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

List

cases of injustice against journalists

10 Most Urgent, September 2019

On September 3, 2019 the Coalition launched the seventh monthly "10 Most Urgent" list (ranked in order of urgency), calling attention to the most pressing cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth.

1. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia)

October 2 will mark one year since the brazen killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. To date, there has been no independent criminal investigation, despite findings from the UN and CIA pointing to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, calls for the White House to release intelligence reports, and a Congress-imposed deadline for presidential reply under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act, which President Donald Trump declined to honor in February.

2. Lydia Cacho (Mexico)

Despite government-provided protection since 2009, one of Mexico’s most well-known investigative reporters, Lydia Cacho, continues to suffer retaliatory attacks for her freelance reporting and work promoting freedom of expression. In July, burglars raided her home, killing her pets and stealing electronic devices containing information about sexual abuse cases she was investigating. Throughout her career, she has also experienced death threats online and via phone, sexual violence, imprisonment and an assassination attempt.

3. Erick Kabendera (Tanzania

After police detained freelance journalist Erick Kabendera on July 29 claiming to question his citizenship status (which has previously been investigated and cleared), they charged him August 5 with money laundering, tax evasion and assisting an organized crime racket. The charges appear to be efforts at justifying government detention and retaliation for his critical journalism, including recent reporting on alleged divisions in Tanzania’s ruling party for regional weekly The East African. The money laundering charge disqualifies him for bail, and assisting a criminal racket could carry a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

4. Claudia Duque (Colombia)

Claudia Duque (center) (IWMF)

In a 26-year career as an investigative journalist, Claudia Duque’s reporting has spurred opening of criminal cases against army members and political and judicial workers. During that time, however, she has endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance and psychological torture. In July the court overseeing the trial of Duque’s perpetrators ordered an injunction prohibiting Duque to question the court or the perpetrators, and to give opinions about the trial. If the gag order stands, Duque could face a 10-year prison sentence for speaking on the impunity surrounding her case.

5. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania)

Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017. The government has failed to conduct a credible investigation or provide clear answers about his fate. On July 10, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said in an interview Gwanda had “disappeared and died,” but backtracked amid requests for clarification.    

6. Roberto Jesús Quiñones (Cuba)

On April 22 Cuban police beat and detained Roberto Jesús Quiñones while he was covering a trial as a contributor for CubaNet. Upon his release five days later, Cuban authorities alleged his conduct during detention constituted “resistance” and “disobedience,” for which they imposed charges and a fine. On August 7, a municipal court of the Cuban city of Guantánamo sentenced him to one year in prison for refusal to pay the fine. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Cuba’s “flagrant disregard for legal norms.”

Aasif Sultan (Credit Free Aasif Sultan_Facebook)

7. Aasif Sultan (India)

Amid a weeks-long communications blackout in Kashmir in August, CPJ documented the detainment and harassment of at least three journalists, two of whom have been released. That’s in addition to Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, who has been behind bars for more than a year. He was arrested during a raid of his home in August 2018, months later was charged with “complicity” in “harboring known terrorists,” and has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal his sources in a cover story written about a militant leader slain in July 2016.

8. Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan)

Award-winning journalist Azimjon Askarov, who is an ethnic Uzbek and has contributed to independent news websites including Voice of Freedom, has spent nine years in prison on trumped-up charges for reporting on human rights violations. Despite persistent international condemnation and calls for Askarov’s release, a Kyrgyz court that had reviewed his case in light of new legislation ruled to uphold his life sentence on July 30. 

9. Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan)

After exposing the money flows and property holdings which the Azerbaijani president and his family used to enrich themselves in 2014, investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova spent 537 days in jail. The harassment cropped up again last month, when courts upheld tax evasion charges from her time as bureau chief for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty a decade ago—a nonprofit entity not subject to the tax, she claims. Additionally, Ismayilova is subject to a travel ban, financial penalties, frozen assets and an inability to report. 

10. Masoud Kazemi (Iran

In June courts sentenced Masoud Kazemi, editor-in-chief of the monthly Sedaye Parsi political magazine, to four and a half years in prison on charges of spreading anti-state propaganda and insulting the supreme leader and other Iranian officials. The charges stem from posts Kazemi made on Twitter in November 2018 relaying his reporting on corruption in Iran’s Ministry of Industry. Following imprisonment, he will also be subject to a two-year ban from working as a journalist.

Katherine Love
10 Most Urgent, August 2019

On August 1, 2019 the Coalition launched the sixth monthly "10 Most Urgent" list (ranked in order of urgency), calling attention to the most pressing cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth.


1. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia): Stonewalling continues after new UN report implicates Saudi prince for journalist’s murder. Months after his brazen killing, and despite findings from the UN and the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent 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.

2. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania): Tanzanian official claims missing journalist is dead—then backtracks. Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017, and the government has failed to conduct an investigation or disclose what it knows. On July 10, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said in an interview that Gwanda had “disappeared and died,” but backtracked amid requests for clarification.  

3. Juan Pardinas (Mexico): Mexican newspaper editor targeted with death threats for criticizing new president. Mexican media organizations and journalists have recently reported a sharp increase in threats and online harassment over critical reporting of the López Obrador administration. Juan Pardinas, the editor-in-chief of Mexican newspaper Reforma, received a barrage of online harassment and threats after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the newspaper in April. López Obrador acknowledged the threats against Pardinas and said that his government had offered protective measures to the journalist.

4. Paul Chouta (Cameroon): Journalist in maximum security prison blocked from seeing family. Cameroon Web reporter Paul Chouta was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. Chouta’s editor said he suspects the case was in retaliation for critical reporting. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison.

5. Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan): Kyrgyz court upholds life sentence for documenting human rights abuses. Award-winning journalist Azimjon Askarov, who is an ethnic Uzbek, has spent nine years in prison on trumped-up charges for his reporting on human rights violations. Despite persistent international condemnation and calls for his release, a Kyrgyz court that had reviewed his case in light of new legislation ruled to uphold his life sentence on July 30.

6. Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak (Turkey): Turkish journalist faces 30 years in solitary confinement. Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak, a commentator for opposition newspaper Özgür Düşünce and Can Erzincan TV, was arrested in 2016 and sentenced in February 2018 to life without parole for trying to overturn the constitution through her journalism. In a separate trial in January, she was sentenced to an additional five years for revealing state secrets. In Turkey, which has been the top jailer of journalists three years in a row, life sentences without parole equate to 30 years in solitary confinement, with limited visits.

7. Marzieh Amiri (Iran): Imprisoned journalist denied healthcare after covering May Day demonstrations. Iranian authorities arrested Marzieh Amiri, an economics reporter at Tehran-based newspaper Shargh Daily, as she covered May Day demonstrations, and her family has had limited contact with her since. Authorities have accused Amiri of committing crimes against national security without giving further details.

8. Jones Abiri (Nigeria): Journalist re-arrested on terrorism and cybercrime charges. Jones Abiri, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weekly Source, is behind bars on charges under Nigeria’s cybercrimes act, anti-sabotage act, and terrorism prevention act for crimes allegedly carried out in 2016. The charges are the same ones that a court threw out after he was held without access to his family or a lawyer from 2016 to 2018.     

Jones Abiri (Credit Jonathan Rozen)

9. Aasif Sultan (India): Journalist imprisoned one year without due process for covering conflict. Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, will have been imprisoned one year on August 27, arrested in 2018 and months later charged with “complicity” in “harboring known terrorists.” He has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal his sources by police. Sultan continues to be denied due process, with ongoing delays in his hearings.

10. Truong Duy Nhat (Vietnam): Blogger who disappeared in Thailand imprisoned in Vietnam. Truong Duy Nhat, a Vietnamese reporter with Radio Free Asia, went missing in January in Bangkok, Thailand, where he had applied for refugee status. In March, his daughter learned he was jailed without charge in a Hanoi detention center. Nhat was previously sentenced to two years in prison in 2013 in connection to his critical reporting on the government.

Katherine Love
10 Most Urgent, July 2019

On July 1, 2019 the Coalition launched the fifth monthly "10 Most Urgent" list (ranked in order of urgency), calling attention to the most pressing cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth.

1. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia): New UN report squarely blames Saudi Arabia and implicates prince for journalist’s murder. Despite the scathing report and earlier findings from the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there’s still no independent investigation into the Virginia resident’s brutal murder at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. 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.

2. Norma Sarabia (Mexico): Crime reporter shot to death at her home in Mexico. The correspondent for Diario Presente and Tabasco HOY was shot and killed at her home in Tabasco state, Mexico, on June 11. Sarabia had been covering crime and violence and received threats in 2014 for her reporting. The Tabasco state attorney general’s office said it had opened an investigation into the murder, but the killer remains at large.

3. Marzieh Amiri (Iran): Journalist arrested covering May Day demonstrations. The economics reporter at Tehran-based newspaper Shargh Daily was arrested by Iranian authorities while covering May Day demonstrations, and since then her family has had limited contact with her. Authorities have accused Amiri of committing crimes against national security without giving any further details. As of June 2019, no date for release has been given.

4. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania): Independent Tanzanian journalist still missing. A freelance journalist working in rural Tanzania, Gwanda 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.

5. Stanislav Aseyev (Ukraine): Disappeared reporter turns up in prison, held with limited communication. Ukrainian freelance reporter Stanislav Aseyev disappeared two years ago in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was reportedly detained by Russia-backed separatists in east Ukraine and confessed to espionage charges on a Russian state-run TV channel while under obvious duress. Family members have had intermittent communication with him over the past two years, and there are serious concerns over Aseyev’s health in prison. 

Stanislav Aseyev (Courtesy Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty)

6. Aasif Sultan (India): Journalist imprisoned for covering Kashmir conflict faces health concerns. Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, was arrested and charged with “complicity” in “harboring known terrorists” in August 2018. Sultan, who has health issues, has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal his sources by police

Aasif Sultan (Credit Free Aasif Sultan/Facebook)

7. Daphne Caruana Galizia (Malta): No progress in murder of investigative journalist.  Panama Papers investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car-bomb blast in 2017 in Malta. There has been little movement on her case since then, and the perpetrators still remain at large. 

8. Jones Abiri (Nigeria): Journalist rearrested on dubious charges. Since May 2019 the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weekly Source, Jones Abiri, is again behind bars on charges under Nigeria’s cybercrimes act, anti-sabotage act and terrorism prevention act for crimes allegedly carried out in 2016. The charges match those authorities put forth when he was held without access to his family or a lawyer from 2016 to 2018.   

9. Seyoum Tsehaye (Eritrea): Nearly 20 years behind bars for his journalism. Seyoum Tsehaye is one of several Eritrean journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press in 2001 in response to criticism of President Isaias Afwerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health or legal status of Seyoum and the others. 

10. Wei Zhili (China): Chinese journalist arrested for reporting on labor rights. Editor Wei Zhili was arrested by Chinese authorities in March 2019 on charges of disturbing public order, though his family believe it was in connection to his reporting on labor rights issues in their community. According to CPJ’s 2018 prison census, China is the second-largest jailer of journalists in the world. 

Katherine Love
10 Most Urgent, June 2019

On June 3, 2019 the Coalition launched the fourth monthly "10 Most Urgent" list (ranked in order of urgency), calling attention to the most pressing cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth.

1. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania): Independent Tanzanian journalist remains 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. 

2. 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.

Map - 10 Most Urgent - June 2019.png

3. Aasif Sultan (India): Imprisoned for covering conflict. Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, was arrested on “anti-state” charges in August 2018. Sultan, who has health issues, has been repeatedly interrogated by police, demanding that he reveal his sources.

4. Claudia Duque (Colombia): Officials who tortured investigative reporter remain free; harassment continues. Lack of security and safety in Colombia for journalists has forced some to flee the country; two journalists fled after being harassed online by officials. Others, like local journalist Claudia Duque, have endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance, and psychological torture for decades. Courts convicted three high-ranking security service officers for torturing Duque and put another eight on trial. As of June 2019, none has served a day in prison.

5. Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda (Nicaragua): Nicaraguan journalists detained amid media crackdown. In December 2018, Nicaraguan police raided TV station 100% Noticias and arrested station director Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda, its news director. Both journalists have been held for over five months on charges of “inciting hate and violence.” While behind bars both have experienced health issues and been denied access to their lawyers.

6. Truong Duy Nhat (Vietnam): Blogger who disappeared in Thailand is imprisoned in Vietnam. Truong Duy Nhat, a blogger with the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA), went missing in January in Bangkok, where he had applied for refugee status. The Vietnamese blogger is currently held without charge in a detention center in Hanoi. Nhat was previously sentenced to two years in prison in 2013 in connection to his critical reporting on the government.

7. Sevinc Osmanqizi (Azerbaijan): Extortion threats in retaliation for reporting. The pro-government Azerbaijani news channel Real TV harassed and attempted to extort Sevinc Osmanqizi in retaliation for her political reporting. Osmanqizi, who lives in exile in the U.S., hosts a TV program covering Azerbaijani politics on YouTube. Real TV published audio from one of the journalist’s private phone conversations and, in a separate segment, an anchor threatened to release intimate photos of Osmanqizi unless she ceased broadcasting.

Seyoum Tsehaye (Credit Seyoum Family)

8. Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou (Mauritania): Imprisoned after reporting on corruption. Bloggers Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou have been behind bars since March after being accused of spreading false news. Both report on corruption in Mauritania. Authorities questioned the bloggers and confiscated their passports and identification cards. Both are being detained in Dar Naim prison.

9. Seyoum Tsehaye (Eritrea): Nearly 20 years behind bars for doing journalism. Seyoum Tsehaye is one of several Eritrean journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press in 2001, in response to criticism of President Isaias Afwerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Seyoum and the others.

10. Mina Karamitrou (Greece): No arrests after car bomb attack. A makeshift explosive device was detonated under the car of Mina Karamitrou, a police reporter for CNN’s Greek edition, in May 2019. No one was injured in the explosion, which went off outside the journalist’s home. Karamitrou said she believes the attack was related to her coverage of a man who is serving multiple life sentences for murders. As of late May, no arrests had been made.

Katherine Love
10 Most Urgent, May 2019

Azory Gwanda (Credit Mwananchi Publications Limited)

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