February 2013

CPJ Blog

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In UK, medieval tactics may save modern media

February 28, 2013 11:25 AM ET

The long-awaited reform of libel laws in the United Kingdom skirted with collapse this week due to political infighting in the aftermath of the Leveson report on media ethics--the public inquiry that resulted from the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal. With that disaster narrowly averted, attention has turned to what...

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Turkmenistan opens up media--in name only

February 28, 2013 11:02 AM ET

Turkmenistan is trying to burnish its image by passing its first law on press freedom. On January 4th, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov signed a law that bans press censorship, bars the government from monopolizing news outlets, and grants the public access to all forms of information, including independent and foreign...

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Under Hindu right, attacks on press rise in Karnataka

February 26, 2013 4:49 PM ET

Confusion surrounds the case of imprisoned Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje, who was jailed for exposing an attack on young men and women last summer by extremists belonging to the Hindu Jagran Vedike, self-appointed moral police in coastal Karnataka. Soorinje's report helped lead to the arrest of dozens of attackers. But...

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Do news blackouts help journalists held captive?

February 26, 2013 11:44 AM ET

At any given time over the past two years, as wars raged in Libya and then Syria, and as other conflicts ground on in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a number of journalists have been held captive by a diverse array of forces, from militants and rebels to criminals...

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As Kenya votes, journalists must take precautions

February 25, 2013 12:27 PM ET

Election-related violence is a worry for journalists in many countries, but perhaps nowhere more so than Kenya, where presidential polls will be held March 4. In the aftermath of the nation's last presidential elections in 2007, over one thousand people were killed in ethnic and political violence, live news...

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Rajapaksa regime under UNHRC, Commonwealth scrutiny

February 22, 2013 12:00 PM ET

On February 13, Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in her annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that Sri Lanka's government has not taken enough steps recommended by its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). Although the LLRC is seen as a flawed...

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Will talk of stronger Somali justice lead to action?

February 21, 2013 5:05 PM ET

Spirits of journalists in Somalia, the most dangerous country in Africa to practice the profession, were lifted slightly this week after Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon made several auspicious announcements. The key concern on the minds of journalists in the capital, Mogadishu, is access to justice--both in terms of...

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Despite official comments, no progress in Gongadze case

February 21, 2013 4:55 PM ET

More than 12 years after several police officers strangled and beheaded muckraking online reporter Georgy Gongadze in a forest outside Kiev, justice in the case is still evasive and riddled with, well, riddles....

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'Central Park Five' case reinforces reporter's privilege

February 21, 2013 11:50 AM ET

As the film "The Central Park Five" heads into the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday, where it is nominated for best documentary, its filmmakers can rest assured that at least one contest, the one that was taking place far from Hollywood in a New York...

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Burundi police attack journalists marching for Ruvakuki

February 20, 2013 6:07 PM ET

On Tuesday, Burundi's press corps did what it has done for the past three weeks: protest the imprisonment of one of its own. Hassan Ruvakuki is a reporter jailed since November 28, 2011 on anti-state charges; for the first time, the journalists wore white t-shirts showing Ruvakuki in his...

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Battle between Correa, Ecuadoran press to wage on

February 20, 2013 10:54 AM ET

In the wake of President Rafael Correa's landslide re-election on Sunday, many Ecuadoran reporters are bracing for another four years of conflict with his left-leaning government.  Neither side claims to relish the prospect, but continued clashes seem inevitable given the bad blood that has developed between them. ...

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In message from Uzbek jail, journalist hints of abuse

February 15, 2013 12:58 PM ET

News is rare from Uzbek prisons, where authorities are holding at least four independent reporters in retaliation for critical journalism: Muhammad Bekjanov, Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Dilmurod Saiid, and Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov. All four are serving lengthy sentences. Uzbek authorities refuse even to update CPJ or other human rights organizations on the journalists'...

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Travel leave for Belarusian reporter no change of heart

February 14, 2013 12:04 AM ET

In an unexpected development reported in the press today, Belarusian authorities temporarily lifted a travel ban on Irina Khalip, prominent journalist and reporter for the Moscow-based independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The restriction, which includes a weekly check-in with district police and a requirement to spend every night in her Minsk...

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In Philippines, questions on witness death in Ortega case

February 13, 2013 2:32 PM ET

Questions surrounding the death of Dennis Aranas, accomplice-turned-witness to the murder of Filipino journalist Gerardo Ortega, have increased over the past week. Their answers beg yet another question: will the masterminds behind Ortega's murder succeed in eluding justice?  ...

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Israel fails to support decision to target Gaza journalists

February 13, 2013 1:53 PM ET

After two months of asking Israeli authorities to explain their decision to attack journalists and media facilities in Gaza in November, CPJ has received an official response. Our inquiries--in the form of a letter and blog by Executive Director Joel Simon, as well as phone calls and emails to...

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@PresRajapaksa draws snark, concern, and criticism

February 12, 2013 12:31 PM ET

Here is a quick pointer to one of Sri Lanka's few remaining independent media sources, Groundviews, which just posted a lengthy look at the president's newfound interest in social media: "The Sri Lankan President's Twitter archive and Propaganda 2.0: New challenges for online dissent." In a country where there isn't...

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Electoral law dulls reporting as Correa nears re-election

February 12, 2013 10:51 AM ET

It's by far the dullest space in the newspaper: Every day in El Universo, Ecuador's leading daily, readers can find eight small photos and news blurbs summing up the activities of the eight presidential candidates. The articles are the same size and blocked together in a layout that resembles...

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Harsh punishment would not fix Russian impunity

February 11, 2013 4:35 PM ET

Every second crime committed in Russia goes unsolved, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, addressing a conference of the nation's high-ranking Interior Ministry officials. "The low crime-detection rate and impunity for the criminals do not serve justice but undermine public trust in law enforcement agencies, as well as the state...

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As censorship wanes, cyberattacks rise in Burma

February 11, 2013 11:29 AM ET

Cyberattacks on news websites and apparent government hacking into journalists' email accounts have raised new questions about the integrity of media reforms in Burma. The New York Times reported on Sunday that several journalists who regularly cover Burma-related news recently received warning messages from Google that their email accounts...

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In Russia, brazen murder of Chernovik founder is unsolved

February 8, 2013 12:29 PM ET

Gadzhimurad Kamalov, founder of the independent daily Chernovik, was murdered in Makhachkala, capital of Russia's southern republic of Dagestan, on December 15, 2011. The slaying was brazen, coming on the national Day of Remembrance for journalists killed in the course of their work. The late-evening assault took place outside...

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Indian reporter who exposed assault faces new litigation

February 7, 2013 3:52 PM ET

Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje continues to languish in prison despite last week's decision by the Karnataka state cabinet to withdraw charges against him. New developments this week are challenging his release. And his continued imprisonment raises a larger question about the role of journalists at the occurrence of a crime....

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Eating a cable: Internet access still elusive in Cuba

February 7, 2013 1:37 PM ET

There is a popular expression in Cuba that is synonymous with difficulty and crisis. When you want to indicate that someone is doing badly economically, it is sufficient to say that he is "eating a cable." Street humor has identified the act of chewing and swallowing a bundle of...

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Red flags in the European Union press freedom debate

February 7, 2013 1:01 PM ET

The European Union enjoys waving the banner of press freedom overseas. However, it is sometimes at a loss when it has to define its approach to press freedom among its own member states. Last year, the EU tried and failed to convince the Hungarian government to radically amend its highly...

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Drawing lessons from Chinese attacks on US media

February 7, 2013 12:38 PM ET

Not every media company is as tempting a target for hackers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, or The Wall Street Journal. Not every company can afford high-priced computer security consultants, either. Is there anything that everyday reporters and their editors can learn about protecting themselves, based...

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Remembering Ayesha Haroon, editor who embraced facts

February 7, 2013 11:04 AM ET

The highly respected Pakistani editor Ayesha Haroon first came to CPJ's New York office in July 2011, along with her husband, Faisal Bari, and Absar Alam, both of whom work for the Open Society Foundations. We talked about ways to confront the dangerous conditions facing Pakistani journalists. It was...

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In Syria, the quandary of freelance news coverage

February 6, 2013 10:07 AM ET

Forces on all sides of the Syrian conflict that have tried to censor news coverage through violence have won a round. By sharply increasing the risk for reporters covering the civil war they have forced news organizations to think twice before sending their staff to the battlefields. In a...

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Faith in Somali judiciary hard to find as Abdiaziz jailed

February 5, 2013 1:10 PM ET

"Let's have faith in our judiciary system," Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed told an audience Monday at London's Chatham House, the foreign affairs think-tank....

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Video: Free imprisoned Iranian journalists

February 5, 2013 1:02 PM ET

In late January, Iranian authorities waged the largest crackdown on the press since 2009, detaining a wave of journalists and issuing arrest warrants for numerous others. The Ministry of Intelligence accused the journalists of conspiring with foreign media to repeat the alleged "sedition" of 2009, referring to electoral fraud exposed...

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In Correa's Ecuador, a bulletin on breakfast is routine

February 4, 2013 12:31 PM ET

On September 11, 2012, the Ecuadoran government interrupted a morning newscast on the Teleamazonas TV station for an official bulletin. What could be so urgent? A coup d'etat? An earthquake? A cholera outbreak?  It turned out the government sought to clarify what President Rafael Correa had for breakfast....

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Eritrea: Ali Abdu pleads ignorance of Dawit Isaac's fate

February 1, 2013 5:29 PM ET

On Wednesday, the Swedish newspaper Expressen published what it described as an exclusive interview with Ali Abdu--Eritrea's long-time information minister, government spokesman, and censor-in-chief--who vanished from public view in November. The piece confirmed that Ali had gone into exile, but it shed no light on the whereabouts and well-being...

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Setback in O'Hagan murder must not mean case closed

February 1, 2013 2:54 PM ET

More than 11 years have passed since investigative journalist Martin O'Hagan was murdered near his home in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, and the case has not been solved. Last week Northern Ireland's public prosecutor announced a major setback to the case that has colleagues worried it never will be. ...

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An information void in Mali as journalists are obstructed

February 1, 2013 9:48 AM ET

Three weeks after France's military intervention in Mali, the war remains largely "without images and without facts," as described by Jean-Paul Mari, special envoy for the newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur. Although journalists have been allowed to follow French and Malian forces into the towns that have been recovered from armed...

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