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.
Myanmar’s military junta is holding at least 40 journalists behind bars as of April 28, according to CPJ’s preliminary investigations. Many of the detained journalists have been denied access to lawyers or family since their arrests, and at least two are foreign journalists. “Myanmar’s military regime has almost overnight become one of the worst jailers of journalists worldwide,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. Authorities also announced a ban on all satellite television and have implemented internet shutdowns – a restriction that harms the press and public alike globally, as CPJ’s Washington Advocacy Manager Michael De Dora detailed in a recent op-ed for IPS.
In Belarus, parliament recently passed legal amendments that threaten press freedom. The amendments will need to be approved by the constitutional court and signed by President Aleksandr Lukashenko. This morning, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, Gulnoza Said, testified on press freedom in Belarus to the U.S. Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
Global press freedom updates
- Iraqi Kurdish court upholds 6-year jail terms for journalists Sherwan Sherwani and Guhdar Zebari
- CPJ calls on Colombian security forces to ensure safety of journalists covering demonstrations
- Equipped by forensics technology from U.S. and Israeli firms, police in Botswana search journalists’ phones for sources, including that of Oratile Dikologang, who alleges suffocation by police and faces jail time over Facebook posts
- CPJ expresses concern over French journalist Olivier Dubois, missing in Mali
- U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Lindsey Graham introduced the bipartisan International Press Freedom Act of 2021
- Journalists covering mass shootings in the U.S. spoke with CPJ about the toll on their mental health
- Somali security forces detain and assault journalists and raid media outlet
- Zambian Patriotic Front supporters attack two journalists
- Ukrainian journalist Sergiy Nikishin attacked while attempting to cover event violating COVID-19 restrictions
- Cuban journalist Mary Karla Ares detained over protest coverage
- Kazakh journalist Aigul Utepova convicted of participating in banned political groups
- Angolan editor Francisco Rasgado facing prison, $1.5 million damages in criminal defamation case
- Kyrgyz journalist Kanat Kanimetov questioned, family harassed by authorities
- Iraqi Kurdish authorities question Assyrian National Broadcasting manager, shutter outlet
- Greek police arrest three suspects in alleged assassination plot of journalist Kostas Vaxevanis
- Peruvian authorities threaten to seize documents from Ojo Público on corruption reporting
Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director, met with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield this week to discuss global concerns, and encouraged the administration to make press freedom a priority, as CPJ outlined in our detailed recommendations to the Biden administration.
Separately, CPJ Advocacy Associate Yeganeh Rezaian shared her story on World Press Freedom Day in an op-ed for The Globe and Mailon how the Iranian regime has weaponized propaganda to justify retaliation against journalists, grossly mischaracterizing her and her family. In an op-ed for Univision, Jan-Albert Hootsen, CPJ’s Mexico representative, detailed the dire environment for journalists in Mexico, one of the deadliest countries for journalists in the Western Hemisphere, and called on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his administration to prioritize protection of journalists.
What we are reading
- Spyware Threatens Press Freedom’s Privacy Imperative — CPJ Senior Africa Researcher Jonathan Rozen, IPS
- 5 takeaways from the Reporters Committee’s 2020 Press Freedom report — Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
- They’ve been beaten, trolled, threatened with sexual violence but refuse to be silenced — Adie Vanessa Offiong, CNN
- The Chilling: Global trends in online violence against women journalists — Julie Posetti, Nabeelah Shabbir, Diana Maynard, Kalina Bontcheva, and Nermine Aboulez, UNESCO
- Morocco’s jailed journalists deserve the Biden administration’s attention — The Washington Post Editorial Board
- ‘There should be no clampdown on information, people can voice grievances on social media’: Supreme Court on Covid crisis — The Indian Express
- What Threatens Press Freedom Today? — Jan-Werner Mueller, Project Syndicate
- Facebook Oversight Board punts on Donald Trump ban — Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review
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