December 11, 2018

Press Freedom

OPC Press Freedom

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The OPC condemns the relentless attacks on press freedom by the government of the Philippines as its justice department filed tax evasion charges against Rappler Holdings Corp. and journalist founder, Maria Ressa, a longtime critic of President Rodrigo Duterte…

Washington Post Publisher and CEO Fred Ryan made the following statement concerning President Donald Trump’s reaction to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi…

The Overseas Press Club of America applauds the federal district court ruling temporarily requiring the White House to reinstate the media credential for Jim Acosta, chief White House correspondent, CNN, whose access was previously revoked…

The OPC condemns the relentless attacks on press freedom by the government of the Philippines as its justice department announces it will file tax evasion charges against Rappler Holdings Corp. and journalist founder, Maria Ressa, a longtime critic of president Rodrigo Duterte…

The Philippine government has announced it will charge veteran journalist Maria Ressa and her online news start-up Rappler with tax evasion, just one day after the ICFJ honored her for outstanding journalism…

The Overseas Press Club of America urges the White House to reinstate the media credentials for Jim Acosta, chief White House correspondent, CNN, and reverse an ill-advised decision to revoke Acosta’s access to the White House following his aggressive questioning of President Donald Trump…

The Committee to Protect Journalists has announced that two staff members, Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, and Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, have been released from detention…

The OPC calls on Tanzanian authorities to immediately release Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo and return their passports…

Approximately 90 percent of crimes against journalists/media workers go unpunished. To date, 82 journalists have been killed in the line of duty through Nov. 2, 2018, according to UNESCO. The Overseas Press Club of America supports international free speech organization ARTICLE 19 in its call for governments to act on crimes against journalists..

Dear Mr. Ambassador: The Freedom of the Press Committees of two of New York’s most venerable news organizations, the Overseas Press Club of America and the Society of Silurians, would like to invite you to address a joint public meeting of our memberships to explain the Saudi government’s conduct with regard to the press…

The Overseas Press Club of America supports Congressional efforts to use the Global Magnitsky Act to investigate the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and bring sanctions against those responsible…

Fred Ryan, Publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, made a statement regarding Jamal Khashoggi…

The Overseas Press Club of America formally requests that the Saudi Arabia government explain the whereabouts of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi…

NEW YORK October 5, 2018—The Hong Kong government has triggered a press freedom controversy by refusing to renew the work visa of a veteran Financial Times journalist after he moderated a discussion in August with pro-independence activist Andy Chan Ho-tin at the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC)…

NEW YORK Sept. 4, 2018—The Overseas Press Club of America denounces a court ruling in Myanmar that found two Reuters journalists guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and jailed them for seven years…

The Overseas Press Club of America called on police in the United Kingdom to release two British journalists who were arrested Friday on suspicion of stealing confidential documents…

NEW YORK August 16, 2018—The Overseas Press Club of America joined newspapers across the country in publishing statements today condemning President Trump’s assaults on U.S. journalists. The Boston Globe and the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) led the call for joint action to defend a free press. “This dirty war on the free press…

NEW YORK—August 15, 2018–The Overseas Press Club of America spoke out in support Wednesday for the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, which has come under pressure from both the Chinese and Hong Kong governments for hosting a pro-independence speaker.The FCC, with whom the OPC maintains reciprocal privileges, resisted pressure from Chinese officials to cancel an event featuring Andy Chan, who advocates independence for Hong Kong from China. The People’s Republic of China re-assumed control of Hong Kong in 1997 from Britain…

NEW YORK July 26, 2018—The Overseas Press Club of America added its voice Thursday to that of other news and media organizations that have protested President Trump’s decision to prevent CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from covering a White House event because she had asked “inappropriate” questions. This is not the first time the Trump Administration has banned the press from an event. In May 2018, Rene Marsh, also of CNN, Ellen Knickmeyer, from The Associated Press, and Corbin Hiar, a reporter for E & E News, were all banned from covering an EPA event on the impact of toxic chemicals on drinking water.

NEW YORK—May 23, 2018 — The Overseas Press Club of America strongly condemns the Environmental Protection Agency for barring reporters from three news organizations from an event this morning on the impact of toxic chemicals on drinking water at the agency’s headquarters…

The Overseas Press Club of America strongly condemns the conviction of Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak of terrorism charges in Turkey on Oct. 10…

The Overseas Press Club of America is alarmed by the increasingly hostile attacks on the news media by the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump…

We, the Overseas Press Club of America — an independent organization dedicated to advancing global reporting and press freedom — call on you to end the authoritarian crackdown your government has mounted against press freedom in Turkey. While it is not the habit of our organization to criticize the policies of foreign governments, we cannot stay silent in the face of the escalating and brazen abuses of journalists in Turkey and the dire ramifications of this media repression.

NEW YORK, New York – November 11, 2015 – The Overseas Press Club of America welcomes the release of Egyptian journalist Hossam Bahgat from military custody but remains deeply alarmed by his detention, part of a persistent pattern of government attacks on freedom of the press in Egypt that have resulted in the imprisonment of at least 18 journalists simply for doing their jobs.

NEW YORK, New York – July 27, 2015 – The Overseas Press Club of America today condemned the Malaysian government’s decision to suspend two publications for their reporting about allegations that Prime Minister Najib Razak misappropriated hundreds of millions of dollars from the state investment fund, known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

NEW YORK, New York – January 7, 2015 – The Overseas Press Club of America condemned the attack this morning that killed 12 people including nine journalists at the satirical Charlie Hebdo publication in Paris.

NEW YORK, New York – Sept.18, 2014 – The Overseas Press Club of America abhors the video released by the Islamic State featuring a captive British journalist as some kind of spokesman.

United Nations Correspondents Association has issued a statement on press freedom following a recent surge of violence against journalists. UNCA President Pamela Falk is a member of the OPC.

At the OPC’s annual dinner honoring the best in international journalism in April, we gave over the podium for our candle lighting ceremony to Diane Foley, whose son, James, a reporter, photographer and video journalist, had disappeared in northern Syria the previous November. Photo: Michael Dames

The Overseas Press Club of America most strenuously protests the treatment of journalists at the hands of local law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri.

The International Press Institute has joined a chorus of voices condemning Egypt’s lengthy prison sentences against three Al Jazeera journalists.

The Overseas Press Club of America condemns the court rulings out of Cairo today. The sentences meted out to Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed of Al Jazeera are outrageous and based on unacceptable standards of evidence.

Since December 29, 2013, authorities in Egypt have held three Al Jazeera journalists under detention allegedly for spreading falsehoods about the country and for being part of a terrorist organization. At the end of 2013, the Overseas Press Club of America issued an open letter demanding the immediate freedom of Cairo Bureau Chief Mohamed Fahmy, producer Baher Mohamed and correspondent Peter Greste. Since then, the OPC has learned of the conditions under which Fahmy is being held.

The detention in Cairo of four journalists working for Al Jazeera English is a deplorable development and further evidence that Egypt’s military leader, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is determined to crack down on the free press.

It is not the role of the OPC to express opprobrium for the politics and policies at the heart of Egypts’s current roils. However, we are appalled at the deaths of several journalists and persistent reports of the targeting of reporters tasked with gathering information about recent events.

Recent leak investigations, particularly the probes into Fox News and the Associated Press, have indeed overstepped the customary boundaries that have safeguarded reporters pursuing legitimate stories on what the government is doing, and we are gratified that you have called for reconsideration of these policies.

Ever since his savage beating four years ago, no case – not even the notorious killing of Anna Politkovskaya – has better exposed your government’s ruthless crackdown on dissent better than that of Mikhail Beketov. Now his death releases him from the suffering inflicted on him, and reminds the world again of your pillaging of the environment, the Russian economy, press freedom and human rights.

We urge the Somalian government to swiftly investigate the detention and criminal charges against Somali journalist, Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim.

We at the OPC urge you to swiftly investigate the untimely death of freelance journalist, Guillermo Quiroz Delgado. Quiroz died on November 27 after being hospitalized for injuries sustained while in police custody. According to a report by Notisabanas, the cable TV news program where Quiroz worked, the 31-year-old reporter said he had been beaten by police and then thrown off a moving police vehicle.

The OPC urges the new President of Mexico to start his term by affirming to the world that Mexico intends to remove itself from the list of countries that are the most dangerous places for a journalist to work, countries where murderers live unpunished.

The recent murder of Haider Ali, a brave witness willing to testify in the murder case of Geo TV correspondent, Wali Khan Babar, is an outrage to the world and a betrayal of your nation. The Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America urges you and all the government authorities in Pakistan to stop the murder of journalists and those who witness these heinous crimes.

It is with increasing alarm that the OPC views what appears to be a sharp rise in attacks against Serbian journalists and their families. Fortunately, these attacks have not resulted in death or serious harm, but the odious trend is one that will result in tragedy if left unchecked.

Ordinarily, the Freedom of the Press Committee of the OPC speaks only for journalists whose pursuit of information faces unwarranted threat. In the case of Pussy Riot, the committee protests the unreasonable punishment the performers faced for expressing their displeasure and disapproval of their head of state.

The OPC Freedom of the Press Committee has written many more articles touching on press freedom for the OPC website and the Bulletin. We organized another discussion forum for the website, this one exploring what it takes to qualify as a journalist and whether bloggers, new media writers and the like have rights to cross police lines, shield their sources and the like.

We at the OPC wish to congratulate you for
offering the protection of the Mexican Federal government to journalist
Stephania Cardoso and her young son, who have been missing since June 9
in what appeared to be a news-related abduction.

It is gratifying, of course, that chief investigator, Aleksandr I. Bastrykin, has offered an apology to Novaya Gazeta and its deputy editor, Sergei Sokolov, after editor-in-chief, Dmitry A. Muratov, accused Bastrykin of threatening to kill Sokolov. But the matter can not be left at that ambiguous point.

If true, it is outrageous that Aleksandr I. Bastrykin, Russia’s chief federal investigator, drove Novaya Gazeta’s deputy editor to a remote forest and threatened to kill him.

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It is less than a month since we last wrote to you about the appalling dangers that face the press in the Philippines. However, the murder of a third witness to the 2009 massacre, Esmil Amil Enog, forces us to appeal once again to your government to put an end to the lawlessness and savagery in Maguindanao.

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No one likes being embarrassed. However, the Vatican’s eagerness to pursue a criminal libel case against our Italian colleague, Gianluigi Nuzzi, steps over a line usually only crossed by anti-democratic despots and absolute monarchists.

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We wish to express our solidarity with Nigerian journalists who are under attack by the terrorists of Boko Haram. But we also write to express our alarm over what appears to be a systematic attempt by the government to suppress the news of Boko Haram’s acts, as well as news that might lead to criticism of the government.

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We thank your government for its words of support for journalists on World Press Freedom Day. Sadly, the echo of those words was still sounding when yet another Philippine journalist was assassinated. Nestor Libaton, 45, an anchor for the church-run, DXHM Radio, in the southern city of Mati in Davao Oriental province in Mindanao, was shot dead on May 8 as he rode a motorcycle driven by a fellow reporter.

We write again, within the space of a week, because we cannot let pass without comment the appalling murders of three more Mexican journalists. These deaths bring the total number killed to 4 in this still young year, following 11 murders the year before.

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The OPC is greatly saddened by your country’s growing reputation for suppression of this freedom, particularly in regard to the bloggers in your country.

We write you with grave concern over the murder of investigative reporter, Regina Martinez Perez, whose beaten body was found at her home in the city of Xalapa, the capital of the State of Veracruz, on April 26, 2012. According to news reports, Perez had been strangled. Perez’s killing follows that of 3 other Mexican journalists over the last year, whose assailants, as we have sadly come to expect, have never been charged.

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It was with shock and then with numbness that we learned of the murder of our colleague, Décio Sá, on April 23.

It is good news that two prominent journalists, Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, have both been released on bail after being held for more than a year, for the first seven months without charges.  But it is altogether shocking that some 100 journalists are still being held in prison in Turkey, nearly twice as many as a year ago, according to a report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). 

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The recent murder of a Nepalese journalist is alarming to the OPC, and to press freedom advocates worldwide.  The brutal death of Yadav Poudel is not only tragic; it is also a further indication that your country lacks basic safeguards for the courageous journalists whose work is essential to preserving democratic institutions in Nepal.

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The sentencing last month of a Bolivian journalist to 30 months in jail for criminal defamation is dismaying to all defenders of press freedom.  The prosecution and punishment of Rogelio Pelaez is not only a breach of free speech, it is a proclamation that Bolivia refuses to revise its antiquated laws and adhere to principles it has already agreed to.

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The OPC completely endorses the unanimous vote of the International Press Institute board in support of the Israeli journalist, Uri Blau, who faces a possible sentence of seven years in prison for violating the espionage section of the Israeli Penal Code.

We extend our congratulations to the Mexican Senate on the passage of a proposed constitutional amendment to protect journalists in your country by making it a federal crime to attack or intimidate them. This is a landmark improvement in Mexico, and may encourage other nations to take similar measures.

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As one of the oldest organizations of journalists in the U.S. defending freedom of the press, the OPC writes to protest what appears to be an escalating campaign against the media in the West Bank and in Israel itself. We acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority, not to mention, Hamas, have a poor record with respect to the freedom of the press. However, that does not license Israel to behave equally badly. One would expect that a democratic nation that aspires to the respect of the world would have a much better record than it has. Reply Received

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While we appreciate and support your pardon last week of the journalists accused in the cases of El Universo and El Gran Hermano, we can not help but remain concerned for the future of press freedom and freedom of speech in Ecuador.  Your policies underscore your country’s deteriorating ranking as a defender of press freedom. Reply Received March 26, 2012

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The murders of two Brazilian journalists in a single week this month underscore your country’s deteriorating ranking as a defender of press freedom. The violent deaths of Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues, known as Paulo Rocaro, and Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes are of great concern not only to us, but to general democracy and freedom in your state.

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Over the last several years, you have punished journalists for writing about your health and in one case, publishing an offending cartoon about the wedding of a relative. So perhaps, we at the Overseas Press Club of America, along with journalistic organizations around the world, should not be entirely surprised that your government sent an 18-year-old juvenile to jail for a Facebook post that offended you.

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The world now knows of the disgraceful conspiracy of the Saudi Arabian and Malaysian governments to deny our colleague, Hamza Kashgari, his right as a human being to think and speak freely. His deportation from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia on February 12, 2012 was a shameful thing and a stain on the honor of your nations.

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We note with sorrow — but not surprise — the harsh sentence given to writer, Li Tie: ten years’ imprisonment for his online articles, in which he urged respect for ordinary citizens, called for democracy and political reform, and urged basic human rights.

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With other organizations concerned with defending the freedom of the press, we are moved once again to protest measures taken by your government to silence and intimidate the media of Ecuador with measures that seem to be extreme, if not bizarre.

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We are not so much dismayed as utterly discouraged by this week’s murder of our colleague, Mukarram Khan Aatif, while he prayed in a mosque north of Peshawar today. His death is a special kind of blasphemy, an offense to his faith and an offense to the hope of functioning democracy in Pakistan.

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How appalling that only ten days into the New Year, the world hears of yet another murder of a journalist in Mexico, where in 2011 the media lost ten people to violent murders, still unpunished. On January 6, Raul Querino Garza was killed in Nuevo Leon, near Monterrey. Mr. Querino Garza, who wrote for La Ultima Palabra, was shot dead by unknown gunmen, who chased him down is his car and fired 18 bullets into him. This came just days after Mexico was reported to have the worst record in Latin America in 2011 for the safety of journalists, and the worst record worldwide of journalists murdered, with one more than in Iraq.

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As the New Year begins, the Philippines has logged its first murder of a journalist for 2012. We refer to the shooting death of Christopher Guarin, a radio commentator gunned down in front of his wife and daughter on January 5 after his evening broadcast.

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We mark with sadness and deep concern the first anniversary of our letter to you about your government’s repression of freedom of the press in your nation. Turkey’s march away from free speech, its open scorn of the role of journalists in a democratic society and its continued, focused arrests of journalists are shocking contradictions of what now seem to be hollow promises to be a role model for the region and much of the world.

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We write to add the Overseas Press Club of America to the many outraged voices denouncing the murder of Khadzhimurad Kamalov, founder of the independent weekly, Chernovik, in Makhachkala.

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We object in the strongest possible terms to the treatment of our colleagues, Nicholas Kristof and Adam Ellick of The New York Times, on December 9, while covering a protest in Bahrain.

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Three letters have gone out since our last meeting, all of some interest, and three more have been assigned.

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The OPC deplores the attempt by the NYC police to prevent the press, as well as legal observers, from witnessing the removal of demonstrators from Zuccotti Park on Tuesday morning, as well as the arrests and mistreatment of reporters who tried to approach the park.  

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The announcement that Mikhail Beketov will be a recipient of the Prime Minister’s annual award for excellence in journalism seems to us an exercise in cynicism and hypocrisy, in the absence of any apparent effort to find and punish the thugs who nearly beat Mr. Beketov to death in 2008. At the same time, we applaud the courage of the journalists who nominated him and voted him the award.

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We write to protest what seems to be a systematic vendetta against James Risen of The New York Times, and by extension, an attempt by the Obama administration to undermine an essential element of freedom of the press.

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Since our last report, the Committee has written five letters. As part of our effort to attract attention to the OPC and to the website, we have also started a new forum, similar to the forum on Wikileaks that triggered a lively debate last year.

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It has been almost 2 years since the mass murder of 32 Filipino journalists and 25 civilians took place in Maguindanao. Two governments have said the investigation continues. Meanwhile, unopposed killing continues.

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The Freedom of the Press Committee of the OPC, write with dismay at the way the media have been downgraded and restrained in Ecuador. It has become all too clear that the Ecuadorian government has deliberately made unconstitutional attacks on the inherent principles of freedom to write and speak truth to its citizens. Our disillusion, and undoubtedly that of its citizens, is that H.E. Rafael Correa have been twice elected president of Ecuador on the code words, “Citizens’ Revolution,” with the promises those words imply.

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What is Pakistan becoming? In a year when the situation facing Pakistani journalists could not seem to get any worse, on October 7, our colleague, Faisal Qureshi, of The London Post was found dead in his home in Lahore.

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We have been waiting for news of the investigation of the murder on September 8 of Hadi al-Mahdi, the popular, provocative and courageous talk-show journalist. He was the third Iraqi journalist killed in a month, the seventh murdered in 2011.

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The systematic gangland-style killing of journalists across Mexico for reporting on the drug trade is a campaign that has taken on wartime proportions. It threatens to turn the image of Mexico into a press killing zone, a place where anyone covering the drug war can be murdered just for doing their job.

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The OPC is encouraged by the arrest of a new suspect in the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist, Anna Politkovskaya. Our hope now is that this arrest will, finally, lead to the apprehension of the organizers behind her murder in October 2006.

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The OPC Press Freedom Committee is preparing for a major transition. We seek a new generation of leadership as we move into a new era, with a wider franchise to fit journalism’s new conditions.

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The response to some crimes goes beyond words and beyond outrage.  The murder and decapitation of Notiver reporter, Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, last week is the latest such example to come out of Mexico.

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Today’s disclosure by The New York Times that American officials have reliable intelligence that Pakistani officials ordered the brutal murder of Saleem Shahzad is deeply troubling.  With this news, we have moved from circumstantial and logical inference to an assertion of evidence (not yet, to be sure, disclosed) that the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence actually killed a critical journalist to keep him silent and intimidate his colleagues.

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The OPC writes to express its horror at the callous slaughter of the prominent Veracruz columnist Miguel Ángel López Velasco, along with his wife and son. The three were killed by assailants who broke down the door of Lopez Valasco’s home at 5:30 a.m.

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The OPC is outraged that Kyrgyz authorities have filed separate criminal charges against Khalil Khudaiberdiyev and Dzhavlon Mirzakhodzhayev of Osh TV, accusing them of organizing and participating in mass disorder; calling for separatism; inciting inter-ethnic and religious hatred; abusing their office and creating an armed group.

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The shocking torture and murder of well-known journalist, Syed Saleem Shahzad, over the weekend of May 29 is a dark stain on Pakistan’s democracy.

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We write to congratulate Russia on a positive development for freedom of the press in the arrest of the alleged murderer of Anna Politkovskaya. But it remains to be seen whether this arrest will help determine who was to blame for the killing.

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The OPC is deeply concerned about new facts that have emerged surrounding the unsolved murder of journalist, Elmar Huseynov, the former editor-in-chief of Monitor magazine.

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Two more media figures, a TV news program host and the owner of a TV station, have been murdered in Honduras within the space of a week, bringing the number of journalists killed in Honduras since March of 2010 to a total of 11. Thus, Honduras is out-stripping even Mexico in the slaughter of journalists who are performing the duty of telling the truth.

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We are gratified to learn of the stiff sentences for two people convicted of the double murder of Novaya Gazeta reporter, Anastasia Baburova, and human-rights lawyer, Stanislav Markelov. It is a sign of hope for our Russian colleagues that justice for crimes against foundational human rights — the right to know, the right to free expression — is not dead in Russia.

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The Bahrain government seems to be using every means possible to enforce a news blackout about events in Bahrain, even though electronic media make it virtually impossible to conceal what is happening anywhere in the world nowadays.

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We write to protest the recent three-year jail sentence imposed by a military court on the blogger and conscientious objector, Maikel Nabil Sanad, for posting a report on his blog criticizing the role played by Egypt’s armed forces in the country’s revolution earlier this year.

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Amid the turmoil of the Middle East, Jordan has stood as a place for rational discussion of critical issues. But there is evidence that position is being undermined by forces within your government who are intimidating and threatening the press at a time when free expression is more necessary than ever.

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The OPC is deeply gratified by the conviction of the killers of Anastasia Baburova, a young journalist with Novaya Gazeta, and the prominent human rights lawyer, Stanislav Markelov.

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We write to protest the continuing abuse and harassment of journalists attempting to cover events in Iraq. The pattern of deliberate interference with press freedom is plain, unacceptable and a violation of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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We write again to protest the Iranian government’s ban on coverage of the bloody repression of demonstrations in the province of Khuzestan, and the mistreatment of bloggers and media contributors who attempted to tell the story.

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The release of Pedro Argüelles Morán earlier this month has to be welcomed as the end of an appalling ordeal for all the journalists arrested in March, 2003, and summarily tried and sentenced for practicing the kind of journalism protected by law in democracies.

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The tumult in the Arab world has obviously been the focus of action for the world’s foreign correspondents this year. The journalists who went to cover the popular revolts took many risks, suffered many hardships, sometimes were detained, beaten, manhandled and in at least one instance, killed. Local journalists suffered even more.

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The OPC is indignant at the treatment of foreign journalists in Yemen, from which in less than a week, at least six colleagues have been expelled for no reason other than that they might report a story official sources might not like.

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The Turkish Journalists Union now says there are 61 journalists in Turkish jails. Only seven of them are convicted of any crime, and the number does not include the many who have been taken into custody since the beginning of this month.

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The OPC writes to convey its outrage at the Chinese government’s actions in harassing and assaulting foreign journalists who were attempting to cover public events in China, and for putting substantial sections of Shanghai and Beijing off limits to journalists. These are serious and intolerable violations of internationally recognized standards of freedom of expression.

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We write to protest the persecution of journalists and bloggers in Syria, in particular to the recent sentencing of a young blogger, Tal al-Mallouhi, to five years in jail.

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The OPC is watching with alarm as the Ecuadorian government continues its campaign to suppress criticism of its actions and policies by requiring broadcast outlets to interrupt their news programs and broadcast official rebuttals to such commentary. Note: Ecuadorian government’s reply, March 22, 2011

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The on-going violence, harassment and intimidation against journalists working in Sri Lanka is alarming, specifically the arson attack on the on-line newspaper, LEN (Llanka-e-News).

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Two Rwandan journalists arrested last year and jailed since July have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms on charges that would be laughed out of court in a democracy.

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We would not have thought it possible for Haiti to generate more sadness until we learned of the murder of our colleague Jean Richard Louis Charles.

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The OPC welcomes the Indian government’s recent decision to revise defamation laws within India’s legislative branch.

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It is welcome news that the Hungarian government is preparing amendments to its restrictive media law, known as the Media Act. The OPC joins the European Commission in urging that the law be made compliant with European Union norms “within weeks rather than months.”

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Nine times over seven years, the Overseas Press Club has written to President Mubarak expressing its outrage over treatment of journalists in Egypt. There has never been a response. Now we see why.

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Since our last report, your committee has written letters to Belarus, Turkey, Ecuador, China and Mexico. But our most visible and resonant project has been the on-going debate over WikiLeaks.

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Since H.E. Aleksandr G. Lukashenko’s election for the fourth time to the office of President, reports from Belarus of a massive demonstration against a suspect vote count and a brutal riot police retaliation with six hundred arrested, including scores of reporters. Not all have been released.

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It is welcome news indeed that the Turkish government’s policy of trying to achieve a reconciliation with the Kurds is making progress. Therefore, it is all the more disappointing to learn that Kurdish journalists continue to be prosecuted with extraordinary ferocity.

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The OPC joins our Ecuadorian colleagues in calling upon the Ecuadorian government to investigate a vicious attack earlier this month against sports reporter, Guido Manolo Campaña.

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The rather heavy-handed action of some branches of the U.S. government to stop their people from accessing Wikileaks information is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. The information, while still officially classified, is out there, available to anyone. In effect, it is not longer secret.

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The Overseas Press Club of America wishes to object strenuously to the Chinese government censoring coverage of the Nobel Peace Prize award to Chinese citizen, Liu Xiaobo.

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We join our colleagues in a plea for urgency in the investigation and prosecution of the most horrific massacre of journalists in the history of the world.

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Yet another journalist has been sentenced to prison and fined in Singapore for writing things that in a true democracy would be perfectly legal. Alan Shadrake, an elderly and ailing British journalist, was convicted because of what he wrote in his book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock.

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As we write, Oleg Kashin, a prominent journalist with the daily, Kommersant, lies in a medically induced coma with a concussion, a broken jaw, and fractures of both legs — yet another Russian reporter savagely beaten by unknown assailants.

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We join the many guardians of press freedom in deploring the mounting efforts of the Egyptian government to suppress freedom of the media.

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A compendium of letters sent by the OPC Freedom of the Press Committee in October.

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It’s dismaying to have to write to Senator Joe Miller and object in the strongest possible way to his security team’s abuse of our colleague, Tony Hopfinger, at a public town hall in Anchorage.

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The on-going intimidation of journalists in Iran is not allayed by its government’s occasional release of a well-known personality. The brutality of the government’s office and the military police and courts is dishonorable — if not illegal — in the view of global governance forces; and, in any case, repugnant to those of us who are professional journalists and struggle to communicate the stories of the day with assurance and dignity.

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We write to applaud the announcement by Aleksandr Bastrykin, chairman of the Investigative Committee, pledging to pursue 19 cases of murdered journalists in recent years. In response to protests by a delegation of our colleagues from the Committee to Protect Journalists that journalists are being killed with impunity in Russia, Bastrykin said, “It’s a matter of honor for us to solve these murders. It’s a matter of proving our professionalism.”

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The world is watching with interest as Baghdad readies itself for next year’s Arab League summit. It is a worry, therefore, that as the country prepares for this spotlight event, your government is amplifying the pressure on journalists to censor themselves to the detriment of the nation.

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We are delighted to learn of Mexico’s new program to protect journalists who have been threatened in Mexico’s escalating drug wars, and we hope all of its measures will be implemented as quickly as possible.

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We at the OPC write with great concern about the arrests by NATO coalition forces of three Afghanistan journalists who have been charged with collaborating with the Taliban.

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We ask the President of Argentina to re-consider the campaign against the newspapers, Clarín and La Nación. Argentina has now enjoyed 27 years of democracy, but it is one of the burdens of democratic leaders to endure the criticism of the press. Without the right to criticize, democracy loses its meaning.

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We hope that the National Program on Human Rights in Mexico will succeed in all of its goals, and will result in the arrest of the killers of the many journalists whose murders now go unsolved.

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We write to add our voice to the chorus of concern regarding legislation now before the South African parliament proposing restrictions on press freedom unprecedented in the new South Africa.

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The level of harassment, attacks and violence on the working press in Ukraine seems to be escalating to a new and dangerous level despite the best effort of news organizations around the world to enlist the support of the Ukrainian government for basic press freedoms.

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We join Pakistani journalists and media associations in deploring the actions taken in Pakistan to shut down TV stations and newspapers that had reported on the embarrassing encounter in Birmingham.

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The past two months have seen the jailing of journalists, the shuttering of more than three dozen news outlets by the Media High Council and, most horribly, the assassination of Jean Léonard Rugambage.

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The OPC writes to express its appreciation of the Cuban government’s recent decision to free 52 of the 75 journalists and human rights activists who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms in 2003.

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We write again to call attention to a truly appalling abuse of press freedom by the mayor and municipal police of Oluta in the state of Veracruz. It constitutes an urgent call for action on the Mexican government’s part to defend the beleaguered journalists of Mexico, but it is also an opportunity for it to underscore its determination to end the violence and lawlessness now plaguing Mexico.

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The proposed “wiretap bill” that the Italian Chamber of Deputies is to review starting on July 29 should be forcefully refused by the House.

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The OPC is puzzled by a report from the Media Foundation for West Africa that a decree issued by the minister of Communications will require foreign journalists and documentary film makers to get clearance from the ministry, to pay substantial fees before entering Niger, and to deposit original copies of their final works with the ministry.

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As a symbol of Mexico’s concern for the threats to reporters and editors, we propose a national day of mourning in recognition of the quiet heroism of those who have not been intimidated into silence, and in memorial to those who have been slain.

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The OPC deplores the Fijian government’s latest attempt to silence independent reporting by requiring that all Fiji media be 90% locally owned.

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The OPC calls attention to the deplorable record of the Philippines in protecting independent journalists from attacks in retaliation for their work of informing public opinion.

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The OPC joins other organizations in expressing dismay at the extraordinary number of actions taken by the government and the courts in Turkey against journalists.

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The press freedom committee of the OPC has viewed the video clip of a Coast Guard officer earlier this week shooing CBS reporters away from the site of the Gulf Coast oil spill with the explanation, “this is BP’s rules, it’s not ours.” We are amazed.

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The OPC is concerned with freedom of expression and human rights in Egypt in protesting recent modifications of the emergency law that, while lifting the enforcement of certain measures, nevertheless retains a host of potential abuses of authority — including censorship of newspaper and other mass media, monitoring of personal communications and detention of individuals, particularly editors and reporters, indefinitely and without charges being brought.

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The Freedom of the Press Committee of the OPC applauds the Daniel Pearl Act on Freedom of the Media which President Obama signed yesterday, authorizing the Department of State to compile a public list of all nations and states violating that freedom.

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We wrote to the Honduran government only last month about the catastrophic situation of journalists in Honduras. We write again because, if anything, their situation – and the situation of human rights in general in Honduras – is growing worse.

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The press in a free society is an icon, a standard bearer that honors the democratic tradition. It must not be abused or restrained — yet, we see exactly that happening in Ukraine. 

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The Venezuelan government’s recent implementation of an anti-defamation law is clearly the further muzzling of independent voices in Venezuela.

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Since our last letter to Mexico on March 19, there has been no respite in the appalling level of violence and drug-related gang warfare gripping Mexico. We are especially dismayed that another journalist has been murdered — at least the fifth so far this year — and two more have disappeared, one of them possibly at the hands of Mexican police.

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It is ironic that in the Tunisian police arrested, beat and then held journalist Zouhaier Makhlouf long enough to prevent him from attending a dinner with the head of the Paris Bar who arrived in Tunisia specifically to discuss freedom issues.

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We write to protest recent cases of censorship and cyber-attacks on the
Chinese Internet, and to urge the Chinese government to permit freedom of
communication in China.

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March was a catastrophic month for our Honduran colleagues. The ambush and execution of two journalists on a highway in eastern Honduras brought to five the total of reporters murdered in that month alone.

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We write to applaud your continuing efforts to control the violence and lawlessness that threaten to reduce your provinces along the United States border to a state of anarchy. We are also grateful to our own government in Washington, D.C. for its efforts to provide help to Mexico. But we continue to be appalled by the drug-related gang warfare that left some 2,000 Mexicans dead in 2009 alone.

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The OPC would like to congratulate President Rajapaksa on his re-election. He has indeed tackled many issues this past year and we hope he’ll add press freedom to the list to improve social development throughout Sri Lanka.

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The OPC is dismayed by last week’s order of the Afganistan National Directorate of Security that local and international media must stop reporting from the scene of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

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Yet again, Russia’s courts have made a mockery of the government’s repeated promises to respect the principles of press freedom and protect Russian journalists as they try to keep Russia’s citizens informed about events in your country. In this case, the police officer who killed the journalist, Magomed Y. Yevloyev, has had his sentence reduced to a laughable two years of extremely lenient house arrest.

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We write on behalf of our Bangladeshi colleague, Nurul Kabir, editor of New Age. On February 23, someone claiming to be “top terror mamun” phoned Kabir
to threaten him and his family with “dire” consequences if he continues
to write and speak out against “terrorism of various sorts.” The caller
also reportedly promised that Kabir and his family will be “hit” should
he fail to comply.

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The news that Google Inc. has detected a highly sophisticated attack originating in the People’s Republic of China is hardly a surprise. In spite of repeated denials by China’s government, it has been evident for years that China’s government will go to great lengths to prevent the Chinese people from having access to a free flow of information and to uncover those who were breaching the walls of censorship.

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On behalf of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), a New York-based association of international journalists founded in 1939, we note with interest the recent assertion of press freedom in your country by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to representatives of the press freedom organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). But we are compelled to urge that your government do more to make this assertion a reality on the ground for journalists risking their lives to tell the important story of Iraq , both to its own people and to an outside world increasingly concerned about the course of the war and the progress of democracy there.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) asks that you address the serious erosion of press freedoms in Iran over the past several years, particularly in the wake of more arrests and newspaper closings.

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Before you leave office as Secretary of Defense, the Overseas Press Club of America hopes you will take firm steps to end abuses by the U.S. military of journalists working in Iraq . In particular, we join the International Federation of Journalists and other press freedom groups in urging a new and comprehensive Pentagon investigation into the very first killing of a journalist by U.S. forces in Iraq — International Television News reporter, Terry Lloyd.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent group of international correspondents, is dismayed to hear that sedition charges against Rotimi Durojaiye of the Daily Independent have not been dropped. Instead, the charges against him have been referred to a federal appeals court because prosecutors say he is not “remorseful.”

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It is heartening that Russia ‘s Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for the two suspects in the assassination of Paul Klebnikov, editor of Forbes Russia . We write to urge, however, that investigation of all aspects of this killing must continue.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, which has been defending press freedom around the world for more than 65 years, is dismayed by your interim government’s repression of Thailand ‘s independent media and your apparent disdain for the democratic principle of free expression.

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We are dismayed to hear that yet another journalist in Colombia has been forced to go into hiding because of death threats. Otoniel Sanchez of the local TV station, CNC, in Cartago now becomes the seventh journalist in Colombia to flee for his safety this year. This comes in a year when three other Colombian journalists have been murdered — just like Oscar Polanco, director of CNC in Cartago until his killing in 2004.

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The death of Brad Will in Oaxaca brings to four the numbers of journalists killed this year in Mexico. It brings to roughly twenty the number killed in the last six years. We understand that none of these cases have been solved. But the killing of Brad Will took place on camera, as anyone with access to a computer can see.

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We were dismayed to hear that four members of the Asian Star Journal and Asia Star Balita , including the editor and publisher, were arrested earlier this month for reporting on alleged government corruption.

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We write on behalf of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), a New York-based association of international journalists founded in 1939, to express concern over the recent conviction on questionable drug charges against Sakit Zakhidov, a prominent journalist, poet and government critic, and other disturbing signs of a trend toward repression of the news media in your country.

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We are horrified at the continuing carnage among journalists in Iraq , and dismayed by your government’s new laws infringing on freedom of the media. According to The New York Times, four journalists were killed in Iraq in September alone, bringing the total since the 2003 invasion to 130; and at least a dozen Iraqi journalists have been charged with offending public officials. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that at least three Iraqi journalists have served time in jail for writing articles that were considered criminally offensive.

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We write to express solidarity with our colleagues at Les Echos du Nord, a privately owned newspaper in Libreville , “suspended” last week by Gabon ‘s National Council of Communications (CNC) for daring to discuss the conflict between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea over the sovereignty of the oil-rich Mbanié islet.

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The brutal murder of Anna Politkovskaya is indeed, as former President Mikhail Gorbachev has said, “a grave crime against the country, against all of us.” Ms. Politkovskaya was Russia ‘s foremost journalist, renowned for her courage, her independent mind, and her balanced but aggressive reporting. She won many international awards, including the first Artyom Borovik Award of our own Overseas Press Club of America. Although your government disapproved of her coverage of the conflict in Chechnya , her factual accuracy was unquestioned, and her articles in Novaya Gazeta have served as a window on that brutal war for the whole country. Her killing, by a contract-style executioner in her own apartment building, is also an indictment of Russia ‘s current policy toward independent journalism. At least twelve other journalists have been killed since you came to power, including Paul Klebnikov, the American editor of Forbes Russia , and no one has been punished for any of these murders.

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The crack-down against any information that does not originate from government-sanctioned sources, a sad fact of life for our Uzbek colleagues in 2005, has continued this year with special vehemence. Here are just a few recent examples, all of them a blemish on the reputation of Uzbekistan in the world:

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We write on behalf of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), a New York-based association of international journalists founded in 1939, to express concern over a disturbing trend toward repression of the news media in your country.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization of international journalists founded in 1939, is horrified by the un-ending murders of journalists in your country. It is appalling that since late May, five more journalists have been brutally shot down by unknown assailants who have escaped capture.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) would like to add its voice to those of others who are shocked by the assassination attempt on Vinicio Aguilar Mancilla and who call for a vigorous investigation of this crime.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) would like to add its voice to those of others who are shocked by the assassination attempt on Vinicio Aguilar Mancilla and who call for a vigorous investigation of this crime.

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The Overseas Press Club of America is gratified to hear that our colleague, Guillermo Farinas, has ended the hunger strike he began in January. But it should give pause to everyone in your government that an independent journalist should be willing to suffer so much to defend the freedom of the press.

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We are writing on behalf of the Overseas Press Club of America to express our deep concern about the case involving Hrant Dink, his son and two other Armenian journalists, now pending in the Turkish courts. Our organization’s members are journalists with world-wide experience in news reporting.

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Members of our organization, journalists with world-wide experience, have been very disturbed to learn recently of changes in press regulations that appear to discriminate against five prestigious foreign newspapers and magazines that operate in Singapore .

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We are alarmed and outraged at the treatment of Singaporean journalist, Ching Cheong, a correspondent for the Straits Times who recently received a five-year sentence on charges of spying for Taiwan .

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), a New York-based association of international journalists founded in 1939, writes to express its concern over your government’s repeated attacks on press freedom in Gambia .

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We write to express our concern that Paul Salopek, a distinguished journalist, has been arrested in Sudan and charged with espionage and illegal entry of the country. The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization of international journalists founded in 1939, assures you that Mr. Salopek is a respected and thoroughly ethical reporter who would never jeopardize his professional standing by engaging in spying. As we are sure you will find in your investigation, Mr. Salopek traveled openly with a driver and an interpreter and made no effort to hide his work. While it is unfortunate that he entered Sudan without a visa, that has become a relatively common expedient for journalists frustrated by your government’s reluctance to issue them.

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We welcome the public support your government has given the family and colleagues of the Fox News journalists who were abducted two days ago by unknown kidnappers.

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The urgency of our last letter, barely two weeks ago, urging you to return Russia to the path of democracy and freedom of expression, has been underscored by the recent murder of Yevgeny Gerasimenko, a correspondent for the independent weekly, Saratovsky Rasklad. Gerasimenko’s strangled body was found in his apartment on July 26. Although police in Saratov have arrested a homeless man in the case and have insisted that the motive was simple robbery, we join our colleagues at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in suggesting that Gerasimenko may well have been killed for his professional work. He was investigating the corporate take-over of a commercial enterprise before the killing. It is also suggestive that one of the items stolen was Gerasimenko’s computer.

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We are concerned and dismayed that you apparently regard our letters, along with protests from other defenders of media freedom, as some sort of sinister plot. In an interview with Canadian Television (CTV), you are quoted as saying, “In my view, this constant criticism on issues relating to democracy, freedom of the media and so on is being used as a tool to intervene in Russia ‘s domestic and foreign policy in order to exert influence.” We want to assure you that we have no interest in meddling in the substance of your policies, foreign or domestic.

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I write as a past visitor to your country, fascinated by all I saw and experienced there, and as a member of the Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), which is most concerned about the state of press freedom in Turkey. We believe that maintaining standards of press freedom is key to the well-being of the Turkish people, as well as to Turkey’s desired acceptance by the European Union.

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We are following with great concern the recent arrest of Arman Babadzhanian, editor-in-chief of Zhamanak Yerevan, who as of this writing has been held in jail without bail since his detention June 26th.

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We are dismayed to be obliged, for the third time in only two months, to write to you about your government’s increasing persecution of journalists and their freedom of expression.

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Recently you have heard from other journalism organizations protesting unjustified attacks on working journalists in some provincial towns, as well as in Bogota. These protests have been issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a world-wide organization; by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC); and by the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP), Bogota.

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We regret very much having to write to you regarding violations of Freedom of the Press in Brazil. In many respects, we greatly admire what your administration has done to uphold civil liberties. However, two recent attacks on the press require that we express our views. As you know, the Overseas Press Club of America represents more than 600 journalists all over the world with great experience in news reporting.

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I write to protest your Administration’s attack on The New York Times in retaliation for its recent stories exposing your secret programs to monitor Americans’ overseas telephone calls and financial transactions. Both you and Vice President Cheney have called these disclosures “disgraceful” and have said they make it harder to win the war on terror, and Mr. Cheney has singled out The Times “in particular,” even though both The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times also broke the latest round of exposures of the financial surveillance. None of these newspapers need any help from this organization. But we are deeply concerned that other editors, who have less prestige, less influence, and less supportive and well-financed publishers, may feel the chilling influence of your words and hesitate to publish controversial stories for fear of being called unpatriotic. This would be a serious blow to press freedom and to the long-range good of the country.

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We were highly encouraged several months ago to read that Singapore, in order to attract world-class scientists to its BioPolis science center, had decided to become less authoritarian in its policies and more tolerant of political dissent. It certainly seems a wise policy, and a necessary one if leading scientists from around the world are to be persuaded to live and work in Singapore. More recently, we read that your efforts are succeeding, and that more than 2,000 eminent scientists are now working at BioPolis.

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We are waiting with impatience for news of Armando Betancourt, an independent journalist who was reporting legitimately for Nueva Prensa Cubana on a public event in Camagüey when he was arrested May 23rd.

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China today has much to be proud of. Its economic development has raised the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people. Such great change is naturally accompanied by social problems, from corruption to a widened discrepancy between rich and poor, problems which your government is working to address. In that context, the Overseas Press Club of America reminds you that the foundations of a healthy modern society must include a free press.

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The Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America applauds your demand that the killing of media professionals in your country must stop, as expressed at the May 23 cabinet meeting. We take this as a positive step toward repairing the reputation of the Philippines as the most dangerous country for a journalist to work outside of a war zone.

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We write to express our continued concern over the case of Paul Klebnikov, the murdered editor of Forbes Russia. We are informed that the prosecutor, Dmitri Shokhin, has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the acquittal of two Chechen men, Musa Vakhayev and Kazbek Dukuzov, who had been charged with his murder. Shokhin said “serious violations” of criminal procedure accounted for the acquittals, and the local press has reported rumors of pressure being put on the jury.

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We write with growing concern about what appears to be an eroding respect in the Department of Justice for the absolute right of a free press to pursue the news without fear or favor.

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We protest again the continued harassment by your government of Le Journal Hebdomadaire, a significant and independent weekly magazine in Morocco. Its forthright journalism and its criticism of injustice and corruption have long been a sterling example of freedom of expression, as the community of nations defines that term.

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More than a year has gone by since the disappearance of Alfredo Jiménez Mota of the newspaper, El Imparcial of Sonora. Your special prosecutor for crimes committed against journalists, David Vega Vera, reports he has nothing new to say about the investigation of this case. He also had nothing new to say about six other cases of crimes committed against journalists in Mexico that he is investigating. Thus far in 2006 — that is, in just four months — 11 more cases of attacks on journalists have been reported. Three were assassinated, three were attacked physically and five were threatened.

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Today — more than three years after the round-up of 90 Cuban dissidents, including 27 journalists — almost all of them remain in jail. Now, there are ominous signs that your government is cracking down on the remaining independent journalists in Cuba who somehow survive in spite of the persecution they suffer.

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As members of the Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America, active supporters of press freedom for more than sixty five years, we write to you today. Shocked by the report that Jorge Aguirre, a Venezuelan press photographer, was shot to death as he approached an anti-crime demonstration, we ask you, Mr. President, to involve yourself personally in an investigation of this murder.

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n the brief three weeks since our last letter, three more flagrant abuses of press freedom in Russia have come to our attention.

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Please accept our congratulations on your selection to the crucial office of prime minister, and our best wishes for success for your new government. All Americans are hoping that Iraq can prove to be a beacon of democracy in the Middle East .

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On behalf of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), we urge the government of Zimbabwe to allow the Daily News to resume publishing and to give up its efforts to stamp out any voices other than its own.

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We write to add our voice to protests by twelve respected journalistic organizations — including Article 19, the International Federation of Journalists, the International Press Institute, Reporters Without Borders, the World Association of Newspapers, the World Press Freedom Committee, and the Committee to Protect Journalists — in denouncing your government’s assault on the media as part of your continuing effort to repress civil rights and resist the restoration of democracy in Nepal.

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Since we last wrote, a little more than a month ago, three more serious incidents of abuse of press freedom in your country have come to our attention. We write to underscore our previous observations that your government is moving in the wrong direction and forfeiting your claims to be developing a democratic society.

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As members of the Overseas Press Club of America, we write for the second time within a month to protest your government’s offensive and misguided persecution of journalists. It has been reported that on March 27, two journalists were arrested and charged with having filmed the countryside outside the capital you have recently installed in Pyanmana — from a public bus.

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It is with sincere regret that the Overseas Press Club of America feels compelled to write to you to deplore the escalation of press intimidation in the Philippines . Even worse, we are dismayed to learn that your government now seems to be part of the problem.

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For the third time in a month, we write to protest the continuing onslaught on press freedom by your government.

In conjunction with your brutal repression of political criticism of your contested victory in the recent presidential election, abuse of the media in Belarus has risen to world-class status, and we hope to persuade you that this policy is neither to your country’s credit nor in its practical interests.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, an association of many of the world’s leading journalists, would like to take the occasion of your appointment as minister of Communications and Information to urge you to review your government’s policies and laws with regard to freedom of the press.

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We write, yet again, to protest the recent intensification of your campaign to harass and intimidate what remains of the independent media of Zimbabwe. If you have any regard for the opinion of the community of nations, it is in your interest – as well as your country’s – to reverse this cruel and ultimately self-defeating violation of the universal right of freedom of expression.

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We of the Overseas Press Club of America have watched with great sorrow the appalling numbers of homicides and violent threats against our colleagues in Mexico by gangs and drug traffickers. Among the terrible consequences has been a silencing of free expression in much of the Mexican press.

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We write to protest your government’s well-meant but misguided actions to cope with the continuing turmoil over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The Overseas Press Club of America, which has been defending journalists around the world for more than 65 years, believes that freedom of expression must not be sacrificed to avert mob violence.

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We write to protest your government’s actions in response to the continuing turmoil over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The arrest of two Algerian editors and the closing of their weekly publications clearly violates Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was also an over-reaction, since the BBC has reported that both papers were critical of the caricatures, and the drawings they printed to illustrate their articles were partially obscured to avoid offense.

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We write to protest your government’s actions in response to the continuing controversy over cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, originally published in Denmark. Because they re-printed some version of the drawings, four Yemeni journalists are now threatened with lengthy prison terms, and their newspapers have been closed. We sympathize with those who have been offended by the cartoons, but these actions clearly violate Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and we ask you to use your influence to have them reversed.

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We write to protest the banning by the Johannesburg High Court of publication of the controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in several of your country’s newspapers. While we understand the sensitivities that have been offended by these cartoons, we must insist that the free media must have the right to dispense facts, opinions and images, even when they are offensive, without official interference or retribution. The Overseas Press Club of America has been defending journalists and press freedom around the world for more than 65 years.

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We write to protest the recent closure of two Jordanian weeklies after they re-printed the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. While we understand the sensitivities that have been offended by these cartoons, we must insist that the free media must have the right to dispense facts, opinions and images, even when they are offensive, without official interference or retribution.

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We write to protest your government’s arrest of Alok Tomar, editor of the Hindi-language magazine, Shabdarth, after a cartoon of the prophet appeared in the magazine. New Delhi police also are reported to have confiscated several hundred copies of the magazine and ordered police in other states to seize all copies of the magazine, too.

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We are informed that a journalist of repute in your country, Maung Maung Kyaw Win, has been forced to flee Myanmar after threats “to make his wife a widow.” According to well grounded reports, Kyaw Win, senior reporter and editor of the Burmese language journal, Myanmar Dana, was apprehended by military intelligence officials in December 2, 2005 while sitting in a restaurant.

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Members of the Overseas Press Club of America, which has been defending press freedom around the world for more than 65 years, are deeply disturbed by the recent incident in Minsk, prior to the presidential election, in which an opposition candidate was detained and roughly treated by police, and several journalists trying to cover the incident were beaten by the police.

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We are dismayed to learn that two Russian newspapers have been closed for printing cartoons in connection with the current furor over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. We understand the sensibilities that have been offended in the Muslim world by this incident, but it should not be an excuse or pretext for further inroads on what remains of media freedom in your country.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, with more than 600 members experienced in international media reporting, writes this letter to express our deep concern — indeed, anger — over the recent mistreatment of journalists in Kenya by employees of your Government.

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We write to protest the criminal investigation your state prosecutor’s office has launched against the independent weekly, Zgoda , for inciting religious hatred, after the paper re-printed eight of the twelve Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad on February 17. The drawings illustrated an article reporting the furor caused in the Muslim world by the cartoons.

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We write to protest the apparent orchestration by your government of protests against the weekly, Le Journal Hebdomadaire, for publishing a photograph of a French newspaper showing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. On February 11, the newspaper published an Agence France-Presse photograph showing a reader holding the edition of the Paris daily, France Soir, which re-produced the Danish cartoons of the Prophet. The cartoons were barely visible, but to avoid controversy, Le Journal inked out the cartoon. Le Journal published the photograph as part of a 10-page chronology of the controversy that followed the publication of the drawings in Denmark ‘s Jyllands-Posten.

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We write to protest the arrest and prosecution of journalist, Adel Mahfouz, in connection with the current controversy over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Mahfouz was arrested on February 7, after he published the article on the independent daily news, Web site, Rezgar , and charged with insulting public religious sentiment under the penal code. If convicted, he faces up to three years imprisonment.

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We write to protest the closing by Saudi authorities of the tabloid weekly, Shams, after it re-printed three of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. While we understand the sensitivities that have been offended by these cartoons, we must insist that the free media must have the right to dispense facts, opinions and images, even when they are offensive, without official interference or retribution. The Overseas Press Club of America has been defending journalists and press freedom around the world for more than 65 years

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We write to urge a thorough and transparent investigation into the murder of Ilya Zimin, the award-winning journalist who worked as a correspondent for NTV’s investigative program, “Profession: Reporter.” Zimin’s body was found, heavily beaten, lying in a pool of blood in his Moscow apartment. There were signs of a violent struggle, but according to news reports, police said there was no sign of forced entry. A bloody fingerprint that was not Zimin’s was found on a light switch.

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As members of the Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America,we protest the treatment of Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, editor of Haqooql-i-Zan, the magazine covering women’s rights in Afghanistan.

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The members of the Overseas Press Club of America wish to express their alarm and dismay at the treatment of journalists covering the recent elections and to protest the atmosphere created within your country against journalists and publications speaking in opposition to your party’s rule.

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The members of the Overseas Press Club of America, who have defended the rights of journalists for more than 65 years, continue to be appalled by the worsening working conditions for our colleagues in your country.

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The members of the Overseas Press Club of America, who have defended the rights of journalists for more than 65 years, continue to be appalled by the worsening working conditions for our colleagues in your country.

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We applaud your summons to the representatives of Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and other leading American companies to appear before the House Sub-committee on Human Rights this coming Wednesday, February 15 th.

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We write to condemn your continuing campaign to stifle dissent of all kinds in Russia . Your recent actions make a mockery of your assurances, given early in your administration and repeated to us in October, 2005, by your spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, that your government intends to nurture freedom of the press as a necessary part of its development as a democratic state.

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To an already long list of efforts to tie the hands of a free press in Kazakhstan we now add Dauir, your country’s biggest printing company. We learn this week that Dauir, which is run by your sister-in-law, Svetlana Nazarbayeva, has informed the editors of seven opposition newspapers in Almaty that it will no longer print their publications.

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The members of the Overseas Press Club of America are deeply concerned about several recent cases involving Chinese citizens trying to exercise their freedom of expression on the Internet.

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We write to protest two more cases in which Peruvian officials have retaliated against journalists who criticized their actions. This adds to the long litany of similar incidents we called attention to last year, and further stains the country’s reputation as a nation without respect for freedom of expression.

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We write to urge you to make every possible effort to solve the kidnapping of the American journalist, Jill Carroll, to secure her safe return, and to bring her abductors to justice for the murder of her driver.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, which represents hundreds of the world’s most influential journalists, adds its voice to that of many governments, international organizations, journalists and defenders of human rights who protest the outrageous attacks on freedom of the press by your government.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, which has been monitoring freedom-of-the-press issues around the world for more than sixty six years, is concerned about the status of the case filed last year against the magazine, Cicero and its reporter, Bruno Schirra.

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With great sadness, the Overseas Press Club of America finds it necessary to write to you again regarding murders and persecution of working journalists in the Philippines.

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Since our letter of September 9, 2005, protesting a wave of officially sanctioned violence against journalists by Bangladesh’s National Security Intelligence agency (NSI) and others, we are gratified that the level of outrage from these sources has apparently diminished. However, it has been replaced by a new wave of terror aimed at the press by Islamic terrorists, which the government has shown no interest in curbing.

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We write to urge you to use all the powers of the United Nations to resolve the sorry crisis now engulfing the government and the free press of Lebanon. Last month’s Security Council resolution authorized the International Independent Investigation Commission that is probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri in February, 2005, to “extend its technical assistance” to Lebanese authorities for their investigations into attacks on journalists and other political figures over the past year. The Council did not specify that the investigation should include the attacks on journalists, but it called on you to “present recommendations to expand the mandate of the Commission to include investigations of those other attacks.” We hope you will follow through promptly and effectively.

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This week’s disclosure that the Pentagon is paying to plant propaganda in Iraqi media is an outrage not only to legitimate journalists, but to the very idea of democracy that the United States aims to promote in the Middle East.

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We are dismayed and angry to read of your remarks to British Prime Minister Tony Blair last April about bombing the broadcast headquarters of the Al-Jazeera network in Qatar.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization that has been defending press freedom around the world for more than 65 years, continues to be dismayed by your campaign of repressing independent journalists in Russia.

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We write to express strong concern over the series of invasions at the Asociacion de Mujeres Ixqik (IxqikWomen’s Association).

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In our role as a non-profit organization dedicated to freedom of expression in the media, we write to express grave concern over the Warsaw District Office’s heavy-handed treatment of Grzegorz Gauden, editor-in-chief of the Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper.

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The Overseas Press Club of America has repeatedly protested various closures and intimidation of local media in Zimbabwe . This is not that kind of letter. In fact, since there is virtually no independent media left in Zimbabwe there is little to protest in that regard.

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In the nearly 60 years since your ascension to the throne, the Kingdom of Thailand has seen many advances in the freedoms and prosperity of your people.

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The climate of repression and harassment of the press that continues to characterize the Democratic Republic of Congo is shocking to the members of the Overseas Press Club of America, who have protested challenges to freedom of the press throughout the world for more than 65 years.

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In July, a report by the National Association of Journalists of Peru (ANP) prompted Reporters Without Borders (RWB) to express concern that “an increasing number of journalists are being physically and verbally assaulted, with many of the attacks coming from members of the public.” In the first six months of 2005, ANP reported, “there were 47 cases of physical and verbal attacks on journalists, compared to 34 cases in the same period in 2004.”

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Yet again, we write to protest serious abuses by United States forces of journalists who are trying to cover the continuing insurgency in Iraq.

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The members of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) have watched with dismay as your government destroys, bit by bit, freedom of the press in Venezuela .

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The members of the Overseas Press Club of America wish to express alarm at threats against journalists in your country. While one group of reporters received funeral shrouds as a warning that their lives were in danger, others were singled out by a member of your party, who made a speech filled with hatred. We urge you to express your opposition to such activities and to condemn them as beneath the dignity of your great country.

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Journalists throughout the world were relieved and very pleased when comparative peace returned to Rwanda after the troubles of recent years. Now, however, we are deeply disturbed by the way your government is allowing personal freedoms to be infringed, particularly freedom of the press.

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The members of the Overseas Press Club of America, about 600 women and men with extensive experience as journalists covering news throughout the world, salute you and the citizens of Afghanistan on the success of the recently concluded elections. You have established the foundations of democracy in Afghanistan .

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Thank you for your thoughtful and comprehensive letter in reply to our protest of your government’s response to the ABC-TV interview with Shamil Basayev. The Overseas Press Club of America is gratified to have your assurance that ABC employees will not be stripped of press accreditation and will continue working in your country. We appreciate your statement that “maintaining freedom of mass media and developing it as pre-requisite for creating a democratic state is among top priorities for the leadership of our country.” And while we understand that you disagree with our interpretation of press freedom, we welcome your assertion that “We are open to dialogue and count on a useful exchange of views with our Western partners. We are prepared to take into consideration their constructive criticism.” It is in that spirit that we respond to specific points in your letter.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) joins many other voices in protesting the mistreatment of Pham Hong Son , who is serving his fourth year in jail for posting on-line his translation of an essay entitled, “What is Democracy?”

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We protest the imprisonment of yet another Cuban colleague, Alberto Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández . He joins the long list of Cubans persecuted for exercising a right to free expression — recognized throughout the world except in the most repressive dictatorships.

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One date, July 11, 2005, is of great importance to members of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) who follow events in your great republic. On that day, you pledged to support the building of democracy and repeal the emergency laws which had hampered the exercise of the right of free expression in your country. It is with dismay that we learn that on August 6, 2005 — less than one full month later — your government’s security forces prevented the publication of two Arabic-language daily newspapers.

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As members of the Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America, we wish to share our sense of alarm at the attacks against and mistreatment of journalists in your country. By our count, in less than a month in Karachi alone, there have been at least six official actions taken against publications and members of the press:

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As a non-partisan media organization dedicated to preserving freedom of expression throughout the world, we write to condemn the July murder of journalist , Candido Amorim Pinto , of Radio Comunitaria Alternativa…and to express our dismay over yet another series of recent events that threaten a free press in Brazil .

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We were gratified to learn that the independent journalist, Nikolai Goshko, who had been sentenced in June to five years in a prison camp for criminal defamation, has been unconditionally released. As we wrote you on June 20, 2005, the sentence was absurd and should not have been imposed in the first place, and we applaud this resolution of a case that reflected badly on Russia .

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Less than two months since our last letter to you, we write again, appalled at the continuing and officially sanctioned episodes of violence directed at journalists in Bangladesh . By the count of the International Federation of Journalists f rom May 2004 to May 2005, 6 journalists were killed, 320 were tortured, 55 were injured in assaults and 405 received death threats. This record is an outrage, and it makes Bangladesh one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their legitimate work.

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Dmitri Peskov, President Putin’s Deputy Spokesman, responds to the OPC’s August letter condemning the Russian government’s actions against ABC-TV. While gratified at the attention from the OPC, the government sticks to its alternate interpretation of press freedom.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) is deeply concerned about reports that Zimbabwe ‘s intelligence service is buying into what little is left of the country’s independent press.

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As a non-partisan organization committed to defending press freedom throughout the world, we write to express our grave concern over the recent brutal assault of three Peruvian journalists, and over the fact that none of the assailants, including policemen in one instance, have been brought to justice.

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Your government’s quarrel with the ABC television network (and with the U.S. government) over ABC’s interview with the Chechen rebel leader, Shamil Basayev, is very disturbing to the Overseas Press Club of America, since the dispute reflects a profound misunderstanding of the role of the independent press in a free society. Since you yourself have repeatedly promised to promote press freedom in Russia , we are left to wonder what meaning your words may contain.

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Members of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) read with interest your remarks at the G8 summit in Gleneagles , Scotland , calling for more international cooperation in world development. We believe effective international cooperation requires partners who are committed to ensuring basic freedoms and equalities to their citizens — including public access to information and freedom of the media

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The recent assassination of radio commentator, Rolando “Dodong” Morales , and the attempts to kill two other journalists are further evidence that a culture of violence against media people still flourishes in the Philippines .

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We are in full agreement with your characterization of the murder of Jacques Roche as a “brutal and vile act.” As you are aware, Roche was an editor for La Matin and a Sunday morning talk-show host on Radio Métropole in Port-au-Prince . On July 15, his body was dumped in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince . As we understand it — from the condition of his body — it was clear that Roche was tortured before being killed.

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We write once again to beg you to show humanity toward Cuba ‘s journalists.

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We write to condemn recent grave violations of free speech and press in your country. Since February 1, your government has imposed censorship on Nepal ‘s news media, banning the press from airing, printing or publishing anything that pertains to politics in Nepal . This pernicious ban is still in place, even after your declared state of emergency was lifted in late April.

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In the brief two weeks since we last wrote you, three troubling abuses of press freedom in Russia have come to our attention. We urge you to reflect on them and do everything in your power to expose the truth, punish the perpetrators — and where needed — to amend the law that gives rise to abuses.

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It is horrifying to the members of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) to receive, month after month, reports of violence against journalists in Bangladesh . Our non-partisan organization has defended freedom of the press for journalists and media around the world for more than 60 years.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) writes to ask Your Excellency to investigate the issue of Noticias , of Oaxaca , where more than two dozen employees are surrounded by persons who call themselves strikers. Press reports indicate that several of the ‘strikers’ are actually pro-government militants who disagree with the journalism practiced by Noticias editors and writers .

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) writes again to thank you for two decisive steps taken to protect Mexican journalists who have come under increasing pressure, not excluding murder and death threats .

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On behalf of our colleague, Kelvin Hamunyare Jakachira , the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) respectfully asks your government to re-consider its policies on the media. Jakachira, as you may know, was a respected reporter with the now-banned Daily News in Harare . He faces charges of violating the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act by practicing as an “unaccredited journalist” in 2003.

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We are, of course, pleased and encouraged that the suspected instigator of the killing of Paul Klebnikov has been identified. Your prosecutors have said he is Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev , a Chechen rebel leader, and that he hired assassins to kill Klebnikov, the editor of Forbes Russia , who had written a book critical of Nukhayev. The Overseas Press Club of America, which has defended press freedom around the world for more than 65 years, hopes that Nukhayev will soon be arrested, along with two suspects still at large, and tried with the alleged killers, Musa Vakhayev and Kazbek Dukuzov, also Chechens, who are now in custody.

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The Overseas Press Club of America writes to thank and support your decision in April to have federal authorities take over the investigations of the deaths of two journalists, murdered earlier that month.

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We are writing on behalf of the non-partisan organization, Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), whose more than 600 members have had extensive experience in reporting news from around the world. One of our major activities is to defend freedom of the press world-wide. Our members were deeply shocked to learn of the recent and apparently on-going efforts in Niger to intimidate members of the press and to eliminate voices that criticize the government of Niger .

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The non-partisan Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), whose more than 600 hundred members have had extensive experience in international journalism, was deeply shocked to learn of the recent beating of a working journalist while covering a by-election in Aboabo-Adukrom, in the Ashanti region of Ghana .

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We write to express our grave concern over recent disturbing events affecting journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo — specifically death threats against members of Journaliste en Danger (JED), and the abduction of six Congolese journalists by Mai Mai militiamen. As a non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving freedom of expression in the media, we view these incidents as a chilling reminder of the serious threats to press freedom that exist in your country.

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It was gratifying to read press accounts of your meeting on May 26, 2005, with Alvaro Gil-Robles, the commissioner for human rights of the Council of Europe, including your promise to work to improve human rights in Russia . You said the commissioner’s most recent report on Russia was in some sections “quite a strict document,” but said it was “in my view quite objective.” As an independent organization that has defended press freedom around the world for 65 years, the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) hopes that you will pay special attention to the sections of Mr. Gil-Robles’s report that deal with guaranteeing media independence and respecting freedom of the press.

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Yet again, we write to protest the unending carnage afflicting journalists in the Philippines .

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We write to join our many colleagues in the Turkish press, as well as Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Society of Turkish Journalists and the Press Council in your country, in urging the repeal of Turkey’s new Penal Code. We understand the law is to take effect on June 1, 2005 — despite the fact that many of its provisions will be detrimental to freedom of the press in Turkey.

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We write again to protest your government’s systemic repression of the independent media in Russia , and the violence directed at journalists with no apparent attempt to punish or even control it.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) wishes to express its solidarity with Ecuadorian journalists and to condemn the widespread threats, sabotage and violence that have made their lives and work so dangerous.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) writes to thank you for your quick condemnation of the recent threats against three prominent journalists.

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We write again to protest serious abuses by United States and Iraqi forces of journalists who are trying to cover the continuing insurgency in Iraq.

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The members of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) continue to be outraged by the efforts of your government to silence independent journalism in your country. For the past 65 years, our non-partisan organization has fought for the right of journalists throughout the world to be free to keep the public informed.

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As members of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), we condemn the wave of violence and mistreatment directed at journalists in your country. We are alarmed and outraged by the murder by Haitian police of Abdias Jean, a radio reporter covering a government raid in Village de Dieu; the vicious beating of Claude Bernard Serant and Jonel Juste , reporters for the daily newspaper, La Nouvelliste, in Port-au-Prince; the police beating of Makenson Remy , a radio reporter, in the Nazon section of Port-au-Prince, and the death threats and shooting attack on Raoul Saint-Louis, a reporter on the Megastar radio station.

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As members of the non-partisan Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), we wish to express our alarm at the recent attacks against journalists in your country. We condemn the murder of Julio Palacios Sanchez of Radio Lemas in Cucuta ; the kidnapping of Hernan Echeverri Arboleda, a photographer for the bi-monthly, Uraba Hoy, and the death threats against Antonio Colmenares, a reporter for the newspaper, La Opinion, and Jorge Corredor, the news presenter for La Voz del Norte. Colmenares and Corredor reportedly fled the city.

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We write to join the many voices protesting your recent crack-down on the media of Togo in the aftermath of the death of your father, President Gnassingbe Eyadema, and your unconstitutional seizure of his office with the support of the army.

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We are following with tremendous interest the organizational reforms now proposed to the members of United Nations. We can only hope that among the forthcoming changes will be an overhaul of the current system which allows inclusion on the Human Rights Commission representatives from among the world’s most implacable opponents of free expression.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) demands that the Iranian government re-open its investigation into the brutal murder of freelance photo-journalist, Zahra Kazemi, following the stunning disclosure that the physician who examined her said that she was tortured and raped during her detention in an Iranian jail.

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) is appalled that Bangladesh continues to be one of deadliest places in the world for journalists to work in a manner that would be considered normal and would be legally protected in most of the world. Instead, in Bangladesh , it seems the government tolerates and even encourages an attitude that makes journalists fair game to extremist groups and even to politicians.

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We write again to protest the continuing litany of abuses of press freedom in China . As we noted in our letter of January 23, your country is holding at least 25 journalists and 63 Internet posters in prison, and you have closed more than 8,000 Internet cafes and censored dozens of Web sites and forums.

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We write again, more in sorrow than in hope that anything will be done, to protest the continuing carnage afflicting journalists in the Philippines .

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The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) writes to express serious concern for press freedom in Thailand, particularly in the wake of the fatal shooting of journalist, Pongkiat Saetang, who was murdered by gunmen on February 15 near a market in Had Yai in the Songkhla Province.

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We write to condemn attacks on journalists in Somalia, including the recent physical attack and professional censorship of radio reporter, Abdiqani Sheik Mohamed. Mohamed reported on 26 September on Radio Banadir that the elders of the Jawhar community had asked the committee running one of the city’s mosques to resign in favor of a new committee that had their approval and that of the local authorities.

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We write to express our indignation at last month’s harsh and unjustified sentences imposed on eight journalists and four newspapers in Sidi M’hamed. Worse, these verdicts by a local court have — by all accounts — been greeted with indifference by Algeria’s central government.

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We write to express yet again the Overseas Press Club of America’s serious concern about threats to press freedom in Venezuela. Your government continues to write into law restrictive measures in order to stifle the private media and foster an environment of self-censorship.

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We write to condemn the extreme censorship that your government has imposed on Nepal’s news media during the state of emergency you recently declared. Your suspension of fundamental constitutional rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of the press and the right to information, should be reversed immediately.

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The Overseas Press Club of America, which has been defending freedom of the press around the world for nearly 70 years, is heartened by your recent election and the promise it brings of an end to censorship, assaults and even murders of journalists in the Ukraine.

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It is shocking for the members of the Overseas Press Club of America, and indeed for the whole world, to witness the collapse of democracy and free expression in your country. The recent campaign of disinformation by the state-run media is disgraceful.

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We write to join the voice of the Overseas Press Club of America to all those protesting the murder of Deyda Hydara, another outrage in the recent epidemic of abuses of press freedom in Gambia.

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Since late July, Eric Wirkwa Tayu has been in prison…and Cameroon has injured itself in the eyes of the world. Mr. Tayu, publisher of the private newspaper, Nso Voice, was imprisoned for allegedly defaming the mayor of Kumbo. The charge is that Mr. Tayu accused Mayor Donatus Njong Fonyuy of corruption.