Bangladeshi Court Upholds Seizure of Journalist’s Passport, Phones

A court in Dhaka refused a request from Bangladeshi journalist Rozina Islam to have the government return her passport, two mobile phones, and personal identification card. Those items were seized earlier this year after Islam, a senior correspondent for the daily newspaper Prothom Alo, was detained for more than five hours at the nation's Health Ministry while reporting on corruption and mismanagement by the country's health agencies. The government claimed she was in violation of the nation's colonial-era Official Secrets Act and had illicit pictures of official documents on her phone, charges she fully denies. Islam could face up to 14 years in prison as well as the death penalty if convicted.

Source: The Daily Star

Posted on: September 20, 2021

New Grant Programs for Environmental Journalism

Two new grants for environmental journalism were just launched by JournalismFund.EU, as part of its Earth Investigations Program. In total, the new grant programs will provide more than €9 million ($10.5 million USD) over the next six years to foster more independent investigative journalism on climate and other environmental affairs issues in Europe. One of the grants is aimed at promoting cross-border collaborations between reporters and news outlets. The other grant targets organizations that are looking to develop more newsroom training and support services. Application rounds are ongoing through 2027, but deadlines for the first investigations grant period is October 27 and the first organization services round is November 3rd.

Source: JournalismFund.EU

Posted on: September 17, 2021

OCCRP Shuts Down Reporting in Russia

Citing the Kremlin's ongoing intimidation campaign against independent journalism, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) announced that it was shutting down operations inside Russia. In a statement posted on its website in Russian, the group noted Putin's government has branded a number of investigative news sites working inside Russia as "undesirable" or foreign agents in the past few months. As a result, OCCRP said it was now offering to move its Russian employees out of the country or find them new jobs.“Our work in Russia now can do more harm than good to local journalists,” explained Drew Sullivan, editor-in-chief of OCCRP. "This does not mean that we will stop writing about large-scale corruption in this country. We just understand that the government, as usual, will punish its own citizens for cooperating with us."

Source: OCCRP

Posted on: September 15, 2021

Apple Releases Emergency Update to Combat Pegasus Spyware

Apple released an emergency update to its operating systems to combat a recently discovered "zero click remote exploit" that it warned could allow Pegasus spyware to infect user's iPhones, Apple Watches, or Mac computers without a single click. Apple recommended all of its iPhone customers immediately download and install the new iOS version — 14.8 — to prevent the user's phone from being tracked and externally controlled. Earlier this summer, Forbidden Stories revealed a worldwide effort to spy on the cellphones of journalists, politicians, and activists via NSO Software's global Pegasus project. “This spyware can do everything an iPhone user can do on their device and more,” warned John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, where the latest Apple flaw was discovered.

Source: New York Times

Posted on: September 14, 2021

900 LatAm Journalists Dead from COVID-19, Half Global Total

More than half of the journalists who have died from COVID-19 globally are from Latin America, with 954 media workers in the region reported to have died due to the virus, out of a total of 1,788 worldwide.
Brazil is the country with the highest number of victims, with at least 280 journalist deaths, ahead of India with at least 270 victims. Other Latin American countries have also seen high figures, with Peru (198), Mexico (120), and Colombia (77) also among the worst-hit reporting communities according to the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign, which pools data from national journalist associations, local media, regional correspondents, and social networks. Zuliana Lainez, general secretary of the National Association of Journalists of Peru, said reporters should remember “that the pandemic is not over and that we should continue to take care of ourselves.”

Source: Source: LatAm Journalism Review

Posted on: September 10, 2021

UK’s TCIJ Offers Online Data Journalism Training Courses

UK's The Centre for Investigative Journalism (TCIJ) is offering two online training courses this fall aimed at boosting reporters' data journalism skills. The first course of four classes, which run daily from September 20 – 24, involves 90-minute hands-on workshops focused on elementary tasks like data collection and pattern recognition. The second session, tailored around "Data Driven Investigations," features two-hour classes held daily from September 27 through October 1. The cost of the courses starts at £290 ($400 USD) each for freelancers or £299 ($412 USD) if you sign up for both. Discounts are available for students as well as reporters working at nonprofits or small media organizations.

Source: The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Posted on: September 7, 2021

Pulitzer Board Awards Special Citation to Afghan Journalists

The Pulitzer Prize Board has awarded Afghanistan journalism workers a special citation to recognize the "great personal risk" those men and women have taken to "create and support journalism that has chronicled decades of life and war." The citation is combined with a $100,000 grant, to be administered by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), to administer emergency relief funds to these journalists and their families. "It's critical in a moment of stark threat to support those Afghans whose bravery, skill, and commitment to the ideals of a free press have helped create so much important journalism in recent decades," said Board co-chairs Katherine Boo, Gail Collins, and John Daniszewski.

Source: Pulitzer Prize Board

Posted on: September 3, 2021

Apply Now to Be the Thomson Foundation’s Young Journalist 2021

The Thomson Foundation has issued a final call for entries for its Young Journalist Award, for reporters under 30 from countries with a gross national income of less than $20,000. All journalists this year must submit an environmental story as part of their submission. Portfolios should contain a mix of investigative and human interest stories and be “revelatory, prompt public debate and have led to, or have the potential to lead to, positive change in society.” Three finalists receive £1,000 learning bursaries or equipment grants.

Source: Thomson Foundation

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Report: Nearly 100 Afghan News Sites Have Shuttered

According to a recent report from Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), roughly 100 private news sites in Afghanistan have now suspended operations under Taliban rule. In addition, RSF finds that new, oppressive rules are being (unofficially) imposed on the media by the Taliban and working journalists are being subjected to harassment, threats, and violence, despite previous promises by the group to respect freedom of the press. "Officially, the new Afghan authorities have not issued any regulations, but the media and reporters are being treated in an arbitrary manner,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Are the Taliban already dropping their masks? We ask them to guarantee conditions for journalism worthy of the name.”

Source: Reporters Sans Frontières

Posted on: August 30, 2021

Russia Brands More as ‘Foreign Agents’

The authorities in Russia have labeled the broadcaster Dozhd and investigative website IStories "foreign agents" ahead of next month’s parliamentary election. The International Press Institute called the designation “the biggest crackdown on independent media in Russia in several years” and called for international condemnation over an "escalating assault on media freedom by the Kremlin." The foreign agent designation effectively blacklists an outlet, deterring funding or advertising and leaving reporters facing possible jail time for their work. The co-chair of the Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union told IPI it represented a “de facto ban from the profession.”

Source: International Press Institute

Posted on: August 26, 2021