March 2009

CPJ Blog

Newseum honors fallen colleagues

March 31, 2009 5:23 PM ET

After each name was read aloud, the ring of a bell resonated through the studio auditorium that included many relatives, friends, and colleagues of the journalists whose names were being added to the Newseum Journalists Memorial. Some, like Tom Borrelli of The Buffalo News, died unexpectedly; Borrelli fell while climbing...

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Saberi's parents go to Iran; State Department intervenes

March 31, 2009 2:46 PM ET

On Monday, the parents of detained Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi left their home in Fargo, North Dakota, to go see their daughter in Iran. Saberi has been held in Tehran's Evin prison since January 31. Reza and Akiko Saberi are scheduled to arrive in Iran on Wednesday. Since Saberi was...

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CPJ's site now in Arabic

March 31, 2009 1:53 PM ET

We've launched the Arabic version of our Web site, featuring translated content from CPJ's Middle East and North Africa Program. ...

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After CPJ letter, Tunis grants journalist freedom to travel

March 30, 2009 5:23 PM ET

Nearly a week after CPJ sent a letter to Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali urging him to end the "ongoing cycle of repression of critical journalists and media outlets," Tunisia's Ministry of Justice and Human Rights told Mohamed Abbou, a prominent human rights lawyer and writer, in a...

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A legal victory for press freedom in Bility case

March 27, 2009 1:58 PM ET

Testifying at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, Liberian journalist Hassan Bility described a harrowing 1997 reporting trip to Sierra Leone in which he documented Liberian government support for the brutal RUF rebels. His testimony was undoubtedly damaging to defendant Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president on...

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Uribe, courts hold critical journalists in contempt

March 27, 2009 11:11 AM ET

Daniel Coronell's name didn't come up in a hearing this week on Capitol Hill, even though CPJ had just learned that a Colombian court had ordered the arrest of the respected Canal Uno TV reporter and normal">Semana magazine columnist over his work. Coronell is one of many journalists and human...

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GWOT?? Old term means new dollars for good cause

March 27, 2009 11:05 AM ET

Washington Post columnist Al Kamen had a generous thought for CPJ today. Kamen writes that an Office of Management and Budget e-mail sent to the Pentagon recently declared: "This Administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT]. Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.' "...

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Tunisian president calls criticism "unbecoming"

March 26, 2009 1:48 PM ET

During his address to the nation on the anniversary of Tunisia's independence on March 20, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali did not hesitate to reject critical journalism and the right of journalists to cover corruption or mistakes by the government. As customary, local groups concerned with press freedom, including the...

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Can Sierra Leone bring justice in fatal beating of editor?

March 25, 2009 3:12 PM ET

The case had all the hallmarks of a sordid thriller. There was "a rogue politician, a journalist getting killed, a staunchly incurious police, and the media in frenzy," veteran journalist Lansana Gberie wrote in the New African, describing the fatal 2005 beating of editor Harry Yansaneh in Sierra Leone. ...

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Imprisoned Cuban journalist is granted 24 hours at home

March 23, 2009 3:58 PM ET

March 20 marked the sixth anniversary of the three-day 2003 crackdown on the independent Cuban press. That day, Oleivys García Echemendía was scheduled to visit her husband, imprisoned Cuban journalist Pablo Pacheco Ávila, at 1 p.m. at the Morón prison in the central province of Ciego de Ávila. ...

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Seeking justice for Marlene Garcia-Esperat

March 23, 2009 11:41 AM ET

Today CPJ launched its 2009 Global Impunity Index in Manila to mark the fourth anniversary of the murder of Marlene Garcia-Esperat, left, a Philippine columnist who reported on corruption in the government's agriculture department. Garcia-Esperat was gunned down in her home in front of her family in a case that...

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In Russia, criminal ties to government fuel impunity

March 23, 2009 9:35 AM ET

In Russia, even official statistics present a depressing picture: Contract-style murders of journalists, more often than not, remain unsolved. Even the rare investigations that result in trials do not answer the main question: Who ordered the killing?...

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Going beyond national borders to combat impunity

March 23, 2009 9:30 AM ET

Combating impunity has been a long and difficult process, full of obstacles and problems. At the national level it has not been easy, so much of our work is carried out using the supranational tools that we helped develop. They began taking shape through international intergovernmental declarations, in conclusions reached...

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Czech leader supports CPJ effort to free Cubans

March 19, 2009 4:20 PM ET

The Czech prime minister has expressed support for CPJ's efforts to gain the release of imprisoned Cuban jouirnalists. We sent Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, who is also president of the Council of the European Union, a copy of a March 17 letter to an EU envoy. In the letter, we...

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State secrets, public denials in Sri Lanka

March 18, 2009 4:57 PM ET

There's a familiar pattern emerging in Sri Lanka, one we've seen in many countries. When the government doesn't have a viable case against a critical journalist, prosecutors turn to state security laws to keep them in detention....

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Black Spring of 2003: A former Cuban prisoner speaks

March 17, 2009 4:31 PM ET

March 18, 19, and 20 will mark the sixth anniversary of the detention of 75 peaceful journalists and librarians, as well as human rights activists, convicted weeks later to up to 28 years in jail during summary trials. Fifty-four of these innocent people, who demanded a democratic society and respect...

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For investigative reporters, many risks and some answers

March 13, 2009 1:13 PM ET

Reporters who dig up carefully buried facts about those in power can easily find themselves in danger. In countries where a tradition of watchdog journalism has not yet taken hold, the risks of practicing investigative reporting can be real and physical for those reporters that take it on....

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Can China make real changes in media policies for Tibet?

March 12, 2009 3:59 PM ET

Has the Chinese government learned a public relations lesson from its handling of the unrest in Tibet last year?...

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Former CPJ award winner acquitted in Burundi

March 12, 2009 1:59 PM ET

The staff at CPJ was relieved to hear that former CPJ Press Freedom Award winner Alexis Sinduhije was released from prison today. The former radio station director and veteran Burundian journalist was acquitted by a Bujumbura court after serving four months of a two and a half year jail sentence...

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Swazi columnist criticizes king, gets fined ... in cows

March 11, 2009 6:12 PM ET

About two weeks ago, traditional authorities in the mountain kingdom of Swaziland slapped the nation's most outspoken political columnist, Mfomfo Nkambule, with a fine--to be paid in cows--for criticism of the administration of King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute ruler....

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Major news outlets issue statement on Saberi

March 10, 2009 2:42 PM ET

Seven major news organizations including NPR, ABC, and the BBC issued a joint statement on behalf of Roxana Saberi, a U.S.-Iranian freelance journalist who is currently being held in Tehran's Evin prison. The outlets asked that "one or more international organizations that have responsibilities and rights under the Geneva Conventions...

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Saberi meets with lawyer, heartened by support

March 10, 2009 9:56 AM ET is reporting that Roxana Saberi met with a lawyer in Tehran on Sunday. Her father said she was tearful at first, but that "her spirits changed when she heard about the outpouring of support. She had no idea how much attention her arrest is getting."...

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Independent Cuban journalist details four-day detention

March 6, 2009 5:35 PM ET

Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, a Havana-based independent journalist, sent an e-mail message this morning to his "brothers, colleagues, and organizations that protect and watch over press freedom around the world" announcing that he had been released from police custody after a four-day detention. In his e-mail, titled "Thanks to...

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Sri Lankan Embassy denies press freedom crisis

March 6, 2009 3:43 PM ET

January 6, 2009: The main control room of Colombo's TV Sirasa is bombed. January 8, 2009: Prominent independent editor Lasantha Wickramatunga is killed by a hit-squad that attacks his car while it is blocked in traffic. January 23, 2009: Pro-government editor Upali Tennakoon is attacked under similar circumstances by a...

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Ethiopia lifts filtering of critical Web sites--at least for now

March 4, 2009 5:59 PM ET

Journalists in Ethiopia informed CPJ over the weekend that our Web site, which was blocked to Internet users in the capital, Addis Ababa, since August, was accessible again....

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Petition for Roxana Saberi, held in Tehran

March 4, 2009 3:45 PM ET

CPJ will be collecting signatures until midnight tonight on a Facebook petition in support of Roxana Saberi, an American journalist who is being held without charge at Tehran's Evin prison....

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