One Free Press Coalition Spotlights Journalists Under Attack – January 2020

In May 2019, WIRED joined the One Free Press Coalition, a united group of preeminent editors and publishers using their global reach and social platforms to spotlight journalists under attack worldwide. Today, the coalition is issuing its eighth monthly “10 Most Urgent” list of journalists whose press freedoms are being suppressed or whose cases demand justice.

Since the campaign began in 2019, at least 10 of the 56 featured journalists have been freed from prison. This includes Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who covered the Rohingya massacre in Myanmar. This month, the list is topped by the alleged involvement of Maltese government officials in the murder of investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Here’s January’s list, ranked in order of urgency:

1. Daphne Caruana Galizia (Malta) 
Malta acknowledges mishandling of journalist’s murder case.

Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, has announced he will resign on January 12 in connection with the government’s mishandling of the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death. The Panama Papers investigative reporter was killed in an October 2017 car bomb blast. Two years later, a public inquiry was initiated, and three senior members of Muscat’s administration stepped down over allegations of involvement in the murder, while three men are currently in detention in relation to the events.

2. Esraa Abdel Fattah (Egypt) 
Egyptian journalist on hunger strike tortured and hospitalized.

Reports surfaced December 16 that Esraa Abdel Fattah of banned website Tahrir News had been hospitalized in connection with her hunger strike. The reporter and social media coordinator had been detained two months at that point, charged with membership in a banned group, spreading false news and misusing social media platforms to disrupt national security. She began a hunger strike in October to demand an investigation into her allegations of mistreatment and torture.

3. Ilham Tohti (China)
Six years in jail for Chinese writer serving life sentence.

This month Uyghur scholar, writer and blogger Ilham Tohti is serving his sixth year of a life sentence. Uighurbiz, the Chinese- and Uighur-language website he founded in 2006 with a focus on social issues, was shuttered for its “separatist” ideas (a charge Tohti denied) after his arrest in 2014. China is the leading jailer of journalists and allows Tohti’s wife and family members to visit him for only 30 minutes every three months.

4. Agnès Ndirubusa and the team at Iwacu (Burundi)
Four Burundi reporters and their driver facing 15 years in prison.
Four journalists and their driver were arrested in Burundi in October while covering clashes in the country’s Bubanza Province. Senior political reporter Agnès Ndirubusa, broadcast reporter Christine Kamikazi, English-language reporter Egide Harerimana and photojournalist Térence Mpozenzi remain in detention though their driver, Adolphe Masabarikiza, was released in November. All five face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the charges of undermining state security.

5. Aleksandr Valov (Russia)
Imprisoned Russian journalist’s whereabouts unknown.
Aleksandr Valov’s lawyer has not been able to contact or locate him. The editor-in-chief and founder of local news site BlogSochi was arrested January 19, 2018 and is currently serving a six-year sentence on trumped up extortion charges. Valov narrated a livestream video showing police beating him during the arrest.

6. Jesús Medina (Venezuela)
Trial of detained Venezuelan photographer repeatedly delayed.

The trial of freelance photographer Jesús Medina has repeatedly been postponed, with the date currently set for January 30. The only Venezuelan journalist imprisoned, according to CPJ’s 2019 prison census, has been held in pretrial detention at Ramo Verde military prison since August 2018. He is accused of criminal association and inciting hate.

Source : Wired