September 2011

CPJ Blog

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Burundi media defy censorship order

September 30, 2011 5:40 PM ET

Tensions between the Burundi government and the local press are bound to increase as several media this week defied an order not to investigate or discuss a recent massacre. While officials say the measure is "temporary" and necessary to safeguard national unity and the course of justice, independent journalists...

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Mexico murder may be social media watershed

September 30, 2011 10:15 AM ET

María Elizabeth Macías Castro's killers made sure their actions were understood. In a macabre, carefully orchestrated mise-en-scene, they placed her body in front of a poster with the ominous note. Nearby they left a computer keyboard, with a pair of headphones on her decapitated head....

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Fighting abusive litigation against journalists

September 29, 2011 10:44 AM ET

CPJ and others who defend the rights of journalists are rightly alarmed when public officials and other powerful figures instigate baseless criminal prosecutions that can send journalists to prison and force them to pay heavy fines. A case pending in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Fontevecchia & D'Amico vs....

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When a bug fix can save a journalist's life

September 29, 2011 9:22 AM ET

One of the most exciting aspects of working on Internet technologies is how quickly the tools you build can spread to millions of users worldwide. It's a heady experience, one that has occurred time and again here in Silicon Valley. But there's also responsibility that attaches to that excitement. For...

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President Correa is not a criminal (but he is intolerant)

September 27, 2011 1:20 PM ET

In a truly bizarre exchange that took place at Columbia University Friday, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa responded to a question from CPJ's Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría by calling him a liar....

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UNESCO must reject Obiang prize bid

September 26, 2011 5:29 PM ET

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined with eight other human rights organizations today in opposing the bid for a UNESCO life sciences prize named after Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. CPJ and other groups have consistently voiced their opposition to this prize, saying that Equatorial Guinea's human rights...

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Correa lambastes press in Columbia speech

September 26, 2011 2:35 PM ET

"Sir, you are lying and a liar." With these words, uttered before an audience of around 150 people, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa dispelled any doubt as to whether he might cool his explosive rhetoric in the face of criticism. His harsh words came in response to a critical question...

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Eritrea: Let's lift the shroud of 10 years of misery

September 23, 2011 3:57 PM ET

Since Zaid Tewelde's husband, an Eritrean freedom fighter turned playwright and journalist, was arrested in September 2001, she has spent each passing day coping with the burning questions of her two young sons, age 9 and 10, "Where is my dad? When are we going to see him?" And...

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State secrets claim withdrawn in UK hacking probe

September 23, 2011 9:34 AM ET

London's Metropolitan Police this week dropped their attempt to leverage the Official Secrets Act to force The Guardian to reveal confidential sources for stories about the phone-hacking scandal that has gripped the UK's political and media world. The Met's reversal is welcome, but its unprecedented attempt to invoke espionage...

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Gambia VP touts tourism, downplays human rights issues

September 21, 2011 3:26 PM ET

The Gambia has an image problem: Dubbed the "Smiling Coast of Africa," it is a tourist destination, but its government has one of the region's worst records of human rights abuses. On Tuesday, at an African tourism promotion event in New York City, Gambian Vice-President Isatou Njie-Saidy headed a...

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Video: Yemeni cameraman films himself being wounded

September 20, 2011 12:29 PM ET

New video from The Telegraph shows Yemeni journalist Hassan al-Wadhaf's footage of being hit in the face by sniper fire during protests in Sana'a. Al-Wadhaf, who is in critical condition, works for the Arabic Media Agency....

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Motive unclear, but murders become rallying point

September 19, 2011 4:39 PM ET

The brutal, September 1 murders of two women from the world of mass communications drew international headlines as the latest attack against the Mexican news media. But the sensational case--the two were found strangled in a park in the heart of Mexico City--illustrates the complexities of determining motives amid the...

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In Ethiopia case, a response to WikiLeaks

September 19, 2011 1:05 PM ET

Last week, we learned that Ethiopian journalist Argaw Ashine was facing possible arrest and needed to flee the country. During a 10-day period in September, he had been summoned three times by Ethiopian authorities and questioned about a reference to him in a cable sent by the U.S. Embassy in...

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When Eritrea shut down the independent press

September 18, 2011 1:16 PM ET

It was September 18, 2001. As usual, I had to do my shift as a news reader on Eritrea's national government-controlled radio station Dimtsi Hafash. It was just minutes before 6:30 a.m. I was almost ready with all of the Tigrinya news material given to me for broadcasting and...

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EU resolution urges Eritrea to free long-jailed journalists

September 16, 2011 5:51 PM ET

Eritrea was on the hot seat Thursday in Strasbourg and Brussels. Ten years after a massive crackdown on dissent in Asmara that included the arrests of 11 independent journalists, European institutions have signalled that they are weary of President Isaias Afeworki's repression. ...

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Farsi guides to the surveillance attack in Iran

September 16, 2011 4:23 PM ET

As we've reported before, there's strong evidence that forces with widespread access to Iran's internet infrastructure have been engaged in large-scale surveillance of https traffic in July and August, certainly of Google traffic, and perhaps many more websites, including Facebook and Yahoo! If you used the Internet in Iran during...

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UN plan on journalist security could bring improvement

September 15, 2011 2:42 PM ET

Representatives from U.N. agencies, member states, and nongovernmental organizations convened on Tuesday at the United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity to plan how to address journalist security. Participants of the meeting, which was convened by UNESCO at its Paris headquarters, also discussed how...

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Colombian journalists in Arauca pressured from all sides

September 14, 2011 2:17 PM ET

Although a long-running army offensive has improved security in much of Colombia, the oil-rich eastern province of Arauca remains a hot zone--for both combatants and journalists. This week, for example, the National Liberation Army (ELN), the smaller of the country's two guerrilla groups, called a transportation strike, effectively shutting...

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Press freedom heroes in Southeast Asia

September 14, 2011 10:25 AM ET

Three Southeast Asian journalists--Cambodia's Hang Chakra, Malaysia's Zulkiflee Anwar Ul Haque, or Zunar, and Thailand's Chiranuch Premchaiporn--were among the 48 awardees of the Hellman/Hammett grant, given to writers targeted with political persecution, who were recognized today by Human Rights Watch for their commitment to press freedom....

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In response, Ecuadoran secretary misses the point

September 13, 2011 5:50 PM ET

Back in April, before leaving on a research trip to Ecuador, I contacted Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado by phone and email in hopes of meeting with him to discuss press freedom concerns that have emerged under President Rafael Correa. The secretary was among the high-ranking administration officials who did...

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NATO responds to CPJ, but questions remain unanswered

September 13, 2011 1:42 PM ET

On August 4, CPJ wrote to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen requesting information about the July 30 attacks on broadcast facilities in Libya in which NATO aircraft destroyed three broadcast dishes. As we noted in our letter, CPJ is concerned any time a media outlet faces a military attack....

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A quiet victory for The Namibian

September 9, 2011 1:14 PM ET

Namibia's information minister recently announced that a decade-long state advertising boycott of The Namibian, the country's largest daily newspaper, would finally end. An action intended to punish the paper for its independence had failed. It was back in December 2000 that former President Sam Nujoma told his cabinet to...

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Family, friends celebrate life of journalist killed in Libya

September 9, 2011 9:56 AM ET

Photojournalist Anton Hammerl's body has not been returned to his family five months after his death on assignment in Libya, but his family and friends celebrated his remarkable life and career at a memorial service Thursday at St. Bride's Church in London. Hammerl, 41, was shot and killed by...

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Free Burma VJ campaign urges release of journalists

September 8, 2011 8:32 PM ET

From Paris to Bangkok, London to Geneva, the Free Burma VJ campaign will stage protests in front of Burmese embassies on Friday to call for the immediate release of 17 jailed video journalists working for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a leading Burmese exile media organization. The campaign began less...

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Mission Journal: South Sudan's struggle for a free press

September 8, 2011 1:44 PM ET

The former guerrillas of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) fought a 22-year civil war for greater autonomy and civil rights for the southern Sudanese people, culminating in South Sudan's independence this July. But local journalists fear the former rebels turned government officials still harbor a war mentality that...

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The 'new' Syrian media law is nothing new

September 7, 2011 12:46 PM ET

On August 28, President Bashar al-Assad approved a new media law that purportedly upholds freedom of expression and bans the arrest of journalists. Yet less than a week later, on Saturday, a Syrian journalist and contributor to the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat was arrested, CPJ reported. Just two days before...

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On 9/11 and post-conflict Sri Lanka

September 6, 2011 12:30 PM ET

For a few years now, I have used Sugi Ganeshananthan's articles as a frame of reference for CPJ advocacy in Sri Lanka. Ganeshananthan, a novelist and essayist who teaches at the University of Michigan, writes stories often grounded in current events. Her 2008 novel, Love Marriage, addresses the cultural and...

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Spying on media exposes French government's dark side

September 3, 2011 10:52 AM ET

"The freedom of the press and the lie of the state." The headline Thursday in the influential newspaper Le Monde was bound to make a big splash. While President Nicolas Sarkozy was basking in the glory of his Libyan intervention and celebrating the virtues of democracy, the French "paper...

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In Ecuador, CPJ highlights press freedom decline

September 2, 2011 7:15 PM ET

The turning point in President Rafael Correa's aggressive campaign against the private media, Ecuadoran journalists say, came in July with the criminal defamation convictions of four managers of the Guayaquil-based daily El Universo. Bad went to worse when the paper's former opinion editor and three of its executives were...

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A killing field: The targeting of journalists in Pakistan

September 1, 2011 1:12 PM ET

For the past several weeks, CPJ's Asia and Journalist Assistance programs have been in regular contact with local and international organizations who are concerned about the rising number of journalists and media workers at risk in Pakistan. CPJ and several other groups are working together on viable, in-country solutions:...

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Catching the Internet's spies in Iran and elsewhere

September 1, 2011 10:34 AM ET

In August, Google introduced a new, if rather obscure, security feature to its Chrome web browser, designed to be triggered only under extreme circumstances. If you were talking to Google's servers using the web's secure "https" protocol, your browser makes a number of checks to ensure that you are really...

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