New York, December 28, 2012--Burmese authorities' decision to allow private daily newspapers to resume publication is a welcome change to a policy that has stifled press freedom in the country for decades, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, December 24, 2012--Indian authorities must immediately investigate the death of a cameraman who was fatally shot by police on Sunday while covering protests against the sexual assault of women. The Associated Press identified the journalist as Dwijamani Singh, a reporter for the news division of the satellite-distributed Prime News channel that covers northeast India. Other reports have provided different spellings of Singh's name.
Assailants stormed the premises of Nepal Republic Media, a media company in the capital, Kathmandu, on December 20, 2012, attacking journalists and vandalizing the offices, according to news reports. Police arrested several of the attackers, who have identified themselves as members and supporters of the rightwing Shiv Sena Nepal party.
Several police officers in Dhaka, the capital, beat and briefly detained two photographers on December 11, 2012, as they covered clashes between police and supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, according to news reports.
New York, December 19, 2012--CPJ is deeply concerned by sedition charges leveled against Mahmudur Rahman, the acting editor and majority owner of the Bengali-language pro-opposition daily Amar Desh and the paper's publisher, Alhaj Hasmat Ali. The two were charged after publishing news stories based on leaked transcripts of conversations between a lawyer and the lead judge of Bangladesh's war crimes tribunal.
Dear Prime Minister Singh: The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by Indian authorities' continued abuse of a colonial-era sedition law to stifle freedom of expression. CPJ calls on your government to begin taking action toward repealing the law, section 124A in the Indian penal code, which Indian lawmakers have deemed punitive and outdated.
New York, November 21, 2012--Several Pakistani journalists were injured in a bomb blast today at a Shia site in Karachi that came just 30 minutes after an earlier explosion, according to news reports.
New York, November 19, 2012--Pakistani authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a journalist who was shot to death in Baluchistan on Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Rehmatullah Abid was the second Dunya News TV journalist to be killed this year.
Dear President Obama: We are pleased that you will begin your second term as U.S. president with a trip to Southeast Asia. As you visit Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand from November 17 through 20 while attending the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related meetings in Phnom Penh, we hope that your commitment to human rights and the fundamental right to free expression remains an important aspect of your agenda.
New York, November 9, 2012--An Indian television journalist who documented a large-scale attack on young women and reported the episode to police in Karnataka state has been charged with participating in the assault, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists considers the arrest to be retaliatory and calls on authorities to drop the criminal charges and release the reporter immediately.
New York, November 5, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists has created a petition that calls on Chinese President Hu Jintao to immediately release unjustly imprisoned Tibetan journalist Dhondup Wangchen.
New York, October 29, 2012--Officials from China's Communist Party should stop censoring and obstructing foreign journalists in the lead-up to the Party Congress scheduled for November 8, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Information security is notoriously tight before the five-yearly congress, which is expected to usher in high-level leadership change in 2012.
New York, October 1, 2012--Cambodian authorities took a significant step backward on press freedom with today's harsh verdict against independent journalist Mam Sonando in connection with his coverage of land seizures, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, October 1, 2012--Unidentified assailants shot to death a prominent journalist on Saturday in the city of Khuzdar in Baluchistan province, according to news reports. Abdul Haq Baloch was the secretary-general of the Khuzdar Press Club and a longtime correspondent of ARY Television, news reports said.
New York, September 28, 2012--Indian authorities must determine the motive in a bomb attack that killed a freelance journalist in her home on Wednesday and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bangkok, September 24, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the harsh prison sentences handed down today to three prominent Vietnamese online journalists convicted of anti-state charges. In a widening crackdown on press and Internet freedoms, Vietnamese courts have sentenced six journalists and bloggers to prison in the last five weeks.
New York, September 18, 2012--Chinese authorities should release a well-known academic and Internet writer detained last week in connection with his published articles, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Jiao Guobiao has been targeted in the past for his articles criticizing the Chinese government.
New York, September 17, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Wednesday's attack on two media workers outside the offices of local daily The Arunachal Times in India and calls on police in Arunachal Pradesh state to increase security for the paper, which has been attacked three other times since March.
Bangkok, September 12, 2012--Cambodian authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a journalist who was found with ax wounds in the trunk of his car on Tuesday, less than a week after he had exposed an alleged military connection to the illicit timber trade, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, September 10, 2012--Indian authorities should immediately drop all of the charges against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and release him from detention, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Police in Maharashtra state arrested Trivedi, a 25-year-old freelancer from India's central Uttar Pradesh state, on Saturday, according to news reports. The cartoonist faces charges of sedition, violating Internet security laws, and insulting national honor for publishing cartoons mocking national symbols and criticizing corruption on his website, Cartoons Against Corruption, news reports said.
New York, September 7, 2012--A Vietnamese journalist who bribed a police officer during an undercover investigation to expose corruption was sentenced today to four years in prison, according to local and international news reports.
New York, September 4, 2012--U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should press Chinese officials in meetings this week to allow international journalists based in China greater access to news events and fewer restrictions of their coverage, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bangkok, August 20, 2012--Burma should dismantle its censorship agency and repeal all laws that continue to allow suppression of news in the name of national security, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The government announced today that it would abolish pre-publication censorship, a step CPJ welcomes but considers a partial measure in addressing the country's restrictive practices.
Bangkok, August 17, 2012--Harsh prison sentences handed down recently to two independent Vietnamese bloggers represent the latest official abuses in a widening crackdown on Internet freedoms in the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, August 14, 2012--At least three Indian journalists were attacked over the weekend during protests by Muslim groups calling for news coverage of the deaths of Muslims in the ongoing ethnic tension in the state of Assam, according to news reports.
New York, August 14, 2012--Indian authorities should immediately investigate a grenade attack that targeted a prominent local journalist on Saturday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. No one was injured in the attack, which came in the wake of death threats made by local insurgents against editors, according to news reports.
New York, August 7, 2012--Authorities in the Maldives must immediately investigate today's attack on the opposition Raajje TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The attack came just days after police accused the station of making false allegations against security forces, according to news reports.
Bangkok, August 1, 2012--Two weekly news publications were suspended indefinitely in Burma on Tuesday, marking a significant reversal of the government's earlier loosening of media restrictions and pre-publication censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, July 30, 2012--The mother of an imprisoned Vietnamese blogger died after setting herself on fire to protest her daughter's detention on anti-state charges, her family has told international news outlets
New York, July 24, 2012--A year after drawing public ire for censoring coverage of a high-speed train crash, Chinese authorities should allow journalists to freely cover the aftermath of Saturday's deadly flooding in and around the capital, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. International news accounts said 37 people died in Beijing and up to 100 people nationwide.
Bangkok, July 17, 2012--Cambodian authorities should immediately release Mam Sonando, one of the country's leading critical journalists, who has been held since Sunday on anti-state charges, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, July 16, 2012--Authorities must immediately investigate Sunday's attack on Tongam Rina, a journalist for a local Indian daily, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Rina was in critical condition today in a local hospital, according to news reports.
New York, July 12, 2012--Authorities in the Maldives must ensure journalists are able to cover ongoing political demonstrations in the country without fear of being attacked, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bangkok, July 11, 2012--Malaysian authorities must immediately release independent blogger Syed Abdullah Syed Hussein al-Attas who has been in police custody since July 4, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bangkok, July 6, 2012--Vietnamese authorities must stop their harassment of independent blogger and rights activist Huynh Thuc Vy and allow her to report freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Huynh was briefly detained by police and threatened with anti-state charges on Wednesday, according to news reports.
New York, June 29, 2012--Chinese censors should unblock the website of the Bloomberg news agency, which became inaccessible today following a story on the vice president's family and its financial assets, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, June 29, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Sri Lanka to immediately stop harassing news outlets. Police in Colombo raided the offices of two opposition news websites today, arresting nine people and confiscating equipment, according to news reports.
New York, June 25, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's attack on the offices of a Pakistani television outlet and calls on authorities to immediately investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Chinese activists Lü Jiaping, his wife Yu Junyi, and an associate, Jin Andi, were imprisoned in 2010 without their families being informed. The full details of their 2011 trial and sentences were not made public until 2012, according to the English-language Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.
Dear Secretary Clinton: We are writing in advance of the third India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue coming up on June 13, which you will co-chair in Washington, D.C., with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. India is host to a vital and thriving news media, but CPJ has documented several violations against Indian journalists that are undermining the country's tradition of a free press.
Bangkok, May 30, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's conviction of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, webmaster and director of the Prachatai news and commentary website, for violating Thailand's 2007 Computer Crimes Act.
San Francisco, May 30, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's conviction of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, webmaster of the Prachatai discussion board, under Thailand's Computer Crimes Act. The court's decision, which affirms that website operators can be criminally liable for the content of user comments, chills online press freedom in the country, and leaves Thai news sites vulnerable to unjustified and politically motivated prosecutions.
New York, May 29, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Monday night's attack on the offices of an Internet news outlet in Dhaka in which at least nine journalists were wounded.
New York, May 25, 2012--Local authorities in India must drop the criminal charges filed against video journalist Mukesh Rajak, an apparent attempt to prevent him from reporting on local government expenditures, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, May 23, 2012--Authorities in Nepal must protect journalists seeking to report on developments in the volatile run-up to Sunday's deadline for a new constitution, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Dozens of journalists were reportedly attacked by ethnic activists during a three-day general strike that began Sunday, according to news reports.
New York, May 8, 2012--Authorities in the Philippines must investigate the murders of two journalists in the past two weeks, determine the motive, and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Dear Prime Minister Cameron: As you begin your meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to review the Pakistan-U.K. Enhanced Strategic Dialogue, we would like to draw your attention to concerns regarding the protection of journalists in Pakistan. CPJ data show that the country has been ranked the deadliest in the world for journalists for two consecutive years. This year, Pakistan also placed 10th on CPJ's Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are regularly murdered and their killers go free.
New York, May 7, 2012--China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs should immediately grant accreditation to Al-Jazeera English reporters to work in China, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The channel said China has refused its long-time correspondent Melissa Chan and other colleagues journalist visas, forcing it to close its Beijing bureau.
New York, May 3, 2012--Chinese security officials' ongoing obstruction of foreign and domestic journalists covering dissident Chen Guangcheng is a worrying sign for supporters trying to secure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities in Chen's native Shandong province have kept the blind, self-taught lawyer isolated from the media since September 2010.
Bangkok, April 30, 2012--Security forces attacked several journalists Saturday while cracking down on a rally in Kuala Lumpur, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists rejects the government's claims that police acted with restraint and calls for an independent investigation into the attacks.
New York, April 26, 2012--Cambodian authorities should thoroughly investigate a violent confrontation that led to the deaths of a police officer and an activist who was taking two journalists to a logging site said to be illegal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, April 26, 2012--A court in Hunan province has sentenced local resident Hu Lianyou to two years in prison for defaming a police chief in online writings, according to local news reports.
New York, April 25, 2012--The U.S.-based, Chinese-language news website Boxun has come under two crippling denial-of-service attacks in the past week as the outlet sought to report on the unfolding murder and corruption scandal involving former senior Communist Party leader Bo Xilai. The attacks forced Boxun to change its hosting company twice, the site's founder and editor Watson Meng told the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Meng, who spoke to CPJ from his home in North Carolina, said he had not been able to trace the source of the denial-of-service attacks but believed they were in reprisal for Boxun's reporting on Bo Xilai and his ally Zhou Yongkang, the Communist Party's security chief, whose political fate has also been the subject of speculation this month. The first attack, on Friday, was so severe that it not only threatened Boxun but its entire hosting service, name.com. Denial-of-service attacks overload host servers with external communications requests, thus preventing websites from functioning.
New York, April 19, 2012--Pakistani authorities must thoroughly investigate the death of prominent editor and writer Murtaza Razvi, determine a motive in his killing, and apprehend all those responsible, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, April 16, 2012--Vietnamese authorities have brought anti-government charges against three journalists who have languished in prison for several months, news reports said on Sunday.
New York, April 13, 2012--Chinese authorities should halt their censorship of Web content in the aftermath of senior politician Bo Xilai's dismissal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Internet officials in China have deleted at least 210,000 online posts and shut down as many as 42 websites since mid-March for allegedly spreading rumors, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday.
New York, April 10, 2012--Gunmen opened fire on a small plane landing at an airport in Mulia, a town in Indonesia's restive Papua region, on Sunday, killing a journalist and injuring four others, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Indonesian authorities to launch an immediate investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Dear Prime Minister: The International Fact Finding and Advocacy Media Mission to Nepal that met with you in February has finished its review of specific provisions from the country's draft constitution that the Constituent Assembly will finalize by May 28. As one of the groups on the mission, the Committee to Protect Journalists urges you to encourage the assembly to incorporate the group's recommended changes before the constitution is finalized. The review and recommendations pertain to freedom of expression, the right to information, and freedom of the press.
New York, April 2, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by Chinese authorities' recent clampdown on the Internet after rumors circulated about politician Bo Xilai's dismissal from the Communist Party leadership in Chongqing. In recent days, authorities have shut down several microblog sites and detained and targeted Internet users.
On March 29, 2012, Tran Thi Thuy Lieu was convicted of the murder of her husband, journalist Le Hoang Hung, after a one-day trial in southern Long An province. Hung died January 30, 2011, after he was set ablaze while sleeping in his home in Tan An, news reports said. Reports said Lieu, who had suffered gambling losses, was motivated by her husband's refusal to sell their home.
New York, March 30, 2012--Authorities in Chongqing must clarify the status of a journalist who reports say was secretly sentenced to prison in 2010 for criticizing a government official in a personal blog, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ has not been able to independently confirm the journalist's jail sentence or his whereabouts.
New York, March 22, 2012--The Sri Lankan government must immediately halt its intimidation of journalists who supported the adoption of a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation into the country's alleged abuses of international humanitarian law during its war with Tamil separatists.
New York, March 14, 2012--China has approved revisions to its criminal code that grants police broad powers to hold journalists and others who discuss sensitive national issues without charge in secret detention for up to six months, according to news reports.
New York, March 13, 2012--After reviewing evidence in the 2011 killing of journalist Gerardo Ortega, the Philippine Department of Justice on Tuesday recommended that murder charges be filed against ex-governor Joel Reyes in the local courts, news reports said. In doing so, the department reversed an earlier decision not to pursue charges against Reyes.
Although the accused triggerman, Marlon Recamata, named Reyes in the murder, a June 2011 Department of Justice investigation found his statement unsubstantiated, news reports said. Ortega's supporters submitted new evidence a few weeks later and petitioned for the department to re-investigate, reports said. After reviewing the evidence, the department issued a recommendation on Tuesday for murder charges to be filed against Reyes in the Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa City, according to news reports.
Dear President Karzai: We are deeply concerned by the potential repercussions of a March 10 statement released by Ministry of Defense spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi over an article written by The Wall Street Journal reporter Maria Abi-Habib. The statement, which personally attacks the journalist, sends a chilling message to other reporters who write about alleged government misconduct. We call on you to publicly address Azimi's statement and ask all government officials to refrain from attacks on journalists. We also ask you to uphold your commitment to a free press in Afghanistan that you have made many times in the past.
New York, March 12, 2012--Philippine authorities must immediately launch an investigation into the shooting of journalist Fernan Angeles, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ is investigating the motive in the attack, which left the journalist hospitalized in critical condition today.
New York, March 6, 2012--A large crowd attacked a group of about 100 Indian journalists covering local election results in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday and damaged their equipment, according to news reports. The journalists were forced to lock themselves in a school for several hours to protect themselves from the violence, news reports said.
New York, March 2, 2012--Ten Indian journalists were reported injured today after being attacked by a group of lawyers outside a court in the city of Bangalore, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack and calls on authorities to conduct an immediate investigation.
Legislation for Internet security can quickly turn into a weapon against the free press. Cybercrime laws are intended to extend existing penal codes to the online world, but they can easily be broadened to criminalize standard journalistic practices. By Danny O'Brien
Analyses and data track press conditions throughout the region. Bob Dietz describes efforts by Pakastani journalists to address widespread violence. Shawn Crispin details the faltering prosecution in the Maguindanao massacre. Madeline Earp examines the future of information control in China, and Monica Campbell recounts the plight of Afghan reporters for international media.
As journalists continue to be targeted, the government of Asif Ali Zardari has shown itself unable and unwilling to stand up for a free press. Whatever solutions exist will have to be found by people in the profession. By Bob Dietz
Nearly two years since 32 journalists were murdered, the fight for justice has both intensified in rhetoric and bogged down in technicalities. Without a greater commitment of resources, the litmus test is one the Philippines could fail. By Shawn W. Crispin
Internet users posed ever-bigger challenges to Beijing's media controls, boosting debate on public safety and censorship. But ahead of a 2012 leadership transition, the Chinese Communist Party looks likely to fiercely suppress dissent. By Madeline Earp
Local "fixers" have been essential to foreign reporters covering the Afghan war. While they often do the same work as their international counterparts, they run greater risk and face a far more uncertain future. By Monica Campbell
Pakistani reporter Umar Cheema speaks out on the climate of impunity that led to his being abducted and brutally assaulted for his work. (4:15)
Read the Attacks on the Press 2011 country profile on Pakistan.
Photographers from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and other news outlets documented historic events in 2011, often at great peril. The Year in Photographs: Press Freedom in 2011 features images from the Arab uprisings, South Asia's armed conflicts, and political repression in the Americas, Africa, and Europe.
Vietnam intensified a media crackdown targeting online journalists and bloggers, reasserting the government’s near-total control of domestic news media. Authorities arrested and detained five bloggers and contributors to online news publications, bringing to nine the number of journalists behind bars. Political bloggers Pham Minh Hoang and Vi Duc Hoi were both given harsh prison sentences on antistate charges related to their writings. Authorities continued to hold and deny visitation privileges for blogger Nguyen Van Hai even though his prison sentence expired in October 2010. A new executive decree that came into force in February gave the government greater powers to penalize journalists, editors, and bloggers who reported on issues deemed sensitive to national security. An "accusation" bill passed in November was designed to force journalists to reveal the identities of confidential sources critical of government agencies.
Journalists faced significant restrictions, particularly online, despite democratic elections and a change in government. Outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva cracked down on partisan media, shutting radio stations and detaining Somyot Preuksakasemsuk, editor of a newsmagazine aligned with the anti-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship. New premier Yingluck Shinawatra wielded the country's strict lèse majesté laws by censoring websites and Facebook pages, and harassing Internet users who posted online material critical of the monarchy. Chiranuch Premchaiporn, editor of the news website Prachatai, faced a possible 50 years in prison under the draconian 2007 Computer Crimes Act for anonymous anti-royal remarks that were posted to one of her site's comment sections. The case was pending in late year. A reporter was killed in September while covering bombings in the country's insurgency-plagued southern region, a fatality that continued the country's recent spate of media deaths. The government opened a new inquiry into the fatal shooting of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto during 2010 protests in Bangkok, but authorities left unresolved the case of a second international journalist killed in the 2010 unrest, Italian photographer Fabio Polenghi.
The government's effort to silence critical media has been brutally effective as politically motivated deaths, attacks, and disappearances go uninvestigated and unprosecuted. The sister websites Groundviews and Vikalpa became the last independent news sites based in Sri Lanka, after a series of attacks on Lanka eNews. Arsonists attacked the offices of Lanka eNews in January, and authorities arrested the site's Colombo-based editor Bennet Rupasinghe in March. The site continued to publish from London but was blocked domestically. Authorities have turned the notion of law enforcement on its head, obstructing justice in numerous anti-press attacks. Prime examples are the unsolved 2010 disappearance of cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda and the unsolved 2009 murder of prominent editor Lasantha Wickramatunga. Anti-press violence continued in 2011. In July, Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan, news editor of the Tamil-language daily Uthayan, was assaulted in northern Sri Lanka by assailants wielding iron bars. News media access to northern, predominantly Tamil areas remained severely restricted. The government and Tamil secessionists rejected allegations that they committed human rights violations during the long civil war, but independent coverage of the abuses was limited.
Despite high levels of press and Internet freedom, provincial journalists worked under constant threat of reprisal. Two broadcast journalists, Gerardo Ortega and Romeo Olea, were shot and killed for their reporting. Both cases were unsolved by year's end, underscoring the country's third worst ranking on CPJ's 2011 Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a country's population. The vow of President Benigno S. Aquino III to reverse the trend went unfulfilled as legal proceedings in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, in which 32 media workers were ambushed and slain, stalled amid numerous defense motions to disqualify witnesses and suppress outside scrutiny. In another high-profile case, an appeals court denied a dismissal motion filed by two government officials accused of plotting the 2005 murder of reporter Marlene Garcia-Esperat. Although the decision cleared the way for arrests, the long-running prosecution has been beset by delays. Press advocates were critical of a new freedom of information bill, which they said would curtail access to official documents.
Meeting with a CPJ delegation in May, President Asif Ali Zardari committed his government to the pursuit of justice in journalist murders. But with seven journalists killed, five in targeted killings, Pakistan was the world's deadliest country for the press for the second consecutive year. High-profile investigations into the drive-by shooting of Wali Khan Babar in January and the abduction and fatal beating of Saleem Shahzad in May yielded no prosecutions, replicating the country's long-standing record of impunity in journalist murders. Intelligence officials were suspected of complicity in the Shahzad case and other anti-press attacks. With Zardari's government unwilling or unable to protect journalists, media organizations stepped up efforts to protect reporters working in the field. But widespread violence in Baluchistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Karachi, and the Swat Valley--combined with the war in Afghanistan--made the challenge exceptionally difficult. At least three Pakistani journalists fled into exile during the year.
Anti-media attacks and harassment flourished in a power vacuum left by the ruling coalition's political struggles. Baburam Bhattarai of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) became prime minister in August, securing support with his proposal to offer amnesty for war crimes, including journalist murders. Four assailants were convicted in two separate journalist slayings, but masterminds remained unpunished as authorities struggled to address the nation's entrenched culture of impunity. Of several assaults on journalists, at least one caused life-threatening injuries. Journalists received threats nationwide for their reporting, many from politicians or political youth groups. Assailants targeted at least six newspaper offices and burned hundreds of newspapers to limit distribution.
With no work-related deaths reported in 2011, Southeast Asia's largest economy and most populous country pulled back from its record high of three fatalities in 2010. The country's vibrant media remained under threat, however, particularly in remote areas. Banjir Ambarita, a contributor to the Jakarta Globe, suffered serious injuries in a March stabbing in apparent reprisal for coverage that linked police to a prisoner sex abuse scandal. No prosecutions were brought in the case by late year. CPJ research shows that corruption was an extremely dangerous beat for reporters; corruption itself was widespread, according to international monitors. Three men were acquitted in the 2010 murder of TV journalist Ridwan Salamun in remote Maluku, with no new arrests made. In June, the Supreme Court acquitted Playboy Indonesia publisher Erwin Arnada, who had been unjustly jailed for eight months on politicized charges of public indecency. While Internet penetration was a relatively low 9.1 percent, Indonesia had the world's second largest number of Facebook subscribers. Legislation passed by the Senate in October would give the intelligence agency expansive new powers to tap telephones and track other communications. The measure awaited President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's signature in late year.
Although the motives remained unconfirmed in late year, the murders of Chhattisgarh's Umesh Rajput and Mumbai crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey reminded colleagues of the risk of violence. India remained on CPJ's Impunity Index, a ranking of countries in which journalists are murdered regularly and authorities fail to solve the crimes. Violent clashes between insurgents and government forces in states such as Kashmir challenged reporters' ability to work. In a mid-year report, The Hoot, a media issues website, recorded nine journalist assaults between January and May, including four in Orissa, where industrialization and Maoists had each displaced local residents. Authorities retaliated against critical reporting with antistate charges: Two journalists were jailed for allegedly supporting rebels after they criticized the impact of anti-Maoist campaigns on civilians. Journalists who exposed police ineptitude and corruption faced jail time. Politicians and businessmen muzzled reporters with legal action, including defamation, which authorities failed to decriminalize. Internet penetration was relatively low but growing, prompting the government to pass regulations that could suppress online dissent.
Authorities blocked reporting of unrest occurring around the world, from Inner Mongolia to the Occupy movement. More than half of the 27 journalists imprisoned on December 1 were from Tibet and Xinjiang, reflecting crackdowns after earlier unrest in minority regions. After online calls for Arab Spring-style demonstrations, dubbed the Jasmine revolution, CPJ documented the worst harassment of foreign journalists since the 2008 Olympics, including beatings and threats. Police detained dissidents--including outspoken artist Ai Weiwei--and writers they feared could galvanize protests, often without due process, and kept them under surveillance after release. Draft revisions to the criminal code would allow alleged antistate activists to be held in secret locations from 2012. Officials obstructed reporting on public health and food safety issues, among other investigations. President Hu Jintao’s U.S. visit and two bilateral dialogues, one on human rights, made little headway on press freedom, but domestic activists successfully challenged censorship using digital tools, especially microblogs.
Burma's news media remained among the most restricted in the world, despite the transition from military to civilian rule and President Thein Sein's vow to adopt a more liberal approach. The Press Scrutiny and Registration Department reviewed all local news journals prior to publication, censoring a vast array of topics. Criticism of the government and military was forbidden, although censors allowed more coverage of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and some political and economic topics. Authorities exercised control with a vengeance: The nation was still among the world's worst jailers of the press. Exile-run media continued to fill the news gap, but at a high cost: At least five undercover reporters for exile media were imprisoned. Regulations adopted in May banned the use of flash drives and VoIP communication services in Internet cafés.
As NATO and Afghan military forces faced off with militant groups, the news media worked in a hostile and uncertain environment. Two journalists were killed for their work, both during major insurgent attacks. Accusations of widespread fraud marred the second post-Taliban parliamentary elections, which were resolved only by a presidential decree that ousted several apparent winners. International aid organizations continued to pump resources into developing local media, although many Afghan outlets faced severe challenges in sustaining their work. In May, diplomatic missions circulated a memo to international journalists warning of possible kidnappings, though the threat never materialized. Three France 3 television crew members were released in June after 18 months in Taliban captivity. Abductions, which had spiked in 2009 and continued into 2010, appeared to decline during the year. Afghanistan's mass media law, introduced in Parliament in 2003, had yet to be enacted because of a political stalemate. Under discussion were several draft versions, most of which threatened to be more restrictive.
New York, February 16, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists is disturbed by a series of violent attacks on international journalists that appear aimed at suppressing coverage of land-related protests in Panhe, in eastern China's Zhejiang province.
Bangkok, February 14, 2012--Indonesian authorities detained a Czech journalist on Wednesday, then deported him for reporting without official permission from a restricted area of the country, according to news reports.
New York, February 13, 2012--Saudi columnist Hamza Kashgari, whose Twitter postings about the Prophet Mohammed have drawn death threats and government reprisals, was deported from Malaysia back to his home country on Sunday, according to news reports.
New York, February 13, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of two TV journalists in Dhaka and calls on Bangladeshi authorities to act speedily to bring the perpetrators to justice.
New York, February 13, 2012--Egyptian authorities should immediately release detained Australian journalist Austin Mackell, his translator, and an American student traveling with them, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
New York, February 10, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on all parties involved in the ongoing political dispute in Maldives to respect the role of the media in covering the protests and stop the attacks on journalists and news outlets. After political violence escalated in the wake of former President Mohamed Nasheed's resignation on Tuesday, at least two TV stations were attacked, according to news reports.
New York, January 20, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the harsh sentence given to Chinese writer and activist Li Tie, whose online writings calling for political reform were cited as evidence of "subversion of state authority."
New York, January 17, 2012--Unidentified gunmen killed broadcast journalist Mukarram Khan Aatif in a mosque north of Peshawar today, according to news reports. Aatif was a correspondent for private TV station Dunya News and also worked for Deewa Radio, a Pashto-language channel of the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, news reports said.
Bangkok, January 17, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from prison of French-Vietnamese blogger Pham Minh Hoang and calls on Vietnam's Communist Party-led government to remove the continuing restrictions on him and free the nine other journalists still behind bars.
New York, January 13, 2012--The decision of prominent Chinese writer Yu Jie to seek exile in the United States this week is an indication of the intensifying hardships that face dissidents who criticize Communist Party rule, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bangkok, January 13, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of nine journalists who were freed as part of a mass release of at least 600 political prisoners in Burma on Friday, but calls on President Thein Sein to release reporters still being held in detention and to implement press reforms that would end the country's repressive media environment.
Bangkok, January 6, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the shooting death of Philippine radio commentator and community newspaper publisher Christopher Guarin and calls on authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly.
New York, January 4, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Vietnamese journalist Nguyen Van Khuong's detention on Monday in Ho Chi Minh City on charges related to "giving bribes." Khuong can be held in detention for as long as four months while authorities investigate his case, according to official statements.
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3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
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