May 2013

CPJ Blog

With Panorama jail sentences, Italy's libel law under fire

May 31, 2013 12:33 PM ET

"Incredible," "staggering," "enormous," "out of time"--the expressions of outrage have been flying in Italy since a Milan magistrate sentenced to prison three journalists for the weekly magazine Panorama. On May 24, Andrea Marcenaro and Riccardo Arena were each condemned to a one-year jail term for a 2010 article discussing Palermo...

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Bheki Makhubu raises freedom flag in Swaziland

May 31, 2013 10:30 AM ET

After high school, Bhekitemba Makhubu's father wanted him to study for a law degree. He refused, insisting on following in his father's footsteps as a journalist. Now, aged 43, he doesn't regret his choice, but besides his job as editor of the privately owned monthly magazine, The Nation, he...

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Globovisión quickly eases combative stance after sale

May 30, 2013 4:07 PM ET

That didn't take long. Nine days after the pro-opposition TV station Globovisión was sold to businessmen rumored to have close ties to the Venezuelan government, the station's new leader was welcomed to Miraflores Palace for a cordial sit-down with President Nicolás Maduro....

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First step to justice in Fabio Polenghi's killing

May 29, 2013 10:59 AM ET

EDITOR'S NOTE: A court in Thailand ruled today that Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi was shot and killed by a bullet fired by a soldier during a government crackdown on street protesters on May 19, 2010.  The inquest ruling established the circumstances surrounding his death but failed to apportion blame...

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Press freedom: Challenge of changing words into deeds

May 28, 2013 11:53 AM ET

The Pan African Parliament's (PAP) launch of a media freedom campaign through a "Dialogue on Media Freedom in Africa" in mid-May marks an important and welcome starting point. For too long, media freedom has been divorced from the debate around development and democratization when it has an integral role...

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Anxiety for jailed Tibetan filmmaker as release nears

May 24, 2013 11:57 AM ET

In a better world, it is usually a time for joy when a prisoner nears his or her release date. Jailed Tibetan journalists and their families do not live in that world. They live in a crueler place, where freedom is a distant mirage that might never be reached,...

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In Colombia, 'bacrim' pose new press threat

May 24, 2013 11:57 AM ET

Next to the mayor's office in the northern Colombian town of Caucasia sits a monument to government dysfunction: a half-built public library with broken windows, a water-stained floor, and rusting reinforcement rods protruding from concrete pillars....

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Hrant Dink murder to be retried, but concerns remain

May 23, 2013 3:24 PM ET

A decision last week in the murder case of Hrant Dink will lead to a retrial, but Dink's supporters are still not satisfied. The ruling on May 15 by Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals in Ankara acknowledged that there was a criminal conspiracy to murder the ethnic Armenian journalist,...

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Medill digital security guide helps fill journalism void

May 23, 2013 1:59 PM ET

One day, every journalism school in the United States and beyond will offer a full three-credit, 15-week course in digital safety, along with more advanced classes. But that day has not yet come. Only a year ago, Alysia Santo reported in the Columbia Journalism Review that no American journalism...

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Facebook joins Global Network Initiative

May 22, 2013 12:00 PM ET

With more than a billion users, Facebook is not only the biggest global social network but also an increasingly important forum for journalists. In some repressive countries it has even served as a publishing platform for journalists whose newspapers or news websites have been closed down. That is why...

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Q&A with an editor of South Sudan's Juba Monitor

May 22, 2013 11:49 AM ET

Police arbitrarily arrested Michael Koma, the managing editor of South Sudan's daily Juba Monitor, on May 2 and detained him for four days following the publication of an article critical of the deputy security minister. A veteran journalist, Koma has experienced firsthand the poor state of press freedom within Africa's...

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Premature praise for Burma's press reforms

May 22, 2013 10:40 AM ET

Burmese President Thein Sein made a historic visit to the White House on May 19, the latest in a series of high-level symbolic exchanges between the two nations. While Thein Sein has been regularly commended by U.S. officials for his broad democratic reform program, President Barack Obama's praise this...

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European Parliament reaffirms principles, but action lacks

May 21, 2013 2:31 PM ET

The European Parliament, meeting in a plenary session in Strasbourg, France, adopted today a resolution stating that "changes in EU member state's media laws that make it easier for governments to interfere in the media should be monitored every year at EU level."...

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Goodale: Pentagon Papers have lessons for AP case

May 17, 2013 5:09 PM ET

Forty-two years ago next month, The New York Times published the first of the Pentagon Papers, a trove of classified documents on U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, sparking a landmark legal case on press freedom....

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News blackout deepens Turkey press freedom doubts

May 17, 2013 3:21 PM ET

When twin car bombs shook the district of Reyhanli in Turkey's southeastern province of Hatay near the Syrian border last Saturday, killing at least 51 people and wounding dozens of others, a local court issued a gag order on all news coverage of the attack. The ban was unprecedented...

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Bahrain's "Blogfather" emerges from hiding

May 16, 2013 5:33 PM ET

For two years, Bahrainis have been asking "Where is Ali Abdel Imam?" And now finally, they have an answer. The prominent opposition blogger suddenly emerged from hiding last week, announcing he had been granted asylum in the United Kingdom, news sources reported.  He had not been heard from since...

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Turkey's press freedom must be on Obama-Erdoğan agenda

May 16, 2013 2:24 PM ET

When President Obama meets with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyp Erdoğan today, he needs to deliver the message that Turkey's failure to improve its record on press freedom is eroding the country's strategic relationship with the United States and sabotaging its regional leadership ambitions, CPJ's executive director, Joel Simon, and...

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Transparency, accountability at stake in Manning trial

May 16, 2013 11:58 AM ET

On June 3, when the long-anticipated court-martial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning begins in Fort Meade, Md., journalists will crowd the courtroom. But at some point the press and the public likely will be ordered out while confidential testimony--including from State Department officials and active military personnel-- is heard. If...

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News of convictions in journalist murders sadly infrequent

May 15, 2013 12:55 PM ET

We received an unusual email last week. Michaella Ortega wrote to tell us that Marlon Recamata, who confessed to shooting her father, Philippine journalist Gerardo Ortega, in 2011, had been convicted and sentenced to life for the crime....

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Kenyan press face hostile work environment, study finds

May 15, 2013 10:17 AM ET

The working environment for journalists and media workers in Kenya is increasingly hostile, with at least 91 percent of journalists at local media outlets having faced security threats in the course of their work, a new study has revealed. The harassment of and attacks against journalists, with nearly 40 percent...

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In Uganda, media muzzled over alleged Muhoozi project

May 15, 2013 10:07 AM ET

While Uganda's politicians and social media are abuzz over a sensational letter reportedly written by a top security official about a high-level assassination plot, police have dutifully harassed the mainstream press in a bid to suppress the chatter....

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Liberian press boycotts Sirleaf over aide's comments

May 14, 2013 5:14 PM ET

Most governments, even repressive ones, at least give lip service to supporting freedom of the press--especially on World Press Freedom Day, May 3. But in Liberia this month, Othello Daniel Warrick, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's chief security aide, shocked local journalists by threatening them and calling them "terrorists" at...

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Video: CPJ panel on Iran, with Jon Stewart, Maziar Bahari

May 14, 2013 10:57 AM ET

Check out the full video of "Censorship and Power in Iran," a panel discussion on imprisoned journalists in Iran that was held on May 8 at the School of Visual Arts in New York. The panel, featuring Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari and CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon and moderated by...

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In China, reporter's death sparks questions on censorship

May 13, 2013 5:23 PM ET

Twenty-four-year-old Bai Lu was just four days into her new job as a journalist at the Urumqi Evening Post when she was killed. She and her colleague, Chen Aiying, were struck by a bulldozer while reporting at a major construction project on April 18 in the city of Urumqi in...

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Small attack on Thai newspaper has large implications

May 13, 2013 1:22 PM ET

To head off rising tensions between supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and cartoonist Somchai Katanyutanan, who faces possible criminal defamation charges for critical comments he posted on his personal Facebook page, Thailand's government has to make sure police fully investigate this weekend's attack on Thai Rath, the country's...

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What's risky? In Mexico's twin cities, journalists don't know

May 9, 2013 3:26 PM ET

The Durango state governor was on his way to meet with reporters. Before he arrived, the reporters huddled to decide the question of the moment. It seemed obvious: Why had a former mayor been arrested the day before in what clearly seemed to be a political move? "That was...

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Jon Stewart, Maziar Bahari, and #FreeIranPress

May 9, 2013 3:08 PM ET

CPJ joined with the PEN American Center and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on Wednesday night to host a film screening and panel discussion on the deterioration of press freedom in Iran. Moderated by political satirist Jon Stewart, the panel featured Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari and CPJ...

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Slideshow: Iran's journalists in chains

May 8, 2013 12:01 AM ET

Editorial cartoons play a principal role in every newspaper and magazine in Iran, providing news, analysis, and satire in visual form. Since the presidential elections in 2009, when Iranian authorities launched an intense crackdown against journalists, civil society activists, and lawyers, many political cartoonists began to leave Iran. Those...

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CPJ, others urge John Kerry to raise rights in Russia

May 6, 2013 6:03 PM ET

In advance of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Moscow this week, Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Committee to Protect Journalists sent him a letter to call attention to the ongoing crackdown in Russia on non-governmental organizations--including those that support press freedom and freedom...

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Nigeria's impunity ranking: The facts don't lie

May 3, 2013 5:35 PM ET

Nigeria's press freedom record is on the decline. For the first time since 2008, when CPJ began publishing its annual Impunity Index, Nigeria has made the list of the "worst nations in the world for deadly, unpunished violence against the press."...

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Burundi reporter shot by police for seeking information

May 3, 2013 5:21 PM ET

Burundi's government took unusually swift action last week in response to the police shooting of a radio reporter, after the journalist sought information at a roadblock in the capital Bujumbura where market vendors were allegedly being "taxed" for passage. Perhaps the shooting could have been averted if authorities had...

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In Brazil, awakening 'Rodrigo Neto in each of us'

May 2, 2013 4:00 PM ET

One month after their colleague Rodrigo Neto was gunned down on the street after eating at a popular outdoor barbecue restaurant, the journalists of Vale do Aço, Brazil, were indignant. Denouncing a sluggish investigation and the possibility of police involvement in the murder, they strapped black bands to their...

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In Index, a pattern of death, a roadmap for solutions

May 2, 2013 3:50 PM ET

Gerardo Ortega's news and talk show on DWAR in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, went off as usual on the morning of January 24, 2011. Ortega, like many radio journalists in the Philippines, was outspoken about government corruption, particularly as it concerned local mining issues. His show over, Ortega left the...

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Business as usual under new Chinese leadership

May 2, 2013 1:20 PM ET

Almost two months have passed since President Xi Jinping took office. Despite expectations for greater transparency, Beijing continues to try to suppress information on a broad range of issues from human rights to public health....

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Responding to Hacked Off

May 1, 2013 12:19 PM ET

Some years back during a visit to the Gambia--the West African nation ruled by a thin-skinned and mercurial president, Yahya Jammeh--I holed up in the sweltering Interior Ministry and pressed officials to release imprisoned journalists and ease up on the country's brutal media crackdown. The officials resisted, arguing that the...

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