November 2017

days since last accident 181
November 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.

Russia's Independent Media Cite Intimidation as the New Censorship
November 1, 2017 – The Christian Science Monitor
Russia's dwindling band of liberal-minded opposition journalists is shrinking fast in the face of a spate of terror attacks. The Kremlin insists it has nothing to do with the violence. But critics say the government has stoked a hostile atmosphere in the country by demonizing liberal reporters as traitors.  “The level of neurosis and hysteria is growing, with official attempts to find scapegoats to blame,” says Dmitry Muratov, the editor of one of the few remaining opposition newspapers, Novaya Gazeta.
The latest victim was Tatiana Felgenhauer, a Kremlin critic with a popular radio program on Ekho Moskvy. She was stabbed in the neck last week at the station’s studio and rushed to the hospital.  Ms. Felgenhauer was attacked in the wake of two separate programs on state TV that had denounced her, by name, for supporting foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations.  Days later, Ekho Moskvy’s chief editor announced that he had told another of the station’s journalists, Ksenia Larina, to leave Russia in the wake of a personal assault on her, also broadcast on state TV.  Last September, Novaya Gazeta columnist and Ekho Moskvy program host Yulia Latynina fled the country after her car was set on fire and her family received death threats.
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The Global War against Journalists
November 2, 2017 – USA Today
Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta. Gauri Lankesh, India. Javier Valdez, Mexico.  Three journalists who likely never met each other yet who shared brief moments in the headlines in the past five months after they were murdered doing their jobs. Valdez, 50, gunned down in Sinaloa. Lankesh, 55, shot and killed outside her home in Bangalore. Galizia, 53, blown up in her car in Bidnija.
Like 90% of the close to 930 journalists killed worldwide in the past 11 years, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, their murders have not been resolved. As press freedom shrinks in countries such as Mexico, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and India, dangers of violence to journalists are on the rise.  It's usually not foreign correspondents in hot spots, like America's James Foley, beheaded by the Islamic State three years ago in Syria. Of the murdered journalists, 93% are local reporters, offed by criminal gangs or corrupt political officials for their in-depth reporting of local corruption. Some, like Lankesh, were thought to be targeted by extremists for their political commentaries.  The horror of the killing — and in far greater numbers, jailings — is only matched by the lack of accountability of authorities in places where they occur. While we might expect journalists to face danger in places like Afghanistan, Yemen or Iraq, countries such as India and Brazil stand out on UNESCO's lists of most dangerous places. 
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The Dangerous Business of Journalism
November 7, 2017 –
Amid a surge in violence against journalists, two Paris-based press-freedom organizations have launched a project aimed at securing information collected by endangered journalists and continuing their work if they are imprisoned or killed.  The Forbidden Stories project is the brainchild of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Freedom Voices Network as a counter-strike against repressive regimes and other powerful forces that engage in intimidation of independent journalists.  The project is a response to a global surge in violence against journalists, with 42 reporters killed this year and another 183 journalists in prison. More than 800 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in the past ten years.
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Guatemala Court Allows Lawmaker Probe in Journalist Murders
November 7, 2017 – ABC News
Guatemala's Supreme Court lifted the immunity of office Tuesday for a congressman suspected of ordering an attack in which two journalists were killed, clearing the way for a judicial investigation in the case.  Court spokesman Angel Pineda confirmed the ruling and said it was based on evidence presented by an investigative judge. Elected officials in the country generally enjoy protection from criminal prosecution unless it is specifically withdrawn.  Guatemalan prosecutors and a U.N.-sponsored commission investigating corruption in the Central American nation requested the measure in January.  They allege Congressman Julio Juarez Ramirez hired hit men to kill Prensa Libre correspondent Danilo Efrain Zapon Lopez, whose reporting had hurt Juarez's plans to run for office.
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In Afghanistan, Militant Groups Unite Against a Common Enemy: Journalists
November 10, 2017 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
The Taliban and the Islamic State (IS) militant group might be foes on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but off it they are united against a common enemy: the Afghan media.  Both extremist groups have threatened and deliberately targeted major TV and radio stations and their staff members recently across Afghanistan, carrying out deadly attacks that have killed dozens of journalists and media employees.  The attacks have made Afghanistan one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists and forced media companies to adopt new security measures, although it is unclear if the violence has had a chilling effect on news coverage.
“They want to create fear among journalists so the media does not report their atrocities,” says Najib Sharifi, head of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC), a local media watchdog. “They also want to capture headlines and assert their power and visibility. They want to silence the media because they see the media as a threat to their propaganda strategies.”  In what was arguably the most high-profile attack of its kind on a media organization in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber in January 2016 attacked a minibus and killed seven employees of Tolo TV, the country’s largest private television network.  Those killings came months after the Taliban said it no longer recognized Tolo TV and another major TV network, 1TV, as media outlets and considered them "military objectives.”  The fundamentalist militant group said the move was a direct response to the commercial networks' coverage of the Taliban’s brief takeover of the northern city of Kunduz in September 2015 -- specifically, their reports of Taliban fighters allegedly raping women at a female hostel there. The Taliban denied the reports, saying the coverage was an "example of propaganda by these satanic networks."
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For Pakistan's Unprotected and Threatened Journalists, Can New Legislation Make a Difference?
November 10, 2017 –
Ahmed Noorani, a Pakistani reporter, was ambushed by six men in broad daylight at a busy intersection in the capital city, Islamabad, on October 27, 2017. His assailants arrived on motorcycles with iron rods and without license plates. Noorani and his driver sustained multiple injuries in the attack.  "I can say with the assurance that comes from over three decades of journalistic experience that Noorani's attackers will never be found, let alone punished," wrote Abbas Nasir, a well-respected journalist and former editor for Pakistan's oldest newspaper Dawn, in a column from his home in Spain.
The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) has recorded 73 instances of journalists or media workers being killed for their work since 2002. Many more have been threatened and attacked like Noorani. The Committee to Protect Journalists database shows that at least 33 journalists in Pakistan have been murdered in retaliation for their work since 1992. According to the Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD), only five murder cases have been taken up in judicial courts with three ending in convictions.  In Pakistan, journalists and media workers face threats from criminal gangs, political groups, militant organizations, and the country's own police and intelligence agencies. Similar to trends around the world, attacks on journalists can include assault, murder, abductions, harassment, intimidation, and illegal detention.
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Texas Photojournalist Goes on Trial in Trump Inauguration Riot Case
November 12, 2017 – Austin American-Statesman
Inauguration Day was not only the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, it was the start of a spirited resistance against his presidency.  And this week some of that resistance goes on trial.  The first trial of the approximately 200 protesters arrested Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., starts Wednesday. There are so many defendants that they are being tried in groups. First up in a group of seven being tried for rioting, inciting and conspiracy to riot and damaging property is San Antonio-based photojournalist Alexei Wood.
His defense turns on First Amendment freedoms. But the 42-minute Facebook Live video he took is being used as evidence by both sides.  Wood, who also does commercial photography, is one of two journalists who were covering the protests and are facing a multicount indictment. (Other journalists were let go at the scene or were arrested but not charged.)  Both are Texans. Wood, 37, is from Corpus Christi and lived in Austin, off and on, for nine years, as he told the American-Statesman, “when it was affordable and weird.” An independent journalist, he was livestreaming the protest on Facebook, capturing many of the tense moments, including his own, falling to his knees at the end of the video after he was pepper sprayed.  Wood wasn’t dressed in all black like the protestors, but he can be heard in the video expressing sympathies to the protesters’ cause.
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