Threats to journalists' safety demand fresh approach
Reporting on wars and natural disasters is inherently dangerous, but the spread of insurgent and criminal groups globally poses an unprecedented risk to journalists. Since the videotaped killings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff in 2014, public awareness of the risks has increased exponentially, but the dangers persist.
For months, environmental protesters have clashed with police and private security companies over plans for the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion project that opponents say will destroy Native American sites and affect the region's water supply. While mainstream media have covered flashpoints in the protests, a core of mostly freelance, left-wing, and Native American outlets have remained at the site to provide daily coverage.
Hindu activists in Vrindavan, in India's Uttar Pradesh state, assaulted Sarvesh, a freelance photographer who goes only by one name, during a protest outside a meeting of atheists, on October 14, 2016.
For four months, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been under a curfew imposed after protests broke out when Burhan Wani, a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a pro-independence militant organization that advocates for Kashmir's independence from India, was killed in clashes with the Indian army. Journalists have been caught in the crossfire as protesters clash with police and authorities try to regain control by imposing curfews and blocking access to the internet.
CPJ’s 2016 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free
By Elisabeth Witchel, CPJ Impunity Campaign Consultant
Published October 27, 2016.
Some of the highest rates of impunity in the murders of journalists can be attributed to killings by Islamist militant groups, CPJ found in its latest Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go free. The worst country for the second year in a row is Somalia, where the militant group al-Shabaab is suspected in the majority of media murders, followed by Iraq and Syria, where members of the militant group Islamic State murdered at least six journalists in the past year.
New York, September 1, 2016--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Turkish authorities today to release Lindsey Snell, an American freelance journalist who has been detained since August 7 after traveling to Turkey from Syria, where she said she had been filming.
A photograph of freelance journalist Lucy Yasini trying to ward off an attack by police while covering a protest in Harare was circulated on social media last week. A day later, a photograph was shared of two reporters, Obey Manayiti and Robert Tapfumaneyi, in the back of a police truck after their arrest. The incidents signaled to the world that Zimbabwean journalists are once again targets as police try to clamp down on widespread protests.
In October 2015, when I solicited Chinese readers' views on gender issues in journalism, one comment spoke volumes about the state of the debate in China: "Women can take advantage of their looks and feminine traits to attract well-known and powerful men to accept their interviews."
It's a calm day in a Ugandan village. Women gather on plastic chairs, shaded from the afternoon sun. I'm here with a handful of journalists on a reporting trip sponsored by the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF). The village women welcome us and begin to tell us about their lives. Then something happens. A man in the shadows glares at us. Others begin to crowd around. There is tension. We are not wanted here.
Dear Secretary Kerry: Your support for press freedom and journalist safety is welcome and can play an important role in helping to protect journalists around the world. There are specific actions that you could take that would ensure the agenda you launched last year continues and leaves a lasting legacy.