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Pulitzer Center Update January 11, 2013

This Week in Review: Trouble With the Truth

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From afar Turkey is a model for others. But within the country, Turks wrangle over their legacy and...

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Turkey is the world's leading jailer of journalists—ahead of Iran, Eritrea and China. This is a dismaying situation in a nation with a democratically elected government that is often held up as a model of moderate Islam for others to emulate. But as Pulitzer Center grantee Steve Franklin reports in Columbia Journalism Review, it's not just the number behind bars that is so disturbing: "Turkish journalists complain about laws that led to some 5,000 court cases pending against them at the end of 2011—cases that tie them up in court and saddle them with fines. They complain about being fired if they criticize the government. And, as a result of all this, they describe chilling self-censorship that eliminates coverage unwelcomed by the government or its allies. Some reporters have spent up to three years in prison awaiting trial, and some are in prison for five years or more while their trial is ongoing."

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Cuba is another country that uses the threat of imprisonment to stifle dissent. In the latest installment of his long-running series of reports from inside Cuba, Pulitzer Center grantee Tracy Eaton reports in USA Today that political arrests in Cuba jumped to more than 6,600 in 2012, the highest in decades. According to Tracy, "Cuba's communist government is using more short-term arbitrary arrests to disrupt and intimidate critics rather than slap them with long prison sentences like those used against dozens of Cubans in a crackdown on dissent in 2003."

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When Pulitzer Center grantee Peter Chilson traveled to Mali last spring to gather material for a reporting project on West Africa's borderlands, he found himself in the midst of one of the year's most significant news stories. With a large chunk of its territory now under control of armed jihadists, Mali is fast becoming one of the new frontlines in the struggle against terrorism. This week, as the Malian army continues to lose ground to the jihadists, the government of France, the former colonial power in Mali, signaled that it is prepared to step in. Peter combines a deep knowledge of the region's history with timely on-the-ground reporting in "We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali," the first in a series of three e-books that we are publishing in partnership with Foreign Policy. It is now available for purchase on Foreign Policy's website or Amazon.

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Setting out from a village in Ethiopia, Pulitzer Center grantee Paul Salopek this week took the first of about 40 million steps that he hopes will carry him around the world, from Africa to Patagonia, on a 21,000-mile journey that retraces the path of human migration. You can follow Paul's travels via Storify.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor