UCA News
Contribute

Diaspora journalists targeted by home countries: US report

Freedom House revealed journalists in exile are increasingly under threat from authoritarian states in retaliation campaigns
Galina Timchenko accepts the Gwen Ifill Award at the 2022 CPJ International Press Freedom Awards at Glass Houses on Nov. 17, 2022, in New York City

Galina Timchenko accepts the Gwen Ifill Award at the 2022 CPJ International Press Freedom Awards at Glass Houses on Nov. 17, 2022, in New York City. (Photo: AFP)

Published: December 07, 2023 05:13 AM GMT
Updated: December 07, 2023 05:15 AM GMT

Authoritarian states are increasingly targeting journalists working in exile as part of government reprisal campaigns against dissidents living outside their countries, US-based rights group Freedom House said in a new report Wednesday.

The uptick in so-called "transnational repression," which can target all kinds of citizens living abroad, comes just a week after an Indian national was charged by US authorities with plotting to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader in New York, allegedly at the direction of an Indian government official.

"As attacks on free and independent media increase globally, more and more journalists are being forced to work from exile, and are increasingly facing the threat of transnational repression in their new homes abroad," the Freedom House report said.

Tactics used include "physical harm, detention and rendition, online harassment... reprisals against family members" and smear campaigns, among other efforts "that degrade their morale and commitment to the profession."

"Some, like Jamal Khashoggi, have been assassinated," the report said, about the Saudi Washington Post columnist whose 2018 killing in his country's consulate in Istanbul shocked the world.

From 2014 to 2023, the report tallied 112 incidents of "physical repression" against journalists by 26 governments -- including China, Russia, Belarus, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Cambodia.

However, it warned that the data "captures only a fraction of the phenomenon, as many incidents are unreported or extremely difficult to conclusively verify."

"It's an important time to be looking at the specific targeting of journalists because more and more journalists are fleeing their countries due to domestic crackdowns," Jessica White, the lead author of the report, told AFP.

She also noted that the United Kingdom and Norway are good examples of countries that provide police protection or other safety measures for those who receive threats from abroad.

In a speech last week, US Deputy Assistant Attorney General Eun Young Choi separately warned against "an alarming rise" in "efforts by foreign governments -- often authoritarian regimes -- to interfere with the freedom of expression and to punish their critics and dissidents, including diaspora communities here in the United States."

"When it comes to transnational repression, we see everything: from content moderation to harassment, to stalking, and even murder-for-hire plots against Americans on US soil," Young said.

In response to the uptick in threats and violence, the report called for "targeted sanctions on perpetrators and enablers of transnational repression against exiled journalists."

Help UCA News to be independent
Dear reader,
Trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world, only outdone by drugs and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.
Victims come from every continent and are trafficked within and to every continent. Asia is notorious as a hotbed of trafficking.
In this series, UCA News introduces our readers to this problem, its victims, and the efforts of those who shine the light of the Gospel on what the Vatican calls “these varied and brutal denials of human dignity.”
Help us with your donations to bring such stories of faith that make a difference in the Church and society.
A small contribution of US$5 will support us continue our mission…
William J. Grimm
Publisher
UCA News
Asian Bishops
Latest News
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia