July 2014

CPJ Blog

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First US-Africa summit short on press freedom, other human rights

July 31, 2014 5:30 PM ET

Top African and U.S. leaders are meeting next week in Washington in a first-of-its-kind summit focused on African development. But critics argue the summit is flawed in design, overlooking human rights such as freedom of expression and barring civil society actors from bilateral discussions....

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No press freedom without Internet freedom

July 31, 2014 1:56 PM ET

Four years ago, when CPJ launched its Internet Advocacy program, we were met with lots of encouragement, but also some skepticism. "Why do you need a program to defend the Internet?" one supporter asked. "You don't have a special program to defend television, or radio, or newspapers." But the Internet...

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Iran must explain journalist arrests

July 28, 2014 5:04 PM ET

It has now been six days since the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian, The National's Yeganeh Salehi and two others were arrested in Iran, but we are no closer to understanding who detained them or why. Even the number of journalists arrested is in dispute. The Washington Post originally said...

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In Sri Lanka crackdown, mobs and death threats turned on journalists

July 28, 2014 2:56 PM ET

There is genuine cause for alarm about the anonymous death threats going to Sunil Jayasekara's phone. They started streaming to Jayasekara, the convener of Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement, an umbrella group (hence calling the leader a convener) of journalists' organization in Sri Lanka, just before an FMM press...

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Mission Journal: Attacks on journalists in Ukraine lead to information vacuum

July 28, 2014 12:32 PM ET

"There are no [independent] Ukrainian journalists left in Donetsk," said Aleksei Matsuka, chief editor of the regional news website Novosti Donbassa (News of Donbass). "They have fled the region since pro-Russia separatists started targeting and kidnapping reporters," Matsuka told CPJ during our brief meeting in Kiev....

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Zimbabwe court strikes down criminal defamation; implementation to be seen

July 28, 2014 11:51 AM ET

In a landmark ruling, the Zimbabwean Constitutional Court on July 22 declared unconstitutional a section of the draconian Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act that criminalizes defamation....

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Seeking release of Pakistani journalist Faizullah Khan, jailed in Afghanistan

July 25, 2014 11:15 AM ET

It's not often that CPJ agrees with the Pakistan government, but here is one of the rare occasions when we do. While Pakistan journalists have been pushing for quite a while for the release of one of their colleagues, Faizullah Khan, being held in Nangahar in Afghanistan, the Islamabad...

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Uruguay's Edison Lanza has work cut out as new OAS special rapporteur on freedom of expression

July 25, 2014 10:17 AM ET

The office of the special rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was created in 1997 to advance freedom of expression in the hemisphere, and over that period has contributed significantly to the protection and expansion of press freedom. So when Catalina Botero leaves...

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An Afghan conviction, but little sense of victory

July 24, 2014 6:22 PM ET

Naqibullah, the Afghan police commander who killed The Associated Press' Anja Niedringhaus, has been given a death sentence after being convicted of murder and treason. He was also given a four- year sentence for shooting the AP's Kathy Gannon. Naqibullah (who goes by one name, as many Afghans do)...

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CPJ calls on Ethiopian government to release imprisoned journalists

July 24, 2014 4:40 PM ET

CPJ is among a group of more than 40 regional and international press freedom and civil society organizations that have signed a joint letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressing concern over the recent imprisonment of Ethiopian journalists under the country's far-reaching 2009 anti-terrorism law....

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In Ukraine, some updates on this week's abducted and missing journalist(s)

July 24, 2014 4:08 PM ET

On Wednesday, we reported that in Ukraine this week, at least two journalists had gone missing, while pro-Russia separatists abducted a fixer and briefly detained a reporter. Also, the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic said it was banning journalists from the conflict area. We noted that press freedom violations "are happening...

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Slideshow: Raising awareness on India's troubling Internet laws

July 17, 2014 3:24 PM ET

Today, the Global Network Initiative launched a campaign to raise awareness on India's Internet laws. The GNI, of which CPJ is a founding member, is a coalition of technology companies--including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo--and human rights groups and Internet freedom advocates. The coalition, in collaboration with the Internet...

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Rushed data legislation would give UK worrying surveillance powers

July 15, 2014 4:33 PM ET

The British government's attempt to rush through a bill on data retention before the House of Commons summer recess next week has run into opposition--not from members across the aisle but from Internet companies, civil liberty defenders, and lawyers, who say the law would extend the authorities' already vast snooping...

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CPJ meets with Kyrgyz prosecutor-general, calls for reopening Askarov case

July 14, 2014 5:40 PM ET

This month, the prosecutor-general of Kyrgyzstan, Aida Salyanova, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that her office is working hard to fight corruption and ensure transparency in government activities. We are not convinced....

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Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement speaks out against government

July 14, 2014 1:10 PM ET

In a high-risk move, the Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka released a statement condemning the government's ban on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) holding press conferences and issuing press releases. CPJ blogged about the government's move last week....

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Twenty Ethiopia state journalists dismissed, in hiding

July 10, 2014 5:10 PM ET

"If they cannot indoctrinate you into their thinking, they fire you," said one former staff member of the state-run Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO), who was dismissed from work last month after six years of service. "Now we are in hiding since we fear they will find excuses...

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Ever broader restrictions handed down for China's reporters

July 9, 2014 4:28 PM ET

Yet another set of rules restricting the work of journalists in China takes the concept of "overbroad" to new heights. According to guidelines made public Tuesday by the official state news agency Xinhua, the new rules cover various "information, materials, and news products that journalists may deal with during their...

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Sri Lanka moves to silence NGOs, press groups

July 9, 2014 11:01 AM ET

The Sri Lankan government has taken yet another step to silence critical media coverage, banning non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from holding press conferences and issuing press releases, as well as running workshops or training sessions. The action, announced Sunday by Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defense, left the country's many press groups...

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Peru Interior minister under investigation in 1988 journalist murder

July 9, 2014 10:10 AM ET

Some of Peru's top government officials, including President Ollanta Humala, are former army officers who spent the 1980s fighting Maoist Shining Path guerrillas. Both sides committed massive human rights abuses, but now one particularly brutal episode is coming back to haunt the Humala administration....

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TSA policy change could compound security concerns for journalists in transit

July 8, 2014 1:56 PM ET

On Sunday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced a new policy requiring that travelers to the United States turn on their devices at the request of airport security personnel. Devices that cannot be powered on will be barred from the aircraft, and passengers in possession of such devices may also...

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The 2009 Iran crackdown continues today

July 8, 2014 12:07 PM ET

Five years ago on Monday, CPJ announced that Iran had officially become the world's leading jailer of journalists in the world. The announcement came on the heels of an unprecedented crackdown on the press that began on June 12, 2009, the day of Iran's tumultuous presidential election that sparked a...

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Pressured by government, Ecuadoran cartoonist is forced to adjust

July 8, 2014 10:34 AM ET

Called to testify before a government media oversight commission, editorial cartoonist Xavier Bonilla--known by his penname Bonil--showed up with a pair of four-foot-long mock pencils. But rather than having a small eraser on the tip, one of Bonil's giant pencils was nearly all eraser....

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Zone 9 blogger urges world to call for freedom in Ethiopia

July 7, 2014 4:06 PM ET

In April, the Ethiopian government imprisoned nine journalists, including six bloggers from Zone 9, in one of the worst crackdowns against free expression in the country. Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, trailing only Eritrea, according to CPJ research....

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Hungary's independent media struggle against economic pressure, intimidation

July 7, 2014 1:51 PM ET

"This is a new wave of clampdowns by the government--they want to have another four-year term with even less critical media than before," said Szabolcs, a 21-year-old economics student, one of thousands of people who marched in the streets of Budapest in June, chanting "Free Country, Free Press!" The...

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Reflections on my fallen colleague: Yusuf Keynan

July 7, 2014 11:49 AM ET

My mother once sarcastically told me she could allow for my death, but couldn't live with seeing my leg or hand amputated or with a lost eye after reporting from a battlefield. It was when she first learned that I had been secretly studying journalism in May 2005. The...

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French muckraker Mediapart to appeal to European Court of Human Rights

July 3, 2014 2:02 PM ET

In the course of a couple of hours on Wednesday, France was rocked by two judicial decisions with profound political repercussions for French politics and the press' right to publish. Just as a baffled public learned that former President Nicolas Sarkozy had been put under formal investigation for corruption and...

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Russia intensifies restrictions on blogs, social media

July 3, 2014 12:53 PM ET

On August 1, Russia will significantly tighten its grip on blogging and social media conversations and will acquire expanded powers to block Internet services originating abroad. The new authorities, approved by Russia's parliament in April, buttress existing regulations that have already been used to block several independent news sites, some...

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Despite recent convictions, Anna Politkovskaya's murder remains unsolved

July 2, 2014 5:41 PM ET

Nearly eight years after Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down in an elevator near her apartment, authorities appear to have made little progress identifying the mastermind behind her murder. Although five men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on June 9 for their roles in the slaying of the...

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In Singapore, blogger under pressure, CPF under scrutiny

July 2, 2014 11:16 AM ET

A critical Singaporean blogger continues to suffer financial and legal pressure because of a blog post that allegedly accused the city-state's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, of corruption. The episode is part of a disturbing pattern of government legal and financial pressure on critics, but it is also a...

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Ecuador newspaper shutters its presses, citing government pressure

July 1, 2014 4:44 PM ET

Blaming government harassment and a related advertising slowdown, the daily newspaper Hoy ceased its Quito-based print edition Monday, and said it would transform into an online-only newspaper....

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