CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Madeline Earp

Madeline Earp is senior researcher for CPJ’s Asia Program. She has studied Mandarin in China and Taiwan, and graduated with a master’s in East Asian studies from Harvard. Follow her on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.

2012


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Taiwanese media sale could threaten press freedom

December 10, 2012 3:39 PM ET

A media buyout in Taiwan which would put independent news outlets critical of China into the hands of a pro-Beijing media tycoon is cause for concern for the island's press. Jimmy Lai, the outspoken mogul behind Hong Kong-based Next Media and the Apple Daily tabloid, is selling his Taiwan...

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Confusion grows around missing Tibetan monk filmmaker

November 30, 2012 3:01 PM ET

Not unusually, an already confusing situation in Tibet just got worse. Twenty-seven Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Chinese this month alone, according to Human Rights Watch. That's almost one a day. Against this chaotic backdrop, Chinese authorities have issued an arrest order for a missing monk who helped...

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What China's new leadership means for press freedom

November 15, 2012 5:23 PM ET

Like many China watchers, we at CPJ have been struggling to interpret obscure floor markings and tie colors on display in Beijing as new Communist Party leaders were appointed in a rare leadership hand-off today. The names of the top seven are no longer in doubt. But the real...

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Tibetan voices censored around China's Party Congress

November 14, 2012 1:30 PM ET

Reports of a massive surveillance operation in Tibet and harassment of journalists covering Tibetan issues cast a shadow over eagerly anticipated leadership appointments expected tomorrow in Beijing....

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In China, kids ask the tough questions at Party Congress

November 13, 2012 2:18 PM ET

When a nation's most outspoken journalists are 11-year-olds, is it a good sign for the future? On the one hand, they might grow up to ask probing questions. On the other hand, they might end up following the path taken by their older peers and stick to scripted exchanges....

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China's Xi Jinping unseen, unsearchable

September 12, 2012 7:08 PM ET

It was only a matter of time before Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's physical absence from the public view was accompanied by his disappearance from cyberspace. The characters "Jinping" from his name were censored today from searches of Sina's microblog service Weibo, according to the Fei Chang Dao blog....

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Shooting investigation stalls in India

September 11, 2012 5:55 PM ET

CPJ has been monitoring the investigation into the shooting attack on Arunachal Times journalist Tongam Rina outside her office in Itanagar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh state, which left her hospitalized in critical condition this July. Her recovery is progressing, slowly but surely. The police inquiry, however, is not. ...

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Thorning's chance to press China for media freedom

September 11, 2012 1:53 PM ET

Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is in China this week to meet with top leaders, according to international news reports. CPJ's Advocacy and Communications Associate Magnus Ag and Senior Asia Program Researcher Madeline Earp co-wrote an op-ed calling on Thorning--as she is called in the Danish press--to raise the issue...

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India's clumsy Internet crackdown

August 22, 2012 5:02 PM ET

Indian Internet advocates and journalists are in an uproar this week over the news that the government has blocked access to around 300 websites, pages, and social media accounts in an effort to quell communal violence in the turbulent northeast. The rationale is that inflammatory online content has fanned...

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Yamamoto's death reflects Japan's media reach, duty

August 21, 2012 4:39 PM ET

My colleagues and I were saddened to learn of the death of Mika Yamamoto, a Japan Press video and photo journalist who was killed while covering clashes in Aleppo, Syria, on Monday. The moment was all the more poignant because of the similarities with two other Japanese journalist fatalities:...

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Censors stymie reporting on China's biggest news stories

August 20, 2012 5:01 PM ET

It's a big news day in China, and state-controlled media are purposely dropping the ball to escape controversy and censorship. ...

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Japan releases Chinese journalists--China's up next

August 17, 2012 2:11 PM ET

It's not often we at CPJ find ourselves calling on other countries to release Chinese journalists from detention. But that's just what happened yesterday. Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV contacted us to say that two of their journalists were among a group of 14 arrested by Japanese authorities over a...

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Umbrellas cast shadow over 'open' trial in China

August 9, 2012 3:44 PM ET

We cover all kinds of censorship here at CPJ. Recently we documented the cunning application of scissors to prevent readers from accessing China-related articles in hard copy magazines. But it's been a while since we've had chance to write about one favored implement of information control in China: the...

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Viewing the London Olympics coverage from China

July 27, 2012 2:09 PM ET

Chinese propaganda officials must be thrilled that they're not responsible for the Olympics coverage in the British papers. Back during the Beijing Games, they worked hard to censor unrest and dissatisfaction in the domestic media. Reports of China's press freedom and human rights abuses were blocked, the kind of information...

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Propaganda officials miss the boat on 'China's Katrina'

July 26, 2012 4:59 PM ET

Chinese journalists are questioning government propaganda due to conflicting reports of the death toll following Saturday's devastating flooding in Beijing. Like the Wenzhou train crash and the Sichuan earthquake, the tragedy has galvanized mainstream and online journalists--and the official narrative is crumbling under their scrutiny....

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#Maldives media debate unfolds on Twitter

July 24, 2012 4:23 PM ET

It started at 6:34 p.m. Monday. Abdulla Riyaz (@riyazabdulla), whose Twitter bio describes him as commissioner of the Maldives Police Service (MPS), published the following on his personal account: "MPS decides NOT to cooperate to Raajje TV [sic]. A statement will be released today."...

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Chinese censors move staff from outspoken papers

July 18, 2012 3:40 PM ET

Top figures at two outspoken newspapers in China were shuffled or suspended this week, according to online news reports....

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China's diverse censors

July 16, 2012 10:45 AM ET

Attempts to rein in microblogs like Sina Weibo are a huge part of China's sophisticated information control strategy these days. However, news reports last week serve as a reminder that propaganda authorities also rely on methods that are more old school. ...

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Maldives media offer first-hand accounts

July 13, 2012 1:36 PM ET

Violent clashes between police and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protesters continued in the streets of the capital, Malé, on Thursday night, according to international news reports. You can read CPJ's news alert on journalists swept up in the unrest--and background on the demonstrations--here, and some lively discussion on the...

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The Maldives backslides on press freedom

July 10, 2012 3:55 PM ET

CPJ has been watching the Maldives with concern since its first democratically-elected President Mohamed Nasheed relinquished power in February following what he describes as a military coup. New President Mohamed Waheed Hassan says Nasheed's resignation was voluntary and refuted criticism that his rule marked a return to the ways...

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Shallow victory for China's journalists, protesters

July 5, 2012 1:51 PM ET

Shi Junrong, Xi'an Evening News bureau chief in the city of Wei'an, ran into trouble recently after he reported on the costly brand of luxury cigarettes favored by local officials. He announced on his microblog that the paper suspended him soon after, according to the U.S. government-funded Radio Free...

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The New York Times takes on China's censors

July 2, 2012 4:55 PM ET

Well, that didn't take long. Just days after The New York Times' soft launch of its Chinese-language edition and accompanying microblog accounts, Berkeley-based China Digital Times website reports that the @nytchinese Sina Weibo feed is no longer accessible in China, along with two accounts hosted by Netease and Sohu. We...

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What China's Weibo censorship does, and does not, reveal

June 28, 2012 4:01 PM ET

A flurry of research on Weibo censorship underscores what we already know about the Chinese company Sina's microblog service--with a few surprises thrown in. ...

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Al-Arabiya news team missing in the Philippines

June 19, 2012 12:56 PM ET

CPJ is monitoring with concern the news coverage of Baker Abdulla Atyani, a Pakistan-based Jordanian Al-Arabiya TV journalist, and his two Philippine crew members, Rolando Letrero and Ramelito Vela, who have been unaccounted for since June 12. Atyani, Letrero, and Vela left their hotel in Jolo, in the southern...

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Bangladesh backsliding on press freedom

June 14, 2012 1:01 PM ET

"Bangladeshi democracy [may be] doomed to more of the same," International Crisis Group wrote in a recent commentary. They are describing a longstanding pattern of antagonism between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), which the Crisis Group describes as "a pernicious cycle...

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In China, press rights equal press control

June 11, 2012 3:03 PM ET

China's state news agency Xinhua published the full text of the state council's National Human Rights Action Plan 2012-15 on Monday. There is no section dedicated to press freedom. But the most striking omissions can be found in the text itself....

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In India, imprisoned journalist's plea for help

June 5, 2012 1:13 PM ET

The New Delhi-based Tehelka magazine published an open letter by imprisoned freelance journalist Lingaram Kodopi on Monday. Kodopi, one of the two journalists CPJ documented in prison in India on December 1, 2011, has been held without charge since September 2011 as a suspected associate of insurgent Maoists in Chhattisgarh. His...

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23 years after Tiananmen, China is still paying

May 31, 2012 2:23 PM ET

The annual crackdown on commemorations of the June 4 anniversary of the brutal suppression of student-led demonstrations based in Tiananmen Square in 1989 Beijing is under way, according to Agence France-Presse. What's concerning is the number of writers and activists for whom "crackdown" is the new normal....

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Sina 'information credit score' restricts Weibo users

May 29, 2012 4:10 PM ET

Sina's Twitter-like microblog service Weibo has released new guidelines to restrict users who share banned content, according to international news reports. It's the first time such guidelines target users who adopt puns, homonyms, and other veiled references to discuss censored news stories without using keywords on the propaganda department's...

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Anti-foreign attitudes bode ill for China correspondents

May 21, 2012 1:34 PM ET

The story of Al-Jazeera English correspondent Melissa Chan's expulsion from China has a disturbing coda. ...

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Chinese microblog regulates, suspends users--again

May 10, 2012 3:40 PM ET

Pity those of us who monitor the ups and downs of China's popular microblog platform, Sina Weibo. For every story its users spread in defiance of local censorship, there follows a clampdown. Whether it's the latest strike against rumors, or real name registration, or newly banned keywords, there's always...

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China ducks questions about Al-Jazeera expulsion

May 8, 2012 5:50 PM ET

"The Beijing branch of Al-Jazeera is still functioning normally." This was not an auspicious reaction to the news that Al-Jazeera English has closed its Beijing bureau after being refused journalist visas. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Hong Lei's responses at today's press conference did not improve from there, according...

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China's media conditions threaten Chen Guangcheng

May 2, 2012 3:18 PM ET

The battle over blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng's freedom and well-being is a battle over information. Both Chinese and U.S. officials are trying to spin the story their way. A few activists and media claim to speak for Chen, and in China's anti-press environment they are putting themselves at risk....

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China not most censored, but may be most ambitious

May 2, 2012 2:10 PM ET

China didn't make the cut for our 10 most censored countries. While the Chinese Communist Party's censorship apparatus is notorious, journalists and Internet users work hard to overcome the restrictions. Nations like Eritrea and North Korea lack that dynamism....

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Blind lawyer spurs news blackout in China

April 30, 2012 4:20 PM ET

News of blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng has been censored for months. International news reports of his escape last week from incarceration in his home in Linyi, Shandong--apparently to U.S. protection, although his whereabouts remain unclear--has only intensified that censorship. That is unlikely to stop discussion among those familiar with...

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Chinese censors target tomatoes amid Bo Xilai scandal

April 11, 2012 2:42 PM ET

Chongqing hotpot = King of the Southwest = King Who Pacifies the West = Minister of Yu = Tomato What do these words have in common? They are all coded references to Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Communist Party leader in southwestern Chongqing, and they were all censored in China...

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Mumbai police, media have failed Jyotirmoy Dey

March 29, 2012 2:32 PM ET

New Delhi-based Tehelka weekly news magazine has published a scathing indictment of the police investigation into the 2011 killing of Mumbai crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey--and of the Indian media's coverage of it. Beneath the allegations and the rumors, we still don't know exactly why he was killed, while the...

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In the Philippines, two murders that should be solved

March 28, 2012 2:47 PM ET

The investigation into the notorious murder of muckraking Philippine journalist Marlene Garcia-Esperat in Mindanao is now seven years old. A separate hunt for conspirators in the January 2011 killing of Palawan radio journalist Gerardo Ortega is just getting started. The Regional Trial Court in Puerto Princesa City issued arrest...

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How to stop rumors in China: Stop censorship

March 27, 2012 2:09 PM ET

The sacking of Chongqing party leader Bo Xilai has sparked some entertaining gossip this month, leaving journalists covering China with the difficult task of reporting on unconfirmed reports. The Chinese government blames the international media, not its own lack of transparency and comprehensive censorship apparatus, for the burgeoning rumors. ...

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As Chinese politician censored, exiled journalist triumphs

March 19, 2012 3:27 PM ET

The political ouster of Bo Xilai, Chinese Communist Party top dog in the major southwestern city of Chongqing, has been making headlines around the world. Bo notoriously silenced critics like investigative journalist Jiang Weiping, but the shoe is now on the other foot, at least for a while.Many China...

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Four years on, wife calls for Tibetan filmmaker's release

March 16, 2012 3:48 PM ET

Lhamo Tso has not spoken to her husband Dhondup Wangchen since March 17, 2008. She, their four children, and his elderly parents live in India, and hear of him only when his sister visits the Xichuan Prison in Qinghai province, western China, where he is serving six years. Through...

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Journalists at work in China: Tibet and Beijing edition

March 7, 2012 6:00 PM ET

China media analysts are looking to two significant events to shape coverage this month: The anniversary of a failed uprising in Tibet, and the annual meetings of China's top political bodies, the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing. Journalists at work in both...

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On board the election bus in China's Wukan

March 2, 2012 2:24 PM ET

Village elections taking place this weekend in southern Guangdong province's Wukan illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of China's media control. Censorship measures have not prevented strong domestic and international coverage of the democratic process. But has official tolerance of dissenting views increased since leaders cracked down on the attempted...

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Ethnic violence renews information clampdown in China

February 29, 2012 3:37 PM ET

Two months into 2012, all-too-familiar stories are emerging from China's troubled minority regions, Tibet and Xinjiang. Following riots against Chinese rule in 2008 and 2009, violence and its corollaries--increased security and censorship--have become commonplace. Independent bloggers and journalists who cover the unrest pay a high price: Over half the...

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Fiji's emergency ends, but media oppression continues

January 11, 2012 4:26 PM ET

Fiji's military leadership on Saturday lifted emergency regulations it had been using to stymie the country's press since 2009, according to local government websites. Good news? Maybe. Yet the regime still restricts the media, and anyone else who dares to question the legitimacy of the 2006 coup that brought its...

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