Strasbourg 30 September 2016
Strasbourg 26 September 2016
Strasbourg 26 July 2016
The platform in figures
Since April 2015*
- alerts in 27 countries
- alerts where a member State replied
- resolved cases
- journalists killed
*Platform launch date
Alerts by category
Latest threats to media freedom
Twenty TV and Radio Channels Removed from Türksat, the National Satellite Operator
On 28 September 2016, the Turkish national satellite operator Türksat, the only communications satellite operator in Turkey, pulled the signal of twelve TV channels in Turkey - including IMC TV, Hayatın Sesi, Azadi TV, Jiyan TV, Van TV, TV 10, Denge TV and Zarok TV as well as a number of radio channels. An official at the Radio and Television Supreme Council, the state watchdog, confirmed that twenty stations were being closed. This administrative decision of Türksat, which undermines the public’s right to access information, was done on a direct order from the Government, which cited charges of “spreading terrorist propaganda” and “national security” as reasons for this shutdown.
A Court Orders the Blocking and Closure of Information Websites and Users’ Profiles on Twitter
In a judgment dated from 2 August 2016, the Criminal Court of Gölbaşı (Ankara) ordered the prohibition of access to 33 Internet addresses (17 Twitter accounts, 1 Facebook account and 15 information sites, including profiles and sites managed by journalists) on the grounds of "protecting people’s right to life and safety, the property of others, national security or the maintenance of public order." The court’s judgment considers that the sites in question are "promoting terrorism, violence or are inciting to commit crimes that threaten public order or national security." Contrary to these allegations, several of the sites in question which are managed by professional journalists, according to the European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ), provide essential information about the purges launched following the aborted coup of 15 July and the ongoing violations of media freedom in Turkey.
Russian Investigative Journalist and Activist Grigory Pasko Attacked
At about midday on 27 September 2016, the Director of the Community of Investigative Journalists Grigory Pasko was attacked in the city of Barnaul (Altai region) in Russia by two unknown assailants. He escaped with concussion and a bruise to half of his face. The men shouted, "Get out of our city!" and warned him that they would attack him again. Pasko posted about the attack on Facebook and was referred by police for a medical examination. The previous day, a local newspaper quoted a local nationalist activist calling Pasko a "foreign agent." Unknown people had already been following him and loitering around his hotel. Pasko has previously served time in prison for which he was recognised as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. He was in Barnaul to give a seminar on investigative-reporting techniques.
Azerbaijani Journalist Gasimov Farahim Ilqar Dismissed
Azerbaijani journalist Gasimov Farahim Ilqar, working for a private media group, was dismissed from his employment on 12 September 2016 after posting a photo on Facebook showing the success of a rally organized by the National Council of Democratic Forces, an umbrella organisation uniting part of the country’s opposition forces and which had been banned by the government. The demonstrators were protesting in the frame of an upcoming referendum that would give Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev greater powers and a longer term in office. The journalist told the IFJ/EFJ that the day after posting the picture he was fired by Vusala Mahirgizi, head of private media group APA Holding. According to Mahirgizi, the incident had been reported to the Presidential Administration, the executive branch of Aliyev. The journalist said he was fired under pressure from public authorities. Gasimov Farahim Ilqar had worked for APA Holding since 2013.
Extended Pre-Trial Detention of Journalist Zoran Bozinovski
Macedonian journalist Zoran Bozinovski has been spending five months in detention in Skopje, after his extradiction from Serbia where he had spent another 18 months detained. The prosecutor's office in Skopje needed four months to deliver the formal indictment for alleged espionnage, blackmail and criminal association. The journalists' organisations in the country, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (ZNM-AJM) and the Trade Union of Macedonian Journalists and Media Workers (SSNM), consider that the case against Bozinovski is not based on material evidence and is politically construed by the Macedonian Government with the intention to silence a journalist who covered many corruption cases in which public officials were involved. AJM and SSNM demand the court to abolish Bozinovski's detention and to drop charges against him.
Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 of the Committee of Ministers on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors, 13 April 2016
Factsheet on freedom of expression and the broadcasting media, 4 April 2016
Factsheet on mass surveillance, 29 February 2016
Factsheet on media coverage of protests and demonstrations, 29 February 2016
A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Killings; abductions; threats and acts of violence against the physical integrity of journalists, their family members and other media actors; attacks against journalists’ sources because of their co-operation with journalists or media.
B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists
Arbitrary, unwarranted or politically-motivated arrests, detention and imprisonment of journalists and other media actors.
C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists
Harassment of journalists and other media institutions or actors; violence or interference causing damage or destruction of journalists’ equipment or other property; punitive or vindictive exercise of investigatory tax or administrative powers; arbitrary denial of access for journalistic coverage; threats to journalists’ privacy, threats to employment status, psychological abuse, bullying, online harassment and cyber-bullying;
Judicial intimidation: opportunistic, arbitrary or vexatious use of legislation, including defamation, anti-terrorism, national security, hooliganism or anti-extremism laws; issuing bogus or fabricated charges;
Political intimidation, including hate speech and use by public figures of abusive or demeaning language against journalists or media outlets;
Other forms of intimidation and harassment.
Failures to promptly, independently and effectively investigate and seek to prosecute crimes and offences against journalists and other media institutions or actors.
E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Acts having chilling effects on media freedom including restrictive legislation encroaching on media freedom;
Censorship, interference with editorial freedom;
Threats to the confidentiality of journalists’ sources;
Unjustified or indiscriminate blocking of websites or social media platforms, hacking, and surveillance or interception of communications data of journalists without due process of authorisation, etc.
The platform was set up in close co-operation with five major journalists’ and freedom of expression organisations* – signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Council of Europe. They are responsible for providing verified information on serious concerns with regard to the media freedom and safety of journalists.
* European Federation of Journalists, International Federation of Journalists, Association of European Journalists , Article 19, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, Index on Censorship
Covers the most severe and damaging violations of media freedom, including physical assaults and murder, intimidation, impunity for crimes targeting journalists and the application of excessively severe penal laws to protect state officials from the level of criticism which is to be expected in a democracy.
Applies to governments’ dealings with the media in law and administration. These category concerns violations of media freedom arising from the misuse of governmental or other powers to direct the media, especially in elections, interference with media freedom through ownership, control and regulation, the abusive or disproportional use of laws on anti-terrorism, extremism and state security on freedom of expression, access to information and confidentiality of sources and the independence of public sector broadcasting.
Covers the need for diverse media ownership, professional and ethical conduct on the part of media owners, managers, editors and workers, decent working conditions, procedures to deal with disputes and complaints and effective national reviews of the condition of media freedom.
This section presents a non-exhaustive selection of CoE instruments and ECHR case-law. This information is not a legal assessment of the alert and should not be treated or used as such.