Media Tracker lists the challenges and achievements of the journalists and media organisations worldwide. Here’s a list of journalism at risk stories in the recent month. We would like to thank international media protection organisation and news outlets for their content.
- China has recently reemerged into news for its grave violations of free expression by blocking WhatsApp, targeting rights-based websites and pressurizing academic scholars. It has been learnt that many activists involved with reporting human rights abuses have been detained in the recent year. Ding Lingjie, Civil Rights and People’s Livelihood Watch editor, went missing toward the end of last month. Ding’s colleague Shi Yulin was also placed under surveillance. Zhen Jianghua, executive director of the advocacy platform Human Rights Campaign in China, was taken by police from his home on September for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power.” He remains detained incommunicado. In Yunnan Province, a Dali court upheld blogger Lu Yuyu’s four-year prison sentence for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” Meanwhile, reporters for the shuttered website 64 Tianwang have been targeted since the summer. Journalist Yang Xiuqiong was detained in June on suspicion of “revealing state secrets,” while Li Zhaoxiu, a volunteer for Tianwang, was seized on September 17 from the hospital where she was awaiting surgery.
- Esqueda Castro, a Mexican journalist died after receiving bullet wounds in San Lui Potosi. Castro had worked as a freelance photographer for the local news websites Metropoli San Luis and Vox Populi, and edited a personal website, Infórmate San Luis. According to Castro’s editor at Vox Populi, Gerardo Guillermo Almendariz, he mostly covered society events, but would sometimes work on crime stories.
Castro had witnessed police threats inhibiting his work as a journalist, according to close associates. In July policemen threatened Esqueda Castro and took pictures of his identification card, telling him that they were watching his home. In another event several policemen had physically attacked Castro and threatened to take his camera while at work.
- Several journalists were taken into custody and charged with misdemeanor trespassing in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday, October 3 while covering a protest. The Young Turks (TYT) reporter Jordan Chariton and cameraman Ty Bayliss were arrested and charged with trespassing while trapped in a “kettle,” a tactic used by law enforcement to control large crowds. St. Louis based freelance photojournalist Daniel Shular was also detained in the kettle. Al Neal, St. Louis bureau chief for online publication People’s World was also taken into custody. Citizen journalist and livestreamer Jon Ziegler was also detained while filming the protest, making this the second time he has been taken into St. Louis police custody since September. He now faces two separate charges from both Tuesday’s and September’s arrests. Aminah Ali, an independent journalist and founder of local website Real STL News, was the sixth reporter to be taken into custody on Tuesday.
All detained journalist alleged that they wore their press identifications clearly and also notified the arrest officers that they were members of the press but the police charged nevertheless.
Most of the journalists were freed after a detention of 20 or more hours.
Aminah was released the next day and is currently facing unspecified charges.
- Earlier this month, the Labour Standards Supervision Office ruled that Miwa Sado, a 31-year-old reporter with NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, died from karoushi – a Japanese term for dying from overwork. In the two months prior to her death, she has clocked 146 and 159 hours of overtime, working until midnight nearly every night covering the Metropolitan Assembly Election and Upper House Election in Tokyo. Miwa died on July 2013 of congestive heart failure, three days after the second election.
Karoushi is a phenomenon in Japan that sees most workers, clocking more than 80 hours of overtime a month. The Labour Standards Supervision Office said the Miwa’s death was a direct result of her work life. In a statement to Asahi Shimbun, the Office said: “She was under circumstances that she could not secure enough days off due to responsibilities that required her to stay up very late. It can be inferred that she was in a state of accumulated fatigue and chronic sleep deprivation.”
- Haroon Khan, a journalist with Sach TV and stringer for local Mashriq Television channel, was returning home after offering prayers, in his Swabi hometown in KPK province, when two motor-cycle borne assailants opened fire. Khan’s bullet ridden body was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. The motive for the killing is yet to be determined.