Joel Simon/Executive Director

Joel Simon is the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. He has written widely on media issues, contributing to Slate, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Review of Books, World Policy Journal, Asahi Shimbun, and The Times of India. He has led numerous international missions to advance press freedom. His book, The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom, was published in November 2014. Follow him on Twitter @Joelcpj. His public GPG encryption key can be found here.

CPJ

Joining the global call for justice

On November 23, 2009, Esmael Mangudadatu decided to register his candidacy for governor of Maguindanao, in the southern Philippines. Because his rivals from the Ampuatan clan had pledged to block him from filing the papers, he dispatched his female relatives, believing that they would not be harmed. He also thought it would increase security to…

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In Mexico, a chance for justice

“We have a big story coming out tomorrow,” Adela Navarro Bello, the co-editor of the muckraking Tijuana weekly Zeta, said when I visited the newspaper last Thursday. “There’s a breakthrough in the investigation into the murder of Ortiz Franco.”

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American hikers Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd wait to see their mothers at a hotel in Tehran, in May. (AP/Press TV)

Three hikers in Iran, one year on

On July 30, three American hikers in Iran will have endured an entire year in custody, held without charge or a modicum of due process. This is obviously a terrible injustice, so much so that it surprises me when I mention their situation to skeptical friends or colleagues who believe that the three were foolish to hike…

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Bokova (AP)

UNESCO’s dictator prize put on hold

Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s director-general, delivered a firm message on Tuesday to representatives from UNESCO’s 58-member executive board assembled at the organization’s Paris headquarters: Bestowing the Obiang International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, named for and financed by one of the most repressive leaders in Africa, would do grave damage to the organization.

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Cano winner Lydia Cacho signed a letter protesting the prize. (CPJ)

Cano laureates say no to UNESCO Obiang prize

Each year, UNESCO honors a courageous international journalist with the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, named in honor of the Colombian editor murdered in 1986 by the Medellín Cartel. The prize is chosen by an independent jury and over the years I’ve attended several moving ceremonies in which some of the most daring journalists…

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Iran isn’t laughing at The Daily Show

The Daily Show’s Jason Jones mocks journalistic conventions to hilarious effect. But Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are not known for their sense of humor, and let’s just say they didn’t get the joke.

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Farrell writes that “when the news turns bad, the police and other security forces do their best to make sure there is no one around to record it.” (AP)

A distorted picture from Iraq

The Iraqi government is keeping photographers away from scenes of suicide attacks, according to a piece published today by Stephen Farrell on The New York Times’ “At War” blog. CPJ has objected to government regulations promulgated in May 2007 barring photographers from the scene of such bombings for an hour after they take place.

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Shubhranshu Choudhary trains villagers to use their phones to disseminate and receive news. (Sakhi/Flickr)

Circumventing India’s radio news ban

Violence against provincial journalists, self-censorship, and the rise of paid news were the leading press freedom concerns cited by editors and journalists that I met with during my recent visit to India. But for Shubhranshu Choudhary, known as Shu, it’s the ban on radio news that most concerns him. He believes the ban is fueling India’s long-simmering Maoist insurgency,…

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Sushma Swaraj, head of India's BJP party, says journalists encourage the "paid news" practice. (AFP)

In India, news for sale

I just returned from India, where I spent a week meeting journalists and discussing press freedom concerns. One issue that emerged during my visit is what is known euphemistically as “paid news.”  Many media outlets routinely sell political advertising dressed up as a news article.

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Burmese censorship at work

At a Tuesday meeting of the International Freedom to Publish Committee (a publishing industry group dedicated to free expression) in New York, Maureen Aung-Thwin handed out pages from Flower News, a Rangoon-based newspaper that had been marked up by Burmese government censors. Burma is the world’s second most censored country, according to a 2006 CPJ…

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