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.
The Kyrgyz Supreme Court upheld journalist and human rights defender Azimjon Askarov’s life sentence, denying his final appeal. Askarov’s health has been steadily deteriorating since being imprisoned in 2010, his family told CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said when she travelled to meet with them and visit Azimjon in prison. The threat to his health is exacerbated by the spread of coronavirus. Despite years of campaigning to #FreeAzimjon and CPJ’s recent efforts to #FreeThePress globally amid the pandemic, Kyrgyz leaders have nonetheless upheld the injustice.
The U.S. placed more visa restrictions on Chinese journalists, the latest development in the escalating tit-for-tat media visa war between the U.S. and China, which began in February when China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters. CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler unpacked the latest developments in an Instagram Q&A this week.
Journalism in the time of coronavirus
- CPJ spoke to Aimee Rinehart, U.S. deputy director of the misinformation research organization First Draft, about coronavirus misinformation and the challenges for journalists and fact-checkers
- Tajik journalist Avazmad Ghurbatov beaten by unidentified assailants after receiving threats over pandemic coverage
- Indian journalist Dhaval Patel arrested, charged with sedition over his coronavirus-related coverage
- A Liberian government official told CPJ that the right to free expression is “suspended” during the country’s state of emergency, causing journalists concern
- Tanzanian newspaper banned from publishing online for six months over COVID-19 report
- Belarus cancels two journalists’ accreditations after covering coronavirus deaths
CPJ has partnered with the International Center for Journalists and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University on their joint Journalism and the Pandemic Project, which launched an online survey this week to track the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on journalism. We’re encouraging journalists to fill out the survey here.
CPJ has also partnered with the International Women’s Media Foundation on a separate survey assessing journalists’ experiences of online harassment during the pandemic. Open to sharing your experience? Click here to fill the survey.
Join the conversation
Join CPJ on Wednesday, May 20, at 12 p.m. EDT for a live Instagram Q&A with CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said to discuss her latest blog post about the challenges COVID-19 has created for imprisoned journalists observing Ramadan.
What we are reading
- Coronavirus anger foments violence against journalists — Lisa Hänel, Deutsche Welle
- Anatomy of an internet shutdown — Jina Moore, Rest of World
- No Country for Chinese Journalists — Shen Lu, Zhaoyin Feng, Mia Li, Zeyi Yang, Zhang Qi, Zhang Yan, Judy Zhu, and Jin Ding, Chinese Storytellers newsletter
- Why we are seeking justice for our son, Daniel Pearl — Ruth Pearl and Judea Pearl, Dawn
Beyond the pandemic
- Hong Kong police attack and detain journalists covering protests, which have reignited as the city’s reports of new COVID-19 infections declined
- Turkey charges 7 journalists over coverage of intelligence agent’s death
- Myanmar editor in hiding, facing terrorism charges over interview
- Brazilian radio journalist Fábio Márcio survives shooting attempt
- Regional authorities in northeast Syria suspend Rudaw TV reporter’s credentials for two months
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