Blog   |   Afghanistan, USA

In the wake of US pullout, Afghan journalists need protection

In the aftermath of this week's foreign policy speech by President Barack Obama and discussions on the imminent pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, we need to think once again of the implications this retreat will have for the thousands of Afghans who for more than a decade have worked not only with the military, but also with U.S.-based non-governmental and media organizations.

Blog   |   Nigeria

Journalists targeted by both sides in Nigeria's war on terror

The struggle between Nigerian authorities and militant extremist group Boko Haram was recently thrust into the global spotlight with the abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls, but journalists in the country have been squeezed between the two sides for years.

Blog   |   South Africa

South Africa's new communications ministry causes concern

South African President Jacob Zuma is sworn in for a second term in Pretoria, South Africa, on May 24. (AP/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Freedom of expression advocates in South Africa are concerned that the new Ministry of Communications, announced by President Jacob Zuma when he unveiled his cabinet on May 25, will compromise the independence of the public broadcaster and serve as a propaganda office.

Blog   |   Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugual, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

EU underscores support of free expression, but slights access to information

A new document on freedom of expression and opinion, adopted May 12 by the 28 foreign ministers of the European Union, presses nearly all the right buttons. Drawing its inspiration from international human rights norms as well as from the EU's treaties and its charter of fundamental rights, the document reaffirms the role of freedom of opinion and expression as "an essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace, stability, sustainable inclusive development, and participation in public affairs." It also makes a strong case for free and independent journalism. The ministers committed the EU and member states to the defense of journalists' freedom and safety, and endorsed watchdog journalism as a decisive factor in "uncovering abuses of power, shining a light on corruption, and questioning received opinion."

Blog   |   Iraq

Mission Journal: The Kurdish conundrum--more outlets but not more 'news'

In the stairwell between the newsroom and studios of Nalia Radio and Television (NRT) stand a charred monitor, a burnt vision mixer, and smashed camera lens. They make up a display of equipment damaged when armed men set fire to the station in Sulaymaniyah, a city in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan which is home to much of the Kurdish media.

Blog   |   Central African Republic, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan

Remembering Camille Lepage

"Not sure I can talk about my 'career' just yet--I'm still just getting started!" freelance photographer Camille Lepage told the photography site Petapixel in October 2013.

Less than a year later, Lepage's body was found in a car in the Central African Republic, according to news reports citing the French government. She had been traveling with fighters of the anti-Balaka Christian militia and was killed in an ambush, the reports said. 

Blog   |   Cuba

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez launches independent news site

Blogger Yoani Sanchez visits CPJ's New York offices in 2013. (CPJ/Nicole Schilit)

Late last October, as I accompanied Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez in a cab ride from LaGuardia Airport to her hotel in Manhattan, we talked nonstop about what had changed in Cuba during 2013 and about her plans for 2014. Two things she told me then were particularly striking. 

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Ethiopia's independent publishers may face another hurdle

Newspapers are significant in Ethiopia because there are no other independent media sources in the country. (Ethiopia Forums)

In what appears to be one of a collection of measures to silence the press ahead of 2015 elections, Ethiopian authorities in the Communications Ministry are preparing a new system to control the distribution of print media. Privately owned newspapers and magazines, possibly the only remaining independent news sources in the country, would face more state control if the proposal is set into motion.

May 22, 2014 3:38 PM ET


Blog   |   Singapore

Singapore blogger: 'I have been waiting' for government backlash

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong demanded an apology from a critical blogger who has allegedly accused him of corruption. Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, who is also a healthcare worker, has frequently posted critical commentary on the ruling People's Action Party on his blog, The Heart Truths.

May 22, 2014 1:45 PM ET


Blog   |   Jordan

Jordan's free press record dims with website restrictions

Jordan's press freedom climate, once a shining light in the Middle East, has quickly deteriorated as journalists grapple with last year's government ban on nearly 300 news websites.

Press freedom groups are documenting a rise in self-censorship and an increase in criminal cases against journalists. Local online news editors and journalists are complaining of economic hardship and psychological pressure.

Blog   |   Saudi Arabia

Saudi censorship blurs lines between journalism, activism

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has decreed several laws that censor the press. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Since the surprise Arab uprisings of 2011, the Saudi government has worked assiduously to ensure it has all the tools of censorship it needs to control dissent. These tools--a combination of special courts, laws, and regulatory authorities--are starting to fire on all cylinders. The result has been a string of arrests and prosecutions in recent months of independent and dissident voices.

Blog   |   CPJ, Iraq

Coming to Kurdistan

One of the strongest memories I have of meeting President Masoud Barzani is the winding drive up to his mountain-top headquarters in the town of Salahuddin outside Erbil. That was in 2008, when a CPJ delegation secured a pledge from the head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to "create an atmosphere that is conducive to journalism."

Blog   |   Kenya

Kenya must consider plight of refugee journalists

Somali families are boarded onto lorries from Eastleigh, Nairobi, and sent to one of two refugee camps. (Mohamed Adow)

Today, CPJ partnered with Reporters Without Borders and Rory Peck Trust in a joint open letter calling on Kenya's Cabinet Secretary of Interior, Joseph Ole Lenku, to provide clarity on the government's refugee policy and to exempt journalists from forced relocation to the refugee camps. On March 25, Lenku ordered all urban refugees to relocate to one of two refugee camps in a bid to tighten security amid continuing violence, including an attack on a church in Mombasa. His order came despite the fact that a similar government directive in 2012 was ruled unconstitutional by the High Court.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

Press freedom at low as Azerbaijan takes Council of Europe chairmanship

On Wednesday, Azerbaijan will assume chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. The chairmanship process is automatic; the position is rotated every six months among all of the council's members, in alphabetical order. But Azerbaijan's chairmanship has proven more problematic than most, as it comes at a time when the country's fulfillment of its Council of Europe obligations is at its worst.

Blog   |   CPJ

Little progress on journalist safety despite more attention

Late in 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 68/163 on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, in an effort to stem the killings of journalists and ensure that perpetrators of deadly violence against journalists are brought to justice. The resolution was a recognition that it has never been a more dangerous time to be a journalist, and that states have a responsibility to take action.

Blog   |   China

Ilham Tohti's daughter fights for his freedom

At first glance, 19-year-old Jewher Ilham may seem like a typical college student. As she clutched her smart phone, the face of a cat imprinted on the cover peered through her fingers. She spoke in short sentences with little pause. Her thoughts pulled her in various directions as she spoke about her love for dance, juggling parental expectations, and what she has learned to cook during her past year in a small college town in the U.S.

May 8, 2014 3:23 PM ET


Blog   |   Pakistan

Am I a traitor?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hamid Mir, the executive editor of Pakistan's Geo Television, survived an April 19 assassination attempt, but was badly injured. The shooting came a few weeks after the Pakistani government pledged in a meeting with CPJ to address the insecurity plaguing the country's journalists. Shortly after the attack, some Pakistani media stated that CPJ had received an emailed video from Mir saying that if he were killed, Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) was responsible. Mir recently told CPJ that he had sent a video to his lawyer, who did not send it to CPJ. The ISI has denied the allegation it was behind the attack on Mir, according to news reports. This article was initially published in the daily Urdu-language Jang newspaper on May 5, 2014.

There are two types of traitors.

The first kind includes those who join hands with enemies and help enslave their own people. Among the most prominent of these is Jaffar Ali Khan, whose betrayal, as chief of army in 1757, eventually led to the British rule of the subcontinent. Over time, Jaffar's name has become synonymous with treachery.

Blog   |   Brazil, CPJ

Rousseff to CPJ: 'Brazil committed to fighting impunity'

Dilma Rousseff and Brazilian ministers meet with Carlos Lauría and other representatives of CPJ. (Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR)

"The federal government is fully committed to continue fighting against impunity in cases of killed journalists," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told a CPJ delegation during a meeting on Tuesday in Brasilia, the country's political capital. Accepting that deadly violence against the media is a detriment to freedom of the press, Rousseff said her administration will implement a mechanism to prevent deadly attacks, protect journalists under imminent risk, and support legislative efforts to federalize crimes against freedom of expression.

Blog   |   CPJ, Internet

Tom Lowenthal joins CPJ as first staff technologist

Journalism is increasingly mediated by the same digital tools to which we entrust the rest of our lives. In keeping with CPJ's mission to enable and protect journalists wherever they find themselves under threat, we are pleased to announce the hire of Tom Lowenthal, our first staff technologist.

May 7, 2014 10:22 AM ET


Blog   |   South Africa

SABC betrays South Africa's young democracy

Supporters of President Jacob Zuma's ruling ANC party cheer at their final election rally in Soweto, May 4. South Africans go to the polls on Wednesday. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

This week, South Africans go to the polls for their fifth democratic elections since 1994, but despite constitutional guarantees of media freedom, the vast majority of South Africans who vote will do so informed only by the positive news and information carried by a public broadcaster widely criticized for its partiality to the ruling party.

Blog   |   USA

Obama transparency record remains unimpressive

President Obama speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington on May 3. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Nearly seven months ago, CPJ published its first in-depth report on press freedom in the United States, concluding that the Obama administration's aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information, broad surveillance programs, and moves to stem the routine disclosure of information to the press meant that the president had fallen far short of his campaign promise to have the most open government in U.S. history. What's changed since? A quick survey of recent events suggests not much. 

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