News / Middle East

Media Group: Press Freedom Weakens in Several Countries, Cyberspace

Mariama Diallo
For the first time, the Committee to Protect Journalists has added cyberspace as a category on its yearly risk list, which highlights places where press freedom is on the decline. The CPJ says while violence and repression continue to threaten the work of journalists worldwide, online censorship and surveillance are also starting to affect the flow of information. Mariama Diallo reports.

CPJ's list of countries with the biggest decline in media freedom includes Egypt, Bangladesh, Syria, Ecuador, Liberia, Zambia, Russia, Vietnam and Turkey - where hundreds recently protested against planned new restrictions on the Internet.  

“Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world.  People have been shot with less leathal rounds and tear-gassed around and sprayed with high-pressure water cannon in the streets in protest of this bill," said Geoffrey King of CPJ.

Geoffrey King is the Internet advocacy coordinator for the CPJ. King says new amendments to Turkey's restrictive Internet law, which the parliament passed Thursday, will make it even worse.
 
“It would make it much easier for the government to block URLs in some cases without court authorization," he said.

Responding to the CPJ's allegations, Turkish officials told VOA the amendements were made to improve the law and strike a balance between freedom of expression, individual rights and privacy protections.

In Egypt, the CPJ says that, since the military takeover last year, five journalists have been killed, 30 assaulted and 11 news outlets raided.  20 journalists have recently been arrested, including four from Al Jazeera. Anna Therese Day, a freelance journalist, says via Skype that the situation in Egypt today is very different from what it was during the revolution.

“I worked there freely. I worked by myself. I worked with short sleeves on; I didn’t cover my hair most of the time. Now, that would be unheard of for someone like me," said Day.

Day says she left Egypt because it was no longer safe.

Wars remain the biggest threat to journalists' lives, but CPJ warns that governments' efforts to monitor digital communications could become more damaging to their work.

“Not just targeted surveillance of individual suspects but mass surveillance across society in many countries. That’s why it’s cyberspace and not one particular country being named. Different countries do it with varying levels of rule of law and due process, but it’s quickly becoming very easy for governments to spy on their critics," said King.

The CPJ says that recent revelations by former security contractor Edward Snowden about U.S. cyberspace surveillance could chill newsgathering, by frightening away news sources who need to be protected from retribution.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid