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.
On December 10, soldiers in Myanmar arrested photographer Soe Naing after he photographed a “silent strike” protest in Yangon against the country’s military junta government. Citing anonymous friends, colleagues, and family members of the photographer, media reports stated on Tuesday that Soe Naing had died in custody. Those reports did not state any suspected cause of death for the journalist, who was in his 30s.
Also in Myanmar, about 20 soldiers raided the home of Democratic Voice of Burma reporter Aung San Li and arrested him, and a court in Shan state sentenced three Kanbawza Tai News journalists to three years each in prison.
This year, Myanmar became the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists, according to CPJ’s prison census. Read this analysis by Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative, to see how that crackdown took place.
Global press freedom updates
- Ethiopia uses emergency law to ramp up arrests of journalists
- China’s sentencing of Jimmy Lai over Tiananmen Square vigil is “despicable”
- Nine-year sentence for journalist Pham Doan Trang reaffirms Vietnam’s “abysmal” press freedom record
- CPJ speaks out against U.K. ruling to extradite Wikileaks’ Assange, saying it “seriously damages journalism”
- Reporter who covered Duterte drug war killed in the Philippines
- Taliban official and bodyguards beat, detain journalist in Afghanistan
- Lesotho police arrest radio presenter, suspend one station’s license, and raid another
- Togo journalists Ferdinand Ayité and Joël Egah detained over online broadcast
- Unidentified attackers beat Cuban journalist at her home
- Peruvian journalist receives threatening messages, demands to stop reporting on local officials
- Colombian legislature passes anti-corruption bill that threatens press freedom
- Ukrainian investigative journalist’s cars destroyed in alleged arson attack
- Polish court fines journalist for criminal defamation
- Hungary’s Szabolcs Panyi on how Pegasus surveillance has hindered his reporting
Mark your calendars for January 12 and 13, 2022, for the first case hearing in A Safer World For The Truth’s series of People’s Tribunals, to be held in The Hague. A Safer World For The Truth is a collaborative initiative led by CPJ, Free Press Unlimited, and Reporters Without Borders working to fight against global impunity.
The first hearing is on the murder of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge and targeted attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka. RSVP for in-person attendance here. If you cannot attend in person, the case hearing will also be live-streamed here.
Alongside the People’s Tribunal, A Safer World For The Truth publishes reporting and stories. This week, in partnership with OpenDemocracy, they have launched a podcast, “Killing the Truth.” The first episode takes a deep dive into the story of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez Perez, who was assassinated in 2012. Listen on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
What we are reading
- Killing the Truth: The death and life of Regina Martínez Perez — OpenDemocracy and A Safer World For The Truth
- Press freedom: Let journalists work without threats and intimidation — Vincent Maosa, Nation
- Myanmar’s media adapts to the world’s harshest oppression — Philip Smucker, The Diplomat
- ‘I wondered whether a bullet had my name on it’: my terrifying 24-hour journey out of Afghanistan — Akhtar Mohammad Makoii, The Guardian
- Pegasus vs. Predator: Dissident’s doubly-infected iPhone reveals Cytrox mercenary spyware — Bill Marczak, John Scott-Railton, Bahr Abdul Razzak, Noura Al-Jizawi, Siena Anstis, Kristin Berdan, and Ron Deibert, CitizenLab
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