CFWIJ Press Freedom Report for Women Journalists in May 2021: #Palestine emerged as the most dangerous country for women journalists due to #Israeli war crimes

2021-06-01 12:40


During the month of May 2021, The Coalition For Women In Journalism documented an astonishing 70 cases of murder, abduction, detentions, and attacks in the field, among other various kinds of violence towards women journalists. Read our report to find out more about the challenges women journalists face in the physical and digital world today. 


One woman journalist was murdered/killed:

Palestine: Several sources in Gaza who spoke to CFWIJ confirm the killing of Palestinian journalist Reema Saad in a bombing. Reema was killed in her apartment alongside her children and husband when Israeli forces attacked civilian residences in the city of Gaza. Read the details of the case here.

One woman journalist was abducted:
Nigeria: Journalist Amra Ahmed Diska was abducted from her home in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State. Read more about the case.

At least 18 women journalists were attacked/impeded in the field:

Canada: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) temporarily restricted press access to the headwaters of Fairy Creek, the last unlogged old-growth valley on southern Vancouver Island. Continue reading for details.

Germany: Katherin Grabener and Antonia Yamin associated with Kan News and RTL news network were attacked by demonstrators at a pro-Palestine protest in Berlin on May 15. Further details here.

Kenya: DW East Africa correspondent Mariel Müller was injured while covering a protest in Nairobi when police authorities confronted the demonstrators. She was attacked by two tear gas canisters fired by the police, presumably to disperse the crowd. Details available here.

Palestine: Rama Yousef, a Palestinian journalist based in Jerusalem, was hit in the leg by a rubber bullet deployed by Israeli police on May 18. The journalist was reporting on the protest at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem when she was wounded. Read details of the story.

Palestine: Israeli forces bombed and damaged the offices of "Filastiniat" association and its affiliated news agency "Nawa". Since no prior warning was given before the attack, it resulted in two civilian casualties including one child. In a separate incident the same day, Palestinian photojournalist Latifeh Abdellatif was physically assaulted by armed Israeli officers for covering their actions on ground. Continue reading for details.

Palestine: The Israeli forces deliberately targeted Palestinian journalists who were covering the attacks and violations against worshippers in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Read more about the case.

Palestine: Gaza-based photojournalist Samar Abu Elouf was forced to evacuate her family after an Israeli missile struck her neighbor’s home. Samar is just one example of the thousands of Palestinians displaced by the relentless Israeli air raids. Read the full story here.

The Philippines: Correspondent for Rappler, Lorraine Ecarma was restricted by the police from covering the release of human rights activist and Lumad teacher Chad Booc. Further details here.

Somalia: Radio Kulme reporter Fardowso Mohamud Sahal was beaten and attacked by police while covering a protest in Mogadishu on May 16. Her equipment was also confiscated by security forces. Read further details

Turkey: Journalists who followed May 1 Labour Day events across Turkey were prevented by the police. Their equipment was damaged and they were battered. At least four female journalists were subjected to police intervention while covering the events. Read more details.

Turkey: Journalists Derya Saadet and Fatoş Erdoğan were prevented by police while covering student demonstrations against Israeli attacks in Palestine. Click here for more information.

Uganda: Teddy Nakaliga and a fellow journalist were attacked by Ugandan armed forces for covering a protest in Kayunga Village. Read details of the case.

And another 19 women journalists faced detention:

Algeria: The police arrested journalist Kenza Khattou, and at least 15 other reporters, on May 14 for covering an anti-government protest. Continue reading for details.

Bangladesh: Rozina Islam, a senior correspondent Prothom Alo newspaper, was arrested after spending almost five hours in confinement at the Health Ministry Secretariat. Click here for more details.

Belarus: Freelance photographer Tatsyana Kapitonava was arbitrarily detained on May 13, while covering a conference at Startup Family coworking centre, in Minsk. Details available here.

Belarus: Reporter Lyubov Kasperovich was sentenced to 15 days of detention over a charge of participating unauthorised demonstration. Read more details.

Belarus: After the massive crackdown against independent news website, 13 employees, in which six of them women, of the outlet, remain in custody. More details available here

Ghana: Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo was illegally detained by law enforcement agencies who deleted data from her phone while holding her in custody. Further information available here.

Palestine: Israeli forces physically assaulted and arrested Zeina Al-Halawani in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood without charge and warrant. Find more details here.

Turkey: Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporter Ceylan Şahinli was detained while following the May 1 Labour Day event in Ankara. More details here.

United States: Ayano Nagaishi and Alison Cutler, watchdog reporters associated with The News Leader were arrested on Wednesday, May 19 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina while covering a  protest against acquittal of three sheriffs accused of shooting an unarmed black man, Andrew Brown Jr. Read details here.

NOTE: A journalist who does not wish to be identified at the present time was held in custody by her state’s law enforcement agencies and was eventually released.

Last month, two women journalists were wrongfully terminated from work:

Hong Kong: Nabela Qoser, a correspondent associated with Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), faced persecution in the workplace for her hard-hitting journalism. Reportedly, RTHK will not renew Nabela’s contract because of an ongoing probation period, forcing the journalist to quit by the end of the month. Details of the case are available here.

United States: Former Arizona Republic writer Emily Wilder was terminated by The Associated Press following criticism regarding her activism for Palestinian rights during her time at college. Find out more about the case.

Last month, two women journalists were wrongfully terminated from work:

Hong Kong: Nabela Qoser, a correspondent associated with Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), faced persecution in the workplace for her hard-hitting journalism. Reportedly, RTHK will not renew Nabela’s contract because of an ongoing probation period, forcing the journalist to quit by the end of the month. Details of the case are available here.

United States: Former Arizona Republic writer Emily Wilder was terminated by The Associated Press following criticism regarding her activism for Palestinian rights during her time at college. Find out more about the case.

And at least six were physically assaulted:

Côte d'Ivoire: Diane Kablakan, a correspondent for Ovajab Media, was physically assaulted by police trainees of the gendarmerie on May 9. Find details here.

Georgia: The Mtavari channel TV crew, along with journalist Nino Kekelia were physically assaulted by an unidentified group of men, while reporting on the Davit Gareja Monastery Complex on Georgia's southeastern border with Azerbaijan. Click here for more details.

Hong Kong: Reporter Leung Zhen associated with The Epoch Times was beaten by two unidentified men. Details on the case available here.

Iran: Faeze Momeni, a correspondent for Event 24 News, was covering her assignment at Shahid Beheshti University when she was attacked by the security guards at the university, resulting in a broken finger and hospitalization. More details here.

Palestine: Riwa Murshid was harassed and threatened by members of a militant-organization for not covering her head. When the journalist responded, the assailant attacked her with a tree branch, leaving visible wounds on her body. Click here for more details on this story.

Peru: Correspondent for the Canal N and America Television, Stefanie Medina, was physically attacked while covering an assignment in the southern city of Ayacucho on May 19. Further details here

At least seven women journalists faced threats of violence/intimidation:

Belarus: The loved ones of Belsat TV programme host, Arina Malinovskaya, were intimidated by the Belarusian authorities in order to pressurize Arina to return to the country. The journalist had left Belarus due to threats of persecution. Further details on the case available here.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Chairman of the Presidency, Milorad Dodik, threatened journalist Tanja Topić calling her an ‘agent of the German BND’ and a ‘traitor’ in a statement to the SRNA news agency from Republika Srpska. Read more.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Home Secretary Boyko Rashkov targeted journalists Bilyana Gavazova and her TV partner in an interview he participated in. More details here.

Mexico: Marina Rodríguez, a correspondent for De Política y algo Más, received death threats over social media for her journalistic activities. Continue reading for details.

Mexico: Journalist Ginger Gloom opened up about the threats she has received from Candidate for Federal Deputy, Ricardo Gómez Escalante. Find more details about the case.

Northern Ireland: Award-winning crime reporter Patricia Devlin was again threatened online. Patricia received a very horrific rape threat against her son via Facebook inbox. Read the details. 

United Kingdom: Rosamund Urwin, a columnist and senior feature writer at the London Evening Standard, opened about the persistent harassment and threats she has faced for the past two years. Find out more.

And seven faced legal harassment:

Belarus: The offices of TUT.BY media and the house of its editor-in-chief Marina Zolotova were raided by the Belarusian state authorities under the guise of tax evasion. Journalist Elena Tolkacheva’s house was also searched by the police. The media company's website was also blocked by the time of the raids. Continue reading for more details. 

Hungary: Julia Halasz, a correspondent for the news website “444” was convicted for criminal defamation charges on May 6. Her case sheds light on the weaponization of defamation as a criminal offense in the country. Read more.

Russia: Tatyana Volstkaya was finally acquitted of the baseless charges filed against her for spreading misinformation on May 4. The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) correspondent was facing a criminal investigation for a story she published in April 2020. Further details here.

Russia: Lyudmila Savitskaya’s appeal to revoke her controversial status as “foreign agent” media in Russia was denied by the city of Pskov on May 5. Click here for more details.

Saudi Arabia: Prominent Saudi human rights activist and journalist Loujain Al-Hathoul appeared in the Saudi supreme court on Sunday, May 10. According to Loujain's relatives, the court upheld the initial verdict, affirming the terrorist charges against her. Find out more about the case.

Turkey: The first hearing of the trial against Roza Metina, the Kurdish editor of Jin News, was held in Diyarbakır. The court ordered the prosecutor's office to file its opinion and postponed the next hearing to September 14, 2021. More information here.

Turkey: The case against Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor İsminaz Temel and reporter Havva Cuştan on terror related charges was yet again delayed based on technicalities. Read more about the issue.

Four women journalists were forced to confront online harassment: 

Canada: The Edmonton Journal reporter, Lauren Boothby, was targeted online over her coverage about vaccination of Covid-19. The reporter received abusive hate mail after her article on May 15. Further details available here.

Canada: Reporter for CBC News, Lauren Pelley, covering the coronavirus pandemic received online abuse in her email inbox, accusing her of fear mongering. Click here for more information.

India: Vineetha Venu, a former journalist with leading Malayalam news channels, alleged that supporters of political party CPI-M have targeted her and her family on digital platforms ever since she covered a murder case in 2018. More information available here.

South Africa: Journalist Qaanitah Hunter was singled out in a Twitter attack by the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) president, Bathabile Dlamini. Dlamini attacked Hunter’s personal character, allegiance to the principles of feminism, and her professional integrity without any proof. Read more about the story.

Turkey: Habertürk TV presenter Ebru Baki was deliberately targeted with the organised trolling campaign after the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy İzzet Ulvi Yönter’s statement. Further details available here.

And another three had to face racial discrimination/attacks:

Portugal:  TVI correspondent Conceição Queiroz was intimidated and racially attacked by a passerby during her live broadcast for 24 Journal on May 3. Read more.

Turkey:  Karel Valansi, the columnist of Şalom Newspaper, was targeted with antisemitic attacks by pro-govt media outlets after the Palestine conflicts. The journalist was also deliberately subjected to online smear campaigns after the publication of racist articles. Read details.

United States: Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and journalist for The New York Times magazine, Nikole Hannah-Jones was discriminated against for a tenured position that she was offered at the University of North Carolina. Read the full story here.

At least two woman journalist was also verbally attacked:

Canada: Producer and correspondent for The Calgary News, Jo Horwood, was harassed publicly by an unknown intruder while she was recording an assignment. Read further details.

Croatia: Croatian President Zoran Milanovic verbally attacked journalists working for the Croatian public broadcaster HRT, levelling personal and professional accusations against them. Details of the case are available here.

But as always, we continue to find hope:

Turkey: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the prohibition on the investigation of the Parliamentary Investigation Commission was a violation of rights. The court made this decision based on the application submitted by journalist Banu Güven. Continue reading about the case.

Turkey: The house arrest against Pınar Gayıp, a reporter for the Etkin News Agency (ETHA), was lifted on May 18. Find out more about the case.

Turkey: The court acquitted journalist Melis Alphan from all the terror related accusations. Read about the case.