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.
In Bangladesh, a court sentenced five people to death for their involvement in the 2015 murder of blogger Avijit Roy, and another to life in prison. The court handed down death sentences to members of the same group for the 2015 murder of Roy’s publisher, Faisal Arefin Dipan. CPJ’s senior Asia researcher, Aliya Iftikhar, welcomed the guilty verdicts, adding, “We do not support the death penalty and urge Bangladesh to hand down humane sentences to these defendants on their appeals.”
In Myanmar, at least six journalists have been detained since February 11 as the military leadership cracks down on the press. The coup government also proposed a law that would require internet service providers to disclose user information to authorities, and to remove content deemed to “cause hatred, destroy unity and tranquility” or be “untruthful news or rumors.”
Global press freedom updates
- Slovak editor Peter Bárdy on ending impunity for journalist Ján Kuciak’s murder, three years on
- Mexican journalist Edgar Leyva in hiding after a shooting attempt. The journalist’s sister and aunt were killed in the attack
- Journalists Katsiaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova handed two-year prison sentence in Belarus; separately, Belarusian authorities raid Belarusian Association of Journalists headquarters, journalists’ homes
- Mozambique expels British journalist Tom Bowker, bans him for 10 years
- DRC journalist detained since December over criminal defamation complaint
- Iraqi Kurdish court sentences journalists to six years in jail
- Turkey sentences four journalists to jail on terror charges
- Philippine journalist Lady Ann Salem remains jailed after dismissal of firearms charges
- Anonymous Telegram channel publishes financial information of Russian journalist Elena Solovyova
- CPJ, Human Rights Watch call on Guatemala to improve press freedom, access to information
Next week we invite you to attend two thought-provoking events that CPJ will participate in. Canadian and U.S. journalists look back at press freedom under the Trump administration at “Speaking Truth to Power,” co-hosted with the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, on Tuesday, February 23, at 7 p.m. EST. Ahead of the event, you can revisit CPJ’s 2020 report, “The Trump administration and the media.”
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST, CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon will introduce a panel discussion hosted by the Knight First Amendment Institute on the new documentary, “The Dissident.” Panelists will discuss international efforts to hold the Saudi government accountable for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. RSVP here and for a link to view the film.
What we are reading
- India has launched a sharp assault on press freedom – but independent media is determined to resist — Kavitha Iyer, Scroll.in
- Escalating Attacks on Journalists in Sri Lanka Demand New Tack from Human Rights Council — Elise Baker and Nushin Sarkarati, JustSecurity
- Haitian journalists injured as nation plunges deeper into turmoil amid constitutional crisis – Jaqueline Charles, Miami Herald
- Why Access to Information is Essential for Democratic Elections in Africa – Dunia Mekonnen Tegegn, Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa
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