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ARCHIVES: Press Freedom Overview

January 28, 2011

Press marks cruel anniversary in Sri Lanka

A year ago last January, Sri Lankan cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda mysteriously disappeared. Two years ago this month, independent TV station Sirasa was bombed with military precision - a couple of days before well-known editor Lasantha Wickrematunge , who was critical of his government's war against the Tamil Tigers, was killed. Today, none of the cases have been solved, and no one has been brought to justice. Sri Lanka's Free Media Movement (FMM) and other IFEX members have launched a series... MORE
December 10, 2010

Iran, China drive prison tally to 14-year high

Iran’s sustained crackdown on critical voices and China’s brutal suppression of ethnic journalism have pushed the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide to its highest level since 1996, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ identified 145 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of nine from the 2009 tally. Iran and China, with 34 imprisoned journalists apiece, are the world’s worst jailers... MORE
September 7, 2010

And now private sector companies gun for journalists in China

Chinese journalists are increasingly finding themselves the targets of threats and censorship by private-sector companies (and some state companies as well). Several cases with serious implications for press freedom in China have illustrated this privatisation of censorship and violence against journalists in the past few weeks. The phenomenon is not new, but it is tending to grow in an alarming manner. In one case, two journalists had a run-in with the police for writing a story about a... MORE
August 13, 2010

Bouterse’s installation as Suriname president is impunity for past murders of journalists

Desi Bouterse, sworn in Thursday as President of Suriname, continues to be charged with the murders of five journalists in 1982, while he was dictator. A soldier by profession, Bouterse has been returned to power by an election. He first came to power in a coup on February 25, 1980 and went on to run the country with an iron hand for two periods, 1980-1987 and 1990-1991, violating fundamental human rights with no compunction. The five journalists were among a total of 15 pro-democracy activists... MORE
August 5, 2010

Crimes against journalists not being punished in Honduras

In Honduras, the political condition is so bad that criminals are able to kill journalists freely with no worries. In a matter of weeks, seven journalists have been murdered and the Honduran authorities have been tardy in their attempts in pursuing the killers. Spanning from the beginning of March till mid June, seven murders is a disconcerting count during such a short time in a country with a population of just 7.5 million. With most of the murders being clear assassinations carried out by... MORE
July 9, 2010

Wiretap bill spurs debate and protests in Italy

Silvio Berlusconi is sending out a message as he and his allies fall victim to a string of embarrassing phone call leaks: Stop listening. The Italian premier is pressing a bill to limit the use of investigative wiretaps that have been the source of numerous scandals, but there is fierce opposition to curbing official eavesdropping in one of the world's most wiretapped nations. Magistrates warn the contentious legislation winding through parliament would damage their fight against the Mafia,... MORE
September 22, 2009

Eritrea: World’s biggest prison for journalists since September 2001 round-ups

Eritrea now has at least 30 journalists and two media workers behind bars, which means that, exactly eight years after the round-ups of September 18, 2001 that put an end to free expression, it has achieved parity with China and Iran in terms of the number of journalists detained. The three most important waves of arrests of the past eight years were in September 2001, November 2006 and February 2009. Thirty journalists and two media workers are currently detained, without trial. “Eritrea’s... MORE
September 17, 2009

Journalists in Kandahar live in fear of retribution for their reporting

Long destabilised by efforts to defeat the Taliban, the southern Afghanistan province of Kandahar has become even more dangerous since the recent presidential elections. Besides the daily threat of being caught up in an attack by insurgent groups, several local journalists say they fear beatings, detentions, or worse in retribution for their reporting. Journalists say they are particularly concerned about threats from officials connected with the provincial council, which is headed by your... MORE
September 10, 2009

Qaddafi celebrates 40 years of rule while media repression goes on

As Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi held six days of lavish parties, plays, concerts and exhibitions to celebrate the bloodless coup that brought him to power on September 1, 1969, it was unlikely his international guests would have asked about Libya's abysmal press freedom record and all the journalists who have been disappeared, tortured or killed in the past 40 years. Libyans who are critical of Qaddafi's regime are still disappeared, authorities destroy opposition websites, there are no... MORE
July 22, 2009

Morocco: Less jail sentences, but more libel cases during King Mohammed's reign

Real progress at the start of King Mohammed’s reign in Morocco has been followed by reverses and tension, especially from 2002 onwards. Thursday marks the 10th anniversary of Mohammed VI’s accession to the throne on July 23, 1999. The priority continues to be a thorough overhaul of the press code, which is much too severe, says Reporters sans Frontières (RSF), which has carried out an evaluation of the state of press freedom in Morocco. In the past 10 years, Moroccan journalists have been... MORE