Attacks on the Press in 2008

Attacks on the Press in 2008

February 24, 2009 12:59 AM ET

Carl Bernstein discusses his preface. Table of Contents Preface by Carl Bernstein Introduction by Joel Simon Journalists Killed Journalists in Prison Regional Analyses AFRICA: In Text-Message Reporting, Opportunity and Risk AMERICAS: Drug Trade, Violent Gangs Pose Grave Danger ASIA: Media Freedom Stalls as China Sets the Course EUROPE and...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Preface

February 10, 2009 12:59 AM ET

By Carl Bernstein When the Committee to Protect Journalists was founded in 1981, the prevailing threats to freedom of the press around the world were still from juntas, dictators, authoritarian regimes, and social systems determined to dominate the media as a means of maintaining control over citizens, usually within...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Introduction

February 10, 2009 12:59 AM ET

By Joel Simon In 2008, the numbers of journalists killed and jailed both dropped for the first time since the war on terror was launched in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. This is welcome news, but it is tempered by harsh realities. The war on terror had a...

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In Text-Message Reporting, Opportunity and Risk

February 10, 2009 12:58 AM ET

Using their cell phones, Africans are avid consumers of electronic information. For reporters, text messaging is an essential tool. It's a brave (and risky) new world. By Tom Rhodes...

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Drug Trade, Violent Gangs Pose Grave Danger

February 10, 2009 12:58 AM ET

Powerful drug traffickers in Mexico, gangsters in Brazilian slums, paramilitaries in Colombia, and violent street gangs in El Salvador and Guatemala are terrorizing the press. Self-censorship is widespread. By Carlos Lauría...

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Media Freedom Stalls as China Sets the Course

February 10, 2009 12:57 AM ET

China's media-control model s being embraced in Southeast Asian nations as diverse as communist-led Vietnam, military-run Burma, ostensibly democratic Thailand, and predominantly Muslim Malaysia. By Bob Dietz and Shawn W. Crispin...

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Conquering Television to Control the Narrative

February 10, 2009 12:56 AM ET

Mikhail Saakashvili and Vladimir Putin used strikingly similar tactics to create uncritical television media. The one-sided, one-dimensional coverage of the conflict in South Ossetia was the product of their efforts By Nina Ognianova...

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Pre-empting the Satellite TV Revolution

February 10, 2009 12:55 AM ET

Uneasy about satellite television coverage of civil strife and economic hardship, Arab governments are trying to reassert control over the medium. Will a new regional agreement halt the satellite revolution? By Joel Campagna...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Afghanistan

February 10, 2009 12:54 AM ET

The security situation deteriorated as reporters came under increasing threats, both political and criminal in nature. At least three foreign correspondents and two local reporters were kidnapped across the country, not only in the provincial areas that became exceedingly dangerous after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, but in the...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Americas Developments

February 10, 2009 12:52 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Argentina

February 10, 2009 12:51 AM ET

Adding to a mounting body of international legal opinion, two landmark rulings held that public officials may not be shielded from public scrutiny. In May, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights voided a criminal defamation sentence against a local journalist and urged Argentina to reform its defamation laws in line...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Armenia

February 10, 2009 12:50 AM ET

Harassment of journalists and self-censorship among the news media intensified before and after a flawed February 2008 presidential election. The countryís authoritarian president, Robert Kocharian, imposed a state of emergency after the balloting to suppress demonstrations and block independent news reporting, a move that allowed him to deliver the presidency...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Asia Developments

February 10, 2009 12:49 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Azerbaijan

February 10, 2009 12:47 AM ET

The Georgia-Russia crisis in August diverted international attention from another strategically important Caucasus country--oil-rich Azerbaijan. The authoritarian president, Ilham Aliyev, gained a new term in a flawed October 15 vote. Aliyev, who effectively inherited the presidency from his father, Heydar, in 2003, defeated six virtual unknowns after top opposition parties...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Belarus

February 10, 2009 12:47 AM ET

In a February visit to Belarusian State University, President Aleksandr Lukashenko bluntly outlined his regime's press policy. "Media hold a weapon of a most destructive power," Lukashenko told journalism students, "and they must be controlled by the state."...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Bolivia

February 10, 2009 12:46 AM ET

The news media were caught in the middle of a deepening power struggle between the leftist government of President Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian, and the conservative opposition governors of the eastern lowlands. The battle was fueled by rising ethnic tensions between Bolivia’s indigenous majority, centered in the capital,...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Brazil

February 10, 2009 12:45 AM ET

The kidnapping and torture of two journalists and a driver working undercover in Rio de Janeiro exposed the risks to Brazilian journalists, especially those reporting on organized crime in urban areas. Throughout the country, journalists covering mayoral and legislative campaigns faced legal and physical harassment....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Burma

February 10, 2009 12:44 AM ET

Burma’s already beleaguered journalists came under heavy attack after massive Cyclone Nargis pounded the country’s southern coastal region in May, killing an estimated 84,500 people and severely affecting another 2.4 million, according to U.N. estimates. As local and international criticism grew over a slow and inadequate response to the...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Cameroon

February 10, 2009 12:43 AM ET

Cameroon’s diverse news media, among the most vibrant in Africa, operated under significant pressure. Influential political leaders used threats, regulatory action, and judicial harassment to censor critical coverage of national affairs, including a controversial constitutional amendment allowing President Paul Biya to seek re-election in 2011, public protests over inflation, and...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: China

February 10, 2009 12:42 AM ET

In the year of the “One World, One Dream” Olympics, China’s punitive and highly restrictive press policies became a global issue. International reporters who arrived early to prepare for the Games flocked to cover antigovernment riots in Tibet and western provinces in March and the Sichuan earthquake in May....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Colombia

February 10, 2009 12:41 AM ET

Deadly violence in Colombia eased for the second consecutive year as no journalists were killed in direct relation to their work. Colombian authorities cited increased security throughout the country as the cause for the recent decline in news media deaths, but journalists said widespread self-censorship had made the press less...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Cuba

February 10, 2009 12:40 AM ET

Five years after the government’s massive crackdown on the independent press, 21 journalists remained behind bars in inhumane conditions as Cuba retained its notorious distinction as the world’s second-leading jailer of journalists. Only China jailed more. Two Cuban reporters were released from prison and went into exile during the...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Democratic Republic of the Congo

February 10, 2009 12:39 AM ET

Two years after transitioning to democracy in historic U.N.-backed elections, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the most perilous countries in Africa for journalists. For the fourth consecutive year, a journalist was murdered in unclear circumstances, this time in the unstable, strife-torn east of the country....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Ecuador

February 10, 2009 12:38 AM ET

A July government takeover of almost 200 businesses, including two private television stations that drew nearly 40 percent of the country’s news audience, enabled leftist President Rafael Correa to further his political agenda and gain greater control of the media. After the move, Correa won a decisive victory in...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Egypt

February 10, 2009 12:37 AM ET

Egypt took a lead role in developing a regional charter designed to restrict satellite broadcasting throughout the Arab world. At the behest of President Hosni Mubarak, parliament extended the 27-year-old Emergency Law, keeping intact for two additional years a key tool for stifling free expression. In this environment, journalists...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Ethiopia

February 10, 2009 12:36 AM ET

The small vanguard of independent media that emerged from a brutal 2005 crackdown struggled in the face of continuing government harassment. Although authorities issued licenses allowing a handful of independent political newspapers to operate, they continued to use imprisonment, threats, and legal and administrative restrictions to suppress coverage of sensitive...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Europe and Central Asia Developments

February 10, 2009 12:35 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Georgia

February 10, 2009 12:34 AM ET

Three journalists were killed and at least 10 were wounded during a brief but bloody conflict in the disputed region of South Ossetia that pitted Georgian troops against local and Russian forces. South Ossetian separatists strengthened their position after the conflict--gaining full recognition from Moscow and the active support...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Guatemala

February 10, 2009 12:33 AM ET

Violence associated with organized crime fueled widespread self-censorship, especially in the provinces. Journalists sometimes wrote without bylines when covering dangerous subjects, but many were still attacked and threatened. Ongoing violence led to the slayings of two journalists and the kidnapping of a third....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: India

February 10, 2009 12:32 AM ET

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks that struck more than a dozen locations in the commercial capital, Mumbai, killing more than 170 and wounding hundreds, shocked the world and punctuated a year of growing tension and risk. Witnesses became journalists as they Twittered up to 100 messages a minute,...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Iran

February 10, 2009 12:31 AM ET

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies and human rights record drew widespread criticism from academics, activists, and journalists. In response, Ahmadinejad sought to suppress independent media by manipulating government subsidies, exerting censorship, and using the punitive tools of detention and harassment....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Iraq

February 10, 2009 12:30 AM ET

Eleven journalists were killed because of their work, making Iraq the most dangerous nation for the press for the sixth consecutive year. Nevertheless, the figure was the lowest yearly toll since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003--and two-thirds lower than the annual figures for 2007 or 2006....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

February 10, 2009 12:29 AM ET

With a shaky six-month truce coming to an end in late year, Hamas rocket attacks on Israel were met with the largest bombardment of the Gaza Strip since 1967. The headquarters of Hamas-controlled Al-Aqsa TV was destroyed and at least two journalists were injured amid massive airstrikes by the Israel...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Kazakhstan

February 10, 2009 12:28 AM ET

The administration drafted a bill that would take limited steps in loosening criminal defamation and weeding out some of the bureaucratic thicket that regulators have used to obstruct news media. Parliament was due to consider the measure in early 2009. The bill was intended to fulfill government promises to liberalize...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Kenya

February 10, 2009 12:27 AM ET

Bracketed by profound attacks on the press, a tumultuous 2008 threatened the country’s standing as a regional leader in free expression. A repressive media bill sailed through parliament in December and was signed into law by President Mwai Kibaki as 2009 began. Enacted over the protests of local and international...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Kyrgyzstan

February 10, 2009 12:26 AM ET

Three years after a popular uprising inspired hope for reform, press conditions stagnated and, in many respects, deteriorated. A high-profile murder remained unsolved, with no evident progress in the investigation. Two editors faced criminal prosecution, and their newspapers were shuttered in the wake of a defamation case. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Lebanon

February 10, 2009 12:25 AM ET

This deeply divided country reached the brink of full-scale conflict in mid-year after political and religious leaders used the news media to inflame sectarian divisions and failed to abide by the consensual style of government agreed upon at the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. A battle of words that...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Malaysia

February 10, 2009 12:24 AM ET

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s government maintained leverage over print media through a renewable licensing system that enabled authorities to suspend or revoke publications when coverage was deemed controversial. Officials charged journalists under national security laws such as the Internal Security Act and Sedition Act, which carried significant prison penalties. These...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Mexico

February 10, 2009 12:23 AM ET

Powerful drug cartels and escalating violence made journalists in Mexico more vulnerable to attack than ever before. The dangerous climate was compounded by a pervasive culture of impunity. Most crimes against the press remained unsolved as Mexican law enforcement agencies, awash in corruption, did not aggressively investigate attacks. With no...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Middle East/North Africa Developments

February 10, 2009 12:22 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Morocco

February 10, 2009 12:22 AM ET

Morocco continued to backslide on press freedom as independent journalists and news outlets were targeted in a series of politicized court cases. In May, the National Syndicate for Moroccan Press noted a "dangerous trend" in which authorities were "imposing exaggerated fines in defamation cases, resorting to preventive arrest of journalists...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Nepal

February 10, 2009 12:21 AM ET

Nepal made a historic shift in 2008 from a monarchy to a coalition-ruled democratic republic under the leadership of a former Maoist guerrilla. Journalists’ uncertainty about the ex-rebel leader’s newfound legitimacy was apparent as they struggled to find a way to refer to him in print. Most hedged their bets...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Niger

February 10, 2009 12:20 AM ET

With a simmering insurgency in the north, a split within the ruling government, and talk of a constitutional amendment to allow President Mamadou Tandja to run for a third term in 2009, authorities increasingly tightened restrictions on the press. The high-profile imprisonment of Moussa Kaka, a reporter well known for...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Pakistan

February 10, 2009 12:19 AM ET

Military leader Pervez Musharraf resigned as president in August under threat of impeachment, leaving a decidedly mixed legacy on press freedom. As his power waned in late 2007, Musharraf shut down all independent broadcasters for a time and then tried to impose a rigid “code of conduct” on the stations....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Philippines

February 10, 2009 12:18 AM ET

Four years after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo moved to create a police task force dedicated to investigating journalist murders, CPJ research showed the impunity rate in these cases remained about 90 percent, one of the highest in the world. A CPJ study into slain journalists worldwide found that the absence of...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Russia

February 10, 2009 12:17 AM ET

When Vladimir Putin's handpicked successor, Dmitry Medvedev, won 68 percent of the vote in Russia's presidential election March 2, many saw in the new leader a moderate technocrat who might liberalize the country's press policies. In his May 7 inauguration speech, Medvedev declared that the protection of human rights and...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Rwanda

February 10, 2009 12:16 AM ET

On paper, Rwanda had more private newspapers and radio stations than at any point in its history. In practice, independent news coverage was minimal due to business woes and government intimidation. One critical editor was forced to flee the country, and a second was deported. Legislation pending in late year...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Senegal

February 10, 2009 12:15 AM ET

Conditions deteriorated in Senegal, once considered a haven for press freedom. With contemptuous rhetoric, threats, physical violence, and criminal prosecutions, supporters of President Abdoulaye Wade and members of his government retaliated against critical journalists. The June 21 beating of two sports journalists covering a World Cup qualifying match in Dakar...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Serbia

February 10, 2009 12:14 AM ET

Nationalists suffered a series of political defeats in 2008 and responded by lashing out against independent journalists and liberal reformers with threats and physical attacks. A reformist-nationalist coalition government led by the conservative Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica during the first half of the year and by liberal President Boris Tadic...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Somalia

February 10, 2009 12:13 AM ET

Anarchic violence gripped a nation sadly accustomed to chaos and suffering as a weak federal government sought to fend off insurgencies in the south and central parts of the country. Two reporters were killed in the southern port city of Kismayo in 2008, continuing a national pattern of violence against...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Sri Lanka

February 10, 2009 12:12 AM ET

A 2002 cease-fire between the predominantly Sinhalese government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which claims territory for an ethnic Tamil homeland, was abandoned in January. Ethnic Tamil journalists perceived as supporting independence have long been under murderous attack, but 2008 brought an escalation in physical and verbal...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Sudan

February 10, 2009 12:11 AM ET

Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which formally ended a decades-long civil war between north and south, officially protects press freedom. However, Sudanese officials ignored these guarantees in practice. In February, the government reinstated formal censorship of the print news media, instructing local editors to submit each issue for pre-approval. Throughout the...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Thailand

February 10, 2009 12:10 AM ET

A coalition government led by the People Power Party crumbled in December in the face of intense months-long street protests. As demonstrations reached a crescendo in late November, violence spread across the capital, Bangkok, and protesters laid siege to domestic and international airports. Media outlets were targeted by both pro-...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Tunisia

February 10, 2009 12:09 AM ET

The September abduction of writer Slim Boukhdhir was a chilling reminder of the insecurity that critical journalists face in this North African nation. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in power since 1987, continued to operate a virtual police state, despite the moderate image his government vigorously promoted to the...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Turkmenistan

February 10, 2009 12:08 AM ET

In the second year of his presidency, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov relaxed some cultural restrictions but took no significant steps to improve press conditions. The strange and repressive legacy of his predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in late 2006, continued to dominate this gas-rich Central Asian nation. Despite Berdymukhammedov's promises to open...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Uganda

February 10, 2009 12:07 AM ET

Government security forces intimidated and harassed critical journalists, particularly political commentators on the country’s many popular radio talk shows. Criminal defamation and sedition laws were the main weapons in the government’s legal attacks on the press, although a case pending before the Supreme Court held some promise that the laws...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: United States

February 10, 2009 12:06 AM ET

U.S. government actions against journalists abroad continued to sully the nation’s image. Authorities finally freed two long-detained journalists, one in Iraq and the other at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without ever charging them with a crime or producing any evidence to support the imprisonments. But the military continued its alarming practice...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Uzbekistan

February 10, 2009 12:05 AM ET

Throughout the year, President Islam Karimov's administration sought to persuade the European Union and Western nations that it was on a path of reform. It urged the EU to lift sanctions imposed in 2005 after Uzbek troops killed hundreds of citizens during antigovernment protests in the eastern city of Andijan....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Venezuela

February 10, 2009 12:04 AM ET

Official intolerance of criticism and unfounded government accusations promoted a climate of fear among Venezuelan journalists. Tensions reached new heights in September when, without providing evidence, President Hugo Chávez Frías and high-ranking administration officials accused private media outlets of plotting to overthrow the government and murder the president. With violent...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Vietnam

February 10, 2009 12:03 AM ET

The government cracked down on journalists, bloggers, and pro-democracy activists, sending some to jail and harassing many others. The campaign of repression reversed a brief period of liberalization that accompanied the country’s 2007 accession to the World Trade Organization....

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Yemen

February 10, 2009 12:02 AM ET

Journalists worked in precarious conditions in which they were subjected to politicized criminal charges and censorship from government officials. A harsh press law set restrictions on coverage of the presidency, state security, and religion. Authorities kept particularly tight control on coverage of an insurgency led by tribal and religious figures...

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Attacks on the Press in 2008: Zimbabwe

February 10, 2009 12:01 AM ET

President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, startled by balloting that threatened their 28-year rule, unleashed a brutal crackdown on opposition supporters and the press. Veteran journalist Geoff Hill described the weeks between the first round of voting in March and a runoff in June as “the worst time for...

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