Maria Ressa, executive editor and CEO of Philippine news website Rappler, faces the media with former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr., and lawyer Ted Te, after being found guilty of cyber libel, in Manila, the Philippines, on June 15, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

The last journalists in Syria: Taking reporters to safety in Spain

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.

On Monday, a Philippine court convicted Maria Ressa, founder and editor of the news website Rappler, and Reynaldo Santos, a former researcher at the outlet, on charges of cyber libel. The conviction is the latest episode in a longstanding campaign by President Rodrigo Duterte’s government to silence Ressa and the critical news outlet. CPJ called on authorities not to contest the journalists’ appeals and to stop the legal harassment of Rappler.

Following reports of over 400 attacks on the press during U.S. protests against police brutality, CPJ and multimedia news agencies called on governors to investigate police attacks on photojournalists. In an op-ed published this week, CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch examined the long-term impact of attacks by police on journalists at protests.

An internal memo from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the agency prohibited its employees from accepting interviews with the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Voice of America.

Journalism in the time of coronavirus

  • Russian journalists investigated, fined over COVID-19 reporting
  • CPJ spoke to EU Observer reporter Eszter Zalan and about covering the virus
  • Journalists in Syria told CPJ they fear a humanitarian catastrophe if the pandemic spreads
  • CPJ spoke to Getty photographer John Moore about how covering Ebola prepared journalists for COVID-19
  • Algerian journalist Merzoug Touati arrested for allegedly violating the lockdown while covering anti-government protests
  • Protesters demonstrating against a COVID-19 lockdown assault Bolivian journalists from Unitel TV and El Deber


Eleven Syrian journalists are seen at an Istanbul airport along with CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa representative on May 20, 2019. Faces have been blurred for security reasons. (CPJ)

Ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20, CPJ released a short film highlighting our efforts to help several Syrian journalists escape Idlib in 2018 and relocate to safety abroad. In an Instagram Q&A on Wednesday, CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Delgado Culebras talked about press freedom in Syria, and detailed how CPJ helped the group flee and resettle.

On Thursday, CPJ Multimedia Producer Mustafa Hameed chatted over Instagram with AFP photojournalist Will Vassilopoulos about his work covering the refugee crisis in Greece.

Catch all the Instagram conversations here.

What we are reading

Beyond the pandemic

  • Local prosecutor subpoenas Cleveland newsroom for protest material
  • Audit finds that Argentine intelligence services compiled files on hundreds of journalists
  • Guatemalan journalist Francisco Chox attacked by protesters, arrested
  • France 3 TV crew members assaulted by armed gang members in Dijon
  • Russian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva faces trial over terrorism commentary
  • Journalist Afgan Sadygov detained since May in Azerbaijan
  • Turkey blocks Ozguruz radio website for 20th time
  • Egyptian journalist Mohamed Monir detained, charged with spreading false news
  • Journalist Le Huu Minh Tuan arrested on anti-state charge in Vietnam
  • One journalist in hiding, 2 others detained over protest coverage in Djibouti

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