WASHINGTON -- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a member of the One Free Press Coalition, a group of 33 prominent media organizations from around the world committed to using their collective muscle to shine a massive light on the plight of threatened journalists all over the world.
Every month, the One Free Press Coalition releases updates to its “10 Most Urgent” cases of journalists under attack for pursuing the truth. The list for July 2019 includes RFE/RL Ukrainian Service contributor Stanislav Aseyev, who is entering the third year of his detention incommunicado by the Russia-backed separatists of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic.
A second RFE/RL Ukrainian Service contributor, Oleh Halaziuk, is also being held incommunicado in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic.
Ranked in order of urgency:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (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.
- 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 (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.
- Daphne Caruana Galizia (Malta): No progress in murder of investigative journalist. Panama Papers investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car-bomb blast in 2017 in Malta. There has been little movement on her case since then, and the perpetrators still remain at large.
- 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.
- 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 press 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.
- 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 believe 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.
RFE/RL joined the coalition in May 2019, along with 15 other media companies including AméricaEconomía, Bloomberg News, BuzzFeed, Estadão, India Today, Insider Inc., Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Quartz, Radio Free Asia, RFE/RL, The Straits Times, TV Azteca, Voice of America, The Washington Post, and WIRED. The other members of the Coalition, which was conceived during a meeting of the International Media Council at the World Economic Forum, are: The Associated Press, Boston Globe, CNN Money Switzerland, Corriere Della Sera, De Standaard, Deutsche Welle, EURACTIV, The Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, HuffPost, Le Temps, Republik, Reuters, Süddeutsche Zeitung, TIME, and Yahoo News. The Coalition also works with partner organizations the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation.
News organizations throughout the world can join the coalition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to 34 million people in 26 languages and 22 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed over 2.6 billion times on Facebook and YouTube in FY2018. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.