Middle East & North Africa

Belarus journalist detained

Record number of journalists jailed worldwide

The number of journalists jailed globally because of their work hit a new high in 2020 as governments cracked down on coverage of COVID-19 or tried to suppress reporting on political unrest. Authoritarians again took cover in anti-press rhetoric from the United States. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser Published December 15, 2020 NEW…

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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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Syrian journalist Hussein Khattab shot and killed while reporting in Aleppo governorate

New York, December 14, 2020 – Authorities in the northwestern Syrian city of Al-Bab should conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of journalist Hussein Khattab, and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On December 12, two unidentified masked men on a motorcycle fired at least 10 shots at…

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CPJ condemns Iran’s execution of journalist Roohollah Zam

New York, December 12, 2020 – The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned in the strongest possible terms the execution of Iranian journalist Roohollah Zam, editor of the Amad News Telegram channel. Iranian authorities executed Zam today by hanging, according to The Associated Press and Reuters, both citing government-affiliated news sources. “With the execution of Roohollah…

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Kurdish Iraqi forces arrest NRT reporter Karzan Tariq while covering protests in Sulaymaniyah

New York, December 11, 2020 — Today, security forces affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party arrested Karzan Tariq, a reporter with the local NRT broadcaster, while he was covering protests over economic issues in the northeastern Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah, according to his employer and NRT General Director Awat Ali, who spoke to CPJ…

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Iranian journalist Kayvan Samimi begins 3-year prison sentence over protest coverage

Washington, D.C., December 8, 2020 — Iranian authorities must release journalist Kayvan Samimi from prison and cease jailing members of the press for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Yesterday, authorities arrested Samimi at the Evin Prison Sentence Enforcement Office, in Tehran, and took him to serve a three-year sentence at Evin…

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Iraqi Kurdish security forces raid NRT headquarters, suspend broadcasts

New York, December 8, 2020 – Kurdish Iraqi authorities must reverse their suspension of local broadcaster NRT and allow the outlet to reopen its office and work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Early yesterday morning, security forces affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan political party raided NRT’s headquarters in the northeastern…

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Egypt extends pretrial detention of photographer Sayed Abd Ellah by filing new terrorism charge

New York, November 30, 2020 – Yesterday, the Egyptian state prosecutor’s office charged imprisoned Egyptian freelance photographer Sayed Abd Ellah with membership in a terrorist group and extended his pretrial detention by 15 days, according to a family member who spoke with CPJ via messaging app on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal,…

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A man in military uniform and a coronavirus mask seated in an elaborate chair leans over to talk with a man in a suit and a coronavirus mask in the neighboring chair.

Sudan tightens cybercrime law as army pursues “fake news”

Dura Qambo was on vacation in Egypt in July when a friend called to warn her to stop criticizing the Sudanese army online, she told CPJ. Earlier that day, the army had announced on Facebook that it had appointed a Special Commissioner in May to sue anyone who insults or defames the military on the…

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Algerian Ennahar TV director Anis Rahmani sentenced to 5 years in prison

New York, November 17, 2020 – The Committee to Protect Journalists today expressed disappointment at the conviction and sentencing of Algerian journalist Anis Rahmani for his work as director of Ennahar TV. On November 15, the Bir Mourad Rais First Instance Court in Algiers sentenced Rahmani, director of the privately owned news broadcaster Ennahar TV, to five…

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