Blog   |   Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Republic of Congo, Swaziland, USA, Uganda

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

CPJ board member Clarence Page, right, speaks  at a panel Wednesday organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in partnership with CPJ in Washington, D.C. (CPJ/Rachael Levy)

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.

Blog   |   CPJ, Ethiopia, Internet, Russia, Security, Thailand, Turkey, USA

No press freedom without Internet freedom

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 is different. Increasingly, when it comes to global news and information the Internet is not a platform. It is the platform.

Blog   |   Iran

Iran must explain journalist arrests

Jason Rezaian and Yeganeh Saleh (AFP)

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 its correspondent Rezaian, his wife Salehi, and two unnamed photojournalists had been detained on July 22, a report we repeated in our statement Thursday calling for their release. But our colleagues at Reporters Without Borders reported only three journalists were arrested--Rezaian, Salehi, an unnamed Iranian-American freelance photographer, and her non-journalist husband--saying the photographer's family had asked for her name to be withheld. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran also said the fourth individual, the husband, is not a journalist.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

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

Sunil Jayasekera, convener of the Sri Lankan Free Media Movement, talks to journalists in Colombo in June. (AFP/Lakruwan Wanniarachchi)

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 conference on Saturday in Colombo.

Blog   |   Russia, Ukraine

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

"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.

Blog   |   Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe court strikes down criminal defamation; implementation to be seen

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court's decision to strike down criminal defamation must be implemented. (AFP/Jekesai Njikizana)

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.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Pakistan

Seeking release of Pakistani journalist Faizullah Khan, jailed in Afghanistan

People buy garments ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Thursday. (AP/Mohammad Sajjad)

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 government has apparently been working diplomatic back channels. But Thursday, Pervez Rashid, Pakistan's minister for information, went public. He urged Afghanistan's leader to issue a presidential pardon. "I appeal to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to use his powers," to pardon Khan, Rashid said in a press conference in capital Islamabad. He also said the government will pursue his release through legal channels.

Blog   |   Uruguay

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

Edison Lanza. (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights)

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 the office in October, her successor--Edison Lanza, a Uruguayan lawyer, journalist, and free press advocate--will have big shoes to fill.

July 25, 2014 10:17 AM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Security

An Afghan conviction, but little sense of victory

Associated Press Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carrol, left, speaks during the funeral of Anja Niedringhaus in Hoexter, Germany, on April 12, 2014. (AP/Frank Augstein)

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) opened fire at near-point-blank range on the AP photographer/reporter team in the southeastern city of Khost on April 4, 2014, as they were covering preparations for the first round of voting in Afghanistan's still-contested presidential elections. Wednesday's conviction and sentencing were the first steps along the legal path to a final conviction and sentence, which might not come for years.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

CPJ calls on Ethiopian government to release imprisoned journalists

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.

Blog   |   Ukraine

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

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 at dizzying speed in eastern Ukraine."

Blog   |   India

Slideshow: Raising awareness on India's troubling Internet laws

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 and Mobile Association of India, has created an interactive slideshow that explains the impact of current laws and regulations on the country’s Internet users.

Blog   |   Internet, UK

Rushed data legislation would give UK worrying surveillance powers

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 capabilities.

Blog   |   Kyrgyzstan

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

This photo of Askarov was taken at the start of the trial in September 2010. (Nurbek Toktakunov)

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.

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement speaks out against government

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.

July 14, 2014 1:10 PM ET


Blog   |   Ethiopia

Twenty Ethiopia state journalists dismissed, in hiding

People demonstrate in Addis Ababa on May 24 against security forces who shot at students at a peaceful rally weeks eearlier in Oromia state. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

"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 to arrest us soon," the journalist, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told CPJ.

Blog   |   China

Ever broader restrictions handed down for China's reporters

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 work, including state secrets, commercial secrets, and unpublicized information."

Blog   |   Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka moves to silence NGOs, press groups

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 wondering whether they are even allowed to issue a statement criticizing the decision.

Blog   |   Peru

Peru Interior minister under investigation in 1988 journalist murder

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.

July 9, 2014 10:10 AM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, USA

TSA policy change could compound security concerns for journalists in transit

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 be subjected to additional screening. While a number of commenters have lamented the policy change on the grounds that it is likely to cause confusion and otherwise inconvenience passengers, the move could also aggravate the risks journalists already face when traveling with sensitive materials such as notes, unpublished photographs, or information about sources.

Blog   |   Iran

The 2009 Iran crackdown continues today

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 mass protest movement.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Pressured by government, Ecuadoran cartoonist is forced to adjust

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.

Blog   |   Ethiopia

Zone 9 blogger urges world to call for freedom in Ethiopia

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.

Blog   |   Hungary

Hungary's independent media struggle against economic pressure, intimidation

Viktor Orban was re-elected Hungary's prime minister by Parliament in May. (Reuters/Bernadett Szabo)

"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 demonstrations were in reaction to several restrictive measures pushed through by Hungary's re-elected government led by the center-right Fidesz party, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Blog   |   Somalia

Reflections on my fallen colleague: Yusuf Keynan

Yusuf Keynan, who was killed by a car bomb in June, is seen here speaking to internally displaced persons. (Abdukhader Ahmed)

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 news made her distraught. She wanted me to go to school for medicine upon completing high school and become a doctor; my father wanted me to be a sheikh--an Islamic scholar. I wanted to be a journalist, but didn't dare tell them.

Blog   |   France

French muckraker Mediapart to appeal to European Court of Human Rights

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 influence-peddling, France's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, upheld a July 2013 lower court ruling ordering the muckraking news website Mediapart to take down 72 articles related to "l'affaire Bettencourt." It's a fight destined to continue, with a founder of Mediapart vowing to take the free-press case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Blog   |   Internet, Russia

Russia intensifies restrictions on blogs, social media

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 of which reported on the political upheaval in Ukraine in a way that apparently drew the government's ire.

Blog   |   Russia

Despite recent convictions, Anna Politkovskaya's murder remains unsolved

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 Novaya Gazeta journalist, her family and friends say Russian officials are dragging their feet in finding the real culprit.

Blog   |   Singapore

In Singapore, blogger under pressure, CPF under scrutiny

Blogger Roy Ngerng, shown at a June 2013 protest against licensing regulations on news websites, has been fired from his job in health-care since being accused of defamation by the prime minister. (Reuters/Edgar Su)

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 lesson in how censorship can backfire.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Ecuador newspaper shutters its presses, citing government pressure

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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