Asia / 2011

CPJ Blog

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More revelations of threats to Pakistani journalists

December 30, 2011 11:54 AM ET

We released a statement Thursday--CPJ supports Pakistani journalists facing threats--about the decision of two Pakistani journalists to publicly announce the threats they had been receiving. Najam Sethi, editor of The Friday Times and host of a popular Urdu-language political program on Geo TV, and Jugnu Mohsin, also a Friday...

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India struggles to cope with growing Internet penetration

December 28, 2011 2:47 PM ET

As Internet penetration deepens, largely religiously and socially conservative India is struggling to cope with concerns about controversial web content and its easy accessibility to a vast population, all with little oversight. Local courts have become the launching point for some of the anti-Web offensives....

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'Where is the state?' asks Pakistani journalist under threat

December 27, 2011 1:45 PM ET

Since making me aware of threats to Hamid Mir on December 20, Umar Cheema and I have been encouraging Pakistani journalists we know who are under threat to step forward with their own experiences. Ghulamaddin, producer for Samaa TV in Karachi who broke the story of students held in...

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More on threats and journalist safety in Pakistan

December 22, 2011 4:55 PM ET

Tuesday's blog about threats to Hamid Mir generated a lot of discussion on our site. Mir messaged overnight, saying his case was widely reported in newspapers and discussed in Parliament, and there will be a committee of Parliament established to probe the issue. The Associated Press of Pakistan noted that...

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Policing the Internet in India

December 21, 2011 3:00 PM ET

Amid a raging debate on Internet freedom and censorship in India, members of the government met last week with a clutch of website operators, including representatives of Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Microsoft. In a meeting scheduled to address a wider plan to leverage social media to empower the government, it's...

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In China, real people vs. Internet minders

December 21, 2011 12:14 PM ET

In the next three months, users of China's microblog weibo.com --- "weibo" is the generic Chinese term for Twitter-like platforms --- run by the huge sina.com (the English site is here) news portal, entertainment and blogging site, will have to start providing their real-world identities to the site, instead...

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Pakistan's Hamid Mir publicizes a death threat

December 20, 2011 1:54 PM ET

Geo TV's most prominent television anchor, and one of the most prominent journalists in Pakistan, has just circulated a detailed email message of threats he has been receiving. Hamid Mir's open, public response to the threats is a textbook case of how to handle the steady stream of intimidation that...

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Journalists killed: Inside the numbers

December 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

CPJ today released its annual tally of the journalists killed around the world. This is always a somber occasion for us as we chronicle the grim toll, remember friends who have been lost, and recommit ourselves to justice. It's also a time when we are asked questions about our research...

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Q&A: Press Council of India's Katju on media safety

December 13, 2011 10:44 AM ET

Retired Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju is shaking things up at the Press Council of India, where he was appointed chairman in October. The statutory body, mandated to look at media freedom and address complaints against the print media since 1966, has often been criticized for ineffectiveness, its role...

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China's jailed Uighurs: Out of sight, not out of mind

December 8, 2011 12:00 AM ET

For the first time in more than a decade, China is not the world's worst jailer of the press in CPJ's annual census of imprisoned journalists. Among the 27 jailed in China, one group has seen a massive jump in imprisonments. In another first since CPJ began taking its census,...

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Six years later: Hayatullah Khan's family calls for justice

December 6, 2011 5:04 PM ET

Six years after the murder of journalist Hayatullah Khan, his brother Ahsan Ahmad Khan has asked CPJ to put pressure on the government and the Supreme Court of Pakistan to ensure that a special investigation carried out in September 2006 into the journalist's death be released. (A copy of...

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Clinton must tread carefully in Burma

November 30, 2011 1:24 PM ET

When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets this week with Burmese President Thein Sein, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and senior ranking members of the military establishment, she conspicuously will not have the opportunity to meet with journalist Sithu Zeya. Sithu was detained by police after recording...

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Awardees to their colleagues: Buck the system

November 23, 2011 11:49 AM ET

The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria might seem like an odd venue to stage a call for resistance. Nine hundred people in tuxedos and gowns. Champagne and cocktails. Bill Cunningham snapping photos. This combination is generally more likely to coax a boozy nostalgia than foment a revolution. But...

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A call to continue the struggle against impunity

November 23, 2011 11:47 AM ET

Last night, hundreds of journalists and members of New York's press freedom community met at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan for the Committee to Protect Journalists' XXI annual International Press Freedom Awards. At the event--celebrating the extraordinary courage of five journalists from across the globe--guests and award recipients...

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Why I fled Pakistan

November 17, 2011 11:22 AM ET

In May 2006, at the age of 23, I joined the Daily Times, Pakistan's most liberal English-language newspaper, as a bureau chief. I was perhaps the youngest bureau chief to cover the country's largest province, Baluchistan, and its longstanding, deadly insurgency. I covered fierce military operations, daily bomb blasts,...

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Sri Lanka's savage smokescreen

November 15, 2011 6:49 PM ET

Sri Lanka's former attorney general Mohan Peiris, who is now the senior legal adviser to the cabinet and who many Sri Lankans say is aiming to become the next Supreme Court Chief Justice, has made conflicting statements about missing journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda. The discrepancies do more than point up the...

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Defending the middle ground of online journalism

November 14, 2011 6:57 PM ET

It's easy to use polarizing descriptions of online news-gathering. It's the domain of citizen journalists, blogging without pay and institutional support, or it's a sector filled with the digital works of "mainstream media" facing financial worries and struggling to offer employees the protection they once provided. But there is a...

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China's new rules step up state control of reporting

November 14, 2011 12:01 PM ET

China's latest media regulations, issued Thursday in a bid to take some steam out of microblogs that increasingly drive the country's news agenda, signal an increased role for the state in drafting and enforcing press standards....

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Keeping a website alive behind the Great Firewall

November 11, 2011 1:20 PM ET

Wednesday's post, "Advice for colleagues on the digital front lines," offered practical advice for keeping a website up and running in a hostile political environment. But such measures are not universally applicable. Sky Canaves, CPJ's new East Asia and Internet consultant in Hong Kong, sent this reality check for Internet...

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Advice for colleagues on the digital front lines

November 9, 2011 2:57 PM ET

If you're running a website that's come under attack, or is likely to, here is some advice on how to protect yourself. First, a little background: On Monday we filed an alert about the Sri Lankan government's blocking of at least five websites there. The move silenced just about all...

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Planning the next steps in Chinese media control

November 8, 2011 1:25 PM ET

In the latest sign of increasing pressure on Chinese companies to tighten control of the Internet, Chinese authorities convened an unusual seminar in Beijing for senior executives of 39 major enterprises involved in Internet services, technology and telecommunications....

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China confronts Internet rumors and trashy TV

October 27, 2011 1:26 PM ET

Along with cracking down on what it considers trashy TV --- China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said Tuesday that it will limit entertainment and add more news and other programs that "build morality and promote the core values of socialism" -- the government is going...

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From Karachi to New York: A tale of fear, loss, and hope

October 25, 2011 3:27 PM ET

On Monday, a well-known Pakistani journalist came to our office in New York. We had been messaging and texting for a few weeks, so I knew what to expect. Despite the harsh reality check that CPJ's Sheryl Mendez and I offered during our 90-minute meeting, he is going ahead...

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Holding intermediaries liable for users' content

October 24, 2011 5:11 PM ET

Earlier this month, I spoke as an expert witness in the ongoing trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the editor of Thailand's Prachatai.com website, who is being criminally prosecuted under that country's Computer Crime Act and Lesé Majesté laws. The crime involves online posts allegedly disrespectful to Thailand's monarchy, but Chiranuch...

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Baluchistan's press under siege

October 17, 2011 3:14 PM ET

Reporters in Pakistan's conflict-stricken province of Baluchistan have been organizing to display their anger against the continued death threats they have been receiving from government secret services, religious militant groups, and armed nationalist organizations. Their most recent demonstration on October 1 was only one in a string of protests...

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Watching Burma's prisoner release

October 12, 2011 3:23 PM ET

CPJ and other Burma watchers are monitoring the announcements of the unfolding prisoner release closely. As a press freedom organization, we've focused most closely on the fate of the 14 journalists we counted in jail in Shawn Crispin's report, "In Burma, transition neglects press freedom" that we posted on...

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Press freedom heroes in Southeast Asia

September 14, 2011 10:25 AM ET

Three Southeast Asian journalists--Cambodia's Hang Chakra, Malaysia's Zulkiflee Anwar Ul Haque, or Zunar, and Thailand's Chiranuch Premchaiporn--were among the 48 awardees of the Hellman/Hammett grant, given to writers targeted with political persecution, who were recognized today by Human Rights Watch for their commitment to press freedom....

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Free Burma VJ campaign urges release of journalists

September 8, 2011 8:32 PM ET

From Paris to Bangkok, London to Geneva, the Free Burma VJ campaign will stage protests in front of Burmese embassies on Friday to call for the immediate release of 17 jailed video journalists working for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a leading Burmese exile media organization. The campaign began less...

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On 9/11 and post-conflict Sri Lanka

September 6, 2011 12:30 PM ET

For a few years now, I have used Sugi Ganeshananthan's articles as a frame of reference for CPJ advocacy in Sri Lanka. Ganeshananthan, a novelist and essayist who teaches at the University of Michigan, writes stories often grounded in current events. Her 2008 novel, Love Marriage, addresses the cultural and...

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A killing field: The targeting of journalists in Pakistan

September 1, 2011 1:12 PM ET

For the past several weeks, CPJ's Asia and Journalist Assistance programs have been in regular contact with local and international organizations who are concerned about the rising number of journalists and media workers at risk in Pakistan. CPJ and several other groups are working together on viable, in-country solutions:...

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In lawsuit, Chinese writers allege Cisco aids government

August 24, 2011 5:20 PM ET

Three Chinese writers who have spent time in prison for articles published online are suing California-based Cisco Systems Inc., according to international news reports. The suit accuses the company of providing information and technology to Chinese authorities that facilitated the writers' detentions--allegations that Cisco flatly denies. Chinese security officials...

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Threats against Pakistani journalists: A reality check

August 18, 2011 3:45 PM ET

In a blog entry on August 5, "Quantifying the threat to journalists in Pakistan," CPJ's Sheryl Mendez and I tried to measure what seems to be a rising number of threats aimed at journalists in Pakistan. We wrote about how the problem is rapidly growing as Pakistan's security situation worsens...

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Quantifying the threat to journalists in Pakistan

August 5, 2011 3:32 PM ET

For many journalists working in Pakistan, death threats and menacing messages are simply seen as part of their job. But since December 2010, CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program (JA) has processed requests for help from 16 journalists in Pakistan who are dealing with threats. Others have told us of threats...

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Afghan journalist's death is a loss for press freedom

August 3, 2011 10:56 AM ET

Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak covered violent news. His last two stories for Pajhwok Afghan News, before he died on July 28 in a major attack in Tarin Kot, capital of Uruzgan province, were about an attack on police checkpoints in which both Taliban and police were killed, and an interview...

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Schlesinger: 'Media, Murdoch, and social responsibility'

July 22, 2011 2:37 PM ET

CPJ board member David Schlesinger, who is the chairman of Thomson Reuters in China, delivered a speech today at a conference sponsored by Caixin magazine. He touched on several current issues, and found lessons in the News of the World case that are relevant to journalists everywhere. And I...

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The highs and lows of investigative reporting in China

July 22, 2011 2:10 PM ET

Veteran investigative journalist Wang Keqin has always been positive about his chosen career, characterizing media restrictions in China as a cycle with ups and downs. In an interview for CPJ's October 2010 special report "In China, a debate on press rights," he told CPJ that "there was a big fall-off...

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China censors reaction to star-studded propaganda film

July 20, 2011 6:02 PM ET

The creators of "Beginning of the Great Revival," a new film about the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, have spared no expense to make it a popular success. Done in a popular Chinese soap opera style, the movie features more than 100 stars, along with leading directors and...

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Radio Netherlands reporters detail Sri Lanka harassment

July 20, 2011 3:01 PM ET

Two journalists for Radio Netherlands Worldwide have gone public with their story of Sri Lankan government harassment, which ultimately drove them out of the country last week. The episode had been reported on a few Tamil websites, but I had been unable to confirm the story independently. ...

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Journalists take stage: Q&A with 'Record' playwright

July 17, 2011 5:24 PM ET

The true stories of journalists from Mexico, Sri Lanka, Russia, the United States, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories will hit the stage July 20 at London's Arcola Theatre. "On the Record," which runs through August 13, examines the careers of six journalists, the risks they face, and their determination...

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Hong Kong's accelerating media freedom decline

July 14, 2011 12:46 PM ET

As a former resident of the Special Administrative Region, the classification given Hong Kong when it reverted to China's control in 1997, I've always watched the media there with the appreciative eye of a news consumer. The concept of "One Country, Two Systems," put forward to explain how the...

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For safety's sake: New journalist safety rules in Pakistan

July 11, 2011 3:21 PM ET

I got an early version of the Khyber Union of Journalists' (KhUJ) list of safety rules and tips for field reports around June 16, after the June 11 double bomb in a crowded market that killed two journalists in Peshawar. Yousaf Ali, KhUJ's general secretary had forwarded the list....

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Karachi might be more dangerous for media than FATA

July 8, 2011 4:33 PM ET

Karachi, Pakistan's economic hub, is one of the country's main media centers, with more than 2,000 journalists and the head offices of leading media organizations. Journalists in the city have come under attack before, with seven journalists killed there since 1994. But the situation was never as dangerous as...

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Chinese censorship fans rumors on Jiang Zemin

July 7, 2011 5:29 PM ET

Sina's Twitter-like microblog platform Weibo blocked searches for "death," "river" and "301 Hospital" on Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal website. The company was responding to what Reuters reported was the service's most-discussed topic yesterday--the rumored demise of former President Jiang Zemin, whose surname, Jiang, means "river," and...

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Google+ for journalists at risk

July 1, 2011 2:25 PM ET

When they're creating new features, software designers talk in terms of "use cases." A use case describes steps that future customers might perform with a website. "Starting a group with friends," would be a use case for Facebook. "Buying a book" would be case for Amazon's designers. ...

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French ex-hostages: Press must continue in Afghanistan

July 1, 2011 8:35 AM ET

Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière, the two France 3 journalists held captive by the Taliban for 547 days, had a big surprise when they entered the France Télévisions building Thursday afternoon, a few hours after landing at the military base of Villacoublay, close to Paris, where they were welcomed...

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On food safety, China misapplies a 'blacklist'

June 27, 2011 9:05 AM ET

Sarcasm reflects how aware the Chinese public has become of the dangers of adulterated food. After Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis, a rumor circulated in China that table salt could prevent radiation. In spite of the government's efforts to curb the rumors, tons of overpriced table salt were sold overnight. Chinese...

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A legal attack accompanies assault on Pakistani journalists

June 24, 2011 4:26 PM ET

Concerned that so many Pakistani journalists have been threatened, abducted, killed, or beaten recently? So are they. When I was in Karachi and Islamabad in late April and early May, I found that they are starting to take steps to protect themselves with increased safety training and protective gear at...

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Rimjin-gang's latest reporting from North Korea

June 22, 2011 5:22 PM ET

Here's a quick pointer to Rimjin-gang, my favorite website delivering current reporting from North Korea. Produced by Japan-based Asia Press Network, Rimjin-gang is also just about the only site producing news from one of the world's most censored nations....

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Recalling J Dey, Mumbai's heralded crime reporter

June 21, 2011 4:01 PM ET

In the comfort of my London home, far from the dangers of crime reporting in Mumbai, the news flash on television seemed unreal. Senior journalist Jyotirmoy Dey had been killed, pumped full of five bullets in broad daylight. I thought things like this only happened in Bollywood flicks, and...

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Sri Lanka's Groundviews back online after takedown

June 20, 2011 5:39 PM ET

A note for the Sri Lanka watchers who visit CPJ.org regularly. Sanjana Hattotuwa, the founder of the citizen journalism website Groundviews messaged me this morning to say that the site is up and running again after suddenly going down within Sri Lanka over the weekend. Hattotuwa is the driving force...

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Uighur refugee extradited by Kazakhstan, held in China

June 20, 2011 2:40 PM ET

Kazakhstan authorities have extradited Uighur schoolteacher Arshidin Israil to China, where officials have described him without elaboration as a "major terror suspect," according to Reuters and other news accounts. Israil and his supporters believe the detention comes in reprisal for reporting he contributed to Radio Free Asia concerning the...

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Public health still risky topic for Chinese journalists

June 20, 2011 1:30 PM ET

Public health reporting is improving in China, but not fast enough. A new Human Rights Watch report on child lead poisoning in Chinese cities documents harassment of local journalists trying to cover the problem. "Journalists who reported on the lead poisoning in three of the four locations told Human Rights...

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CPJ's exiled journalists survey: Behind the numbers

June 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the...

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Having captured killing on tape, cameraman fears for his life

June 16, 2011 11:22 AM ET

Abdul Salam Somroo is in danger. He is the Awaz TV cameraman who took the June 9 video footage of the pointblank murder of a young man, Sarfaraz Shah, in southern Karachi. That's the same part of the city where militants beheaded American Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in...

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November 23 becomes International Day to End Impunity

June 10, 2011 2:59 PM ET

Members from around the world of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange met in Beirut last week. On the second day of our conference, amid discussions of the daily problems journalists face, we received word of the abduction and murder of Pakistani investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad. A day later,...

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BBC coverage of Prageeth Eknelygoda's disappearance

June 9, 2011 4:59 PM ET

A short follow-up to yesterday's alert about Sandhya Eknelygoda--"Sri Lankan journalist missing for 500 days"--and her attempts to get assistance from anyone in the Sri Lankan government or at the United Nations to help her learn more about the disappearance of her husband, Prageeth. The BBC's Colombo correspondent Charles...

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Slain journalists' families in Pakistan mourn for lifetime

June 9, 2011 4:57 PM ET

It's a coincidence, but May 29, the date of Saleem Shahzad's kidnapping in Pakistan, coincides with the killing of journalist Munir Sangi six years ago. Against all odds, Sangi's widow, Yasmeen Sangi, is still fighting for justice in the case of her late husband, while Shahzad's widow, Anita Saleem--who is...

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How can Pakistani journalists protect themselves?

June 8, 2011 4:10 PM ET

The memorial service in Washington for journalist Saleem Shahzad--who was killed around May 29--was held at the National Press Club this past Monday. Anwar Iqbal, dean of the Pakistani press corps in Washington, led the ceremony. Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani spoke eloquently about the degree of loss...

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In journalist security field, maturing and understanding

June 7, 2011 8:57 AM ET

Journalist security is still a maturing field, but news organizations are devoting more attention to preparing their reporters and photographers for the dangers particular to the profession. That means understanding risks that are constantly evolving. The brutal attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan at a Cairo demonstration has drawn...

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Chinese media freedom in a 'sensitive' period

June 6, 2011 5:50 PM ET

I was in London on Friday, speaking at a seminar joint-hosted by the BBC Chinese service and the British think tank Chatham House called "Media Freedom in China and the Role of International Broadcasters." There was a lot of impassioned discussion about the range of challenges facing international broadcasters,...

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Justice for Saleem Shahzad? We've seen this before...

June 3, 2011 5:32 PM ET

An important distinction is emerging in the murder of Saleem Shahzad, at left, as details of a second post-mortem were released Thursday. Shahzad was not tortured as has been widely reported. He was more likely beaten to death fairly quickly, apparently with iron rods, according to media reports. Here's...

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Rising anger amid accusations about who killed Shahzad

June 2, 2011 10:47 AM ET

Just a few pointers to the angry discussion that is going on among Pakistan's journalists about the killing of Saleem Shahzad. The Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) seems to have emerged as the prime target of accusation, but it has rejected claims of any involvement.In an Associated Press of Pakistan...

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A friend remembers Saleem Shahzad

May 31, 2011 3:27 PM ET

When I received an unexpected call early Monday morning from Saleem Shahzad's wife, I knew I was in for some bad news."Saleem has not come home since Sunday evening, when he was on his way to a television studio," she said. She told me that she then remained as...

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No spring in China, but are the media heading for a fall?

May 26, 2011 1:25 PM ET

Here's a quick toss to a video posted on YouTube by Australian Broadcasting's reporter Stephen McDonell. He and his crew decided to confront some Chinese security types (not surprisingly they didn't identify themselves) who had been following them in Wenzhou while reporting in China. The team was covering religion,...

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Threats, security in Afghanistan: Some responses

May 24, 2011 12:50 PM ET

Last Friday's post, "After bin Laden, a warning to foreign journalists," generated several responses from Western journalists in Kabul. I also did two lengthy interviews on Monday with the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, and fielded questions from several other news outlets. ...

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Sri Lanka: Ode to a detainee

May 23, 2011 12:48 PM ET

On May 18, we posted about the stirring letter Sandhya Eknelygoda, wife of detained journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda sent to Sri Lanka's First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Check out the link: In Sri Lanka, a mother's plea to the first lady....

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Sethi: Pakistani media challenging military

May 23, 2011 12:38 PM ET

Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi was in the United States last week to talk about the challenges facing his country at a critical moment. Ever the contrarian, he also sees opportunities. "For the first time the media is challenging the military," he told an audience of friends and colleagues at...

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After bin Laden, a warning to foreign journalists

May 20, 2011 1:44 PM ET

Security is always risky in Kabul, as it is in the entire Afghanistan-Pakistan theater. But the May 2 U.S. raid into Pakistan and killing of Osama bin Laden has raised the risk of retaliation against international representatives, including journalists. ...

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Video: 'Living in silence: Journalists in exile'

May 19, 2011 2:49 PM ET

We write a lot at CPJ about the terrible things that happen to journalists because of their reporting, but we don't often get a chance to show you what happens to them after they are forced to flee their homes and land abroad. This video, about three such journalists, is...

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In Sri Lanka, a mother's plea to the first lady

May 17, 2011 4:52 PM ET

As Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa launches a domestic media campaign against U.N. allegations of war crimes since the May 2009 ceasefire, the plight of Sandhya Eknelygoda continues....

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Following disaster, Free Press Association of Japan launches

May 17, 2011 12:13 PM ET

After the huge catastrophe that hit Japan this March, the country is in need of a freer media culture. A less restricted media would allow more people access to information at press conferences. In the name of this aim, in April 25, a group of Japanese freelance journalists launched a new organization...

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Q&A: Filmmaker talks Ai Weiwei and jailed activists

May 13, 2011 3:30 PM ET

Three years after a devastating earthquake hit Sichuan province in May 2008, CPJ spoke to documentary filmmaker Alison Klayman. The director is working on the upcoming "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," about the recently detained Chinese artist who documented the aftermath of the earthquake and published the names of children...

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U.S-China disagreement, not dialogue, on human rights

May 10, 2011 3:54 PM ET

The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which concluded in Washington today, may not have produced much in the way of specific commitments on human rights issues. But media appearances surrounding the talks have provided a forum for top leaders to re-state their views in public. ...

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U.S.-China dialogue must keep focus on human rights

May 9, 2011 5:38 PM ET

China's powerful State Councilor Dai Bingguo told U.S. officials today that his country was "making progress" on human rights issues, according to Agence France-Presse. The remarks, made at the start of the two-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue, do not bode well for U.S. efforts to keep human rights on the table...

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Mission Journal: CPJ tackles impunity in Pakistan

May 6, 2011 1:46 PM ET

After months of planning and preparation, our CPJ team had assembled in Islamabad with an ambitious plan. On May 3, we had a meeting scheduled with President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the country's failure to investigate the killings of journalists. We also had positive indications that our delegation would...

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Press freedom requires action, not talk, in Burma

May 5, 2011 12:26 PM ET

Burma's newly installed democratic government has sent tentative signals that it intends to allow for more media openness as the country transitions from military to civilian rule. The continued detention of more than 2,100 political prisoners, including as many as 25 journalists, however, belies President Thein Sein's recent press-promoting...

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Only some Chinese writers allowed to attend PEN Festival

May 3, 2011 5:08 PM ET

The stage was full of empty chairs on Thursday at "China in Two Acts," part of the five-day PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in New York, which ended on Sunday.  A two-part program featured writer Zha Jianying speaking for the first part followed by a panel discussion...

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Burmese exile news site endures hacking, DDoS attacks

May 2, 2011 11:57 AM ET

Like other Burmese exile-run media, the Irrawaddy has been plagued by numerous denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in recent years that have forced its website to be shut down. Now, Aung Zaw, the publication's founder and editor, believes Burma's military-backed regime has adopted a new cyber-attack strategy that aims to undermine the exile media's...

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U.S. rights message falls on deaf ears in China

April 29, 2011 11:22 AM ET

As predicted by CPJ and many other commentators, results of the U.S.-China human rights dialogue this week are less than satisfactory. The U.S. side was more critical than it has been, but China remained defiantly deaf to foreign pressure. ...

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How the U.S. should raise human rights in China dialogue

April 26, 2011 1:21 PM ET

One day ahead of two-day bilateral talks with the U.S., China's Foreign Ministry rejected what it labeled "interference" in the country's internal affairs under the rubric of human rights, according to international news reports. Despite this obstructionist tone, CPJ hopes that Washington officials, led by Assistant Secretary for Democracy,...

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Cyber-attacks on press up in number, down in cost

April 22, 2011 8:52 AM ET

The last two weeks have seen a spate of denial-of-service (DOS) attacks against news sites, coordinated attempts to overwhelm outlets with fake incoming data so the sites cannot respond to legitimate users....

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News assistants in China: an invisible, important group

April 21, 2011 4:12 PM ET

Among the first concerns a journalist may have on coming to China as a foreign correspondent is how to communicate with the Chinese people, the majority of whom do not speak a word of English. Finding a "news assistant" is usually the answer....

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Umar Cheema: 'Their efforts to intimidate me backfired'

April 20, 2011 6:05 PM ET

On September 4, 2010, Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema was abducted as he was going home after a dinner with friends near Islamabad. He was held captive for more than six hours, during which he was tortured by masked individuals. He was told to stop criticizing the government in the...

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Jose Pavia, press freedom champion, dies at 72

April 20, 2011 4:23 PM ET

Jose Pavia, a veteran journalist and tireless press freedom advocate, died on April 18 in the Philippines. Pavia, known simply as "JLP" among his friends and journalist colleagues, was a key partner in CPJ's Global Campaign Against Impunity. He was 72 and had been battling cancer....

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Site hosting Ai Weiwei petition hit with cyberattack

April 20, 2011 12:20 PM ET

Change.org is back up and running after what the site said was a cyberattack that came from within China. Here's the site's announcement that was running on its homepage earlier today:...

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China seizes critics as domestic media avert eyes

April 15, 2011 2:28 PM ET

The Chinese security apparatus is kidnapping government critics, unchallenged by the domestic press. Writer Yang Hengjun, who went missing in March and has since reappeared, criticized the Chinese press this week for failing to report on his enforced disappearance. While state media are accusing the missing artist and social...

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In Japan, scenes of devastation

April 15, 2011 8:58 AM ET

Here is a selection of photos by Japanese freelancer Hiro Ugaya showing the devastation in northeastern Japan caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Photos are copyright Hiro Ugaya and used with permission. View his full Picasa gallery here. In an interview on the CPJ Blog, Ugaya tells CPJ's...

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Freelance, online reporting discouraged on nuclear threat

April 14, 2011 6:42 PM ET

The Japanese government upped the danger rating for the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to its highest level, 7, on Tuesday, a month after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the country. It was not yet clear whether the administration or the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs...

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Freelancer Hiro Ugaya on covering Japan's crisis

April 14, 2011 6:39 PM ET

Following up on our post about the difficulties of covering the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake from outside the mainstream media, CPJ spoke with intrepid freelancer Hiro Ugaya, whom we first interviewed in 2010. "From April 2 to 8, I was traveling in tsunami-destroyed area in Tohoku, northeastern Japan,"...

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U.N. vows transparency on Sri Lanka abuses

April 13, 2011 1:49 PM ET

The three-person panel of experts on Sri Lanka appointed in 2010 to look into possible war crimes during the decades-long conflict with Tamil secessionists submitted its findings to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday. That report should include the attacks on the news media that have become a...

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In Ai Weiwei coverage, a couple of unexpected notes

April 8, 2011 11:15 AM ET

We reported Thursday that Chinese media reports on Ai Weiwei have reflected his ambiguous status in Chinese law. After several days in which Ai was considered missing, the Foreign Ministry acknowledged police were investigating him for "economic crimes" although it stopped short of saying he was detained. Coverage within China...

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Agreed: Pakistan is deadliest country for journalists

April 5, 2011 12:14 PM ET

Just a quick pointer. Zohra Yusuf's column in The Express Tribune, "A dangerous country for journalists," deserves a link from CPJ. Yusuf is a former vice chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. From the piece: ...

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In China, a state of denial on detentions, abuse

March 29, 2011 3:44 PM ET

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu, today denied having heard of Sydney-based Chinese author and blogger Yang Hengjun, according to The Associated Press. We reported yesterday that Yang was missing, presumed to be the latest high-profile writer to fall victim to the government's aggressive roundup of critics who might respond...

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In well-wired South Korea, all is not well for press freedom

March 25, 2011 4:03 PM ET

CPJ ranks North Korea, with no independent media, as the world's most censored state. South Korea, with a wide-open press, seldom comes in for criticism. The high-tech, economic powerhouse is ranked as one of the most intensely wired nations in the world, and South Koreans enjoy near universal Internet...

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Is China censoring phone conversations?

March 24, 2011 11:02 AM ET

Are Chinese mainland citizens, as has been reported, finding their telephone conversations cut off whenever they mention the word "protest?" While large-scale, real-time voice recognition is a technological possibility, it is at the edge of what is believed likely. It would certainly be revealing about the capabilities of the Chinese...

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UN heard Eknelygoda's cry for help; husband still missing

March 21, 2011 4:24 PM ET

Sandhya Eknelygoda has recently managed to get the attention of the United Nations about the case of the disappearance of her husband, Prageeth, on January 24, 2010. Still, there has been no progress made in learning of his whereabouts. ...

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U.N. to investigate Prageeth Eknelygoda's disappearance

March 9, 2011 5:30 PM ET

Tuesday's letter from CPJ and four other groups to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apparently had some impact. The Canadian Press reported today that Ban has asked the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO, which oversees press freedom, to look into the case of Prageeth Eknelygoda, a Sri...

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Michael Anti's exile from Facebook over 'real-name policy'

March 9, 2011 5:12 PM ET

The Chinese journalist Michael Anti had his Facebook account deleted in January. The reason Facebook gave was that Michael Anti isn't his real, government-recorded, name--which is true. Instead, Anti is the name that he has written under for almost a decade, on his own personal blogs, and in his...

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Mideast protests a red flag to Chinese censors

March 8, 2011 3:39 PM ET

Working to defend press freedom, I take it that I've hit the mark when I get censored. So I smiled today when I got an e-mail from a friend in China who said he was in the gym watching breakfast television when my face came up on CNN. I...

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Abusive Twitter messages target foreign media in China

March 2, 2011 2:22 PM ET

California-based China Digital Times (CDT) reports new Chinese-language Twitter commentators have appeared in the last week. Twitter is generally blocked in China, but heavily used by activists who access it by means of proxy networks overseas. The recent arrivals are vocal supporters of the government's efforts to tamp down...

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Updates on Wali Khan Babar and Umar Cheema in Pakistan

March 1, 2011 12:28 PM ET

Here are two quick updates on prominent Pakistani cases we've been following: Despite police claims made soon after the assassination-style killing of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar on January 13, there have been no arrests made in his case, and there is little reason to expect that there will...

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Why hasn't the U.N. reached out to Sandhya Eknelygoda?

February 24, 2011 12:21 PM ET

On February 18, we noted that the United Nations in New York finally said it received a letter from Sandhya Eknelygoda, the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Eknelygoda. Sandhya had given the letter to the U.N. representative in Colombo, Neil Buhne, on January 24, the first anniversary of her husband's...

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Lawyer's footage of house arrest published in China

February 22, 2011 5:10 PM ET

Men in plainclothes recently harassed at least six foreign journalists in Shandong province. Vivid news footage shoes a group pelting CNN reporter Stan Grant and his photographer with rocks when they tried to visit the home of an activist under house arrest. Brice Pedroletti from France's Le Monde, Stephane Lagarde...

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Request for help for Prageeth: Lost in the mail?

February 18, 2011 1:50 PM ET

Finally, there has been some movement in the case of Prageeth Eknelygoda, at left, the Sri Lankan journalist who disappeared on January 24, 2010. The United Nations says it has received a letter from Eknelygoda's wife, Sandhya, that she had handed over to the U.N. representative in Colombo, Neil...

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Documenting sexual violence against journalists

February 16, 2011 3:46 PM ET

The news of the sexual assault against CPJ board member and CBS correspondent Lara Logan hit us hard on Tuesday. At CPJ, we work daily to advocate on behalf of journalists under attack in all kinds of horrific situations around the world. Because of Lara's untiring work with our...

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At Attacks launch: What if governments are perpetrators?

February 15, 2011 4:50 PM ET

When we launched the new edition of Attacks on the Press at the United Nations today, I was hit with questions about Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Both dealt with what amounts to the same problem: What do you do when you're asking a government to investigate a crime in...

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More rare news from North Korea

February 15, 2011 11:09 AM ET

The latest batch of reporting--writing, photography, and video--from North Korea is available online at Asia Press Network (APN). The stories deal with apparent hyperinflation, the emergence of street markets in Pyongyang, and the reported reduction of rations for military personnel. They're the sort of stories you seldom see out...

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Nepal's leadership vacuum threatens press freedom

February 10, 2011 1:21 PM ET

Nepal's new Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal should be setting a new tone. Law and order--and with it, journalists' security--have suffered in the seven months since Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned and has been filling in as interim leader. Khanal could be making public commitments to reversing the atmosphere of impunity...

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Press freedom has its limitations in Bangladesh

February 8, 2011 10:21 AM ET

In the last decade, the growth of print and electronic media and a new generation of journalists have changed the face of the media in Bangladesh. But there is a long way to go until there is true press freedom. Politicians, criminals, and businessman exert undue influence, and the...

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Internet freedom on trial in Thailand

February 4, 2011 5:15 PM ET

Hearings commenced today in the trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, executive director of the Thailand-based independent news website Prachatai. She stands accused of 10 different violations of the country's draconian 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA), each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.  ...

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In Kashmir, Tehelka takes on press freedom abuses

February 2, 2011 4:06 PM ET

The latest issue of India's Tehelka weekly magazine carries some great reporting on press freedom issues, an effort supported by CPJ and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The article, by Pragya Tiwari, includes many examples of journalists being harassed and assaulted while reporting on clashes between security...

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Is Taiwan's media independence under threat?

February 1, 2011 5:27 PM ET

As business relations develop between China and Taiwan, concerns are growing that Taiwan's media freedom may be compromised. The culprits include some journalists themselves, promoting China to preserve their own business interests, and Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) government, apparently attempting to exert control over the media through legislation.  ...

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China limits reporting on Egypt unrest in favor of 'harmony'

January 31, 2011 6:01 PM ET

Chinese information authorities are filtering results of Chinese-language Internet searches for "Egypt" and "Cairo," according to Global Voices Online and The Wall Street Journal. The unrest raging there could prompt comparison with the student-led protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 or incite anti-government demonstrations....

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Suspect says he was hired to silence broadcaster

January 25, 2011 4:52 PM ET

Police in the southern Philippine province of Palawan have an unusual head start in their investigation of Monday's murder of radio broadcaster Gerardo Ortega. They apprehended the assassin at the scene, with the help of local firefighters and bystanders, and an unusual amount of information about the killing is already...

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In China, Kristof's blogs are shut down

January 24, 2011 4:19 PM ET

Nicholas Kristof's Sunday column in The New York Times documents the latest in a series of tests the journalist has performed in Chinese cyberspace. The conflicting results he achieved while setting up a Chinese-language blog and micro-blog demonstrate how difficult it is to judge what censors will permit in an...

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In Chinese media, 'a lot to be done' is left unsaid

January 20, 2011 1:57 PM ET

It is fair to report, as Agence France-Presse and others did today, that Chinese media largely avoided President Hu Jintao's comments on human rights during a Washington press conference on Wednesday. But the nature of the omission is significant. Chinese reports acknowledged that a discussion of human rights took place...

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Washington reporters press China's Hu on human rights

January 20, 2011 1:02 PM ET

Thanks to Ben Feller and Hans Nichols for raising questions about China's human rights and press freedom record. A lot of Chinese journalists are grateful, too. When we urged U.S. President Barack Obama last week to raise press freedom concerns in his meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao, we received...

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Flawed, but important: The Danny Pearl case revisited

January 20, 2011 10:56 AM ET

It's good to see that not everyone has forgotten about the Danny Pearl case. The Pearl Project, a three-year investigation carried out by a team of American journalists and students at Georgetown University says that the Pakistani government's conviction of the four men it claimed beheaded Pearl sometime in...

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Lasantha--journalist, activist, citizen--deserves justice

January 19, 2011 3:56 PM ET

On January 13, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Sri Lankan media his government had no evidence to continue an investigation into the murder of Sri Lankan editor Lasantha Wickramatunga. Rajapaksa made this comment in response to a question raised by Lasantha's brother Lal in the presence of about 60 media...

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In Sri Lanka, press marks a bitter anniversary

January 19, 2011 2:52 PM ET

In recent years, January has emerged as Sri Lanka's cruelest month for journalists. To commemorate that ugly fact, 100 journalists and press freedom activists gathered Tuesday outside the Fort Railway Station in the capital, Colombo, demanding that the government expedite investigations into a series of attacks and January killings...

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An appeal to help the family of a disappeared journalist

January 19, 2011 1:35 PM ET

Sri Lankan cartoonist and political reporter Prageeth Eknelygoda disappeared almost one year ago today. He was last seen leaving the Colombo offices of the political Website Lanka eNews, where he worked, late on the evening of Sunday, January 24, 2010. No one has heard from Eknelygoda since....

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In Pakistan, anti-press attacks spread beyond border

January 18, 2011 2:21 PM ET

The death of a journalist in Karachi last week shows that violence in Pakistan is occurring well beyond the border areas with Afghanistan. On Thursday evening, Pakistani television reporter Wali Khan Babar was executed shortly after airing a report on gang violence in the city. ...

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Obama should raise Chinese press attacks with Hu

January 18, 2011 12:17 PM ET

In an open letter on January 11, CPJ asked U.S. President Barack Obama to raise the issue of jailed journalists with Hu Jintao while the Chinese leader is in Washington this week. They have plenty to talk about, but journalist freedom and security should be near the top of...

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Chinese reporter's death came days before Hu's U.S. tour

January 13, 2011 6:10 PM ET

CPJ has written to President Obama asking him to raise press freedom issues when Hu Jintao comes to the U.S. next week. China's practice of restricting and imprisoning reporters domestically has serious implications for the U.S.-China relationship, and a concerning case last month suggests it may be getting worse. ...

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