Turkish Journalist Sedef Kabas Tops One Free Press Coalition’s March Ranking of ’10 Most Urgent Press Freedom Cases’

March 2022 ’10 Most Urgent’ List Highlights Women Journalists Facing Unjust Retaliation Around the World

NEW YORK – March 1, 2022 – Turkish journalist Sedef Kabas, who is currently awaiting trial on two insult charges and faces a separate civil lawsuit seeking more than $18,000 in damages, topped March’s list of “10 cases Most Urgent” from the One Free Press Coalition. The “10 Most Urgent” list, released this week by a united group of top editors and publishers, shines a light on journalists whose press freedom is being suppressed or whose cases seek justice.

Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, this month’s list highlights 10 cases of female journalists around the world who have faced reprisals or threats because of their reporting. While some of the threats these journalists face are widespread press freedom issues, women journalists face unique challenges. In particular, female journalists face a greater amount of harassment online, as well as in the workplace, with the IWMF estimating that a third of female journalists have considered changing jobs due to threats received. A UNESCO 2020 report found that, globally, 73% of female journalists have experienced online harassment, and that harassment has turned into physical threats with serious mental health implications in some cases.

Journalists looking for advice on digital and psychosocial safety can find them here, including tools for dealing with online harassment.

Posted today on www.onefreepresscoalition.com and by all Coalition members, 37and The “10 Most Urgent” list includes the following female journalists, listed in order of urgency:

1. Sedef Kabas (Turkey)

Authorities arrested Kabaş, a freelance journalist and former television presenter, on January 22 for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during an appearance on a political talk show. Kabas was also charged with “insulting a public official”. Prosecutors have asked Kabas to jail for up to 11 years and eight months on both counts. Last February, while Kabaş was in custody awaiting trial on the two criminal insult charges, President Erdoğan separately filed a civil suit seeking $18,405 in damages.

2. Hala Fuad Badhawi (Yemen)

In December 2021, military intelligence forces in Hadramout province arrested Badhawi and she is currently being held in Central Province Prison. Colleagues believe Badhawi was arrested for her writings on corruption in the province. CPJ has learned that she is likely to be referred to prosecutors for membership in a terrorist cell, incitement to destabilize local security, and smuggling improvised explosive devices.

3. Elena Milashina (Russia)

An investigative journalist at Novaya Gazeta, Milashina was forced to flee her home after threats from Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. At least five outlet journalists have been killed since CPJ began collecting data in 1992. Milashina is seriously concerned for her safety, and this is not the first time she has been threatened, as she and human rights lawyer Marina Dubrovina were beaten in the Chechen capital last March.

4. Namethandazo Maseko (Eswatini)

Maseko, a reporter for the private news site Swati Newsweek, was assaulted by corrections staff after live-streaming a protest by members of the Swaziland Liberation Movement (Swalimo) outside a local prison. When officers spotted her in her car, they dragged her outside, slapped her, kicked her and beat her with sticks, and an unidentified officer pointed a gun at her while threatening to shoot.

5. Rana Ayyoub (India)

Washington Post Columnist and freelance journalist Ayyub has long been the victim of online trolling and legal threats of retaliation, but began receiving a new wave of threats on Twitter after she tweeted her criticism of the Saudi government’s role in the ongoing war in Yemen. , receiving more than 26,000 tweets in response, including rape and death threats.

6. Pham Doan Trang (Vietnam)

In December, Vietnamese authorities sentenced journalist Trang to nine years in prison. Trang covers human rights topics, including police abuse and environmental issues. Trang has faced harassment in the past for his reporting. A few days before his arrest in October 2020, Trang published a letter titled “Just in case I get imprisoned”.

7. Julia Gavarrete (El Salvador)

Faro Journalist Gavarrete is one of more than 30 Salvadoran journalists who recently discovered they were the target of Pegasus spyware surveillance. Gavarrete covers politics, health, environment and gender for Faro, and the outlet was singled out alongside other independent outlets by President Nayib Bukele and other Salvadoran officials.

8. Kalua Salazar (Nicaragua)

Salazar, editor-in-chief of La Costeñísima radio and television station, has faced legal battles, harassment and surveillance by authorities, including physical assaults that have prevented her from leaving her home. Salazar told CPJ that she believes the harassment is linked to media coverage and a desire to silence the work of La Costeñisima, one of the few independent media outlets on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.

9. Lourdes Maldonado (Mexico)

Maldonado, a veteran radio journalist, was shot dead in Tijuana in January. Maldonado had previously been attacked for her work and was on the Mexican government’s program to protect journalists. She is one of five journalists killed in Mexico since the beginning of 2022.

ten. Maria Ressa (Philippines)

Journalist Maria Ressa, winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, faces extreme threats in the Philippines, including state-orchestrated attacks on her and Rappler, the news agency she founded. This follows his conviction on a cyberlibel charge, part of the Philippine authorities’ ongoing efforts to silence any critical reporting.

The One Free Press Coalition is made up of 32 prominent international members, including: Agency Efe; Al Jazeera Media Network, AmericaEconomy; The Associated Press; Bloomberg News; The Boston Globe; Corriere Della Sera; From Standard; Deutsche Welle; Stadium; EURACTIV; The Financial Times; Forbes; Fortune; HuffPost; India today; Insider Inc.; The weather ; Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Cuba Broadcasting Bureau; Quartz; Radio Free Asia; Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; Republic ; Reuters; The Times of the Straits; Suddeutsche Zeitung; TIME; Aztec 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 published on the first working day of each month.

Members of the public are also encouraged to join the conversation using the hashtag #OneFreePress and follow developments on Twitter @OneFreePress.

A Free Press Coalition

The One Free Press Coalition highlights each month the “10 Most Urgent Journalists” whose press freedom is under threat around the world. The Coalition uses the collective voices of participating news organizations to shine a light on brave journalists whose voices are silenced or have been silenced in “defending journalists under attack for seeking the truth”. To view the “10 Most Urgent” list each month and to view a full list of participating news outlets and supporting partners, please visit onefreepresscoalition.com or @OneFreePress on Twitter.


One Free Press Coalition PR: [email protected]

Committee to Protect Journalists: Bebe Santa-Wood, [email protected]