1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Most urgent cases of journalists under threat

June 3, 2019

Journalists serve the public by speaking truth to power, a pursuit which puts some reporters in peril. Here's a list of the 10 most urgent cases for June 2019, published by the One Free Press Coalition.

Tunisian Journalists protest during a strike on October 17, 2012
Image: picture-alliance/abaca/N. Fauque

To highlight the dangers endured by some members of the press, Deutsche Welle has teamed up with the One Free Press Coalition, an organization of more than 30 leading news organizations — including The Associated Press, Reuters, Süddeutsche ZeitungForbes, The Washington Post and Corriere Della Sera — that have vowed to use their collective reach to stand up for journalists under attack for doing their work.

At the start of every month, the One Free Press Coalition publishes a list of the most urgent press freedom cases. For the first time, it has ranked the top 10 cases in order of urgency.

This month, the coalition has also noted a triumph: Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were released from a Myanmar prison in early May, shortly after earning the Pulitzer Prize and appearing on the coalition's list.

But other journalists, including the 10 listed below, are still — or were — incarcerated, under threat or facing injustice for their work. 

Azory Gwanda - Journalist (Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) in Tanzania
Since Azory Gwanda's disappearance in November 2017, #WhereIsAzory has been trending in TanzaniaImage: Privat

1. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania): Independent journalist remains missing

Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist working in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017. Before his disappearance, Gwanda had been investigating mysterious killings in his community. The Tanzanian government has so far failed to launch a credible investigation into his case.

Jamal Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi's murder has become a difficult issue for the US-Saudi Arabia relationshipImage: Privat

2. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia): Justice denied for murdered journalist

Months after his brutal murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, and despite findings from the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince's involvement, there has been no independent UN criminal investigation into the death of the Washington Post journalist. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have been ignored, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the US Global Magnitsky Act.

Aasif Sultan
Aasif Sultan seen on handcuffs on his way to judicial custody.Image: picture-alliance/ZUMAPRESS.com/S. Majeed

3. Aasif Sultan (India): Imprisoned for covering conflict

Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, was arrested on "anti-state" charges in August 2018. Sultan, who has health issues, has been repeatedly interrogated by police, who have demanded that he reveal his sources.

Read more: 10 'most urgent' global press freedom cases: May 2019

Claudia Julieta Duque
Claudia Duque of Colombia has has received international praise for her investigative journalismImage: IWMF

4. Claudia Duque (Colombia): Officials who tortured investigative reporter remain free; harassment continues

Lack of security and safety in Colombia for journalists has forced some to flee the country; two reporters fled after being harassed online by officials. Others, like local journalist Claudia Duque, have endured kidnapping, illegal surveillance and psychological torture for decades. Courts have convicted three high-ranking security service officers for torturing Duque, and put another eight on trial. As of January 2019, none has served a day in prison.

Nicaragua Miguel Mora
Miguel Mora, the station director for 100% Noticias in Nicaragua, has been in prison for over five monthsImage: 100% Noticias

5. Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda (Nicaragua): Journalists detained amid media crackdown

In December 2018, Nicaraguan police raided TV station 100% Noticias and arrested station director Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda, its news director. Both journalists have been held for over five months on charges of "inciting hate and violence." While behind bars, both have experienced health issues and been denied access to their lawyers.

6. Truong Duy Nhat (Vietnam): Blogger denied asylum, now imprisoned

Truong Duy Nhat, a blogger with the US Congress-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA), went missing in January in Bangkok, where he had applied for refugee status. The Vietnamese blogger is currently being held without charge in a detention center in Hanoi. Nhat was previously sentenced to two years in prison in 2013 in connection with his critical reporting on the government.

7. Sevinc Osmanqizi (Azerbaijan): Extortion threats in retaliation for reporting

The pro-government Azerbaijani news channel Real TV harassed and attempted to extort Sevinc Osmanqizi in retaliation for her political reporting. Osmanqizi, who lives in exile in the US, hosts a TV program covering Azerbaijani politics on YouTube. Real TV published audio from one of the journalist's private phone conversations and, in a separate segment, an anchor threatened to release intimate photos of Osmanqizi unless she stopped broadcasting.

Read more: 10 'most urgent' global press freedom cases: April 2019

8. Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou (Mauritania): Imprisoned after reporting on corruption

Bloggers Abderrahmane Weddady and Cheikh Ould Jiddou have been behind bars since March after being accused of spreading false news. Both have reported on corruption in Mauritania. Authorities questioned the bloggers and confiscated their passports and identification cards. Both are being detained in Dar Naim prison.

Afrika Pressefreiheit l UK - Protestaktion vor der eritreischen Botschaft in London
A relative of Seyoum Tsehaye calls for his release in front of the Eritrean Embassy in London in 2017Image: picture alliance/ZUMAPRESS.com/P. Marshall

9. Seyoum Tsehaye (Eritrea): Nearly 20 years behind bars for reporting

Seyoum Tsehaye is one of several Eritrean journalists arrested after the government summarily banned privately owned media in 2001, in response to criticism of President Isaias Afwerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health or legal status of Seyoum and the others.

10. Mina Karamitrou (Greece): No arrests after car bomb attack

A makeshift explosive device was detonated under the car of Mina Karamitrou, a police reporter for CNN's Greek edition, in May 2019. No one was injured in the explosion, which went off outside the journalist's home. Karamitrou has said she believes the attack was related to her coverage of a man who is serving multiple life sentences for murders. As of late May, no arrests had been made.

For more information on the One Free Press Coalition, visit their site, follow @OneFreePress on Twitter or search for the hashtag #OneFreePress . For more of DW's coverage of media freedom issues, go to the DW Freedom page or follow @dw_freedom on Twitter.



Skip next section Explore more