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.
What do you do when the government won’t stop harassing you? It’s an apt question for Rappler founder and CEO, and CPJ’s 2018 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Awardee, Maria Ressa. The celebrated journalist is set to appear in court Friday following a second trumped-up cyber libel charge for her journalism. The latest charge carries a possible sentence of seven years’ imprisonment for Ressa, who is facing at least eight open cases on a range of charges. If convicted on all counts, she could be looking at a lifetime in prison. The #HoldTheLine coalition, made up of more than 75 organizations, was swift to condemn the newest charges and called for an end to the ongoing pressure on Ressa. You can speak up for Maria and Rappler too, using the hashtag #HoldTheLine.
The situation continues to heat up in Cuba, where authorities have been harassing the press and impeding their ability to work amid protests following the arrest of artist Denis Solís, a member of a local freedom of expression and artistic freedom group. Doubling down on these efforts, Cuban authorities have been intermittently blocking access to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Instagram. Cuba has long been a challenging environment for the press, and holds the 10th spot on CPJ’s Most Censored list.
Global press freedom updates
- Egypt extends pretrial detention of photographer Sayed Abd Ellah by filing new terrorism charge
- Turkish police raid Mezopotamya News Agency, detain journalist Dindar Karataş
- CPJ welcomes European Democracy Action Plan, calls for EU member state support
It’s difficult to meaningfully tackle threats to press freedom without a clear picture of what’s actually happening on the ground. That’s why CPJ, in partnership with the News Leaders Association (NLA), launched the U.S. Press Freedom Accountability Project in September. The initiative provides financial support to local newsrooms reporting on press freedom violations and accountability in relation to coverage of protests against police violence.
Applications are open and reviewed on a rolling basis. Amounts awarded range from $2,000 to $5,000, with priority given to pieces that can be published in one to three months. Learn more and apply here.
Looking for even more coverage of press freedom? Sign up for the monthly newsletter from The Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership to receive a curated collection of issues affecting press freedom through updates from The Post‘s press freedom partners, including CPJ, and pieces from Post columnists.
What we are reading
- Running in Circles: Uncovering the Clients of Cyberespionage Firm Circles — Bill Marczak, John Scott-Railton, Siddharth Prakash Rao, Siena Anstis, and Ron Deibert, Citizen Lab
- “Nothing could stop her. Not even a bomb” – Fight to bring justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia continues — Katarzyna Mierzejewska, Women in Journalism
- Turkey’s Journalists on the Ropes: Joint international press freedom mission to Turkey (October 6-9, 2020) — The International Press Institute
- Imprisoned Turkish Journalist Ahmet Altan Tops December Ranking of One Free Press Coalition’s “10 Most Urgent” Press Freedom Cases — Forbes
- Internet Censorship in India: Peeking Under the Hood — Devdutta Mukhopadhyay, Internet Freedom Foundation
- The Cost of Trump’s Assault on the Press and the Truth — David Remnick, The New Yorker
- Emmanuel Macron’s press-freedom hypocrisy — Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review
- Online Attacks on Women Journalists Leading to ‘Real World’ Violence, New Research Shows — Julie Posetti, Jackie Harrison, and Silvio Waisbord, The International Center for Journalists
- Syria: Two Years Since Raed Fares’ Assassination, but His Murderers Remain Anonymous — Mohammad Bassiki, Ali Al-Ibrahim, and Ahmad Haj Hamdo, SIRAJ
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