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 a case with disturbing implications for press freedom globally, CPJ’s Senior Africa Researcher Jonathan Rozen’s latest investigation found that web hosting services received emails falsely claiming to be from journalists citing U.S. copyright law, in what appeared to be a move to force news websites to remove a report on Kenya’s gambling industry. The strategy resembles other efforts to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to quash critical journalism online in other countries, from Nigeria to Nicaragua to Ecuador.
In a welcome move toward accountability in the case of slain Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of the suspects, Vincent Muscat, was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for his role, and two additional suspects have been indicted. “Maltese authorities should take all measures to ensure that all the perpetrators of this crime, including its masterminds, are brought to justice,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator.
Global press freedom updates
- Bangladeshi writer Mushtaq Ahmed dies in jail; cartoonist Kabir Kishore allegedly abused in custody
- Iranian journalist Nooshin Jafari begins 4-year jail term on propaganda and insult charges
- Jammu and Kashmir police launch investigations into three journalists
- CPJ condemns Malaysian court conviction, fine of Malaysiakini on contempt charges
- Bangladeshi journalist Borhan Uddin Muzakkir dies of gunshot wounds after police, demonstrators open fire amid political clashes
- Vietnamese reporter Phan Bui Bao Thy detained over critical Facebook posts
- Journalists harassed, threatened with death over Ghana election coverage
- Unidentified armed men ransack home of Ethiopian journalist Lucy Kassa, question her about conflict coverage
- CPJ welcomes sentencing in 2018 arson attack on Serbian journalist Milan Jovanović
- Trinidad and Tobago High Court rules police raid on newspaper violated constitutional press freedom rights
Last year, as the pandemic and civil unrest upended stability globally, CPJ documented one of the worst years for press freedom, with a record number of journalists behind bars and a sharp increase in murders of journalists. This week, CPJ published an interactive map highlighting these attacks in more detail; you can explore the data and stories of journalists imprisoned and killed around the world in 2020 here. And we published an accompanying safety note on ways journalists can help protect themselves when facing arrest or detention. Bookmark and share it here.
The journalist collaborative Forbidden Stories published a series of five videos about the Rappler stories that prompted the Philippines government crackdown on the outlet and its CEO and founder Maria Ressa. View the videos here and join our #HoldTheLine solidarity campaign.
A closer look | CPJ’s most-read features in February
- Meet Mediazona, the punk rock-founded Russian news outlet whose editor was jailed for a tweet — Elena Rodina/CPJ Europe and Central Asia Research Associate
- Irrawaddy editor Aung Zaw speaks to fears of a post-coup media crackdown in Myanmar — Shawn W. Crispin/CPJ Senior Southeast Asia Representative
- How Vietnam-based hacking operation OceanLotus targets journalists — Madeline Earp/CPJ Consultant Technology Editor
- South African journalist Sam Sole on landmark court victory: “2008 surveillance was the tip of the iceberg” — Angela Quintal/CPJ Africa Program Coordinator
- To police, ‘the camera is like a red cloth to a bull’: four journalists on covering Russia’s pro-Navalny protests — Elena Rodina/CPJ Europe and Central Asia Research Associate
What we are reading
- Podcast: Intolerance Against the Media Has Risen Since Modi Came to Power — Sidharth Bhatia in conversation with CPJ Deputy Executive Director Rob Mahoney, The Wire
- I helped build ByteDance’s censorship machine — Shen Lu, Protocol
- As Facebook pulls news in Australia, rural and elderly Australians will be hardest hit — Caroline Fisher, Kerry McCallum, Kieran McGuinness, and Sora Park, Nieman Lab
- Clubhouse in China: Is the data safe? — Jack Cable, Matt DeButts, Renee DiResta, Riana Pfefferkorn, Alex Stamos and David Thiel, Stanford Internet Observatory
- How Investigative Journalism Flourished in Hostile Russia — Ben Smith, The New York Times
- Attacks On Internet Free Speech In Malaysia And Indonesia Demonstrate Why Section 230 Is So Important — Mike Masnick, Techdirt
- The seven African governments using Israeli cyberespionage tools — Suraya Dadoo, African Arguments
- Opinion: I’m an Indian journalist. A video called for me to be hanged for my reporting. — Barkha Dutt, The Washington Post
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