As countries across South Asia continue to battle the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, causing serious public health and economic crisis, this region, which is home to almost 2 billion people, is also grappling with the erosion of democratic norms, growing authoritarianism, the crackdown on freedom of press, speech and dissent.
In several countries around the globe, telling the truth is according to its rulers and other influential, generally wealthy, persons a serious crime that might be punished by muzzling the truth-tellers, slandering and humiliating them, and threatening their families and friends. If that does not make them shut up and repent they might be tortured, imprisoned and even killed.
This past year, uncertainty blanketed our world. The COVID-19 pandemic, the rapidly advancing climate crisis, the pervasive nature of new technologies, and encroaching authoritarianism have all shown that our world is changing fast and in ways that fundamentally affect how we live.
Two global icons of press freedom accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, marking the first time since 1936 that journalists have been recognized with the world’s most prestigious award.
Governments are determined to control information and are prepared to imprison journalists to achieve this mission, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said following the release of their annual global census tracking journalists who were imprisoned and killed in 2021.
Independent journalism has come increasingly under attack
in Belarus, as the country has become a regional hotspot of media repression. Lately, as many as six media outlets
have closed shop to ensure the security of their staff. Some media workers have fled the country.
showed blood-soaked concrete, a gashed open thigh, and an injured protester grimacing in pain on the ground. Taken by photojournalist Eti-Inyene Godwin Akpan on October 20, 2020, the images tell the story of Nigerian forces’ mass shooting of anti-police brutality protesters at Lagos’ Lekki Toll Gate, an incident
the government continues to deny
There will soon be no one left to defend human rights or help minorities in Belarus as the country’s third sector moves closer to “complete liquidation”, international rights groups have warned.
“If I fall into the hands of the Taliban, not only me but my family will be killed,” said AB, 23*, who worked as a broadcast journalist for the past seven years and is a well-known face on the television screen.
Steven Butler describes it as “mass panic.” As the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator has been fielding “hundreds and hundreds” of daily pleas from journalists asking for help to flee the country.
Earlier in January, Indian journalist Nidhi Razdan found out she was a victim of one of the most sophisticated and elaborate cyber attacks. Razdan wrote in a piece
that it was all an attempt to access her bank account details, personal data, emails, medical records, passport and access to all her devices, including computer and phone.
The family of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has called for “lessons to be learnt” after an independent inquiry found that the Maltese state bore responsibility for her death.
Tsaone Basimanebotlhe was not expecting security agents to appear at her home in a village outside Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, in July 2019, she told CPJ in a recent interview. But they didn’t come to arrest or charge her, she recalled – they came for her devices, hunting for the source for an article published by her employer, Mmegi
A ruling last week ordering a retrial in the murders of a Slovak journalist and his fiancée has led to a “unique” opportunity to break a global cycle of impunity in journalist killings, press freedom groups have said.
International correspondent Jeffrey Moyo, who was a released from detention today after being arrested for breaching Zimbabwe’s Immigration Act by helping two foreign journalists work in the country, says press freedom is undermined when journalists cannot work undeterred.
Four years ago, Omoregie* and his friends were arrested without cause and taken into custody. When they got to the station, Omoregie watched as the police began to beat his friends. Afraid, he began to discreetly tweet about the attacks as they took place.
As international correspondent Jeffrey Moyo was denied bail for allegedly breaching a section of the Zimbabwe Immigration Act by helping two foreign journalists work in the country without proper media accreditation, local organisations have called for his release and for him to be accorded a fair trial.
China is one of the worst places in the world for media freedom, according to the global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which ranked the country 177 out of 180 in its latest World Press Freedom Index. In the report, the group warned that Beijing is taking “internet censorship, surveillance and propaganda to unprecedented level,” and had “taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to enhance its control over online information even more”. China is also the world’s biggest jailers of journalists with more than 120 journalists and what the group calls “defenders of press freedom” currently detained.
The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Bangladeshi authorities to immediately release journalist Rozina Islam, withdraw the investigation into her, and to stop arresting journalists under the Official Secrets Act.
Oratile Dikologang was naked when police officers pulled black plastic over his head during his detention in April 2020. It was difficult to breathe, but the interrogation continued, he told CPJ in a recent phone interview.