Iran / Middle East & North Africa

  

Forensic tools open new front for using phone data to prosecute journalists

On April 13, police in Russia’s Khakassiya republic arrested Mikhail Afanasyev and seized his digital devices. Afanasyev, chief editor of the online magazine Novy Fokus, was detained based on an article about riot police in southern Siberia refusing to serve in Ukraine. He faces a possible 10-year prison sentence for spreading “false” information.  It’s not surprising for…

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In an Iran roiled by protests, journalists face a war of attrition

In mid-September, an enterprising young Iranian reporter named Niloofar Hamedi went to Tehran’s Kasra Hospital to report on a woman arrested by the county’s morality police for not properly wearing her hijab. That woman, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, was in a coma after allegedly being beaten by police; she later died of her injuries. Hamedi, a…

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CPJ’s Yeganeh Rezaian on mass protests and journalist arrests in Iran

When mass protests erupted in Iran more than a week ago, the government cracked down hard. While clashes between security forces and demonstrators left many dead and disruptions to internet service made information hard to obtain, CPJ learned that security forces had arrested at least 28 journalists as of September 29. (Click here for CPJ’s…

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‘It made me more determined’: Iranian American journalist Masih Alinejad won’t stop reporting after Salman Rushdie stabbing

After novelist Salman Rushdie, the target of an Iranian fatwa, was stabbed in western New York last week, Iranian American journalist Masih Alinejad said she saw messages on social media saying she should be punished next. Alinejad, who has extensively covered human rights in Iran and campaigns against the country’s compulsory hijab rule, is no…

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Why the UN’s push for a cybercrime treaty could imperil journalists simply for using the internet

Cybercrime is on the global agenda as a United Nations committee appointed to develop a treaty on the topic plans for its first meeting amid pandemic-related delays. The process is slated to take at least two years, but experts warn that such a treaty – initially proposed by Russia – could hand new tools to…

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Iranian journalists remain vulnerable in exile, says formerly imprisoned columnist Nejat Bahrami

By CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program The revelation of a plot by Iranian intelligence agents to kidnap and extradite Brooklyn-based Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad shocked the world last month. Another Iranian journalist, Nejat Bahrami, experienced the nightmare of life in Iranian custody that Alinejad appears to have escaped. Last year he served five…

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Why authoritarian governments force journalists like Belarus’s Raman Pratasevich into public confessions

Forced confessions—sometimes tied to public humiliation—have a long and inglorious history, and were a fundamental component of ancient judicial systems in the East and West. Obtaining a confession, by any means, for centuries was often a key part of achieving a conviction and meting out punishment. At the Salem witch trials, the accused could escape…

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Ten years after the Arab Spring, the region’s media faces grave threats. Here are the top press freedom trends

In early February 2011, Alaa Abdelfattah was in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, documenting and participating in the nascent pro-democracy uprising that would topple the government and transform the country and the region. Today, he is in prison on anti-state and false news charges, which his family believes are partly retaliatory for his work. Abdelfattah is one of…

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A woman in a face mask is seen addressing the camera in a YouTube vide.

Journalists jailed for social media “terrorism” highlight content moderation challenges

A journalist in China uploaded a video to YouTube criticizing the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. Another, in Vietnam, left a state-owned newspaper but continued posting stories they wouldn’t let her cover on Facebook. In Egypt, a freelance photographer streamed an anti-government protest from his balcony on Facebook Live. In Iran,…

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Data journalists describe challenges of reporting on the true toll of COVID-19

How many people worldwide have been infected by the coronavirus, and how many have died as a result? Finding reliable information on the virus’s toll has proven such a challenging task that it is nearly impossible to answer these basic questions, five data journalists from around the world told CPJ in May and June. In…

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