March 2017

days since last accident 165
March 2017

The following are links to articles related to media safety. The stories compiled here are from other sources and for informational purposes only. SAG-AFTRA does not verify their accuracy and posting them here does not imply an endorsement of the source.

CPJ Presents Report with Recommendations to Journalists and Measures to Improve Their Safety
March 1, 2017 – Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
Despite the fact that the security of journalists has become a matter of concern for international organizations such as the UN, which even proclaimed a day to encourage the fight against impunity in crimes against journalists, the statistics [of] attacks against these professionals do not appear to be decreasing. According to Carlos Lauría, senior coordinator for the Americas program at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at the global level, the last six years were the deadliest in the history of modern journalism and the number of journalists imprisoned for the exercise of their profession grew exponentially. In this scenario, CPJ recently launched the report “The Best Defense: Threats to journalists’ safety demand fresh approach,” available only in English, which identifies the different threats facing journalists and how reporters, media companies and governments should respond.
To read the entire article, click here.

German Journalist Detained in Turkey Moved to Prison
March 1, 2017 – CBC/Radio Canada
A German-Turkish journalist whose arrest in Turkey has badly jolted relations between Ankara and Berlin was quoted on Wednesday as saying the conditions of his detention had improved markedly since his transfer to prison from a police cell. He has since been moved again to a second prison.
Deniz Yucel, who holds German and Turkish citizenship, was arrested on Monday on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting public violence, after first being detained on Feb. 14.
Yucel, who faces up to 10½ years in jail if convicted, denies the charges. The arrest has provoked sharp rebukes from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who told reporters that German-Turkish relations were facing one of their greatest challenges of recent times.
To read the entire article, click here.

Macedonia: Tensions Rise as Protests Continue
March 1, 2017 – Eurasia Review
Protests held by supporters of the former ruling party – VMRO DPMNE – against a possible new coalition government in Macedonia are set to continue, amid fears rallies will become increasingly violent. Supporters of Macedonia’s former ruling party, VMRO DPMNE, took to the streets for a second day on Tuesday to protest against a possible new coalition government following the December 11 general election.
Demonstrators claim the potential coalition between the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, SDSM, and ethnic Albanian parties will endanger ethnic Macedonian interests. The protests – organised by the newly-formed Civic Initiative for a United Macedonia – began on Monday in the capital. Thousands attended Tuesday’s rally in Skopje and there were also protests in several other Macedonian towns including Bitola, Prilep, Kicevo, Kumanovo and Stip.
To read the entire article, click here.

Coalition Calls for Charges to be Dropped against Standing Rock Journalists
March 2, 2017 – Committee to Protect Journalists
We at the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent press freedom advocacy organization, along with the organizations listed below, write to request that the Morton County State's Attorney's Office drop the charges against journalists arrested during protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline or justify the arrests of reporters in the course of their work.
CPJ has documented at least 10 journalists still facing charges in relation to the protests, including nine in Morton County. Two of the journalists--Christopher Schiano and Nicholas Georgiades, from the nonprofit media collective Unicorn Riot--face trial on misdemeanor criminal trespass charges today and tomorrow respectively. Police arrested them September 13 while Schiano and Georgiades were filming protesters who had locked themselves to construction equipment. In a video of the arrest, one of the journalists can be heard saying, "I'm press, sir. I'm press."
To read the entire article, click here.

These Women Run a Cafe by Day, and Risk Their Lives to Report on Their Government’s Killings by Night
March 2, 2017 – Public Radio International
As a journalist, it was Aline’s job to report on her country and her president. But she didn’t know how to do her job any more without getting killed. Her president is a power-hungry megalomaniac, widely disliked, who brandishes negative press as “fake news.” He wields his power in dangerous ways, putting vulnerable ethnic groups at risk and refusing to participate in open and democratic dialogue. “[A member of the president's communication team] sends me messages telling me to stop writing and reporting,” Aline said as she scrolled through recent WhatsApp messages. “I used to know him — he used to be my friend.”
To read the entire article, click here.

Cuban Journalist Arrested, Accused of Enemy Propaganda is Free of charges
March 3, 2017 – Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
Cuban journalist Henry Constantín Ferreiro was declared free of charges after being accused of enemy propaganda and being held for almost two days. Constantín Ferreiro, editor of magazine La Hora de Cuba, was arrested on Feb. 20 along with 14ymedio journalist Sol García Basulto while on his way from Camagüey to Havana to cover a ceremony in remembrance of a late opposition politician. García Basulto was released, but Constantín Ferreiro was detained for a day and a half, according to the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). During that detention, his captors accused him of the crime of enemy propaganda and bullied him to leave the country, the organization said.
Some politicians and officials, including Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States, were barred from traveling to Havana for the ceremony the journalists intended to cover. Almagro was being given the award in the honor of deceased opposition politician Oswaldo Payá. IAPA said Constantín Ferreiro was declared free of charges after appearing before the prosecutor’s office in Camagüey on Feb. 27.
To read the entire article, click here.

BBC Journalists Are Assaulted and Made to Sign a 'Confession' by Chinese Police after Trying to Carry Out an ‘Illegal’ Interview
March 3, 2017 – The Daily Mail
A BBC journalist has recounted the horrifying moment he and his camera crew were surrounded by thugs and assaulted for carrying out an 'illegal interview'. John Sudworth was attempting to interview a woman in the Hunan Province in central China when he was forced to sign a confession saying he had broken the law and was guilty of 'behaviour causing a bad impact'. He said since the attack, which saw the crew's equipment smashed, he has not heard from Yang Linghua, the intended interviewee, and has sought assurances from the Chinese government that she is safe.
To read the entire article, click here.

Peruvian Journalist Who Disappeared at the End of February Found Murdered and Dismembered
March 3, 2017 – Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
Peruvian journalist and audiovisual producer José Yactayo, who disappeared on Feb. 25, was killed and dismembered, the Peruvian National Police said on March 2 after confirming the identity of human remains found in a rural area on the outskirts of Lima. According to General Miguel Núñez Polar, head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation of the National Police (Dirincri), Yactayo’s (55) torso and right arm were found Feb. 27 in a sugarcane crop in Catalán – area of the province of Huaura, about three hours by car from the city of Lima. A farmer found the remains in a suitcase that had been set on fire and reported it to police, RPP Noticias reported. The rest of his body has not yet been found, according to Panamericana. The motive for the crime is not yet known.
In his statements to various national media, Núñez Polar said that the National Police has already started a homicide investigation and that they are "well on the way to discover the perpetrators of this event."
To read the entire article, click here.  

Israeli Troops Assault Journalists at Protest in Kafr Qaddoum, Shooting One in the Head
March 4, 2017 – IMEM (International Middle East Media) Center News
In the village of Kafr Qaddoum, near Qalqilia in the northern part of the West Bank on Friday, Israeli forces assaulted a non-violent demonstration against the Wall and settlements with both so-called ‘non-lethal weapons’ and live ammunition, shooting one journalist in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet.
The reporter, Ahmad Shawer, a reporter with the Palestine News Agency, was taken to the Darwish Nazzi hospital in Qalqilia for treatment after Israeli forces fired directly at his head, causing a serious head injury. Shawer was wearing a bright media vest with the word ‘PRESS’ written in large letters across the front and back.
According to eyewitnesses from the International Solidarity Movement, “A group of masked Israeli soldiers also took his telephone, and deleted all of his pictures and videos from the demonstration. The journalist is alive, but will be hospitalized overnight. Later a large number of masked Israeli Forces raided the village, trying to arrest Palestinians, and entering the house of a Palestinian family, scaring the crying children.”
To read the entire article, click here.

He Livestreamed About the Cartels—Until He Was Shot Dead
March 5, 2017 – The Daily Beast
After a long day of driving and livestream reporting from the narco hotbed of Guerrero state, Cecilio Pineda Birto took his dusty car to a local carwash in the sleepy little riverside town of Pungarabato on Thursday evening. There, while Pineda was resting in a hammock and waiting for his newly washed car, two men opened fire on him then fled the scene on a motorcycle with the murder weapon in hand. But the closest witnesses to the attack—the carwash attendants—were not questioned by authorities, as they immediately went into hiding, state attorney general Xavier Olea Peláez said.
To read the entire article, click here.

Are Journalists Flying into the Face of Danger?
March 5, 2017 – Standard Digital (Kenya)
That they survived death late last month by a whisker is still a puzzle to Kiprotich Chepkoit, Daniel Opondo and Joseph Kipsang, journalists with the Standard Group working in Baringo County. The government has declared the area a dangerous zone due to a spate of killings and theft of property. On sensing that they were facing killers, they quickly raised their arms up in surrender, and lived to tell their story. Reading the chilling story by Royal Media Services journalist Bennadine Tiemoi who covers Baringo County, you weep and see the traumatic experiences they go through. “I have come face-to-face with violence in this place. You are forced to cry when the people cry. We leave our paraphernalia to help them out and in the process, risk our lives. Bandits who view journalists with hate threaten us for covering and exposing the stories. Most journalists are worried of their security,” she narrated.
To read the entire article, click here.

Former Police Commander Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for 2016 Murder of Mexican Journalist
March 6, 2017 – Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
After a weeklong hearing, a court in Oaxaca found former police commander Jorge Armando Santiago Martínez guilty of the 2016 murder of journalist Marcos Hernández Bautista, according to a March 4 release from the Oaxaca Attorney General. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay 178,000 pesos in damages (about $9,077). A motive was not mentioned.
Hernández was shot multiple times while getting out of his car in San Andrés Huaxpaltepec on the night of Jan. 21, 2016. The 38-year-old correspondent for Noticias Voz e Imagen of Oaxaca was the first journalist killed in Mexico that year. Santiago Martínez, a commander of the municipal police of Santiago Jamiltepec, and another person attacked the journalist that night, according to Noticias Voz e Imagen. The former commander was arrested on Feb. 25, 2016. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that shortly before the murder, Hernández started receiving threatening phone calls after a fake story about an alleged land grab was posted on Facebook and made to look like a story from Noticias Voz e Imagen. Hernández, who had written on land theft as part of his job,
To read the entire article, click here.

Press Freedom Groups Call for Dropping Charges against Journalists Arrested at Pipeline Protests
March 6, 2017 – The Billings Gazette
The Committee to Protect Journalists and several other press freedom organizations are calling on Morton County to dismiss charges against journalists arrested while covering Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
The first criminal case against a journalist proceeded to trial on Thursday, March 2, but was dismissed after a judge found the state didn’t meet its burden of proof.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has identified at least nine journalists who face charges in Morton County for covering pipeline protests, not including additional arrests made last week. Most face misdemeanor charges such as trespassing or engaging in a riot. In a letter dated Thursday to Morton County State’s Attorney Allen Koppy, the press freedom organizations call for the charges to be dropped.
To read the entire article, click here.

Russian Security Services Detain Journalists in Border City, Order Them to Leave
March 7, 2017 – Committee to Protect Journalists
Russian security services should stop harassing and obstructing journalists and should allow them to work unimpeded, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Security services have detained at least three journalists who had traveled to reportfrom the northwestern city of Svetogorsk, on Russia's border with Finland, in the past two days.
Russian Security Service (FSB) officers today detained Igor Zalyubovin, a reporter with the Moscow-based independent news magazine Snob, and Vladimir Yarotsky, a Snob photographer, at the building where the journalists had rented an apartment for the duration of their assignment reporting on daily life in the city, Snob said in a statement. The article was planned as a response to Svetogorsk Mayor Sergey Davydov's March 1 claim that there were no homosexuals in the city, and that it was a "city without sin," according to press reports.
To read the entire article, click here.

Attack on Gambian Journalist Sparks Calls for Press Freedom
March 7, 2017 – The New Indian Express
Journalists in Gambia urged the country's new leadership on Tuesday to uphold its pledge to respect media freedom following a violent assault on a reporter by supporters of President Adama Barrow. Kebba Jeffang, a journalist for Foroyaa newspaper, described being hit, scratched and insulted at a press conference on Sunday held by ministers from three parties who joined together to form Barrow's new coalition government.
Barrow has made press freedom a pillar of his reforms since taking power earlier this year from Yahya Jammeh, whose authoritarian 22-year rule was marked by arrests and intimidation of reporters. "We condemn the attack on Kebba Jeffang and call on the leaders of the three political parties to take appropriate action to address this matter," said Gambia Press Union Secretary General Saikou Jammeh. Describing "an attack on freedom of expression, particularly media freedom," Jammeh added the supporters' actions were illegal and had "no place in a democratic society."
To read the entire article, click here.

Murder, Assault and Imprisonment Among ‘Growing Spectrum of Threats’ Facing Journalists in Europe
March 7, 2017 – Press Gazette (London)
Murder, assault and imprisonment are among the “growing spectrum of threats” faced by journalists in Europe, according to Index on Censorship. The press freedom group has been logging incidents via its Mapping Media Freedom website and listed 1,387 challenges to press freedom in 2016.
Hannah Machlin of the Mapping Media Freedom project said: “The spectrum of threats is growing, the pressure on journalists increasing and the public right to transparent information is under assault. People who are simply trying to do their job are being targeted like never before.”
Those killed include Pavel Sheremet, an investigative journalist killed by an explosive device on his way to work in Ukraine. In Holland Martin Kock, founder of a blog about the Dutch criminal underworld, was shot dead in his car. In Turkey alone some 225 journalists were detained by the state last year. Many Turkish journalists have been arrested on suspicion of publishing propaganda supportive of the alleged organiser of last year’s attempted coup. In Turkey a further 2,500 journalists are estimated to have lost their jobs as a result of the shutting down of media outlets in the wake of the coup.
To read the entire article, click here.

Journalist Facing Criminal Charges for Covering Indigenous Protest
March 9, 2017 – Canadaland
Justin Brake, reporter and editor at Newfoundland and Labrador’s The Independent, has been charged with disobeying a court order and mischief concerning property over $5000 for following demonstrators onto the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric construction site in October 2016. That month, Brake — despite covering the protest as a journalist — was named in a court order specifying that demonstrators could face arrest if they did not leave the site. The charges were first announced in an RCMP news release Tuesday that did not include the names of the accused. “We will obviously be arguing vigorously in the courts that as a journalist I have the right to report on stories of such critical importance and that I shouldn’t be charged criminally for doing that,” Brake tells CANADALAND.
To read the entire article, click here.

Botswana’s Intelligence Officers Threatened Three Journalists with Death
March 10, 2017 – Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
Botswana security agents on Wednesday briefly detained and threatened to kill three journalists as they were heading to one of President Ian Khama’s private residences to check whether he was using public funds for renovations. The journalists from INK Centre for Investigative Journalism — an OCCRP partner — believe President Khama has been using the country’s military to do his personal errands and renovate the residence at the tax payers’ expense.
Ntibinyane Ntibinyane, Joel Konopo and Kaombona Kanani were in a small car driving down a gravel road towards the president’s holiday home near Mosu village when they were ambushed by seven armed men who were "hiding in the bush" in two SUVs, two quad bikes and a large MAN truck, Konopo told OCCRP.
The plain-clothed armed men — who turned out to be intelligence operatives — identified themselves only as police officers. They questioned the journalists, tried to take their pictures and search their car, laptop bags and cooler box. The journalists refused to allow the search because the agents, some with their faces covered with balaclava, were driving private vehicles and wouldn’t produce any ID.
To read the entire article, click here.

Former DPC Mwesigye Guilty of Assaulting Journalist, Fined
March 10, 2017 – Nigeria Today
Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu on Friday fined the former Old Kampala district police commander 1 million shillings for causing bodily harm to the journalist, and ordered him to pay 5 million shillings in compensation. He was however acquitted in the second charge of destroying the journalist’s camera.
Lwanga was covering a protest march against unemployment in the capital, Kampala on January 21 2015, when Mwesigye and other policemen he led repeatedly hit him with a baton on his shoulders and head until he fell down. As he was falling down, the officer kicked him on his back, damaging his spine.
Amnesty International’s East Africa Researcher Abdullahi Halakhe described the ruling against the journalist’s attacker a rare victory for press freedom. “Today’s ruling is a rare victory for freedom of the press in Uganda. It sends a clear message that attacks on journalists must never be accepted or tolerated under any circumstances. It will hopefully assure people working in the media that the courts are watching; willing and ready to uphold their rights,” said Halakhe.
To read the entire article, click here.

For Quoting Osho on Shiva, Journalist Held in Indore
March 11, 2017 – The Indian Express
An Indore-based journalist has been arrested for publishing a speech by Osho (Rajneesh) on the worship of ‘Shivling’. The journalist has been charged under Section 295 A of the IPC (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings). Deepak Aseem, who is in his late 40s, was arrested on March 3, a day before his son’s wedding. The sessions court, on March 7, rejected his bail plea. The Indore bench of the high court is likely to hear his plea next week.
On the occasion of Shivratri last month, Aseem published an article headlined “Shivling pooja kyon?” in his weekly, Khajrana Live, reproducing excerpts of Osho’s speech. The periodical reports on Khajrana, a communally sensitive locality in Indore. After the article was circulated on WhatsApp, activists of Patidar Samaj, a Hindu group, filed a complaint at the Khajrana Police Station and sought Aseem’s arrest. “Irrespective of his son’s wedding, we would have arrested him. Did he not know what he was publishing? It is a sensitive issue,’’ said Khajrana Police Station in-charge Kamlesh Sharma. During his bail hearing, the prosecution argued that Aseem had done a similar thing in the past. Three years ago, the weekly reportedly carried a report opposing the use of loudspeakers for Azaan. However, no FIR was lodged in the case.
To read the entire article, click here.

Voice of America Reporter Harassed by Police Forces in Erbil
March 10, 2017 – Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)
On Saturday, March 4, Ahmed Ghafur Hakim, a contributing reporter for the VOA Kurdish language service, was in his car accompanied by his brother and cameraman, when he saw a large gathering of people surrounded by security forces and police near Diwan Hotel and Sami Abdulrahman Park in the city of Erbil in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Hakim came out of his car wearing his VOA credentials and tried to approach the gathering. Before he was able to do so, the Kurdish police stopped him, proceeded to confiscate his badge, his camera and his cell phone and took him and his brother to a nearby police station.
According to Hakim, he never received an explanation from the security officials as to why he was detained, although he kept asking and identifying himself as a Voice of America journalist. Hakim reported that he was kept at the detention center for eight hours, where he was verbally insulted, and was eventually released.
“I am appalled by the fact that this VOA journalist, who was only doing his job, was harassed by police forces in such a way,” said VOA Director Amanda Bennett. “Despite troubling incidents such as this one, VOA will not be deterred from seeking out and sharing the truth.”
To read the entire article, click here.

Turkish Journalists and Opposition Protest Against Detention of Reporters
March 11, 2017 – The Asian Age
Turkish journalists and opposition lawmakers protested in Istanbul Saturday against the detention of reporters, as a crackdown on the media has accelerated after the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Journalism is not a crime" and "We will not remain silent," chanted the crowd of some 50 people, who railed against the conditions the journalists are held in.
To read the entire article, click here.

Belarusian Police Detain More Opposition Leaders, Journalists Amid Latest Tax Protests
March 12, 2017 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Police have detained a group of opposition leaders and at least three journalists during the latest in a series of charged protests over a controversial government-backed unemployment tax. The March 12 arrests occurred in the eastern city of Vorsha, during a rally that featured several hundred people chanting antigovernment and anti-tax slogans. Paval Sevyarynets, a well-known opposition figure, was among those detained, as was a reporter with RFE/RL’s Belarusian Service. The target of the protests, which also occurred in two other eastern cities, is a 2015 tax that authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said was needed to fight what he called "social parasitism."
The roughly $200 tax is aimed at those who work less than six months a year and fail to register in the country's labor bureaus. Implementation of the tax had been delayed since the law passed. Once it took effect, however, it sparked weeks of protests across the nation of 10 million, in what has turned into one of the biggest challenges to Lukashenka in his more than two decades in power.
To read the entire article, click here.

Somali Journalist Seriously Wounded by Car Bomb
March 13, 2017 – Human Rights Watch
On Sunday morning, Abdihamid Mohamed Osman, a technician and editor at Universal TV network, was driving to work in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, when a bomb planted in his car exploded. Abdihamid was taken to the hospital, where he is receiving treatment for serious wounds. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Somalia remains an incredibly dangerous place to be a journalist. Since 2014, at least 13 journalists have been killed in targeted attacks or while on reporting assignments. At least six journalists have survived assassination attempts. But only one survivor of the several I have spoken to was ever interviewed by the police afterwards, and none were aware of anyone being prosecuted for the attempts on their lives.
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Syrian Journalist Killed by Airstrike in Daraa
March 13, 2017 – Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
Yesterday's death of freelance journalist Mohamed Abazied in an airstrike on the southwestern Syrian city of Daraa highlights the dangers that journalists and all civilians face in Syria's long-running conflict, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Abazied was killed while reporting on Russian and Syrian military airstrikes on the city yesterday, according to his employers and other news reports. Abazied, also known professionally as George Samara, contributed to the pro-opposition satellite station Nabd Syria and the Syria Media Organization (SMO), which also is sympathetic to the Syrian opposition. Both reported that he was covering the airstrikes at the time of his death, and the journalist posted live video of the attacks on his Facebook page just before his death.
To read the entire article, click here.

Another Journalist Gunned Down in Philippines
March 13, 2017 – The Gulf Today
Another journalist, the second to be killed during the administration of President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte, was shot dead on Monday by still unidentified gunmen on the island province of Masbate in the Visayas in Central Philippines. Chief Inspector Malou Calubaquib, the police chief, identified the victim as Joaquin Briones, a former broadcast journalist and the columnist of the Manila-based tabloid "Remate."
 Based on initial reports, Calubaquib said Briones was walking along a street in the town of Milagros, Masbate on Monday morning when two motorcycle-riding gunmen who were apparently trailing him shot him from behind four times and then fled. Calubaquib said they have yet to determine whether the killing of Briones was work-related or due to a personal grudge.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) reported that Briones was convicted of libel by a regional court and was sentenced to a prison term of 12 years in 2000. But after serving six years of his jail term, the NUJP said Briones was released on parole in late 2005. His colleagues said Briones, aside from being a tabloid columnist, also became popular when he hosted a morning radio programme called "Dos por Dos" where he exposed alleged corruption and illegal drugs involving provincial and local officials as well as the police. The NUJP said Briones was the second journalist to be killed since Duterte became president on June 30, 2016.
To read the entire article, click here.

Crimean Journalist Risks Jail by Refusing to Follow Kremlin Line
March 15, 2017 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
In February 2014, when masked Russian troops without insignia seized control of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, Simferopol-based journalist Mykola Semena grabbed his camera to photograph the invasion that was being denied by the Kremlin. Weeks later, after Moscow's disputed annexation of the territory, Semena made a fateful decision. Aged 63 at the time, he opted to remain in the regional capital with his wife in order to document how life was changing in Crimea under the new Russia-installed authorities.
More than ever in his 50-year career, Semena said recently, he saw the urgency of working as an independent journalist in Crimea. To carry out that work, he became a contributor to RFE/RL's Krym.Realii (Crimea Realities) website, which was set up after Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and now operates out of RFE/RL's Kyiv bureau.
To read the entire article, click here.

Iranian Journalists Arrested Ahead of Elections
March 15, 2017 – Committee to Protect Journalists
Iranian authorities should immediately release Ehsan Mazandarani, Hengameh Shahidi, and all journalists jailed for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The arrests come ahead of presidential elections scheduled for May. Security forces detained Mazandarani, a reporter for the reformist daily newspaper Etemad and the former editor of the daily newspaper Farhikhtegan, from his home in Tehran on March 12, according to media reports. The reasons for Mazandarani's latest detention were not immediately clear, the reports said. The reformist website Kalame reported that Mazandarani phoned his family from Tehran's Evin Prison to say he was beginning a hunger strike.
The journalist was released from prison on February 11, having served 15 months of a two-year prison sentence on charges of "propagandizing against the state" and "collusion against national security."
To read the entire article, click here.

Journalist Union Protests Russia’s Expulsion of Thomas Nilsen
March 15, 2017 – The Independent Barents Observer
“The Norwegian Union of Journalists is strongly concerned about the fact that one of our members, Editor Thomas Nilsen, has been rejected on the border to Russia,” the letter addressed to Russia’s Ambassador to Norway, Teimuraz Ramishivili, starts. The address comes after Nilsen was denied entry to the country last Wednesday. On his way from Kirkenes, Norway, to Murmansk, Nilsen was halted on the border crossing point of Borisoglebsk and told he was unwanted in Russia for the next five years. 
“It is very serious when a country’s authorities decide who is to be allowed to report from the country, and which journalists are unwanted, all judging from the media coverage of the respective journalist,” the letter from the Journalist Union reads.
The Union says it “strongly protests Russia’s treatment of Thomas Nilsen,” and demands an explanation why he is considered “a threat to the country’s national security.” The Union, which has more than 10,000 members in Norway, also argues that the expulsion is a violation of the European Human Rights Convention’s articles on press freedom, and says that it has reported the case to the Council of Europe. 
To read the entire article, click here.

Russia: Journalist Threatened with Expulsion to Uzbekistan
March 17, 2017 – Reporters without Borders
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is extremely concerned about Khudoberdi Nurmatov, an Uzbek journalist also known as Ali Feruz, who was arrested as he left his Moscow home yesterday and is now threatened with extradition to Uzbekistan.  RSF urges the Russian authorities not to send Nurmatov back to his home country, where he could be tortured. After assisting various human rights groups, Nurmatov had been working for more than a year for the Moscow-based independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, writing articles on Uzbek domestic policy and the appalling conditions in which Central Asian immigrants live in Moscow.
To read the entire article, click here.

Canadian Reporter Faces Charges after Covering Protests
March 17, 2017 – Committee to Protect Journalists
Canadian authorities should immediately drop all charges against journalist Justin Brake, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Brake is scheduled to appear in court on April 11 to answer charges of criminal mischief and contempt of court in connection with his reporting on a protest in the eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador last year. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police on March 7 charged Justin Brake, a reporter with the Newfoundland and Labrador online newspaper The Independent, after he reported on a sit-in protest at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project site in October 2016. Twenty-seven other people were charged alongside him. If convicted of both charges, Brake could face a maximum sentence of more than 10 years in prison.
To read the entire article, click here.

Dangerous to Be a Journalist in Today's World
March 18, 2017 –
Journalism is a hazardous profession.
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan suffered a brutal sexual assault in Egypt's Tahrir Square in 2011 while covering the country's Arab Spring upheaval. In 2014, an Islamic State video showed the beheading of Steven Sotloff, a US journalist who was held hostage by the militants. Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002. Journalists all over the world have been disappearing and some have never been heard again. Others have been imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Nonetheless, journalists have never stopped reporting the truth as they see it, regardless of the consequences.
Today, however, the profession faces a graver danger, an existential threat: State-sponsored Internet-fuelled disinformation discreetly spread by countries such as Putin's Russia; non-State actors such as WikiLeaks; and fake news Web sites that use Facebook, Twitter, BuzzFeed, and other social media that undermine the legitimacy, authenticity and trustworthiness of long-established news organisations. Most bizarre, we have a gentleman in the White House who won the most powerful office in the world partly on the power of Twitter, thus, not only bypassing the traditional media gatekeepers but also making them look irrelevant and reckless.
President Donald Trump uses the bully pulpit to bully the press.
To read the entire article, click here.

Egypt Renews Detention of Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Hussein
March 19, 2017 –
Egyptian authorities have renewed the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein for the fifth time, announcing on Saturday that he will be held for another 45 days.  Hussein, an Egyptian who lives in Qatar, was stopped, questioned and arrested by the Egyptian authorities on December 20 after travelling to Cairo for a holiday. Recent video footage of Hussein outside an Egyptian court shows that he has lost weight and looks exhausted due to harsh conditions in detention.  Hussein's daughter Zahra said earlier this month that the harsh detention conditions have left her father suffering from shortness of breath, and severe psychological and physical stress. Human rights and media organisations have denounced his detention.
To read the entire article, click here.

FBI Arrests Man for Allegedly Sending Seizure-Causing GIF to Journalist
March 20, 2017 –
A man accused of sending an animated GIF of a strobe light to a reporter who has epilepsy was arrested and charged with criminal cyberstalking with the intent to kill or cause bodily harm. Back on Dec. 15, 2016, Twitter user @jew_goldstein tweeted a flashing image to Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald along with the message: “YOU DESERVE A SEIZURE FOR YOUR POSTS.” Eichenwald, who has epilepsy, immediately suffered a seizure. After Eichenwald's wife found him on the floor and called 911, she replied to @jew_goldstein, telling him that the tweet caused a seizure. “I have your information and have called the police to report the assault,” she wrote. On Friday, the FBI arrested 29-year-old John Rivello at his home in Maryland.
The Department of Justice, citing the affidavit, said, “evidence received pursuant to a search warrant showed Rivello’s Twitter account contained direct messages from Rivello’s account to other Twitter users concerning the victim.” Investigators claim Rivello sent direct messages to other Twitter folks saying things like “I hope this sends him into a seizure,” “Spammed this at [victim] let’s see if he dies,” and “I know he has epilepsy.”
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Jenni Monet: Arrested DAPL Journalist Speaks Out
March 20, 2017 – MediaFile
Native American journalist Jenni Monet was arrested on Feb. 1 and charged with “criminal trespassing” and “engaging in a riot” by state authorities. Monet had been embedded within the #NoDAPL protests at Standing Rock since December, and had been covering the protest closely since August. Monet was arrested while she was covering a demonstration in which protesters locked arms.  “At no point did I ever feel that I was under any kind of threat of being arrested,” Monet said in a phone interview with MediaFile. “I was very startled when I was stopped halfway down this cliff where this demonstration was taking place and I was arrested.”Monet wasn’t the first journalist to be arrested at the Standing Rock protests. Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now was also charged similarly in September. In the case of Goodman, a North Dakota judge refused to authorize her charges, but Monet’s charges have gotten much less coverage.  “Is my situation any different? No,” Monet said. “Is it any different than Amy Goodman’s? No. Except for the fact that she is Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, she’s a brand name.”
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Prominent Voices Support Chennai Journalist under Threat for Reporting on Illegal Mining
March 21, 2017 – The News Minute
Several activists and prominent voices from across the country have come together to condemn the threats to Chennai-based journalist Sandhya Ravishankar, following her investigative reports on the illegal sand mining in the southern beaches of Tamil Nadu. Earlier this year, Sandhya had filed a series of investigative reports on The Wire, recounting how beach mineral mining companies in the state had indulged in illegal mining and allegedly covered it up.
A press release from a group of activists rallying behind Sandhya stated that Magsaysay award winners, musician TM Krishna and social activist Aruna Roy, Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA), Annie Raja (NFIW), noted activist Harsh Mander, Prof. Lakshmanan (MIDS), Evidence Kathir, academic Dr. Anand Teltumbde, environment activist Nityanand Jayaraman, independent journalist Cynthia Stephen are amongst those who have signed a petition, started by friends of Sandhya concerned about her safety following the threats to her. About one thousand persons from across the country and all over the globe have signed so far, the release stated. This includes activists, researchers, homemakers, academics, students, media persons, musicians, filmmakers and IT professionals.
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RFE/RL Journalist Arrested in Belarus, as Protests Escalate
March 23, 2017 – Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)
An RFE/RL reporter was among several demonstrators and journalists detained by police in Belarus on March 12 while reporting on the latest in a series of emotional protests over a controversial tax on the unemployed.
RFE/RL Belarus Service correspondent Halina Abakunchyk was kept in police detention overnight after being arrested while live-streaming the protest in the city of Vorsha, northeast of the capital, Minsk. Abakunchyk’s mobile phone was confiscated, and she was questioned for six hours. A local court found her guilty of taking part in an unsanctioned rally and released her on March 13 with the equivalent of a US$300 fine.
RFE/RL President Thomas Kent deplored the arrest, calling it “a blatant attempt to prevent a journalist from doing her job.”
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Revealed: The Terror and Torment of Turkey's Jailed Journalists
March 23, 2017 – The Guardian
Scores of imprisoned Turkish journalists face a Kafkaesque nightmare of legal limbo, farcical charge sheets, maltreatment and even solitary confinement in the country that locks up more reporters than any other in the world. A series of Guardian interviews and written exchanges with several of those jailed as a result of a sweeping media crackdown found a huge mental burden on the incarcerated, as well as tough social and intellectual restrictions. “I have been broken and twisted in more ways than I can imagine,” says the recently released novelist Aslı Erdoğan (no relation to the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan), who spent five days in solitary confinement at the start of four months of pretrial detention. Mehmet Altan, a journalist awaiting trial for supposedly attempting to bring down the government describes his life in prison as an environment “where no needs of a mature mind are met. It is like wearing striped pyjamas. It is a very narrow life without any joy or feeling to it.”“Never have I seen this much wrongdoing,” said Barış Yarkadaş, an MP in the opposition Republican People’s party (CHP) and a member of the media commission that monitors journalists’ arrests and provides them with legal aid.
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Mexican Journalist Shot Dead in Northern State of Chihuahua
March 23, 2017 – StarTribune
A Mexican reporter was gunned down in the northern state of Chihuahua on Thursday, becoming the third journalist to be killed this month in one of the most dangerous countries for media workers. The national newspaper La Jornada said Miroslava Breach, its correspondent in the state capital, also called Chihuahua, was shot eight times outside her garage in the morning and died while being taken to the hospital.
La Jornada said Breach, 54, was accompanied in the car by one of her three children at the time of the attack.
"Presumably there was at least one attacker who approached on foot when the La Jornada correspondent was taking her son to school and fired a .38-caliber (gun)," it said. "Eight shells were found lying in the street." The boy was reportedly not harmed.
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Outrage as Belarus Arrests Authors, Publishers and Journalists in Crackdown
March 23, 2017 – The Guardian
Human rights organisations have called on Belarusian authorities to drop all charges immediately against writers, publishers and journalists who have been arrested following a wave of nationwide protests.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said security forces had detained or otherwise obstructed at least 32 people in recent weeks. It was joined by Pen America in protesting against the arrests. The detainees include the writer and historian Vladimir Orlov, as well as the Belarusian publisher Miraslau Lazouski and bookseller Ales Jaudaha, who were arrested by six masked officers at the entrance of a literature festival in Minsk. Lazouski is a “survival instructor” who has been a publisher for five or six years. He has been previously linked to the nationalist White Legion group.
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Reformist Journalist Arrested after Criticizing Mayor of Tehran
March 23, 2017 – Middle East Institute
Security authorities in Iran have arrested a prominent reformist journalist, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) reports. Morad Saghafi, the editor-in-chief of Goftegoo magazine was reportedly arrested on March 15. According to CHRI, Saghafi is the owner of Shirzeh publishing house in Iran and is the executive director of a non-government organization that works to “elevate the people’s ability to enjoy their rights as citizens and improve their lives.” While the charges against Saghafi are not known yet, the reformist activist had recently criticized government corruption. “Improvements in Tehran’s situation is possible by stopping widespread corruption inside the municipality…The city needs members who are champions in the fight against corruption,” he said at a seminar on March 9. “Power is in the hands of just one man and that’s the mayor (of Tehran, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf), who’s out of control,” he added.
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Kurdish Journalist Killed in Northern Iraq
March 24, 2017 – Reporters without Borders
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores Kurdish journalist Nuzhian Arhan’s death on 22 March from the gunshot injury she sustained while covering fighting in northern Iraq three weeks ago.  Aged 30, Tuba Akyılmaz, known professionally as Nuzhian Arhan, was a Turkish citizen. She worked for Sujin, a feminist news website, and for RojNews, a news agency that supports Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). She was hit in the head by sniper fire on 3 March in the mainly Yazidi city of Sinjar, where she was covering clashes between forces affiliated to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the YBS, a Yazidi militia allied with PKK. She died in a hospital in Al-Hasakah, in northern Syria, where she had been taken for treatment of her injuries.
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Serbian Journalist Sentenced to Jail for Unauthorised Publication
March 24, 2017 – European Federation of Journalists
Freelance journalist Stefan Cvetkovic was found guilty by the court in in the city of Vrsac for unauthorised publication and presentation of another’s texts, portraits and recordings on March 14. He received two years and three months in jail and must pay €17,000 fine for insult. According to the legal advisor of Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS), Cvetkovic had filed complaints against the judgment and is waiting for the second instance court ruling. He has not been detained till the appeal. Cvetkovic was prosecuted after the complaint by three officials from the ruling party. The well-known journalist was investigating the role of the said officials in criminal matters, previously he filed a complaint against local authorities on the grounds of misuse of public funds in 2014.
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CBC Journalistic Standards Complaint Cuts to the Core of Corporate Press Influence
March 24, 2017 – Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
CJFE strongly condemns the attempt by legal counsel to J.D. Irving, Limited to silence critical reporting from CBC journalist Jaques Poitras. We believe this is the intent behind the invocation of CBC’s journalistic standards policies in J.D.Irving, Limited’s complaint to the organization’s ombudsman. Specifically,the complaint requested that Poitras be re-assigned and prevented from covering stories involving Irving interests.
The complaint stated that books written by Poitras which were critical of the Irving family of businesses contravened CBC’s policy on opinion, and intimates that his subject matter expertise and related private commentary represents a conflict of interest for CBC. This is simply not the case.
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GOP Pressured NPR into Firing a Journalist Who Reported on Their Bigotry
March 25, 2017 – LGBTQ Nation
A journalist who was fired by an NPR affiliate after Republican lawmakers complained about her reporting says that she did nothing wrong in the first place. Jacqui Helbert, 32, was following students from a Gay Straight Alliance near Chattanooga who went to the Tennessee state capital to meet with Republican lawmakers earlier this month. The students went to express their opposition to a bill that would force transgender people to use the bathroom listed on their birth certificates, and the bill has already failed.
Helbert attended the meetings and produced a report about them for NPR-affiliate WUTC, and the report was posted on their website. Republican lawmakers say that she did not identify herself as a journalist. According to Tennessee representative Kevin Brooks, “I don’t recall anyone having recording gear at all, or anyone looking or feeling like a reporter. I was meeting with kids. These were young children.” The students were from a high school.
Helbert told the Times Free Press, “It was glaringly obvious who I was… I even had to fumble with all my equipment to shake Bell’s hand.” Helbert was wearing an NPR press pass and headphones and carrying a 22-inch fuzzy microphone which she pointed at speakers during the meetings. One high school senior who attended the meetings said, “It would be hard to miss her with what she was wearing.”
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