CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Jason Stern

Jason Stern is a research associate for CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program. He has a master’s in Middle East Studies from George Washington University and a bachelor’s in government from Cornell University.

Blog   |   Yemen

Yemeni journalists: 'Our mouths are gagged'

Shiite rebels known as Houthis rally against Saudi-led airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, on August 11. (AP/Hani Mohammed)

In March 2014, Sana'a University media student Hisham al-Yousifi stood next to Dar al-Hajar, a royal palace built on the precipice of a rock formation just outside the capital, and announced to the video camera, "Here, there are a lot of tourists!" But there were no tourists, just his friends barely failing to hold back their giggling as they pretended to be Europeans visiting the extraordinary historic site.

Blog   |   Saudi Arabia

In censored Saudi Arabia, Raif Badawi filled a journalistic void

Ensaf Haidar, center, takes part in a demonstration calling for the release of her husband, Raif Badawi, in Ottawa January 29, 2015. (Reuters/Chris Wattie)

On the third anniversary of the arrest of liberal activist and writer Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, his supporters all over the world are working hard to prevent what may lay ahead: the completion of a 10-year, thousand-lash sentence. To be effective in changing Badawi's future, it is important to take inspiration from his past, as he stood steadfast by his beliefs despite the adversity he faced and repeated opportunities to choose an easier path.

Blog   |   Bahrain

Glitz of Formula One must not divert attention from Bahrain's jailed journalists

The Formula One track, above, in Bahrain is a source of national pride but a short drive from the spectacle of race day is the overcrowded Jaw Prison. (AFP/Tom Gandolfini)

When the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) hosted Formula One for the first time in 2004, it was nearly a false start for the $150 million facility. Drivers told the BBC they feared desert sand would damage their racecars. So track employees began a perpetual fight against nature, even spraying glue over the surrounding desert in the hope of keeping it at bay.

Blog   |   Syria

How many more? CPJ remembers journalists killed covering Syria

A vigil for Syrian prisoners is held in Aleppo in January. On March 15 a series of events will mark journalists killed or imprisoned while covering the uprising. (Reuters/Amar Abdullah)

On March 15 the fourth anniversary of the start of the Syrian uprising will be marked. No one knew in the early days of unrest how events would escalate, let alone how the entire region and the journalists covering it would be so deeply impacted.

March 13, 2015 10:34 AM ET

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Blog   |   Syria

CPJ joins call for Syria to release three press freedom defenders from jail

Three years ago Syrian Air Force Intelligence agents raided the office of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression in Damascus, arresting all who were present. While some of those arrested were later released, Mazen Darwish, Hani al-Zitani, and Hussein Ghrer have been imprisoned ever since.

Blog   |   Syria

Family of journalist jailed in Syria await news, four years on

Moheeb Alnawaty, author of Hamas From The Inside, was taken into Syrian custody and has not been heard from since January 2011. (Alnawaty family handout)

When Ibtisam Alnawaty last spoke to her husband, Moheeb Alnawaty, in January 2011, there was nothing to suggest that he feared for his safety. The Palestinian-Norwegian writer had traveled to Syria in December 2010 to translate his book, Hamas From The Inside, and had even suggested the family should move there from Norway, his wife told CPJ. But on January 5, 2011, Moheeb Alnawaty's phone was turned off and he has not been in contact since.

Blog   |   Security, Syria

In Syria, fewer journalist deaths but danger has never been greater

A vigil for victims of the Syrian conflict is held in Rome as the civil war enters its third year. Since 2011, 79 journalists have been killed while covering the war. (AFP/Tiziana Fabi)

For the third year in a row, Syria ranks as the deadliest country in the world for the press, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. At first glance, the research offers good news: less journalists were killed, imprisoned and kidnapped this year in Syria than in 2013. A deeper look at the numbers and how we arrived at them however, show Syria has never been more dangerous for journalists.

Blog   |   Iran

CPJ joins call for UN members to push for greater human rights in Iran

The Committee to Protect Journalists has joined 29 other organizations in calling on member states of the U.N. General Assembly to vote in favor of a resolution for the promotion and protection of human rights in Iran. The vote is scheduled to take place on November 18.

Blog   |   Syria

CPJ joins call to free Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression staff

Today, CPJ joined 78 human rights and press freedom organizations in calling on the Syrian government to immediately and unconditionally release three imprisoned members of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. The center's director, Mazen Darwish, has been imprisoned since 2012 along with his colleagues Hussein Ghrer and Hani al-Zitani.

Blog   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory

After journalist killings, potential violations in Gaza must be investigated

Palestinians search the rubble of their family house which was hit by an Israeli strike in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip. (AP/Adel Hana)

After 50 bloody days of conflict, it looks like a ceasefire may finally take hold in Israel and Gaza. Recently Gaza has been one of the deadliest places in the world for the press. According to CPJ research, at least seven journalists and media workers were killed on the job in four separate incidents.

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