Report: Europe Press Freedom In Peril

Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than anytime since the Cold War, according to a new report by the Council of Europe. Journalists increasingly face obstruction, hostility and violence, says the report by partner organisations of the Council's Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists. Among the key problems: impunity protects those behind violent attacks on journalists; legal protections have been weakened; public service media is being undermined; attacks on freelance journalists are up; and the space to hold the powerful to account has been diminished. Urgent actions backed by a determined show of political will are required, the report finds.

Source: Article 19

Posted on: February 15, 2019

OSCE: Harassment of Ismayilova Must End

The Organization for Security and Cooperation, OSCE, this week called for an end to the continued harassment of award-winning investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan. In the latest of years of harassment and arrests, a Baku court has ordered Ismayilova to pay 23,000 Euro in back taxes allegedly owed by her former employer, Radio Free Europe (RFE). For reporting on corruption among Azerbaijan's ruling elite, she has been repeatedly detained, smeared by government-friendly media, accused of treason, tax evasion and theft and and sentenced to 7.5 years in prison based on fabricated charges.

Source: OCCRP

Posted on: December 26, 2018

Nicaragua Media Under Major Assault

The press in Nicaragua is under sustained assault by the embattled government of Daniel Ortega. Also targeted are human rights and watchdog NGOs. The regime has now banned nine NGOs, including GIJN member El Centro de Investigación de la Comunicación, (CINCO), arrested and beaten journalists, shut down a popular TV station and expelled international human rights observers.

Source: IREX, NYT

Posted on: December 24, 2018

Assange Case Raises Press Freedom Fears

The disclosure this week that US prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Wikileaks' Julian Assange could set a dangerous precedent undermining press freedoms. Details remain unclear, but much depends on how Assange will be treated. Although not traditional journalists, what WikiLeaks does can be hard to legally separate from what traditional news groups routinely do -- receiving and publishing classified information -- "exactly what journalists do all the time,” noted Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

Source: New York Times

Posted on: November 17, 2018

US J Schools Condemn Trump Press Attacks

An unusual rebuke by the leaders of 10 leading American journalism schools is condemning the Trump Administration's war on the news media. The White House's recent revocation of the press pass of CNN's Jim Acosta, in particular, has gone too far, they wrote. "Although gratuitous, harsh and insulting reprimands directed at reporters and news organizations that pose inconvenient questions are routine under this administration," says the statement, "the Acosta incident crosses an important line regarding First Amendment protections and press freedom."

Source: UC Berkeley

Posted on: November 16, 2018

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.

Source: CPJ.org

Posted on: April 2, 2018