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Archive for the ‘CPJ’ Category

More Than 3,500 Petition Iran to Free Journalists, Writers

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More than 3,500 international journalists, writers, and press freedom leaders — are petitioning Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, to immediately release dozens of journalists, writers, and bloggers imprisoned in the country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ website.

Among those who have signed the petition are Martin Amis, Jon Lee Anderson, Margaret Atwood, E.L. Doctorow, Jonathan Franzen, Thomas L. Friedman, Nadine Gordimer, Gwen Ifill, Ahmed Rashid, Jon Stewart and Mario Vargas Llosa.

A coalition of free-expression organizations delivered the petition today to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Petitioners’ names were collected through Facebook and the “Our Society Will Be a Free Society” campaign, a coalition project dedicated to winning the freedom of all journalists jailed in Iran. Additional names of prominent petitioners can be viewed on the campaign Web site.

“We hope those in jail will be heartened by this level of international attention,” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, one of the sponsors of the petition drive. “By collecting these names from all corners of the world, we want to convey to our imprisoned colleagues the depth of our concern and to Iranian authorities the depth of our outrage.”

The petitioners urge Ayatollah Khamenei to release all journalists, writers, and bloggers now behind bars and to uphold the pledge of his predecessor, Sayyed Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini, who said in 1978 on the eve of the revolution: “Our future society will be a free society, and all the elements of oppression, cruelty, and force will be destroyed.”

At least 34 journalists were jailed in Iran on April 1, according to CPJ research. Another 18 were free on short-term furloughs coinciding with the Iranian New Year, but were expected to report back to prison this week. CPJ has been conducting a monthly census of journalists jailed in Iran, now the world’s worst jailer of the press.

The petition effort was organized by a coalition of 16 international free expression groups: CPJ; Index on Censorship; Reporters Without Borders; PEN American Center; International PEN; Canadian Journalists for Free Expression; International Publishers Association; Article 19; World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers; International Federation of Journalists; National Press Club; World Press Freedom Committee; Observatory for the Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation; Institute of Mass Information; International Women’s Media Foundation; and Freedom House.

Those interested in joining the petition may still do so.

Here are capsules of those detained.

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Written by newscycle

April 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Reporter in Somalia Abducted by Group with Ties to Al-Queda

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Militants from the Al-Qaeda-allied insurgent group Al-Shabaab abducted a reporter in Somalia on Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported yesterday.

Ali Yussuf Adan, a reporter with the Somaliweyn Media Center, a private broadcaster, in the town of Wanlaweyn, northwest of the capital Mogadishu, is being held in a prison in the Al-Shabaab-held coastal city of Merca, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists.

The motive behind the abduction is still unknown, Somaliweyn Director Abukar Hassan Kabar told CPJ. The union told CPJ that Adan was picked up on Sunday morning, shortly after reporting Al-Shabaab’s alleged killing of a man accused of being late to a Saturday prayer mandatory under their version of Sharia law.

“The abduction and detention of Ali Yussuf Adan is not justified under any legal system,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “We call on Al-Shabaab to release him immediately.”

Al-Shabaab militants are battling rival Islamist faction Hizbul Islam, and the U.S. and U.N.-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government for control of the country. Al-Shabaab has forced at least five broadcasters off the air in recent months and imposed draconian restrictions—such as banning music and not allowing news to air without prior authorization—on other media outlets across large swaths of southern Somalia, according to the union.

Somalia is one of the world’s deadliest countries for the press, according to CPJ research. Nine journalists were killed for their work in Somalia in 2009.

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February 23, 2010 at 11:22 am

CPJ Reports 68 Journalists Killed in 2009, the Most Ever

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More journalists were victims of work-related deaths this year than in any other year on record as 68 lost their lives, according the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The agency’s year-end analysis, which was released today, shows that the high number was a result of the election-related slaughter of more than 30 media workers in the Philippine province of Maguindanao, the deadliest event for the press in CPJ history.

The old record was 67 deaths, set in 2007, as voilence in Iraq was at its height.

In addition to the 68 recorded deaths, CPJ is continuing its investigation into 20 other journalist deaths worldwide to determine whether they were work-related.

“This has been a year of unprecedented devastation for the world’s media, but the violence also confirms long-term trends,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon on the agency’s website. “Most of the victims were local reporters covering news in their own communities. The perpetrators assumed, based on precedent, that they would never be punished. Whether the killings are in Iraq or the Philippines, in Russia or Mexico, changing this assumption is the key to reducing the death toll.”

The Philippine massacre was devastating as 29 journalists and two support workers were among the 57 people brutally murdered in a November ambush motivated by political clan rivalries, the agency reported. It said that the deadliest prior event for the press came in Iraq in October 2006, when 11 employees of Al-Shaabiya television were killed in an attack on the station’s Baghdad studios.

The Maguindanao killings, while extreme, reflect the deep-seated climate of impunity in the Philippines, where long-term law enforcement and political failures have led to high numbers of journalist murders and low rates of convictions over two decades. For two years running, CPJ has identified the Philippines as one of the world’s worst nations in combating violence against the press.

“The killings in the Philippines are a shocking but not entirely surprising product of a long-term reality: The government has allowed unpunished violence against journalists, most of it politically motivated, to become part of the culture,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The Maguindanao massacre could serve as a turning point for the Philippines if its leaders can gather the political will to see that the perpetrators are brought to justice. If it is business as usual, we will continue to see journalists killed in the years to come.”

Already, CPJ and other press freedom groups are concerned about the integrity of the Maguindanao investigation. A report by four local press groups found that the crime scene had not been well preserved, that potential witnesses had been intimidated, and that the investigation was poorly coordinated. One law enforcement official told CPJ that he and his colleagues have insufficient resources and inadequate security to carry out the probe.

In other troubled areas, work-related deaths in Iraq are on the decrease: Four Iraqi journalists were killed during the year, the lowest annual tally since the war began in 2003.

Somalia was another matter.

But violence soared in Somalia, where nine local journalists were murdered or killed in combat situations. Throughout 2009, Al-Shabaab militants waged a terror campaign against the Somali press, murdering journalists and seizing news outlets. Among the victims was Said Tahlil Ahmed, director of the independent broadcaster HornAfrik, who was gunned down as he and other journalists were walking through Mogadishu’s Bakara Market to a press conference.

“The nine deaths in Somalia are a tremendous loss for the tiny band of journalists who risk their lives every day just by stepping out into the street,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney, who helps oversee CPJ advocacy in the region. “Their courageous reporting exposes them not just to crossfire and random violence but to targeted killing by Islamists who want to control the message.”

Four journalists were killed in Pakistan during the year, among them Musa Khankhel, a local television reporter known for his critical coverage. Abducted while covering a peace march in a militant-controlled area near the town of Matta, Khankel was tortured and then shot repeatedly.

As in past years, murder was the leading cause of work-related deaths in 2009. At least 50 journalists were targeted and slain in retaliation for their work, representing about three-quarters of the deaths in 2009. Eleven journalists were killed in crossfire while in combat situations, while seven died while covering dangerous assignments such as police raids or street protests.

Written by newscycle

December 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm

News Groups Demand Iran Release Info on Saberi, CPJ Petition Full

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Seven major news organizations have demanded that Iran allow access to one or two organizations to evaluate Roxana Saberi’s condition, and that the charges against her be made public.

Roxana Saberi, 31, has been held for about a month by Iranian officials who claim that the freelance journalist was engaged in “illegal” activities because she continued working in Iran after the government revoked her press credentials in 2006. She has not been heard from since Feb. 10.

In addition, the Committee to Protect Journalists has started a Facebook petition demanding President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intervene in the situation. By Tuesday evening 10,669 people have signed the petition, more than the goal of 10,000 signatures.

CPJ said the petition will be delivered early next week to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in New York.

The petition can be found at CPJ’s Cause page on Facebook.

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March 10, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Posted in CPJ, Roxana Saberi

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News Groups Demand Iran Release Info on Saberi, CPJ Petition Full

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Seven major news organizations have demanded that Iran allow access to one or two organizations to evaluate Roxana Saberi’s condition, and that the charges against her be made public.

Roxana Saberi, 31, has been held for about a month by Iranian officials who claim that the freelance journalist was engaged in “illegal” activities because she continued working in Iran after the government revoked her press credentials in 2006. She has not been heard from since Feb. 10.

In addition, the Committee to Protect Journalists has started a Facebook petition demanding President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intervene in the situation. By Tuesday evening 10,669 people have signed the petition, more than the goal of 10,000 signatures.

CPJ said the petition will be delivered early next week to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in New York.

The petition can be found at CPJ’s Cause page on Facebook.

Written by newscycle

March 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Posted in CPJ, Iran, Roxana Saberi

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