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 March 31, CPJ joined more than 30 global press freedom groups and news organizations in a letter to Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, calling for the immediate release of Wall Street Journal reporter and U.S. citizen Evan Gershkovich.
The letter said Gershkovich’s “unwarranted and unjust arrest is a significant escalation in [the Russian] government’s anti-press actions,” reiterating that he is a journalist, not a spy, and should be released immediately and without conditions.
On Tuesday, Gershkovich was granted access to his lawyer, who confirmed he was in good health.
You can tweet your support of Gershkovich by clicking this link.
Global press freedom updates
- Journalists attacked, harassed while reporting from Ukraine monastery
- Journalist Alyaksandr Mantsevich charged with ‘discrediting Belarus’
- German journalist David Janzen’s home vandalized after reporting on far-right
- CPJ calls for French authorities to probe suspected sabotage of journalist Morgan Large’s car
- Bangladesh authorities open investigation into exiled journalist Abdur Rab Bhuttow, harass family members; CPJ calls on Bangladesh authorities to cease harassing staff of Prothom Alo newspaper
- Burkina Faso expels journalists Sophie Douce and Agnès Faivre
- Ethiopian authorities detain journalists Getenet Ashagre and Aragaw Sisay
- Algerian authorities sentence journalist Ihsane el-Kadi to 5 years in prison, dissolve outlets Radio M and Maghreb Emergent
- Taliban shut down women-run broadcaster Radio Sada e Banowan, seal office
Journalists covering protests carry out a crucial public service, and authorities must cease threatening or detaining them. CPJ calls for accountability in attacks on members of the press covering protests last month in two separate countries—France and Kenya.
Demonstrations broke out throughout France on March 16 after the government raised the retirement age by two years. Over the ensuing weeks of protests, police officers have attacked, harassed, or detained multiple journalists. “French authorities should conduct a swift, thorough, and transparent investigation into recent police attacks on journalists covering protests and hold those responsible to account,” said Attila Mong, CPJ’s Europe representative.
CPJ also calls for thorough and credible investigations against recent attacks on journalists covering protests in Kenya, where protests took place on three different days between March 20 and 30. Police and members of the public harassed and physically assaulted journalists covering the demonstrations, and at least two were briefly detained. In a statement, President William Ruto promised to “deal with” deliberate attacks on the press.
“Verbal commitments to press freedom and journalists’ safety in Kenya are welcome, but they ring hollow without concrete steps to hold the police and members of the public who harassed and assaulted journalists accountable for their actions,” said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative.
- The unimaginable horror of a friend’s arrest in Moscow — Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker
- State of impunity: The persistence of violence and human rights violations in South Sudan — United National Human Rights Council
- Urgent: Understanding and responding to global emerging news threats — Dr. Courtney C. Radsch, Internews
- The arrest of an American journalist in Russia is awful. For me, it’s also painfully personal — Margaret Sullivan, The Guardian
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