Opposition supporters rally after Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo February 4, 2011. (Reuters/Suhaib Salem)

Ten years after Arab Spring, journalism more dangerous and deadly in region

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.

Ten years after the Arab Spring, journalists in the Middle East and North Africa confront grave threats while trying to report the news. The historic upheaval has had profound and wide-ranging consequences for press freedom, as authorities and non-state actors use both novel and traditional means to suppress reporting and target individual journalists—including imprisonment, online censorship, and murder.

After making his way across the border by foot, Iranian journalist and 2020 International Press Freedom awardee Mohamed Mosaed sought asylum in Turkey. Mosaed has been sentenced to four years and nine months’ imprisonment in Iran in retaliation for his work. Mosaed told CPJ that when he arrived, he was detained by Turkish police and told he would be returned to Iranian custody. After journalists and advocates around the world spoke out, Turkish officials said deportation “is not on the table.”

Global press freedom updates

  • Egyptian journalists Hamdi al-Zaeem and Ahmed Khalifa detained on false news and terrorism charges
  • Journalist Kilwe Adan Farah detained, accused of murder in Somali state of Puntland
  • Turkish journalist Orhan Uğuroğlu attacked in Ankara. Separately, Turkish police raid Etkin News Agency, arrest reporter
  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights orders Colombia to protect journalist Ricardo Calderón
  • Portuguese police surveilled, interrogated journalists in leak investigation
  • Argentine municipal government files criminal complaint over journalist’s COVID-19 reporting
  • Russian journalist Dmitry Timoshenko repeatedly arrested, fined over protest coverage. Separately, the country’s media regulator announced fines for RFE/RL outlets under expanded “foreign agent” law
  • Nigerian security forces seize journalists’ cameras, delete photos
  • Lebanese journalist Radwan Mortada questioned over port explosion criticism


Award-winning journalist Maria Ressa was handed a new cyber libel charge and warrant as state-orchestrated attacks escalate in the Philippines against her and Rappler, the news organization she founded. In response, more than 80 organizations in the #HoldTheLine coalition publicly condemned the latest charges. Join us in helping to #HoldTheLine!

Hear from Ressa directly when CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon joins her in conversation Monday at an online event hosted by Frontline, “Speaking Truth to Power: Press Freedom in the Age of Disinformation.” Learn more and RSVP.

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