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.
Although she never should have been on trial, CPJ welcomed an Iowa court’s acquittal on Wednesday of journalist Andrea Sahouri, who had been charged with two misdemeanors stemming from her coverage of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. About a dozen other journalists face ongoing legal action in the United States in relation to their reporting, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.
“Reporting is not a crime, and journalists should not be punished for doing their jobs and covering matters of public interest,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martínez de la Serna.
In India, journalists are gearing up to cover legislative assembly elections this spring. To help journalists cover the news safely, CPJ’s latest safety guide includes digital and physical safety advice for reporters, photographers, and newsrooms covering the elections. The guide is available in multiple languages.
Global press freedom updates
- ● Somali journalist Jamal Farah Adan was shot and killed. Separately, a Somali military court sentenced journalist Kilwe Adan Farah to prison
- ● CPJ spoke with female journalists about the challenges they face covering gender-based violence in Russia. Separately, Russian journalist Aleksey Mironov was interrogated and charged over her protest coverage, and journalist Ilya Azar was sentenced to 15 days for allegedly organizing protests
- ● Turkish journalist Levent Gültekin beaten by a mob
- ● Tajikistan RFE/RL correspondents assaulted while covering rising gas prices
- ● Nigerian police attacked journalist Eniola Daniel over photographs of building demolitions
- ● Angolan editor Mariano Brás questioned and investigated over article critical of president
- ● Mexican mayor attempted to drive journalist Albert Amaro off road
- ● Nicaraguan journalist Wilih Narváez and his family were repeatedly harassed and threatened
- ● A Peruvian congressional candidate filed a criminal defamation suit against two journalists over coverage of sexual harassment allegations
- ● Staff of Cuban press freedom group ICLEP lost internet service, fear targeted disruption
- ● Chinese police have repeatedly harassed journalist Lu Yuyu since his release from prison. Separately, China detained family members of Radio Free Asia Uyghur editor Eset Sulaiman
- ● The Myanmar military raided newsrooms, revoked five media outlets’ licenses
- ● Cambodia deported Chinese journalist Shen Kaidong for ‘fake news’ on COVID-19 vaccine sales
- ● Police in Kazakhstan attacked, harassed two journalists covering fire
- ● CPJ spoke to New York Times journalist Nicole Perlroth on the secret trade in tools used to hack the press
CPJ and citizens around the world came together ahead of an arraignment this week calling to #HoldTheLine in support of embattled journalist Maria Ressa and independent media in the Philippines. Ressa faces at least ten cases in retaliation for her critical reporting, and if convicted, could spend a lifetime behind bars. The case threatens the country’s democracy, and the charges against her should be dropped. Join us in amplifying support for Ressa on social media with the hashtags #HoldTheLine and #CourageOn.
CPJ and the Human Rights Foundation, which produced “The Dissident,” a new documentary about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, are co-hosting a virtual panel, “An Invisible Threat: Press Freedom and the Dangers of Spyware,” to discuss digital threats to press freedom and access to information.
The conversation will happen Thursday, March 18, at 12 p.m. EST, and includes Saudi blogger Omar Abdulaziz; “The Dissident” director Bryan Fogel; Al-Jazeera journalist Ghada Oueiss, and CPJ experts. RSVP here.
What we are reading
- Nicaragua’s Press Censorship is “Physical, Legal and Symbolic” — Cindy Regidor, Confidencial
- Women journalists in India lament they do not get adequate support when under attack — Puja Awasthi, Republica
- The Story Behind Her: Journalist Polly Irungu on Taking Up Space as a Black Woman — Ms. Magazine
- Digital Rights in Closing Civic Space: Lessons from Ten African Countries — Institute of Development Studies
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