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Committee to Protect Journalists calls on governments to regulate spyware sales

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on all governments on Monday to suspend the use of spyware and to prevent states with records of restricting press freedom from obtaining them.

The New York-based entity mentions that it has recorded dozens of incidents in which journalists and people close to them have been victims of spyware surveillance since 2011.

CPJ has recorded dozens of incidents in which journalists and those close to them have been the victims of spyware surveillance since 2011.

“A stealth spyware industry has enabled the powerful to spy on journalists and their loved ones, and we urgently need transparency and accountability,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney.

The Committee to Protect Journalists referred to investigations and interviews published to demonstrate the global implications for press freedom with the use of advanced cyber programs that are sold to governments for the use of police and intelligence agencies.

“That is why we ask governments to prohibit attacks on the press with spyware and sanctions those who continue to authorize, or facilitate, such as companies and third parties that provide technology and knowledge behind the scenes,” said Mahoney.

These programs, CPJ noted, can expose journalists’ communications with sources, track their movements, or steal private information, making them targets of attacks and other forms of censorship.

Investigators have attributed attacks to people in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Ethiopia, Mexico and India, and four of the companies accused of selling spyware are in Israel, Italy and Germany.

The statement identifies journalists who have been jailed for doing their work, such as Omar Radi and Maati Monjib in Morocco, and people close to journalists, such as Griselda Triana, widow of the murdered Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, Omar Abdulaziz, Jamal Khashoggi confidant.

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