Training Journalists as a Crime

Thank you for allowing me and my colleagues the opportunity to testify before you today. As you know, more than a year ago, I and 42 other NGO workers were convicted in an Egyptian court for working on programs designed to build democracy, monitor elections and train political parties and journalists. We were given sentences ranging from one to five years in prison. Most people who knew about the case probably think it was resolved long ago.

Flaming the Messenger: A Look at Umar Cheema’s Twitter Traffic

Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema has won awards, fellowships, and international acclaim for his investigative reports. But at home he and his colleagues are under sustained attack, and he reports now that surveillance and harassment are increasing. Check out the activity among Cheema’s impressive 123,000 Twitter followers after he announced his election to the GIJN board.

Abraji’s Security Manual for Covering Street Protests

Covering street protests involves risks that every journalist should be prepared for. Knowledge, experience and planning can help reduce these risks. To help journalists worldwide, Abraji has developed a guide, packed with tips and anecdotes from professionals who have experienced risky incidents while covering protests. Here’s an excerpt, covering how to prepare and how to act during the event.

Global Press Freedom Drops to Lowest Level in a Decade

Freedom House is out with its annual look at global press freedom, and the news is pretty grim: press freedom has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade. Behind the decline were major losses in the Middle East, Turkey, Ukraine, and East Africa, as well as “deterioration in the relatively open media environment of the United States.” There were positive developments in other places, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, but the dominant trends were not good: “setbacks in every other region,” according to the report. Only one in seven people now live in a country with a free press. For more on this, see Freedom of the Press 2014.

Spurring Cross-Border Collaboration on Journalism Investigations in Latin America

More and more, Latin American journalism is thriving in the digital space. Investigative journalism platforms online are joining forces, data journalism bootcamps are taking off and there are new accelerators looking to fund innovative news projects. “In today’s world, journalists spend more time in the virtual world than in the paper stacks,” said Carlos Eduardo Huertas, director of Connectas, a nonprofit which supports transnational journalism.

Ukraine: Amid Attacks, Crimea Center Returns, New Sites Archived

We have several reports on Ukraine today. First, some good news: GIJN’s member in Crimea, the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism, is back in its office after vigilantes seized it on March 2. Spurred by the attack, GIJN worked with the Internet Archive to back up its site, and now we’ve helped preserve seven more independent media sites in Ukraine. And then the bad news: attacks continue on the media there, chronicled in a harrowing list of incidents compiled by the Crimean Center.

Masked Gunmen Seize Crimean Investigative Journalism Center

As Russian troops streamed into Crimea, Ukraine, yesterday, masked gunmen broke into and seized the office of the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism in the region’s capital, Simferopol. The group of about 30 men, dressed in military fatigues, targeted offices housing the Information and Press Center, a hub for independent media in the region, and the Crimean investigative center. After breaking a window and forcing their way through the front door, militia leader Konstantin Knyrik announced that the offices would now house representatives of “The Crimean Front,” because from “this building does not come true information.” “We do not need to escalate this,” Knyrik told the journalists, according to the Crimean investigative center’s website. “All employees can come to work. We promise them, if their sponsors refuse to pay the salary, we will find them entrepreneurs.

Reporters Without Borders Releases Press Freedom Index

Reporters Without Borders today released its 2014 World Press Freedom Index, spotlighting major declines in media freedom in such varied countries as the United States, Central African Republic, and Guatemala while noting marked improvements in Ecuador, Bolivia, and South Africa. The same trio of Finland, Netherlands, and Norway heads the index again, while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea continue to be the biggest information black holes, again occupying the last three positions. You can find RSF’s full index and a 3-dimensional map here. The report is also available in several languages other than English.

“Don’t Talk of Hanging” – A Week of Investigative Reporting in Pakistan

How do you cover corruption in Pakistan’s national security agencies? With caution and plenty of guts. Such reporting got investigative journalist Umar Cheema kidnapped, tortured, and nearly killed in 2010, but the founder of the Center for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan hasn’t backed down. Check out the latest from the Islamabad-based Cheema, who this week revealed that elite counter-terrorism officials used a secret agency fund to buy wedding gifts, luxury carpets, and gold jewelry for relatives of ministers and visiting dignitaries.