World Press Freedom Day
A journalist jailed in Uzbekistan since 1999. A Sudanese editor-in-chief arrested after she criticized official policies. Both are among the journalists whose plights are spotlighted by the U.S. for World Press Freedom Day.
The State Department is marking World Press Freedom Day, May 3, by drawing attention to the ongoing detentions and alleged human rights abuses against journalists that it has previously identified as being "censored, attacked, threatened, imprisoned, or otherwise oppressed because of their reporting" and whose situations have not yet improved.
Among those featured is Muhammad Bekjanov, one of world’s longest-imprisoned journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The group said Bekjanov, the editor of a now defunct opposition newspaper, has been jailed by Uzbek authorities for over a decade on “trumped up charges.”
Authorities believe his health has severely deteriorated and that he is in urgent need of medical care.
Tom Malinowski, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor told VOA that more than 70 journalists were killed around the world, last year, while “doing their jobs,” and nearly 200 were imprisoned.
He cited Syria, Yemen, Burundi, Turkey and Libya as examples of places that are especially dangerous for the press now.
US Sentences Gozi Virus’s Creator
Nearly a decade ago, computer security experts found a new kind of malicious software that would eventually infect more than 1 million computers in the United States and Europe and cause tens of millions of dollars in damages.
On Monday, a U.S. federal court sentenced Russian national Nikita Kuzmin on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud and computer intrusion for creating the software, named Gozi, and selling it to hackers who used it to steal money from bank accounts.
Prosecutors said Kuzmin "committed this crime purely out of greed" and helped pioneer a new kind of cybercrime that has become more prevalent in recent years.
Prosecutors said security experts identified 10,000 account records from more than 5,200 people, which included login information for accounts with hundreds of companies. The infected computers included hundreds at the U.S. space agency NASA.
Kuzmin said he did not partake in stealing bank account information himself. He made money by renting use of Gozi to others and by collecting a portion of whatever they later stole with it. According to court documents, Kuzmin estimated he made at least $250,000.
The court said Kuzmin's punishment is the 37 months he has already spent in prison, as well as paying $6.9 million that authorities have identified as the losses incurred by two banks in the U.S. and one in Europe.