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One Free Press Coalition's '10 Most Urgent' list, October 2020

Yahoo News Staff
·6-min read

Yahoo News is a member of the One Free Press Coalition and is publishing the group’s latest “10 Most Urgent” list below to highlight the increasingly dangerous political climate for journalism and free expression around the world.

Solafa Magdy
Solafa Magdy. (Via Twitter)

1. Solafa Magdy (Egypt)

Trial repeatedly delayed for imprisoned journalist at heightened health risk.

In August, Egyptian state prosecutors filed additional charges against Solafa Magdy, who has been held in pretrial detention since November. The new claims accuse Magdy of membership in a terrorist group, spreading false news and misusing social media. Meanwhile, she has been imprisoned along with her husband, Hossam el-Sayyad, enduring inhumane conditions, medical neglect and increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Magdy’s arrest stemmed from her coverage of immigration and human rights in Cairo.

Gulmira Imin
Gulmira Imin. (Human Rights Commission)

2. Gulmira Imin (China)

Journalist serving life in prison since Uighur protests 10 years ago.

Uighur journalist Gulmira Imin has served more than 10 years of a life sentence behind bars. One of several administrators of Uighur-language web forums who were arrested after the July 2009 riots in Urumqi, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Imin was charged with organizing an illegal demonstration, promoting separatism and leaking state secrets. China is the leading jailer of journalists, counting 48 in detention as of 2019.

Maria Ressa
Maria Ressa in New York City last April. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

3. Maria Ressa (Philippines)

News website founder fights fines and six-year sentence.

In September, the EU Parliament called on President Rodrigo Duterte to drop all charges against Maria Ressa and a former colleague at Rappler, the privately owned news website she founded. They are convicted of cyber libel stemming from a 2012 Rappler article about a local businessman’s alleged ties to a former judge (who was later impeached for corruption) and purported links to drug- and human-trafficking rings. On June 15, the Manila Regional Trial Court ordered each journalist to pay $7,950 in fines and moral damages and serve up to six years in jail. Neither will be jailed or required to pay while their appeal is pending.

Daysi Lizeth Mina Huamán
Daysi Lizeth Mina Huamán. (Handout)

4. Daysi Lizeth Mina Huamán (Peru)

Reporter who disappeared at bus stop has been missing eight months.

A reporter for the TV broadcaster Cable VRAEM in the central Peruvian city of Ayacucho, Daysi Lizeth Mina Huamán has been missing since Jan. 26. On the day she disappeared, Mina voted in Peru’s congressional elections and filed a report on the elections, then was last seen at a Santa Rosa bus station. She planned to take a bus to the town of San Francisco to meet her boyfriend, who reported to authorities the next day that she was missing. About a week later, family members reportedly found Mina’s identity card and other personal documents along the side of a road between Santa Rosa and San Francisco. Authorities have still not provided any information to the family or the public since Mina’s disappearance.

5. Nouf Abdulaziz (Saudi Arabia)

Journalist held two years without formal charges.

The case of Nouf Abdulaziz indicates how dangerous a beat focused on gender can be. The Saudi blogger was arrested in June 2018 in connection to her reporting on women’s rights as part of a broader wave of arrests aimed at activists. Without formal charges, she is being held at Al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh and has allegedly been tortured. Tying Egypt for leading jailer of journalists, Saudi Arabia held 26 journalists behind bars according to CPJ’s 2019 prison census.

Nada Sabouri (Handout)
Nada Sabouri (Handout)

6. Nada Sabouri (Iran)

Reporter begins 3-year prison sentence for 2014 arrest.

Five years after court authorities determined sentencing, freelance sports reporter Nada Sabouri began a 3-year jail term in August at Tehran’s Evin Prison in Tehran. Her charges date to 2014, when she worked as a reporter for the economic daily Kasbokar. She was arrested at the time for covering a rally on behalf of political prisoners at the presidential office and charged with “colluding against national security” and “disturbing public order.” Iran has repeatedly sentenced journalists to lengthy jail terms but then released them on bail, leaving journalists technically free but silenced by authorities’ ability to summon them at any time.

Daphne Caruana Galizia
Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed on Oct. 16, 2017, by a car bomb near her home in Bidnija. (Matthew Mirabelli/AFP via Getty Images)

7. Daphne Caruana Galizia (Malta)

Independent investigation needed into journalist’s killing three years ago.

This month marks three years since the car-bomb killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a prominent investigative journalist and blogger who reported on government corruption. Maltese authorities detained a suspect last year in addition to three others who have been in jail in connection to the murder since December 2017. CPJ and other rights organizations have repeatedly called on Maltese authorities to ensure the investigation into the murder is independent and free from political interference.

Frenchiemae Cumpio
Frenchiemae Cumpio. (Handout)

8. Frenchiemae Cumpio (Philippines)

Journalist detained almost eight months after arrest and charges believed to be a set up.

Journalist Frenchiemae Cumpio has been detained since Feb. 7 and could face 6 to 12 years in prison for charges of “illegal firearms possession.” Cumpio worked as executive director of the Eastern Vista news website and radio news anchor at Aksyon Radyo-Tacloban. Prior to her arrest, she frequently covered alleged police and military abuses and had recently faced harassment and intimidation from people she believed to be security agents. A court denied Cumpio’s lawyers’ request to drop the charges; they told CPJ that they believe the firearms and explosives were planted to justify this illegal arrest.

Left to right, Christine Kamikazi, Agnes Ndirubusa, Terence Mpozenzi and Egide Harerimana
Left to right, Christine Kamikazi, Agnes Ndirubusa, Terence Mpozenzi and Egide Harerimana. (Tchandrou Nitanga/AFP via Getty Images)

9. Agnes Ndirubusa, Christine Kamikazi and the Iwacu team (Burundi)

Court rejects four journalists’ appeal to prison sentence and fine.

In June, Burundi courts rejected four journalists’ appeal after they were convicted in January of attempting to undermine state security. Agnes Ndirubusa, head of the political desk, and broadcast reporter Christine Kamikazi were covering regional clashes for Iwacu, one of the country’s only independent outlets, when they were arrested last October along with two of their colleagues. All four have been sentenced to 2-plus years in prison and a $530 fine.

Andrea Sahouri
Andrea Sahouri. (Via Twitter)

10. Andrea Sahouri (U.S.)

Iowa reporter among many arrested and facing charges during U.S. protests.

As of Sept. 21, journalists have been arrested more than 109 times at protests in the U.S. this year. That includes Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri, who was pepper-sprayed and arrested by police on May 31. She was charged with failure to disperse and interference with official acts and has pleaded not guilty. The first charge is punishable by a fine between $65 and $625 or prison in lieu of a fine, and interference with official acts carries a fine of at least $250.