March 2010

CPJ Blog

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China imposed strict controls on Google coverage

March 31, 2010 5:19 PM ET

Our friends at China Digital Times have translated recent orders from China’s State Council Information Office to domestic news organizations and Web sites about how to handle the country’s ongoing dispute with Google. We’re posting an excerpt here, but please read the whole link. There’s a great discussion about...

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In Bukavu courtroom, Namujimbo murder trial unfolds

March 31, 2010 10:21 AM ET

Didace Namujimbo, a journalist for Radio Okapi, was shot dead on the night of November 21, 2008. Now, after repeated delays, a military court in Bukavu, capital of the province of South Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is putting on trial a dozen people charged in connection...

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Philippine high court spokesman: Death threats ‘funny’

March 29, 2010 1:57 PM ET

Midas Marquez, spokesman for the Philippine Supreme Court, has told local reporters that he considers death threats sent anonymously by text message to journalist Marites Dañguilan Vitug to be “funny” and “ridiculous.” Marquez was asked to comment in his official role because the threats began shortly after the release...

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In Garcia-Esperat murder, a twisting path to justice

March 24, 2010 2:47 PM ET

Five years ago today, a gunman strode into the home of muckraking Philippine journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat, pulled out a .45-caliber pistol, and shot her once in the head. A columnist and radio host on the southern island of Mindanao, Garcia-Esperat had made plenty of enemies while exposing government corruption....

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Google’s Chinese wake-up call

March 24, 2010 1:54 PM ET

On Monday, Google made good on its promise to stop censorship of its Chinese search engine, Google.cn, by rerouting viewers to its unfettered Hong Kong site. According to the company’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, the move was “a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced—it's entirely legal and...

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Media in Leogane devastated

March 23, 2010 5:12 PM ET

Of the 12 radio stations in the city Leogane, south of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, only five are back on the air more than two months after the earthquake. Most stations were seriously damaged and several broadcasters are struggling to restore transmission, the head of the Leogane Press Association (APL),...

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Circumventing India’s radio news ban

March 23, 2010 3:37 PM ET

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...

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In bad company: Kazakhstan takes page from Belarus

March 22, 2010 1:01 PM ET

Belarus has been termed Europe’s last dictatorship because of its long intolerance of dissent and press freedom. So accustomed is the world to the clampdowns of President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime that neither a recently issued decree on Internet access, which requires that providers record users’ personal data, nor last...

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In India, news for sale

March 19, 2010 10:18 AM ET

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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Durbin, Senate colleagues press for Manneh’s release

March 19, 2010 10:15 AM ET

For more than two years, U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin and a group of Senate colleagues have been pressing for the release of Gambian journalist “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, left. In July 2006, security agents arrested Manneh at his workplace at the Daily Observer and have since held him incommunicado...

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Ugandan photographers take heat after fire at royal tombs

March 18, 2010 6:34 PM ET

It seemed like déjà vu. Another major protest erupts in Uganda and journalists face the wrath of authorities and the public alike. Tensions between the government and the traditional kingdom of the Baganda, the largest ethnic group based in central Uganda, flared again Tuesday evening after a fire of...

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Spain must help free Cuban dissidents

March 18, 2010 9:54 AM ET

Mark Twain once said, “In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.” In the witty genius’ land, the United States, such irony suggests that people should not to waste the opportunities that democracy offers. But...

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For bloggers, Cuba remains a dark corner

March 18, 2010 9:53 AM ET

Another year has passed and we are now remembering the seventh anniversary of the Black Spring. After seven years, have there been any changes? Yes and no. Law 88, a provision calling for the protection of Cuba’s national independence, is still in force. Known as the gag law, it is...

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Jailed Cuban journalists need global support

March 18, 2010 9:52 AM ET

There are those who say that time will ease the pain. But such a claim cannot withstand the human drama emerging from the prisons where 22 Cuban journalists remain jailed....

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Haiti’s only Creole newspaper is out of business

March 16, 2010 2:19 PM ET

Haiti’s sole newspaper published exclusively in Creole has disappeared under the rubble of the January 12 earthquake. The Port-au-Prince offices of the monthly Bon Nouvel (Good News) were destroyed, as were the facilities of its La Phalange printing unit, which specialized in the production of Creole-language books and documents. ...

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Ugandan plan would punish media for ‘economic sabotage’

March 15, 2010 1:34 PM ET

Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill has received considerable international attention, particularly concerning its harsh criminal sanctions, but another piece of repressive legislation threatens to criminalize the activities of another maligned group: the vibrant independent press in this East African nation at the confluence of Africa’s largest lake (Victoria) and the world’s longest...

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For Haitian media, a big story amid big demands

March 12, 2010 4:29 PM ET

In the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake, Kerby Joseph stays on the job. He helps gather news for Amikal FM, a radio station that now broadcasts from a tent in the devastated Haitian town of Leogane, where most of the buildings have been damaged or destroyed. But the...

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Rallying (hesitantly) for reporters abducted in Afghanistan

March 11, 2010 10:55 AM ET

What can we do to help liberate our colleagues? French journalists have been struggling with this dilemma since December 30, when two reporters of the public service TV channel France 3 and their three Afghan fixers were abducted by a group purportedly linked to the Taliban in the region...

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Uzbekistan using 'experts' to silence journalists, activists

March 10, 2010 5:59 PM ET

Having suppressed independent journalism relatively completely in the country, the authoritarian Uzbek regime has now turned to other sectors of society it perceives as threatening to its ideology. State appointed so-called “experts” on undefined Uzbek national traditions are being dispatched on a witch hunt against independent-minded individuals, including a filmmaker and an anti-HIV/AIDS activist....

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Rwanda's Kagame tries to link bombs to critical press

March 10, 2010 3:19 PM ET

Journalists in Kigali are on tenterhooks after President Paul Kagame, left, made new accusations of their supposed involvement in a bomb attack in Rwanda. Just months before Rwanda’s presidential elections, Kigali was recently hit by two grenade attacks that killed two people and injured 30 others, according to news...

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Japanese press advocates face 50 lawsuits, broken ribs

March 9, 2010 5:24 PM ET

Kensuke Nishioka, 42, looked different from the other Japanese journalists I encountered in Tokyo during a February trip. Maybe it was the pink hair. “Don’t believe any journalist who says they’re at risk in Japan,” he declared, shrugging off the time, at age 32, when two members of a nationalist group cornered...

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Senior Chinese editor forced out for controversial editorial

March 9, 2010 2:29 PM ET

“Some have commented that this event should go down in media history.” So says Zhang Hong (in English translation on The Wall Street Journal’s China blog today), co-author of an unprecedented joint editorial published last week by 13 Chinese newspapers. The editorials, criticizing the hukou system, which registers individuals in their place of birth and limits their ability...

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Journalists fleeing Haiti in aftermath of quake

March 5, 2010 6:02 PM ET

Thousands of Haitians, including many journalists, have fled the country since the January 12 earthquake. Ronald Leon, a veteran journalist who worked with Haiti’s National Television station, Radio Caraibes and Tropic FM, has now settled in Florida, leaving behind his family and his journalism training school, Ameritech, which was destroyed in the earthquake. Its last...

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Tunisian airport officials confiscate CPJ publications

March 5, 2010 3:01 PM ET

On Saturday, Tunis airport customs officials confiscated two copies of CPJ’s annual report, Attacks on the Press, as well as five copies of the Arabic-language translation of the Middle East and North Africa section of the book from Tunisian rights lawyer Mohamed Abbou and journalist Lotfi Hidouri on their return from Morocco, the two men...

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French weekly gives issue over to Haitian journalists

March 4, 2010 12:21 PM ET

The French weekly Courrier International opened its columns on February 4 to Haitian print media journalists in a special edition being circulated worldwide. The paper’s managers did it to express solidarity with Haitian journalists following the earthquake, which completely paralyzed the publication of the country’s dailies. The two dailies in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, Le Nouvelliste and Le Matin, were...

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CPJ trip to Morocco reveals gap between rhetoric and reality

March 3, 2010 5:33 PM ET

Two weeks ago, Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator, and I were in Morocco to hold meetings with government officials as well as journalists. In some ways the trip was a success, but in other ways it left much to be desired from a country that claims...

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Japanese journalist-turned-lawyer fights media control

March 2, 2010 12:15 PM ET

Kazuo Hizumi holds his hands up before him, shoulder-width apart. He is demonstrating the size of the blade he kept under his pillow when sleeping at the bureau in his days as a rookie reporter in Osaka in 1987. The journalism community was still reeling from a shooting attack on Asahi...

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Foreign journalists have privileges locals don't in Yemen

March 1, 2010 3:22 PM ET

It is possible that so-called “Christmas Day bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab came to Yemen for Al-Qaeda terrorist training because it was out of the limelight. Until now, international media has sent in journalists intermittently to cover stories on Somali refugees or the Houthi rebellion in the North, but few foreign journalists are based here and the majority...

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