UAE / Middle East & North Africa

Journalists attacked in UAE since 1992

  

Investigative reporter Bradley Hope: Pegasus spyware revelations a ‘wake-up call for journalists’

Bradley Hope was in Abu Dhabi in 2009, the year the BlackBerry devices overheated. “If you put it next to your face it would almost burn,” he told CPJ in a phone interview. The BBC that year reported that a UAE telecom company had prompted local BlackBerry owners to install a rogue surveillance update disguised…

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Journalist Reem Abdellatif on the risks facing female reporters who cover the Gulf

The trolling started after Reem Abdellatif, a prominent Egyptian-American journalist now based in The Netherlands, published her first column in December for the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. Titled “How I escaped Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom that terrorizes women,” it described the challenges she faced as a female journalist who had previously worked in Saudi Arabia and denounced Saudi…

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New York Times journalist Nicole Perlroth on the secret trade in tools used to hack the press

The last time New York Times cybersecurity journalist Nicole Perlroth spoke with Emirati activist Ahmed Mansoor in 2016, his passport had been taken and he had recently been beaten almost to the point of death. “We learned later on that our phone conversation had been tapped, that someone was in his baby monitor, that his…

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Portrait of Ghada Oueiss facing camera with arms folded in a newsroom

Al-Jazeera’s Ghada Oueiss on hacking, harassment, and Jamal Khashoggi

In a mid-2020 Washington Post opinion piece, Lebanese Al-Jazeera broadcast journalist Ghada Oueiss described hackers stealing private photos and videos from her phone and posting them online. The leak resulted in a sharp escalation of online attacks, Oueiss told CPJ in a January 2021 call. Since the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi…

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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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Journalists are shown working at their desks behind the scenes of a TV news studio.

Dozens of journalists newly identified as NSO Group spyware targets

New York, December 21, 2020 – NSO Group’s advanced Pegasus spyware was identified on phones of at least 36 journalists and media executives in July and August 2020, according to the University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab, which said the surveillance product was installed via a vulnerability in the iPhone messaging application. Most targets were affiliated…

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Abu Dhabi International Airport is seen on July 4, 2017. Serbian journalist Stevan Dojčinović was recently denied entry to the United Arab Emirates. (AP/Jon Gambrell)

Serbian journalist denied entry to United Arab Emirates

On December 17, 2019, authorities at Abu Dhabi International Airport denied entry to Stevan Dojčinović, a Serbian national and editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an investigative news outlet, according to Dojčinović, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app, and news reports.

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Rori Donaghy, pictured in London in January 2019, is one of at least four journalists that Reuters says were surveilled under the UAE's Project Raven operation. (Reuters/Simon Dawson)

CPJ concerned by report that UAE ‘Project Raven’ surveilled journalists

New York, January 30, 2019–At least four journalists were surveilled under Project Raven, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) cybersurveillance and hacking operation, Reuters reported today. The UAE hired former U.S. National Security Agency employees to assist in deploying a surveillance tool called Karma that exploited a vulnerability in the iPhone’s messaging application, according to a…

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A protester wears a mask depicting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with painted hands next to people holding posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during the demonstration outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 25, 2018. (AFP/Yasin Akgul)

Saudi control of Arab media, lamented by Khashoggi, shapes coverage of his death

It is a cruel irony that Jamal Khashoggi’s last unpublished column for The Washington Post was a call for press freedom in the Arab world. His homeland, Saudi Arabia, has spent the last three decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure that never happens.

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Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui holds her mobile phone during a press conference in Mexico City in 2017 about governments using spyware to target journalist. (AFP/Alfredo Estrella)

CPJ Safety Advisory: Pegasus spyware used to target journalists, civil society

[EDITOR’S NOTE: See CPJ’s updated safety advisory here https://cpj.org/2019/11/cpj-safety-advisory-journalist-targets-of-pegasus-.php.] In a report published on September 18, Citizen Lab said it had detected Pegasus, a spyware created for mobile devices, in over 45 countries. Pegasus, which transforms a cellphone into a mobile surveillance station, could have been deployed against a range of journalists and civil society…

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