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10 most urgent cases of journalists under threat: June 2019

July 1, 2019

Journalists often put their own lives on the line or risk detention for their reporting. With press freedom at risk, the One Free Press Coalition is highlighting these 10 most urgent cases for July 2019.

One Free Press Coalition 10 most urgent cases July 2019
Image: Facebook/Free Aasif Sultan

The One Free Press Coalition, a collective of media publishers from around the world, has committed to standing up for journalists under attack by using their collective voices to draw awareness to cases violating press freedom. With members including Forbes, The Associated Press, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Reuters and The Financial Times, the One Free Press Coalition highlights ten urgent cases each month that are either new and developing or which have long demanded greater attention to bring perpetrators to justice.

Two Nicaraguan reporters featured in last month's list were released on June 11. Station director Miguel Mora and news director Lucia Pineda from 100% Noticias were arrested in December on charges of "inciting hate and violence." Their release was made possible by the country's controversial new "amnesty" law.

The list for July 2019 includes:

A man holding a picture of Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration
Image: imago/Depo Photos

1. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia): New UN report squarely blames Saudi Arabia and implicates prince for journalist’s murder. Despite the scathing report and earlier findings from the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince's involvement, there's still no independent investigation into the Virginia resident's brutal murder at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act.

Screenshot of a Mexican newspaper announcing the assassination of Norma Sarabia

2. Norma Sarabia (Mexico): Crime reporter shot to death at her home in Mexico. The correspondent for Diario Presente and Tabasco HOY was shot and killed at her home in Tabasco state, Mexico, on June 11. Sarabia had been covering crime and violence and received threats in 2014 for her reporting. The Tabasco state attorney general's office said it had opened an investigation into the murder, but the killer remains at large.

Read more: Mexican journalist murdered on her doorstep 

3. Marzieh Amiri (Iran): Journalist arrested covering May Day demonstrations. The economics reporter at Tehran-based newspaper Shargh Daily was arrested by Iranian authorities while covering May Day demonstrations, and since then her family has had limited contact with her. Authorities have accused Amiri of committing crimes against national security without giving any further details. As of June 2019, no date for release has been given.

Azory Gwanda profile image
Image: Mwananchi Publications Ltd.

4. Azory Gwanda (Tanzania): Independent Tanzanian journalist still missing. A freelance journalist working in rural Tanzania, Gwanda 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.

Read more: A missing journalist, two detained activists: What’s happening in Tanzania? 

5. Stanislav Aseyev (Ukraine): Disappeared reporter turns up in prison, held with limited communication. Ukrainian freelance reporter Stanislav Aseyev disappeared two years ago in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was reportedly detained by Russia-backed separatists in east Ukraine and confessed to espionage charges on a Russian state-run TV channel while under obvious duress. Family members have had intermittent communication with him over the past two years, and there are serious concerns over Aseyev's health in prison.

Aasif Sultan makes peace sign
Image: Facebook/Free Aasif Sultan

6. Aasif Sultan (India): Journalist imprisoned for covering Kashmir conflict faces health concerns. Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, was arrested and charged with "complicity" in "harboring known terrorists" in August 2018. Sultan, who has health issues, has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal his sources by police

A flower memorial for Daphne Caruana Galizi
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/L.Klimkeit

7. Daphne Caruana Galizia (Malta): No progress in murder of investigative journalist.  Panama Papers investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered by a car-bomb blast in 2017 in Malta. There has been little movement on her case since then and the perpetrators remain at large. 

Read more: Reporters Without Borders head: 'Journalism in Europe has been weakened'

8. Jones Abiri (Nigeria): Journalist rearrested on dubious charges. Since May 2019 the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weekly Source, Jones Abiri, is again behind bars on charges under Nigeria's cybercrimes act, anti-sabotage act and terrorism prevention act for crimes allegedly carried out in 2016. The charges match those authorities put forth when he was held without access to his family or a lawyer from 2016 to 2018.   

A man holding a camera
Image: Seyoum Family

9. Seyoum Tsehaye (Eritrea): Nearly 20 years behind bars for his journalism. Seyoum Tsehaye is one of several Eritrean journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the 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. Wei Zhili (China): Chinese journalist arrested for reporting on labor rights. Editor Wei Zhili was arrested by Chinese authorities in March 2019 on charges of disturbing public order, though his family believes it was in connection to his reporting on labor rights issues in their community. According to CPJ's 2018 prison census, China is the second-largest jailer of journalists in the world. 

One Free Press Coalition 10 most urgent cases July 2019
Image: One Free Press Coalition

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