October 28, 2020

Press Freedom

Press Freedom Update May 21

China effectively expelled Chris Buckley, a longtime foreign correspondent for The New York Times, on May 8 after authorities rejected his request to renew his visa. The Australian native recently spent 76 days in Wuhan reporting on the COVID-19 crisis and has been based in China for the past 24 years. Chinese state media has attacked him personally in recent months for his reporting on the epidemic, which included government secrecy and delays in the fight against the virus, as well as public outrage over the death of whistleblower, Li Wenliang. Press freedom organizations including Reporters Without Borders (RWB) condemned the move and called for China to stop using visa rejections in retaliation against journalists.
At least eight Kurdish Iraqi journalists were detained after covering a protest about unpaid salaries in Duhok on May 16. Reporters from Speda TV and opposition party-affiliated networks Khabir Radio, Khabir TV, PRS Media, and Gali Kurdistan were all arrested, with four reporters being detained for hours and the other four being held overnight. They were charged under Law 11 regulating the organization of demonstration. “Once again the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq have used the laws at their convenience to stamp out news coverage that makes the government uncomfortable,” said the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Middle East and North Africa representative, Ignacio Miguel Delgado.
On May 15, South African police beat Paul Nthoba, owner and editor of the weekly Mohokare News, for photographing them while they were on patrol enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown. Nthoba was slapped, kicked, and punched by at least four police officers, who also confiscated his phone. Nthoba was detained for four hours and charged with “obstructing law enforcement under a COVID-19 regulation of the Disaster Management Act of 2002.” “Authorities must do the right thing and immediately drop the charge against Paul Nthoba, who was insulted and gratuitously assaulted by police for simply chronicling them at work,” said Angela Quintal, the CPJ’s Africa program coordinator.