It was widely reported late yesterday that Mexican journalist Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco had been shot dead along with his wife and son after his house was entered by gunmen.
BBC News this morning claimed authorities had not yet determined a motive for the murders which they called a “cowardly” attack.
Mr Lopez Velasco, 55, wrote for the daily newspaper Notiver, where he was also an editor. His columns focussed on crime, drug trafficking and political corruption. In its coverage, Notiver called for a swift and transparent investigation to find those guilty of the three killings.
The Committee to Protect Journalists’ senior program coordinator for the Americas Carlos Lauría said the organisation was “shocked” by the killings and called on the authorities to fully investigate and effectively prosecute those responsible.
The Mexican government must put an end to this endless wave of violence that is eroding the democratic system.
A CPJ report on the killings added that drug-related violence has made Mexico one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press, with 13 Mexican journalists, including López, killed since the beginning of 2010. According to CPJ’s research at least three of those were known to be in direct reprisal for their work.
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The Committee to Protect Journalists claims reporters have been suppressed in uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa in more than 500 attacks, some of them deadly, Reuters reports.
Mohamed Abdel Dayem, program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists in the Middle East and North Africa, said the number of attacks on the media in the region since the start of the year was “unprecedented”.
Dayem adds that 14 journalists are known to have been killed worldwide this year so far and 10 of these deaths were in the Middle East and North Africa.
Yesterday it emerged that two Western photojournalists had been killed while reporting on the conflict in Libya, British-born journalist Tim Hetherington and Getty Images staff photographer Chris Hondros.
The Committee to Protect Journalists claims to have documented at least 141 “direct attacks” on journalists and news facilities in Egypt since 30 January.
The CPJ, which says it is also investigating “numerous other reports” has compiled a link list of its daily coverage of the anti-government protests detailing the cases.
“The authorities say everything is being done to protect journalists, but reports of harassment and intimidation continue,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “Shifting from a tactic of outright violence against journalists to one of erecting bureaucratic obstacles is not fooling anybody. Cairo must allow all journalists to report unhindered.”
Full post on the CPJ site at this link.
An Egyptian photographer has become the first journalist to die covering the anti-Mubarak protests.
Ahmad Mohamed Mahmoud, who worked for Al-Ta’awun, died from gunshot wounds sustained a week ago when he was shot by a sniper.
Journalists face ongoing attacks and detentions in Cairo. The Committee to Protect Journalists has compiled a round-up of the latest attacks on the press.
Russian media outlets and the Committee to Protect Journalists have called on President Medvedev to deal with unsolved crimes against the media, following an attack on reporter Oleg Kashin this weekend which led to him being placed into an induced coma.
According to a report by AFP, 26 reporters and media outlets, as well as hundreds of others, have signed an open letter demanding protection for journalists’ rights.
“By demanding the protection of reports, what we are talking about is not only our own trade,” the letter said. “One must also protect the rights of our readers. The rights of reporters to fulfill their obligation in a normal fashion and not worry about their lives — this is the right of society to speak and be heard.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists has also called on the government to act. In a statement, CPJ executive director Joel Simon said:
We are outraged by the attack on Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin. While it is important that President Medvedev has called for the perpetrators to be ‘found and punished,’ we also believe that the government itself has considerable responsibility. By failing to prosecute those who have carried out crimes against journalists in the past – including 19 murders committed in the Putin era – the Russian government has created a climate of impunity. Government statements and expressions of sympathy are simply not sufficient. Arrests, prosecutions and convictions are what are urgently needed.
Press freedom groups have condemned a decision by the Afghan government to close down privately-owned TV station Emroz.
According to a BBC report, the government closed down the station which is owned by MP Najibulla Kabuli for allegedly fueling religious tensions.
The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the government to put the station back on air while Reporters Without Borders added that the move breaks media law.
The government must not under any circumstances violate the media law, which gives the media commission sole decision-making authority when a media commits an offence. We call on the government to rescind these decisions and never interfere in the content of Afghan TV stations again.
See the RWB full post here…
On Friday (14 May) The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that it is concerned about the “deteriorating security situation for reporters in Thailand…”
Three journalists were shot and injured on Friday when security forces and protesters exchanged fire that resulted in at least seven deaths and more than 100 injuries, according to local and international news reports.
Full story at this link…
Three Nigerian journalists were killed last weekend, in two separate incidents, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Muslim rioters killed two reporters working with a local Christian newspaper on Saturday, according to local journalists and news reports. Also on Saturday, court reporter Edo Sule Ugbagwu, at left, from the private daily The Nation was shot dead at his home by two gunmen, according to local journalists.
Full story at this link…
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that the sixth Honduran journalist has been killed since March 2010.
[Jorge Alberto Orellana] 50, host of the program “En vivo con Georgino” (Georgino Live) at the local private station Televisión de Honduras, was shot to death on Tuesday by an unidentified gunman in the city of San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras, according to local news accounts. As the journalist was leaving the station around 9 p.m., the attacker shot him in the head and fled on foot, the local newspaper Tiempo reported. The journalist was taken to Hospital Mario Rivas, where he was pronounced dead.
Full post at this link…
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has a special report on Ahmed Omar Hashi, a Somali journalist CPJ has helped through its assistance programme.
He’s been threatened and targeted for death. He’ seen his colleagues and friends killed. Now, like other Somali journalists, Hashi struggles in exile and hopes one day he can resume his work.
Full report at this link…
Video report at this link…