One Free Press Coalition
standing up for journalists under attack for pursuing the truth

List

cases of injustice against journalists

10 Most Urgent, May 2019

On May 1, 2019 the Coalition launched the third monthly "10 Most Urgent" list, calling attention to the most pressing cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth. (not ranked in a specific order)

  • Azory Gwanda (Tanzania): Independent Tanzanian journalist goes missing. Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist working in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017. Before his disappearance Gwanda had been investigating mysterious killings in his community. The Tanzanian government has so far failed to launch a credible investigation into his case.  

  • Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (Myanmar): Reuters reporters imprisoned under the Official Secrets Act. Following their investigation into a security force massacre of Rohingya men and boys in western Rakhine State, the pair were convicted under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years each in prison, even though a policeman testified that they had been entrapped. The Myanmar Supreme Court recently upheld their convictions.

  • Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda (Nicaragua): Nicaraguan journalists detained amid media crackdown. In December, Nicaraguan police raided TV station 100% Noticias and arrested station director Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda, its news director. Both journalists are being held on charges of “inciting hate and violence” and have been denied consistent access to legal services.   

  • Miroslava Breach Velducea (Mexico): Murdered for reporting on corruption and politics. In March 2017, La Jornada correspondent Miroslava Breach Velducea was murdered in the state of Chihuahua in connection to her reporting on links between politicians and organized crime. Prior to her death, she had received threats on at least three occasions for her reporting. Currently there is one suspect in custody, and the next hearing is expected to take place in the coming months.

  • Claudia Duque (Colombia): Veteran investigative reporter deserves justice for harassment and attacks. Duque has endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance, psychological torture, and exile as a result of her work. Colombian courts convicted three high-ranking officers of the Colombian security services for torturing Claudia and her daughter in 2003 and 2004. As of May 2019, all the defendants in the case were free.

  • Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) and Alaa Abdelfattah (Egypt): Still not free, even after prison release. Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdelfattah and photographer Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) were released this year after spending over five years behind bars. However, both have to report to a police station each evening, and it is up to the police whether they can leave. So far, both have spent every night of their “freedom” behind bars.

  • Aasif Sultan (India): Imprisoned on anti-state charges for covering conflict. Aasif Sultan, a reporter with Kashmir Narrator, was arrested on anti-state charges in August 2018. He has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal sources by police, and has experienced health issues as he remains behind bars. 

  • Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia): Justice denied for murdered Saudi journalist. Months after his brutal murder at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, and despite findings from the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent UN criminal investigation. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act.

  • Mimi Mefo (Cameroon): An arrest on false news and cybercrime charges. In November 2018, journalist Mimi Mefo was arrested on false news and cybercrime charges in connection to her reporting on unrest in the conflict-hit North West and South West Regions of Cameroon. While she was released after four days, she continues to speak out against harassment of journalists throughout Cameroon and the impact of the conflict.

  • Anna Nimiriano (South Sudan): Newspaper editor in South Sudan lives under constant threat. As editor of the Juba Monitor, Nimiriano fights to keep her colleagues out of jail for their reporting, and has in the past been ordered by the government to shut down the paper. She perseveres in spite of arrest threats and constant censorship of her and her colleagues.

Katherine Love
10 Most Urgent, April 2019

On April 1, 2019 the Coalition launched the second monthly "10 Most Urgent" list, calling attention to the most pressing cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth. (not ranked in a specific order)

1. Miroslava Breach Velducea (Mexico): Murdered for reporting on corruption and politics. In March 2017, La Jornada correspondent Miroslava Breach Velducea was murdered in the state of Chihuahua in connection to her reporting on links between politicians and organized crime. Prior to her death, she had received threats on at least three occasions for her reporting. Currently there is one suspect in custody, and the next hearing is expected to take place in a few months.

Azimjon Askarov (Courtesy his son Sherzod Askarov)

2. Maria Ressa and Rappler (The Philippines): Arrest and legal threats for critical media outlet and its editor. National Bureau of Investigation officers arrested Ressa at Rappler on February 13 over a cyber libel case filed against her by the Justice Department. She was released the next day, but Rappler faces separate retaliatory tax charges. On March 28, authorities in the Philippines issued arrest warrants against Rappler editors and executives, including Ressa, for violating laws barring foreign ownership of media. CPJ and First Look Media are partners in a legal defense fund for journalists, of which Ressa and Rappler are the first recipients.  

3. Tran Thi Nga (Vietnam): Journalist accused of spreading propaganda. After a one-day trial, Tran Thi Nga was sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of “spreading propaganda against the state.” She produced a number of videos critical of authorities on topics like toxic environmental spills and government corruption.  

Rana Ayyub (Marie Claire South Africa)

4. Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan): A life sentence for documenting human rights abuses. Award-winning Kyrgyz journalist Azimjon Askarov has spent nearly nine years in prison on trumped-up charges for his reporting on human rights violations. Despite international condemnation, Kyrgyz authorities have upheld his sentence.

5. Rana Ayyub (India): When reporting leads to escalating online threats. The independent Indian journalist Rana Ayyub has spent her career covering taboo subjects, including violence against lower-caste groups and minorities in India. Because of her work, Ayyub has faced a wave of harassment on social media, including pornographic videos with her face photoshopped in them and the publication of her address and personal phone number.

6. Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau (Nicaragua): Nicaraguan journalists detained amid media crackdown. In December, Nicaraguan police raided TV station 100% Noticias and arrested station director Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau, its news director. Both journalists are being held on charges of “inciting hate and violence” and have been denied consistent access to legal services.

Claudia Duque (IWMF)

7. Anna Nimiriano (South Sudan): Newspaper editor in South Sudan, lives under constant threat. As editor of the Juba Monitor, Nimiriano fights to keep her colleagues out of jail for their reporting, and has in the past been ordered by the government to shut down the paper. She perseveres in spite of arrest threats and constant censorship of herself and her colleagues.

8. Amade Abubacar (Mozambique): Mozambican journalist held in detention without trial. Radio journalist Amade Abubacar was arrested in January while photographing families fleeing militant attacks in northern Cabo Delgado province, and was detained incommunicado in a military facility. He has since been moved to a jail far from home. There are no signs he will be released any time soon as he continues to be held in detention without trial.   

9. Claudia Duque (Colombia): Human rights defender endures attacks in Colombia where impunity remains 98.81%. The veteran investigative reporter has endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance, psychological torture, and exile. Courts convicted three high-ranking officers of the Colombian security services for torturing Claudia and her daughter. As of January, all the detainees were released. The IWMF awarded Duque the Courage in Journalism Award in 2010. 

10. Osman Mirghani (Sudan): Independent journalist detained, health deteriorating. Sudanese authorities arrested Mirghani, editor in chief of the independent Sudanese newspaper Al-Tayar, in February. Authorities did not make public what charges he was held on, and his health deteriorated in prison. He was released on March 29. Prior to his arrest, Mirghani had been reporting on ongoing protests in Sudan.

Katherine Love
10 Most Urgent, March 2019

On March 15, 2019 the Coalition launched the first monthly "10 Most Urgent" list, calling attention to the most pressing cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth. (not ranked in a specific order)

Maria Ressa (Dia Dipasupil Getty Images for CPJ)

1. Maria Ressa and Rappler (Philippines): Arrest and legal threats for the critical media outlet and its editor. National Bureau of Investigation officers arrested Ressa at Rappler on February 13 over a cyber libel case filed against her by the Justice Department. She was released the next day, but Rappler faces separate retaliatory tax charges. CPJ and First Look Media are partners in a legal defense fund for journalists, of which Ressa and Rappler are the first recipients.

2. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia): Justice denied for murdered Saudi journalist. Nearly five months after his brutal murder at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, and despite findings from the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent UN criminal investigation. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act.

3. Eman Al Nafjan (Saudi Arabia): Women’s rights blogger imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Al Nafjan, founder of the Saudiwoman's Weblog, was sent to prison in relation to her reporting on elections, human rights activists, and the fight for women to have the right to drive in Saudi Arabia. She is one of at least 16 Saudi journalists behind bars, according to CPJ’s most recent census of imprisoned journalists.

4. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (Myanmar): Reuters reporters imprisoned under the official secrets act. Following their investigation into a security force massacre of Rohingya men and boys in western Rakhine State, the pair were convicted under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years each in prison even though a policeman testified they had been entrapped. Their appeal was rejected in January; a final appeal is pending.

Kyaw Soe Oo (Reuters)

Wa Lone (Reuters)

Claudia Duque (IWMF)

5. Claudia Duque (Colombia): Human rights defender endures attacks in Columbia where impunity remains 98.81%. The veteran investigative reporter has endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance, psychological torture and has been exiled. Courts convicted three high-ranking officers of the Colombian security services for torturing Claudia and her daughter. As of January 2019, all the detainees were released. The IWMF awarded Duque with the Courage Award in 2010.

6. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed (Mauritania): Blogger languishes in jail for commentary on religion. Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed was arrested in 2014 for an article he wrote criticizing the Mauritanian caste system and initially faced a death sentence. The apostasy charges have been dropped, but he still remains behind bars, with limited contact with his family and the outside world.

IWMF

7. Anna Nimiriano (South Sudan): Newspaper editor in South Sudan, lives under constant threat. As editor of the Juba Monitor, Nimiriano fights to keep her colleagues out of jail for their reporting, and has in the past been ordered by the government to shut down the paper. She perseveres in spite of arrest threats and constant censorship of her and her colleagues.

8. Pelin Unker (Turkey): Paradise Papers reporting leads to jail sentence for Turkish reporter. Pelin Unker wrote a piece as part of the Paradise Papers corruption investigation in 2017, revealing offshore holdings of the family of then-Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. As retribution, authorities charged and sentenced her to 13 months for insulting the prime minister.

9. Thomas Awah Junior (Cameroon): Journalist jailed on anti-state and false news charges. Thomas Awah Junior, a correspondent for privately owned Afrik 2 Radio and publisher of Aghem Messenger monthly magazine, was arrested while interviewing protesters and is serving an 11-year sentence in Cameroon on anti-state and false news charges. CPJ has written to President Paul Biya requesting that he be released on humanitarian grounds.

10. Tran Thi Nga (Vietnam): Journalist accused of spreading propaganda. After a one-day trial, Tran Thi Nga was sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of "spreading propaganda against the state." She produced a number of videos critical of authorities on topics like toxic environmental spills and government corruption. 

Katherine LoveComment