New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet
InvestigatingPower.org

Alessandra Stanley Tried "to Make a Profound Point"

New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet made his first public comments on the "Angry Black Woman" story, telling Public Editor Margaret Sullivan in a blog item Wednesday that writer Alessandra Stanley "was trying to make a profound point" about breaking down stereotypes of black women, but "clearly, it wasn't read that way."

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Baquet also said he would "love to diversify" the Times' contingent of 20 cultural critics, which includes no African Americans and only two of color, saying, "I have an obligation to diversify the staff and I will figure out a way."

Stanley, the Times' television critic, wrote a feature for Sunday's print edition on Shonda Rhimes, producer of ABC's "Scandal," "Grey's Anatomy" and the new "How to Get Away with Murder," with the premise that Rhimes was an "angry black woman." "When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called 'How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman,' ” the feature began.

The piece created a firestorm when it was posted on the Times' website on Thursday, in large part because of the mindset it displayed by raising the tired "angry black woman" trope.

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"In a blog by Sullivan on Monday, Stanley explained, "I didn't think Times readers would take the opening sentence literally . . . ."

Erik Wemple of the Washington Post was one of many who asserted not that readers misread Stanley's piece but that Stanley miswrote it. "Why write a lede at all if your goal in the body of the piece is to undercut it?" Wemple asked.

Sullivan told readers Wednesday, "In more than two years as public editor at The Times, I've encountered very few subjects that have aroused as much passion and reaction" as the Stanley piece.

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She also wrote, "Mr. Baquet suggested that readers take a broad view of The Times, pointing to other articles in the same day's newspaper (last Sunday’s) that had a racial component, theme or prominent voice — including Charles Blow's essay on the Sunday Review cover, a front-page article on an historic black film, and a review on the cover of the Book Review. 'I would ask people to please consider the whole,' he said. . . ."

But the public editor also noted that "in an era in which readers come to stories on social media or through recommendations from people they know, each story has to stand on its own; it's disaggregated — it stands or falls alone, not as part of the whole."

Baquet, the Times' first African American top editor, would not be the first executive editor to give Stanley a pass.

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Citing Editor & Publisher, media blogger Jim Romenesko wrote in 2009, "Los Angeles Times media writer James Rainey told New York Times executive editor Bill Keller that 'some people inside the paper believe that Alessandra [Stanley] has been allowed to continue as a critic, without sufficient punishment, because she is close with [managing editor] Jill Abramson. Keller responded: 'We love a conspiracy theory, but the truth is simple: Alessandra has been allowed to continue as a critic because she is — in my opinion, among others — a brilliant critic.' " Abramson succeeded Keller as top editor.

Sullivan correctly framed the issue as broader than involving one writer.

Baquet's interview with Sullivan took place on Monday; on Wednesday he announced a new leadership team. Rather than name a new managing editor, Baquet retired the title and promoted four senior editors — Susan Chira, Janet Elder, Matthew Purdy and Ian Fisher — to deputy executive editor and gave a fifth editor, Tom Bodkin, the title of creative director, a position equal to those of the four deputy executive editors.

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None of the five is of color.

The Times reported 19.5 percent journalists of color in the most recent diversity survey of the American Society of News Editors: 0.1 percent American Indian, 7.1 percent Asian American, 7.9 percent black and 4.5 percent Hispanic [PDF].

"Mr. Baquet is the only person of color on the news-side masthead," Sullivan noted in Wednesday's blog. No African Americans appear positioned to join him.

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Sullivan concluded, "There's an opportunity for meaningful change here. This contentious chapter may not seem like a welcome gift to anyone involved. But if The Times takes it seriously — looking hard at its diversity and its editing practices — it can be exactly that."

Jessica Dickerson, HuffPost BlackVoices: Black Women Defend Viola Davis And Themselves Against Bogus Beauty Standards

Justin Ellis, NiemanLab: Watching what happens: The New York Times is making a front-page bet on real-time aggregation

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Linda Holmes, NPR: The Only One: A Talk With Shonda Rhimes

Jamilah Lemieux, Ebony: Mainstream Media vs Black People: Trolling or Indifference?

Frazier Moore, Associated Press: Shonda Rhimes Lays Claim to Thursday Nights on ABC

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Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Shonda Rhimes miscast as angry black woman (free registration required)

Google Seeks to Address Employees' Hidden Biases

Google disclosed in May that whites represented 60 percent of its U.S. workforce, and 72 percent of what it calls its tech jobs. Blacks were 2 percent of the total; Hispanics 3 percent; Asians 30 percent; two or more races 4 percent; and others less than 1 percent.

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By gender, men make up 83 percent of Google's engineering employees and 79 percent of its managers.

"And so they are undertaking a long-term effort to improve these numbers, the centerpiece of which is a series of workshops aimed at making Google’s culture more accepting of diversity," Farhad Manjoo reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

Manjoo also wrote, "Google's diversity training workshops, which began last year and which more than half of Google's nearly 49,000 employees have already attended, are based on an emerging field of research in social psychology known as unconscious bias. These are the hidden, reflexive preferences that shape most people's worldviews, and that can profoundly affect how welcoming and open a workplace is to different people and ideas."

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Referring to Laszlo Bock, Google's executive in charge of human resources, Manjoo wrote, "Google's interest in hidden biases was sparked in 2012, when Mr. Bock read an article in The New York Times about a study that showed systematic discrimination against female applicants for scientific jobs in academia. The effect was so pervasive that researchers theorized that the discrimination must be governed by unconscious cultural biases rather than overt sexism. . . ."

Bock asked a staff scientist, Brian Welle, to begin a project on hidden biases, Manjoo wrote.

"Dr. Welle points to research showing that we aren't slaves to our hidden biases. The more we make ourselves aware of the role our unconscious plays on our decision-making, and the more we try to force others to confront their biases, the greater the chance we have to overcome our hidden preferences. . . ."

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"According to a poll conducted last week for Sports Illustrated by Marketing & Research Resources, the events of recent weeks have left a bad taste in the mouths of NFL fans although the appetite for the game has not diminished," Sports Illustrated reported on Wednesday. "In the poll, which was conducted among more than 500 fans across the country, a wide variety of topics were discussed, including attitudes toward Roger Goodell, domestic violence in the NFL and the use of the nickname 'Redskins' by Washington. Among the findings:Fans Still Love NFL Games, but Not Goodell, Recent Events

"NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the man at the center of the storm surrounding the league's failed response to its domestic violence issues, is seen as part of the problem rather than the solution. Just 28.5 percent of fans who responded believe he should keep his job in the wake of the controversy, while another 33.6 percent are unsure. Then there's the 37.8 percent who think he should be fired for his mishandling of the issues.

"The NFL players whose names have made those recent negative headlines — Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer — have diminished fan opinion of the league in even stronger numbers than comprise the contingent of Goodell's detractors. Of the responding fans who have followed the story very or somewhat closely, the degree to which the misdeeds or alleged misdeeds of Rice, Hardy, Peterson, McDonald and Dwyer worsened their opinion of the NFL varies from a high of 55 percent for Rice, to a low of 48 percent for Dwyer.

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"The game, however, remains wildly popular, with 32 percent of respondents reporting their level of interest in the league has risen compared to last year, 59 percent saying it has stayed the same as it was in 2013, and just 9 percent acknowledging it has decreased. Furthermore, 85 percent of fans said they would let their sons play tackle football, even in the wake of studies and news about the long-term health risks of head injuries to football players.

"No doubt influenced by the recent wave of criminality, 46 percent of fans said NFL players are not good role models. According to the results of the survey, players in other pro leagues — MLB, NHL, MLS — were rated as better role models than the NFL's. Surprisingly, NBA players fared the worst of all the sports in that category.

"Other polling data includes: A surprising amount of support for legislation to legalize gambling on the NFL (37 percent), a small minority of fans (10 percent) who consider the name Redskins 'very offensive,' and a seemingly shifting attitude toward marijuana, as just 54 percent of respondents said a player should be suspended for testing positive for the drug. . . ."

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Gregory Clay blog: Domestic Violence Isn't That Complicated

John Eggerton, Multichannel News: SI Poll: 79% of NFL Fans Don't Find Redskins Offensive

Peter d’Errico, Indian Country Today Media Network: #Redskinsnomore: A New YouTube Video Breaks New Ground

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William Gay, Sports Illustrated: Looking Through Bulletproof Windows

Robert Lipsyte, ESPN: ESPN flexes journalistic muscle on Rice

Nina Mandell and Nate Scott, USA Today: Why the NFL probably won't lose its tax-exempt status

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Richard Sandomir and Emily Steel, New York Times: Advertisers Navigate N.F.L.’s Handling of Domestic Violence Cases

Writer Brill Questions Why NFL Gives Money to NABJ

In his latest "Stories I'd like to see" column for Reuters and Columbia Journalism Review, journalist and author Steven Brill questions why the NFL has tax-exempt status and adds that he examined the Form 990 that every tax-exempt nonprofit organization must file with the IRS.

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"Under 'grants,' there's a $20,000 donation to the National Association of Black Journalists," Brill wrote. "Should groups of reporters be seeking and accepting money from an organization they cover, especially one that is so much in the news?"

NABJ President Bob Butler responded to Journal-isms by email, "Most professional sports teams (NFL, NBA, MLB) financially support NABJ, as do media companies, foundations and private corporations. Our members cover all of these industries and our corporate partners (sponsors) understand that there is no connection between their support of NABJ and whether our individual members will write stories about them. This goes out with every letter we send to current and prospective supporters:

" 'Disclaimer: As a non-profit professional and educational organization, NABJ greatly appreciates corporate and foundation support for its mission, goals, programs and activities. Acceptance by NABJ of any financial or in-kind contribution from our partners or funders does not constitute an endorsement of their policies, products or services.

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" 'There should be no expectation on the part of our partners or funders for any special treatment in news or media coverage. Likewise, as we welcome input from our partners, NABJ retains final approval of all topics of discussion, selection of panel experts, speakers and other aspects of creative control regarding branded events.' "

Butler said the NFL's donation went to NABJ's Sports Task Force. "The money is generally used for the mentor breakfast [at the convention], the Pioneer Awards and scholarships."

Gregory H. Lee Jr., former NABJ president and former chair of the Sports Task Force, responds in the "Comments" section on behalf of the task force.

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ProPublica Offers Primer on Status of Voting Rights

"As voters head to the polls this November, citizens in more than a dozen states will face shifting voter policies in wake of the Supreme Court's 2013 decision weakening protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965," Kara Brandeisky, Hanqing Chen and Mike Tigas wrote last week for ProPublica, updating a post first published last year.

"Several states — such as Texas, North Carolina and Ohio — are facing legal challenges to new restrictions around voter ID, early voting or same-day registration.

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"Meanwhile, some have moved to loosen voter restrictions. Oregon and Florida have dropped out of the Interstate Cross-Check Program, an effort to purge duplicate voter registrations from voter rolls in different states. Also, as of June 2014, online voter registration has been made available in 20 states.

"With the midterms approaching, here's an updated look at the state of voting rights around the country.

"Remind me — what is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act? . . .

"What did the Supreme Court rule in Shelby County v. Holder? . . .

"Why does this matter? . . .

"What have preclearance states done since the Supreme Court ruling? . . .

"What about non-preclearance states? . . .

"States to watch: . . ."

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: Volunteers Needed On Election Day, Nov. 4, 2014

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Janet Murguía, National Council of La Raza: Midterm Election Message: Latino Participation Is Critical this November

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund: LDF Presents Closing Arguments in Closely Watched Challenge to Texas Photo ID Law

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund: "VRA for Today" Coalition Launch Features Voting Rights Advocates, Members of Congress, and Over 500,000 Americans (Sept. 17)

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Soni Sangha, Fox News Latino: So, where does all of this leave the Voting Rights Act?

Mark Trahant, indianz.com: Take the Native Vote challenge this election cycle

Bilingual Interview Too Much for Laura Ingraham

"Listen, we got to give it up to what MSNBC's José Díaz-Balart has been doing on this show recently," Latino Rebels said on its website Wednesday. "Very few cable news network hosts are covering the immigration debate as well as he and his time are doing right now. (If you disagree, then you really aren't watching the show.) In addition, Díaz-Balart's bilingual and bicultural journalism skills are on display every day.

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"Such was the case on September 22, when the Telemundo news anchor [conducted] a bilingual simultaneous translation segment with undocumented mom María Cruz, who recently protested at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to raise awareness about that pesky immigration relief delay that continues to affect President Obama and Democrats.

"It is safe to say that this could be probably one of the first times a mainstream cable news channel had a host conduct a bilingual interview on the fly. Granted, it might have been a bit bizarre for some, but for us, such a segment made sense. Díaz-Balart did his best to make it work and more importantly, he had a guest whose voice rarely gets heard on English-language TV in the U.S. For that, Díaz-Balart and his team should be applauded.

"But as you might imagine, conservative talk host Laura Ingraham couldn’t take it . . ."

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Esther J. Cepeda, Washington Post Writers Group: On immigration, fooled again (Sept. 9)

Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press: Obama's Mixed Record On Immigration

Media Matters for America: Ingraham Mocks MSNBC's Jose Diaz-Balart For Translating For Spanish-Speaking Guest

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Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: A new divide on immigration

Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writers Group: Obama lets us down again (Sept. 9)

Gonzalo Santos, South Kern Sol/New America Media: Why Latino Leaders Are Wrong to Stand With Obama on Immigration

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Restraining Order Against Pro-Marijuana TV Reporter

"Charlo Greene — the Alaskan reporter who quit her job to fight for legalized weed — allegedly smoked so much pot at home … her next door neighbor's kid got violently ill … and now they're warring in court," TMZ reported Tuesday.

"Tyler Gilbrech tells TMZ … Charlo and her boyfriend moved into the apartment above his in June, and claims she immediately started stinking up the place with so much reefer … his 4-yr-old daughter became violently sick from the fumes seeping through the walls.

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"Tyler says he ratted Charlo out to the building manager, and that's when things got ugly.

"According to court docs … Charlo harassed and threatened Tyler several times — telling him to "watch his back." Tyler filed for, and got, a temporary restraining order against Charlo 2 weeks ago. . . ."

Rebecca Aguilar blog: "F#%k it, I quit!" reporter Charlo Greene has her 15 minutes of fame or shame?

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Short Takes

"Brazil's Globosat and Colombia's Caracol TV have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch a new Spanish-language pay-TV channel in the United States to compete with Univision and Telemundo," Veronica Villafañe reported Tuesday for her Media Moves site. "The new partners plan to launch the joint venture in 2015, airing existing content from Globosat and Caracol TV, as well as original fiction programming developed for the U.S. market. . . . "

"News organizations have partnered with the Dow Jones News Fund to hire thousands of paid summer interns since 1960," the fund announced Wednesday. "DJNF invites media partners to enroll in its 2015 summer internship programs now to hire interns with superior digital journalism skills. DJNF will offer internships in digital media, sports and news editing and business reporting to college juniors, seniors and graduate students. Employers are asked to pay interns no less than $400 per week and to provide a $1,200 grant to the News Fund for each intern requested. The grants are passed on to the universities where students are trained for a week before reporting to their summer jobs. . . ."

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Ingrid Schmidt of the Los Angeles Times managed to write Sunday about "the comeback of cornrows" and other fall hairstyles without mentioning a single African American. She wrote, "Move over, Bo Derek. Far from the bead-bedecked cornrows and plaits the actress wore in the 1979 film '10,' cornrows with a punk vibe have shown up recently on model Cara Delevingne, singer Rita Ora and actress Kristen Stewart, as well as on the Alexander McQueen, DKNY and Marchesa runways. Madeline Brewer in 'Orange Is the New Black' was another forerunner of the trend. . . ."

"The Knight Foundation will split its journalism and media innovation division into two separate teams, adding a vice president for journalism, the nonprofit announced Wednesday," Benjamin Mullin reported for the Poynter Institute. "Under the new structure, the media innovation division will administer programs such as the Knight News Challenge and the Knight Prototype Fund, John Bracken, vice president of the new media innovation division, said in a phone interview. The journalism division will focus on leading transformational change in newsrooms. . . ." Mullin also wrote, "Former media innovation associate Chris Barr is now director of media and innovation. Former Associated Press deputy managing editor Shazna Nessa joins the foundation as director of journalism. And Marie Gilot, formerly a journalism program associate, is now a program officer for journalism. . . ."

"Hispanic women were all but invisible on television news when Theresa Gutierrez got her start as a production assistant at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 in 1971 and shifted to ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 the following year," Robert Feder, Chicago television writer, reported Tuesday. "Now, 43 years later, she's stepping down from ABC 7 after an inspiring career as a general-assignment reporter, public-affairs host, program producer and, perhaps most importantly, role model. Gutierrez announced on the air Tuesday that October 31 will be her last day as a reporter and host of 'The Ñ Beat,' a series of Hispanic public-affairs specials. . . ."

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"After a competitive and exhaustive nationwide search, nationally known and respected aviation journalist Benét J. Wilson is taking the left seat as co-editor-in-chief of AirwaysNews," Chris Sloan wrote Monday for Airways News. "For the many who have read Benét’s work and those that have worked with her, you know what a coup this is for our reader-base and us. Benet has worked on both sides of the fence: for airlines (Delta Air Lines & Mesa Airlines Group) , manufacturers (Rolls Royce North America), and trade organizations (Regional Airline Association) and the aviation press (Aviation Week, APEX, Airports International). Additionally, Benét is a widely followed blogger and social media maven. . . ."

"Charles Brantley Aycock, the state’s 50th governor (1901-1905), has been called the 'education governor' because of his efforts to make public education part of the fabric of North Carolina through school construction — 690 schoolhouses in all — and teacher preparation," Crystal S. McCombs, a News & Record Town Hall community columnist who lives in Greensboro, N.C., wrote Sunday for the News & Record. "Not so stellar, however, was Charles Aycock's participation in white supremacy campaigns — some resulting in violence — that were used to intimidate black voters. In light of this information, the Aycock name has already been removed from at least one university structure within the state. . ." Since 1928, Aycock Auditorium has stood on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. McCombs concluded, "It might be wise in the future, therefore, to follow the example of the school districts that plan to no longer name schools for any person, living or dead. . . ."

In Memphis, "A memo circulated to Commercial Appeal employees Sunday, Sept 21 announced that the newspaper would undergo major physical restructuring," Chris Davis reported Tuesday for the Memphis Flyer. "Today 17 layoffs were announced including 13 employees covered by the Memphis Newspaper Guild. . . ."

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"Lisa Ling returns to TV news this weekend with the debut of the new CNN show 'This is Life,' " Chris Ariens reported Wednesday for TVNewser. Ariens asked Ling, "What's an under-covered story right now?" She replied, "An under-covered story in the world today is that more than half of the Muslim world is under the age of 30, and a large percentage of that number is under the age of 15. It's a hugely vulnerable and impressionable demographic that I think needs to be engaged. . . ."

Afro American Newspapers Co. has retained Global Social Media News Service, Inc., to assist in providing "real time" social media coverage of the 44th Annual Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Legislative Conference from Wednesday to Saturday in Washington, the company announced Wednesday.

"Univision News gets exclusive access to the White House for a very special digital project during Hispanic Heritage Month 2014: 'Los Hispanos del Presidente' (The President's Hispanics)," Univision announced Wednesday. Through personal interviews, Hispanic America will get to know the diverse and fascinating stories of 15 distinguished Latinos who currently serve in key roles in the Obama administration. The report is available on NoticiasUnivision.com and its mobile app. . . ."

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"It was Tavis Smiley’s turn to bid farewell on 'Dancing With the Stars' Tuesday night…and he didn’t go quietly," EURWeb.com reported Wednesday. "The talk show host, who is currently touring the country promoting his new book, attributed the early elimination to lack of practice time. 'With all due respect to my competitors, one, they had 35-40 hours a week to rehearse. We had 10 hours in this last week. Thirty-five or 40 versus 10; that’s a big gap,' Smiley told reporters after he and his partner Sharna Burgess took their final bow. . . ."

"A conservative scholar behind a high-grossing film condemning President Barack Obama was ordered Tuesday to spend eight months in community confinement and undergo therapeutic counseling for arranging straw donors for a Senate candidate," Larry Neumeister reported Wednesday for the Associated Press. "Dinesh D'Souza was spared from prison even though U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said the defendant continues to deflect responsibility and minimize his crime. . . ."

"Oops," the Huffington Post reported from Canada. "The Vancouver Sun newspaper is apologizing for publishing a photo caption that described Vancouver Canucks prospect Jordan Subban as the 'dark guy in the middle .' . . ."

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"A choppy clandestine video that surfaced Monday is likely to reinforce the widespread impression that the country's drug cartels have gained a solid foothold in the Mexican news media," Tim Johnson reported Tuesday for the McClatchy News Service. "The video, displayed on the website of the MVS radio network, shows two prominent journalists in the troubled state of Michoacan meeting with the fugitive leader of the Knights Templar drug cartel, Servando 'La Tuta' Gomez, and holding an animated friendly discussion with him. At the end, they accept a pile of bills. . . ."

"The prosecutor has declined to pursue the case of a journalist with Eritrean and Swedish citizenship held in Eritrea since 2001," Reporters Without Borders reported Tuesday. "Reporters Without Borders is appalled that the Swedish judicial authorities are abandoning Dawit Isaak, a journalist with dual Eritrean and Swedish citizenship arrested exactly 13 years ago today in Eritrea and held without charge or trial [ever] since. . . ."

In Sudan, "Two journalists — Abdelrahman Alaagib of the daily newspaper Al-Youm Al-Tali and freelance photographer Eisa Aizainhave been held in an unknown location since 22 September, when the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested them in central Khartoum for reasons that are also unknown," Reporters Without Borders reported Wednesday.

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Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday it "condemns the murder of Tawfiq Faraj Ben Saud, a young Libyan journalist and activist, in the eastern city of Benghazi on the evening of 19 September. Tawfiq Ben Saud was driving home when gunmen in a black 4WD Hyundai 'Santa Fe' riddled his car with bullets in the middle of Al-Wikalat Street in the west Benghazi neighbourhood of Al-Fuwayhat at around 9:30 pm. . . . Aged only 18, Saud presented a programme called 'Ishah bi Jawuha' (Live your Life) on the privately-owned and popular radio station Libyana Hits. He and [his friend Sami Al-Kawafi] had also created a local human rights organization, Al-Rahma (Mercy Foundation) and had openly opposed armed extremist groups, organizing and participating in protests against their terrorist activities. . . .