Clockwise from top left: Volha Siakhovich, a legal expert with the Belarusian Association of Journalists; Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator; and Gypsy Guillén Kaiser, CPJ’s advocacy and communications director, at a CPJ press briefing on Belarus held June 9, 2021. (CPJ)

In Belarus, authorities are ‘purging the media space’

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As the EU moves forward with sanctions against Belarus, in response to the detention of journalist Raman Pratasevich, CPJ held a press briefing Wednesday to shed light on the broad range of restrictions and reprisals facing journalists there. CPJ noted the upcoming Biden-Putin summit as an opportunity to focus on press freedom and welcomed a recent statement of alarm by UN Special Rapporteurs. “Belarusian authorities have been practically purging the media space…with unprecedented levels of cruelty, using a very systemic approach,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said.

In a flagrant disregard for access to information in Nigeria, authorities ordered Twitter to be blocked in the country starting June 5. The country’s broadcast regulator issued a press release, dated June 6, ordering all broadcast outlets to cease publishing information on Twitter and using it as a news source.

Global press freedom updates

  • Landmine kills two Azerbaijani journalists near Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Afghan TV anchor Mina Khairi killed in car bomb attack
  • CPJ calls on Israeli government to provide evidence relating to news outlet bombings. Separately, Israeli forces detain and assault Al-Jazeera journalist, other reporters in Jerusalem; unknown assailants shoot at the house and car of journalist
  • CPJ calls on Pakistan prime minister to drop plans for new media regulator
  • CPJ welcomes second conviction in case of slain Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas. However, in a disturbing development, Mexican reporter Luis Aguilar was the victim of a knife attack in Pénjamo
  • Ecuadorian journalist Calixto Zambrano survives shooting
  • Chinese journalist Lü Gengsong’s health deteriorating in prison
  • Ugandan authorities detain two journalists on criminal libel charges. Separately, police summon Daily Monitor employees in libel and false news investigation
  • Greek police detain and question Dutch TV crew covering refugees
  • Indian journalist Ganji Raghu arrested for alleged rioting
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina columnist Dragan Bursać and Montenegro journalist Darko Šuković receive death threats
  • Turkish presidency reintroduces press card controls that court found restrictive
  • Southern Transitional Council forces raid Yemeni government-affiliated media outlets
  • Romanian prosecutors question Newsweek Romania and Libertatea over reporting
  • Angolan editors questioned in separate criminal defamation investigations
  • Guatemalan ex-official’s family members sue two journalists under violence against women law


CPJ’s map lists 38 journalists, commentators, and their close associates targeted with spyware, as well as the states suspected in each case and the companies that allegedly supplied the spyware. (CPJ)

CPJ announced this week that it is joining the newly launched MENA Coalition to Combat Digital Surveillance, which will fight for a safe and open internet, support human rights globally, and work to end the sales of digital surveillance tools by repressive governments in the region. The coalition is co-led by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Access Now.

Learn more about digital threats globally in CPJ’s ongoing reporting on how spyware products marketed to governments to fight crime have been used to target and surveil the press, as well as our spyware briefer for policy-makers.

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