One Free Press Coalition Spotlights Journalists Under Attack

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

Active cases include Lydia Cacho, one of Mexico’s most well-known investigative reporters, who continues to suffer retaliatory attacks for her freelance reporting and work promoting freedom of expression. In July, burglars raided her home, killing her pets and stealing electronic devices containing information about sexual abuse cases she was investigating. Erick Kabendera is a Tanzanian freelance journalist detained by police on July 29. Authorities claimed to question his citizenship status (which has previously been investigated and cleared) and charged him August 5 with money laundering, tax evasion, and assisting an organized crime racket.

Here is the September list, ranked in order of urgency:

1. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia)
October 2 will mark one year since the brazen killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

To date, there has been no independent criminal investigation, despite findings from the United Nations and the CIA pointing to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, calls for the White House to release intelligence reports, and a Congress-imposed deadline for presidential reply under the US Global Magnitsky Act, which President Trump declined to honor in February.

2. Lydia Cacho (Mexico)
Despite government-provided protection since 2009, one of Mexico’s most well-known investigative reporters continues to suffer retaliatory attacks for her freelance reporting and work promoting freedom of expression.

In July, burglars raided her home, killing her pets and stealing electronic devices containing information about sexual abuse cases she was investigating. Throughout her career, she has experienced death threats online and via phone, sexual violence, imprisonment, and an assassination attempt.

3. Erick Kabendera (Tanzania)
After police detained the freelance journalist on July 29 claiming to question his citizenship status (which has previously been investigated and cleared), authorities charged him August 5 with money laundering, tax evasion, and assisting an organized crime racket.

The charges appear to be efforts at justifying government detention and retaliation for his critical journalism, including recent reporting in the regional weekly The East African on alleged divisions in Tanzania’s ruling party. The money laundering charge disqualifies him for bail, and assisting a criminal racket could carry a jail sentence of up to 15 years.
Developing: August 19 hearing postponed to August 30.

4. Claudia Duque (Colombia)
In a 26-year career as an investigative journalist, Claudia Duque’s reporting has spurred opening of criminal cases against army members and political and judicial workers.

She has endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance, and psychological torture. In July the court overseeing the trial of Duque’s perpetrators ordered an injunction prohibiting Duque from questioning the court or the perpetrators and from giving opinions about the trial. If the gag order stands, Duque could face a 10-year prison sentence for speaking on the impunity surrounding her case.

5. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania)
Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017.

The government has failed to conduct a credible investigation or provide clear answers about his fate. On July 10, Tanzanian foreign minister Palamagamba Kabudi said in an interview that Gwanda had “disappeared and died,” but backtracked amid requests for clarification.

Posted by Web Monkey