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.
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.
What we are reading
- Press in Arrest August 2020 Press Freedom Report: While justice was “on vacation,” violence took center stage! — Yeşim Yavuzer, Press in Arrest (Turkey)
- Rural Journalists Deal with Mental-Health Toll Brought by COVID-19 — Liz Carey, 100 Days in Appalachia
- Kashmiri Editors Can’t Use Fear as an Excuse for Their Continued Silence — Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, The Wire
- Robert Mugabe is gone. But journalists are still being targeted. — Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post
- Nigeria: How Virtual Training Shaped Covid-19 Reporting in Nigeria — Ifedayo Ogunyemi, Nigeria Health Watch
- Once a Beacon of Hope, Tanzanians Now Resist Growing Authoritarianism — Africa Center for Strategic Studies
- The Tow Center COVID-19 Newsroom Cutback Tracker — Tow Center, Columbia Journalism Review
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