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 Myanmar, reporters fear a more targeted media clampdown is imminent, Aung Zaw, founder and editor-in-chief of the staunchly independent The Irrawaddy and a 2014 recipient of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award, told CPJ. Since the coup earlier this month, police have shot a journalist with a rubber bullet at a protest and the military has tried to block the internet, social media, and TV news, sparking an outcry.
“We are very much aware that the military has learned from neighboring countries how to muzzle the press,” Aung Zaw told CPJ.
In Russia, the arrest of Mediazona chief editor Sergey Smirnov over a single tweet has become a symbol of the lengths to which Russian authorities are willing to go to censor citizens. CPJ spoke with Mediazona editors about how the staff forges ahead.
“The growth of Mediazona’s audience is not as much on our merit as that of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. The stronger his personal power becomes, the more it irritates a certain part of society… We offer a rather radical alternative,” editor Dmitry Tkachev told CPJ. Meanwhile, a Russian blogger was jailed for 25 days and hospitalized after beginning a hunger strike while in detention.
Global press freedom updates
- In South Africa, courts handed down a landmark judgment condemning surveillance. Journalist Sam Sole of the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism shared his story with CPJ about being surveilled
- Journalists Alvarez Destiné and Méus Jeanril shot as police and armed forces disperse protest in Haiti
- Hong Kong police arrest internet radio host Wan Yiu-sing on sedition charges
- Iran arrests journalist Reza Taleshian Jelodarzadeh
- Bangladesh charges three journalists under Digital Security Act
- Journalist held by Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council since September
- Indian finance authorities raid Newsclick office, homes of editors and managers
- Nigerian news website Peoples Gazette blocked, threatened with legal action
- Former Mexican governor arrested for role in abuse of journalist Lydia Cacho
- CPJ joins call for accountability in attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka
- Uzbek blogger Otabek Sattoriy detained, charged with extortion
This week, CPJ Senior Asia Researcher Aliya Iftikhar joined poet Rupi Kaur and journalist Mandeep Punia for a conversation on the ongoing farmers’ protests and press freedom in India. CPJ has documented threats to the press covering the protests, with multiple journalists arrested since the start of the year. Punia spoke movingly about being arrested while covering protests, and the investigation and potential charges he faces.
Watch the full conversation here.
Journalists looking for safety advice should bookmark our safety note on covering civil disorder.
What we are reading
- Reporting is not a crime. So why has India’s government charged our magazine? — Martand Kaushik and Ahan Penkar, OpenDemocracy
- The Abuse and Misogynoir Playbook — Catherine D’Ignazio, Medium
- Hounded: African journalists in exile — Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Regional Media Programme Sub-Sahara Africa
- amaBhungane’s Rica victory: Big Brother can no longer watch us with impunity — Dario Milo, The Daily Maverick
- The Internet in 2030: Digital Rights Experts on the Decade Ahead — Open Internet for Democracy Initiative
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