CFWIJ documents 70 cases of violations against women journalists in May

Types of violations against women journalists in May include murder, abduction, detentions, and physical assaults in the field.

During the month of May 2021, The Coalition For Women In Journalism documented an alarming 70 cases of violations against women journalists. Types of violations this month include murder, abduction, detentions, and physical assaults in the field, among other various kinds of press freedom attacks towards women journalists reporting from different parts of the world.

One woman journalist was killed:

Palestine: Several sources in Gaza spoke to CFWIJ confirming the death of Palestinian journalist Reema Saad. She was killed in her apartment alongside her children and husband when Israeli forces bombed civilian residences in Gaza City.

One woman journalist was abducted:

Nigeria: Journalist Amra Ahmed Diska was abducted from her home in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State.

At least 18 women journalists were attacked or 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.

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.

Kenya: DW East Africa correspondent Mariel Müller was injured while covering a protest in Nairobi. She was hurt during a police confrontation with demonstrators. She was engulfed in tear gas fired by the police, presumably to disperse the crowd.

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.

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

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

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.

The Philippines: The police restricted Lorraine Ecarma, a correspondent for Rappler, from covering the release of human rights activist and Lumad teacher Chad Booc.

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

Turkey: Police interfered with at least four women journalists covering the May 1st Labor Day events across Turkey. Equipment was damaged, and several journalists were battered.

Turkey: Police prevented journalists Derya Saadet and Fatoş Erdoğan from covering student demonstrations against the Israeli attacks in Palestine.

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

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.

Bangladesh: Rozina Islam, a senior correspondent Prothom Alo newspaper, was arrested after spending nearly five hours in confinement at the Health Ministry Secretariat.

Belarus: Freelance photographer Tatsyana Kapitonava was arbitrarily detained on May 13 while covering a conference at the Startup Family coworking center in Minsk.

Belarus: Reporter Lyubov Kasperovich was sentenced to 15 days in detention for participating in an unauthorized demonstration.

Belarus: After the massive crackdown against independent news website, 13 employees— six of them women— remain in custody.

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

Palestine: Israeli forces physically assaulted and arrested Zeina Al-Halawani in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood without a warrant.

Turkey: Mesopotamia Agency reporter Ceylan Şahinli was detained while following the May 1st Labor Day event in Ankara.

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. They were covering a protest against the acquittal of three sheriffs accused of shooting an unarmed black man, Andrew Brown Jr.

NOTE: A journalist who does not wish to be identified was held in custody by local law enforcement agencies. She was eventually released.

Last month, two women journalists were wrongfully terminated:

Hong Kong: Nabela Qoser, a correspondent associated with Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), faced persecution in the workplace for her reportage. RTHK will not renew Nabela’s contract, reportedly citing an ongoing probation period. These conditions forced the journalist to quit by the end of the month.

United States: Former Arizona Republic writer Emily Wilder was terminated by The Associated Press. The decision followed criticism of her support for Palestinian rights during her college years.

At least six women journalists 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.

Georgia: The Mtavari channel TV crew and journalist Nino Kekelia were physically assaulted by an unidentified group of men. They were attacked while reporting on the Davit Gareja Monastery Complex on Georgia's southeastern border with Azerbaijan.

Hong Kong: Reporter Leung Zhen, associated with The Epoch Times, was beaten by two unidentified men.

Iran: Faeze Momeni, a correspondent for Event 24 News, was covering her assignment at Shahid Beheshti University when she was attacked by security guards. She suffered a broken finger, requiring hospitalization.

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.

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

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

Belarus: Belsat TV program host Arina Malinovskaya was threatened by the Belarusian authorities to return to the country. The journalist left Belarus fearing persecution.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Head of State Milorad Dodik threatened journalist Tanja Topić, labeling her a traitor in a statement to the SRNA news agency from Republika Srpska.

Bulgaria: In an interview, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Secretary Boyko Rashkov targeted journalist Bilyana Gavazova and her TV partner.

Mexico: Marina Rodríguez, a correspondent for De Política y Algo Más, received death threats on social media for her journalistic coverage.

Mexico: Journalist Ginger Gloom revealed receiving threats from Ricardo Gómez Escalante, a candidate for Federal Deputy.

Northern Ireland: Award-winning crime reporter Patricia Devlin was threatened again online. Patricia received a horrific rape threat over Facebook, targeting her son.

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

Seven women journalists faced legal harassment or ‘harassment by law’:

Belarus: Belarusian state authorities raided the offices of TUT.BY media. Under the same guise of tax evasion, police also searched the home of editor-in-chief Marina Zolotova. The authorities also raided journalist Elena Tolkacheva’s house. At the time of the raids, the media company's website was blocked.

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

Russia: Lyudmila Savitskaya appealed to dismiss her controversial status as a "foreign agent” in Russia. The city of Pskov denied her request on May 5.

Saudi Arabia: Prominent Saudi human rights activist and journalist Loujain Al-Hathoul appeared before 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.

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.

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.

Four women journalists confronted online harassment campaigns: 

Canada: The Edmonton Journal reporter Lauren Boothby was targeted online following her coverage of COVID-19 vaccinations. The reporter received abusive hate mail after her article on May 15.

Canada: Reporter for CBC News Lauren Pelley, who often covers the pandemic, received online abuse via email, accusing her of fear-mongering.

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 since she covered a murder case in 2018.

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

Turkey: Habertürk TV presenter Ebru Baki was deliberately targeted by the organized trolling campaign launched by İzzet Ulvi Yönter, deputy chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party.

Three faced racial discrimination and attacks:

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

Turkey:  Karel Valansi, a columnist for Şalom Newspaper, was targeted with antisemitic attacks by pro-government media outlets after commenting on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The journalist was also subjected to online smear campaigns.

United States: Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer prize-winning writer for The New York Times magazine, was overlooked for a tenure position at the University of North Carolina.  It is speculated that the decision was racially motivated and discriminatory.

At least two women journalists were verbally attacked:

Canada: Producer and correspondent for The Calgary News, Jo Horwood, was harassed publicly by an unidentified man while recording an assignment.

Croatia: President Zoran Milanovic verbally attacked journalists working for the Croatian public broadcaster HRT. President Milanovic leveled personal and professional accusations against them.

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.

Turkey: The house arrest against Pınar Gayıp, a reporter for the Etkin News Agency, was lifted on May 18.

Turkey: The court acquitted journalist Melis Alphan from all terror-related charges.