NEW YORK – October 1, 2021 – Investigative journalist Omar Radi, who has been the target of surveillance spyware and sentenced to six years in prison by Moroccan authorities in July 2021, tops October’s ranking of the “10 most cases. more urgent ”from the One Free Press Coalition. The “10 Most Urgent” list, released today by a united group of prominent editors and editors, highlights journalists whose press freedom is suppressed or whose cases demand justice.
In light of the growing number of reports revealing how spyware is being used to monitor journalists by governments that militarize technology, October’s list shines a light on journalists who have been subjected to surveillance or targeted by software spies. These cases – and many more like them – pose a threat to press freedom everywhere. Also notable on this month’s list is Washington post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated by Saudi agents almost two years ago on October 2 following a spyware attack.
While surveillance of journalists is not a new phenomenon, efforts by bad actors to silence the press and rapid advances in technology have exacerbated the problem. Governments around the world have used sophisticated spyware designed to fight crime to target the press. Journalists say spyware has the potential to expose and endanger themselves or their sources and reveal other private information that could be used to censor or hinder their work. Journalists can find CPJ’s digital security resources here and more spyware and press freedom stories here.
Posted this morning on www.onefreepresscoalition.com and by all Coalition members on 32sd The “10 Most Urgent” list includes the following journalists, ranked in order of urgency:
1. Omar Radi (Morocco)
Since 2018, Moroccan authorities have filed charges of sex crimes against several independent journalists in the country with the aim of targeting them for their reporting. Investigative journalist Omar Radi is one of 180 journalists identified by the Forbidden Stories association as being the target of surveillance spyware. Last July, he was sentenced to six years in prison for sexual assault and endangering state security through espionage and the illegal receipt of foreign funds.
2. Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan)
Leading investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova is known for exposing high-level government corruption and alleged links between President Ilham Aliyev’s family and businesses. She was sentenced to prison in 2014 and served 538 days before her release. In a forensic analysis of his phone, Amnesty International detected multiple traces of activity related to the Pegasus spyware, dating from 2019 to 2021.
3. Sevinj Vagifgizi (Azerbaijan)
Sevinj Vagifgizi, correspondent for Berlin-based independent Azerbaijan-focused media Meydan TV, was the target of Pegasus spyware from 2019 to 2021. She had previously been targeted by Azerbaijani authorities and banned from leaving the country from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, she faced defamation charges after reporting that people were voting with pre-filled government-issued ballots.
4. Szabolcs Panyi (Hungary)
Reports reveal that in 2019, President Viktor Orbán’s administration spyware Pegasus targeted Szabolcs Panyi – among five other Hungarian journalists – as conditions for independent journalism grew increasingly bleak in the country. Panyi is a journalist at Direkt36.hu, known for his reporting on issues such as government corruption.
5. Ricardo Calderon (Colombia)
Throughout 2019 and 2020, Ricardo Calderón, then director of the news magazine’s investigative team Semana, has been the target of threats, harassment and surveillance related to reporting on the Colombian military, including efforts to monitor journalists. This year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled that Calderón faces “grave and imminent” danger caused by threats and surveillance from the Colombian military and other sources.
6. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta (India)
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, journalist and author, has been the subject of lengthy criminal and civil libel suits and has recently been threatened with arrest. Amnesty International detected forensic indications related to Pegasus spyware since early 2018 on his phone, while writing about political parties using social media to campaign politically and investigating the foreign assets of a wealthy Indian business family.
7. Jamal Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia)
Citizen Lab, a team from the University of Toronto that studies media, security and human rights, discovered that spyware Pegasus had infected the phone of Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, who was in close contact with Washington post columnist Jamal Khashoggi before his assassination by Saudi agents. Research has shown that journalists’ families and colleagues are often the target of surveillance. This October 2sd marks two years since Jamal was killed.
8. Ismael Bojórquez and Andrés Villarreal (Mexico)
After Javier Valdez Cárdenas, founder of the Mexican store Rio doce, was assassinated in 2017, Rio doceThe manager of and his colleague have received attempts to infect their phones with Pegasus spyware, some of the attempts claiming to have information about Valdez’s death.
9. Carmen Aristegui (Mexico)
Aristegui Noticias, the outlet run by one of Mexico’s best-known journalists, has denounced numerous corruption scandals. Carmen Aristegui was heavily targeted, alongside her son (a miner) with NSO spyware links between 2015-2016, according to Citizen Lab.
ten. Ahmed Mansour (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
Researchers report that prominent political blogger Ahmed Mansoor has been the target of hackers on several occasions, starting in 2011, when CPJ documented threats and lawsuits relating to his blog.
The One Free Press Coalition is made up of 32 distinguished international members, including: Agency Efe; Al Jazeera Media Network, AméricaEconomía; The Associated Press; Bloomberg News; The Boston Globe; Corriere Della Sera; From Standard; Deutsche Welle; Estadao; EURACTIV; the Financial Times; Forbes; Fortune; HuffPost; India today; Insider Inc .; The weather ; Middle East broadcasting networks; Cuba Broadcasting Bureau; Quartz; Free Asia Radio; Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberté; Republic ; Reuters; The times of the straits; Süddeutsche Zeitung; TIME; Azteca TV; Voice of America; the Washington Post; and Yahoo News.
One Free Press Coalition partners with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) to identify the most urgent cases for the list, which is updated and released on the first working day of each month.
The Coalition’s mission is to use the collective voices of its members – who reach over a billion people around the world – to “stand up for journalists attacked for seeking the truth”. News organizations around the world can join the Coalition by sending an email to [email protected]
Members of the public are also encouraged to join the conversation by using the hashtag #OneFreePress and following developments on Twitter @OneFreePress.
A coalition of the free press
Each month, the One Free Press Coalition highlights the “10 most urgent journalists” whose press freedom is threatened around the world. The Coalition uses the collective voices of participating news organizations to spotlight courageous journalists whose voices are silenced or have been silenced by “defending journalists attacked for seeking the truth”. To view the “10 Most Urgent” list each month and to view a full list of participating news organizations and supporting partners, please visit onefreepresscoalition.com or @OneFreePress on Twitter.
PR of the One Free Press Coalition: [email protected]
Committee to Protect Journalists: Bebe Santa-Wood, [email protected]