June 2010

CPJ Blog

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CJR: Singapore not so modern on press freedom

June 29, 2010 12:45 PM ET

Singapore is a rich country with a surprisingly poor press freedom record—so says a story out this week in the Columbia Journalism Review. CPJ’s own findings point to a series of court fines and damages awarded over slights to the country’s government by major international papers like The New...

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Burma campaign hits Grand Central

June 22, 2010 12:55 PM ET

New York’s Grand Central Station is a gathering point today for people who are coming into town from a little farther away than usual: Burmese dissidents, writers, monks, and musicians are convening to protest the military junta of Senior General Than Shwe. Human Rights Watch has organized a petition...

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Finding success in exile from Sierra Leone

June 22, 2010 12:07 PM ET

It was just days ago that my daughter had her 11th birthday. She was excited about this birthday as never before, but I understood why. A couple of days prior, she was accepted to the Frederick Douglass Academy in Manhattan for middle school starting next fall. The school is...

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In Pakistan, a censor's hand in Facebook, Twitter woes?

June 21, 2010 3:22 PM ET

Last week, users of Facebook and Twitter in Pakistan began reporting a strange security problem. When they visited those sites, they found they were logged in--but with the accounts and privileges of complete strangers. Private Facebook information and Twitter direct messages belonging to other users were viewable, and the surprised...

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Denied access, CPJ manages to interview Kazakh prisoner

June 21, 2010 12:40 PM ET

On June 3, I took a six-hour-long drive from Almaty to Taraz with local press freedom advocate Rozlana Taukina and two family members of imprisoned editor Ramazan Yesergepov to visit him. Yesergepov has been a long-term case for CPJ. In November 2008, he published two internal Kazakh security service (KNB) memos...

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French journalist indicted for 'stealing' Sarkozy video

June 18, 2010 5:10 PM ET

French journalists are flabbergasted. One of their colleagues, Augustin Scalbert, a journalist with Rue89, a leading news Web site, has just been indicted by a Paris prosecutor under the charges of “stealing and keeping” a video belonging to the public television channel France 3. If the journalist is found guilty,...

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As dissidents move online, governments fight back

June 18, 2010 2:03 PM ET

Social media and cyber dissidents have exerted a increasing influence on global politics over the last few years—Twitter, for instance, was widely utilized by protesters and journalists during Iran’s 2009 post-election Green Movement, and China has been locked in conflict with Google over allegations of censorship and hacking. “Ideas in Action” with Jim...

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For Eritrean expatriate press, intimidation in exile

June 17, 2010 5:40 PM ET

For the better part of the last 20 years, Tedros Menghistu has been a refugee, forced to flee his Red Sea homeland of Eritrea not once, but twice—first as a young man displaced by war in the early 1990s, and then as a professional journalist escaping political censorship and military conscription...

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Thailand responds to CPJ about recent attacks on the press

June 17, 2010 12:57 PM ET

Thailand's Washington-based embassy issued an official reply to CPJ's June 7 letter addressed to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in which we expressed our concerns about the country's deteriorating security situation for journalists. CPJ's letter highlighted in particular our concerns about two journalists—Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto and freelance photographer Fabio Polenghi—who were killed while covering recent clashes between...

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Starting from scratch: A Haitian journalist exiled in the U.S.

June 17, 2010 11:47 AM ET

I arrived in New York in April 2003. It was cold.The streets of Brooklyn seemed too wide to me and the buildings huge. The number 3 train would pass over and over again like a luminous monster. From the window of my apartment, I would watch this train go by. I...

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Living in limbo: The ongoing wait of journalists in exile

June 17, 2010 10:26 AM ET

The e-mails started on July 15, 2009, and have continued ever since—pleas for help from Iranian journalists who fled their country often with little money and scarce provisions to northern Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, and a host of other locales around the world. Many lived in hiding throughout Iran for weeks...

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Baja California governor urges support of federalization

June 16, 2010 5:35 PM ET

Four Mexican journalists have been killed so far this year, at least one in reprisal for his work, and several remain missing after a lethal wave of violence in the border city of Reynosa in late February. Pervasive self-censorship is affecting vast regions of the country as a result of the bloody...

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CPJ testimony: Press freedom in the Americas

June 16, 2010 4:34 PM ET

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, saying that while democracies are prevalent in Latin America, the press continues to operate with few institutional protections. This statement was submitted into the record on Monday....

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UNESCO's dictator prize put on hold

June 16, 2010 12:09 PM ET

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...

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Morocco pardons journalist to create smokescreen

June 16, 2010 10:15 AM ET

On Friday evening, after receiving an unexpected royal pardon, Driss Chahtan, the editor of the independent weekly Al-Michaal, was released from Oukacha Prison in Casablanca. However, his release is one of the few positive developments amid many alarming cases of worsening press conditions in Morocco....

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In Liberia, needy media strained to cover election campaign

June 11, 2010 4:30 PM ET

Last week in steamy, rain-soaked Monrovia, anticipation for the World Cup aside, I could already sense the buzz building around presidential elections scheduled for October of 2011. In the coming contest—only the second presidential election since the end of the civil war—Liberians will decide whether to reelect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of...

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Cano laureates say no to UNESCO Obiang prize

June 11, 2010 10:27 AM ET

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...

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We must speak out for the imprisoned in Iran

June 9, 2010 4:37 PM ET

On the one-year anniversary of Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential election, it is a good opportunity for those of us who enjoy certain freedoms to speak out for journalists in Iran who are struggling to make their own voices heard....

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CPJ testimony: Threats to free media in the OSCE region

June 9, 2010 11:00 AM ET

Kazakhstan, the current chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, has failed to live up to its press freedom commitments, CPJ’s Muzaffar Suleymanov told the Congressional Helsinki Commission in Washington today....

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The malware lockdown in Havana and Hanoi

June 8, 2010 6:07 PM ET

General purpose computers give journalists an incredible amount of power to create, research, and publish their work away from those who may wish to interfere. But such independence requires that the computer itself remain free and uncompromised by software that works against the journalist's own interests. ...

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European Human Rights Court takes on press freedom

June 8, 2010 5:27 PM ET

The European Court of Human Rights issued a historic sentence on June 1, when it ruled that Spain’s sentencing in a case between the now-deceased Moroccan king Hassan II and me, formerly the editor of the Madrid-based newspaper Diario 16, violated the rights of freedom of expression and of the press....

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China’s future online policies look a lot like past plans

June 8, 2010 4:13 PM ET

Monday, in a white paper released by China’s State Council called “The Internet in China,” the government made clear its Internet policies are not changing, stating the obvious: “Laws and regulations clearly prohibit the spread of information that contains content subverting state power, undermining national unity [or] infringing upon...

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Tank cartoon erased before Tiananmen anniversary

June 3, 2010 5:37 PM ET

Twenty-one years after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, China’s censors are still working to purge public discourse about the tragic events of June 4, 1989. But some Chinese Web users clearly have a healthy appetite for such a debate and are willing to circumvent the government censors. ...

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In Angola, censorship shrouds journalist’s killing

June 3, 2010 11:08 AM ET

On January 8, while Angola was hosting the African Cup of Nations, the country made worldwide headlines after a deadly attack on the Togolese national soccer team, which left a coach and a journalist dead. With international attention turning to the story, a shroud of state censorship and self-censorship...

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Journalists on raided flotilla leaving Israel, speaking out

June 2, 2010 6:23 PM ET

Firsthand accounts from reporters who were on the flotilla of humanitarian activists raided by Israeli forces on Monday are finally coming out as the journalists are released from custody. These early reports indicate that soldiers harassed international journalists—at least six had their equipment either confiscated or destroyed, according to CPJ interviews and...

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Somali journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur wins CNN award

June 1, 2010 12:42 PM ET

At CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award ceremony in November 2009, Agence France-Presse's Somalia correspondent Mustafa Haji Abdinur—an award winner—pleaded with his audience: “Friends, if a journalist is killed the news is also killed. We need your support now more than ever. Please don’t forget us.” Abidnur, 28, has not been forgotten....

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