January 2012

CPJ Blog

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India's challenge: Intolerance vs. intellectual freedom

January 31, 2012 4:59 PM ET

Because of criticism from Hindu fundamentalists, the showing of a documentary by filmmaker Sanjay Kak at the Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce in Pune has been indefinitely postponed. The conservative student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parisha protested Kak's film, "Jashn-e-Azadi" (How we celebrate freedom), which is critical of...

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Cabezas' convicted killers are free, 15 years after murder

January 31, 2012 4:12 PM ET

It was a cold winter morning more than 15 years ago. As part of my daily routine as a foreign correspondent, I opened my laptop to read the Argentine papers. I was shocked by a headline: my colleague José Luis Cabezas, a photographer for the newsweekly magazine Noticias, had...

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Chinese press has impact, against the odds

January 30, 2012 4:06 PM ET

In China, state control over the media hasn't become more lax in recent years. Each year brings a new excuse for Communist Party censors to tighten the screws. The year of the rabbit brought the Arab Spring, and fears of a Jasmine Revolution. The year of the dragon brings...

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Can an Indian cartoonist be barred from mocking the state?

January 30, 2012 3:37 PM ET

The case of a cartoonist charged with treason and offending India's national sentiments reflects a growing debate over what constitutes freedom of expression in India. His accusers argue that while it is permissible to make fun of politicians, you cannot make fun of the state. Not everyone agrees....

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In Mexico mission, PEN speaks for a silenced press

January 30, 2012 2:55 PM ET

The leading American author Russell Banks set the tone on Sunday as he stood among international writers and their local colleagues in Mexico City: "A nation's journalists and writers, like its poets and story-tellers, are the eyes, ears, and mouths of the people. When journalists cannot freely speak of...

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For journalists, cyber-security training slow to take hold

January 27, 2012 3:57 PM ET

For centuries, journalists have been willing to go to prison to protect their sources. Back in 1848, New York Herald correspondent John Nugent spent a month in jail for refusing to tell a U.S. Senate committee his source for a leak exposing the secret approval of a treaty with Mexico....

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Criminal gangs intimidate, silence Córdoba journalists

January 26, 2012 12:39 PM ET

At most newspapers, reporting for the society page isn't especially dangerous. But in the northern Colombian department of Córdoba, which is under siege from drug-trafficking gangs, even covering birthday parties can be risky....

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Google+, real names and real problems

January 26, 2012 11:35 AM ET

At the launch of Google+, Google's attempt to create an integrated social network similar to Facebook, I wrote about the potential benefits and risks of the new service to journalists who use social media in dangerous circumstances. Despite early promises of relatively flexible terms of service at Google+, the...

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Black January? A foreign plot, says Sri Lankan government

January 25, 2012 3:46 PM ET

On Monday, I wrote about two demonstrations scheduled for Sri Lanka this week. Both were meant to commemorate the ugly string of anti-press attacks in recent Januaries, which has included journalists killed and abducted, television stations bombed, websites attacked, and media offices torched. But Wednesday's Black January effort, publicized...

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Mazhar Abbas: Shahzad was no Pearl

January 24, 2012 2:22 PM ET

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl in Karachi on January 23, 2002. On February 21 of that year, a video of his beheading was released. In the wake of the judicial inquiry into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, veteran...

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Criticism of Hungary's media controls keeps growing

January 24, 2012 11:23 AM ET

"Klubrádió solely wants to provide news and present different opinions and never meant to play any emblematic role. But, because of the decision of the Media Authority, it has became the symbol of free speech in Hungary," stated the broadcaster's CEO, András Arató, on Sunday when addressing thousands of...

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In Sri Lanka, Eknelygoda asks that humanity trump cruelty

January 23, 2012 5:28 PM ET

A couple of weeks ago, I described the terrible incidence of anti-press abuse that has come each recent January in Sri Lanka. Media activists have come to call the month "Black January" for good reason, as this email message details: ...

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Tunisian media: One year after the revolution

January 23, 2012 1:42 PM ET

The doses of freedom that the Tunisian revolution injected into national media have not been sufficient to revive it after decades of systematic destruction. It is not surprising that our evaluation of media one year after the tyrant fell reveals more negativity and pessimism....

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Uganda's radio closures uncover lack of independence

January 23, 2012 10:23 AM ET

Ugandan police have shuttered 13 broadcasters since December, accusing them of misusing power supplies and equipment belonging to the state-run Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). The widespread allegations of corrupt deals between the state broadcaster and ostensibly private stations reveal more than illicit transactions--they expose a lack of independence within...

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Minority media rights, terrorism laws at issue in Roj TV case

January 20, 2012 2:33 PM ET

French satellite provider Eutelsat announced yesterday it is suspending Kurdish satellite station Roj TV after a Danish court last week levied a hefty fine against the satellite station for promoting terrorism. Eutelsat's decision comes despite Roj TV's appeal before the Danish High Court, which is pending. The case has implications...

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Online publishers, developers sentenced to death in Iran

January 20, 2012 1:24 PM ET

Politically-related Iranian prosecutions often take place in near secrecy, with unclear charges morphing and changing over time. It doesn't get any easier to work out the motivations of prosecutors when the charges are connected to technology....

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Oprah's guards not only ones to assail Indian journalists

January 19, 2012 2:11 PM ET

Oprah Winfrey's first visit to India brought delighted coverage by the Indian media. Her meetings and tweetings with Bollywood stars, her bright orange sari, and her trips to slums and to the Taj Mahal were lovingly detailed by newspapers and TV outlets in that country. ...

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Mukarram Khan Aatif, a fearless reporter and friend

January 19, 2012 1:16 PM ET

It was in January four years ago that nearly 100 journalists from all over Pakistan got together to launch a new TV channel in Lahore, Dunya TV. That was where I first met Mukarram Khan Aatif, our reporter from Mohmand....

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Freedom with limits in Burma

January 19, 2012 11:21 AM ET

When President Thein Sein pardoned over 300 political prisoners last week in Burma, CPJ reported that at least nine journalists were among those released. Since then, the exile-run Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has announced that all of its jailed reporters, including a group of eight who had remained...

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A deeper reading: Umar Cheema on the Shahzad report

January 18, 2012 3:47 PM ET

With the shooting of Mukarram Khan Aatif on Tuesday, the once high-profile case of Saleem Shahzad has almost been overtaken by events. The day before Aatif's death, Umar Cheema had sent me a link to his analysis of the judicial inquiry into the killing of Saleem Shahzad....

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In Ecuador, defamation case could set dangerous precedent

January 17, 2012 3:03 PM ET

A controversial 2011 defamation verdict against the leading Ecuadoran daily El Universo, which became a symbol of vastly deteriorating press conditions under President Rafael Correa, appears headed to a final determination. The nation's highest court is due to hear the newspaper's appeal, although the hearing date itself is still...

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Jacquier's killing raises chilling questions on Syria

January 13, 2012 6:44 PM ET

The killing on January 11 of a French TV reporter has sent a chill through the international press corps trying to cover the violence in Syria. Gilles Jacquier, 43, who was on assignment for the French public service channel France 2, was a seasoned journalist and the laureate of...

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#OccupyNigeria protesters take on news media coverage

January 13, 2012 6:23 PM ET

Protesters in Nigeria are not only angry at their government's New Year's Day decision to eliminate a fuel subsidy -- they are also upset about news media coverage of the citizens' movement, dubbed "Occupy Nigeria," and have taken their protests to local media outlets....

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Standing with Ethiopia's tenacious blogger, Eskinder Nega

January 13, 2012 4:21 PM ET

It would be hard to find a better symbol of media repression in Africa than Eskinder Nega. The veteran Ethiopian journalist and dissident blogger has been detained at least seven times by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government over the past two decades, and was put back in jail on...

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One year on: Remembering Wali Khan Babar

January 13, 2012 1:12 PM ET

Today is the first anniversary of the killing of Geo TV broadcast reporter Wali Khan Babar in Karachi, a case that has almost been forgotten, particularly in the shadow of the release of the judicial inquiry into the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. The report on Shahzad has been...

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Fiji's emergency ends, but media oppression continues

January 11, 2012 4:26 PM ET

Fiji's military leadership on Saturday lifted emergency regulations it had been using to stymie the country's press since 2009, according to local government websites. Good news? Maybe. Yet the regime still restricts the media, and anyone else who dares to question the legitimacy of the 2006 coup that brought its...

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What US can't accept in Belarus, it supports in Uzbekistan

January 11, 2012 2:15 PM ET

Last week, President Obama signed into law a bill that expands sanctions against Belarus, whose authoritarian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko continues to imprison his opponents and critics. Lukashenko unleashed the latest crackdown hours after the flawed December 2010 presidential vote, which declared him winner of a fourth term. Repression in...

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No culprits named in Shahzad investigation, media reports

January 11, 2012 2:02 PM ET

About six months after it was launched, the commission investigating the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad submitted its report to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday. In the past, the government has not released results of such investigations into the deaths of journalists, but there might be an exception...

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Can't an aspiring war correspondent get some fresh advice?

January 10, 2012 5:52 PM ET

My role has changed. Over the past decade, I handled both Washington advocacy and journalist security issues for CPJ. Now I focus exclusively on the latter. Today's entry is the first in what will be a regular look at the dangers journalists face worldwide and the resources available to address...

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The HRCP's call to address threats against journalists

January 10, 2012 2:23 PM ET

A quick pointer to a statement issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Monday: It said, in part, that "The HRCP is alarmed at reports of threats received by journalists on account of their work." The commission asked the government to ensure that threats to journalists end and...

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#ANC100 debate lays bare divisions over South Africa media

January 9, 2012 6:21 PM ET

On January 8, 1912, South African intellectuals--including pioneering black newspaper publishers Pixley ka Isaka Seme, editor of Abantu-Batho, and John Langalibalele Dube, editor of Ilanga lase Natal--formed Africa's oldest liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC), in the Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein....

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Sri Lanka's woeful January way-points

January 9, 2012 4:28 PM ET

For Sri Lankan journalists, January might be the cruelest month. In January 2011, Sonali Samarasinghe wrote about the death of her husband Lasantha Wickramatunga two years earlier on January 8, 2009. In January 2010 I reported in "Sri Lanka: A year later, still failing to fight media attacks" about the...

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Samuel Kiendrebeogo: 1949-2012

January 6, 2012 5:12 PM ET

The African media community lost a central voice this week with the passing of Samuel Kiendrebeogo, the veteran host of weekly media magazine Médias d'Afrique et D'Ailleurs on Voice of America's French service. Sam, as he was known, died while vacationing in his native Burkina Faso. He was 63....

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Both sides cry 'press freedom!' in Argentine newsprint battle

January 5, 2012 1:11 PM ET

Argentine Secretary of Commerce Guillermo Moreno made headlines in August 2010 when, at a meeting with the directors of newsprint manufacturer Papel Prensa, he whipped out a pair of boxing gloves, told the women present to clear out of the way, and after dimming the lights, challenged the men...

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Remembering Henry Nxumalo, pioneer under apartheid

January 3, 2012 3:18 PM ET

Just over 55 years ago, on New Year's Eve 1957, trailblazing South African journalist Henry Nxumalo was murdered while investigating suspicious deaths at an abortion clinic in Sophiatown, a suburb west of Johannesburg....

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