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 rare interview, Tianwang 64 journalist Wang Jing told CPJ about her alleged torture at the hands of Chinese authorities during her nearly five-year imprisonment for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” She is now seeking asylum in the United States. China is the world’s worst jailer of journalists and authorities continue to harass journalists even after they go free. Foreign correspondents in the country face COVID-19-related restrictions and expulsions. This week, authorities’ harassment of the BBC’s John Sudworth led him to flee to Taiwan.
In another harrowing account from a journalist who was jailed, cartoonist Kabir Kishore told CPJ he was tortured while imprisoned in Bangladesh under the country’s Digital Security Act. Days before his release, his colleague Mushtaq Ahmed, a co-accused in the case against Kishore, died in custody. “If you harass people for cartoons, for art, you are controlling people, the rights of people,” Kishore said. Separately in Bangladesh, at least 17 journalists were injured covering protests.
Global press freedom updates
- Journalist Reem Abdellatif spoke to CPJ about challenges female journalists face in the Gulf
- Chilean National Television reporter and camera operator shot and wounded
- Belarus police detain and fine at least 16 journalists over protest coverage, ties to foreign news outlets
- Russian journalist Vasiliy Vaysenberg threatened over report on electoral official’s salary
- Montenegro court rejects journalist Jovo Martinović’s appeal
- Journalist Adão Ramalho assaulted, escapes abduction attempt in Guinea-Bissau
- Myanmar military arrests three Kanbawza Tai News staffers in late-night raid
- Kazakh journalist Aigul Utepova tried in relation to political coverage
- Algerian journalist Abdelhakim Setouane sentenced to six months in prison
- Family of slain Turkish journalist Hrant Dink vows to appeal trial verdict
- CPJ, partner organizations call on Council of Europe to take action against SLAPP lawsuits. Separately, the E.U. adopts new export control rules on surveillance technology
To mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Anton Hammerl, the widow of the Austrian-South African photojournalist launched a campaign for accountability. Government forces shot and killed Hammerl in eastern Libya on April 5, 2011. Three journalists traveling with him, Manuel Varela, Clare Gillis, and James Foley, were detained by Libyan authorities for weeks; they announced Hammerl’s death after they were released. After years of inaction and unanswered questions, his family deserves the truth. Show your solidarity on Twitter by tagging the handle @justice_4_anton and using the hashtag #JusticeForAnton.
Happy Birthday to us! April 3 marks 40 years of CPJ’s work to defend the press worldwide. Learn more about our campaigns and our impact, and how you can support us.
- Want to know more about the global state of press freedom? Tune in April 8 for a lecture at the City College of San Francisco by CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon on “Global Threats to Journalists: Impact and Challenge.” Register for the virtual event here.
- The combination of disinformation and online harassment has made the digital landscape increasingly hostile to the press, particularly for women journalists. On April 8, CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney Radsch will speak to this challenge in a discussion with the Pacific Council on International Policy. Register here.
What we are reading
- No Excuse for Abuse: What Social Media Companies Can Do Now to Combat Online Harassment and Empower Users – Viktorya Vilk, PEN America
- At the border, access is no substitute for humanity – Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review
- Life Interrupted: Centering the Social Impacts of Network Disruptions in Advocacy in Africa — Tomiwa Ilori, Global Network Initiative
- Post-Magufuli, will Tanzania review its repressive online content regulations? — Global Voices Sub-Saharan Africa
- Beijing Is Getting Better at Disinformation on Global Social Media — Sarah Cook, The Diplomat
- Press Freedom Index Report – 2020 Uganda: Resilience: Media in the Face of COVID-19 and Elections — Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda
- Surveillance trends within the MENA region: Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Jordan — Gulf Centre for Human Rights
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