CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Bob Dietz

Bob Dietz, coordinator of CPJ’s Asia Program, has reported across the continent for news outlets such as CNN and Asiaweek. He has led numerous CPJ missions, including ones to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Follow him on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.

2011


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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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'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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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More safety guidelines for Pakistan's field reporters

August 1, 2011 4:40 PM ET

Pakistan's journalists, watching the domestic stories they are covering become increasingly more dangerous, have started taking safety matters into their own hands. Zaffar Abbas, editor at the English-language daily Dawn, just forwarded to me a safety guide for journalists he has been circulating around his paper. His explanation:...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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Malaysia court gets joke, drops case against blogger

March 17, 2011 5:36 PM ET

In September 2010 we posted an alert about criminal charges being brought against Malaysian blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman. He was accused of "intent to hurt" because of a March 2010 satirical entry on his blog, nose4news, that made fun of Malaysia's state-run power company Tenaga (TNB). The charges were...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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