AFP photographer Sajjad Hussain works during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in New Delhi, India, on April 9, 2020. (AFP)

Islamic State militants extradited to US to face charges for murders of journalists Foley and Sotloff

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.

This is the 100th edition of The Torch. We would like to thank our readers for their support the past two years. Send us an email if you have feedback for us, and if you are interested in receiving additional press freedom updates for a specific region, sign up here.

This week, two Islamic State militants were extradited to the United States, where they face federal charges for their roles in the 2014 murders of two journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and several aid workers. CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon outlined why it is so rare for journalists’ killers to be brought to justice—and why it is essential that the alleged perpetrators stand trial. 

Turning to Central America, in the Columbia Journalism Review this week Simon unpacks the online attacks independent Salvadoran outlet El Faro has faced from President Bukele. He argues that the U.S. has a responsibility to stand up for the media in El Salvador, and allowing attacks to continue has concerning implications for press freedom globally.

In Germany, NetzDG, a law that seeks to regulate social media content, is under review. The law has serious implications for journalists and has been used as an example for similar legislation in Turkey, Russia, Singapore, and Venezuela. CPJ Technology Editor Madeline Earp spoke with Matthias Kettemann of the Leibniz Institute for Media Research in Hamburg to learn more about the impact of the law.

Global press freedom updates

  • Journalists attacked, obstructed around parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan
  • At least five journalists attacked, beaten in southern Georgia in run-up to parliamentary elections
  • Egyptian state security forces detained freelance journalist Basma Mostafa on false news, other charges. The prosecutor general has now ordered her release
  • Israeli security forces arrest Palestinian journalist Tareq Abu Zeid in Nablus
  • Uttar Pradesh police arrest journalist on his way to cover Hathras gang rape case
  • Journalist Pham Doan Trang arrested on anti-state charges in Vietnam
  • Police question two Slovenian journalists at public broadcaster RTV
  • CPJ calls on Cuban security forces to stop threatening Washington Post columnist Abraham Jiménez Enoa
  • CPJ and partners express concern over Somalia’s amended media law

Safety on Assignment

As the global pandemic continues, CPJ released a new COVID-19 resource of frequently asked safety questions for journalists covering the spread of the virus.

CPJ Emergencies issued a safety advisory for journalists covering the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh following reports of at least 4 journalists injured there


Image: One Free Press Coalition

This month, the One Free Press Coalition highlighted women journalists under threat around the world. The list includes two journalists from the Philippines–Frenchiemae Cumpio and Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa–who are both facing potential jail time in separate cases; journalist Solafa Magdy, imprisoned in Egypt; and Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri, who was arrested while covering protests and now faces charges. Learn about their cases here.

CPJ is also excited to partner again with the International Women’s Media Foundation on the #JournoHeroes campaign highlighting the work of courageous women in journalism.

There’s one week left until the 2020 Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival. The 2020 lineup includes 75+ speakers participating in 30 panels, workshops, master classes, pitch sessions, and networking opportunities. For more information visit Get 10% off using code CPJDX20

On October 21 at 4 p.m. ET, CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch will speak on “The Double Threat: Pandemic & Persecution” panel as part of the One World Media Summit: From Face Masks to Free Press: Global Reporting in 2020. Find more information and tickets here.

What we are reading

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