Wed, 06/28/2017 - 09:55

Posted by International R... on November 18, 2015

The International Reporting Bureau at Humber College reviews travel advisories for journalists working abroad weekly. 

These advisories were last updated on November 18, 2015. Changes include: Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen.

Incidents involving journalists are generally limited to 2014-15, with exceptions in the case of 2013 events judged relevant to current practice, and are sourced from the Government of Canada travel advisories, CJFE, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX).

 


The following are organized alphabetically by region

AFRICA

Angola

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Angola exercise a high degree of caution. High crime rates, landmines and unexploded ordnance can pose a particular threat.

A regional advisory against non-essential travel has been issued for Cabinda and Lunda North provinces.

Angola ranks 124 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

May 29, 2015

A judge in Luanda handed down a defamation conviction against journalist Rafael Marques de Morais yesterday for passages linked directly to his 2011 book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in AngolaRead more about the conviction and sentencing here.

March 31, 2015

Angolan journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais is facing 15 libel charges and an additional nine counts of criminal defamation. These charges came from de Morais’s 2012 book titled Blood Diamonds: Corruption and torture in Angola. The Media Institute of Southern Africa is calling on the Angolan government to analyze the charges because they breach the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Read more on de Morais’s background and trial here.


Benin

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Benin exercise a high degree of caution. Petty crime is of a particular concern in some parts of the country.

Benin ranks 75 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 27, 2014

RSF reported on the sentences passed against L’Indépendent newspapers publisher and a journalist employed by the paper. The respective three-year suspended sentence and two-month sentence, as well as the six-month suspension of the paper, resulted from charges of “insulting” the president of Benin. Read the full report here.


Botswana

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Botswana to exercise normal precautions.

Botswana ranks 41 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

Sept. 11, 2014

The editor of Botswana newspaper the Sunday Standard was arrested on Sept. 8, prompting many other journalists to flee Botswana in fear of their own safety. The Media Institute of South Africa is concerned that this is an attempt to impede the work of the Sunday StandardFor more on this story, follow the link here.


Burkina Faso

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Burkina Faso exercise a high degree of caution and avoid non-essential travel north of the Djibo-Dori line. Crime, banditry and kidnapping are posing particular threats.

Travellers are advised to be aware of scheduled October presidential and parliamentary elections and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.

An unidentified armed group in the Tambao region abducted a European citizen on April 4. There have also been kidnappings of Western citizens in neighbouring countries. The risk of kidnapping continues in this region, due in part to the proximity of the Niger and Mali borders.

The Canadian embassy is relocating non-essential staff in Ouagadougou due to ongoing political tensions (including a recent coup attempt). The embassy remains open but will only provide emergency consular assistance.

Burkina Faso ranks 52 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 17, 2015

Boureima Ouédraogo, managing editor of investigative newspaper Le Reporter, has been fined $500 USD after being accused of libel. Ouédraogo was sentenced to three months in prison last month after a lawyer filed a defemation lawsuit against a series of articles he wrote. Read more about the sentence libel case here.

June 9, 2015

The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights ordered local authorities to resume the investigation linked with the 1998 murder of newspaper editor Norbert Zongo. The court also ordered the state to pay compensation to Zongo’s spouse as well as the three other victims involved in the murder. Read more about the ruling here.

May 13, 2015

The Higher Council for Communication (CSC) has banned live radio and TV political broadcasts for three months, in the lead-up to next October’s election. Read more here.

 


Burundi

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Burundi exercise a high degree of caution. A high rate of crime and recent political tensions could pose a particular threat.

A regional advisory has been issued against all travel to the Bubanza and Cibitoke provinces near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Armed incursions across the border have been reported.

Burundi ranks 142 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Burundi due to increasing political tensions and civil unrest.

A regional advisory has been issued against all travel to the Bubanza and Cibitoke provinces near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Armed incursions across the border have been reported.

Burundi ranks 142 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 4, 2015

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a well-known human rights defender, is in critical condition after he was shot in the capital of Bujumbura. Mbonimpa was leaving work in his car when a man on a motorbike shot at him, injuring his face and neck. Read more about the attack here.

June 22, 2015

Leaders of 15 international press groups issued an open letter to president Pierre Nkurunziza to allow suspended media outlets to reopen and continue operating. Read the full letter here.

June 1, 2015

According to eye-witness accounts, local authorities have shot and beaten innocent protestors condemning president Pierre Nkurunziza's election bid for a third term. About 27 protestors have been killed by police in demonstration dating back to late April. Read more about the excessive force used by police here.

May 20, 2015

80-percent of the production and broadcast equipment at Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), Radio Isanganiro, Bonesha FM and Radio Télé Renaissance has been destroyed and operations suspended for most media outlets after a failed coup attempt. Read more about the violence and its affect on local media here.

April 27, 2015

Authorities are limiting the media’s broadcasting capabilities due in part to the government’s attempt to contain protests after an announcement made by President Pierre Nkurunziza saying he will run for a third term. Police shut down the country’s most popular privately-owned radio station Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) and also raided the offices of Maison de la Presse (Press Club) in Bujumbura and forced the Media Synergy Studio to halt broadcasting. The Media Synergy Studio is a conglomerate of five radio stations, including: RPA, Bonesha FM, Isanganiro, CCIB FM+ and Radio Télevision Renaissance. Read more here.

Feb. 19, 2015

The Court of Appeal in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, on Feb. 18 ordered the release of journalist Bob Rugurika, according to HRW. Rugurika is the director of one of Burundi’s most listened to radio station. Read more about his arrest and case here.


Cameroon

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Cameroon exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat raised by an increasing rate of violent crime in some regions.

The Far North region is under an advisory against all travel due to the threat of banditry and kidnappings.

Visitors are advised to avoid all maritime travel in the Gulf of Guinea. Rebel groups have been involved in increasingly frequent and more daring acts of piracy and kidnapping.

An advisory against all non-essential travel has been issued for the region within 40 km of the Nigerian, Chadian and Central African Republican borders as well as the Bakassi Peninsula.

Cameroon ranks 131 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 10, 2015

Nigerian journalist Ahmed Abba is being held and also denied access to his lawyer. Abba was arrested July 30 in Maroua, the capital of the Far North Region. Authorities have yet to state the reason for Abba’s arrest.  Read more about the arrest here.

May 8, 2015

Writer, poet and social activist Enoh Meyomesse, a founding member of the Cameroon Writers Association, has been profiled by IFEX. Read more about him here.

Dec. 2, 2014

IFEX reposts a freedomhouse.org statement condemning the Cameroon Communication Council suspension of 6 prominent journalists and the cancelation of their respective broadcast programs. Read the full story here.


Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Cabo Verde exercise a high degree of caution. Criminal activity is a particular concern in the country.

Cabo Verde ranks 24 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Central African Republic

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to the Central African Republic. The security situation there is poor and continues to deteriorate. The Canadian Government advises anyone to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.

The Central African Republic ranks 109 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 4, 2014

RSF reported on the June 2 ban of all SMS messaging by the ministry of communications. Read the full report here.

May 14, 2014

IFEX reposted an International Federation of Journalists article on the death of French freelance photojournalist Camille Lepage near the Central African Republic’s border with Cameroon. Read the full report here.


Chad

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Chad and all non-essential travel to the capital of N’Djamena. Security in Chad is unstable and could deteriorate rapidly.

Chad ranks 139 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

Sept. 24, 2013

Two reporters from the Blog de Makaila were released from prison. The pair was jailed on charges of defamation and “abortive conspiracy against public order.” Read the full story here.

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Comoros

The Government of Canada advises travellers exercise a high degree of caution when visiting Comoros. There is a particularly threat in the country from its political instability.

Comoros ranks 53 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

While there is no nationwide travel advisory, the Government of Canada advises travellers to Côte d'Ivoire exercise a high degree of caution. The high crime rate and the security situation pose threats. There have also been armed attacks in Abidjan, the Liberian border regions and elsewhere in the country. They advise avoiding travel within 50km of the Liberian border.

The health section of the advisory lists Ebola as a concern in the area due to its proximity to other affected countries.

A regional advisory against all non-essential travel to Bas-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Dix-Huit Montagnes has been issued. Criminal activity in concert with a large volume of weapons of war, inter-community tensions and armed attacks create an unstable security situation.

Côte d'Ivoire ranks 101 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

November 6, 2015

A journalist has been attacked by a group of angry youth following a published article that alleged to have defamed the small southern town of Dabou. Koffi Kouassi Norbert, who writes under the alias Norbert N'Kaka, wrote the story for independent daily Soir Info and further reports indicate the youth who attacked him at his home are calling on Norbert to be exiled from the town. Read more here.

Feb. 13, 2014

IFEX reposted a Media Foundation for West Africa article on the three-month suspension of Le Monde d’Abidjan newspaper. The Conseil National de la Presse handed down the suspension Feb. 10 over published “insults [of] an extreme gravity” against Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara. The “insults” appeared in Le Monde’s January 29 issue. Read the entire article here.


Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa)

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Advisories against all travel to eastern and northeastern areas have also been issued. These areas include points of entry from Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda; North and South Kivu provinces; Ituri district; Garamba National Park and the areas near the South Sudanese and Ugandan borders.

Demonstrations have been taking place since January 19, 2015 and have limited internet and text messaging services.

The Democratic Republic of Congo ranks 151 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index

September 9, 2015

The government has banned a documentary about Denis Mukwege, a surgeon who helped treat female rape victims while fighting in the eastern province of Sud-Kivu. Belgian journalist and director Thierry Michel has been accused of defaming the armed forces in "The Man Who Mends Women” documentary. Read more about the ban here.

August 27, 2015

Journalists from television outlet RTNC are facing increasing threats, arrests, and broadcasting bans as part of a campaign to deter criticism of President Joseph Kabila and derail publicity about oppositional parties. Read more about the government intervention here.

July 16, 2015

According to information obtained by Journaliste En Danger, a police squad car with armed officers stormed the headquarters of several newspaper distributors in the Kasa-Vubu district May 11. While there, police forced an employee to divulge the location of another printing house in order for authorities to close the plant. Read more about the police harassment of local newspaper vendors here.

May 22, 2015

The National Information Agency has closed three radio stations in Moanda. Journaliste En Danger identify the stations as Radio Télé Boma, Radio Associative Kisalu, and Radio Télé Communautaire de Moanda. Read more about the arbitrary closures here.

May 12, 2015

Journaliste En Danger (JED) is calling on the government’s security and information service to stop surveillance on the media covering local, legislative and presidential elections. Since the start of the year, 52 different instances of freedom of information violations have been recorded. Read more about the worst cases here.

April 21, 2015

Radio journalist Soleil Balanga was murdered in the northern province of Equateur. Balanga was murdered on April after he returned home from his job at the Monkoto radio station. Based on the reports of Radio Okapi, Balanga was murdered by the son of Monkoto general hospital’s supervisor. Read more here.

March 19, 2015

The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) is condemning the recent actions of intimidation and harassment of journalists by government officials in the country. More specifically, AFEX is deeply appalled by the detention and arrest of journalist Erick Izami, with Antenne A, a private Congolese radio station. He was arrested while reporting on the launch of a new civil society body in Kinshasa. Read more here.

March 18, 2015

At least 26 foreign journalists and activists have been arrested in Kinshasa during a peaceful protest in the eastern city of Goma outside of the offices of Congo’s National Intelligence Agency. They were arrested whle calling on the release of those arrested in Kinshasa. All those involved have not yet been brought before a judge, nor have they officially been charged with any offenses, but they have not had contact with their families and lawyers. Read more on the arrests here.

Jan. 28, 2015

Human Rights Watch released a statement on the killing of 36 people during protests against an electoral law. The proposed law would allow President Joseph Kabila to stay in office beyond his two-term maximum. Read more here.

Jan 2, 2015

IFEX reposted a statement announcing the death of Robert Chamwami Shalubuto. who was shot to death in Goma, the regional capital of the North Kivu Province. He was a 17 year veteran of state broadcaster Congolese National Radio and Television. Read more here


Djibouti

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Djibouti exercise a high degree of caution. Poverty is high in the country and is contributing to a high crime rate.

Travellers are advised to avoid non-essential travel to the Eritrean border regions.

Djibouti ranks 169 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

May 26, 2015

Maydaneh Abdallah Okieh, website editor of the independent radio station La Voix de Djibouti, faces imprisonment and fines of up to $11,000 U.S. for libel charges dating back to 2013. Read more about the charges against Okieh here.

RSF reported the third arrest of independent radio station La Voix de Djibouti’s website editor Maydaneh Abdallah Okeih. Okeih is charged with disturbing public order after covering a March 4 meeting of the National Salvation Union – an opposition alliance – that was violently broken up by police. Read the full report here.


Equatorial Guinea

The Government of Canada advises travellers maintain a high degree of caution in Equatorial Guinea. There is a particular threat of petty crime in some parts of the country.

Equatorial Guinea ranks 168 out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Eritrea

The Government of Canada advises against non-essential travel to Eritrea and against all travel near the borders with Sudan, Djibouti and Ethiopia. The political situation in the African nation is highly unstable and violence could erupt without notice.

Eritrea ranks last out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 2, 2015

Swedish-Eritrean writer and journalist Dawit Isaak and nine other Eritrean journalists have spent 5,000 days in detention without trial since being arrested in September 2001 following the country`s closure of all eight independent newspapers. Read more about the case here.


Ethiopia

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to areas near the Ethiopian borders with Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan. Non-essential travel to areas near the border with Kenya is also inadvisable. For the remainder of the country, travellers are advised to exercise a high degree of caution.

Ethiopia ranks 143 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 18, 2015

The Ethiopian Information Network has been implicated in a surveillance breach after leaked emails from a spyware company confirm the government paid for intelligence agencies to spy on its critics. Read more about the mass hack here.

July 10, 2015

Journalist Reeyot Alemu was released with five bloggers from the media collective Zone 9. Alemu was arrested for plotting three separate acts of terrorism and sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2012. Read more about Alemu`s background and release here.

July 9, 2015

All charges have been dropped against five bloggers associated with the independent collective Zone 9. Bloggers Mahlet Fantahun and Zelalem Kibret, along with four other Zone 9 bloggers – Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Befekadu Hailu, and Natnail Feleke - were arrested in late April 2014. They were accused of incitement and terrorism. Read more here.

June 19, 2015

Local journalists Betre Yacob Getahun and Zerihun Mulugeta, who are living as refugees in Kenya, say press freedom is waning in the country in the face of government efforts to silence those who espouse opposing views. Read more about the pair of refugee journalists here.

April 24, 2015

The weekend of April 25-26 marked the first anniversary of the detention of three independent journalists and six bloggers associated with the ‘Zone 9’ website. The nine were arrested under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation 2009 and, since the arrests, their trial has been adjourned on 26 separate occasions. Read more about the ‘Zone 9’ contributors here.


Gabon

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Gabon exercise a high degree of caution. Criminal activity is a particular threat in some parts of the country.

Gabon ranks 98 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

Sept. 12, 2014

Two weekly papers have suspended publication after their latest issues were suppressed and replaced with fake issues supporting government agendas. La Loupe and L’Aube, two opposition papers, have ceased operation until further notice due to this government intrusion. A new member of the production staff, a suspected government infiltrator, was blamed for the piracy. The full RSF article can be found here.


Ghana

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Ghana be aware of the threat posed by regional ethnic tensions throughout the country.

The regions near the border with Côte d’Ivoire are under an advisory against non-essential travel due to fighting on the Ivorian side of the border that could spill over into Ghana.

Ghana ranks 27 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 3, 2015

Ghana is being called on to pass Right to Information Laws, which would give their citizens public access to government information. This comes after Burkina Faso became the 17th country in Africa to introduce a Freedom of Information law. Read more about the plea from Media Foundation for West Africa here.

April 16, 2015

An update released by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) reported that Ghanaian police confirmed the kidnapping of Adaeze Onyinyechie Ayoka, better known as Ms. Ada, host of the show Y Lounge in Takoradi, was a hoax. According to local police, the journalist staged her kidnapping and sexual assault. Read more about the hoax here.

March 11, 2015

IFEX released the first episode of their three-part podcast series that delves into the critical access for information in Africa. In this episode, IFEX’s section editor for the regions of Africa, Europe, and Central Asia, Caro Rolando, spoke with Rikke Hansen who is a program officer at the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) about the risks journalists take to release information and how they protect themselves from Ebola while doing it.. Read the report and listen to the episode here.


Guinea

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel to Guinea. Political, economic and social tensions are running high in the country and contributing to an uncertain security situation. Demonstrations have frequently turned violent between young protestors and police, particularly in Conakry.

Ebola is also a concern in Guinea . It has limited movment inside the country and reduced access to healthcare services. The Canadian government also advises that it cannot guarantee medical evacuation in the event of an emergency.

The Government of Canada recommends all travellers to avoid all demonstrations considering tensions are high due to the Oct. 11 presidential elections.   

Guinea ranks 102 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

August 12, 2015

Espace TV journalist Chérif Diallo is missing after an altercation with a group of men outside the station’s headquarters in Conakry on July 23. Diallo’s two phone lines have also been disconnected since his disappearance. Read more here.

July 9, 2015

A domestic panel has officially charged former president Captain Moussa Dadis Camara for his alleged involvement in the September 2009 massacre of opposition supporters in the capital Conakry. More than 150 people died when security forces opened fire on tens of thousands of opposition protesters. Read more about the massacre here.


Guinea-Bissau

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel to Guinea-Bissau in general and all travel to the northwestern areas bordering Senegal’s Casamance region.

Guinea-Bissau ranks 86 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Kenya

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Kenya exercise a high degree of caution as terrorist attacks and crime are on the rise.

There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Kenya, including in Nairobi and Mombasa. The Government of Canada continues to receive information indicating that terrorists may be planning attacks against a range of targets in Kenya, including in Nairobi and Mombasa.

The northeast areas within 150 km of the Somali border are extremely unsafe and all travellers are advised to avoid it, including the coastal regions of Lamu and Tana River Counties and Garissa County where there is a risk of kidnapping and attacks. The same is true of regions within 100 km of the South Sudanese and Ethiopian borders.

Non-essential travel is advised against for the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi and the city of Mombasa due to an elevated threat of attacks and terrorism.

Visas are no longer available upon arrival at the national airport and are valid up to three months.

Kenya ranks 90 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ global Press Freedom Index.

May 6, 2015

Journalists in the northern part of the country face threats from the spread of the Al Shabaab militant group. Journalists are also deflecting threats from government officials, specifically when reporting on sensitive matters deemed to be unpatriotic. Read more of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression statement here.

May 4, 2015

Journalist John Kituyi was murdered by unidentified assailtants in the town of Elderot. Kituyi was the editor and published of the Daily Mirror. He was allegedly targeted due to his connection with a story regarding the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto. Read more about Kituyi and the ICC case here.

April 29, 2015

Kenya’s high court ruled on members of an LGBT rights group may officially sign up their organization as an NGO. When the group first applied a governmental body rejected them. Read more about the decision and history of LGBT groups in Africa here.

April 22, 2015

On Earth Day, six local environmental activists were recognized and awarded this year’s edition of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Kenya’s Phyllis Omido was Africa’s award recipient after bringing awareness to a poisonous smelter that not only made her son sick, but the whole village in Mombasa. Read more about Omido’s story here.

March 3, 2015

The Kenyan high court has declared eight sections of the nation’s Security Security Laws Amendment Act (SLAA) to be unconstitutional. Two sections contained provisions limiting media freedom and free speech. The high court’s Feb. 23 decision brought down Section 12 of the outline for “violating the freedom of expression and the media guaranteed under Articles 33 and 34 of the Constitution.” Read more of RSF’s report here.


Lesotho

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Lesotho to exercise a high degree of caution due to criminal activity in the country. An attempted coup in August has left the security situation in Lesotho volatile.

Travelling at night is discouraged due to a lack of police presence. Travellers should also be aware that the Canadian Embassy in Maseru has been closed temporarily.

Lesotho ranks 74 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Liberia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to avoid all non-essential travel to Liberia.

Liberia ranks 89 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 18, 2015

The Supreme Court has ordered the National Chronicle newspaper to reopen immediately after the publication was raided and closed last August. The National Chronicle was initially forced to cease operations after it reported a group of Liberians were planning to form a new government, with backing from the U.S. Read more about the reopening here.


Madagascar

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Madagascar exercise a high degree of caution due to the current political situation and an increasing crime rate.

Protests have been reported in Toamasina over electrical shortages and against mining activity in the Anosy regions.

Madagascar ranks 81 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 17, 2015

A masked group raided, Viva regional radio and television opposition station, in Fianarantsoa. The raid stemmed from Viva’s announcement disputing the outcome of the municipal elections in late July. Read more about the raid here.


Malawi

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Malawi exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat of crime in the country.

Canadian traveling to the country must have a visa on arrival at the airport or at border crossings.

Malawi ranks 73 out of 180 nations on the Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

Aug. 29, 2013

IFEX reposted a Media Institute of Southern Africa report on the August 25 assault of Raphael Mlozoa, a Zodiak Broadcasting Station journalist, by bodyguards of Minister of Economic Development Ralph Jooma. Read the full report here.


Mali

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel to Mali (including the capital, Bamako) due to the threat of terrorism and banditry.

An attack was carried out in Bamako at a restaurant popular among foreigners on March 7, killing five people and injuring eight others. The Government of Canada advises against travel in urban Bamako after 7 p.m., particularly in areas frequented by foreigners.

November 6, 2013

The recent murders of two Mali-based journalists has raised concerns over press freedom in the country. A funeral for the Radio France Internationale reporters was held on Nov. 4. Read more here on the state of security in Mali.


Mauritania

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to northern and eastern Mauritania and non-essential travel to the rest of the country. The threat of terrorism against the West has been on the rise in the western African nation. Particular areas to be avoided include the desert regions north of the Oualata-Tichit-Ouadane-Zouérat line and areas near the border with Algeria, Mali and Morocco where there is a high risk of banditry and kidnapping.

Mauritania ranks 60 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

August 21, 2015

Anti-slavery activists Biram dah Abeid, Brahim Bilal and Djiby Sow will continue to serve a two-year prison sentence after a court upheld their convictions for allegedly spreading racist propaganda. Read more here.

March 23, 2015

ARTICLE 19 is calling for the release of Mohamed Cheikh ould Mohamed Mkhaïtir. The blogger is a prisoner of conscience that has not committed any crime. He was sentenced to death for apostasy at a northwest Mauritanian court in December after allegedly speaking lightly of the Propher Mohammed. This is the first death sentence granted in Mauritania for apostasy since independence in 1960. Read more on Mohamed Mkhaïtir’s story here.


Mauritius

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Mauritius to exercise normal precautions.

Mauritius ranks 70 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Mozambique

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Mozambique exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat raised by increasingly violent crime, including a significant spike in kidnappings.

Central and northern parts of Mozambique recently experienced severe flooding.

Mozambique ranks 79 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 28, 2015

The editor of the online news outlet Diario de Noticias, Paulo Machava, has been shot and killed in the capital Maputo. Witnesses say Machava from inside a car while he was jogging around 6 a.m. Read more about the murder here.

March 6, 2015

Unidentified suspects assassinated professor and former government member, Gilles Cistac in Maputo. Cistac, a professor at the Eduardo Mondlane University, was murdered at a café in the suburb of Polana. Eyewitnesses say that when Cistac stepped out of the café, four assailants in a care fired four shots at him. Cistac drew criticism over the last few weeks for his verbal support of the opposition party’s demand for autonomous regions in the country. Read more here.


Namibia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Namibia exercise a high degree of caution due to a high level of criminal activity.

Namibia ranks 22 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Niger

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Niger and non-essential travel to the capital Niamey. The risk of terrorism and kidnapping remain high in the nation.

Niger ranks 48 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

Jan. 31, 2014

RSF updated a report from Jan. 28 on the arrest of four journalists. Two of those arrested – Zakari Adamou, a host from Canal 3 TV, and Ousmane Dan Badji, editor of L’Union newspaper – were released Jan. 30. Read the full report here.


Nigeria

The Government of Canada has issued a nationwide advisory against non-essential travel to Nigeria. The exceptions to this advisory is the cities of Calabar and Lagos and all northern, Middle Belt and Niger Delta states (Borno, Gombe, Yobe, Kano, Adamawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Plateau, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo, Anambra and Rivers.)

Calabar and Lagos are generally safe for travellers although a high degree of caution is advised, particularly in Lagos where foreigners have been the victims of violent crime. Large and small scale bomb attacks have taken place in Abuja and its suburbs on October 2. 

Nigeria is also under the effects of the Ebola outbreak.

The above states are extremely unsafe and the government advises against all travel. Boko Haram extremists have been operating in the northern and Middle Belt states. The Niger Delta states have seen ethnic conflicts, unrest, violence and kidnappings.

Reporters Without Borders places Nigeria 112 out of 180 countries on their Press Freedom Index.

July 29, 2015

Under threat from Boko Haram, media outlets are struggling to provide protection for journalists. Read more about threats journalists received from the Boko Haram here.

June 29, 2015

A Sharia court  of appeal in Rijiyar Lemo, in Kano State, has sentenced nine people to death for alleged blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed. The trial was carried out in secret and name of the judge, along with seven of those convicted, were withheld. Read more here.

June 4, 2015

Kamarudeen Ogundele, state correspondent for daily newspaper Punch, was assaulted while taking photographs of praying women. The assailants were suspected to be employees of the governor of Ekiti State. Read more about the alleged assault here.

April 1, 2015

Al-Jazeera journalists, Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustapha, have been held hostage in a hotel room in northeastern Nigeria for over a week. Idris and Mustapha were reporting on operations taken against the military group Boko Haram prior to the start of Nigeria’s presidential elections when they were captured. Read the full story here.

March 26, 2015

Two Nigerian correspondents of the Doha-based television station channel, Al Jazeera, have been arrested, questioned and ultimately, detained by Nigerian military authorities. Both were detained after coming back from covering the Nigerian forces engaging in battle with the Boko Haram in the state. Read more about the arrests here.


Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel to the Republic of Congo. Exceptions to this advisory are the cities of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire where a high degree of caution is advised.

The Republic of Congo ranks 82 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

May 22, 2014

RSF issued a report on the apparently biased application of the law against media groups critical of the Congolese government. Read the full report here.


Rwanda

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Rwanda exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat of grenade attacks in busy areas.

Rwanda ranks 162 out of 180 nations on Reporter Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

April 7, 2015

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is reminding the world about the victims of the Rwandan Genocide, which happened in 1994. More specifically, the MFWA is reflecting on the media’s fatal role rousing the genocide and breaching other rules of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The MFWA reminding journalists in West Africa that the Rwandan Genocide should serve as barometer of what not to do when reporting – in particular the dangers of hate speech and broadcasting incendiary words to the public. Read more about the Genocide and its mark on West African media here.

March 10, 2015

The Kigali court has sentenced religious radio station director Cassien Ntamuhanga to 25 years in prison for allegedly conspiring against the government. Ntamuhanga was in charge of Amazing Grace radio and was formally convicted on February 27 after forming a criminal group that had involvement in a terrorist act and plotting to murder government figures. Read the full story here from RSF here.


Senegal

The Government of Canada advises against non-essential travel to the Casamance region west of Kolda. The threat of armed attacks and highway robbery in this region is being heightened by ongoing clashes between Senegalese forces and rebels of the MFDC (Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques de Casamance). Exceptions to this advisory are the cities of Cap-Skirring and Ziguinchor, provided visitors arrive by air or sea.

Ebola is also listed as a concern in the region.

Senegal ranks 62 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 21, 2015

A publisher and reporter from L'Observateur newspaper, Alioune Badara Fall and Mamadou Seck, were charged with violating defence secrecy in connection with their report on troops taking part in the Saudi-led military operations in Yemen. Read more about the charges here.


Seychelles

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Seychelles to exercise normal precautions.

Seychelles ranks 103 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Sierra Leone

The Government of Canada advises travellers to avoid all non-essential travel to Sierra due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak. There are no Canadian offices in Seirra Leone so the government will be limited in its abilities to help Canadian travellers.

The Government of Sierra Leone declared a state of public emergency with regards to the Ebola outbreak.

Sierra Leone ranks 72 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

Feb. 26, 2015

Station manager of privately-owned Citizen Radio in eastern Sierra Leone (Koidu Town, Kono District) is currently in hiding due to fear of being arrested and detained through an executive presidential order. Tamba Fanday, the station’s manager, issued a statement on Feb. 22 that explained the head of Sierra Leone’s Criminal Investigations Department, Ibrahim Koroma, got instruction from the state house to arrest and detain him and another estimated 33 people. The Minister of Justice and Attorney General approved the list of 34 potential arestees to parliament, which is waiting for agreement. Read more here.


Somalia

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Somalia.

Travellers should be aware of potential floods and landslides in the northeast.

Mogadishu’s Sahafi hotel, which is frequented by foreign journalists, was the subject of a terrorist attack on November 1, which killed 10 people.

Somalia ranks 176 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 27, 2015

Young Somali-Scandanavian men who choose to become al-Shabaab militants to tell their stories in the Danish-Somali documentary Warriors from the North. Read more about the defectors featured in his story here.

June 22, 2015

One of the men who kidnapped Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, Australian photographer Nigel Brennan and their translator Abdifatah Elmi in August 2008 is finally being prosecuted. The RCMP announced Ali Omar Ader was arrested in Ottawa on June 12 for his involvement in the kidnapping. Read more about the case here.

May 7, 2015

A radio journalist and his wife were shot dead in their home on April 30. Daud Ali Omar reported on reported and politics for pro-government Radio Baidoa. Read more here.

April 16, 2015

Two men in Mogadishu gunned down Somali news photographer, Farhan Suleiman Dahir, who worked with Radio Mogadishu and the state-run Somali National Television, on April 10. Sources say Farhan suffered bullet wounds to his skull and kidney and he remains in critical condition. Farham frequently travelled with military convoys to report on battles between government forces and Al-Shabaab militants. Read more on Farhan’s attack here.

April 6, 2015

Radio Shabelle and SkyFM were raided and subsequently shut down after five heavily armed bandwagons invaded the area of Shabelle on April 3, 2015. The suspects arrested 25 people, including 23 media personnel and journalists. National Security and Intelligence Agency arrested these individuals after hearing the voice of an al-Shabaab spokesperson on Radio Shabelle who claimed they were responsible for the attack on Garissa University in Kenya. Read more here.

March 4, 2015

A Mogadishu court in Somalia handed down a conviction to one journalist of incitement and another two with publishing false news, according to news outlets. Abdimalik Yusuf Mohamed, owner of the independent Shabelle Media Network, was fined approximately US$10,000. The other two men, Mohamud Mohamed Dahir, director of Sky FM, and Ahmed Abdi Hassan, a presenter for Shabelle FM were both fined US$2,000 and US$500 respectively on Sunday’s verdict. A fourth journalist from Shabelle FM, producer Mohamed Bashir Hashi is still being held due to charges of endorsing an insurrection against the state. Read more here.

Jan. 8, 2015

IFEX reposts a statement from the National Union of Somali Journalists condemning the Dec. 31 attack on Somali radio station Radio Galkayo. Two journalists were severely injured in the attack. Read the full report here.


South Africa

The Government of Canada advises travellers to South Africa exercise a high degree of caution due to the nation’s high rate of serious crime.

Xenophobic attacks targeting refugees or immigrants from other African nations, as well as excess violence and thievery are occurring in central Durban and other surrounding regions including Umlazi and KwaMashu.

The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to South Africa advised the government they received information about extremists who “may be targeting U.S. interests in South Africa” on September 8. Travelers should stay away from U.S. government facilities and U.S.-based businesses until further notice.

South Africa ranks 42 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ global Press Freedom Index.

April 13, 2015

PEN American Centre is calling for the release of South African psychologist and novelist Zainub Priya Dala from a local mental institution. Dala was brutally attacked after her comments and praise of Salman Rushdie at a literary event. According to Dala, hospital employees are continuing to question her about her beliefs after being omitted to the mental institution for refusing to make a religious vow to Islam. Read more about Dala’s confinement here.

Jan. 28, 2015

The Media Institute of Southern African released a statement on the case of two journalists being mistreated during separate incidents in the Soweto uprising last week. Read more here.


South Sudan

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to South Sudan. The risk of armed conflict, inter-ethnic violence and violent crime is very high, especially along the border areas, in the city of Juba and in the Unity and Upper Nile states. The recent economic downturn has contributed to the level of gun-related crimes against foreigners. Law enforcement authorities have limited capacity to combat crime.

The security risk is especially high in Juba, which has seen regular outbreaks of violence and lawlessness and increasing numbers of carjackings and home invasions.

The airport in Juba and the roads leading to Uganda and Nimule all remain open.

South Sudan ranks 119 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 20, 2015

Peter Moi, digital media reporter for The Cooperate Newspaper and New Nation, was shot dead in Juba. The murder follows threats by President Salva Kiir to have journalists killed if any are critical of his government. Read more about Moi’s murder and President Kiir’s remarks here.

Jan. 30, 2015

The International Press Institute’s (IPI) Siobhan Hagan reported on five journalists being killed in a roadside attack in Souther Sudan. The IPI is urging local South Sudanese authorities to find and detain the perpatrators of the attack. Read the full story here.


Sudan

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel to Sudan in general due to high levels of violent crime and armed conflict. A number of regions are under an advisory including Darfur, the Abyei administrative region, the Southern Kordofan State, the Blue Nile State, areas bordering Eritrea in the Red Sea State, and Northern Kordofan and White Nile States south of the Kosti-El Obeid-En Nahud road.

A growing incidence of thefts from vehicles has prompted a warning to place all valuables and belongings out of sight and always drive with closed windows and locked doors.

Sudan ranks 172 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

August 31, 2015

National security forces have arrested and detained 17 members affiliated with the oppositional Sudanese Congress Party.  Read more about the opposition crackdown and who is involved with the party here.

June 5, 2015

The National Intelligence and Security Services ceased the printing operations of 10 daily newspapers without warning or reason on May 25. The 10 confiscated newspapers are: Al-Sudani, Al-Khartoum, Al-Jareeda, Al-Akhbar, AkhirLahzah, Al-Intibaha, Alwan, Al-Youm al-Tali, Al-Rai ala'am and Al-Tayyar. All of them are political dailies, some of them pro-government. Read more about the newspaper seize here.

April 10, 2015

Freedom House released a statement in response to the Sudanese government’s release of political prisoners Farouk Abu Issa and Amin Meki Medani on April 9. Farouk Abu Issa, head of the opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF), and Amin Mekki Medani, chairman of the Confederation of Civil Society Organizations, were arrested on December 6, 2014. Read more about Freedom House’s statement and the background of the released men here.

Feb. 20, 2015

19 newspapers were consifscated in Sudan due to the increase in censorship. The seizures violate media pluralism and are also causing significant financial losses to the various publications. Read more here.


Swaziland

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Swaziland exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat from possible anti-government protests and heightened crime rates in some areas.

Swaziland ranks 156 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 2, 2015

The Supreme Court has acquitted editor Bheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko after the pair spent 15 months in prison for articles condemning chief justice Michael Ramodibedi. Read more about their release here.

April 22, 2015

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is requesting Swaziland’s king to release journalist Bheki Makhubu from prison after an article he wrote last year. CPJ started the #PressUncuffed campaign to raise awareness about Makhubu’s imprisonment. Read more about the campaign here.

March 25, 2015

Thulani Maseko was placed in solitary confinement on March 19 after writing a letter to his friends and family on the one-year anniversary of his detention. From the start date, Maseko will remain in solitary confinement for three weeks. Read more about his detention here.

March 17, 2015

24 IFEX members, including the International Press Institute, World Press Freedom Committee, and Freedom House have condemned the lengthy imprisonment of editor Bheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko in Swaziland. The pair was imprisoned last year on March 18th after an unconstitutional closed court hearing. The two men were charged in connection to individual articles that appared in independent news magazine, The Nation, which criticized the Swazi judiciary. Read more about Makhubu and Maseko’s story here.

 


Tanzania

The Government of Canada advises travellers exercise a high degree of caution when visiting Tanzania. There is a particular threat of terrorism in the country.

In Zanibar, small explosives were detonated on October 30 and 31 near Darajani Market, Stone Town following the country’s presidential, parliamentary and local elections that took place days earlier.

Tanzania ranks 69 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

July 7, 2015

Responding to media concern, the government has withdrawn the proposed legislation that critics say would have reduced press freedom. If passed, The Media Services Act would have established a government-controlled media council. Read more about the legislation here.


The Gambia

The Government of Canada advises to exercise a high-degree of caution when travelling to The Gambia because there is a particular threat of crime in some parts of the country.

The Gambia ranks 155 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 31, 2015

A Gambian citizen charged with blasphemy for sharing image an of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook is free on bail. Alhagie Mam Seye now faces medical screening for posting Prophet Mohammed related materials on the Internet. Read more about Seye’s case here.

August 11, 2015

Teranga FM radio manager Alagie Ceesa is facing sedition charges for allegedly using his mobile phone to send an image of a gun pointed at president Yahya Jammeh. Read more about the trial here.

June 25, 2015

The Media Foundation of West African is calling on the government to release torture victim Musa Saidykhan. In 2006, Saidykhan was arrested, detained, and tortured by security forces for almost a month because he exercised his right to freedom of expression. Read more here.

The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice ordered the government continue the investigation into missing journalist “Chief” Ebrima Manneh Ebrima seven years ago. Manneh, a journalist with the Daily Observer, was arrested by plainclothes officers from the National Intelligence Agency in July 2006 and has been missing since. Read more here.

June 12, 2015

June 10 marked the first anniversary since the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice ordered the government to pay $50,000 in damages to the family of journalist Deyda Hydara murdered in December 2004. Last year, the ECOWAS court concluded the investigation into the murder was improper. Read more about the pay out and Hydara’s murder here.

Jan. 8, 2015

Freedomhouse.org published a statement condemning the shuttering of Teranga radio. The station was closed after an attempted coup in December. Read more here.


Togo

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Togo exercise a high degree of caution. An increase in violent crime alongside social unrest and political demonstrations are of particular concern.

Togo ranks 76 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Uganda

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Uganda exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat of crime and armed banditry as well as from civil unrest.

Regional terror groups associated with al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab continue to threaten Western interests and other possible targetsin Uganda. On April 3, 2015, the Uganda Police Force released a terror alert announcing that educational institutions across the Kampala-Jinja highway could be targeted for attacks.

On March 25, 2015, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala issued a security message that disclosed providing the following information to their nationals: "The U.S Embassy has received information of possible terrorist threats to locations where Westerners, including U.S. citizens, congregate in Kampala, and that an attack may take place soon. Out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Mission has cancelled some non-essential events scheduled at local hotels in the coming days. U.S. citizens staying or visiting hotels should expect increased security sweeps and delays when entering or exiting hotel areas.”

Travellers are advised to avoid all travel within 50 km of the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and to the Karamoja region.

Travellers are advised to avoid non-essential travel within 50 km of the border with South Sudan.

Uganda ranks 110 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Border’ Press Freedom Index.

November 3, 2015

A candidate for national parliament assaulted a journalist after she asked a question about the politician’s personal debts. Shamim Jjingo Nakawooya, a correspondent from Masaka-based Daily Monitor, was slapped and had her phone destroyed during an interview with Eddie Ssansa, a candidate for the ruling National Resistance Movement. Read more about the assault here.

July 24, 2015

Three journalists from Baba FM radio have been suspended after conducting an interview with the opposition leader without management approval. The suspended journalists include show host Anyole Innocent, news editor Isabirye Aga David and reporter Alton Kasolo. Read more about their suspensions here.

July 14, 2015

The Uganda Communications Commission issued a threat to national broadcasters to restrict journalists reporting prior to the upcoming local, parliamentary and presidential elections. Read more about the threats here.

June 30, 2015

Attackers broke into the offices of Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda in Rubanga, stealing computets, sensitive documents and money. This is the second time in as many years HRNJ-Uganda location was burglarized. Read more about the office raid here.

February 24, 2015

Minister of Internal Affairs Aronda Nyakairima announced during a meeting with national journalists, he would request investigations to be opened into police violence against the media. Read more about Minister Aronda’s order here.

Jan. 13, 2015

Robert Ssempala and two other journalists were arrested in Kampala on their  way to petition the inspector general of police about violent attacks against journalists. Ssempala and his colleagues were released when the deputy commissioner of the Kampala police intervened. The Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda -- released a statement condemning the arrests.  Read more here.

Jan. 9, 2015

Freelance journalist William Ntege is serving a two month sentence for criminal trespass and being a common nuisance. The Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda – reported he was delivering a petition to the speaker of parliament when he was arrested. Read more here.


Zambia

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel to regions bordering Angola, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Border conflicts are possible in these areas and carjackings, armed assaults and landmines also pose threats.

Zambia ranks 93 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

Sept. 22, 2014

The Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Joseph Katema has placed a new code of ethics on the Zambian media, as reported by the Media Institute of Southern Africa. An emphasis on professional standards in obtaining information that can educate and entertain the public was suggested. Katema said the Zambian media should uphold a loyalty to the public, not private individuals. Read the full report here.


Zimbabwe

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Zimbabwe exercise a high degree of caution as the security situation in the nation is unpredictable.

Zimbabwe ranks 135 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

March 20, 2015

PEN International is calling on the Zimbabwean government to disclose the fate of political activist and former journalist Itai Dzamara kidnapped by five unidentified men at a barber shop in Harare. Dzamara, a former newspaper editor, leads a pro-democracy movement that has called for the departure of dictator Robert Mugabe.  Read more about Dzamara’s abduction here.


AMERICAS

Antigua & Barbuda

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Antigua & Barbuda exercise a high degree of caution. The country has limited medical resources. Road conditions are generally poor and public transportation is unreliable. Visitors should also keep in mind the country’s moderate crime rate.

Antigua & Barbuda ranks 36 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Argentina

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Argentina to exercise normal precautions.

Argentina ranks 55 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 26, 2015

The House of Representatives is proposing a new Internet draft bill, which would allow websites to monitor and remove any content deemed to be "discriminatory." Critics say that if passed, the bill would limit freedom of expression and promote self-censorship. Read more about the potential Internet bill here.

July 6, 2015

The media companies who own newspapers Día a Día and La Voz del Interior in Córdoba filed claims of unconstitutionality against two election laws which grant political parties free advertising space in the dailies. Read more about the reaction to these laws here.

July 3, 2015

A criminal investigation is underway against novelist Pablo Katchadjian for “intellectual property fraud.” Katchadjian is accused of plagiarising fellow author Jorge Luis Borges in his 2009 book El Aleph Engordado (The Fattened Aleph). Read more about the claims here.

January 27, 2015

The Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA) released a statement that touches on the concerns the group has with how the media has covered the death of prosecutor Albero Nisman. FOPEA believes that the Argentinian government should step up protective and safety measures for journalists covering the case because their work is being threatened. Read more on this here.


Belize

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Belize exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat from the high rate of violent crime in the country.

Belize ranks 29 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Bolivia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Bolivia exercise a high degree of caution. Political and social tensions are currently running high in the country.

Bolivia ranks 94 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

August 31, 2015

Media outlets that “lie” and “practice party politics” will be denied funding from state advertising, according to Vice-president Alvaro García Linera. The announcement comes after the resignations and firings of several well-known journalists in the country. Read more about the announcement and backlash here.

April 10, 2015

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned about the amount of progess being put into investigation of violence aganinst journalists. In recent weeks, the threats received by two Bolivian journalists working for the ATB television network has only raised more fears about the pace of the judicial and police procedures with regards to the treatment of journalists. Read more about the previous incidents of journalistic violence here.


Brazil

The Government of Canada advises travelers to Brazil exercise a high degree of caution. A high crime rate, gang-related and other violence pose particular risks.

Canadians travelling to the Sao Paolo region should be aware that the water supply has been affected due to a severe drought that is impacting the south of Brazil. Water supply and quality has decreased drastically.

Brazil ranks 111 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ global Press Freedom Index.

September 16, 2015

The Committee to Protect Journalists is urging the immediate release of Brazilian blogger, Paulo Cezar de Andrade Prado. The blogger, also known as “Paulinho” has spent more than two months in jail  in connection with a 2011 criminal defamation conviction The imprisonment, which CPJ says is inappropriate, stems from complaints by the president of a local soccer club. Read more about the story here.

August 21, 2015

Alessandro Neves Augusto has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for the murder of freelance photographer Walgney Assis de Carvalho. Carvalho, who contributed to the daily Vale do Aço, had been investigating the murder of fellow journalist Rodrigo Neto, a specialist in police corruption. Read more about the conviction here.

August 10, 2015

Radio host Gleydson Carvalho was shot five times while reporting on air for Radio Liberdade FM in the northeastern city of Camocim. According to coworkers, Carvalho, who died from his wounds, received numerous threats in person and on air. Read more about Carvalho’s murder here.

May 29, 2015

Djalma Santos da Conceição, a journalist with RCA community radio, was found dead near a rural highway in the municipality of Conceição da Feira. Santos da Conceição hosted the radio program "Acorda, Cidade!" (Wake Up, City!). Read more here.

May 21, 2015

Blogger and journalist Evany José Metzker was found beheaded on May 18 in Padre Paraíso city. The 67-year-old journalist was checking information about a series of child pornography cases when he went missing. Read more about Metzker's work here.

May 5, 2015

Approximately five journalists were injured while reporting on clashes between striking teachers and police in the southern region of Paraná. More than 170 people, including journalists, police and protesters were injured by rubber bullets and water cannons during the clashes. Read more here.

March 27, 2015

Reporters Without Borders is hoping Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court will soon overturn the criminal defamation conviction against journalist José Cristian Góes. This charge stemmed from a fictional story posted on Góes blog about political corruption he posted in May 2012. Read more about Góes’s conviction here.

March 10, 2015

ARTICLE 19 South America held a public demonstration to commemorate the second anniversary of the censorship of public figure and political activist, Ricardo Fraga. Fraga was banned by a Brazillian court after using social media to protest the construction of three uptown buildings. He was the leader of a movement titled “O Outro Lado do Muro” that supported peaceful protests against these buildings being erected. Read more about Fraga’s movement here.

March 5, 2015

Brazillian authorities are starting their investigation into radio journalist Ivanildo Viana’s death. Unidentified suspects on a motorcycle approached Viana and shot his numerous times. Viana worked on two television programs and three radio station prior to joining 100.5 FM Lider approximately 20 years ago. Read CPJ’s full story here.

Jan. 5, 2015

Brazilian police can listen to a newspaper  journalists phone calls to identify a leak that led to a story about a 2011 police operation, a federal court has ruled. The decision against Diário da Região, and its reporter Allan de Aberu, contradicts constitutional protection for journalists’ confidential sources according to the Brazilian Newspaper Association and the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalists. Read more here.


Chile

The Government of Canada advises travellers to be aware of an uptick in volcanic activity.

There are currently 500 active volcanoes in Chile. Debris from erupting volcanoes could block rivers resulting in flash floods and landslides. Ash clouds may also cause interferences to domestic and international air travel. Monitor local media for current information and follow the guidance of local authorities.

Petty crime, including pickpocketing and purse snatching has increased, specifically in Santiago, Valparaíso, Calama and Viña del Mar.

Chile ranks 58 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Colombia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Colombia to exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular risk from an unpredictable security situation in the country.

The presence of illegal armed groups is cited for advisories against travel to the Departments of Antioquia (excluding Medellín), Arauca, Cauca, Caquetá, Chocó, Cordoba (excluding Monteria), Guaviare, Huila, Meta, Nariño (excluding Pasto), Norte de Santander (excluding Cúcuta), Putumayo, Santander (excluding Bucaramanga), Tolima, Valle del Cauca (excluding Cali), Vichada and southern parts of La Guajira.

The Venezuelan government has closed the border crossing from San Antonio del Táchira, Venezuela to Cucuta, Colombia until further notice. Other border crossings in the Venezuelan states of Táchira and Zulia may also be closed.

Colombia ranks 126 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ global Press Freedom Index.

July 17, 2015

The hearing for Mario Jaimes Mejia in the 2000 kidnapping of journalist Jineth Bedoya has been postponed until July 28. Bedoya has been waiting 15 years for the trial to begin. Read more on the delay here.

July 2, 2015

A scheduled hearing has been postponed in the case against former chiefs of the national intelligence agency on charges of psychologically torturing journalist Claudia Duque. The journalist, who works for Radio Nikzor, has been the target of renewed intimidation attempts since it was announced the government would look into alleged kidnapping threats that began more than a decade ago. Read more about the threats and court adjournment here.

June 19, 2015

Award-winning journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima has reported extensively on sexual violence against women into the public realm, and has also been the target of a kidnapping due to her views. Read her full profile here.

June 3, 2015

The Attorney General’s Office has decided to stop the investigation into the confessed kidnapper of journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima in 2000. Alejandro Cardenas Orozco divulged his participation in the kidnapping in August 2011, but retracted it just two years later. Read more about the case here.

May 28, 2015

President Juan Manuel Santos pledged to help fight impunity in anti-press attacks at a meeting with the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Colombian press freedom group Foundation for a Free Press. Read more about his comments here.

March 18, 2015

Reporters Without Borders is hailing the removal of charges against William Parra, a TV reporter who was wrongly accused of assisting national rebels. The charges dated back to the presidency of Alvaro Uribe when his government carried out illegal phone tops better known as “chuzadas” and threats allegedly made by paramilitaries or the intelligence group DAS, which forced many journalists into exile. Read more here.


Costa Rica

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Costa Rica exercise a high degree of caution due to increasing levels of violent crime.

Costa Rica ranks 21 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

March 25, 2014

IFEX reposted an International Press Institute report on a March 21 court ruling, which found the surveillance of Diario Extra journalist Manuel Estrada by the Judicial Investigation Police to be unconstitutional. Read the full report here.


Cuba

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Cuba to exercise normal precautions.

Debit cards and Canadian money transfers are not accepted in Cuba. Credit cards are not widely accepted

Cuba ranks 170 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

March 31, 2015

The terms of imprisonment for Cuban journalist José Antonio Torres have changed to allow him to access work and visit his home. Torres, a former correspondent for newspaper Granma in Santiago de Cuba province, was sentenced in 2011 to 14 years on charges of spying. Read more about the changes here.

March, 20 2015

Leonel Silva Gurrero, a correspondent for the Hablemos Press in the southwestern town of Gibara, is currently in arbitrary detention. Guerrero was violently arrested at his home and was later held by State Security Department authorities for questioning pertaining to his alleged involvement with sheltering a fugitive from justice. Read more about RSF’s report here.

Jan. 2, 2015

The Inter-American Press Association has called for the release of independent journalists arrested and jailed while attempting to attend an art show as a protest against censorship. Read the full report here.


Dominican Republic

Travellers are cautioned by the Government of Canada to remain vigilant as there is a high rate of crime in the country.

The Dominican Republic ranks 68 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

July 3, 2015

Violence against local journalists covering corruption or drug trafficking is on the increase, according to Reporters Without Borders. Organized crime and corrupt government officials are believed behind the increased threat level. Read more here.


Ecuador

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Ecuador exercise a high degree of caution. High crime levels and public demonstrations can pose a particular threat.

Regional advisories have been issued against all travel to regions bordering Colombia and areas south of Cuenca. The Colombian border regions, including Carchi and Sucumbíos provinces (the city of Tulcán excepted) and the town of San Lorenzo, are operating grounds for drug traffickers and other criminal organizations. The areas south of Cuenca and bordering Peru have unmarked minefields.

Ecuador’s hurricane season is from June to the end of November. There are also several active volcanoes on the mainland and on the Galapagos Islands.

Ecuador ranks 95 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

November 11, 2015

Human Rights Watch has reported that Ecuadorian security forces used excessive force during an anti-government protest, in August. The demonstration was labelled as violent even though many of those charged were peaceful protestors. Read more about it here.

August 19, 2015

President Rafael Correa ordered media and social networking censorship regarding any content about the Cotopaxi volcano after he signed decree 755, declaring a state of emergency throughout the country. Correa said the order would prevent any rumours or misinformation about this environmental danger. Read more about the decree here.

July 31, 2015

Two pamphlet bombs exploded at separate newspaper offices in Guayaquil. The first bomb went off across from the headquarters of El Universo and the second blast happened near the entrance of state-run daily El Telégrafo. Nobody was injured in the explosions. Read more about the bombs here.

April 9, 2015

The Quito residence of Ivonne Guzmán, journalist and columnist for the newspaper El Comercio, was the target of graffiti. Guzmán believes it could be connected to an article she wrote, which challenged the high cost of living and government surcharges on imports. Read more about the vandalization here.

April 8, 2015

A manager of satirical the Facebook page "Ecuatorianos en el ring" was threated on Twitter by two fake accounts. They warned if he did not take down recent posts and videos within 24 hours, they would come after him and his family. This is the third case in a series of threats made against social network managers. Read more here.

April 6, 2015

The Criminal Division of the National Court of Justice rescinded the sentences of former assembly member Cléver Jiménez, and his adviser, journalist Fernando Villavicencio, for libel against President Rafael Correa.  Read more about the case here.

March 25, 2015

Comedian John Oliver’s comments about Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa’s harsh treatment of critics online have brough to light questions regarding the freedom of online expression in the country. Correa has a weekly TV show "Enlace Ciudadano", where he named and shamed people who have criticized him over social media, and also threatened the man behind a popular local blog. Read more about Correa’s actions on his show here.

January 28, 2015

IFEX posted a Committee to Protect Journalists blog post by John Otis about attempts to modify Ecaudor’s constitution to categorize communications as a public service. Ecuadorian government figures say that the amendment will democratize the media. Read the full post here.

 


El Salvador

The Government of Canada advises that travellers to El Salvador exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat from the high rate of crime in the country.

El Salvador ranks 45 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

June 8, 2015

Reporters Without Borders press freedom index has dropped the country’s press freedom index seven spots as a result of turbulence since the election of President Salvador Sánchez Cerén. The new leader has accused the media of conspiring to commit a “psychological terror campaign” against his government. Read more here.


Guatemala

The Government of Canada advises that travellers to Guatemala maintain a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat of violence, roadblocks, strikes and demonstrations throughout the country.

The Government of Canada recommends travellers to exercise extra caution and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, which have the tendency to turn violent, due to presidential elections on October 25.

Guatemala ranks 125 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

April 2, 2015

Local authorities in Guatemala are endorsing the creation of an Anti-Media Terrorism Foundation, which will possibly intensify the vulnerability of the freedom of the press. Members of the IFEX-ALC group are concerned about the announcement made by a few government spokespeople on the formation of the unit. Read more here.

March 16, 2015

Three journalists have been killed over the last week in Guatemala. On March 10, journalists Danilo López and Federico Salazar, reporters for Prensa Libre and Radio Nuevo Mundo were killed by two people on a motorcycle, while another correspondent who was with them was also injured. López was receiving threats on an article he wrote and on the day of their deaths, National Civil Police detained a suspect who is believed to have been the driver of the motorcycle used in the murders. Three days later, journalist Guido Armando Giovanni Villatoro was attacked and murder after leaving the station he worked at. It is reported that two people on a motorcycle, a minor and an adult, shot him. Read more here.


Guyana

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Guyana exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat caused by a high rate of crime in the country.

General elections planned for May, 2015 have raised tensions in the region.

Guyana ranks 67 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

Nov. 11, 2014

Kaieteur News released a recording and written transcript of an abusive and threatening phone call, allegedly made by the Attorney General of Guyana to a senior reporter covering government affairs. The caller warned that failure to cease critical reporting would result in a visit to the newspaper by, by an armed person. Anil Nandlall, Guyana's attorney general and minister of legal affairs, has not denied making the call. More details on that phone call can be found here.


Haiti

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Haiti exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat from a high rate of crime and ongoing political tension.

An advisory against non-essential travel has been issued for a number of neighbourhoods in the Port-au-Prince area. They are Martissant, Carrefour, Bel Air and Cité Soleil.

Haiti ranks 47 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

April 15, 2014

RSF reported on the severe penalties threatened by the National Telecommunications Council against radio stations that “systematically broadcast false information liable to disturb public order, destabilize the Republic’s institutions and attack the integrity of many citizens.” Read the full report here.


Honduras

The Government of Canada has no national advisory for Honduras beyond advice to remain vigilant against a high rate of crime. Regionally, travellers are advised to avoid "San Francisco de Coray and Langue in the Department of Valle; Orocuina, Apacilagua and Morolica in the Department of Choluteca; San Francisco de la Paz and Gualaco in the Department of Olancho due to high levels of violence and crime."

Honduras ranks 129 out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

September 9, 2015

Julio Ernesto Alvarado, a former Radio and TV Globo reporter, has been banned from working as a journalist after the Supreme Court ruled against his final appeal on September 4. Alvarado’s ban stems from a defemation lawsuit against him, which started in 2013. Read more about the court ruling here.

July 30, 2015

Six journalists have been killed in the country since May, when the UN passed a pledge to ensure media protection, according to numbers released by PEN International. Convictions in the murders of 93 journalists dating back to 2003 have only resulted in four convictions. Read more about the pledge here.

July 9, 2015

Three journalists have been killed in 10 days, the latest being Joel Aquiles Torres, who owned local TV station Canal 67. Torres was killed by suspected contract assassins in Taulabe on July 3. Read more about the other two murdered journalists here.

May 25, 2015

To commemorate Journalists Day in the country, Reporters Without Borders has released a report on Radio Globo, one of the most popular independent broadcasters, and interviewed employees with their take on the current state of freedom of expression. Read more about the report here.

May 19, 2015

Radio Globo director David Romero announced on air he received death threats after exposing information about an alleged case of embezzlement of government funds involving President Juan Orlando Hernández. Read more about the threats here.

April 27, 2015

During the week of April 19, two Honduran journalists were assassinated. Radio host Artemio was shot in the car in which he was travelling in the western municipality of Valladolid. A fellow passenger, a justice of the peace, also died. The next morning, The victims were identified as Jorge Pérez Alemán and Artemio Deras. The next morning, Vica Televisión camera operator Cristel Joctan López Bermúdez was murdered, apparently by vehicle thieves in the city of Comayagüela. Read more here.

March 12, 2015

Journalist Cesario Padilla reported on his blog, AbraPalabra, that murals are being destroyed in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. The murals were created by the Tegucigalpa group and their most recent work, a mural dedicated to women for International Women’s Day, was destroyed prior to the appreciation day. Municipal workers have also said they will remove at least three more murals. Read more about the mural removal here.

Feb. 10, 2015

TV journalist Carlos Fernandez was killed on Feb. 5 under mysterious circumstances. The TV host was shot execution style near the National Telecommunications Hotel. Read more here.


Jamaica

The Government of Canada advises travellers maintain a high degree of caution in Jamaica. There is a particular threat of violent crime in the country. As of April 15, an amendment to Jamaica’s Dangerous Drugs Act decriminalized the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. Possession will now be punishable by a fine and will not result in a criminal record.

Jamaica ranks 17 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

November 9, 2015

The senate has decriminalized defamation after a unanimous vote. The new legislation replaces both the 19th-century Libel and Slander Act and the 1963 Defamation Act. Read more here.


Mexico

The Government of Canada advises that travellers to Mexico exercise a high degree of caution.

Visitors are advised to enter the country by air as land border crossings pass through potentially dangerous regions with high crime rates, illegal roadblocks and demonstrations.

Caution is advised regarding non-essential travel to the northern states of Chihuaha, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León (except Monterrey), Sinaloa (except Mazatlán), Sonora (except Hermosillo and Guaymas/San Carlos) and Tamaulipas.

The same non-essential travel advisory has also been issued for the south-western states of Michoacán (except Morelia) and Guerrero (except Ixtapa, Taxco, Zihuatanejo and the tourist areas of Acapulco).

Criminal activity has significantly increased in the states of Jalisco, Guerrero and Michoacán. Reports indicate an uptick in illegal roadblocks and demonstrations.

It is advised that withdrawls or currency exchanges take place at reputable financial institutions and be limited to daylight hours because of card skimming. 

Mexico ranks 152 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ global Press Freedom Index.

September 4, 2015

President Enrique Peña Nieto has promised national security measures for the protection of journalists following the death of prominent photojournalist Rubén Espinosa on July 31. He was killed while trying to seek refuge in Mexico City after receiving death threats in his hometown of Veracruz. Read more about the violent treatment towards journalists here.

August 17, 2015

A new law protecting journalists and human rights defenders in the federal district of the country’s largest city is in effect. The law, passed by Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, includes among it provisions the promise to provide adequate and independent resources for the task. Read more about the law here.

August 5, 2015

The tortured body of photojournalist Rubén Espinosa, correspondent for Proceso magazine and the Veracurz news agency AVC, was found in a Mexico City apartment along with the corposes of four women, identified as Veracruz social activists. Until June, Espinosa worked as a journalist in the capital of Veracruz State, Xalapa, deemed to be one of the most dangerous places to work in the country. Read more on the reaction to his death here.

July 3, 2015

Director and radio host on La Favorita 103.3 FM, Filadelfo Sánchez Sarmiento, was killed in Miahuatlán, Oaxaca on July 2. According an ARTICLE 19 report Filadelfo received many death threats in the lead up to his murder. Read more here.

June 22, 2015

Díaz López, a reporter with the newspapers Tabasco Hoy and El Criollo was stabbed in his home and later died en route to hospital in the Teapa municipality of Villahermosa, Tabasco State. A Twitter posting from the State attorney general's office attributed the murder to “a family conflict, based on previously existing legal evidence.” Read more here.

June 11, 2015

The Radiover news website reported that two of its journalists, Elena Anell and José Francisco García Reyes, were attacked in Xalapa while covering alleged vote-buying by members of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. ARTICLE 19 reported there was a total of 27 violent attacks against journalists on midterm election day June 7. Read more about other cases here.

June 3, 2015

Journalist and activist Pedro Canché has been ordered a release from prison after spending nine months behind bars on charges of sabotage. A court in Cancún approved the release three months after another judge ruled Canché’s imprisonment was illadvised. Read more about the case here.

May 12, 2015

Guerrero state authorities have confirmed that radio presenter Bernardo Javier Cano Torres was abducted. Cano, a host on the program “Hora Cero” on Iguala-based ABC Radio 93.9FM, was kidnapped with three others around the city of Iguala. Read more about Cano’s abduction and work here.

May 6, 2015

Since 2000, 17 journalists have been killed in the state of Veracruz. Radio journalist Armando Saldaña Morales was the latest reporter killed in the area. Read more here.

May 1, 2015

The unresolved murder of journalist Héctor Félix Miranda is being brought back into the public eye by the newspaper he worked for, Zeta. The perpatrators have been released for the murder of Miranda in 1988, after serving their sentences. The newspaper’s complaints stem from the investigation and local authorities being unable to identify the mastermind behind the murder. Read more about Miranda’s case here.

April 17, 2015

Owner and director of the radio station “Transmitiendo sentimientos, la voz de Juxtlahuaca”, Abel Manuel Bautista Raymundo was killed on April 14. Bautista was driving a press-labelled Radio Spacio 96.1 vehicle when he was gunned down the San Pedro de Alto neighbourhood of Santiago Juxtlahuaca. Read more about Bautista’s death here.

March 19, 2015

A blog post made public by Committee to Protect Journalist Mexico correspondent, David Arjen, explains the arrest of investigative journalist who has been fired from a Mexican radio station. Carmen Aristegui hosted a weekly news radio program on MVS Radio that was in the top-five most listened to programs in Mexico City. Aristegui was fired after requesting that the privately-run station reinstate two investigative reporters. Read more about Aristegui here.

March 16, 2015

Canadian news media is not adequately covering the drug battles in Mexico, according to a report published by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.  Journalist and educator Naser Miftari from complains the decade-long war on drugs carried out by the Mexican government is partially reported by North American media. Read more here.

Jan. 5, 2015

IFEX reposted a translation of an ARTICLE 19 report detailing the kidnapping of  Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, editor/director of the newspaper La Unión in Medellín de Bravo. He was kidnapped from his home in Gutierrez Rosas. His camera, computer and cell phone were also taken. Read the full report here.


Nicaragua

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Nicaragua exercise a high degree of caution, particularly due to armed violence that is common during criminal acts.

Nicaragua ranks 71 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

March 30, 2015

Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega is keeping the national press in the dark. According to opposition newspaper La Prensa, it has been almost 3,000 days since Ortega last held a news conference. Read more here.


Panama

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Panama to exercise normal precautions. Higher degrees of caution should be exercised in Colón and some regions in Panama City due to high rates of crime.

A regional advisory has been issued against all travel to regions beyond the town of Yaviza all the way to the Colombian border. Colombian rebels and drug traffickers contribute to a very high rate of violent crime, including kidnapping, armed robbery, disappearances and murder.

Panama ranks 87 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Paraguay

The Government of Canada advises travellers maintain a high degree of caution in Paraguay. There is a particular threat caused by the increasing rate of crime.

A World Bank group meeting is scheduled for Oct. 5-12  in Lima,  and could produce traffic and delays.

Paraguay ranks 105 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

July 22, 2015

A call for a special government unit to investigate crimes against journalists has come from a six-year investigation into the state of free expression by the IFEX Latin American and Caribbean Alliance (IFEX-ALC). Read the full report here.

April 30, 2015

In a profile of Cándido Figueredo, a border-beat reporter for ABC Color, Paraguay’s largest newspaper, CPJ highlights the the risks facing domestic reporters covering drug crime.Read more about Figueredo’s story and the need for bodyguards along Paraguayan border cities.

March 9, 2015

The Paraguayan House of Representatives closed for eight days to discuss a mandatory data retention proposal that would, if passed, force local telecom providers to keep highly personal information about their customers’ internet use. Read the report and subsequent reaction on the bill here.


Peru

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Peru exercise a high degree of caution. Social conflict and strikes are a potential threat throughout the country.

Advisories against non-essential travel have been issued for the following regions and cities due to the activities of the Shining Path terrorists: La Mar and Huanta in the  Ayacucho Department; Marañon,  Huacaybamba, Leoncio Prado and Humalies in the Huanuco Department; Huallaga and Tocache in the San Martin Department; Padre Abad and Aguaytia in Coronel  Portillo Province, Ucayali Department; Tayacaja in the Huancavelica Department; Kimbiri, Pichari and Vilcabamba districts in La Convención Province, Cuzco Department; Satipo and Concepción in Junin Department; and Upper Huallaga and Ene river valleys in Huánuco and San Martín departments. Machu Picchu and Cuzco City are not affected by this advisory.

Recent demonstrations in the city of Arequipa have become violent and roadblocks are currently affecting travel to and from Arequipa and within the city. Disruptions may continue to escalate.

An advisory against non-essential travel has also been issued for the regions bordering Colombia and Ecuador, especially the Cordillera del Cóndor. Narcotic trafficking and armed guerrilla incursions are a threat at the Colombian border. Landmines are still present along parts of the Ecuadorian border.

The World Bank Group meeting will take place in Lima, Peru, from October 5 to October 12, 2015. Travellers can expect traffic and delays.

Peru ranks 104 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 20, 2015

Journalist Dayana Cieza received a text death threat following her report about illegal benefits afforded prison inmates. Cieza, a reporter on Panamericana Television in Lima, reported the threat to police who are now conducting an investigation. Read more about the report and subsequent death threat here.

June 2, 2015

Journalist Manuel Calloquispe was assaulted by three men while investigating illegal gold dredging operations near the Madre de Dios region. The journalists, whose equipment was seized, was rescued by a local citizen. Read more about the attack here.

May 21, 2015

Alonso Ramos, a correspondent for Frecuencia Latina TV station, was wounded in the leg following an altercation between police and protestors regarding the Tia Maria mining project. Three other reporters covering the clash were beaten with sticks and received death threats. This all occurred in the cities of Cocachacra and Arequipa. Read more here.

Jan. 9, 2015

Not carrying a press card can get a journalist into trouble in Peru. Photo-journalist Joan Pierre Ríos was arrested for not carrying  press ID while covering a story outside a cemetery in downtown Lima. A report reposted by IFEX said the journalist, who worked for the newspaper El Comercio. was roughed-up by police during the arrest but released two hours later. Read the full report here.

 


Suriname

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Suriname exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat from possible demonstrations and unrest as well as a crime levels that range from moderate to high.

Suriname ranks 31 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

Dec. 18, 2013

IFEX reposted an International Press Institute report on the “serious reform” required for Suriname’s defamation laws. Read more here.


Trinidad & Tobago

The Government of Canada advises travellers heading to Trinidad & Tobago to exercise a high degree of caution due to high crime rates.

Trinidad & Tobago ranks 43 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

May 20, 2015

Citing a potential chill to investigative journalism, media groups are calling for the government to abandon cybercrime legislation targeting unauthorised data access, cyber-bullying and identity fraud. Read more about the proposed cybercrime law here.

March 24, 2015

The Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) has condemned prolonged defamatory and illegal social media attacks on female journalists in Trinidad and Tobago. In the most recent incident, a YouTube video posted in 2013 was circulated around social media in an effort to defame investigative journalist, Asha Javeed, of the Trinidad Express. Read more on the social media attacks against female journalists here.


United States

The Government of Canada advises travellers to the United States to exercise normal precautions.

The United States ranks 46 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 24, 2015

A new manual released by the U.S. Department of Defense includes descriptions of journalists as spies and gives authority to commanders to threaten reporters if the need arises. The manual, titled Law of War Manualis a comprehensive document highlighting proper modes of conduct for all military branches. Read more about the manual here.

June 24, 2015

President Barack Obama introduced a new hostage policy, giving families of journalists who are being held hostage at home and abroad more negotiating power with the captors. The new policy includes the notion of no ransom payments and no prisoner swaps, and will not allow the government to discuss deals involving the hostage groups or third parties. Read more about the bill here.

May 8, 2015

The National Security Agency’s bulk collection of individual phone records is illegal. A federal appeals court. Read more here.

April 8, 2015

Human Rights Watch is suing the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) over unneccesary surveillance. HRW is being represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has filed numerous charges against unconstitutional government surveillance. Read more about the DEA’s surveillance program here.


Uruguay

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Uruguay to exercise normal precautions.

Uruguay ranks 26 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Venezuela

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Venezuela exercise a high degree of caution due to a high level of murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.

A regional advisory has been issued against all travel within 80 km of the Colombian border, where the threat of kidnapping is heightened. Travelers should be aware of kidnapping threats by Colombian guerillas in the states of Zulia, Táchira, Barinas, Bolívar, Apure, Amazonas, Anzoátegui and Sucre.

The border crossings on the Bolivar bridge (from San Antonio del Táchira to Cucuta, Colombia), and Paraguachón (in the state of Zulia and the Colombian department of La Guajir) between Venezuela and Colombia are closed until further notice.The Juan Vicente Gómez international airport, in San Antonio del Táchira, is closed indefinitely.z

Venezuela ranks 116 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 22, 2015

Journalist Beatriz Lara Mendoza and graphic reporter Alfredo Parada of El Aragueño newspaper were assaulted by police, handcuffed and arrested in Villa de Cura, Aragua state. A third reporter, who questioned the arbitrary and violent treatment of his colleagues, was also arrested.  The journalists were attempting to cover the arrests of local criminals. Read more about the reporters’ treatment here.

May 14, 2015

Twenty-two senior staff  from the newspapers El Nacional and Tal Cual and the online publication La Patilla, have been ordered by a court not to leave the country. The travel ban was requested by National Assembly Speaker Diosdado Cabello as part of criminal and civil lawsuits against national news media. Read more here.

April 13, 2015

Venezuelan newspaper Tal Cual is facing government lawsuits, plummeting costs and decreasing advertising income, and is one of the few publications still being printed that is critical of the Venezuelan government. Tal Cual has scaled back its print edition from six days per week to just a single weekend edition and has also let go many of its staffers. Read more about Tal Cual’s situation and the overall newspaper climate in Venezuela here.


ASIA & PACIFIC

Afghanistan

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Afghanistan. The security situation there is unstable with ongoing insurgency, terrorism, a high risk of kidnapping and a high crime rate.

Afghanistan ranks 128 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 2, 2015

Women say they are still woefully under-represented in the Afghan media, a study released by the Afghanistan Journalists Center reports. The study, which looks at violence against female journalists, focused on 150 journalists and 15 officials of media outlets in Kabul and Balkh provinces. Read more about the study here.

March 6, 2015

Afghan media has increased its presence over the past years, especially in the case of women. Of around 12,000 working journalists in the country currently, around 2,500 are women, up from an estimated 1,000 in 2006. Since 2001, 49 female journalists have been killed and, in 2013-14, attacks on women reporters climbed 64-percent, according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch. Read more about Afghan women’s role in journalism here.


Australia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Australia to exercise normal precautions.

Australia ranks 28 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 16, 2015

Australian phone giant Vodafone has admitted one of its employees snooped into the phone records of Australian investigative journalist Natalie O’Brien. Reports suggest Vodafone was aware the actions were illegal and attempted a cover-up. Read more about the story here.

May 1, 2015

Journalistic freedom is under attack in Australia, according to The Media, Arts and Entertainment Alliance (MEAA) 2015 report on the freedom of press. Read the full report forword by MEAA CEO Pauk Murphy here.

March 2, 2015

Union and industry advocates for news media have is condemned the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s plan for the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 without edits and input made for the protection of jounrnalists and their sources. Read the full story here.

Oct. 1, 2014

An anti-terrorism bill passed in the House of Representatives could limit press freedom in the country. Organizations representing journalists have called on the Australian government to “ensure that legitimate national security concerns are not allowed to override press freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of access to information and the public's right to know.” Read here for the full report.

 


Bangladesh

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Bangladesh exercise a high degree of caution. The security situation is constantly changing and the country is politically fragile.

Hartals (enforced strikes) can shut down business and close roads without warning and, as a result, travel to public places within and around Dhaka is not advised.

An Italian national was shot and killed by ISIS along road 90 in the Gulshan neighbourhood of Dhaka on September 28.

The governments of Australia and the United Kingdam have information that suggests militants will be targeting Western people in Bangladesh. The Canadian Government advises travelers to avoid events where tourists may gather.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts are under an advisory against non-essential travel due to politically- motivated violence, kidnapping and sporadic ethnic clashes. Bangladesh ranks 146 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

November 2, 2015

Human rights watchdogs are calling on the government to protect writers and their publishers from abuse following attacks that left publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan dead and three more seriously injured. Read more about the previous abuses against national writers and publishers here.

September 2, 2015

Five Islamist militants have been charged with the murder of blogger Washiqur Rahman Babu in March. Read more about the on-going violence against bloggers here.

August 10, 2015

Ansar-Al-Islam, the Bangladeshi chapter of al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the murder of secular blogger Niladri Chattopadhyay, who wrote under the alias Niloy Neel. Chattopadhyay was stabbed to death in his home in Khilgoan on August 7. Read more about Chattopadhyay`s work here.

June 17, 2015

An Islamist group has marked 24 different journalists and bloggers for assassination. Ansarullah Bangla Team, issued the threats – the third delivered in recent weeks – in a letter. Read more here.

May 13, 2015

The murder of blogger Ananta Bijoy Das has raised concerns over freedom of expression. Das was a recognized secular blogger, who regularly contributed to Mukto-Mona ("Free Mind") blog, questioning religious fundamentalism and attacks on secular thinkers. This was the third murder of a secular blogger in as many months. Read more here.

May 8, 2015

A report conducted by ARTICLE 19 titled Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh 2014 lists a total of 213 attacks in 2014, including 205 against journalists and eight against bloggers and online writers. Read more about the report and its findings here.

April 1, 2015

The popular Bangla-language news show, “Frontline,” was suspended last month after being on air in the country for five years. Former host Matiur Rahman Chowdhury said the channel’s chairman pulled the show due to technical problems, but he and many other journalists believe the act was politically motivated. Read more on “Frontline” and Chowdhury’s claim here.

March 30, 2015

Blogger Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death by three men in a Tejgaon, an industrial district of Dhaka. The 27-year-old’s blog posts were believed to be the reason for the attack, but local police did not disclose any specific motive. Police arrested two men, and the third is still at large. Read more here.

March 4, 2015

According to PEN International, freedom for writers is dwindling in Bangladesh on the heels of the murder of Avijit Roy, a U.S.-based blogger hacked to death near a police traffic barricade at a book fair. His blog, Mukto Mona, or Free Mind, often denounced religious fundamentalism and had drawn many death threats. Roy was visiting Bangladesh, together with his wife, who was severely injured in the same attack.  Read the story here.

Jan. 9, 2015

Ekushey TV chairman Abdus Salam was arrested early January on charges of broadcasting pornography. Human Rights Watch alleged the government was targeting media sympathetic to the opposition. Excessive use of force against journalists, activists and demonstrators has been condemned in a statement released by HRW.   Read more here.


Bhutan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Bhutan to exercise normal precautions.

Bhutan ranks 92 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Brunei Darussalam

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Brunei Darussalam to exercise normal precautions.

Brunei Darussalam ranks 117 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Burma (Myanmar)

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Burma exercise a high degree of caution. An unsettled political situation has raised the prospect civil unrest. Lengthy internal conflict and politically motivated violence can arise spontaneously. Tourist spots are not immune to these threats.

It advises against travel to the Rakhine State, where a curfew is in effect and is enforced by extra security personnel. Security in the region can deteriorate quickly and without notice.

The border regions with Thailand, China and Laos are under an advisory against all travel because of banditry, unmarked landmines and sporadic conflict between the military and ethnic militias.

The Government of Canada recommends travellers to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings that may occur in the lead-up to the upcoming general elections on November 8. These demonstrations have the tendencies to turn violent.

Burma ranks 145 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

November 13, 2015

A poet was arrested after insulting the Myanmar president on Facebook. Maung Saungkha faces charges under after writing a poem about the president on social media. Read more about the story here. 

September 4, 2015

The national election commission has passed new campaign regulations, which will prohibit political parties from criticizing the national military and the existing constitution on state media. Read more about the global fallout from this regulation here.

August 19, 2015

Police in eastern Karen State are targeting and arresting members from a student organization for their involvement in assisting small farmers to resist land takeovers. Read more about the arrests and student group here.

June 29, 2015

Press freedom is dwindling in the country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists who say the government is beginning to ramp up control over the media and launchung defamation trials against more than a dozen staff at a local newspaper. Read more on the other example of media mistreatment here.

June 19, 2015

Local journalists are facing increasing government censorship while reporting. A Muslim ethnic forced to register as “Bengalis” as of March 2014. Read more about the barriers to reporting here.

May 12, 2015

A military court has acquitted two soldiers for the October 2014 murder of Aung Kyaw Naing, better known as Par Gyi. Par Gyi regularly reported about ethnic tensions along the Burma-Thai border. Read more about the case here.

May 5, 2015

Journalists and writers charge the government with foot-dragging on promised press freedom reforms. Read about the laws against journalists here.

March 3, 2015

Aung Nay Myo is being detained by Myanmar police because of a satirical image he posted on Facebook that illustrated the renewed conflicts between ethnic rebels groups and government forces. The photo was from a 1971 movie advertisement that showed a battle between Myanmar’s army and Chinese-backed communist rebels. Aung Nay Myo, a freelancer, was arrested at his home for breaking the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act. Read more of CPJ’s report here.


Cambodia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Cambodia exercise a high degree of caution. Theft, robbery and crimes of opportunity are on the rise in the country. Demonstrations in Phnom Penh and throughout the country have been taking place since July 2013 and occasionally turn violent.

A regional advisory has been issued against all travel to the Cambodian-Thai border area in the provinces of Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear – including the Preah Vihear temple area.

Commercial surrogacy is considered illegal in Cambodia, which includes penalties such as imprisonment and/or fines. Anyone looking to travel to Cambodia for the purposes of commercial surrogacy should consider independent legal advice prior to reaching any agreement.

Cambodia ranks 144 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 4, 2015

Journalist Lin Kin Sar is being detained and interrogated by Koh Kong police after reporting on an environmental protest on September 2. Kin Sar, who works for Khmer Post Radio, along with a citizen journalist, were arrested during the protest in front of Koh Kong Provincial court. Read more about the arrests here.

May 1, 2015

Local and International press freedom watchdogs have called on the Cambodian government to strengthen independent press freedom. Read more about what the groups are proposing here.

Oct. 15, 2014

A journalist reporting on the illegal transportation of luxury woods near the Pum Ksem Kand Krow village was shot while taking photographs of the trade. Taing Tri, who was standing next to his car when he was shot,  was the thirteenth journalist killed in Cambodia since the country's first democratic elections in 1993. Read the full report here.


China

Hong Kong has a separate travel advisory.

The Government of Canada advises travellers to China exercise a high degree of caution due to isolated violence, including protests and bombings.

China ranks 175 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 15, 2015

Investigations have yet to be launched in the death of activist Cao Shunli. Cao was detained in Beijing airport September 14, 2013 while trying to leave to Geneva. The activist planned to participate in activities related to the Universal Periodic Review of China. Read more about the story here.

August 7, 2015

Fifteen human rights and press freedom organizations are urging Chinese President Xi Jinping to release seriously ill freelance journalist Gao Yu from prison. The organizations also demanded for the release of all prisoners arrested for peaceful exercise of their political views who are in poor health. Read more here.

July 7, 2015

The National Security Law was passed by Congress on July 1 to the dismay of media groups who have called for the law to be scrapped. The law was passed without any public consultation about issues regarding press freedom. Read more about reaction to the new law here.

June 29, 2015

Yang Dongying, who works for 64Tianwang (64Skynet) website, has been charged with “picking a quarrel and making trouble” with Zhejiang police. She is the latest reporter to be arrested in the government`s crackdown against citizen journalists associated with the news website. Read more here.

June 8, 2015

Media groups have called for revisions to the National Security Law introduced by Congress last month. The International Federation of Journalists highlighted key issues in the draft, which would limit the freedom for local journalists and foreign media working in the country. Read more about the proposed law here.

May 11, 2015

The second draft of Chinese National Security Laws includes guidelines that will increase controls on the country's Internet structure. The laws also feature: protection of the political regime; national unification; territorial integrity; cultural security’ strengthening ideology of socialist rule of law, and prevention of cyberspace attack. Read more on the draft law here.

April 17, 2015

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released internal Chinese Communist Party documents in response to the seven-year jail sentence that a Beijing court passed regarding journalist Gao Yu for "disclosing state secrets." RSF is doing this as a form of protest to illustrate the incompetence of the government’s attempts to dictate information and news. Read the documents here.

April 6, 2015

The Chinese government detained many well-known female activists on International Women’s Day 2015 earlier last month. In China, women are subject to many forms of discriminatinatory actions in the workplace and at home. Read more about these detainees and the history behind China’s gender relations here.

March 20, 2015

China is banning local media from reporting on the death of former vice chairman of the country’s Central Military Commission, Xu Caihou. The military official’s death was also not posted on the front page of any news agency. Chinese officials only allowed a report from Xinhua, the state-owned media outlet, to be republished, according to the China Digital Times. Read more about this publication ban here.

March 6, 2015

The International Federation of Journalists is concerned about the agreement reached by the Cyberspace Administrative and Central Propaganda Department of China to prohibit the online documentary Under the Dome and remove many related websites. Released in late February by journalist Chai Jing, the documentary went viral within 24 hours with 155 million views. The propaganda department called upon all administrators to delete any messages or posts that condemn the government. Read more about the penalties on documentary here.

March 2, 2015

Publisher Tie Liu and his assistant Huang Jing were convicted of operating an illegal business, which was due to Tie creating a not-for-profit journal that compiled memoirs of people who had been persecuted for opposing the Communist Party in the 1950’s. Read more here.

Jan. 28, 2015

IFEX published a statement from the International Federation of Journalists on the release of the seventh annual China Press Freedom Report titled, CHINA’S MEDIA WAR: Censorship, Corruption & Control. Read the details of the report here.

Jan. 20, 2015

Zhang Miao, assistant to the China correspondent for German paper Die Zeit  has been imprisoned in China without charges since October 2014. The International Federation of Journalists released a statement condemning her imprisonment.  Angela Köckrtiz's assistant was arrested in Beijing for inciting a public disturbance while covering the occupy protests in Hong Kong. Read more here.


Timor-Leste (East Timor)

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Timor-Leste exercise a high degree of caution. The security situation in the country is fragile and visitors should keep their personal security awareness high.

Timor-Leste ranks 77 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

May 19, 2015

The South East Asian Press Alliance charges that the establishment of a so-called “independent” press council will place control over the hiring of journalists in the hands of outsiders, thereby threatening press freedom. The council is one of the provisions in the new media law, enacted earlier this year. Read more about the press regulation here.

Sept. 4, 2014

IFEX forwarded an International Federation of Journalists petition to stop the new East Timor media law. The IFJ petition states the “laws are incompatible with the basic principles of freedom of expression, the practical workings of a free media and the needs of a modern democracy.” The petition can be found here.


Fiji

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Fiji exercise normal caution because of the prevalence of petty crime.

Fiji ranks 107 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

July 24, 2015

While welcoming a law lifting criminal fines against journalists, the Pacific Freedom Forum is demanding the government include publishers, editors and media companies in the softened penalites. Read more here.


Hong Kong

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Hong Kong to exercise normal precautions.

Hong Kong ranks 61 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 14, 2015

Two men have been convicted of the 2014 cleaver assault against Kevin Lau Chun-to, former editor of  Ming Pao newspaper. Media watchdogs have urged investigators to identify and charge the mastermind behind the attack. Lau survived the attempt on his life. Read more here.

April 2, 2015

A recent Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) survey showed both the public and local journalists believe press freedom declined last year. Journalist respondents said they had difficulty in obtaining information for reporting purposes and the government’s influence on the media. Read more on the results here.

March 5, 2015

Hong Kong’s largest free-to-air channel, Broadcasting Television of Hong Kong (TVB), recruited a former Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) secretary, as its managing editor. The former DAB secretary said they will focus on the network’s political coverage, but the IFJ is interpreting this as a continuation into the decline of political impartiality in their broadcasting standards. Unhappy staff were also apparently told they could leave and the morale level in the newsroom has been plummeting. Read the full story here.

Jan. 28, 2015

IFEX published a statement from the International Federation of Journalists on the release of the seventh annual China Press Freedom Report titled, CHINA’S MEDIA WAR: Censorship, Corruption & Control. Read the details of the report here.

Jan. 12, 2015

Next Media headquarters and the home of the organizations director, Jimmy Lai, were firebombed. The Hong Kong Journalist Association reported the attacks are said to be motivated by support for recent protests by Next Media publications, which include Apple Daily. Read more here.


India

The Government of Canada advises travellers to exercise a high degree of caution. There is an ongoing threat of terrorist attack at all times in the country.

An advisory against all non-essential travel has been issued for the Arunachal Pradesh border regions (with Myanmar) and Manipur with some exceptions below.

The following regions have an advisory against all travel: Jammu and Kashmir (Except Ladakh via Manali or by air to Leh), the Burmese border regions in Manipur and Nagaland, areas in the immediate vicinity of the Pakistan border and areas of the border between Assam and Bangladesh, Kokrajhar, Chirang and the Dhubri districts.

Extreme caution is advised in the footprint of the April earthquake, which shattered infrastructure in central Nepal and the Indian border provinces of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

India ranks 140 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

November 9, 2015

A journalist has been fired after writing a story about the benefits of beef. Consumption of beef in the country is not permitted in some parts of the country. Read more about the story here.

October 29, 2015

Freelance journalist Santosh Yadav is awaiting trial for his alleged involvement in reporting on human rights abuses by local police. The Bastar-based journalist reports for several privately-owned publications, which include Dainik Navbharat, Dainik Chhattisgarh and Patrika. Read more about Yadav’s arrest here.

September 2, 2015

Human rights groups are calling on local authorities to solve the murder of writer and scholar Dr. Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi on August 30. Read more about Kalburgi's work here.

August 6, 2015

A journalist who wrote about corruption for a Bengali-language daily, has been reported missing following death threats connected with his reportage. Chayan Sarkar, a correspondent for Uttarbanga Sangbad, was last seen in the Indian state of West Bengal on August 2. Read more about Sarkar here.

July 6, 2015

Journalist Akshay Singh fell unconscious and died while conducting an interview in Meghnagar, Madhya Pradesh. Singh was interviewing a family as part of an investigation into the Vyapam Scam - one of the largest recruitment scams in the country. Read more about the scam and Pradesh`s death here.

June 26, 2015

A police investigation is under way into the assault on journalist Prasanta Kumar who was beaten, shot and thrown from a car by a gang in Assam on June 18. Kumar, the Khairabari correspondent of Assamese daily Asamiya Pratidin, survived the attack. Read more about the assault here.

June 22, 2015

Three people have been arrested in connection with the murder of journalist Sandeep Kothari. His body was found with severe burns near Nagpur in Maharashtra. The trio were allegedly engaged in illegal mining in the area. Kothari, who worked for Jabalpur-based newspapers, was a specialist on illegal mining operations in the region. Read more here.

June 16, 2015

Journalist Haider Khan was beaten by a gang in Pilibhit, the state of Uttar Pradesh on June 13. Haider says a false source tipped him off about a robbery in the city where he was confronted, beaten severely, and then dragged almost one-hundred metres. Read more here.

June 15, 2015

The Committee to Protect Journalists is demanding a criminal investigation into the death of freelance journalist Jagendra Singh. The Press Trust of India reported Singh was set on fire by police and died of his injuries on the way to a hospital in Lucknow July 8. Read more here.

May 20, 2015

A new report released by PEN International in partnership with PEN Canada and the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, is calling on the country to scrap vague terms in law, which hinder the right to freedom of expression. Read the full report here.

April 21, 2015

Bangalore-based journalist Subir Ghosh is criticizing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his first year in office, saying that he is attempting to separate his government from independent local reporters. Read more about Ghosh’s experience here and Indian press freedom here.

March 25, 2015

India’s Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act in a landmark decision to preserve the right to freedom of speech and expression. The Supreme Court ruled that the section was vague and overbroad and in result, it had the tendency to create public disorder. Read more about the judgement here.

March 11, 2015

The Indian government has banned the documentary “India’s Daughter,” which portrays a 23-year-old woman who died after being gang raped on a bus in 2012. The film was to be released on International Women’s Day on March 8. Read more about the report and follow the story’s timeline here.


Indonesia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Indonesia exercise a high degree of caution. There is an ongoing threat of terrorist activity in the country.

The province of Papua is seeing an increased violence and visitors are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to the region.

Indonesia ranks 132 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

October 21, 2015

Media watchdogs are commemorating the murders of five Austrlian journalists and cameramen in the town of Balibo, East Timor, 40 years ago. Read more about the journalists here.

October 1, 2015

The International federation of Journalists has called for the release and repatriation of two British documentary-makers arrested along with nine Indonesians in May.  Journalists Becky Prosser and Neil Bonner were filming a piracy documentary for National Geographic at the time of their arrest.. Read more about the charges here.

August 31, 2015

New controls require all media to show accredited ID and three pieces of government-mandated documentation in order to cover news events in Indonesia. Regional press freedom watchdogs see this as an attempt to further restrict access by foreign journalists. Read more about the four-step process here.

August 17, 2015

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is looking to revert to the country's New Order era, which was highlighted by restraints on free speech and the press. The Alliance of Independent Journalists outlines three key signs suggesting President Jokowi would want to limit freedom of expression. Read more here.

July 17, 2015

International press freedom watchdogs have raised the alarm over the increased use of criminal defamation as a blunt weapon to silence critics. Read more about the cases here.

June 9, 2015

President Joko Widodo has overturned restrictions on foreign journalists covering the country's easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua. Read more about the decision here.

May 12, 2015

The Jakarta-based Alliance of Independent Journalists has welcomed promises to ease the government-imposed media isolation of Papua, but says actions will speak louder than words. Under existing regulations reporters attempting to cover the wave of political arrests in the isolated province must get the green light from 12 ministries or state institutions. Read more here.

April 2, 2015

The shortage of media access in the battle between Indonesia's military and the secessionist Free Papua Movement is causing governmental corruption. In particular, security forces are influencing President Joko Widodo’s bid to promote prosperity and peace in the Papua and West Papua provinces. Read CPJ’s full blog post here.


Japan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Japan to exercise normal precautions.

Mount Aso, located in the center of Kyushu island, erupted on September 14th, 2015. The level of alert for Mount Aso has been increased to alert level 3. Travelers are advised not to approach the volcano.

On May 6, 2015, the Japanese Meteorological Agency increased the level of volcanic activity for Mount Hakone to level 2 (visitors should not approach the crater), and announced that there was a chance of a small scale eruptions that could affect the Owakudani area of Mount Hakone.

A volcanic eruption of Mount Ontake a year ago killed at least 47 hikers and climbers and more explosions were possible.

A regional advisory against all travel remains in effect for areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant damaged in the 2011 tsunami. The Japanese government has produced a map indicating “exclusion zones.” Regions on the map in green still have restrictions including a ban on overnight stays.

Japan ranks 59 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 3, 2015

Japanese media is facing pressure to cool criticism of proposed new security legislation, with some supporters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party calling for boycotts by advertisers. In response, two newspapers singled out for “destruction,” the Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo, issued a joint statement declaration that , “allowing newspapers to publish views that are not in line with the government's policy is essential to democracy”. Read more about the attempted political media censorship here.


Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic)

The Government of Canada advises that travellers to Laos exercise a high degree of caution. There are particular threats from banditry and unexploded munitions in the country.

Laos ranks 171 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

May 8, 2015

Freedom of expression is under attack as a result of new laws targeting, among others, those who use social media strictly for the purposes of criticizing the ruling People's Revolutionary Party and the government, according to a review of 2014 by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance. Read more about the findings here.

May 15, 2014

IFEX reposted Helen Clark's article for Index on Censorship about the "absolute control over the press and civil society" exercised by the Laotian government. Read the article here.


Malaysia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Malaysia to exercise normal precautions.

A regional advisory has been issued against non-essential travel to the coastal southeastern regions of Sabah between the Beluran district in the north and the town of Tawau in the south. There is a particular risk of kidnapping and violence in the region.

Malaysia ranks 147 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

November 12, 2015

New criminal charges have been passed against critics of the government. Since mid-October,  two opposition parliament members, an activist and two rally organizers have been charged under this law. Read more about the story here.  

August 27, 2015

The government has issued threats against news websites promoting institutional reform and greater political transparency. According to ARTICLE19, the threats against "Bersih 4" protests are preventing citizens from exercising their right to freedom speech and expression. Read more about the protest websites being blocked here.

July 28, 2015

The government has suspended the publishing licenses of two newspapers because their work was judged prejudicial or likely to alarm public opinion and order. The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily newspapers have been suspended for three-months. Read more about the suspensions here.

July 22, 2015

The government is seeking to arrest the founder of UK-based news website Sarawak Report. Clare Rewcastle Brown's website was blocked by government officials on July 19 at the request of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. Read more about the ban here.

July 16. 2015

The administration of Prime Minister Najib Razak is supporting more restrictions on social media after a violent mob gathered at Low Yat Plaza on July 12. During the turmoil, three journalists were assaulted. Read more about the restrictions here.

May 15, 2015

The government has expanded and increased the use of its pre-colonial Sedition Act (1948), which will now allow prosecution and censorship journalists in all forms, from print to online. Read more about this law and NGOs who are opposing it here.

May 14, 2015

The International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific is demanding that the government of Malaysia drop all sedition charges against political cartoonist Zulkiflee “Zunar” Anwar Haque. Read more about Zunar’s case and sign a petition for his release here.      

April 22, 2015

A joint letter written by the Centre for Independent Journalism – Malaysia and various IFEX members to Dato' Seri Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, is calling for an end to the crackdown on journalistic free expression in the country. Thus far in 2015, CIJ Malaysia has reported at least 150 arrests, investigations and charges of politicians, activists, students, and most recently members of the media. Read the full letter here.

April 7, 2015

Malaysian political cartoonist, Zunar, has been charged in Kuala Lumpur with nine counts of sedation over tweets he posted about a controversial court decision. Zunar could potentially be sentenced to 43 years in prison if convicted and he is pleading not guilty. His bail, if charged, was $US6,207. The tweets under scrutiny pertained to a Federal Court decision in February 2015, which upheld the conviction of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on a sodomy charge. Read more about Zunar’s arrest here.

April 1, 2015

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) are requesting the release of The Malaysian Insider chief executive Jahabar Sadiq and The Edge publisher Ho Kay Tat, along with three other Malaysian Insider who were detained on March 30. They have been arrested under the Sedition Act over an article Malaysian Insider had published on the Conference of Rulers' response to Kelantan's state on hudud.

March 31, 2015

The Centre for Independent Journalism is condemning the violent threats against journalist Aisyah Tajuddin on social media. Aisyah works on radio station BFM 89.9 and received threats, which included rape and death threats. These threats were made following a video of Aisyah questioning the Kelantan government’s attempt to restore rules of hudud: crimes against God. Read more about her story her.


Maldives

The Government of Canada advises travellers to the Maldives exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat of petty crime and possible civil unrest.

Political demonstrations have been rampant in Male and are likely to continue due to the arrest of a former political leader on February 22, 2015. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings in Male at night.

Maldives ranks 108 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

August 13, 2015

Local journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla has been missing since he was seen boarding a ferry travelling to the capital Male last August. Three suspects who were charged with Rilwan's abduction in September were released without penalty. Read more about Rilwan's disappearance here.

May 6, 2015

The Maldivian Broadcasting Corporation has been co-optedas a government mouthpiece, according to the International Federation of Journalists. The previously arms-length relationship was ended by the government of President Abdulla Yammeen,  in a move seen by critics as a thinly disguised attempt to halt reportage of a campaign to free a former president, jailed on terror charges after a failed effort to crack down on corruption. Read more on the decision and the state of public broadcasting in Maldives here.

Feb. 23, 2015

A senior journalist with Raajje TV associated with the Maldives Journalist Association has received death threats over the phone and text messages. The call was allegedly made from parliament member Abdulla Yamin, who is attempting to create his own TV network. Read the IFJ report here.


Mongolia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Mongolia exercise a high degree of caution. The national crime rate is increasing with foreigners sometimes the target.

Mongolia ranks 88 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

July 21, 2015

The trial for journalist S.Battulga, who reports for the website info.mn, has been postponed. S.Battugla was arrested on July 9 after a defemation complaint stemming from an article she wrote in 2013. Read more about the case here.

July 9, 2014

IFEX reposted a Globe International Center article on the July 4 blocking of amjilt.com, a news site, by the national regulator. The block came as a result of a story posted to the site about property owned by the prime minister. Read more here.

Jan. 14, 2014

IFEX reposted a Globe International Center article on the fines and possible jail terms faced by three journalists for the Terguun newspaper. The three were charged with defamation. Read more here.


Nepal

The Government of Canada recommends that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel to Nepal.

A recently ended armed conflict has created a fragile political and security environment.

Nepal is located in an active seismic zone and there is a continued risk of earthquakes, aftershocks and landslides. Transportation across the country may be affected due to a fuel shortage.

On May 12, another major 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest.

On August 25, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued an interim order to immediately halt commercial surrogacy services in Nepal.

Nepal ranks 120 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

August 5, 2015

Sandeep Yogi, a reporter with Image News FM, was attacked in the Koteshwor area of Kathmandu. Yogi was also subjected to further threats and assaulted by a high-ranking security official after being fired from his job. Read more about Yogi's violent encounters here.

July 16, 2015

Om Ghayal, the manager of Radio Shaligram in the western district of Parbat, received a death threat regarding his story exposing an illegal road stone crushing operation. The threat is believed to have originated from a local resident running a stone crushing operation. Read more here.

June 24, 2015

A journalist with the Kathmandu daily Rajdhani narrowly escaped an attack from a secondary school principal and was subsequently threatened for taking a photograph of the damaged school on June 3. Read more about the threat here.

May 25, 2015

The Nepal International Media Partnership, a coalition of organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists, is looking at the creation of a specialized mechanism to promote safety of journalists and deter impunity for would-be attackers. The protection mechanism was proposed under a UN plan,  which identified Nepal as a “pilot” country for such action. Read more about the talks here.

April 27, 2015

The man who ordered the murder of a Janakhpur radio journalist in 2009 has been sentenced to life in prison by the Dhanusha District Court. Uma Singh was hacked to death by an armed gang while she was preparing a meal at her rented room in Rajaul, Janakpur.  The leader of the gang, Umesha Yadav (alias Swamiji), is a former Maoist. Read more about the conviction here.

April 14, 2015

Dev Raj KC, reporter for Araniko Television, and Buddha Lopchan, reporter for the Commander Post daily, received death threats on April 11. These threats were made due to their reporting and another local reporter with Image Channel television, says that KC and Lopchan received threatening messages on their phones for reporting on the conditions for Nepali workers in Malaysia. Read more here.

Feb. 17, 2015

Nepalese protestors in Bara district, angered by a lack of news coverage of their demonstrations over government plans to build public offices in other centres,  set fire to copies of four national dailies and, later torched a vehicle belonging to Kantipur Publications. Read more here.

Jan. 21, 2015

Seven attacks against journalists took place during the Jan. 20  general strike. Protestors damaged a van and equipment belonging to Mountain TV and assaulted camera operator Shrijana Kuikel. Two newspaper trucks belonging to the Kantipur Daily were also attacked. Several other journalists, including AP correspondent Upendra Man Singh, reported being threatened while covering the strike. Read more here.

Jan. 16, 2015

A Sagarmatha Television contributor, was attacked by protestors while covering a strike in the Bhaktapur district, Freedom Forum reported. Sushil Bandhu Thapa , who escaped injury, was  the latest journalist targeted as the deadline approaches for promulgation of the new constitution. Read more here.

 


New Zealand

The Government of Canada advises travellers to New Zealand to exercise normal precautions.

New Zealand ranks ninth out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

March 10, 2015

Ten pacific countries are featured in media reports as targets of personal data spying by the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau. The countries are Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati and Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and French Polynesia. Read more here.

 


North Korea

The Government of Canada has issued an advisory against all travel to North Korea. The development of nuclear weapons and the extremely repressive regime have created an uncertain security situation.

North Korea ranks 179 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Pakistan

The Government of Canada is advising against all non-essential travel to Pakistan. There are regional advisories against: areas reporting military activity; all border areas except the Wagha official border crossing; the Kashmir region; the province of Baluchistan; the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province; and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Pakistan ranks 158 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

November 5, 2015

A new report outlines the measures taken by local authorities to hinder online activities by religious minortities. Ahmadiyya and Shia are the communities that have been facing prosecution from the government and the public. Read more about the report here.

November 3, 2015

The Pakistan Press Foundation reports that 47 media personnel have been murdered while working in the country since 2001. The Report on Safety of Media Workers says the atmosphere of impunity around increased threats of violencagainst journalists is leading to widespread self-censorship. Read more about the report here.

September 4, 2015

Police have arrested two men in connection with the Aug. 2014 murder of three employees of  the Online News Agency in Baloch. The dead included the bureau chief and general secretary of the Balochistan Union of Journalistsf, Irshad Mastoi. The accused have also been linked to 31 terrorism cases. Read more about the arrests here.

August 26, 2015

The Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has set out new media guidelines limiting live coverage of hostage stand-offs and terrorist attacks, as well as controlling political programming on the nation's radio and television channels. Read more about the broadcasting guidelines here.

July 30, 2015

Local government officials and political groups are serving selfish interests by restricting the media’s right to freedom of expression, according to Reporters Without Borders. Read more about this type of media censorship here.

July 25, 2015

A group of men abducted Faheem Siddiqui, the Karachi bureau chief of TV channel Geo News. News reports suggest Siddiqui was lured into the abduction because he believed the suspects were driving a marked police vehicle. Read more about the investigation into Siddiqui’s abduction here.

June 4, 2015

Journalists in the southern Sindh province are protesting charges against three reporters under the Anti-Terrorism Act for covering issues relating to Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza, a dissident politician and former member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party. Read more about the charges and reaction here.

May 26, 2015

Reporters and photographers were beaten up by the country’s Special Security Unit while covering a trial taking place inside the Sindh High Court on May 23. Read more about the assault here.

May 14, 2015

Journalist Rasool Dawar has fled Peshawar after being arbitrarily detained twice by security forces under what they described as “extremely torturous conditions.” Dawar, a special correspondent for Geo TV based in North Waziristan, wrote a letter to the outlet’s CEO and other government and non-government groups expressing fears for his safety in Peshawar a week before leaving. Read more about Dawar’s experiences and his letter here.

April 20, 2015

The proposed Prevention of Electronic Crimes (PEC) Bill in Pakistan is threatening to introduce a series of new amendments that would limit freedom of expression and privacy in Pakistan. ARTICLE 19, Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, Digital Rights Foundation, and others are requesting members of the Pakistani legislature reject the bill until it meets international human rights standards. Read more about the proposed cybercrime bill here.

March 18, 2015

The International Federation of Journalists has hailed the capture of convicted murder of Faisal Mehmood as a significant breakthrough in Pakistan’s battle against impunity for journalist killings. Karachi journalist Kahn Babar was killed in 2011 after his story on gang violence went live on Geo TV. During the trial, nine other witnesses were murdered including policemen and prosecutors. Mehmood was sentenced to death in absentia, together with a co-conspirator who was subsequently shot dead while resisting arrest. Read more on the trial and Mehmood’s arrest here.


Papua New Guinea

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Papua New Guinea exercise a high degree of caution. Of particular concern is the high level of serious crime that often involves lethal weaponry.

Papua New Guinea ranks 44 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

April 14, 2015

An international freedom of speech watchdog has warned that a proposed government crackdown on social media platforms could limit an important check on the abuse of power.  New laws, first mooted in 2012, would force social media users to use only their real names. Read more here.


Philippines

The Government of Canada advises travellers to the Philippines exercise a high degree of caution. There is an ongoing terrorist threat to both westerners and western interests in the country. Four people, including two Canadians, were kidnapped in Samal Island, Davao del Norte on September 21.

An advisory has been issued against all travel to the Muslim Mindanao Autonomous Region and the surrounding regions (Zamboanga Peninsula, Sarangani, lanao del Norte, Davao, North and South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.).  There is a serious threat of terrorism and kidnapping in these areas.

The Philippines ranks 149 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

August 28, 2015

The anchorman of Ratsada, a program in Radio Mindanao Network's DXOC,  became the third media worker to be killed in the Philippines in two weeks. Cosme Diez Maestrado, an outspoken commentator who had survived a previous assassination attempt, was shot dead on the southern island of Mindanao. The deaths played against the backdrop of the trial for the Ampatuan Massacre, during which 58 people including 32 journalists were brutally killed. Read more about the recent violence against journalists here.

August 20, 2015

Gregorio "Loloy" Ybañez, president of  the Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club was shot outside his home on August 18. Ybañez died later on his way to hospital in Tagum City south of Manila. Read more about Ybañez here.

June 18, 2015

Radio host Rey Cabaraban is facing two counts of criminal libel after he was arrested in Valencia City, Bukidnon province. According to a report released in the in Sun.Star's Super Balita Cagayan de Oro, the charges stem from comments he made about illegal logging and mining in the province. Read more here.

May 15, 2015

After months of deliberation, the House Committee on Public Information approved the People’s Freedom of Information Act, which is now before Congress. Read more on the timeline details of the FOI Act here.

April 15, 2015

Former journalist Melinda "Mei" Magsino, who was a correspondent for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was shot dead on April 13 in Batangas City, south of the capital Manila. If Magsino’s murder is deemed to be work-related, she would be the 148th journalist killed in the line of duty in the country since 1986. Read more about Magsino’s murder here.

April 10, 2015

Manila police arrested Hataw publisher and columnist and former National Press Club President Jerry Yap on two counts of criminal libel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The libel case stems from Yap’s article on an alleged drug lord with a history of being released by police every time he is arrested. Read more about Yap’s arrest here.

March 13, 2015

Organized journalists inside and outside the Philippines have condemned the release on bail of a key accused in the 2009 Ampatuan Massacre of 58 people, including 34 journalists. The freed accused, Sajid Ampatuan, is is the son of co-accused and clan leader Andal Ampatuan Sn, alleged mastermind behind the mass murder. Read more about Sajid’s release here.

Jan. 27, 2015

IFEX published a statement from the International Federation of Journalists saying that the organization’s affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), in launching a report on the about the Ampatuan Massacre. Read more about the report on the 2009 massacre here.

Jan. 9, 2015

Nerlita Ledesma, a correspondent of a Manila-based tabloid, was murdered by an unidentified gunmen while on her way to work in Balanga City, Bataan province, the Philippines Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility reports. It is not clear if the murder was work-related. Read more here.


Samoa

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Samoa to exercise normal precautions.

Samoa ranks 40 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Singapore

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Singapore to exercise normal precautions.

Singapore has strict laws against actions deemed to be “outrages of modesty,” characterized as inappropriate behaviour by men toward women. These can be punishable by caning, imprisonment for up to two years, a fine or a combination of these sentences. Consumption of alcohol in public places between 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m is also illegal.

Singapore ranks 150 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 8, 2015

A 16-year-old blogger has been released after two months in jail for posting a YouTube video criticizing the late Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew. Read more about Yee’s release here.

June 24, 2015

Activist blogger Roy Ngerng is waiting for the other financial shoe to drop following his conviction for defamation. Roy Ngerng, who suggested Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had misappropriated funds in a state pension system, has already been ordered to pay legal costs for himself and his accuser amounting to US$72,000, but these are only preliminary costs. According to news reports, damages awarded to government officials in such cases have been deeply punitive, frequently resulting in financial devastation. Read more about Ngerng’s case here.

May 6, 2015

Independent news website The Real Singapore has been ordered to shut down by Singaporean authorities. This comes after their website’s content was deemed to be objectionable to state interests. According to Committee to Project Journalists, The Real Singapore is the first news website to cease operations under Singapore’s licensing regulations introduced in 2013. Read more here.

 


South Korea

The Government of Canada advises travellers to South Korea to exercise normal precautions.

South Korea ranks 57 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 1, 2015

Human Rights Watch is calling for the repeal of the National Security Law, adopted in 1948 to deter a military threat posed by North Korea. The law criminalizes positive comments about the pariah state and dissemination of North Korean propaganda. Read more here.

 


Sri Lanka

The Government of Canada advises that travellers to Sri Lanka exercise a high degree of caution because of an unpredictable security situation.

Sri Lanka ranks 165 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

September 11, 2015

Journalist and blogger Alaa Brinji has been detained without trial or charge for over a year. Brinji, who blogs and writes for online publication Al Sharq, has not been granted any legal defense after being arrested on May 13, 2014. Read more about Brinji’s arrest here.

August 11, 2015

Two former military officers have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda in 2010. Read more about the arrests here.

July 27, 2015

Eight international freedom of expression groups have cautioned against the reimposition of censorship of news websites in the lead-up to general elections. President Maithripala Sirisena reversed this practice when he won the presidential election in January, but the watchdogs fear backsliding.Read more here.

April 13, 2015

Freelance journalist N. Logathayalan, who writes for Tamil-language daily, Uthayan, has been released on bail after he was charged in connection with a story critical of the police. Read more about Logathayalan’s story and his release here.

March 3, 2015

Passage of freedom of information legislation, independence for state-owned media and an end to a culture of impunity for those who attack journalists, should be key steps for the government of  President Maithripala Sirisena, an international  media mission has suggested. Read more about the possible reforms here.


Taiwan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Taiwan to exercise normal precautions.

Taiwan ranks 50 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 29, 2015

Three journalists have been arrested after failing to apply for a permit to gain access into the Education Ministry headquarters in Taipei. The journalists were attempting to cover a student protest. Read more about the arrests here.

June 8, 2015

An International journalism watchdog has called for revisions to the new National Security Law, citing infringements on freedom for local journalists and foreign media working in the country. Read more about the proposed law here.


Thailand

The Government of Canada advises travellers exercise a high degree of caution when visiting Thailand due to reverberations from the 2014 the military coup. The southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla and the Thai-Cambodian border regions in Surin and Sisaket provinces are very dangerous and travellers are advised to stay away.

Recent cases of poisoning in connection with chemical pesticides, including phosphine, are also cited as causes for concern.

The Thai government has banned commercial surrogacy as of February 20, 2015, even though it is still awaiting royal approval. Also, martial law has been instituted throughout Thailand. Enforcement action against people involved in all aspects of illicit drugs has increased, and the possession or trafficking of illegal drugs could result in the death penality for serious offences.

Thailand ranks 130 on the 180-nation Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders.

September 1, 2015

A criminal defamation case filed by the the Royal Thai Navy against two journalists has been dismissed. Chutima Sidasathian and Australian reporter Alan Morison were acquitted for republishing a wire service copy story on news website Phuketwan, which criticized the Royal Thai Navy for profiting illegally off human smugglers. Read more about the case here.

August 26, 2015

Photojournalist Kwan “Anthony” Hok-Chun is facing illegal weapons charges after he was arrested wearing a bullet-proof vest at Bangkok airport. At the time of his arrest Kwan was in Bangkok covering the covering the Erawan Shrine bombing for online media company Initium Media TechnologyRead more about Kwan`s arrest here.

May 26, 2015

A new reporting highlighting the status of media in Southeast Asian countries lists Thailand as one of the three countries whose press freedom situation deteriorated over the past year, due in part to the military coup last May. Read the whole report here.

April 6, 2015

After 10 months in Thailand of martial law, Thailand has replaced it with a it with a cuddlier version that still retains many aspects of its heavy-handed predecessor. The new rules give full control to the head of the fresh-minted National Council for Peace and Order to take action against any act which disrupts public peace and order or national security. Read more about the new order here.

March 26, 2015

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists, Thailand (NUJT) have condemned threats by Thai military junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha to execute wayward journalists. Musing that reporters should write in a manner that best represents the interests of national reconciliation, he threatened execution if they failed to comply. Read more about Prayuth’s history with local media here.

Jan. 27, 2015

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Thailand’s military-appointed legislature to throw out proposed changes that would permit mass surveillance of online activity and specifically social media platforms. Read more about the bill here.


Tonga

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Tonga to exercise normal precautions.

Tonga ranks 63 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Vietnam

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Vietnam exercise a high degree of caution. Petty crime, often targeting foreigners, is a particular threat.

Visitors risk lengthy prison sences if found attending banned public demonstration.

Vietnam ranks 174 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 21, 2015

In an interview with the Committee to Protect Journalists, the sister of blogger Ta Phong Tang is calling for her release as she contuinues a hunger strike while serving a 10-year sentence for disseminating propaganda against the state. Read the interview here.

July 17, 2015

Blogger Nguyen Van Hai speaks out about being released from solitary confinement last year after his almost seven years behind bars for speaking critically of the government. The 63-year-old writes under the name Dieu Cay (Peasant's Pipe). Read his full story here.

June 30, 2015

Human rights activist Le Quoc Quan sits down for a Q&A about his release from prison after being incarcerated for nearly 30 months on alleged charges of tax evasion in August 2012. Read the full interview here.

May 15, 2015

Kim Quoc Hoa, former editor-in-chief of the local-language, state-controlled print and online magazine The Elderly, is facing anti-state charges after publishing reports on official corruption, according to news reports. Kim was charged with ith “revealing confidential information related to national security” and “abusing freedoms and democratic rights in publishing articles that disseminated false information.” Read more about the charges here.

Feb. 20, 2015

As part of a continuing pattern of suppression of online critics, authorities have handed 12 to 18 month sentences to three bloggers in the southern Vietnamese province of Dong Nai. Their alleged offences were in connection with Facebook posts over apparent anti-Chinese protests. Read the RSF report here.

 


EUROPE & CENTRAL ASIA

Albania

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Albania to exercise normal precautions.

A regional advisory against non-essential travel has been issued for Tropojë District and Bajram Curri where the ability of police to provide assistance and protection is extremely limited.

A regional advisory against non-essential travel has also been issued for Lazarat. Police have been battling marijuana growers in the region.

Albania ranks 85 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Andorra

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Andorra to exercise normal precautions.

Andorra ranks fifth out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Armenia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Armenia exercise a high degree of caution. It recommends against travel to the area of Nagorno-Karabakh. Occasional demonstrations and protests could pose a particular threat.

Armenia ranks 78 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 25, 2015

Armenian police assaulted journalists and protestors during a peaceful protest against plans to by the national electricity company to raise energy prices for a third time in as many years. Read more about the police brutality here.


Austria

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Austria to exercise normal precautions.

Austria ranks 12 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Azerbaijan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Azerbaijan exercise a high degree of caution.

A regional advisory has been issued against non-essential travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding areas. A tense political situation exists in the region as well as occasional cross-border shootings.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region is not recognized as a sovereign nation by Canada. An advisory against all travel to the region has been issued.

Azerbaijan ranks 160 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 18, 2015

Shirin Abbasov, a reporter for Meydan TV, is being  held incommunicado on what RSF says is reportedly a 30-day  detention order. His lawyer, who has not been allowed to see him, believes he was seized by a police unit that is supposed to combat organized crime. Read more about the detention here

September 1, 2015

International freedom of expression groups have condemned a 7.5 year sentence against a respected journalist who has targeted corruption among the ruling Azerbaijani elite. Khadija Ismayilova was convicted of embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office. Critics say the charges were politically motivated. Read more about Ismayilova's sentencing here.

August 10, 2015

Journalist Rasim Aliyev, former chairman of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, died after being beaten and then refused proper medical treatment, according to statement by his former colleagues. IRFS says the murder, set against a backdrop of “intolerance and impunity,” came after police refused to investigate reports of death threats.. Read more about Aliyev’s life and work here.

May 11, 2015

The European Court of Human Rights ruled the country violated journalist Emin Huseynov’s rights when he was detained and beaten in 2008 while covering a public gathering. Huseynov is still living in the Swiss Embassy, after taking regufe there in August. Read more about Huseynov and the country’s human rights situation here.


Belarus

The Government of Canada advises that travellers to Belarus exercise high degrees of caution because of political tensions, civil unrest and the prevalence of petty crime.

Belarus ranks 157 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 10, 2015

July 7 marks the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of journalist Dmitry Zavadski, last seen at a national airport where he was working on a film in Chechnya. In 2002, two officers of a special forces squad were sentenced to life imprisonment for the abduction. The official version of their motive was that Zavadski had accused one of them of fighting on the side of Chechen militants. Read more about Zavadski here.

May 5, 2015

After effectively muzzling traditional press outlets, the government has used recent amendments to the Mass Media Law to extended state control to online media, according to Andrei Bastunets, chairperson of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. Read the full Q&A here.

March 12, 2015

The European Federation of Journalists has issued a letter to the Minister of Information of Belarus requesting the eradication of a media law amendment that prohibits freelance journalists from practicing journalism in the country. Freelance journalists have also been banned from reporting entirely in Belarus, according to the Mass Media Law. Read more about the law here.


Belgium

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Belgium to exercise normal precautions.

Belgium ranks 23 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Bosnia and Herzegovina exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat of unmarked landmines and unexploded ordnance, especially in mountainous and rural regions.

Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks 66 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Bulgaria

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Bulgaria exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat from frequent protests and a high risk of robbery.

Bulgaria ranks 100 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Croatia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Croatia to exercise normal precautions. Exercise high degree of caution for threats of unmarked landmines and unexploded ordnance.

Croatia ranks 65 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

May 29, 2015

A media freedom watchdog has sounded the alarm over an uptick of violence against journalists in the region.  Award-winning investigative journalist Zeljko Peratovic was assaulted by a group of men in front of his home in uka Pokupska, near the town of Karlovac, after receiving threats of violence.  The attack followed on the heels of an assault on Nova TV journalist Domagoj Mikic in Pula. The attack, by a potential interviewee, was caught on camera. Read more about the two assaults here.


Cyprus

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Cyprus to exercise normal precautions.

Cyprus ranks 25 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Czech Republic

The Government of Canada advises travellers to the Czech Republic to exercise normal precautions.

The Czech Republic ranks 13 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Denmark

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Denmark to exercise normal precautions.

Denmark ranks seventh out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 19, 2015

The Danish Journalists' Union has launched a campaign calling for the newly elected government to amend the freedom of information law in order to better access for both government documents and public records. Read more about the campaign and existing law here.


Estonia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Estonia to exercise normal precautions.

Estonia ranks 11 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Finland

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Finland to exercise normal precautions.

The government of Finland has implemented the Schengen Borders Code, which allows the country to control inner borders due to an event that threatens the public's safety.

Finland ranks first out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


France

The government of Canada advises travelers exercise a high degree of caution due to the Paris attacks November 13.

Paris is hosting the UNFCCC's Conference of the Parties (COP 21) from November 30 to December 11. There will be higher volumes of traffic and the government of Canada suggests travellers avoid large gatherings as they can turn violent.

The French government is maintaining police and military presences near media offices, shopping centres, schools and places of worship. This alert system follows the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and kosher market hostage-takings. A “heightened” alert is in effect for the rest of the country.

France ranks 39 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

April 1, 2015

Human rights groups, including media defenders, have voiced concern over proposals to give intelligence groups sweeping powers to hack into computers and spy on interactions with individuals under suspicions. Reporters Without Borders is among critics who warn the security and anti-terrorism strategy could chill free expression and foster abuse. Read more on the proposed bill here.

Jan. 7, 2015

The Paris office of Charlie Hebdo was attacked by two gunmen Jan. 7 resulting in the deaths of 12 members of its staff. The attack came in retaliation for satirical cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that the magazine published in an earlier issue. The IFEX Secretariat posted an article detailing the attack. Read more here.

 


Georgia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Georgia to exercise normal precautions.

A regional advisory has been issued against all travel near the Russian border — including the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Georgia ranks 84 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Germany

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Germany to exercise normal precautions.

The government of Germany has implemented the Schengen Borders Code which allows the country to control inner borders due to an event that threatens the public's safety.

There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering the country, which is causing disruptions to transportation services, including at ferry ports and railway stations, and have seen major delays at border crossings.

Germany ranks 14 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 26, 2015

Egyptian journalist Ahmed Mansour is being held in detention in Berlin after his native country issued a warrant for his arrest, although the details are not clear. The Foreign Ministry and the Federal Justice Office havce since agreed upon a request by Egyptian authorities to extradite Mansour. Read more here.

May 28, 2015

National affiliates of the European Federation of Journalists are calling on the government to rescind a draft law, which includes provisions to limit the rights of journalists when using confidential sources or private documents needed in a story. Read more about the data retention request here.

Jan. 6, 2015

A German photojournalist's car was destroyed in an arson attack by suspected Neo-Nazis. Reporters Without Borders reported the photographer, who's name was withheld, found his car burning in the early hours of the morning. The photographer had been involved in coverage of Neo-Nazi groups. Read more here.

 


Greece

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Greece to exercise normal precautions.

Greece ranks 99 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

April 16, 2015

Greek investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis was sentenced to 26 months after a court in Athens found him criminally responsible for defaming a popular Greek businessman. The conviction followed followed a story in the magazine HotDoc, alleging Andreas Vgenopoulos played a negative role in the 2012-2013 Cyprus financial crisis. Read more about Vaxevanis’s sentence here.


Hungary

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Hungary to exercise normal precautions.

There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees entering the country, which is causing disruptions to transportation services, including at ferry ports and railway stations, and have seen major delays at border crossings.

Hungary ranks 64 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 14, 2015

Migrants and asylum seekers are being held by police in detention centers near the Serbian border. Detainees are experiencing inhuman conditions at the two Roszke migrant detention centers. Read more about the conditions here.

September 10, 2015

Camerawoman Petra Laszlo has been fired after tripping and kicking refugees in southern Hungary on September 8. Laszlo, who worked for television station N1TV, was filming the refugees fleeing from police in the village of Roszke. Read more about the story here.


Iceland

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Iceland to exercise normal precautions.

The government of Iceland has implemented the Schengen Borders Code which allows the country to control inner borders due to an event that threatens the public's safety.

Iceland ranks eighth out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Ireland

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Ireland to exercise normal precautions.

Ireland ranks 16 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Italy

The government of Canada advises all travelers to exercise caution and personal security. 

Italian government has raised the national terror alert level to 2 and travelers can expect increased security measures.

Italy ranks 49 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Kazakhstan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Kazakhstan exercise a high degree of caution. Crime is of particular concern in the country.

Kazakhstan ranks 161 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 25, 2015

Kazakh police have detained a local activist who posted a Facebook note inviting government officials to meet him in public. Ermek Narymbaev is accused of organizing an unsanctioned protest. Read more about Narymbaev's call to the government here.

June 17, 2015

Investigative journalist Yaroslav Golyshkin has spent nearly three months in detention after being arrested in February for reporting an alleged rape inside the Pavlodar regional governor's home.  Golyshkin is being held on blackmail and extortion charges brought by the governor, but critics say the journalist is being made a scapegoat to divert attention from an investigation into the alleged assault. Read more about Golyshkin’s arbitrary detention here.


Kosovo

The Government of Canada advises that travellers to Kosovo exercise a high degree of caution because of a potential threat of a flare up of political tension.

An advisory against non-essential travel has been issued for the northern municipalities of Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic. This advisory also extends to the northern parts of the city of Mitrovica.

Kosovo ranks 80 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 13, 2015

Serbeze Haxhiaj, a journalist with Radio Kosova, has received numerous threats from a group described as former officers of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Haxhiaj was investigating veterans who fought with this army throughout the conflict in 1999. Read more about the threats here.

 


Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic)

The Government of Canada advises travellers to the Kyrgyz Republic to exercise a high degree of caution due to possible violent criminal activity and civil unrest.

The Kyrgyz Republic ranks 97 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

March 5, 2015

A proposed law cracking down on so-called pro-gay propaganda has passed scrutiny by a Kyrgyzstan parliamentary committee, prompting a call by Human Rights Watch for adherence to principles of non-discrimination.. The bill now goes to parliament for a second viewing. Read HRW’s report here.


Latvia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Latvia to exercise normal precautions.

Latvia ranks 37 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Lithuania

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Lithuania to exercise normal precautions.

The government of Lithuania has implemented the Schengen Borders Code which allows the country to control inner borders due to an event that threatens the public's safety.

Lithuania ranks 32 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 8, 2015

It is no longer a criminal act to insult a civil servant in Lithuania. The government decision to remove this and another insult provision from its Criminal Code has been welcomed by the International Press Institute. The next step should be the complete elimination of criminal defamation, an IPI statement urges. Read more here.


Luxembourg

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Luxembourg to exercise normal precautions.

Luxembourg ranks fourth out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Macedonia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Macedonia to exercise normal precautions.

Macedonia ranks 123 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 17, 2015

The European Federation of Journalists is demanding that Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Peshevski face charges for assaulting a journalist during an interview.  t Online reporter Sashe Ivanovski was attacked, and the incident recorded, while questioning Peshevski about a recent wiretapping scandal. Peshevski, who is responsible for economic affairs, was defended by the government. Read more about the attack here.

June 22, 2015

Police assaulted seven people, including a journalist covering a protest in Skopje on May 5. Human Rights Watch says the government should launch a formal investigation to ensure the right to peaceful assembly. Read more here.

April 9, 2015

PEN International and Macedonian PEN have called on the Macedonian authorities to immediately end all unauthorised blanket surveillance of journalists and others in Macedonia. The demand follows an effort to pre-emptively censor journalists investigating allegations of government corruption. Read more about the mass surveillance on journalists in Macedonia here.

Feb. 11, 2015

Metamorphosis, an IFEX member from Macedonia, has voiced concern over public allegations of 20,000 Macedonian citizens being wiretapped. Read more here.

 


Malta

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Malta to exercise normal precautions.

Malta ranks 51 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Moldova

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Moldova to exercise normal precautions.

A regional advisory has been issued against all travel to the Transnistria region as the region is not under government control and the security situation is labelled ‘‘unstable and unpredictable.’’

Moldova ranks 56 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 15, 2015

Nearly 600,000 people are protesting against corruption in Chişinău's National Square. Protestors are demanding the return of $1 billion in assets that was stolen from Moldova’s banking systems. There is also a call for several senior officers including President Nicolae Timofti to resign. Read more about the protest here.

March 27, 2015

Freelance journalist, Sergei Ilchenko, has been held for over a week ands equipment seized from his and his son’s homes. Ilchenko’s reporting has criticized the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), better known as Transdniester, which separated from Moldova and became an independent state in 1990. He has also condemned the regional security forces KGB in posts for independent news websites Dniestr and Ava. Read more about Ilchenko’s background here.


Montenegro

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Montenegro to exercise normal precautions.

Montenegro ranks 114 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Netherlands

The Government of Canada advises travellers to the Netherlands to exercise normal precautions.

The Netherlands ranks second out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Norway

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Norway to exercise normal precautions.

The government of Norway has implemented the Schengen Borders Code which allows the country to control inner borders due to an event that threatens the public's safety.

Norway ranks third out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Poland

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Poland to exercise normal precautions.

Poland ranks 19 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

June 23, 2015

Journalist Lukasz Masiak was beaten to death on the night of June 13 or 14 in the city center of Mlawa, a town located in northcentral part of the country. Masiak owned and operated online news website NaszaMlawa.pl and received numerous threats prior to his murder. Read more about Masiak’s work and previous brushes with violence here.


Portugal

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Portugal to exercise normal precautions.

Portugal ranks 30 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Romania

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Romania to exercise normal precautions.

Romania ranks 45 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Russia

The government of Canada advises travelers to exercise a high degree of caution in public areas due to terrorism threats.

The government advises against all travel to the republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Karachai-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia; the Stavropol Krai districts of Budyonnosky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnosky and Kurski and the Rostov Oblast districts bordering Ukraine.

Russia ranks 148 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ global Press Freedom Index.

November 2, 2015

The director of Moscow’s Ukrainian Library of Literature has been put under house arrest for disseminating material that attempted to “incite hatred between Russians and Ukrainians” and could face up to five years in prison if found guilty. Natalia Sharina was taken into custody and books and documents seized at her apartment and the library. Read more about the arrest here.

July 24, 2015

Ilya Goryachev, a leader of the extremist Battle Organization of Russian Nationalists, was sentenced to life in prison for the 2009 murders of journalist Anastasiya Baburova and human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov. According to news reports, Goryachev was the brains behind the fatal attack. Read more here.

July 10, 2015

Local police are continuing their search for two suspects in the 2013 murder of journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev. On July 9, 2013, Akhmednabiyev, who worked for independent newspaper Novoye Delo as a deputy editor, and a reporter for online news portal Caucasian Knot, was shot dead in in Makhachkala, Dagestan. Read more about the investigation here.

June 23, 2015

A consumer protection website catering to tourists has been shut down for using the words “occupied territory” in reference to the Crimea.  The order to the federal media and communications oversight agency, Roskomnadzor, came from the Office of the Prosecutor General. Read more about the ban of this consumer protection group website here.

June 11, 2015

Investigative journalist Elena Milashina is facing numerous death threats for her reporting, most notably a May 19 editorial posted in the Grozny Inform, which is the Chechen Republic's most widely read media outlet. The editorial stated she expected the same fate  as both Anna Politkovskaya, the Novaya Gazeta journalist murdered in 2006, and Boris Nemtsov, the Russian political opposition leader murdered in March 2015. Read more here.

May 14, 2015

By agreeing to block donations for publication of an investigate report on Russian military involvement in Ukraine, Pay Pal is assisting Vladimir Putin in stifling criticism, according to a statement by an international freedom of expression watchdog. Read more of Freedom House’s statement here.

April 6, 2015

An online support group for LGBT children, Deti 404, will be before the courts in Saint Petersburg for allegedly breaching Russia’s anti-LGBT propaganda law. If the court rules in favour of the charges, Deti 404’s website could potentially be banned in Russia. Read more on the charges and court case here.

March 2, 2015

Former Russian opposition leader and staunch Putin critic, Boris Nemtsov, was shot and killed on a bridge near the Kremlin. Nemtsov was was set to release a scathing report on government corruption. Read more here.

Feb. 10, 2015

Siberian independent television station TV-2 has pulled the plug due to the seizure of its broadcasting license. Read more here.

Jan. 29, 2015

Reporters Without Borders released a statement on the continued imprisonment of Russian blogger Sergei Reznik held since November 2013. He was supposed to be released in May 2015, but a recent court decision has increased his sentence by another three years. Read more here.


Serbia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Serbia to exercise normal precautions.

Serbia ranks 54 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 8, 2015

Investigative journalist Ivan Ninic has filed a report to local police after he was severly beaten outside of his home on August 27. Ninic writes for anti-corruption website Pistaljka. Read more about the attack here.

March 9, 2015

The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) has called on the government to protect investigative journalists working on a now-stalled documentary on alleged embezzlement at Serbian soccer clubs. TV B92 announced that with the agreement of its embattled editor, it had postponed the program Reporter, over concerns for the safety of its journalists.  Read more here.


Slovakia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Slovakia to exercise normal precautions.

Slovakia ranks 20 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Slovenia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Slovenia to exercise normal precautions.

The government of Slovenia has implemented the Schengen Borders Code which allows the country to control inner borders due to an event that threatens the public's safety.

Due to the significant increase in the flow of of migrants and refugees into Europe, there is a potential for demonstrations, which may turn violent without warning.

Slovenia ranks 34 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 22, 2015

Parliament voted 86 to one in favour of protecting whistle-blowers who, in defence of public interest,  leak classified documents. This action flows from the much-criticised trial of t journalist Anuška Delić, who published classified documents to expose the relationship between  neo-Nazis and members of the Slovenian Democratic Party. The charges were eventually dropped under widespread pressure from the international freedom of expression community.. Read more about the bill here.


Spain

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Spain to exercise normal precautions.

The government of Spain has implemented the Schengen Borders Code which allows the country to control inner borders due to an event that threatens the public's safety.

Spain ranks 35 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 2, 2015

Photojournalists snapping images of police during demonstration could fall foul of Spain’s new Law on Public Security, warns human rights watchdog Freedom House.  Labelled the “Gag Law” by pundits, the rules seek to control mob violence by requiring prior approval to hold demonstrations. Critics say freedom of expression is being sacrificed in the name of security and that some provisions, such as the prohibition on unauthorised images of police activities, will prevent journalists from documenting abuse. Read more about the law here.

 


Sweden

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Sweden to exercise normal precautions.

Sweden ranks 10 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Switzerland

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Switzerland to exercise normal precautions.

The government of Switzerland has implemented the Schengen Borders Code which allows the country to control inner borders due to an event that threatens the public's safety.

Switzerland ranks 15 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Tajikistan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Tajikistan exercise a high degree of caution.

Border regions near Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan are under an advisory against non-essential travel.

The Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast is under an advisory against all travel.

Battles between gunmen and security personnel caused numerous deaths on September 4. In result, the Dushanbe International Airport in the town of Vahdat was forced to close.

Tajikistan ranks 115 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


Turkey

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Turkey exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat of terrorism and from ongoing demonstrations throughout the nation.

An advisory against all non-essential travel has been issued for the Syrian border regions. There are also regional advisories for the Hakkari, Siirt, Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis and Hatay provinces.

Turkey ranks 154 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

October 1, 2015

Hürriyet newspaper columnist Ahmet Hakan was attacked along with his bodyguard in Istanbul. Hakan and his bodyguard were returning from the studios of CNN Türk when four men in a black Honda attacked them. Read more about the attack here.

September 10, 2015

The government has deported a Dutch journalistaccused of “hindering a military operation and supporting a terrorist organization.” Frederike Geerdink was detained after covering clashes between Kurdistan Workers Party militants and the Turkish military.  Read more here.

September 9, 2015

Supporters from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) vandalized the headquarters of daily newspaper Hürriyet in Istanbul on September 6. The attack comes after the newspaper published an article misquoting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AKP supporters have also initiated a criminal probe against Hürriyet due to these remarks. Read more about the mob attack here.

September 2, 2015

Three foreign journalists have been detained on terrorism charges after being arrested for filming without permission in the south eastern city of Diyarbakir. This is the first time foreign media has faced this type of charge while reporting in the country since 1998. Read more about the journalists involved here.

August 5, 2015

Journalists working for the daily newpapers Cumhuriyet, Millet, Şok, Posta, Yurt, Bugün, Özgür Gündem, Aydınlık and Birgün are being prosecuted for publishing a photo showing a hostage-taking by Marxist militants in Istanbul. The 18 journalists involved could face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison if convicted of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.” Read more about the case here.

July 6, 2015

The Constitutional Court has ruled convictions for “insulting” public official in the media  violate freedom of expression rights, even when the punishment is reduced to a slap on the wrist. The ruling overturns sentences such as the 14-month suspended punishment handed daily Cumhuriyet columnist Bekir Coşkun, convicted in 2013 of criminal insult for musing about the survival of politicians in the face of on-going scandals. Legal observers caution the test of the ruling will be how it is interpreted by lower courts. Read more about the overruled sentencing here.

June 3, 2015

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan filed a criminal complaint against Can Dundar, editor-in-chief of daily newspaper Cumhuriyet. This comes after president Erdogan threatened Dundar during an interview for publishing allegedly fabricated footage of national troops providing weapons to Syrian soldiers at the border. Read more here.

May 26, 2015

Satellite agency Turksat is being condemned for their role in limiting access to media broadcasting rights for critical independent news outlets in the lead-up to the general elections in June. Read more about the television stations affected here.

May 21, 2015

Ankara public prosecutor Serdar Coşkun, head of the Bureau for Crimes against the Constitutional Order has requested the national satellite communications company to prohibit oppositional media from broadcasting during the general elections in a couple weeks time. Read more about the decision and reaction here.

May 6, 2015

A Turkish court released a lawyer from prison for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but Human Rights Watch says he should not have been detained in the first place. Umut Kılıç is one of numerous people facing charges for defaming Erdoğan over the year. Read more about Kılıç and the president’s actions here.

April 15, 2015

Turkish authorities have deported photojournalist Andy Spyra. Spyra, who is from Germany and works for Der Spiegel, was covering the anniversary of the Armenian genocide on March 29, before being stopped and searched by local authorities on his arrival at the Istanbul airport the day before. Read more here.

April 15, 2015

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) are condemning the chief prosecutor’s decision to appeal a court ruling made on April 13 to acquit Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink on terror charges. Geerdink, a freelance journalist and correspondent in Turkey, was charged with disseminating propaganda for terrorist groups in connection with coverage of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).  Read more here.

April 7, 2015

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube access has been restored in Turkey after being blocked for most of the day on April 6. A Turkish court ordered for the sites to be frozen for national security after a photograph of an armed prosecutor made the rounds on social media. Read more about Turkey’s social media ban here.

March 25, 2015

Cartoonists Ozer Aydogan and Bahadir Baruter have been found guilty of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A cartoon featured on the cover of Turkish satirical magazine Penguen depicted the president meeting two officials outside his office and bemoaning: “What a bland celebration. We could have at least sacrificed a journalist.” The two men were sentenced to 14 months. Read more about the trial here.


Turkmenistan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to exercise a high degree of caution when visiting Turkmenistan due to criminal activity and heightened tensions throughout the country.

Turkmenistan ranks 178 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 7, 2015

Freelance journalist Saparmamed Nepeskuliev is being held incommunicado by local authorities after he went missing on July 7 in the western city of Turkmenbashi, according to Reporters Without Borders. . Nepeskuliev, whose clients include Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and the Netherlands-based news website Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) is believed held in a prison in Akdash, near Avaza, for alleged possession of drugs. RWB says it’s more likely that his detention is directly related to his reporting activities. Read more here.

April 24, 2015

Local authorities are making it mandatory for residents to take down privately owned satellite dishes. Without these satellites, some people will not receive Radio Azatlyk, the Turkmen language service of the US-funded Radio Liberty, which is the lone source of Turkmen-language alternative news available in the country. Read more about this move here.


Ukraine

The Government of Canada has posted no national advisory for Ukraine except to warn travellers to be vigilant against crimes of opportunity.

Regionally, the government advises against all travel to Crimea “due to political uncertainty and reports of armed operations in the area” and the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

The Kharkiv Oblast has an advisory against non-essential travel “due to the tenuous security situation” caused by demonstrations and protests that have resulted in injury and death.

Reporters Without Borders places Ukraine 127 out of 180 countries on their Press Freedom Index.

September 18, 2015

President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree expanding the blacklist of people who are banned from entering the country. The blacklist includes dozens of journalists. Read more about the decree here.

July 7, 2015

Physical aggression against journalists in Ukraine has started to decrease. For the first half of 2015, the Institute of Mass Information documented 23 assaults against journalists in Ukraine, compared to 219 assaults recorded during the same period last year. Read more on the numbers here.

April 22, 2015

Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzyna was shot dead on April 16 in Kiev. Buzyna was the former editor-in-chief of Segodnya newspaper and was known for being pro-Russian and a critic of President Petro Poroshenko's government. Read more about his murder here.

March 13, 2015

According to local news reports, two separate raids were carried out by Russian FSB agents in the homes of the parents of journalists Natalya Kokorina and Anna Andriyevskaya. Kokorina and Andriyevskaya were both affiliated with The Center for Investigative Reporting that was initially based in Simferopol, the regional capital of Crimea. The center was forced to relocate to Kiev. Andriyevskaya said that the FSB agents showed her parents a document that stated she faced anti-state charges in connection with an October 2014 article that called on the Russian regime to be ousted in Crimea. Read more here.


United Kingdom

The Government of Canada advises travellers to the United Kingdom to exercise normal precautions.

Canadians needing any type of visa should consult UK Visas and Immigration to ensure that they apply for the proper visa and have the appropriate documents.

The United Kingdom ranks 33 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index. Canadians needing any type of visa should consult UK Visas and Immigration to ensure that they apply for the proper visa and have the appropriate documents for the purpose of their visit.

September 30, 2015

An art installation showing Islamic State figurines have been removed from the Passion of Freedom exhibition. Police raised concerns about the work, created by artist Mimsy, saying it is “potentially inflammatory content.” Read more about the story here.

Feb. 20, 2015

IFEX has teamed up with Privacy International to force government accountability from both the U.S. and U.K. top officials due to unlawful intelligence sharing as of December 2014. This comes on the heels of a decision spurred by the U.K. court earlier in the month to enlist special monitoring over the GCHQ. Read more here. 


Uzbekistan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Uzbekistan exercise a high degree of caution because of crime and potential terrorist attacks.

A regional advisory has been issued against non-essential travel to regions bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan).

Uzbekistan ranks 166 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.


MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA

Algeria

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Algeria exercise a high degree of caution and avoid any travel outside of major urban centres. There is a particular threat of civil unrest and terrorism in the country.

Terrorist attacks, bandits and kidnappings have been reported in the Kabylia region as well as the areas bordering Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Libya.

Algeria ranks 121 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

April 29, 2015

Authorities suspended the satirical program “Weekend,” broadcast by El Djazaira TV, for allegedly “attacking state symbols.” Police also briefly arrested a cartoonist for “defaming and attacking the president.” Read more here.

March 17, 2015

A court in Oran has sentenced a journalist in absentia to three years and fined him US$2,000 for blasphemy. According to news reports and regional human rights groups, Mohamed Sharki, an editor of Eldjoumhouria, a government-owned newspaper, published an article suggesting the Prophet Muhammad wrote the Quran himself. Read more about Sharki’s article and subsequent charge here.


Bahrain

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Bahrain exercise a high degree of caution due to protests, demonstrations and the threat of terrorism.

Due to Islamic State (IS) action an increased risk of terrorism exists near government buildings and tourist sites and may occur around Manama.

Bahrain ranks 163 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 12, 2015

The official Bahrain News Agency reports the government's Information Affairs Authority had suspended the independent newspaper Al-Wasat indefinitely. The outlet has been accused of spreading false news.Read more here.

Feb. 12, 2015

The Bahrainian government has revoked the citizenship of 71 citizens, the majority of which include journalists or bloggers. Read more here.


Egypt

The Government of Canada is advising all travellers to avoid non-essential travel to Egypt and all travel to the Sinai Peninsula, Port Said, Suez and Ismailia. The exceptions to this advisory are two Red Sea resorts—Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada—and the regions along the upper Nile River from Luxor to Aswan. Armed groups are dispersed in the Siwa Oasis and desert areas in the west, including Farafra, Dakhla and Bawati, as well as the White and Black deserts.

Individuals and terrorist groups in the region may be inspired to carry out attacks in a show of solidarity with ISIL. Canadians could also be targeted by a terrorist attack and be considered kidnapping targets. Areas frequented by foreigners may be targeted.

Egypt ranks 159 out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) Press Freedom Index.

November 9, 2015

Human rights groups are crying foul over the temporary detention of a journalist  under investigation for allegedly “deliberately spreading false information with the purpose of harming public order or public interest.” Hossam Bahgat is an investigative reporter with the online news publication Mada Masr. Read more about the arrest here.

September 23, 2015

Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy of Canada and his colleague Baher Mohamed have been pardoned by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The pair  – both recently slapped with three-year sentences for allegedly supporting the opposition -- were among 100 prisoners pardoned before the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha. Read more about the story here.

August 31, 2015

Former Al Jazeera English Cairo Bureau Chief Mohamed Fahmy, Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste and Al Jazeera producer Baher Mohamed have been sentenced to three years in prison for spreading false news. Fahmy and Mohamed were reportedly given an extra six-month term, while Greste was deported to Australia. Read more on the convictions here.

August 18, 2015

A new anti-terrorism law will impose fines of up to US$64,000 for publishing "false news or statements" regarding terrorist acts. The new law is being criticized by local and international rights groups. Read more about reaction to the anti-terrorism law here.

July 31, 2015

Photojournalist Abou Zeid has been held without charges since August 2013 after being arrested for covering a peaceful protest against the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. During his time in detention, Zeid says he has been subjected to severe physical abuse and torture. Read more here.

July 7, 2015

A new government bill will subject journalists to steep penalties if they do not quote official sources and omit attacks by rebel groups in their reportage. Read more about the proposed law here.

June 26, 2015

Human Rights Watch is calling on German authorties to investigate the detention of journalist Ahmed Mansour in Berlin. Mansour was placed in detention after Egyptian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in October. Read more about Mansour's detention here.

According to numbers obtained by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the country has the highest number of journalists in prison since CPJ started collecting figures. Most journalists are being thrown in jail for their alleged affiliation with a banned Islamist group. Read more about the specific cases here.

June 3, 2015

A court sentenced journalist Youssef Shaaban, of independent news website Al-Bedaiah, to 15 months for taking part in an assault on police. At the time of his arrest, Shaaban was covering a protest against the alleged police assault of a lawyer at an Alexandria police station. Read more about his sentencing here.

April 20, 2015

Ten journalists are among 51 defendants handed death or life sentences on charges of supporting the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Read more about the sentencing here and who was involved here.


Iran

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Iran. The Canadian embassy was closed in September 2012. Canadians visiting the country are closely watched by authorities and may be harassed for "seemingly innocuous behaviours" and may be the subject of arbitrary questioning, arrest and detention. Replacements for lost or stolen travel documents will be delayed.

Iranian-Canadians may be more vulnerable to random harassment and investigation by Iranian authorities. Iran does not recognize dual citizenship status.

Iran ranks 173 out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

October 13, 2015

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been convicted of “engaging in journalism” by an Iranian court, although the details of the verdict are not confimed. Rezaian, who is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, was arrested with his wife and two other journalists in Tehran last July. Read more about the conviction here.

July 21, 2015

Reporters Without Borders has called for the release of Washington post correspondent Jason Rezaian, jailed for more than a year for allegedly selling "business and industrial information to the CIA." Rezaian, who holds dual Iranian and U.S. nationality, was arrested while working for The National, a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates. The action was interpreted as an attempt by Iran to gain a bargaining chip during negotiations on the country’s nuclear program. Read more here.

June 30, 2015

According to multiple news outlets, the Supreme Court has decided to overturn the death sentence of blogger Soheil Arabi and cancel it entirely. Arabi was sentenced to death in 2014 for “insulting the prophet of Islam” on Facebook." Read more on the government's Internet censorship measures here.

June 22, 2015

Revolutionary Guards have rounded up several bloggers and journalists in an attempt to deter social media activity against national security. Some 300 journalists have been arrested for accessing forbidden information and news websites since June 2009. Read more about the crackdown here.

June 16, 2015

Journalist and filmmaker Mostafa Azizi, who is also a permanent Canadian resident, was sentenced to eight years in prison on June 8 for charges including collusion against the country's national security. These charges stem from comments Azizi made on social media, insulting supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Read more about Azizi's sentencing here.


Iraq

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Iraq.  As a result, an advisory has been issued against all non-essential travel. An advisory has also been issued for the northern regions under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government—Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah provinces. The security situation in the region is unstable and could break down quickly. Consular services are “severely limited.” Any visitors are advised to travel with a security escort.

Reporters Without Borders places Iraq 153 out of 180 countries on their Press Freedom Index.

July 24, 2015

Photojournalist Jala al-Abadi was shot and killed by his ISIS captors in Mosul after being abducted from his home last month. Jala al-Abadi worked as a cameraman for Al Mosuliya TV prior to joining Nineveh Media Network as a photojournalist. Read more here.

May 13, 2015

The father of journalist Raed Al-Joubouri belives his son’s murder was premeditated. Joubouri was gunned down in his home in the Qadissiyah district of east Baghdad. He worked with the newspaper Azzaman and was critical of Iraqi politics. His murder came just days after another journalist, Thaer Alali, was publicly killed after being abducted by Islamic State.  Read more about their background and the generalized violence against the media here.

May 1, 2015

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is asking the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria and Iraq, where war crimes have been committed against journalists, to the International Criminal Court. Read more about the letter here.

April 20, 2015

Reuters Baghdad bureau chief Ned Parker fled Iraq after threats made by Shiite armed rebels over his reportage of their behaviour during the retaking of Tikrit. Parker was threatened on Facebook and on Al-Ahd TV, a TV station owned by Asaib Ahl al-Haq, an armed group backed by Iran. Read more about the threats made against Parker here.


Israel

The Government of Canada advises travellers maintain a high degree of caution when visiting Israel as the situation there can change rapidly.

Regional advisories are in place for the following areas:

Gaza Strip – Avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip due to continuing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Syrian Border – Avoid all travel to the Golan Heights, east of Highway 98 due to increased military activity.

Egypt Border –Avoid all travel to the regions bordering Egypt – the security situation could change rapidly and kidnapping is on the rise.

Jerusalem – Exercise a high degree of caution. However, there is no specific travel advisory

West Bank – Avoid non-essential travel due to the unpredictable security situation. The advisory excludes Ramallah, Jericho and Bethlehem.

Israel ranks 96 out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

October 14, 2015

A Human Rights Watch observer wearing a marked “press” flak-jacket was shot and wounded by Israeli forces while photographing a demonstration in the occupied West Bank. The observer reported the demonstration had been violent earlier in the day, but was peaceful at the time of the incident. Read more about the shooting here.

September 21, 2015

Israeli police continue to use violence against journalists covering on on-going clashes between Palestinian protestors and security forces, RSF reports. At least 10 journalists have reportedly been injured in the turmoil near East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque. Read more about the story here.

July 6, 2015

Israeli troops reportedly deliberately fired tear gas at two Jordanian TV journalists reporting on a peaceful protest to mark the anniversary of the murder of a teenager near Jaba, a village north of Jerusalem. Read more about the attack here.

May 15, 2015

A Palestinian NGO has launched a video campaign titled "Remove the sticker and help others remove theirs," which focuses on social and political self-censorship stemming from an individual’s upbringing. Read more about the campaign and watch the video here.

Jan. 28, 2015

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has produced a documentary titled The Media in Gaza: Caught in the Crossfire." The documentary focuses on first-person accounts from Palestinian cameramen and journalists who were in Gaza during last summer’s “Operation Protective Edge” military operation. Read more and watch the documentary here.

 


Jordan

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Jordan exercise a high degree of caution. Civil unrest and demonstrations are a particular threat.

Due to Islamic State the risk of terrorism related attacks is heightened. Targets could include government buildings, public areas, tourist sites, and Western interests.

Regions within 5 km of the Syrian or Iraqi borders are under an advisory against non-essential travel due to the potential spill-over of conflicts in those countries.

Jordan ranks 141 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 17, 2015

The detention of journalist Ghazi al-Marayat is the latest in a series of media arrests carried out by the government under provisions of the national terrorism law. Ghazi al-Marayat was arrested for allegedly publishing details in the government-controlled al-Rai newspaper about a failed terrorism plot. Read more about these terrorism law provisions here.

July 16, 2015

Journalist Jihad Muheisen, who writes for the Al Ghad newspaper, has been detained over a Facebook post in which he criticized the country's democratic process. Muheisen faces charges of undermining the national regime. Read more here.

May 25, 2015

Government representatives and members of the country`s Media Commission say they are open to reforming a news website license scheme, criticized by international freedom of expression watchdogs for potential news media chill. Observers caution that talk is cheap. Read more about the potential change here.

April 28, 2015

A commentator for Arabic language websites has been jailed after writing an article criticizing Operation Decisive Storm, the bombing initiative started by a Saudi-led coalition. Jamal Ayyoub, contributed to Watan Voice, Wattan TV, and Al-Majhar. Read more about Ayyoub’s work and subsequent arrest here.


Kuwait

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Kuwait exercise a high degree of caution due to criminal activity and the threat of terrorist attack.

The threat of terrorism is heightened due to Kuwait's proximity to Iraq and Islamic State activity.

As of January 1, 2016, the expiration date for residency will not be able to exceed that of a passport. 

Kuwait ranks 91 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 28, 2015

The National Assembly approved legislation aimed at outlawing the disseminating of online information deemed detrimental to the country.. Read more about the bills here.

June 18, 2015

A Kuwaiti court has maintained a six-year sentence for a blogger convicted of tweeting criticism of Saudi Arabia’s policy of land acquisition. Saleh al-Saeed accused the Saudis of  carrying out land grabs in the neutral zone with Kuwait to exploit the area's oil reserves. Read more about the sentencing here.


Lebanon

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel to Lebanon. Advisories against all travel have been issued for the southern suburbs of Beirut, regions within 10 km of the Syrian border, the Bekaa Valley, the North Governorate and Miniyeh-Danniyeh District in North Lebanon, the Abra region, areas south of the Litani River and all Palestinian refugee camps.

The road to the airport is subject to sporadic closure, due to various factors including local sectarian clashes, civil unrest in Syria and protests against government policies. Access to the airport may be unavailable for extended periods if the security situation deteriorates.

Lebanon ranks 106 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

September 23, 2015

A local television journalist has been found guilty of contempt of court and obstructing justice for failing to remove reports on the station’s website and YouTube channel that investigated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri's assassination. Karma Khayat is facing a potential seven-year jail term and plans to appeal her sentencing. Read more about the case here.

September 3, 2015

Police are restricting journalists’ reportage on the demonstrations against the collapse of garbage collection in Beirut. Journalists covering the conflict were assaulted by riot police on scene. Read more about the story here.

April 21, 2015

Reporters Without Borders is putting its support behind Lebanese TV journalist Karma Khayat, who is standing trial before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague on charges of contempt of court and obstructing justice. This is the first time where a TV station in the country has been prosecuted by an international court. Read more about Khayat’s charges here.

June 9, 2014

IFEX reposted an Arabic Network for Human Rights Information report on the "free expression cases" that have resulted in heavy fines against journalists and media professionals. Read the full report here.

March 28, 2014

IFEX issued a report based on investigations by three of its partners into actions by political and religious leaders to control online free expression of Lebanese citizens and media. Read more here.


Libya

the political situation is “fragile and unpredictable.”

Travellers who choose to disregard this advisory should make their own contingency plans.

Due to fighting in the region, Canada has temporarily closed its embassy in Tripoli. Consular services are extremely limited. All Canadians in the region are advised to leave while commercial means are still available. Canadians in Libya should contact the Embassy of Canada to Tunisia for emergency consular assistance.

Libya ranks 137 out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

May 4, 2015

Officials of the internationally recognised leadership say two missing Tunisian journalists were murdered in Libya by “terrorist elements” in September 2014. The fates of reporter Sofiane Chourabi and camera operator Nadhir Ktari were gleaned from confessions by jailed militants. Officials also said they obtained more information about the deaths of a TV crew that disappeared about the same time. Khaled Al Sobhi, Younes Al Mabruk Al Nawfali, Abdallah Al Karkaai, Yousef Kader Boh and Egyptian photographer Mohamed Jalal were kidnapped at a fake ISIS-Libya checkpoint in August. Read more here.


Morocco

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Morocco to exercise a high degree of caution because of the threat of terrorism.

Morocco ranks 136 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index.

September 18, 2015

Violating the taboo on reportage critical of Islam or the monarchy is costing journalists and their employers a painful price. RSF reports an uptick in harassment, which appears to be peaking with the planned visit by French President François Hollande. If charged, journalists face heavy fines or long jail terms. Read more here.

June 5, 2015

Apparently caught with his hand in the digital cookie jar, the Interior Minister says he filed a formal complaint against journalists and human rights activists “who prepared and distributed a report containing grave accusations about spying practices.” The complaint is in reaction to a report highlighting online surveillance methods used by local authorities against journalists and activists. Read more about the complaint here.

April 7, 2015

Hicham Mansouri, who works for the Moroccan Association of Investigative Journalism (AMJI), has been sentenced to 10 months in jail and fined for alleged “complicity in adultery.” The court refused to hear defence witnesses, prompting suspicion that the case had more to do with membership of AMJI than a choice of lovers. Read more about Mansouri’s arrest and trial here.


Oman

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Oman exercise a high degree of caution due to the threat of violent demonstrations and localized terrorist attacks, specifically near the Yemen border.

Oman ranks 134 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

April 9, 2015

Online bloggers and activists in Oman are being arrested and convicted at an alarming rate according to Reporters Without Borders. This practice mirrors the limited state of online freedom of information and expression in the country. Read more about the Oman’s online problems and the individuals who have been arrested because of their social media activity.

April 1, 2015

Muawiyah Alrawahi, who has slammed Omani authorities on his blog and YouTube channel, has been detained for over a month. Alrawahi was detained while driving from a checkpoint between Oman and the United Arab Emirates, according to local and international human rights groups. Read more on the measures human rights groups have taken to get in contact with Alrawahi here.

March 24, 2015

Said Jaffar, a recognized pro-reform blogger, is being held in a detention centre in the souther city of Salalah. Jaffar was sentenced to three years in prison earlier this month for his writings about peaceful online activities such as “undermining the prestige of the state” and inciting “illegal gathering.” Read more about Jaffar’s sentence here.


Palestine

An advisory against all non-essential travel to the West Bank has been issued with exceptions for Ramallah, Jericho and Bethlehem where a high degree of caution is advised.

Travellers should avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip. There is ongoing military activity in the area.

Border crossings to and from the Gaza Strip are controlled by Israeli and Egyptian authorities, and are subject to unexpected, sometimes long-term closures. Visitors may not be able to exit the Gaza Strip even if in possession of valid entry and exit permits.

Palestine ranks 138 out of 180 entries on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

October 14, 2015

A research assistant working for Human Rights Watch was shot and wounded by Israeli forces while observing a demonstration outside Ramallah in the West Bank. The observer, who was wearing a flak-jacket clearly marked “PRESS”, said the demonstration had been violent earlier in the day but, at the time of the shooting, was peaceful.. Read more about the shooting here.

September 21, 2015

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned violent tactics employed by Israeli police  against journalists covering clashes between Palestinian protesters and security forces near East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is reported that at least 10journalists have been injured. Read more about the story here.

September 4, 2015

Shadi Ahmad Shaker Shaheen, a journalist with Emirati newspaper Al Shoruq Al Arabi, is being held at an unknown location by Hamas. Gaza police arrested Shaheen at his home on September 1. There is no clear motive for his arrest. Read more about Shaheen here.

April 13, 2015

Bara Alqadi, a 22-year-old media student and the president of the media club at Birzeit University, was beaten and kidnapped by four unidentified masked men on April 2 in Ramallah. Alqadi was detained twice before for his published press reports and posts on Facebook. Read more about Alqadi’s recovery and background here.

Jan. 28, 2015

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) has produced a documentary titled The Media in Gaza: Caught in the Crossfire." The documentary focuses on first-person accounts from some Palestinian camera operators and journalists who were in Gaza during last summer’s “Operation Protective Edge” military operation. Read more and watch the documentary here.


Qatar

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Qatar exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat of terrorist attacks and the potential for demonstrations.

Qatar ranks 113 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

May 20, 2015

A BBC crew, reporting on on the conditions migrant construction workers face in the leadup to the 2022 World Cup, has been given the green light to leave the country. Correspondent Mark Lobel and three of his crewmembers were arrested and detained for two days on May 2. Read more here.

May 6, 2015

Florian Bauer, a sports reporter for leading German public broadcasters ARD and WDR, was arrested with his crew, a cameraman, a sound engineer and a driver, by Qatari state security police while filming foreign workers on building sites for the 2022 World Cup. Read more about their arrests and migrant working conditions here.


Saudi Arabia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Saudi Arabia exercise a high degree of caution. There is a particular threat throughout the country of terrorist attacks.

Saudi Arabia ranks 164 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

July 9, 2015

Reporters Without Borders reports it has insights into how Saudi Arabia controls and influences foreign media outlets reporting on the country. Citing information released by Wikileaks, the organization points to paying off media outlets, responding to negative news reports, and a pro-Saudi propaganda council as just  some of the ways to manipulate international media. Read more about the process here.

June 8, 2015

The Supreme Court has sentenced editor Raif Badawi to 10years in prison and one thousands lashes for “insulting Islam” and owning “a liberal website.” Read more here.


Syria

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Syria due to the ongoing civil war.

Syria ranks 177 out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

September 22, 2015
A well-known cartoonist -- snatched by authorites three years ago --  has died in prison, most likely at the hands of state torturers.   Akram Raslam is believed to have died less than a year after being detained, but his fate has only recently been confirmed, says RSF. Read more about the cartoonist here.

July 31, 2015

Journalist Thaer al-Ajlani has died while covering battles between the army and rebel forces in Jobar, east of the capital, Damascus on July 27. Al-Ajlani worked for two pro-government media outlets, Sham FM Radio and the daily Al Watan. Read more here.

July 22, 2015

Spanish freelance journalists Ángel Sastre, Antonio Pampliega, and José Manuel López, and Japanese freelancer Jumpei Yasuda are missing. . According to reports, Sastre, Pampliega and López had only been in the country for a matter of days before disappearing in Aleppo late last month. Read more about the four missing freelenacers here.

June 29, 2015

Al-Jazeera cameraman Mohammed al-Asfar was killed while reporting on clashes between regime forces and rebels in the southern province of Daraa. He is the second Al-Jazeera journalist to be killed in the province since December. Read more about his death here.

May 1, 2015

Citing ongoing war crimes against journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is asking the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria and Iraq to the International Criminal Court. Read more about the letter here.

March 19, 2015

The International Press Institute (IPI) published its letter written to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad calling for the release of free expression advocate Mazen Darwish. According to IPI, the charges against Darwish are connected to his work as president of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. Read more about Darwish’s background and the IPI letter here.


Tunisia

The Government of Canada advises travellers to Tunisia exercise a high degree of caution and avoid non-essential travel to the Chaambi Mountain National Park and the Greater South region near the Algerian and Libyan borders. Civil unrest, threats of terrorism and high regional tensions pose risks.

On March 18, an attack on the Tunisian parliament and the Bardo National Museum left more than 20 dead, including many foreign tourists. Due to the threat of terrorism and kidnappings, exercise increased caution  near tourist facilities, and specifically in the Greater South (in all areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine and Zarzis), in regions near the border with Libya and Algeria, the Mount Chaambi National Park including the regions of Le Kef, Jendouba and Beja.

Tunisia ranks 133 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 4, 2015

A new law passed by Parliament allows security agencies broader monitoring and surveillance powers over court hearings and witness anonymity.  This law has also amended an article, which granted all detainees the right to see a lawyer as soon as they were detained and before interrogation proceedings. Read more about the new counter-terrorism law here.

July 24, 2015

The trial of editor Nour Edine Mbarki, ofprivately owned news website Akher Khabar Online, has been  postponed . Mbarki is facing complicity charges under the anti-terrorism law after he published a photograph of a suspected  getaway car used in a terrorist attack that killed at least 39 people on June 27. Read more about the terrorist attack and trial here.

Jan. 27, 2015

Article 19 denounced the conviction of blogger Yassine Ayari who was sentenced to one year in prison by a military justice for his involvement for using defamatory statements on social media against the Tunisian national army. Read more here.


United Arab Emirates

The Government of Canada advises travellers to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) exercise a high degree of caution because of the threat of terrorism. Possession of specific items in the UAE can be illegal, consult the UAE list here.

In the UAE, it is forbidden to photograph aircraft, certain government buildings and military installations. Visitors are cautioned not to photograph locals without their permission.

The UAE ranks 118 out of 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

August 26, 2015

Academic Nasser bin Ghaith has been detained by local authorities and his whereabouts are unknown. Security officers in civilian clothes arrested bin Ghaith in Abu Dhabi on August 19. Read more about the arrest here.

April 1, 2015

Muawiyah Alrawahi, who has slammed Omani authorities on his blog and YouTube channel, has been detained for over a month. Alrawahi was detained while driving from a checkpoint between Oman and the United Arab Emirates, according to local and international human rights groups. Read more on the measures human rights groups have taken to get in contact with Alrawahi here.

March 3, 2015

Prominent human rights figures, academics, judges, and a coalition of 13 organizations is calling on the UAE government to publicize documents pertaining to those unjustly imprisoned on the heels of the second anniversary of the mass trial “UAE 94.” This is the trial that imprisoned many government critics and reform activists in the country. Read more here.


Yemen

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Yemen. Foreigners in the country are at great risk. Roads and airports may close at with little or no notice. Westerners  have been targeted by terrorist attacks and kidnappings.

On an exceptional basis, and subject to change at any time, Canadians arriving at a border-crossing into Saudi Arabia have recently been granted a 14-day transit visa into Saudi Arabia, allowing them to proceed with onward travel plans. The decision to issue a transit visa lies solely within the discretion of Saudi authorities.

Yemen ranks 167 out of the 180 nations on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index.

October 15, 2015

Three local media workers were kidnapped by al-Qaeda while covering a protest against the Islamic extremist group. According to the Yemen Journalists' Syndicate, Al Azal TV correspondent Amir Bou Owaydan, Yemen Al Yawm correspondent Mohamed Al Makri, and cameraman Akram al-Yamani were kidnapped in Mukalla city, Hadramout region. Read more about the kidnapping here.

September 1, 2015

According to Reporters Without Borders, Houthi rebels are holding at least 11 journalists hostage. Most of the kidnapped journalists work for a news outlet backing the rival Sunni party Al-Islah, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Read more about the hostage taking here.

August 17, 2015

Journalists in the country are subjected to increasing violence at the hands of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Read more about the dangers of reporting in battle zones here.

May 28, 2015

Journalists Abdullah Kabil and Yousef Alaizry died in the southwestern province of Dhamar after being kidnapped by Houthis and held in a building, which was bombed the following day by the Saudi-led coalition. Read more about the fatal airstrike here.

May 8, 2015

Abdelkarim Nasser Ali Muthanna, director-general of Marib Radio, became the latest journalist killed in the conflict between Houthi rebels and Sunni tribesmen. Muthanna was in the eastern province of Marib, covering these clashes, when he was killed. Read more here.

April 22, 2015

An airstrike by Saudi-led forces on the offices of Sana'a-based television station Yemen Today left a journalist and three others dead. Presenter and journalist Mohammed Shamsan was killed in the attack. Read more about the airstrike here.

April 8, 2015

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says journalists in Yemen are under increasing threats from many groups as the military and political environment in the country declines. This warning was heightened when , a military spokesperson announced media outlets with links to Houthi rebels and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh are considered to be targets. Read more on Houthi journalists being targeted here.

March 20, 2015

Two gunmen killed award-winning journalist and politician Abdel Karim al-Khaiwani as he came out of his home, according to news reports. Al-Khaiwani was the former editor of the Al-Shoura news website that opposited Yemen’s previous president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Read more here.

March 13, 2015

Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels are continuing their persecution of journalists, media outlets, and media support institutions eight months after taking control of the capital, Sanaa, and large regions of the country. Read more on the Shiite Houthis pressure on local journalists here.

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.