China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during his online video link press conference during the National People's Congress (NPC) at the media centre in Beijing on May 24, 2020. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)

International journalists face expulsion, detention in China

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Australian journalists Bill Birtles and Mike Smith fled China for Australia after China lifted a travel ban that barred both journalists from leaving the country. Separately, Chinese authorities imposed new restrictions targeting journalists at U.S. news organizations in China.

In Belarus, police continued to arrest and obstruct journalists covering protests. Since protests began in August, police have detained dozens of journalists reporting on the peaceful protests, and authorities have cracked down on the press by blocking news websites, sporadically turning off the internet, and refusing to print independent newspapers at the state publishing house.

In Australia, drafts of a news media bargaining code would require Facebook and Google to negotiate payment to news organizations on the grounds that digital advertising on the platforms might otherwise sustain the media. In response, Facebook threatened to prevent Australian users and publishers from posting news on its platform. CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch spoke to Marcus Strom, the president of Australia’s journalist union, to understand the implications of the law for journalists.

Global press freedom updates

  • In a piece for The Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership, CPJ’s Deputy Advocacy Director Kerry Paterson shared the story of formerly imprisoned Nigerian journalist Agba Jalingo, and the impact he felt when he was included on the One Free Press Coalition list
  • Turkish journalist Oktay Candemir charged with ‘insulting’ a sultan who died around 1280 AD in satirical tweet
  • Bulgarian riot police beat and pepper spray journalists covering demonstration
  • Egypt detains two journalists, including one with COVID-19 who was quarantined, now hospitalized
  • Saudi court sentences two journalists to prison following 2017 arrests
  • Iranian journalist Nada Sabouri begins 3.5-year jail term
  • Appeals court overturns murder convictions in 1999 killing of Serbian journalist Slavko Ćuruvija
  • InSight Crime’s Héctor Silva Avalos subject of alleged investigation, presidential tweets


CPJ, in collaboration with the News Leaders Association (NLA), has launched the U.S. Press Freedom Accountability Project to support local reporting on press freedom violations and accountability in relation to coverage of protests against police violence.

The project, funded by CPJ, will provide grants between $2,000 and $5,000 to support on-the-ground local reporting, particularly from small newsrooms, freelancers, and underrepresented groups. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis, and grants will be awarded starting October 1. Apply here.

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