Media freedom alerts

 

Azerbaijani Chief Editor of News Website Sentenced to Seven Years on Extortion Charges

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Year 22 Jun 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner CPJ Alert level Level 1
22 Jun 2017 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State CPJ Level 1
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Fikret Faramazoglu, chief editor of the news website Journalistic Research Center, was sentenced on June 14, 2017 to seven years in prison on extortion charges. The judge also ruled to ban Faramazoglu from working as a journalist for two years after serving his prison term. Faramazoglu and his lawyer told the court the journalist was severely beaten in detention and lost several teeth as a result. Faramazoglu was first detained on June 30, 2016 for allegedly receiving a large amount of money from a restaurant owner whom authorities claimed the journalist extorted. The journalist and his lawyer say the money was planted in his pocket. Faramazoglu also told the court he and his family were on a trip when the first incident of alleged extortion took place and requested that he be allowed to call witnesses. The judge denied his request. The judge also dismissed Faramazoglu's request for authorities to investigate the beating, according to reports. The journalist's lawyer, Elchin Sadygov, told CPJ that the arrest came soon after Faramazoglu reported that restaurants were allegedly operating as brothels under the protection of law-enforcement agencies. Sadygov told media following the Baku court's verdict that he thinks the case was retaliation for Faramazoglu's reporting. Sadygov said Faramazoglu will appeal the verdict. In 2006 Faramazoglu, then chief editor of the Baku-based opposition weekly 24 Saat, was found guilty of libel and sentenced to a one-year suspended prison term, which was considered by media freedom organisations as a retaliation for his articles on alleged corruption in Azerbaijani law enforcement.

Ukrainian Journalist Missing in Donbass

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Year 22 Jun 2017 Country Ukraine Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
22 Jun 2017 Ukraine B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 1
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Ukrainian journalist Stanyslav Aseev went missing in the Donbass region on 3 June 2017. Since then, the journalist has not been answering phone calls, his apartment in Donetsk has been ransacked and his professional laptop has gone missing, his family and friends told the media. They fear the journalist has been detained by representatives of the so called “Ministry of State Security” of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic". Reports said that Aseev went missing on the day he was expected to send material to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which showed life in the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" and never arrived. Aseev has been working under the pen name of Stanyslav Vasin since 2014 and has been reporting from Donetsk for Radio Svoboda, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya, Ukrayinska Pravda and Ukrainian Week. On 20 June, representatives from the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) and the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) expressed their deep concern for the safety and fate of Stanyslav Aseev and called for his immediate release.

Threat of Closure of the Public Broadcast Media Service

Update: 16 Jun 2017 No reply yet
Year 18 Apr 2017 Country Bosnia and Herzegovina Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
18 Apr 2017 Bosnia and Herzegovina E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index , RSF Level 2
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The Radio and Television of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BHRT) is facing possible shut down due to the absence of an agreed plan for sustainable funding of public media service. The BHRT, which is marred in financial difficulties including debts to staff and to service providers such as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), has been operating a heavily reduced service since June 2016, only broadcasting sports competitions and reruns of old programmes. The EBU reportedly has launched a lawsuit for payment of debts accumulated to unsustainable amounts and placed BHRT under sanction 3, stopping its services to the public broadcaster. BHRT is now under heightened risk of closure.

Follow-ups

New 16 Jun 2017 : CoE Commissioner for Human Rights says that greater efforts are needed to enhance social cohesion and media freedom in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 Apr 2017 : OSCE Freedom of the Media Representative says that shutdown of public broadcaster in Bosnia and Herzegovina is neither a solution nor an option

Two Media Outlets and Four Journalists Sued by Judge

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Year 15 Jun 2017 Country Albania Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner Index , EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 2
15 Jun 2017 Albania E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state Index , EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 2
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Gjin Gjoni, a judge for a court of appeals in Tirana, and his wife filed a lawsuit against four journalists and two media outlets on 9 June, 2017 for their reports over his criminal investigations and his family's declared assets. They have filed charges against Balkan Investigation Reporting Network (BIRN) along with their journalist Besar Likmeta and Aleksandra Bogdani and Shqiptarja newspaper, along with their journalists Adriatic Doci and Elton Qyno. The judge reported that their media coverage has caused reputational damage and pain. Gjoni and his wife are asking for 7 million Lek (54, 000 EUR) in compensation from Balkan Investigation Reporting Network, BIRN in Tirana and two of their journalists; They are asking for 4 million Lek (30,000 EUR) from Shqiptarja newspaper and from two of their journalists. BIRN Albania declared that they "stand by the article and are ready to face all the claims in the court." The Union of Albanian Journalists also condemned the lawsuit: “The Union of Albania Journalists has been informed of the judicial assault launched by the member of the High Council of Justice, Gjin Gjoni, against several journalists and respective media, with the legal pretense that his image has been tainted,” the Union said in a statement.

Editor-in-Chief of Cumhuriyet Detained, Accused of Terrorist Propaganda

Update: 15 Jun 2017 No reply yet
Year 16 May 2017 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
16 May 2017 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
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On 12 May 2017, Oğuz Güven, editor-in-chief of the online edition of the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, was detained as part of a criminal investigation led by the Bureau of Press Offences of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul. On 15 May, Güven appeared before a judge, who ordered that he be held in pre-trial detention, on “propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and “defamation against a person’s memory” charges. Both charges against the journalist are solely based on the title of a news report published and tweeted by Cumhuriyet on an online account about the accidental death of a prosecutor. During the hearing, the journalist repeated that the controversial tweet (“the prosecutor who sought the first warrants against FETÖ was cut apart by a truck”) was only visible during 55 seconds, was immediately corrected (“the prosecutor lost life in a serious car accident”) and is one of the 300 tweets per day written by the journalist, that he cannot be suspected of doing anything to support any terrorist organisation. Oğuz Güven is the 12th Cumhuriyet professional arrested by the Turkish authorities on charges of supporting two illegal organisations (PKK and FETÖ) based on opinions and articles published by the newspaper. Akin Atalay was arrested on 13 November 2016, Murat Sabuncu, Hakan Karasinir, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Güray Öz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Önder Celik, Turhan Günay and Kadri Gürsel were arrested on 15 November 2016, Ahmet Şık was arrested on 29 December 2016.

Updates

New 15 Jun 2017 : On 14 June 2017, after 30 days of imprisonment, Oğuz Güven was released pending trial. His next hearing is scheduled to take place on September 14, 2017.

Freelance journalist, Nijat Amiraslanov, sentenced to 30 days imprisonment

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Year 05 Jun 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
05 Jun 2017 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
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On 22 May 2017 freelance journalist, Nijat Amiraslanov, known for his critical reports for local and regional media about poverty in the region and corruption among local officials, was detained in the Gazakh region of north-western Azerbaijan. On 23 May 2017 Amiraslanov appeared before Gazakh Regional Court, which found him guilty under Article 535.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences (‘disobeying police orders’) and sentenced him to 30 days’ administrative arrest. According to reports by the Turan news agency in Azerbaijan, human rights activist, Bashir Suleymanly, believes that Amiraslanov was detained as a result of recent posts he has made on social media which are critical of the Azerbaijani authorities.

Updates

New 09 Jun 2017 : On 3 June 2017, Nijat Amiraslanov appeared before the Gazakh district court of appeal. According to his lawyer, Amiraslanov was forced to retract his appeal against the court’s decision sentencing him to administrative arrest. He was reportedly submitted to torture during his detention.

Criminal Investigation Opened Against Journalists for Solidarity Campaign

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Year 25 May 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
25 May 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
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On 18 May 2016 Turkish judicial authorities opened a criminal investigation against six journalists and trade unionists for participating in a solidarity campaign with the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. The journalists include Ertugrul Mavioglu, Faruk Eren, Ayse Düzkan, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur and Erol Önderoglu. The Co-Editorship-in-Chief campaign was launched by Özgür Gündem daily on 3 May 2016 for World Press Freedom Day (#WPFD) where up to 16 journalists participated.Requests have been filed for the journalists and trade unionists to testify for articles that are being considered "terrorist propaganda" and an "incitement to crime" which were published whilst they participated in the solidarity campaign.

Updates

New 09 Jun 2017 : The fourth hearing in the trial took place at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on 8 June 2017. Önderoğlu and Fincancı were in attendance, while Ahmet Nesin, who is abroad, was not present in the courtroom. The court adjourned the session until 26 December 2017 to wait for the implementation of the arrest order for Nesin and to obtain his defense statement.
01 Jul 2016 : On 1 July 2016, Ahmet Nesin was freed. His release is also conditional. Charges against him are still outstanding.
30 Jun 2016 : Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) Chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey Representative Erol Önderoğlu, who were arrested on charge of "terrorist propaganda" for participating in Özgür Gündem daily's Editor-in-Chief solidarity campaign were released conditionally on 30 June 2016. Charges are still outstanding and indictments (propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization and praising a crime and criminals) have been accepted by Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court. The first hearing is to be held on 11 November 2016.
29 Jun 2016 : On 26 June 2016, journalists Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Tuğrul Eryılmaz and Faruk Balıkçı were the next four editors of Özgür Gündem to be questioned on "terrorist propaganda" charges for participating in the solidarity campaign with the newspaper.

Follow-ups

20 Jun 2016 : CoE Commissioner for Human Rights appalled by detention of human rights defenders in Turkey will take this up with the authorities.
20 Jun 2016 : OSCE Representative appalled by imprisonment of two journalists and a human rights activist in Turkey, urges their release

French Satellite Provider under Pressure to Remove Kurdish Med Nûçe TV

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Year 03 Oct 2016 Country France Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
03 Oct 2016 France E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state EFJ/IFJ Level 2
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Eutelsat SA, the French satellite provider hosting over 6000 televisions channels, has notified its intention “to remove immediately” Med Nûçe TV, a Kurdish language television channel broadcasting from Belgium, from its transponder because “the content is not in line with public order directives of the terms between us as well as with the laws which regulate TV distribution in Europe and surrounding countries”. According to EFJ sources, Eutelsat SA has been put under pressure by RTÜK (Turkish Radio Television Supreme Council) to remove the signal of Med Nûçe TV considered as a pro-PKK television channel by Turkish authorities. It follows on the banning by Türksat, at the request of the Turkish government, of around 20 TV channels and radio stations under the state of emergency.

Updates

New 07 Jun 2017 : Eutelsat, following on a request received from the Turkish Radio Television Supreme Council, has notified on 14 April 2017 its intention to remove the signals of Channel News, Ronahi TV and Sterk TV, three television channels broadcasting from EU countries to Kurdish-speaking audience from its transponder because “the content in which statements are made by the leaders of the terrorist organisation called as PKK/KCK”. In an urgent notice sent to the Slovenian service provider STN, Eutelsat writes "you shall stop any transmission within one hour of request of Eutelsat (...) we hereby officially request that you remove the television channels 'Sterk TV and Ronahi TV' from the multiplex you operate in accordance with our agreement".
22 Nov 2016 : On 14 November 2016, the Paris Commercial Court ordered Eutelsat to re-establish the broadcasting of the TV channel Med Nûçe.
18 Nov 2016 : On 14 November 2016, the Paris Commercial Court condemned Eutelsat SA for removing the signal of Newroz TV, on 11 October 2016. The French satellite operator was ordered "to re-establish the broadcasting of programmes" under a penalty of 10.000 € per day of delay.
11 Oct 2016 : On 11 October 2016, Eutelsat removed the signal of Newroz TV, a Kurdish language television channel broadcasting from Sweden, after receiving a direct request from the Turkish Radio Television Supreme Council. Newroz TV is accused by the Turkish authorities of spreading propaganda for the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK). It is the second Kurdish TV channel to be dropped by Eutelsat in one week. On 3 October, the signal of Med Nûçe TV was also removed and the channel was no longer accessible to viewers.
03 Oct 2016 : On 3 October 2016, Eutelsat removed the signal of Med Nûçe TV and the channel is no longer accessible to viewers.

Serbian Reporter Lidija Valtner Attacked During New Serbian President’s Inauguration

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Year 02 Jun 2017 Country Serbia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner RSF , EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
02 Jun 2017 Serbia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state RSF , EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2
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Lidija Valtner, a reporter for the Serbian daily Danas, was filming an altercation between supporters of Vučić’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and a protester during the President's inauguration on 31 May 2017, in Belgrade, when she was attacked by two Progressive Party supporters. One tried to grab her phone in order to prevent her from filming and, when she tried to defend herself, the two men seized her and forcibly took her away to a neighbouring park, 50 meters away. In an interview with RSF, Valtner expressed dismay that two plainclothes police officers watched this attack without coming to her help. Force was also used to prevent journalists with Vice, Radio Belgrade and the Cenzovska and Insajder websites from reporting or filming the demonstrations.

Exiled Journalist Abducted, Detained and Faces Charges in Azerbaijan

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Year 02 Jun 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index , Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
02 Jun 2017 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Index , Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , IPI , RSF Level 1
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Freelance Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was reported missing in Tbilisi, Georgia on the evening of 29 May 2017 by his wife Leyla Mustafayeva. Eurasianet reported that Mustafayeva said that her husband last called her when he was just a few blocks away from their home, but he never showed up. The Georgian police stated on 30 May that a search was underway for the journalist, but later, the independent Azeri news agency Turan reported that the Azerbaijani border service department detained Mukhtarli. Independent investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova confirmed that Mukhtarli was kidnapped from his neighbourhood where he was forced into a car, his hands were tied and he was beaten. Mukhtarli sustained serious injuries. His lawyer, Elchin Sadigov, told the Committee for the Protection of Journalists: “He was beaten, has a broken nose, bruises all over his head and right eye, his rib may be broken.” He was then taken across the border into Azerbaijan by car without his passport. Mukhtarli is being charged with trespassing, smuggling and resistance to law-enforcement (violations of Articles 318.1, 206.1 and 315.2 of the criminal code), his lawyer confirmed. The Azerbaijani police also claim Mukhtarli was in possession of 10,000 EUR during the police search. Mukhtarli, who has contributed to various independent outlets, including Meydan TV, fled to Georgia from Azerbaijan in 2015, after receiving threats over his investigative reporting on corruption in the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry. Afgan Mukhtarli is now in pre-trial detention.

Follow-ups

New 02 Jun 2017 : Commissioner for Human Rights "appalled by what happened to Afgan Mukhtarli, an Azerbaijani journalist and activist, who has reportedly been abducted in Georgia and forcibly taken to Azerbaijan, where he is now facing prosecution for illegal crossing of the border and smuggling".

Two Danish Journalists Prosecuted for Exposing a Public Health Hazard

Update: 31 May 2017 Resolved
Year 02 Apr 2015 Country Denmark Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner RSF Alert level Level 2
02 Apr 2015 Denmark E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State RSF Level 2

In Denmark, two journalists, Nils Mulvad and Kjeld Hansen who exposed a public health scandal were fined in October 2014 for an article published in 2010. In the article, they expose the names of farms where the drug-resistant bacteria MRSA was spreading. They have been charged for publishing secret information on the farmers' health. Their lawyer accused the authorities of persecuting the “messenger” instead of addressing the problem raised by the journalists. The two journalists appealed against these sanctions.

Resolved On 22 January 2016, the Danish Supreme Court ruled that a pending trial has no suspensory effect on the disclosure of information for documents “with a significant public interest” (http://www.hoejesteret.dk/hoejesteret/nyheder/Afgorelser/Documents/74-75-2015.pdf). The Danish Journalist Association expressed its satisfaction with the judgment, stating that it was “important that media and journalists are not prevented from access to data of public interest even when large organisations or companies try to bring proceedings” preventing it. On 31 May 2017, following consultations and consideration of the implications of the judgment, the partner organisations of the Platform declared this case to be "resolved”, concluding that it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

State replies

15 May 2015 : Response from the Danish Government

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

Five Turkish Journalists Face Prison Sentences of between 50 and 72 Years

Update: 30 May 2017 No reply yet
Year 12 Jul 2016 Country Turkey Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
12 Jul 2016 Turkey E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 2
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On 20 June 2016, the Istanbul High Criminal Court accepted an indictment served by a prosecutor from the Office of Terrorism and Organised Crime, against five journalists: Ahmet Altan and Yasemin Çongar, former editors of the daily newspaper Taraf; and journalists Mehmet Baransu. Yıldıray Oğur and Tuncay Opçin. The court case will take place in September. Altan, Çongar and Oğur face up to 50 years’ imprisonment each on charges of acquiring, damaging, misusing and stealing documents concerning state security and revealing information concerning the security of the state and its political interests. Baransu and Opçin, are additionally accused of membership and administration of a terrorist organisation and face up to 72 years’ imprisonment each. According to the lawyers of two of the indicted journalists, the indictment raises several questions and concerns. First, 46 pages of the indictment have been copied word-for-word from an indictment written in the case against journalist Can Dündar, who has been named in an entirely separate case. Second, no evidence against the accused is provided or referred to in the indictment. Third, while the indictment focuses in detail on the so-called Balyoz (“Sledgehammer”) papers – a series of documents that Taraf published in 2010 connected to an alleged military coup – the prosecutor does not regard Taraf’s decision to publish the Balyoz papers as criminal and Balyoz does not figure in the charges at all. Instead, the indictment brings charges against the five journalists concerning the “Egemen Operation” plan – a military war plan. However Taraf newspaper did not publish this plan, as a prior judgment of the Turkish Constitutional Court affirms, and denies all charges related to this.

Updates

New 30 May 2017 : As of 30 May 2017, the 5 journalists have either been arrested (Mehmet Altan and Mehmet Baransu are in jail) or escaped the country (Yasemin Çongar, Yıldıray Oğur and Tuncay Opçin are at large).

Editor-in-Chief of Local Newspaper Shot Dead

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Year 29 May 2017 Country Russian Federation Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner Index , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , INSI , RSF Alert level Level 1
29 May 2017 Russian Federation A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown Index , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , INSI , RSF Level 1
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Dmitri Popkov, editor-in-chief and founder of local newspaper Ton-M, was shot dead in the town of Minusinsk in the Krasnodarski province on 24 May, 2017. The Regional Investigative Committee reported that Popkov was shot five times by an unidentified perpetrator. His body was found in the sauna in his backyard. Popkov is well known in his region since he became a regional parliament deputy for the Communist Party. The Moscow times reported that Popkov founded the publication after he was stripped of his position on Minusinsk City Council in 2012, when a court found him guilty of beating a child. Popkvov has maintained his innocence, claiming that the case was an excuse to fire him. He also funds the newspaper he edits, whose investigations, including on police corruption, have garnered significant public attention. According to RFE/RL, in one of his interviews, Popkov claimed his newspaper became “an obstacle” for local officials who are now “threatening and intimidating journalists”.

Armenian Journalist Attacked While Covering Parliamentary Elections

Update: 29 May 2017 State replied
Year 20 Apr 2017 Country Armenia Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , RSF Alert level Level 2
20 Apr 2017 Armenia C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , RSF Level 2

Sisak Gabrielian, a journalist for the Armenian service of Radio Free Europe (RFE), was attacked by activists of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), the ruling party in Armenia, while covering parliamentary elections in Yerevan on 2 April, 2017. The journalist claimed that after he noticed that many voters at a polling station in Yerevan’s Kond quarter were heading to a local campaign office of the HHK before going to a nearby polling station to vote there, and that some of them were leaving with money in their hands, he was forcibly removed from the office. Some of the HHK activists hit him in the face and out took away his mobile phone, which he was using to film the conversation.

State replies

New 29 May 2017 : Reply from the Armenian authorities (Police and the Special Investigative Service of the Republic of Armenia)

Ongoing Impunity in the Case of Killed Journalists Andrea Rocchelli, Alexei Mironov and Wounded Photographer William Roguelon

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Year 24 May 2017 Country Ukraine Category D. Impunity Source of threat Unknown Partner RSF , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
24 May 2017 Ukraine D. Impunity Unknown RSF , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ Level 1
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On 24 May 2014, on the Sloviansk southern front, Italian reporter Andrea Rocchelli, accompanied by Russian journalist and human rights activist Andrei Mironov and French photographer William Roguelon, were the victims of mortar fire that killed Rocchelli and Mironov on the spot and inflicted serious leg injuries on Roguelon, who eventually managed to return to France. These three experienced reporters were in civilian dress and were travelling in a civilian taxi. They had press accreditation and had crossed ten checkpoints prior to the attack. Their presence was known and they could not be mistaken for military personnel or parties to the conflict. An investigation was launched in Ukraine, which concluded that no evidence exist to find those responsible for this attack. However many evidences and testimonies were not taken into account : William Roguelon, as well as other key witnesses, were never heard, the ballistic test did not manage to draw any useful conclusion. A complaint has been filed also by William Roguelon in France, and by the Rocchelli family in Italy, where there has been considerable progress in the investigation. Three years have passed since the date journalists were killed and the Ukrainian, French and Italian authorities cannot let this case go unpunished. They must collaborate and take all appropriate action so as the authors of this attack against journalists do not remain unpunished.

Two Turkish Journalists, Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan, Charged with "Inciting Armed Rebellion"

Update: 24 May 2017 State replied
Year 05 Nov 2015 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
05 Nov 2015 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 1

On 3 November 2015, an Istanbul court charged and imprisoned, Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan, respectively the publisher and the editor of a weekly magazine Nokta. The detention pending trial is officially based on a serious charge: "incitement to armed rebellion against the government." The latest issue of Nokta featured the following headline on the cover: "Monday, 2 November 2015, the beginning of a civil war in Turkey." Remaining copies of the magazine have been seized by the police and Nokta's website has been blocked. Murat Çapan has already been prosecuted for "insulting the president" and "terrorist propaganda" after publishing on Nokta’s cover page on 14 September 2015 a picture of President Erdogan taking a ‘selfie’ beside a soldier’s coffin.

Updates

New 24 May 2017 : On 22 May 2017, the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court sentenced Cevheri Güven and Murat Çapan to 22 years and 6 months imprisonment for “inciting people to armed revolt against the Turkish government.” and issued arrest warrants. On 24 May 2017, Murat Çapan was detained along with seven other people while attempting to illegally leave Turkey for Greece, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Güven is currently living in exile.
30 Dec 2015 : On 29 December 2015, an Istanbul court ruled for the release of Nokta magazine's editor-in-chief, Cevheri Güven, and its chief news editor, Murat Çapan, pending trial.

State replies

30 Nov 2015 : Response of the Turkish Government (information provided by the Ministry of Justice)

Ukraine Blocks Russian Social Networks and Expands Economic Sanctions Against Russian Companies

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Year 23 May 2017 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
23 May 2017 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 2
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On 15 May 2017, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued Presidential Decree 133 which imposes sanctions on 1228 individuals and 468 legal entities based in Russia, the occupied Crimea, and non-government controlled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Among the entities affected are some of the largest Russian-owned Internet companies and social networks, including Yandex, Mail.ru, Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki. According to the decree, Ukrainian internet service providers will be required to block access to these sites for a period of three years. The websites blocked by the Presidential decree are in the top ten most popular websites in Ukraine. According to statistics provided by SimilarWeb, 17.55% of unique visits to VKontakte and 15.15% to Odnoklassniki come from within Ukraine. Yandex.ua, a search provider and e-mail client and the fifth largest website in Ukraine, received 215 million visits over the past six months. The statistics also show that more than 50% of Ukrainians use Vkontakte. The decree also lists and updates the sanctions, asset freezes and broadcast bans imposed on the Russian TV channels and adds the Russian-based RBC TV to the sanctions list. A number of human rights organisations called the decree a disproportionate measure restricting access to information but Ukrainian officials have defended the measure as a matter of national security, given that the country is a victim of disinformation, propaganda campaigns and cyber-attacks, which use the data on Ukrainian users stored on the Russian social networks.

Croatian Journalist Mladen Mirković Attacked by Požega Mayor

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Year 22 May 2017 Country Croatia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index Alert level Level 2
22 May 2017 Croatia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index Level 2
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Mladen Mirković, a journalist of the Croatian local website 034portal.hr, was attacked by the Požega Mayor Vedran Neferović on 12 May 2017. The attack happened after the mayor invited him to a meeting in his office. He wanted to know who had written some articles published on the website the journalist is working for. According to the journalist, the major started to shout at him and became aggressive, threatening to kill him and everybody working for the website. He then pushed the journalist against the wall and smacked his head against it. He threw him out of the office while kicking him and continued to do so as he pushed him towards the stairs, reported Mirković. People in the hall witnessed the attack and some administration employees asked the mayor to stop. The Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) reported the incident to the police on the journalist’s behalf and called for an investigation into this issue.

Italian Journalist Risks Being Jailed for Thirty Months for Libel

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Year 19 May 2017 Country Italy Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner AEJ , Index Alert level Level 2
19 May 2017 Italy E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State AEJ , Index Level 2
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Gabriele Carchidi, editor in chief of the online newspaper iacchite.com, has been sentenced by a court in Cosenza, in the Calabrian region of southern Italy, to a total of 30 months in prison without suspension of sentence in four libel cases between September 2016 and May 2017. The latest conviction, handed down on 10 May 2017, resulted from a lawsuit brought by the mayor of Cosenza, Mario Occhiuto, concerning references to the mayor on Facebook. The other convictions relate to reports by the journalist about the behaviour of senior carabinieri officers, mayor Occhiuto and a Cosenza magistrate, respectively. Gabriele Carchidi is free while he awaits the result of his appeals to the Appeal court against these four verdicts. Media reports say he also faces the possibility of being tried and receiving further custodial sentences as a result of more than 60 other pending defamation lawsuits against him, mostly brought by politicians, police, magistrates and other public figures.

Judicial Harassment Against Opposition Journalists in Turkey

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Year 18 May 2017 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 1
18 May 2017 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 1
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New media reports stress the critical situation of the young (27 year old) female Turkish journalist and law student Aysenur Parildak, arrested over 9 months ago, and released by court order on 2 May 2017 and immediately re-arrested on the same day on new charges related to the same facts (being a correspondent for the Zaman newspaper). Similarly in mid-April 2017, 12 journalists (Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Yakup Çetin, Bünyamin Köseli, Cihan Acar, Abdullah Kılıç, Oğuz Usluer, Atilla Taş, Hüseyin Aydın, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan, Seyit Kılıç and Yetkin Yıldız) who were arrested on 30 August 2016 for being members of an illegal terrorist organisation were released by a court in Istanbul and immediately re-arrested on charges of “trying to topple the constitutional order and the Turkish government” based on the same facts. In April 2017, in the city of Nusaybin, the female journalist Meltem Oktay, who is working for DIHA news agency was detained for reporting under the state of emergency, was released by a court decision in Mardin and re-arrested immediately on charges of “doing propaganda” by another court in Edirne, Also in the same month in the city of Antalya, 5 detained journalists (out of 8) were released by a court and then re-arrested immediately by another court decision on other charges based on the same facts. In some of these cases, even those judges ordering the release of journalists were prosecuted and suspended for taking these decisions, which raises questions about access to a fair trial for detained journalists.

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