Malaysian police raid Al-Jazeera’s office, seize computers in escalating legal harassment

Malaysian police raided Al-Jazeera’s Kuala Lumpur office and seized two computers in an ongoing criminal probe into the global broadcaster’s July 3 report on the government’s treatment of undocumented migrant workers during the COVID-19 crisis, news reports said. Six of Al-Jazeera’s Malaysia-based reporters and staff members are being investigated on criminal charges including sedition, defamation, and violation of the country’s Communications and Multimedia Act for the “101 East” program “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown,”reports said. In a statement, Al-Jazeera condemned the raid as a “troubling escalation” and called on Malaysian authorities to end investigations into their journalists.…Read more

Journalist Matiullah Jan abducted in Pakistan 1 day before Supreme Court hearing

Pakistan authorities should conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the disappearance of journalist Matiullah Jan and ensure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. This morning, several unidentified men intercepted Jan’s car in Islamabad’s G-6 Sector, forced him into another vehicle, and drove away, according to news reports, Abdul Razaq Jan, the journalist’s son, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview, and security footage of the abduction, which CPJ reviewed and which was shared on social media. In the footage, about a dozen men are seen exiting at least three vehicles and forcing a…Read more

Sierra Leone journalist Sylvia Olayinka Blyden detained, charged over social media posts

Authorities in Sierra Leone should release journalist Sylvia Olayinka Blyden immediately and drop the charges against her, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On May 1, police arrested Blyden, publisher of the Awareness Times newspaper, at her home in Freetown for alleged “cyber-related” offenses, according to Messeh Leone, a legal activist familiar with the case, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app and phone, and a June 4 police statement, which CPJ reviewed. On May 22, authorities charged Blyden with sedition, defamation, and “perversion of justice” over her social media posts, according to Leone…Read more

Bangladeshi authorities investigate 5 journalists, detain 2 under Digital Security Act for COVID-19 reporting

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on authorities in Bangladesh to immediately and unconditionally release political cartoonist Kabir Kishore and writer and commentator Mushtaq Ahmed and to stop using the Digital Security Act to silence critical reporting on the coronavirus pandemic. On May 6, Kishore, Ahmed, and three other journalists were among 11 people investigated under the Digital Security Act for “spreading rumors and carrying out anti-government activities,” according to news reports Ahmed, a writer and political commentator who recently published an article criticizing the shortage of personal protective equipment for doctors, has been…Read more

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