Protesters clash with riot police in Moscow, Russia, on January 23, 2021. Police attacked and detained dozens of journalists covering the protests. (AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

Russian police crack down on journalists covering pro-Navalny protests

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Russian law enforcement has detained, beat, and interfered with the work of dozens of journalists covering protests in support of opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, assaulting at least eight and detaining at least 49. Ahead of expected demonstrations on Saturday, police continue trying to intimidate independent journalists covering the demonstrations. CPJ urges Russian authorities to allow journalists to work freely and safely. Reporters looking for safety advice should bookmark this note on covering civil disorder, available in multiple languages, including Russian.

In Pakistan, the Supreme Court ordered the release of Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was previously convicted for the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl. In a deeply disappointing ruling, the judge acquitted him and three others. “Daniel Pearl deserves justice and Sheikh deserves to pay for his crime. Journalists everywhere are less safe today due to this decision,” said CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, Steven Butler.

Global press freedom updates

  • Journalist Marilú Capa shot, severely injured in Ecuador
  • Lebanese security forces assault reporter Ibrahim Fatfat amid protests in Tripoli
  • Egyptian cartoonist detained after publishing video on Arab Spring anniversary
  • Ghanaian soldiers detain three Joy News employees, delete reporting footage
  • Indian journalist Neha Dixit receives threatening calls, break-in attempt
  • Pakistan court suspends regulator’s ban on BOL News broadcaster
  • Though President Trump is out of office, CPJ found that animosity toward the press among some of his supporters is likely to persist


CPJ is excited to partner with the new Digital Platform for Safety of Journalists in Africa launching this week. The platform will provide a space to monitor and report attacks on journalists and to ensure perpetrators are held accountable. Journalists in the region face a myriad of threats, with 45 journalists imprisoned in Sub-Saharan Africa in CPJ’s global 2020 census. CPJ Emergencies has a wealth of resources for journalists in the region or planning a trip, including a safety kit with tips on physical, digital, and psychosocial safety.

The launch event, hosted by UNESCO, will kick off January 29 at 10 a.m. (GMT +2), and registration is still open.

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