Attacks on the Press in 2007

Attacks on the Press 2007: Contents

February 5, 2008 12:13 PM ET

Worldwide Survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Preface

February 5, 2008 12:11 PM ET

By Christiane AmanpourMurder is a terrifying reality for independent journalists around the world. A group or government embarrassed by a critical report hires a gunman rather than a lawyer to silence the messenger. More than 60 journalists were killed for their work in 2007, the second-deadliest year for the press...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Introduction

February 5, 2008 12:11 PM ET

By Joel SimonIn August 2008, when the Olympic torch is lit in Beijing, more than 20,000 journalists will be on hand to cover the competition between the world's greatest athletes. Behind the scenes, another competition will be taking place. If the Chinese government has its way, this one will remain...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Africa Analysis

February 5, 2008 12:10 PM ET

When Press Freedom and Democracy Are Out of StepBy Tom RhodesBallots may have replaced bullets in much of Africa since the dawn of this new century, but one of the great political ironies for at least part of the continent has been a loss of press freedom following the voting....

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Americas Analysis

February 5, 2008 12:09 PM ET

Preaching Without A ChoirBy Carlos LauríaAt June's annual assembly of the organization of American states (OAS) in Panama, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged foreign ministers to send the group's secretary-general, José Miguel Insulza, to investigate Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías' decision to pull the plug on the country's oldest...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Asia Analysis

February 5, 2008 12:08 PM ET

Amid South Asian Conflict, Remarkable ResilienceBy Bob DietzTraffic is sparse during a late-night run to the Bandaranaike International Airport north of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Because of insecurity caused by war between the Sinhalese-dominated government and Tamil separatists in the country's north and east, the streets are given over...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Europe Analysis

February 5, 2008 12:07 PM ET

Rewriting the Law to Make Journalism a CrimeBy Nina OgnianovaIn its 17 years on the air, Moscow-based Ekho Moskvy Radio has enjoyed, by Russian standards, extraordinary editorial independence. Nearly alone among Russian broadcasters in its critical approach, the station employs some of the country's most outspoken journalists, who produce in-depth...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Middle East Analysis

February 5, 2008 12:06 PM ET

Under the Radar, a New Kind of RepressionBy Joel Campagna On a Wednesday afternoon last June, Yemeni security agents stormed the home of outspoken editor Abdel Karim al-Khaiwani and dragged him before a State Security Court in the capital, Sana'a. A prosecutor questioned al-Khaiwani and later rang him up on charges...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Afghanistan

February 5, 2008 12:00 PM ET

AFGHANISTAN Six years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, journalists were increasingly pessimistic about the future. The personal tragedies of several Afghan journalists illustrated how much the press situation had worsened amid political disarray, faltering security, and human rights abuses. Despite the adversity, domestic news media remained plentiful and assertive....

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Africa Snapshots

February 5, 2008 11:59 AM ET

Attacks & developments throughout the region...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Americas Snapshots

February 5, 2008 11:58 AM ET

Attacks & developments throughout the region...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Argentina

February 5, 2008 11:57 AM ET

Outgoing President Néstor Kirchner's administration dramatically increased its advertising budget, rewarding friendly media with government spots, punishing critics by withholding ads, and, in the process, influencing coverage of the presidential election won by Kirchner's wife, Sen. Cristina Fernández. The manipulation of state advertising undermined press freedom and constituted the single...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Asia Snapshots

February 5, 2008 11:55 AM ET

Attacks & developments throughout the region...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Azerbaijan

February 5, 2008 11:54 AM ET

AZERBAIJAN Ignoring international opinion, the authoritarian government of President Ilham Aliyev clamped down on opposition and independent media and became the world’s fifth-leading jailer of journalists, with nine reporters and editors behind bars when CPJ conducted its annual census on December 1. On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, CPJ...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Bangladesh

February 5, 2008 11:52 AM ET

BANGLADESH Despite stated commitments to democratic reform and media freedom, Bangladesh’s military-backed government dealt a series of crippling blows to what had been one of the freest presses in Asia. Operating under an official state of emergency and faced with a series of written orders and verbal directives governing media...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Belarus

February 5, 2008 11:51 AM ET

BELARUS Authorities moved aggressively to control the Internet, introducing sweeping new restrictions that allow the government to monitor citizens’ use of the Web. President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s administration continued its practice of suppressing dissent—but paid a price in May when the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) denied Belarus a seat following...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Brazil

February 5, 2008 11:47 AM ET

BRAZIL With 15 journalists killed for their work in as many years, Brazil is one of the region’s deadliest countries for the press, but court-imposed censorship and official antagonism have also emerged as major issues for the news media. Time and again, local courts issued rulings that barred journalists from...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Bolivia

February 5, 2008 11:46 AM ET

Increasing hostility between the government of President Evo Morales and the private media reflected a year of overall tension between Bolivia's indigenous majority and the country's conservative, European-descended opposition. Amid heated debate in December, a constituent assembly approved a proposal for a new constitution that grants more power to the...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Burma

February 5, 2008 11:44 AM ET

BURMA Burmese journalists came under heavy assault in August and September when covering pro-democracy street protests and the military government’s retaliatory crackdown, marking significant deterioration in what was already one of the world’s most repressive media environments. The government banned coverage of the uprising and sought to isolate the nation...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Cambodia

February 5, 2008 11:42 AM ET

CAMBODIA Government suppression of a hard-hitting investigative report that implicated senior government officials in illegal logging represented a significant reversal of the modest press freedom gains of the previous two years. Britain-based environmental watchdog Global Witness released the 95-page report, “Family Trees,” on June 1 and several local media groups...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: China

February 5, 2008 11:37 AM ET

In a year of internal political wrangling and further emergence on the global stage, Chinese leadership under President Hu Jintao showed a keen awareness of public opinion at home and abroad. But the result was not greater freedom for the press. The administration undertook a clumsy effort to woo the...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Colombia

February 5, 2008 11:36 AM ET

COLOMBIA The national press played a crucial role in exposing illegal paramilitary activities and links between paramilitary leaders and leading politicians. Provincial journalists, working in areas where paramilitaries and other illegal armed groups were prevalent, faced many challenges in trying to report this and other sensitive stories. Paramilitary fighters were...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Cuba

February 5, 2008 11:33 AM ET

CUBA July 31 marked a year without Fidel Castro, whose health remained a “state secret” even though it was the biggest story of the year. Cuba continued to prove itself one of the worst reporting environments in the world as three foreign journalists were expelled from the island and 24...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Democratic Republic of Congo

February 5, 2008 11:32 AM ET

The historic November 2006 presidential election--the first since the country's independence from Belgium in 1960--was followed by a yearlong nationwide wave of media abuses as the new administration struggled with rampant unrest, insecurity, and impunity in attacks against media workers. Interim President Joseph Kabila defeated former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Ecuador

February 5, 2008 11:28 AM ET

ECUADOR President Rafael Correa regularly bashed the news media after taking office in January, reflecting increasing tensions between his young socialist government and the powerful business groups that control the country’s media. Correa immediately called for a new constitution that would expand the power of the executive branch, loosen term...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Egypt

February 5, 2008 11:27 AM ET

EGYPT The government clamped down on political opposition, tried to suppress speculation about the health of President Hosni Mubarak, and waged a steady offensive against critical journalists, bloggers, and foreign media workers. By year’s end, a full-fledged crackdown was under way, with Egyptian courts aggressively prosecuting several of the country’s...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Eritrea

February 5, 2008 11:25 AM ET

Eritrea remained the leading jailer of journalists in Africa, with as many as 14 writers and editors held incommunicado in secret locations. At least one journalist died in state custody, sources told CPJ in February. The only country in sub-Saharan Africa without a single independent news outlet, Eritrea subjected its...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Ethiopia

February 5, 2008 11:25 AM ET

Involved militarily in the conflict engulfing Somalia, engaged in a tense stalemate with arch foe Eritrea, assailed by allegations of human rights abuses in the eastern region of Ogaden, Ethiopia eased media repression slightly and released many journalists from prison. Yet the chilling effect of a brutal 2005 media crackdown...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Europe and Central Asia Snapshots

February 5, 2008 11:24 AM ET

Attacks and developments throughout the region...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: The Gambia

February 5, 2008 11:21 AM ET

Fewer press-related detentions and attacks were reported in 2007, CPJ research showed, but local journalists said the decline reflected several years of intense government suppression. One prominent journalist was slain and others have been forced into exile since 2004, leaving a more compliant press that practices widespread self-censorship. A mere...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Georgia

February 5, 2008 11:20 AM ET

GEORGIA Facing a week of massive protests in the capital, Tbilisi, President Mikhail Saakashvili stunned Western allies in November by imposing a state of emergency, banning broadcast news reporting, closing two television stations, and deploying police to forcefully disperse demonstrators. Saakashvili defended the November 7 crackdown, saying that the protests...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Guinea

February 5, 2008 11:16 AM ET

During nationwide strikes and antigovernment demonstrations in January and February, state security forces attacked Guinea's newly launched private radio stations, blocked print publications, and threatened journalists. More than 130 people were killed, mostly by government security forces, during protests that were unprecedented in size and popular support. The unrest was...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: India

February 5, 2008 11:10 AM ET

INDIA The famously freewheeling press in the world’s biggest democracy operated largely without interference from the central government but nevertheless faced significant challenges, from the threat of violent assault to legal harassment. The dangers confronting journalists varied tremendously across regions, with those working in conflict areas or outside the major...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Iran

February 5, 2008 11:08 AM ET

IRAN Iran’s troubled economy weakened President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s power at home, with protests spilling into the streets and intellectuals, activists, and students expressing dissent in the media. Silencing the uproar became essential for Ahmadinejad, prompting authorities to intensify a media crackdown that had been waged by conservative forces for a...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Iraq

February 5, 2008 11:07 AM ET

IRAQ The war in Iraq, the deadliest conflict for journalists in recent history, kept the country at the top of the world’s most dangerous places for the press. Thirty-two journalists and 12 media support staffers were killed during the year, bringing the record toll to 174 media personnel killed in...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

February 5, 2008 11:05 AM ET

ISRAEL and the Occupied Palestinian Territory A bitter power struggle between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah left journalists vulnerable to harassment and attack, with the slayings of two local media workers and the abduction of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston underscoring the risk. Journalists covering Israeli military operations in the...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Haiti

February 5, 2008 11:04 AM ET

Press conditions improved slightly during a year of relative political stability. A decline in gang violence in the capital, Port-au-Prince, allowed reporters to make a cautious return to the city's streets. And, with the strong support of President René Préval, an independent committee was created in August to monitor stalled...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Kazakhstan

February 5, 2008 11:02 AM ET

KAZAKHSTAN President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his administration played down the country’s troubling press freedom and human rights record as they successfully pursued chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Vienna-based human rights monitoring body....

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Kyrgyzstan

February 5, 2008 10:59 AM ET

KYRGYZSTAN One prominent editor was slain and other journalists faced escalating government harassment, violent attacks, and lawlessness amid intense political rivalry between President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and opposition parties in parliament. In the face of recurring protests, Bakiyev periodically made political concessions to the opposition, only to withdraw or undermine the...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Mexico

February 5, 2008 10:49 AM ET

MEXICO Mexican authorities failed again to vigorously pursue the perpetrators of violence against journalists, leaving reporters vulnerable to attacks and the news media resorting to self-censorship. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for the press, CPJ research shows, with 13 journalists slain in direct relation to their work...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Middle East and North Africa Snapshots

February 5, 2008 10:48 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Morocco

February 5, 2008 10:48 AM ET

MOROCCO Press freedom continued its downward slide, belying Morocco’s carefully burnished image as a liberalizing country with a free press. Outspoken journalists found themselves in court, in prison, or out of work following a rash of politicized court cases, while the government of King Mohammed VI unveiled a restrictive...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Niger

February 5, 2008 10:44 AM ET

President Mamadou Tandja pledged in January that his government would not obstruct the press, but journalists in Niger faced threats and restrictions as the military tried to repress a budding Tuareg insurgency in the north. In a country that has suffered devastating famines in recent years, food shortages remained another...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Nigeria

February 5, 2008 10:43 AM ET

Nigeria’s diverse and freewheeling press weathered a tense political period in 2007, a year marked by fierce disputes surrounding April presidential and legislative elections and a surge of violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. Ruling party candidate Umaru Yar’Adua was declared winner of the April 21 presidential vote, the...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Pakistan

February 5, 2008 10:42 AM ET

The December 27 assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto plunged the nation into further turmoil after months of violent unrest and a bitterly contested state of emergency. An aggressive domestic press corps was in the middle of the momentous events, questioning government assertions and being targeted by government censorship....

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Philippines

February 5, 2008 10:39 AM ET

PHILIPPINES Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno told a visiting CPJ delegation in July that he would personally seek justice for the unsolved killings of journalists and use his judicial authority to better protect press freedom. “The fact that the killings remain unsolved heightens public distrust in our system...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Russia

February 5, 2008 10:38 AM ET

RUSSIA Constitutional constraints posed little problem for a term-limited President Vladimir Putin, who appeared certain to hold power long after his tenure was due to end in 2008. The popular, two-term president hopped into the parliamentary race in the fall, topping the dominant United Russia ticket that took 64 percent...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Rwanda

February 5, 2008 10:37 AM ET

Tension remained high between the independent news media and President Paul Kagame’s government in the run-up to the 2008 parliamentary elections. Authorities summarily closed two private newspapers, stripped critical newspapers of vital advertising revenue, and jailed one journalist and harassed others in response to critical coverage. The bloody legacy of...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Somalia

February 5, 2008 10:32 AM ET

Attacks had become so pervasive in this conflict-riven state that the National Union of Somali Journalists described 2006 as "the most dangerous year for press freedom for more than a decade." Then came 2007--a year in which conditions grew dramatically worse. With seven journalists killed in direct relation to their...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Sri Lanka

February 5, 2008 10:29 AM ET

SRI LANKA In May, senior journalist Iqbal Athas wrote to CPJ warning that press freedom conditions had deteriorated under President Mahinda Rajapaksa. By September, Athas, a well-known defense correspondent for The Sunday Times of Sri Lanka and a 1994 CPJ International Press Freedom Award winner, had to leave the country...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Sudan

February 5, 2008 10:28 AM ET

SUDAN Despite free speech protections built into Sudan’s 2005 interim constitution, authorities operated as if a state of emergency were still in force. Newspaper suspensions, criminal charges, and detentions were a routine part of working as a journalist in Sudan. When trying to cover one of the world’s biggest...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Tajikistan

February 5, 2008 10:24 AM ET

TAJIKISTAN Beginning his 16th year as head of state, President Emomali Rahmonov promoted policies to foster “national identity.” He abolished Russified endings from Tajik surnames—and started by cutting the suffix “ov” from his own surname and decreeing that he be called President Rahmon. The newly renamed president went on to...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Thailand

February 5, 2008 10:23 AM ET

THAILAND Fallout from the September 2006 military coup cast a chill over Thailand’s media throughout 2007, as the junta maintained martial law over nearly half the country’s provinces and used its discretionary powers to censor broadcast news, seize control of the country’s only privately run television station, and pass...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Tunisia

February 5, 2008 10:21 AM ET

TUNISIA In a July 25 speech marking the 50th anniversary of the Tunisian Republic, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali proclaimed that his government had “enriched the information and communication landscape and offered opportunity for the expression of different opinions.” It was an Orwellian moment in a year in...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Turkey

February 5, 2008 10:20 AM ET

TURKEY The murder of an outspoken newspaper editor underlined a troubling year in which journalists continued to be the targets of criminal prosecution and government censorship. Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian editor of the bilingual weekly Agos, was gunned down outside his newspaper’s Istanbul office on January 19. Dink had...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Turkmenistan

February 5, 2008 10:19 AM ET

TURKMENISTAN The sudden death of President-for-Life Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006 marked an end to an eccentric and authoritarian rule, raising modest hopes for social, economic, and political reform. Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, a deputy prime minister and Niyazov loyalist, was named interim leader and then became president in a government-orchestrated “election”...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Ukraine

February 5, 2008 10:17 AM ET

UKRAINE Intense political rivalries among a trio of powerful leaders created a chaotic and highly politicized environment in which journalists were vulnerable to a variety of abuses. Parliamentary elections in September and negotiations to form a new government in the succeeding months intensified pressure on journalists to take sides. In...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: United States

February 5, 2008 10:16 AM ET

Editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down three blocks from his Oakland, Calif., office in August, becoming the first U.S. journalist killed for his work in six years. Bailey, editor-in-chief of the Oakland Post and four other weeklies focusing on the San Francisco Bay Area's African-American communities, was targeted after investigating...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Uzbekistan

February 5, 2008 10:14 AM ET

UZBEKISTAN In power for nearly two decades, President Islam Karimov had little trouble securing another seven-year term in office. He faced three candidates but no genuine opposition in a December election that international observers said was neither free nor fair. Though constitutional term limits seemed to constrain the president from...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Venezuela

February 5, 2008 10:13 AM ET

VENEZUELA The Venezuelan government’s unprecedented decision not to renew the broadcast concession of the country’s oldest private television station, RCTV, represented a major setback for free expression and democracy. The decision, aimed at silencing Venezuela’s most critical media outlet, was part of President Hugo Chávez Frías’ aggressive strategy to challenge...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Yemen

February 5, 2008 10:11 AM ET

YEMEN Journalists covering a rebel insurgency and government corruption were subjected to a frightening array of violent attacks and politically motivated court cases. Threats against independent journalists continued at an alarming rate, taking on an almost routine air. Perpetrators, for the most part, went unpunished. Since 2004, the government has...

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Attacks on the Press 2007: Zimbabwe

February 5, 2008 10:10 AM ET

It's the vacuum that illustrates the problem--all of the reporters who have fled, the news outlets that have closed, the stories that have gone unreported. Seven years of government intimidation and deteriorating economic conditions have prompted a steady flow of Zimbabwean journalists to leave the country. CPJ has documented at...

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