CPJ's Robert Mahoney identifies the 10 countries where press freedom suffered the most in 2012. They include Syria, the world's deadliest country for the press; Russia, where repressive laws took effect; Brazil, where journalist murders soared; and Ethiopia, where terror laws are used to silence the press. (3:26)
The death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in August in a Belgian hospital brought an end to a 21-year rule characterized by repression of dissent and iron-fisted control of the independent press. His fatal illness was shrouded in secrecy. After Meles disappeared from public view in June, the government played down rumors of his illness andsuppressed in-depth domestic reporting. The government also faced rare demonstrations by members of the Muslim community, who protested what they called government interference in their affairs. Security forces violently dispersed the gatherings, cracking down on journalists who reported on them, and forcing threeMuslim-oriented newspapers to close. The government drew widespread international condemnation for the convictions of nine Ethiopian journalists on vague and politicized terrorism charges. The journalists, five of them exiles tried in absentia, were handed sentences ranging from eight years to life imprisonment. The government finally freedtwo Swedish journalists who were imprisoned for 14 months for reporting on separatist Ogaden rebels. Six journalists remained behind bars in late year, including award-winning writerEskinder Nega.
Worldwide tally reaches highest point since CPJ began surveys in 1990. Governments use charges of terrorism, other anti-state offenses to silence critical voices. Turkey is the world's worst jailer. A CPJ special report
Nairobi, February 8, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the revival of criminal charges against Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn today in what appears to be a politicized court hearing designed to censor one of the few critical voices left in the country.
Nairobi, February 1, 2013--Ethiopian security forces have detained for two weeks without charge the editor of a newsmagazine and accused him of incitement to terrorism, according to local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to release Solomon Kebede immediately and halt their harassment of journalists affiliated with the weekly Ye Muslimoch Guday.
An increase in press freedom violations last year created a surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases for CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who received support during the year came from East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the last year: