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.
CPJ joined 10 other press freedom and human rights groups on Monday in calling on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to take immediate and decisive action to secure the release of Jimmy Lai, founder of the now-shuttered pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and a British citizen.
Lai, 75, has spent more than 1,000 days behind bars in Hong Kong. The release of Lai, who is facing charges that could lead to life imprisonment, is a fundamental step to safeguard press freedom in Hong Kong.
The groups urge the U.K. government to use all available public and private channels and international fora like the U.N. General Assembly and the Human Rights Council to state that the government wants the release of Lai, CPJ’s 2021 Gwen Ifill Awardee. The groups also asked Sunak to make a public statement calling on the Hong Kong government to release all journalists wrongly detained for their work and for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
🗯️ “In imprisoning a man who embodies Hong Kong’s rise, authorities in the city are showing the world they no longer tolerate the very things that once made it so great: free speech, the rule of law and a love for liberty,” Sebastien Lai, Jimmy’s son, wrote in a New York Times guest essay on Thursday.
- Belarusian court sentences journalist Vyacheslau Lazarau to five-and-a-half years on extremism charges
- CPJ condemns jail sentence for head of Hong Kong journalists’ group Ronson Chan
- Gambian journalist Bakary Mankajang arrested, charged over reporting on killings in Senegal
- CPJ condemns charging, detention of DRC journalist Stanis Bujakera
- Kazakhstan publishes “foreign agent” register with names of journalists and media outlets
- Three Ethiopian journalists beaten and detained while covering protest in Tigray
- CPJ calls for accountability after Chilean journalist is shot covering military coup protest
- Two Prague-based Russian journalists threatened, fear surveillance
This week, 80 organizations called on the European Parliament to help protect journalists from spyware in the draft European Media Freedom Act.
In a joint letter, the organizations state: “Current protections in the law are de facto completely ineffective,” and call for the law to explicitly and unconditionally prohibit the use of spyware against journalists.
Journalists and their sources are not free and safe if they are spied on. In mid-September, some 500 journalists wrote to members of the European Parliament, calling on them to introduce an absolute ban on surveillance of the press through spyware.
Learn more about spyware:
Read CPJ’s special report “Zero-Click Spyware: Enemy of the Press”
Review CPJ’s safety advisory on how journalists can protect themselves from spyware
Read our full recommendations for governments and international bodies to protect journalists against spyware, including our call for export controls on spyware technology
Learn more about press freedom in the European Union in CPJ’s special report “Fragile Progress”
What we are reading
- ‘Don’t be scared,’ My father said before he was led away in Hong Kong — Sebastien Lai, The New York Times
- Why investigative reporters should look for the ‘termites’ eroding democracy — Rowan Philp, Global Investigative Journalism Network
- Back to the future in Slovakia — Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review
- Cooking up a new legal media environment in Lebanon proves a complicated recipe — Chrystine A. Mhanna, Raseef22
- Press freedom means controlling the language of AI — Mike Ananny and Jake Karr, Nieman Lab
- How Russia’s press freedom has deteriorated over the decades since Putin came to power — Kaela Malig, FRONTLINE
A closer look | CPJ’s most-read features in September
- ‘Network abuse’: Attacks on 3 media sites involved services of US, UK firms — Senior Africa Researcher Jonathan Rozen
- ‘Breathtakingly hard’: Iranian journalist Saeede Fathi on 2 months in Evin Prison — Middle East and North Africa Program Staff
- Iran’s journalists in dire straits one year after protest crackdown — Middle East and North Africa Program Staff
- Cyberattackers used US company RayoByte in efforts to crash media sites — Senior Africa Researcher Jonathan Rozen
Do you have an Amazon Alexa-enabled device? Enable CPJ's flash briefing skill to stay up to date with the latest press freedom news from around the world.