- Journalist Casimir Kpedjo detained, facing false news accusations in Benin
- Trial of detained Nicaraguan journalists Lucía Pineda and Miguel Mora indefinitely delayed
- Editor-in-chief of Mexican newspaper Reforma targeted by death threats following criticism from president
- Peruvian judge orders assets freeze for Ojo Público, 2 journalists in defamation case
- Israeli forces injure four Palestinian journalists covering Gaza protests
- Two journalists arrested covering yellow vest protests in France
- Jordanian journalist Abdulrahman Farhana detained by Saudi authorities
- Myanmar military sues The Irrawaddy for criminal defamation over conflict coverage
Reporter Without Borders
- China: RSF demands the release of former journalist critical of censorship
- Missing for three days, Pakistani journalist found in police custody
- US – White House should immediately restore Brian Karem’s press pass
- Two Chadian editors detained illegally for defamation
- Belgian bill threatens investigative journalism
- RSF fears more censorship after state TV boss fired in Guinea-Bissau
- Chief Executive Carrie Lam fails to alleviate RSF’s concerns over Hong Kong Press Freedom
- RSF urges Turkey not to send Syrian refugee journalists back to Syria
Report to the Board of Governors November 29, 2011
Three letters have gone out since our last meeting, all of some interest, and three more have been assigned.
We wrote to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to protest what we called a vendetta against James Risen of the New York Times and an attempt by the Obama administration to undermine a fundamental principle of press freedom. Despite the fact that three subpoenas trying to force Risen to disclose his sources have been quashed, the Justice Department continues to appeal, to make him testify in the trial of a former CIA agent on charges of leaking information about a failed attempt to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. We reminded the president and the attorney general that Mr. Obama had promised an open administration, and we called on them both to endorse the latest effort to pass a shield law in Congress.
In a somewhat ambivalent letter to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, we called it an exercise in cynicism and hypocrisy to award the Prime Minister’s annual award for excellence in journalism to Mikhail Beketov, since there has been no effort to find and punish those who nearly beat Beketov to death two years ago. At the same time, we applauded the courage of the journalists on the award’s panel who nominated Beketov and voted him the winner, in an effort to call attention to his case and embarrass the government. As you may recall, it was Beketov, the editor of a small opposition paper in the Moscow suburbs, who first reported the government’s plan to build a new highway through the Khimki forest. Like several other journalists who covered the story, Beketov was attacked by unknown assailants. He suffered brain damage and still cannot speak complete sentences; with a leg amputated and his hands so mangled that he can’t type, he is confined to a wheelchair. We told Medvedev and Putin that we would be on the alert for any retaliation against the journalists who bravely and ingeniously voted the Prime Minister’s award to Beketov.
We also wrote to Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City to deplore the way the New York Police Department repressed coverage of the eviction of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from Zuccotti Park, including arresting and physically attacking reporters and photographers who were displaying NYPD press credentials. Others arrested and mistreated included bloggers and journalists representing online outlets who did not qualify for press passes under the NYPD rules, which we suggested should be re-examined in light of what is actually happening in journalism.
This case is especially relevant in light of our current forum on the OPC Web site, “Who Is a Journalist?” As I mentioned at last month’s meeting, this forum was posted in part to reflect the Occupy Wall Street protests, which had already produced press freedom violations well before the Zuccotti Park eviction.
Respectfully submitted by: Larry Martz, Chairman