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.
To mark 100 days since the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, CPJ participated in a vigil on Thursday outside the Washington, D.C., offices of Al-Jazeera English. The veteran journalist was fatally shot while covering an Israeli army operation in the West Bank town of Jenin on May 11. CPJ continues to call for an independent, U.S.-led investigation into her killing, a call that we emphasized in a June letter to President Joe Biden.
Meanwhile in Vietnam, the Hanoi People’s High Court will hold an appeals trial on August 25 for imprisoned journalist and CPJ’s 2022 International Press Freedom Awardee Pham Doan Trang, who was sentenced on propaganda charges to nine years in prison in December 2021. Trang was convicted in a one-day trial after being held in pretrial detention for over a year. Vietnamese authorities should not contest Trang’s appeal and release her without terms or conditions that would affect her ability to work as a journalist.
Global press freedom updates
- Ecuadorian journalist Gerardo Delgado Olmedo shot and killed in Manta
- Body of missing Mexican journalist Juan Arjón López found in San Luis Río Colorado
- Jordanian journalist Adnan Al-Rousan arrested over critical columns posted on Facebook
- Journalist Salah Attia detained in Tunisia since June arrest; sentenced to 3 months in prison
- VOA correspondent briefly detained covering attempted election protest in Angola
- Two journalists in Mozambique attacked by police while covering officer’s funeral
- Congolese journalist Dimanche Kamate arrested, detained over broadcast about Rwanda, protests
- Two Somaliland journalists arrested while covering protests
- Security forces in Aden detain Yemeni journalist Ahmed Maher
- Zimbabwe’s censorship board bans Danish documentary about opposition leader
- South Sudan journalist Diing Magot released on bail, charged
- Chinese journalist Mao Huibin arrested after publishing articles about Tangshan assault
- Tajikistan authorities detain Pamiri journalists Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva and Khushruz Jumayev for more than 2 months
On Tuesday, CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg moderated a panel discussion on CPJ’s new special report “Afghanistan’s media crisis: One year after the Taliban’s return to power,” featuring Richard Bennett, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch Asia division researcher Fereshta Abbasi, and exiled Afghan freelance journalist Shafi Karimi. The panelists urged the international community to prioritize press freedom in all discussions with the Taliban and to create more infrastructure for resettlement of exiled Afghan journalists.
Watch the full panel discussion on YouTube.
Along with the International Center for Journalists, Knight Foundation, and the Inter American Press Association, CPJ is organizing a panel discussion on Wednesday, August 24, in support of Guatemalan journalist and president of the elPeriódico newspaper, José Rubén Zamora, who has been in pre-trial detention since July 29 and is facing charges of money laundering, blackmail, and influence peddling. Reporting on corruption is not a crime, and Guatemalan authorities must immediately drop the charges against Zamora, release him, and stop using the criminal justice system to attack the press. Zamora was honored with CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award in 1995.
The virtual event will take place on August 24, at 3 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. Guatemala City time. RSVP for the event here.
CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg was invited to participate on a panel at the 2023 SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, titled, “The State of Journalism: Funding, Safety and Trust”. Given the popularity of the annual event and the limited time available, SXSW uses a system wherein the public can vote on which proposed panels they want to include in programming. You can learn more and vote for Ginsberg’s panel, organized by public relations platform Muck Rack, here.
What we are reading
- I smuggled my laptop past the Taliban so I could write this story: My escape from Afghanistan — Bushra Seddique, The Atlantic
- A year after the Taliban takeover, my heart remains in Kabul — Fereshta Abbasi, The Hill
- Ranna Afzali has kept a diary since Kabul fell to the Taliban. This is her powerful story — Ranna Afzali, The Telegraph
- Guatemala’s march toward authoritarianism — Stephen McFarland, Americas Quarterly
- The case against journalist José Rubén Zamora was built in 72 hours — Julie López, El Faro
- The Kenyan kakistocracy — Nanjala Nyabola, The Nation
- India at 75 — PEN America
- The state of the news media — Reginald Rumney, South African National Editors’ Forum
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