Bangladeshi journalist held in Jordan without lawyer since April

Jordanian authorities should immediately release Bangladeshi journalist Selim Akash and drop any charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On April 14, three men in plainclothes arrested Akash, a reporter for the Bangladeshi satellite broadcaster BanglaTV and news website Jago News, in front of his house in Amman, according to a report by Jago News and a member of the journalist’s family who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. The family member said the men did not identify themselves, did not state a reason for the arrest, and did…Read more

Nigerian journalist detained by security forces, interrogated over sources

Nigerian authorities should cease their intimidation of journalist Saint Mienpamo Onitsha and ensure that security forces permit the press to work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At about 1 a.m. on May 9, four masked Department of State Services agents forced their way into the home of Onitsha, the founder of Naija Live TV, an independent news website, in Yenagoa, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Bayelsa state, blindfolded him, and drove him around for more than three hours before bringing him to the department’s local headquarters, according to the journalist, who…Read more

South African police assault, charge journalist Paul Nthoba after he photographs COVID-19 lockdown

Authorities in South Africa should conduct a swift investigation into the beating of journalist Paul Nthoba and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On May 15, at least four police officers in Meqheleng, in Free State province, beat Nthoba, the owner and editor of the weekly Mohokare News local newspaper, who had photographed them while they were on patrol enforcing the area’s COVID-19 lockdown, according to news reports and the journalist, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. The officers later charged Nthoba with obstructing law enforcement under a COVID-19 regulation…Read more

Indian journalist Dhaval Patel arrested, charged with sedition

Following his arrest, authorities in Gujarat must immediately release journalist Dhaval Patel and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. On May 11, police in Ahmedabad, in western Gujarat state, detained Patel and yesterday charged him with sedition and spreading false news amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to his lawyer Anand Yagnik, who spoke to CPJ over the phone, and news reports. The charges stem from a news article Patel, editor of the Face of Nation news website, published on May 7 alleging that Gujarat’s chief minister may be replaced after displeasure of his handling…Read more

Missing Bangladeshi journalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol arrested after being found near Indian border

Police in Jessore, Bangladesh, should immediately release journalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol from custody and drop all charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Kajol, a photographer and editor of the biweekly Pakkhakalmagazine, had been missing since March 10, one day after a criminal defamation suit under the Digital Security Act was filed against him and 31 others, as CPJ reported at the time. Today, the Border Guard Bangladesh arrested Kajol at the Benapole Port Police Station on charges of trespassing, saying that he was caught illegally crossing the border from India, according to news reports.…Read more

Police in India’s Tamil Nadu state arrest journalist over COVID-19 coverage

Authorities in India’s Tamil Nadu state must immediately release journalist Andrew Sam Raja Pandian and drop their investigation into his outlet’s coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police arrested Pandian, founder and chief executive of the SimpliCity news portal, yesterday in the city of Coimbatore, and accused him of violating the Epidemic Diseases Act and two sections of the penal code, according to news reports and Tamil Nadu-based journalist Sandhya Ravishankar, editor of news website The Lede, who is familiar with the case and spoke to CPJ in a phone interview. The…Read more

Pakistan broadcast regulator cuts distribution of Geo News after CEO’s arrest

Pakistan authorities should immediately lift restrictions placed on Geo News and allow it to broadcast freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the country’s broadcast regulator, contacted cable distributers throughout the country today and ordered them to stop transmitting Geo TV, the Urdu TV news channel owned by Jang Media Group, or else switch its broadcasts to a higher channel that is harder for viewers to find, according to news reports and Azhar Abbas, managing director of the broadcaster, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. The regulator did…Read more

Journalist missing in Bangladesh following defamation suit

Bangladesh authorities should spare no effort to locate missing journalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol, and should not allow a criminal defamation case to proceed against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Yesterday, the journalist’s family filed a report with the Chawkbazar Police Station in Dhaka, the capital, stating that Kajol, a photographer and editor of the biweekly Pakkhakal magazine, had not been since March 10, according to news reports. Kajol disappeared one day after he and 31 others were named in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Saifuzzaman Shikhor, a member of parliament from the ruling…Read more

Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo jailed since January on defamation charges

Authorities in Cameroon should immediately release journalist Martinez Zogo, drop all charges against him, and reform the country’s penal code to decriminalize defamation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On January 17, judicial police officers in Yaoundé, the capital, arrested Zogo at the offices of Radio Amplitude FM, a privately owned broadcaster where he works as editor-in-chief, Zogo’s lawyer, Joseph Kenmoe, told CPJ in a phone interview. Authorities charged him with criminal defamation following a complaint filed by Sylvie Biye Essono, the ex-wife of a government official, which alleged that Zogo had…Read more

Journalists covering elections in Dhaka, Bangladesh attacked, harassed

The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reports that several journalists were attacked, threatened, or had equipment taken while covering elections in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, on February 1. At least 15 journalists were beaten, threatened, denied access to polling stations, or had equipment broken or taken while covering the mayoral and ward councilor vote, according to reports. Separately, over 30 complaints of election irregularities, including voters being denied entry to polling stations or people standing outside centers with firearms, were reported to the Election Commission on February 1, according to the Daily Star.  The…Read more