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Free press coalition sheds light on attacked journalists – January 2021

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CPJ Impunity index has shown that in eight out of ten cases the murderers of journalists are freed. On August 13, José Abelardo Liz was shot and killed during a two-day military campaign to expel members of the Nasa indigenous group from lands near the town of Corinto in western Colombia. Liz, 34, was a member of the indigenous group Nasa and hosted a daily news and culture program, The taste of the afternoon. A spokesperson for the NASA community said the soldiers “indiscriminately fired” at NASA civilians and shot Liz in the chest. To date, the investigation has not progressed.

6. Maria elena ferral (Mexico)
A dangerous year in Mexico

At least five journalists died in Mexico in 2020. On March 30, two unidentified men on motorcycles stroke Maria Elena Ferral at least three times as she left the office of a local notary in the city of Papantla, in the state of Veracruz. She was rushed to hospital and died during surgery. Ferral was a correspondent for Xalapa’s diary newspaper and also co-founded El Quinto Poder, a local news website. Authorities in Veracruz state issued arrest warrants for at least 11 people believed to have been implicated in the murder and arrested six of the suspects in the weeks that followed. Ferral’s daughter said her mother’s life was in danger because of her writings on the murders of several mayoral candidates of Gutiérrez Zamora.

seven. Luis Alonzo Almendares (Honduras)
Local journalists most affected by threats

About 96% of journalists killed in 2020 were local journalists. Freelance Luis Alonzo Almendares was shot three times by two unidentified people on motorcycles in September in Comayagua. As the shooters fled the scene, passers-by took the journalist to a local hospital and he died the next morning. Almendares had posted his local reports on his Facebook page, where he identified himself as “the voice of the Comayaguans”. It had more than 40,000 followers and frequently reported allegations of corruption and mismanagement by local officials. In mid-October, a police spokesperson said the evidence was being analyzed, a hypothesis for the case was still being worked out and there had been no of arrests. There has been no progress in the investigation.

8. Malalai Maiwand (Afghanistan)
Local journalists most affected by threats

Malalai Maiwand, journalist with Enikass Radio and TV in Nangarhar and activist for women’s rights and civil society, and her driver were killed in December when unidentified gunmen opened fire on her vehicle. She was on her way to work in Jalalabad, the provincial capital. Earlier this year, Maiwand had mentioned that she was receiving threats, and she had previously spoken about the challenges of being a woman journalist in Afghanistan. His assassination came after representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group recently agreed on a framework to advance the peace talks in Qatar.

9. Raif Badawi (Saudi Arabia)
Threats to online journalists

Raif Badawi is a prominent blogger known for advocating secularism and a liberal local governance system in Saudi Arabia. In 2006, he founded an online discussion forum called the Saudi Liberals, which by 2008 had more than 1,000 registered members who regularly discuss religion and politics. For his support for the free discussion on liberal values, he was sentenced in 2012 to 10 years’ imprisonment, 1,000 lashes, a fine of 1 million Saudi Riyals (approximately $ 267,000) and a travel ban and d media activity 10 years after his release. In January 2015, 50 of the 1,000 lashes were carried out in a single public session. He faced medical problems behind bars. He briefly went on a hunger strike in August 2020, citing a lack of protection in prison, after another inmate assaulted him.

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