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 shocking move, even for Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, authorities in Belarus forcibly diverted a jet to Minsk to arrest journalist Raman Pratasevich. The next day, Pratasevich appeared in a government video apparently confessing to “organizing mass riots.” In an op-ed for CNN, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said stressed how dire the situation is, saying, “Pratasevich’s life could be in danger and the survival of independent media as a whole is at stake.” CPJ calls on the Council of the EU to press Belarus to release Pratasevich, while separately in the country, authorities briefly detained four Tut.by journalists and at least 13 staff remain in custody.
Global press freedom updates
- CPJ calls on Myanmar to release Kamayut Media editor Nathan Maung, news producer Hanthar Nyein. Meanwhile, local authorities arrest U.S. editor Danny Fenster
- Oromia Broadcasting Network journalist Sisay Fida shot and killed in Ethiopia; separately, CPJ condemns Ethiopia’s expulsion of New York Times reporter Simon Marks
- Iranian journalist Najaf Mehdipour imprisoned with no charges disclosed
- Unidentified men attack, bind, and gag Pakistani journalist Asad Ali Toor at his home in Islamabad
- CPJ calls for immediate release of seriously ill Egyptian journalist Gamal al-Gamal
- Israeli journalists assaulted and harassed by protesters and security forces
- Turkmen security officials threaten, harass families of two exiled journalists
- Supporters of Peruvian presidential candidate Pedro Castillo harass, assault two journalists covering rally
- Nicaraguan police raid Confidencial office, briefly detain camera operator Leonel Gutiérrez
- U.K. online safety bill raises censorship concerns and questions on future of encryption
- Canadian police bar journalists from covering anti-logging protests
This week, as people around the U.S. reflected on the impact one year since the murder of George Floyd in police custody, CPJ published our first audio feature, on the implications of the subsequent protests for press freedom. U.S. researcher Katherine Jacobsen explores the factors that led U.S. authorities to violate the rights of many reporters, and spoke with journalists who were targeted and detained. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Soundcloud.
For data and a macro analysis of national press freedom violations, see the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker’s report on restrictions and aggression faced by U.S. journalists covering the Black Lives Matter movement and protests.
Join CPJ next week, on June 4, at the virtual One World Film Festival for a screening and panel conversation on the moving film “Last Chance for Justice,” about Azimjon Askarov, a human rights journalist who died last year while behind bars in Kyrgyzstan.
A closer look | CPJ’s most-read features in May
- Equipped by US, Israeli firms, police in Botswana search phones for sources — Jonathan Rozen/CPJ Senior Africa Researcher
- ‘Trauma makes its way back to you’: Four US journalists on covering mass shootings — Lucy Westcott/James W. Foley Emergencies Research Associate
- Journalists struggle to work amid extended internet shutdowns in Myanmar, Ethiopia, Kashmir — CPJ Africa and Asia Program Staff
- Russia couldn’t block Telegram, but harassment, propaganda make it hostile for journalists — Rebecca Redelmeier and Elena Rodina/CPJ Staff
What we are reading
- Repression and Reciprocity in Russia — Joel Simon, CPJ executive director, Columbia Journalism Review
- Ortega’s Second Attack on Confidencial & Press Freedom — Carlos F. Chamorro, Confidencial
- Killings of Journalists Show Hand of Organized Crime — Saskia Wright, InSight Crime
- La resistencia de la prensa en América Latina [Spanish] — Carlos Martínez de la Serna, CPJ program director, El Pais
- Rural reporters: losing lives without a voice — Parth M.N., People’s Archive of Rural India
- Lukashenko’s Hijacking of the Free Press in Belarus — Ann Cooper, Nieman Reports
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