WPFD 2021: Attacks on press freedom growing bolder amid rising authoritarianism

Authoritarian and illiberal-minded regimes are becoming increasingly emboldened in their efforts to stifle independent media, the International Press Institute (IPI) warned ahead of World Press Freedom Day 2021. Brutal crackdowns on the press are unfolding openly across the globe. After seizing power in a coup on February 1, Myanmar’s military junta has arrested more than 70 journalists, revoked licences of independent media outlets, and repeatedly blocked internet access. In Belarus, the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko launched a campaign to criminalize reporting on protests against last year’s fraudulent election. Local watchdogs have recorded over 550 attacks on journalists, including…Read more

Bangladesh journalist Abu Tayeb jailed under Digital Security Act

Bangladesh authorities should immediately and unconditionally release journalist Abu Tayeb, and reform the country’s draconian Digital Security Act, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At about 10 p.m. on April 20, police in the central city of Khulna arrested Tayeb, a correspondent for the broadcaster NTV and Khulna Gazette and Dainik Loksomaj newspapers, after the city’s mayor, Talukder Abdul Khalek, filed a Digital Security Act case against him, according to multiple news reports. Yesterday, a Khulna court denied Tayeb’s request for bail and sent him to jail pending an investigation into that complaint, those reports said. Several lawyers are…Read more

Professor Robert Pinker receives Astor Award for outstanding contribution to press freedom

The Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust (CPUMT) has presented the 2020 Astor Award to Professor Robert Pinker for his outstanding contribution to press freedom across the Commonwealth. The Astor Award is one of the most prestigious – and one of the oldest – press freedom awards in the world. First presented over 50 years ago in 1970, previous winners represent a remarkable and distinguished cross-section of individuals who have made an enormous contribution to the media in the Commonwealth, particularly in the field of press freedom.  Since 1970 winners have included figures such…Read more

Arsonists torch office of independent newspaper Canal de Moçambique in Mozambique

Authorities in Mozambique should conduct a quick and thorough investigation into the arson attack on Canal de Moçambique, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At about 8 p.m. yesterday, in the capital, Maputo, unidentified individuals broke into the office used by the independent weekly investigative newspaper and its daily digital publication CanalMoz, poured gasoline on the furniture and equipment, and set it ablaze, according to news reports. The fire destroyed the newsroom, furniture, and all the equipment used for content production, as well as the paper’s archive, according to a statement by the Mozambican chapter of the…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

RSF Publish 2020 World Press Freedom Index

The 2020 World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), shows that the coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism, with the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting and amplifying the many crises that threaten the right to freely reported, independent, diverse and reliable information. This 2020 edition of the Index, which evaluates the situation for journalists each year in 180 countries and territories, suggests that the next ten years will be pivotal for press freedom because of converging crises affecting the future of journalism: a geopolitical crisis (due to the aggressiveness…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

Pakistani journalist sentenced to five years in prison under anti-terrorism laws

Pakistani authorities should immediately release and drop all legal proceedings against journalist Nasrullah Chaudhry, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Chaudhry was convicted under anti-terrorism laws and sentenced to five years in prison on December 21 over the alleged possession of banned literature, according to news reports. “The anti-terrorism charges against Nasrullah Chaudhry were always implausible and his conviction is an absurd miscarriage of justice,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Chaudhry should be freed at once, and no journalist should go to prison over possession of magazines or pamphlets.” Chaudhry, a district…Read more

Nigerian journalists charged with criminal defamation, breach of peace

Authorities should drop all charges against journalists Joe Ogbodu and Prince Amour Udemude, and reform Nigeria’s penal code to ensure that journalism is not criminalized, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On October 24, a magistrate court in Asaba, the capital of Nigeria’s southern Delta State, arraigned Ogbodu, an editor with the privately owned news website Big Pen Nigeria, and Udemude, a reporter with the privately owned National Mirror newspaper, on four counts of criminal defamation and one count of disturbing the peace, according to the journalists and a report by Big Pen Nigeria. Defamation and disturbing the…Read more

CPJ publishes 2019 Global Impunity Index

On 29 October, the Committee to Protect Journalists published an important document called "Getting Away With Murder". The 2019 Global Impunity Index highlights the growing problem of countries where journalists are slain but their killers go free. This important report can be accessed here and should be read by all journalists and those that believe in freedom of the media.Read more