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 less than a week, journalists in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory have experienced an alarming onslaught of attacks. Israel bombed the offices of at least 18 media outlets, including a tower housing The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera. Also, Palestinian journalist Yousef Abu Hussein was killed when an Israeli air strike hit his home. In the midst of massive civilian suffering and a humanitarian crisis, CPJ calls on Israel to stop attacking the press and ensure local and international journalists can work safely and freely. “Journalists have an obligation and duty to cover unfolding events in Gaza and it would be illegal for the Israel Defense Forces to use military means to prevent it,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.
In Belarus, press crackdowns continue, as authorities raided the offices of the popular news website Tut.by and the homes of several of its journalists, detaining at least three, and blocked the site, which remains offline. The day before, one of Tut.by’s reporters was sentenced to 15 days detention. Local authorities also detained two journalists covering the trial of members of an opposition group.
Global press freedom updates
- Demonstrators throw rocks, firecrackers at news crews in Berlin
- Algerian police arrest at least 16 journalists, reporter Kenza Khattou remains in detention
- Qatar detains Kenyan labor rights blogger Malcolm Bidali without charge
- Unidentified men attack crews with Georgian public broadcaster Pirveli Arkhi
- Bangladeshi authorities arrest journalist Rozina Islam under Official Secrets Act
- Russia freezes RFE/RL bureau’s accounts, designates news website VTimes as ‘foreign agent’
- Venezuelan authorities seize headquarters of El Nacional as damages in defamation suit
- Malaysian cartoonist Zunar investigated over criticism of state official
- French broadcaster director Jean-Jacques Basier threatened over decision to pull Joan of Arc documentary
- New Tajikistan licensing rules restrict independent reporting, increase state fees
- Proposed ‘NGO Law’ threatens press freedom, independent reporting in Guatemala
The number of press freedom violations in the U.S. has jumped dramatically, with 438 physical attacks against journalists and 139 arrested or charged in 2020, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. In response, last year CPJ and the News Leaders Association (NLA) launched the U.S. Press Freedom Accountability Project.
The project provides grants between $2,000 and $5,000 for newsrooms reporting on threats to journalists in the U.S. Non-profit investigative journalism outlet Eye on Ohio is the first to publish a story funded by the project, investigating attacks on local journalists at the hands of law enforcement.
The next deadline for applications is tomorrow, May 21. Learn more here.
What we are reading
- Diary: Shouts, a hurried evacuation, and then the bombs came — Fares Akram, AP
- How Myanmar’s military moved in on the telecoms sector to spy on citizens — Poppy McPherson and Fanny Potkin, Reuters
- ‘If this is a war, just give us the armour’: Why journalists in Maharashtra are protesting — Tanishka Sohdi, NewsLaundry
- Belarus’s channels of civil society are being destroyed. Another just went dark. — Editorial Board, The Washington Post
Do you have an Amazon Alexa-enabled device? Enable CPJ's flash briefing skill to stay up to date with the latest press freedom news from around the world.