They Bear Witness. They Report. They’re Threatened, Jailed, or Worse.
It’s a journalist’s job to bear witness, even when doing so is dangerous business.
And it is indeed: The number of journalists targeted for murder in reprisal for their reporting nearly doubled last year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, to 34. Since 1992, more than 1,300 journalists have been killed in connection to their work; more than 850 were murders.
The CPJ tracks three types of journalist deaths on the job: reprisal murders, deaths in combat, and deaths on dangerous assignment (such as covering a protest). That the committee has enough examples to warrant three categories is a sign that we are experiencing a global crisis of press freedom.
That’s why FORTUNE has joined the One Free Press Coalition, an organization of more than a dozen leading news organizations (including the Associated Press, Reuters, Financial Times, Time, and Forbes) who vow to use their collective audience to stand up for journalists under attack for doing their work.
“We magazine and newspaper editors love to talk about ‘speaking truth to power,’ but we too often forget what those words mean in much of the world, where reporting and speaking such truth is an act of stunning and selfless bravery,” says Fortune editor-in-chief Clifton Leaf. “FORTUNE is honored to join the One Free Press Coalition, and we’re grateful for the chance to work alongside our colleagues to push for greater protections for journalists around the globe. Speaking truth to power remains a crucial mission. It shouldn’t be a life-or-death one.”
On Monday, the coalition published its second-ever list of the 10 most urgent examples of journalists who are incarcerated, under threat, or facing injustice for their work. That list follows, and will be revised monthly.
Miroslava Breach Velducea, correspondent, La Jornada (Mexico)
The late correspondent was murdered in the state of Chihuahua in March 2017 for her reporting on the links between politicians and organized crime. Before her death, she had received several threats for her reporting on corruption and politics.
Maria Ressa, founder of Rappler (The Philippines)
National Bureau of Investigation officers arrested Ressa in February over a libel case brought against her by the country’s Justice Department. (She was released the next day, but the publication still faces retaliatory tax charges.) This month, authorities issued arrest warrants against Rappler’s editors and executives, including Ressa, for violating laws barring foreign ownership of media.
Tran Thi Nga, human rights blogger (Vietnam)
The journalist was sentenced to nine years in prison—after a one-day trial—on charges of “spreading propaganda against the state” after producing videos critical of authorities’ involvement in toxic environmental spills and government corruption.
Azimjon Askarov, journalist (Kyrgyzstan)
He has spent nearly nine years in prison for his reporting on human rights violations. Despite international condemnation, Kyrgyz authorities have upheld his life sentence.
Rana Ayyub, journalist (India)
The outspoken independent journalist has been the target of continual, coordinated harassment by those who disagree with her reporting. She is the author of Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up, an eight-month undercover investigation revealing government complicity during violent riots in India that killed at least 1,000 people in 2002.
Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda Ubau, journalists at 100% Noticias (Nicaragua)
In December, Nicaraguan police raided the television station and arrested director Mora and news director Pineda Ubau. Both are currently held on charges of “inciting hate and violence.”
Anna Nimiriano, editor of Juba Monitor (South Sudan)
The newspaper editor lives under constant threat as she works to keep her colleagues out of jail for their reporting. She has been ordered by the government to shut down the paper.
Amade Abubacar, radio journalist (Mozambique)
Abubacar was arrested in January while photographing families fleeing militant attacks in northern Cabo Delgado province. He continues to be held in detention without trial.
Claudia Duque, investigative reporter (Colombia)
The veteran reporter endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance, psychological torture, and exile for her work defending human rights. Courts convicted three officers of the Colombian security forces for the torture of Duque and her daughter; several more are on trial.
Osman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of Al-Tayar (Sudan)
Sudanese authorities arrested the journalist in February on unspecified charges, and his health deteriorated in prison. He was released on Friday. Before his arrest, Mirghani had been reporting on protests in Sudan.
Last month’s inaugural list also included Eman Al Nafjan, a prominent women’s rights blogger in Saudi Arabia. Though the charges against her have not been dropped, Eman was recently released from a Saudi Arabia prison.
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