Journalists and Activists in Trouble

There have been a number of journalists and activists in the news in the past few days. They are out there researching, interviewing and trying to keep people informed. Many risk their lives and freedom in the search for truth and justice.

Jimmy Lai, a news mogul and democracy activist was charged under the new Beijing imposed Hong Kong security laws (NPR). Originally Lai was charged with fraud by the government claiming irregularities in office space arrangements. He was then charged with aiding foreign governments. Many feel at least some of the governments animosity comes from his reporting on the Covid-19 virus. On 18 June a judge issued a travel ban on Lai, saying the Covid-19 pandemic required it (SCMP).

The pandemic has been used by governments as an excuse to censor, limit movement and arrest activists and citizens. Governments have imposed crackdowns citing the virus. This story by journalist Mae Anderson (AP) is a suggested read.

Former Florida Department of Health employee turned activist Rebekah Jones, had her house searched by armed officers. She was not charged with any crime but is accused of sending unauthorized messages about Covid-19 data (Wink). The search reeks of intimidation tactics.

The trial of Loujain al-Hathloul, a Saudi women’s rights activist, has begun. The trial is closed to the public and is occurring in the “terrorism court.” al-Hathloul was arrested during a peaceful protest and has been awaiting trial for 2 years (The Guardian).

Chinese reporter Zhang Zhan has been in jail for 7 months after reporting on the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan China has gone on a hunger strike. Her attorney says she may not survive. Officials have started to force feed her with a tube (CBS News).

Iranian journalist Ruholla Zam was executed by hanging today. Zam had been convicted of “corruption of Earth” for publishing anti government statements and times/places of planned protests in 2017. Formerly in exile, Zam returned to Iran and found himself arrested by intelligence officials. The state run IRNA news agency reported his execution (AP).