Myanmar Sentences Reuters Pair to 7 Years

In a case watched worldwide, a Myanmar court on Monday sentenced two Reuters correspondents to seven years in prison for violating that country's archaic Official Secrets Act. The two men, Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were detained in December 2017 while investigating the mass killing of a Rohingya villagers. The case has been widely denounced as harassment by press freedom groups and the UN. "The United Nations has consistently called for the release of the Reuters journalists and urged the authorities to respect their right to pursue freedom of expression and information," said Knut Ostby, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar.

Source: CNN

Posted on: September 3, 2018

Nepal Criminal Code Trashes Press Freedom

A new Nepal criminal code that came into effect August 17 threatens to severely restrict press freedom in that Himalayan country, according to GIJN member Center for Investigative Journalism, Nepal and Media Action Nepal. The new laws criminalize such journalistic activity as recording and listening to conversations, disclosing private information even on public figures, photographing people without consent, and satirizing "that disrespects an individual." The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for immediate revision of the code, which it brands "a giant step backward for press freedom."

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Posted on: August 21, 2018

NY Times Reporter’s Records Seized

A former US Senate Intelligence Committee aide was arrested Thursday in an investigation of classified information leaks where prosecutors also secretly seized years’ worth of a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records. James A. Wolfe was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters, including Times reporter Ali Watkins, who had been in a three-year relationship with Wolfe. A prosecutor notified Watkins on February 13 that the Justice Department had years of customer records and subscriber information from telecommunications companies, including Google and Verizon, for two email accounts and a phone number of hers. Investigators did not obtain the content of the messages themselves.

Source: New York Times

Posted on: June 8, 2018

Censored: China, Ukraine, Turkey, Bahrain, Philippines

The Center for International Media Assistance published a report this week by researcher Daniel Arnaudo, analyzing case studies in Ukraine, Turkey, the Philippines, Bahrain and China, which shows how new forms of online censorship have undermined freedom of expression and press freedom. Arnaudo found the goal is not always to block users, content or themes, but to attack the democratic discourse, weaken trust in institutions like the media, other governments, the opposition and civil society. Journalists, he notes in the key findings, need the expertise of an entirely new array of actors to protect them from online attacks, including data scientists, digital security experts, and large social media platforms.

Source: CIMA

Posted on: May 25, 2018

New CPJ Campaign to Free Jailed Journos

The Committee to Protect Journalists today launched a new campaign to free the record 262 imprisoned journalists around the world. Based on easily-mailed postcards sent from the CPJ site, the campaign is designed to build support and pressure in the lead-up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3. CPJ is focusing at first on five journalists wrongly imprisoned in China, Republic Congo, Egypt, Kyrgystan and Turkey. You can follow the campaign at #FreeThePress.


Posted on: April 2, 2018

Landmark Judgement for Gambian Media

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delivered a landmark judgment this week, finding the rights of four journalists had been violated by Gambian authorities. The judgment recognized that the country’s criminal laws on libel, sedition and false news interfere with the rights of Gambian journalists, directing that the country “immediately repeal or amend” the laws in line with its obligations under international law.  The exiled journalists -- Fatou Camara, Fataou Jaw Manneh, Alhagie Jobe and Lamin Fatty -- had been arrested and detained by authorities, later fleeing the country out of fear of further persecution.

Source: Media Defence

Posted on: February 15, 2018

CPJ: Trump Damaging Global Press Freedom

The Committee to Protect Journalists' Joel Simon in the New York Times today spared little in his critique of the Trump Administration's anti-press campaign: "In President Trump’s carpet bombing of the news media, it is not just the United States’ global reputation that is collateral damage. Rather, it is the brave journalists on the front line who risk their lives and liberty to bring the world the news. It is to our great shame that they can no longer count on the support of the United States."

Source: New York Times

Posted on: February 26, 2017

Turkey Targets Media, Not Coup Backers

With arrest warrants issued this week for 89 journalists, and the closure of at least 131 newspapers, television and radio stations, publishers and news agencies, it's clear that the Erdogan regime is targeting independent media and not coup supporters. Among the 40 journalists detained this week are leading investigative reporters and independent voices in the Turkish media.

Source: Guardian

Posted on: July 30, 2016

US State Law Protects Kazakh Journalists

In the first test of a shield law to protect journalist sources in Washington state, a U.S. court has ruled that the law applies to reporters from Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. Kazakhstan officials claimed to be hunting hackers associated with a now-exiled opposition newspaper, Respublika. The paper is registered with a Washington internet domain company, and officials wanted registration and ISP records. "Kazakhstan impermissibly seeks information" under state law, a judge ruled.


Posted on: March 22, 2016

Turkey’s Top Paper Taken Over by Govt

In the latest move toward authoritarian control and muzzling a free press, Turkish authorities today shut down and took over the country's largest newspaper, Zaman. The paper managed a final edition, declaring "The Turkish press has experienced one of the darkest days in its history." Zaman chief editor Abdulhamit Bilici was defiant. "I believe that free media will continue even if we have to write on the walls," he said after a police raid Friday. "I don't think it is possible to silence media in the digital age."

Source: BBC News

Posted on: March 5, 2016