Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Online journalists attacked -CPJ

22 February 2012, 13:34

United States - A global coalition against censorship is needed to protect online journalists and bloggers who are being targeted by repressive governments, a leading advocacy group said on Tuesday.

At least 46 journalists died around the world in 2011, the Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ) said, an increase from the estimate it released in December. Seven journalists were killed in Pakistan, where 29 journalists have been killed in the past five years.

Freelancers, bloggers and citizen journalists like those reporting in the Middle East have few resources to defend themselves against censorship and attacks, the CPJ said.

Authoritarian states are buying communications surveillance equipment from Western manufacturers and using it to monitor and target journalists and bloggers, the group said.

The report cited people in Syria who smuggled video footage to reporters across the world and were consequently tracked and tortured by government authorities after their Facebook accounts were hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, a government-sponsored hacking group.


The New York-based group said the number of deaths while covering dangerous assignments, such as street protests, reached the highest level since 1992. Most of the deaths were in the Middle East and North Africa, where 19 journalists died last year, most while covering the Arab world uprisings.

One third of those killed were freelance journalists, more than double the proportion that freelancers have constituted over the years.

Nine online journalists were killed for their work, including Mexican reporter Maria Elizabeth Macias Castro, whose decapitated body was found with a note saying she had been killed for reporting news on social media websites. Her death was the first documented by CPJ that was directly tied to journalism published on social media.

The committee found that 179 journalists were imprisoned as of December 1, an increase driven by widespread imprisonment across the Middle East and North Africa. About half of those work primarily online, the committee said.

The highest number of jailed journalists was in Iran, where 42 reporters were behind bars.

While the internet and social media has helped democratise the dissemination of information, the nature of such newsgathering leaves journalists especially vulnerable to censorship and retaliation, the CPJ said in its annual survey. There are few legal mechanisms to fight censorship on an international level, the group said.

The CPJ said governments, the business community and human rights organisations must urge intergovernmental groups to create a legal framework to adjudicate press freedom cases at the international level.

In 2010, CPJ hired its first internet advocacy co-ordinator to act as a liaison between Silicon Valley and the journalists who depend on their products - "not only to get the news out, but also to protect them and their sources from physical harm", the report said.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
4 ways to handle your cheating ma...

He is cheating. How do you handle him?

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Why do men choose second wives?

Why do men choose to have second wives?

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Wizkid set for twin Kenyan shows

Wizkid is back in Kenya. For two shows.

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
Udada women's festival begins in ...

The Udada women's festival has arrived in Nairobi.

Submitted by
Uhuru pardons 2747 death row conv...

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pardoned a number of death row convicts, sending them to life sentences instead. Read more...

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?