Latest threats to media freedom

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New Albanian anti-corruption law threatens media freedom

Date of entry 22 Aug 2016 Country Albania Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Submitted by EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 2
22 Aug 2016 Albania E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 2

As part of the judicial reform, the Albanian Parliament has drafted a law, officially aiming to fight corruption, that will threaten freedom of speech and media freedom, says the Association of professional journalists (APJ). The article 13 of the draft legislation regulating “the organisation and functioning of institution to encounter corruption and organised crime" states that "any inappropriate influence on the work of the special prosecutors or their actions on specific issues through the public authorities or the media, or any other form of pressure that impacts on the independence of prosecutors, is prohibited and punished by the law." Journalists’ associations in Albania have expressed concerns that the wording might limit their right to free speech and impose censorship. Under the provision, any journalist or media organisation reporting on the case pursued by the authorities could be accused of violating the law and could face up to three years in prison.

Özgür Gündem Daily shut down and journalists’ homes raided in Turkey

Update : 22 Aug 2016
Date of entry 18 Aug 2016 Country Turkey Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat State Submitted by EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 1
18 Aug 2016 Turkey A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI Level 1

A court in Istanbul ordered on August 16, 2016 the closure of Özgür Gündem newspaper for spreading alleged "propaganda on behalf of the outlawed terrorist organisation". Shortly after the announcement of the newspaper’s closure by authorities, police raided its office in İstanbul’s Beyoğlu district. During the police raid, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Zana Kaya, journalists Günay Aksoy, Kemal Bozkurt, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Önder Elaldı, Ender Önder, Sinan Balık, Fırat Yeşilçınar, İnan Kızılkaya, Özgür Paksoy, Zeki Erden, Elif Aydoğmuş, Bilir Kaya, Ersin Çaksu, Mesut Kaynar,Sevdiye Gürbüz, Amine Demirkıran, Bayram Balcı, Burcu Özkaya, Yılmaz Bozkurt, Gülfem Karataş, Gökhan Çetin, Hüseyin Gündüz and Asli Erdogan were taken in custody by the authorities. Media freedom organisations condemned the violence of the detentions. Following the closure of Özgür Gündem, the authorities raided the next day (17 August) the house of Ragip Zarakolu, a journalist, writer and editor known for his publishing work on minority rights in Turkey. The writer was not home but his books about Armenian, Pontus and Assyrian genocides have been confiscated by the authorities. Houses of journalists Eren Keskin and Filiz Koçali have also been raided by the police for similar purpose. The total number of staff members detained has risen to 24, P24 reported on 16 August.

Updates

New 22 Aug 2016 : 23 staff members of Özgur Gündem Daily have been released, according to EFJ. Journalist Asli Erdogan is the only one to be kept in detention to date.

Journalist Lukasz Masiak Beaten to Death

Update : 17 Aug 2016
Date of entry 23 Jun 2015 Country Poland Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Submitted by EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
23 Jun 2015 Poland A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ Level 1

Polish journalist Lukasz Masiak (31), editor of a local online news portal NaszaMlawa.pl, was beaten to death in the night of 13 to 14 June 2015 in the city center of Mlawa, a town located in north-central Poland. Masiak, who reported mainly on the local administration in Mlawa, had received death threats because of his journalistic work and an obituary message was sent to his home. Following the first attack a year ago, Masiak told the media, “It was certainly not an attack by the robbers. The person attacking me was clearly waiting for me. I’m sure it was about the reports we published on our news portal.” Masiak reported every attack and threat he received to the police but the police investigations have produced no results, so far.

Updates

08 Feb 2016 : The investigation into the murder of Lukasz Masiak has been reopened. A man suspected of murdering the journalist handed himself in at the Prosecutor’s Office. He has been detained in police custody. Following interrogation, he was charged with murder. Bartosz N. had been evading justice since June 2015.

State replies

New 17 Aug 2016 : Updated information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland
09 Jul 2015 : Response of the Government of Poland

News reporter Dmitri Remisov assaulted by police during interrogation

Date of entry 17 Aug 2016 Country Russian Federation Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat State Submitted by Index , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
17 Aug 2016 Russian Federation A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists State Index , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ Level 1

Dmitri Remisov, the Rostov-on-Don regional correspondent for Rosbalt news agency, told the agency he was repeatedly assaulted by police officers while being questioned at the regional Centre for Counteracting Extremism on 11 August, 2016. According to Remisov, he was asked to come to the CCE in order to answer questions related to a criminal case “on the preparation of a terrorist act” in the city of Rostov. He reported that two police officers asked him whether he knew certain individuals, most of whom were opposition activists. “Then they asked me if I knew a certain Smyshlayev. I said that I didn't remember such a person. One officer started saying I did know this person in 2009, after which he struck my head three times. Afterwards, he began threatening me, saying he could prosecute me under the criminal law or could have some Nazis punish me”, Remizov said. After he was questioned another policeman threatened him with physical punishment, saying "we will meet [with you] once again”. The Rosbalt correspondent received medical care after the questioning. He also filed a complaint against police officers, Rosbalt reported.

Journalists Arrested in Major Clampdown following Failed Coup in Turkey

Update : 12 Aug 2016
Date of entry 27 Jul 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Submitted by EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 1
27 Jul 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI Level 1

On 25 July 2016, The Turkish anti-terrorism Prosecutor Irfan Fidan has today issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists in the wake of the failed coup against President Erdoğan. According to Anatolian News Agency, the journalists targeted are: Abdullah Abdulkadiroğlu, Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Dönmez, Ali Akkuş, Arda Akın, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bilal Şahin, Bülent Ceyhan, Bülent Mumay, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cevheri Güven, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Erkan Akkuş, Ertuğrul Erbaş, Fatih Akalan, Fatih Yağmur, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, Kamil Maman, Kerim Gün, Levent Kenez, Mahmut Hazar, Mehmet Gündem, Metin Yıkar, Muhammed Fatih Uğur, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mürsel Genç, Selahattin Sevi, Seyid Kılıç, Turan Görüryılmaz, Ufuk Şanlı, Ufuk Emin Köroğlu, Yakup Sağlam and Yakup Çetin. Among those targeted by the warrants was prominent journalist and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicak who was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily in 2013 for criticising ministers caught up in a corruption scandal, NTV and CNN-Turk reported. On 27 July 2016, journalist Nuriye Akman was taken into custody. On 27 July 2016, Istanbul prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 47 former executives and columnists of Zaman newspaper. Those named in the warrants include the following former columnists and executives : Osman Nuri Öztürk, Ali Akbulut, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış, Hüseyin Döğme, Süleyman Sargın, Veysel Ayhan, Şeref Yılmaz, Mehmet Akif Afşar, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Kardıç, Metin Tamer Gökçeoğlu, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ali Bulaç, Bülent Korucu, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural, Hamit Çiçek, Adil Gülçek, Hamit Bilici, Şenol Kahraman, Melih Kılıç, Nevzat Güner, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Sedat Yetişkin, Oktay Vızvız, Abdullah Katırcıoğlu, Behçet Akyar, Murat Avcıoğlu, Yüksel Durgut, Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, Hakan Taşdelen, Osman Nuri Arslan, and Ömer Karakaş. On the same day, Zaman daily columnist, Şahin Alpay, has been detained after police raided his house in the early morning hours. Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, who used to work for Zaman and Today’s Zaman and currently reports for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, was taken by police from her home early on that day too. She has reported in detail about issues concerning the Turkey armed forces, their financial assets, and shortcomings in terms of transparency and accountability. She has suffered for several years from poor health and has need of assured access to medical attention.

Updates

New 12 Aug 2016 : As of 12 August 2016, IFJ/EFJ indicates that 74 journalists and media workers were in detention following the 15 July failed coup in Turkey.
26 Jul 2016 : In the early morning of 26 July 2016, journalist and former parliamentarian Nazlı Ilıcak, one of the 42 journalists named in the arrest warrants as part of the post-coup attempt crackdown operations, was detained in the Bodrum district of the Aegean province of Muğla. According to Turkish media reports, six other journalists appearing on the list were also detained: Yakup Sağlam, İbrahim Balta, Seyit Kılıç, Bayram Kaya, Cihan Acar and Hanım Büşra Erdal.
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