Police officers and soldiers check passengers at Milan's main train station in the north of Italy on March 9, 2020. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)
Police officers and soldiers check passengers at Milan's main train station in the north of Italy on March 9, 2020. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)

CPJ’s latest safety advice for covering the COVID-19 pandemic

The Torch is a weekly newsletter from the Committee to Protect Journalists that brings you the latest press freedom and journalist safety news from around the world. Subscribe here.

CPJ Emergencies has updated its safety advisory for journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic. The advisory includes information on pre-assignment preparations, travel planning, avoiding infection, and post-assignment considerations. Sign up to receive further updates and safety advisories from CPJ Emergencies here. The report is also available in Español, فارسی, and العربية

CPJ Digital Manger Ahmed Zidan interviewed the University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab about their recent report on Chinese social media censorship around COVID-19. One of the report’s co-authors told CPJ, “Broad censorship of neutral and even factual information related to the virus might have limited the public’s ability to share and discuss knowledge of the prevention of the disease.”

In Vietnam, Radio Free Asia journalist Truong Duy Nhat was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday. Nhat had been held in pre-trial detention in Vietnam since January 28, 2019, two days after he went missing from a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand.

“No matter how long they want to imprison my dad, I’m sure that he did nothing wrong,” his daughter, Thuc Doan Truong, told CPJ. “[Today’s sentencing] is just an excuse for them to stop him from writing critical articles.”

In the United Kingdom, a report published by the U.K. Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office revealed that authorities requested six warrants for surveillance efforts that “would relate to journalistic confidential material” in 2018. The report also stated that law enforcement and state security agents made 203 communications data requests “in relation to an individual of journalistic profession” in 2018. ⁠

Global press freedom updates


To mark International Women’s Day last Sunday, CPJ highlighted the voices and work of courageous female journalists. The Twitter coverage included interviews with six journalists and former International Press Freedom Award recipients, who gave their perspectives and advice for others in the field.

CPJ also highlighted some of the specific threats and challenges faced by women in media, including the prevalence of online harassment, CPJ’s 2019 survey on threats to female and gender non-conforming journalists in the U.S. and Canada, and the dangers associated with particular beats like sports and elections.

Explore CPJ’s reporting and safety advice related to gender here.

Are you a student passionate about press freedom? MKL Public relations, with support from CPJ and media outlets from around the country, is hosting a national student essay competition. Students are encouraged to submit an essay on the importance of press freedom in the United States, and separate awards will be granted to students in grades six to eight, nine to twelve, and university and college students. Learn more here.

What we are reading

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