CPJ Presents the Press Oppressors Awards

A version of this post originally appeared on CPJ’s website. Amid the public discourse of fake news and President Trump’s announcement via Twitter about his planned “fake news” awards ceremony, CPJ is recognizing world leaders who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media. From an unparalleled fear of their critics and the truth, to a relentless commitment to censorship, these five leaders and the runner-ups in their categories have gone above and beyond to silence critical voices and weaken democracy.

Most Thin-skinned

Winner: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey
Turkish authorities have repeatedly charged journalists, news outlets, and social media users for insulting Erdoğan, insulting other Turkish leaders, and insulting “Turkishness” in general. Over the course of 2016, the Turkish judicial system handled 46,193 cases of “insulting the president” or “insulting the Turkish nation, the Republic
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Why Telegram’s Security Flaws May Put Iran’s Journalists at Risk

By CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program and CPJ Technology Program. A version of this post originally appeared on CPJ’s website. The mobile messaging app Telegram is popular in Iran, where citizens who have limited access to uncensored news and mainstream social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, use it to share and access information. But the app’s estimated 20 million users in Iran, including those who use Telegram to report and communicate with sources, could be putting themselves at severe risk of data compromise, security experts warn. Created in 2013 by two Russian brothers, Telegram describes itself as a secure and private alternative to apps such as WhatsApp. But whereas WhatsApp applies end-to-end encryption to all traffic by default using the highly secure Signal encryption protocol, Telegram does neither. Security experts have expressed skepticism about the esoteric encryption Telegram uses, saying it is poorly designed and implemented.
Photo by Eduardo Woo on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.
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Journalists in India threatened and attacked

By Sumit Galhotra/CPJ Asia Program Senior Research Associate
Journalists across India are facing death threats, beatings, and jail sentences, and one has been shot dead in recent months, according to CPJ research on the world's largest democracy. In Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, Karun Misra, the Ambedkarnagar bureau chief of Jan Sandesh Times, was shot dead on February 13. CPJ is investigating to determine if his murder is connected to his work at the Hindi-language daily.
This week Sindhu Sooryakumar, a news anchor in the state of Kerala, told reporters she received thousands of threatening phone calls after hosting a discussion on "Cover Story" last month about a minister's comments on student protests. The journalist received death threats and harassing calls after her number was circulated on social media along with claims that she was a sex worker, police said.
Journalists in Chhattisgarh state are also being harassed.
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As Museveni claims election victory, Uganda’s press harassed and restricted

By CPJ Staff
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni claimed victory on Monday after an election season of repeated attacks on the media and the free flow of information. Broadcast outlets were arbitrarily closed for hosting opposition politicians and critical journalists were threatened, harassed, and physically assaulted.
After polls opened on February 18, Uganda's communications commission cited an unspecified threat to national security and blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp until around 9.15 p.m. Museveni discussed social media on television that day, telling viewers, "Some people misuse those pathways. You know how they use them--telling lies. If you want a right, use it properly."
The international community condemned the decision to block social media. On Monday, CPJ joined Access Now and other rights groups in calling on members of the African Union and United Nations to also condemn the Internet shutdown. A copy of the letter can be
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On World Radio Day, Remembering Radio Journalists on the Ground

On World Radio Day this Saturday, the Committee to Protect Journalists is paying tribute to the vital role radio journalists play in bringing their communities news and commentary, sometimes at great personal cost. Seventeen radio journalists were killed for their work last year. Africa and the Americas were the most dangerous regions for radio journalists, with Brazil and South Sudan tied for deadliest country. On a single day, January 25, four radio journalists and a camera operator were ambushed and killed in South Sudan. There have been no arrests in the case more than a year later. Four journalists were also killed in Brazil, three of them local journalists covering corruption; and the fourth, a Paraguayan, covering politics. Among them was Gleydson Carvalho, who was shot dead while presenting his radio program. His murder came a year after Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff told CPJ her administration is committed to
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After Charlie Hebdo, press freedom endangered

Thursday marked the one-year-anniversary of the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The murder by Islamic militants of eight cartoonists and journalists, followed by the terror attacks in Paris in November in which a freelance rock critic was one of the 130 victims, led to France being listed by CPJ as the second-most deadly country for journalists, behind only Syria.
The threat to journalists from Islamic militant groups was not just documented in France. Throughout 2015, CPJ research shows 30 journalists in eight countries were killed by groups such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. This CPJ StoryMap details some of their cases.
The impact of the Charlie Hebdo attack on the magazine's remaining staff, who live under police protection, was summed by Caroline Fourest, a French journalist and contributor to Charlie Hebdo, who spoke with CPJ Advocacy Director Courtney C. Radsch. "They are not free for sure, they
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Why Countering Violent Extremism Measures Can Be a Threat to Press Freedom

By Courtney C. Radsch, CPJ Advocacy Director

“We’re stepping up our efforts to discredit ISIL’s propaganda, especially online,” President Barack Obama told delegates at the Leaders’ Summit on Countering Violent Extremism last month. The social media counter-offensive comes amid U.N. reports of a 70 percent increase in what it terms “foreign terrorist fighters”--citizens of U.N. member states who have left to join Islamic State and other militant groups.
Islamic State has embraced social media as a way to attract supporters around the world, in a move governments and companies have struggled to respond to. The idea of counter narratives and of removing content and closing down social media accounts believed to be linked to Islamic State has become a major international agenda item. But the focus on the group’s use of social networking has opened the door to a range of politicized efforts that appear less likely
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