Filipino journalist is one of six women in '10 Most Urgent' cases of One Free Press Coalition

Filipino Altermidya Network correspondent Frenchie Mae Cumpio was arrested on Feb 7, 2020, in a joint military and police raid.
Filipino Altermidya Network correspondent Frenchie Mae Cumpio was arrested on Feb 7, 2020, in a joint military and police raid.PHOTO: NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Last month marked the one year anniversary of Filipino journalist and radio anchor Frenchie Mae Cumpio's time in jail.

The young Altermidya Network correspondent celebrated her 22nd birthday behind bars, after she was arrested on Feb 7, 2020 in a joint military and police raid. Reports said she, along with four other human rights campaigners, were accused of illegal possession of firearms.

She is one of six women on this month's list of "10 Most Urgent" cases compiled by the One Free Press (OFP) Coalition, a group that comprises pre-eminent editors and publishers who say they safeguard journalists persecuted for pursuing the truth.

To commemorate International Women's Day on March 8, this month's list focused on telling the stories of female journalists who face a unique set of challenges and threats, in an industry long dominated by men.

Thirteen per cent of all imprisoned journalists in 2020 were women and 70 female journalists have been murdered since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Another report in 2018 by the International Women's Media Foundation and online threat monitor Trollbusters said that more than 70 per cent of female journalists had experienced more than one type of harassment, threat or attack in the course of their work.

Days before her arrest, Ms Cumpio reportedly alerted her colleagues that she was being tailed by unidentified men aboard motorcycles whom she believed were from the military.

To counter the rising threat to media freedom, the OFP Coalition was established during a meeting of the International Media Council at the World Economic Forum in March 2019.

The Straits Times joined the alliance in May that year.

Here are nine other cases in this month's list, in no particular order:

Neha Dixit, India


Freelance reporter Neha Dixit recently endured an attempted break-in, stalking and months of threatening phone calls that included death threats and references to her journalism. PHOTO: COURTESY OF RAJNI GEORGE

Freelance reporter Neha Dixit was the victim of an attempted break-in on Jan 25, has been stalked and endured months of threatening phone calls which included death threats and references to her journalism. Her work has been crucial in revealing extrajudicial killings and trafficking of Assamese girls by a right-wing group to "inculcate" them with nationalist ideology, said Indian news site, The Wire.

Pham Doan Trang, Vietnam

Web reporter and magazine founder, Pham Doan Trang, was detained in Ho Chi Minh City last October and was accused of carrying out anti-state activities, reported the BBC. She has been held in detention since then, and awaits trial on anti-state charges.

Haze Fan, China


Bloomberg News Beijing staff member Haze Fan was detained on suspicion of endangering national security. PHOTO: RADIO FREE ASIA CHINESE/FACEBOOK

Chinese authorities detained Bloomberg News Beijing staff member Haze Fan on suspicion of endangering national security in December last year. She was last seen being escorted from her apartment building by plainclothes security officials on Dec 7, 2019, shortly after she was in contact with one of her editors, reported Bloomberg.

Tal al-Mallohi, Syria

Syrian blogger Tal al-Mallohi was detained in Syria in 2009 and, after serving five years in detention for disclosing state secrets and a further three years on what has been described as trumped-up drug charges, is currently being held without charge reported CPJ.

Solafa Magdy, Egypt


Imprisoned freelance journalist Solafa Magdy faces rapidly worsening health conditions, medical neglect and abuse in detention. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MAGDY FAMILY

Egyptian multimedia reporter has been in detention without access to a fair trial since Jan 19, and has been subjected to physical violence and other abuse inside prison on several occasions, reported Amnesty International. Her reports have covered the political transition and social unrest in Egypt, minority rights, women's rights, education, human rights and refugees in Egyptian society.

Katsiaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova, Belarus

Correspondent for the Poland-based independent broadcaster Belsat TV, Katsiaryna Andreyeva, and a camera operator for the outlet, Darya Chultsov, have each been sentenced to two years in prison relating to coverage of anti-government protests.

Maria Elena Ferral Hernandez, Mexico

March 30 marks one year since two unidentified men on a motorcycle shot and killed newspaper correspondent Maria Elena Ferral Hernandez, who had received death threats. The 49-year-old Mexican journalist wrote about the murders of four potential mayoral candidates in Gutierrez Zamora, a town on the Gulf of Mexico, in her weekly online column.

Anastasia Mejia, Guatemala


Anastasia Mejia was arrested for broadcasting - and accused of participating in - a protest against a local official. PHOTO: MUJERES EN MOVIMIENTA/FACEBOOK

Indigenous radio journalist Anastasia Mejia was arrested for broadcasting a protest against a local official in late September last year. Her home was raided on the same day, and she has been detained for over a month. She is facing charges of sedition and aggravated attack.

Aysegul Dogan ,Turkey

Turkish journalist Aysegul Dogan is currently free, pending appeal, but faces more than six years in jail on terrorism charges after attending conferences hosted by the Democratic Society Congress, a non-governmental group.

Members of the public can join the conversation using the hashtag #OneFreePress and follow developments on Twitter @OneFreePress. To see the "10 Most Urgent" list every month, readers can visit this website or @OneFreePress on Twitter.