treatment in Cuba for the recurrence of an unspecified form of cancer, leaving the nation's political landscape in doubt as 2012 came to a close. Chávez said during the campaign that he was free of the cancer that first struck in 2011, although details of his medical condition were shrouded in mystery. In the lead-up to the vote that saw Chávez fend off challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski, the administration continued its systematic campaign against critical news coverage through legislation, threats, and regulatory measures while using unlimited airtime via its state media empire. The election heightened an already polarized environment: Both pro-government and pro-opposition journalists were attacked while covering campaign events. Chávez's campaign against press freedom extended beyond the country's borders in 2012. Venezuela was part of a bloc of countries within the Organization of American States that worked to dismantle the region's system of human rights protection, including the special rapporteur for freedom of expression. The government also announced that it was withdrawing from the American Convention on Human Rights, the first step required in order to pull out from the OAS' two human rights bodies.
The Obama administration continued to clamp down on officials who leak sensitive information to the news media. A former CIA officer pleaded guilty to criminal charges of leaking a covert operative's identity, effectively ending a legal battle by three journalists fighting government subpoenas to testify in the case. The director of national intelligence announced new rules to clamp down on leaks, and the Senate debated a bill that would further impede officials from sharing intelligence information with the press. In issues related to access, a military judge rejected a request by several media outlets to broadcast the Guantánamo Bay trial of suspects accused in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. And a number of news organizations appealed a military judicial decision to seal documents related to the court-martial of Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who faced charges of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. Reporter James Risen, author Ed Moloney, and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns continued to fight subpoenas that would force them to turn over their unpublished reporting or testify in criminal investigations. Several journalists were arrested covering demonstrations linked to the Occupy movement.
Anti-press violence dipped slightly, but impunity persisted in past attacks. The prosecutor in charge of investigating the 2011 slaying of TV journalist Pedro Alfonso Flores Silva was murdered himself in April 2012, the same week he was to announce his findings. The following month, national police announced that Flores’ murder had been ordered by a local mayor in reprisal for the journalist’s reporting on government corruption, but the mayor was never formally charged in the case. Separately, the former mayor of the city of Coronel Portillo was acquitted in May in connection with the 2004 murder of radio journalist Alberto Rivera Fernandez. After condemnation by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Peruvian Supreme Court overturned its own decision to free Alberto Pinto, former head of the military’s intelligence service, who had been serving a 15-year sentence for the 1990s-era murders of civilians, including journalist Pedro Yauri. Pinto went into hiding in the face of an arrest warrant. Several assaults were reported. One journalist was beaten unconscious after reporting on local corruption. Journalists who covered violent protests against a mining project were attacked by police and demonstrators. No journalists were imprisoned in 2012, but two were given suspended prison sentences on criminal defamation charges. A bill that eliminated jail terms for defamation has been stalled in Congress since mid-2011.
As the military battled drug cartels--and the gangs clashed with one another--the press came under fire from criminals and corrupt officials seeking to control the flow of information. Journalists disappeared or were threatened or forced to flee in reprisal for their work, and several media outlets were attacked. Freelance journalist Adrían Silva Moreno was shot to death in Puebla shortly after the reporter had gathered information on a large-scale gasoline theft and then witnessed a stand-off between soldiers and gunmen. Five other journalists were murdered during the year; CPJ was investigating to determine whether the killings were work-related. After being repeatedly targeted, one daily published an editorial stating it would no longer report on cartel violence. In a sign of the public's dissatisfaction with President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa's bloody offensive against the cartels, the rival Institutional Revolutionary Party won back the presidency in an election that vaulted Enrique Peña Nieto to power. Calderón's administration did have a landmark press freedom achievement in its final year. After years of advocacy by CPJ and other press freedom groups, Congress and the states passed a Calderón-backed constitutional amendment federalizing crimes against freedom of expression, a key step in combating local-level corruption and impunity. Still, the legislation needed to implement the amendment had yet to be passed in late year. At least 14 journalists were killed in retaliation for their work during Calderón's presidency, which ran from December 2006 through December 2012, marking the tenure as one of the deadliest on record for the press anywhere in the world.
Journalists who report on sensitive issues such as drug trafficking, government corruption, and land conflicts face frequent threats and attacks in a nation so gripped by violence and lawlessness that it has become one of the most murderous places in the world. The abduction and murder of Ángel Alfredo Villatoro, one of the country’s best-known journalists and a friend of President Porfirio Lobo, made headlines for weeks and prompted nationwide demonstrations against anti-press violence. The authorities did not identify a motive but charged three people in the attack. Reflecting the deep polarization that followed the 2009 military-backed coup, attacks against reporters seen as supportive of the ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, attracted far less attention and official action. CPJ research shows that the authorities have been slow and negligent in investigating numerous journalist murders and other anti-press crimes since the 2009 coup, even as they have tried to minimize the extent of the violence. Official negligence in the investigations—CPJ found that the authorities often failed to interview witnesses or collect evidence—has made it difficult to determine the motives in many of the cases. While the U.S. Senate said it would withhold some aid from Honduras due to alleged human rights violations by police, the State Department announced the creation of a Bilateral Human Rights Working Group to assist the Honduran government with investigations into journalist murders.
Journalists felt the effect of widespread gang-related violence. The staff of the online news site El Faro faced intimidation after reporting on a criminal network involving businessmen and politicians, and after revealing secret negotiations between the government and gangs. Unidentified individuals followed and photographed El Faro’s journalists, Editor Carlos Dada said. Minister of Security David Munguía Payés acknowledged that the outlet was at risk but initially declined to provide any protection. The case also exposed cracks in solidarity among the Salvadoran press as few journalists initially came to the defense of El Faro. Nationwide, murder rates appeared to drop after the government negotiated a gang truce, although some officials suggested disappearances were simultaneously on the rise. Despite pervasive societal violence, the country has not seen widespread killings of journalists. The authorities, who won a conviction in May in the 2011 murder of a cameraman, have a generally good record in combating deadly anti-press violence, CPJ research shows.
The press freedom climate continued its sharp decline under President Rafael Correa. Courts upheld defamation convictions against executives of the daily El Universo and authors of the book Big Brother in connection with their critical coverage of the Correa administration. The president, who initiated the complaints, later pardoned the journalists, but the rulings cast a chill on in-depth reporting. Correa granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a move that underlined his antipathy toward the United States and sought to counter his image as an opponent of free expression. U.N. member states made 24 recommendations on freedom of expression at the country’s Universal Periodic Review. The Ecuadoran government rejected three of the recommendations, including one that urged the repeal of laws that criminalize speech. The president also began a sustained attack on the Organization of American States’ special rapporteur for freedom of expression, a move that threatened to gut a vital defender of the regional press. An anti-press attitude was prevalent among all branches of Ecuadoran government. Legislators debated a bill that would allow a media regulatory body to impose arbitrary sanctions on the press and limit free speech. The telecommunications office closed at least 11 broadcasters, more than half of which were critical of the government. And a photographer was killed in direct retaliation for his reporting, the first confirmed journalist murder in Ecuador since 2005.
Though Cuba projected an image of a nation opening up economically and politically, it took no substantive steps to promote freedom of expression. The authorities announced plans to eliminate exit visa regulations that had long restricted Cuban travel, but skeptics expressed doubts about the government’s commitment to the reform. The prominent blogger Yoani Sánchez, has been denied exit visas at least 19 times, CPJ research shows. Venezuela, which financed a much-heralded Cuban fiber-optic cable project, said the installation was completed, but Havana gave no indication when the technology would be put into use. Internet penetration remained low, with existing public connections slow and expensive. Cuba placed ninth on CPJ’s global survey of most-censored countries, and the authorities continued to stifle dissent. After a one-year absence, the nation rejoined the ranks of countries imprisoning journalists. One independent journalist was jailed when CPJ conducted its annual worldwide survey. Though long-term detentions were more infrequent than in past years, human rights groups and news reports documented short-term detentions and harassment surrounding widely covered events, such as the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in March. The authorities detained Sánchez and two other bloggers while they were en route to cover a trial stemming from the vehicular death in July of Oswaldo Payá, a prominent dissident. Journalist and lawyer Yaremis Flores was detained for two days after reporting local criticism of the government's response to Hurricane Sandy in articles published on the Miami-based Cubanet. Two years after the Black Spring detainees were freed, many of the journalists faced severe economic challenges in exile. One, Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, killed himself in April.
Journalists faced resurgent violence from illegal armed groups in the months before President Juan Manuel Santos’ government announced peace talks with the leftist guerrilla organization Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The group, also known as the FARC, held French reporter Roméo Langlois captive for more than a month, the first abduction of an international journalist in Colombia since 2003, according to CPJ research. Fernando Londoño, a radio talk show host and former high-ranking government official, was injured and his driver and bodyguard were killed in a targeted bombing in Bogotá. Police were also implicated in an instance of anti-press violence. In November, freelance journalist Guillermo Quiroz Delgado died after being arrested while covering a street protest in Sucre department. From his hospital bed, Quiroz said he had been assaulted by police officers. Decisions in several legal cases favored the press. Angered by criticism in an opinion piece, the seven justices of the Supreme Court’s criminal chamber filed an unprecedented criminal defamation complaint against columnist Cecilia Orozco Tascón—but dropped the case after widespread criticism. The chief prosecutor's office classified the 2000 kidnapping and sexual assault of journalist Jineth Bedoya as a crime against humanity and thus not subject to the statute of limitation. And two former officials of the national intelligence agency, or DAS, were sentenced to six years each in prison for an illegal espionage program that targeted critical journalists among others.
Brazil’s international profile remained on the rise, but its government consistently failed to show leadership on press freedom issues. Anti-press violence surged with four work-related fatalities; the country’s ranking also worsened on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which highlights countries where journalists are killed regularly and the authorities fail to solve the crimes. Along with India and Pakistan—two other countries that rank poorly on the Impunity Index—Brazil raised objections to a comprehensive UNESCO proposal to help nations combat impunity and protect journalists. In the face of heavy criticism, U.N. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti later expressed broad support for press freedom and elements of the UNESCO plan. But the government's commitment to free expression came into question in another important international matter. Brazil supported an Ecuadoran-led effort to weaken the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the human rights monitoring body of the Organization of American States, and its special rapporteur for freedom of expression. In December, investigative reporter and CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee Mauri König fled Brazil after receiving death threats related to his coverage of police corruption. President Dilma Rousseff’s government did usher in two measures promoting the public’s right to know. Rousseff signed into law an access-to-information measure and created a commission to investigate human rights abuses committed during the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
Disputes between Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government and top media outlets intensified. Despite a Supreme Court ruling that ordered equitable distribution of state advertising, Kirchner’s government continued to withhold government ads from outlets critical of her administration, while lavishing business on those that provided favorable coverage, a CPJ special report found. Both the justice department and a federal appeals court fined the executive branch for ignoring the ruling, but the government showed no intention of complying. The administration also continued its practice of attacking and insulting journalists and executives associated with the country’s two principal media companies, Clarín and La Nación, sometimes using smear campaigns on public television shows. Those media groups, in turn, relentlessly criticized the government. The result was a highly polarized climate, with outlets devoting considerable coverage to discrediting one another, and citizens being deprived of objective sources of information on vital issues of public interest.
Analyses and data track press conditions throughout the region. Mike O'Connor describes cartel-imposed censorship in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. Carlos Lauría recounts how members of the Organization of American States failed to stand up for press freedom. And John Otis examines a spike in Brazilian murders targeting critical bloggers.
Worldwide tally reaches highest point since CPJ began surveys in 1990. Governments use charges of terrorism, other anti-state offenses to silence critical voices. Turkey is the world's worst jailer. A CPJ special report
Attacks on the Press | Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand
Bogotá, February 1, 2013--Authorities in Colombia should ensure the safety of two journalists who have fled the northern city of Montería after being threatened for their reporting on criminal groups, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, January 31, 2013--Appellate courts in Brazil should overturn a decision ordering journalist Lúcio Flavio Pinto to pay more than $200,000 in damages in connection with a libel suit, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist, who was initially found liable in late 2012, lost an appeal in a ruling publicized on January 23.
Two unidentified men shot Renato Machado Gonçalves as he was returning home with his family at night on January 8, 2013, in the city of São João da Barra, in northern Rio de Janeiro state, according to news reports. Machado's six-year-old niece was also injured in the attack, the reports said. Machado died later at a local hospital, news reports said.
Bogotá, January 10, 2013--Venezuelan authorities announced late Wednesday that they had launched an investigation against a private TV station that had aired reports questioning the legality of postponing the inauguration of President Hugo Chávez. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the government to immediately drop this politicized investigation and to end its persistent harassment of Globovisión, the country's only TV station critical of the government.
New York, January 7, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns continued harassment and threats against staff of The Journal News after the New York state-based daily published an interactive map that identified local gun permit holders. CPJ calls on authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly and take all appropriate law enforcement action.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.