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Blog   |   Security, USA

In times of war, Pentagon reserves right to treat journalists like spies

A press briefing at the Pentagon in April. Worrying guidelines on how the military can categorize the press during conflict are contained in the Defense Department's Law of War Manual. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

The Pentagon has produced its first Department of Defense-wide Law of War Manual and the results are not encouraging for journalists who, the documents states, may be treated as "unprivileged belligerents." But the manual's justification for categorizing journalists this way is not based on any specific case, law or treaty. Instead, the relevant passages have footnotes referring to either other parts of the document or matters not germane to this legal assertion. And the language used to attempt to justify this categorization is weak at best.

Blog   |   Indonesia, Internet, Security, USA

Increased risks for filmmakers and sources in documentaries' Golden Age

A scene from Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary 'The Look of Silence.' (Courtesy of Drafthouse Films and Participant Media)

Joshua Oppenheimer travelled to New York for today's premiere of his documentary "The Look of Silence," but one place he won't travel is Indonesia, where he says his work on this and an earlier film puts him at risk. Earlier this week, Laura Poitras, the Academy Award-winning director of the documentary CITIZENFOUR, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government seeking information related to border interrogations to which she was subjected between 2006 and 2012. These two cases represent the increased and varied risks facing filmmakers and their sources in what many critics have dubbed the Golden Age of documentary film.

July 17, 2015 1:27 PM ET

Blog   |   Venezuela

In Venezuela, online news helps journalists get their voices back

After leaving Globovisión, Alberto Ravell, pictured in 2010, set up critical online news site La Patilla. (AFP/Miguel Gutierrez)

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was rumored to be gravely ill four years ago, his socialist government was tightlipped about the diagnosis. Then in June 2011 a source in Havana, Cuba, where Chávez was being treated, told Nelson Bocaranda, a veteran columnist for the Caracas daily El Universal, that the president had cancer.

Blog   |   Colombia

Fabricated attacks by Colombian journalists mask real dangers

Although Colombian journalists are frequently threatened by Marxist guerrillas, criminal gangs, and corrupt politicians trying to silence them, two recent cases that created widespread concern--including alerts from CPJ--were fabricated by the very reporters who claimed to have been targeted.

Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

CPJ joins call urging White House to protect encryption for journalists

A wheel cipher invented by Thomas Jefferson and used to securely encode messages in the late 1700s. CPJ is calling on President Obama to ensure modern versions of encryption remain protected. (Jefferson Cipher Wheel by ideonexus is licensed under CC BY 3.0 US)

Journalists are safest when their devices are secure by default. That is why the Committee to Protect Journalists today joined a coalition of nearly 150 civil society organizations, companies, trade associations, security experts, and policy specialists in sending a joint letter to U.S. President Barack Obama. The letter urges the president to support the broad adoption of strong encryption and to reject any proposal that intentionally weakens the security of products made by U.S. companies.

May 19, 2015 12:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

In Mexico, reporters struggle to cover unrest over missing students

Graffiti referring to 43 students who went missing last September is spray painted on a wall in Mexico City as part of protests about their disappearance. Some journalists say they have struggled to cover the case. (Reuters/Tomas Bravo)

Veteran reporter Sergio Ocampo was having a late dinner on September 26 when his editor called about a shooting in the city of Iguala in Guerrero state. Students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college were apparently among the victims. But when Ocampo, a correspondent for the newspaper La Jornada, called the then-mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, he was told, "Nothing happened." The mayor added, "They came from Ayotzinapa to do their destruction here," Ocampo recalled.

Blog   |   CPJ

On World Press Freedom Day and journalists' safety

Last week, I met a Cameroonian journalist who worked in the Congo until he fled following a series of threats and an attack on his home by armed men who assaulted his sister. Elie Smith, a TV host who documented alleged abuses by police and was outspoken in his criticism of the government, said he thought he had been under surveillance and that he had received multiple threats via text message.

Blog   |   Internet, Security, USA

CPJ joins call for meaningful reform of US surveillance

Mass surveillance and the bulk collection of metadata by the U.S. government pose serious threats to journalists in the U.S. and around the world, which is why the Committee to Protect Journalists today joined a wide coalition of privacy, human rights, technology, and trade groups calling on Congress and the Obama Administration to include certain elements in U.S. surveillance reform.

Blog   |   Nicaragua

Long silence from Nicaragua's president as first lady keeps press at arm's length

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega with his wife, Rosario Murillo, at a memorial for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2014. Independent journalists say Murillo controls press access to Ortega. (Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas)

It's been nearly 3,000 days since Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega last held a news conference, according to the opposition newspaper La Prensa. But when journalists complain about the lack of access to Ortega they often direct their ire not at the president but at the first lady, Rosario Murillo.

Blog   |   Brazil

Brazilian bloggers encounter threats online and off

A woman uses a laptop at a café in a Rio de Janeiro bookstore. Two bloggers in Brazil say they received threats after reporting on crime and inequality. (AFP/Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Enderson Araújo is so afraid of being killed by police that he fled his home and is reluctant to talk on the telephone for fear he is being bugged.

March 23, 2015 4:58 PM ET

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