Latest threats to media freedom

 

The law on the Protection of Journalistic Sources Ignored

No reply yet
Year 27 Feb 2017 Country Belgium Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
27 Feb 2017 Belgium E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2
No reply yet

The Brussels Prosecutor's office ordered the journalist Pauline Deglume, from the the daily newspaper "La Dernière Heure”, to be heard by the police on 23 February 2017 in Brussels. The journalist was interrogated as a "suspect" after a complaint was lodged by the Brussels Inter-municipal Transport Company (STIB) with a view to to identifying the source of her information concerning an article she had published on 17 January 2015 about the monitoring of Brussels subway stations. The journalist and the professional organisations of journalists have denounced this intimidation and violation of the Belgian law of 7 April 2005 on the protection of journalistic sources. The law stipulates that only an investigating judge (and neither the public prosecutor's office nor the police) may interrogate a journalist about his/her sources and only in a situation of serious threat to the physical integrity of a person and when the requested information cannot be obtained in any other way.

Two Journalists Harassed by Far-Right Wing Protesters

No reply yet
Year 27 Feb 2017 Country Greece Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
27 Feb 2017 Greece C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2
No reply yet

On 20 February 2017, two journalists were harassed by far-right wing protesters while reporting live in Thessaloniki, Greece. Maria Travlou, who works for the public broadcaster ERT3, and Eleni Latrou, for the private station Skai TV, were insulted and stopped from doing their job by some men and women part of the so-called "Patriots' Organisation" demonstrating outside a school. They were preventing refugee children from attending classes. The protesters covered the camera lens with their hands and shouted at the journalists, ordering them to leave the place. The anchor decided to stop broadcasting the scene after a few minutes.

"Die Welt" correspondent in Turkey Deniz Yücel detained

No reply yet
Year 24 Feb 2017 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
24 Feb 2017 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
No reply yet

Germany daily Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel was taken into custody in Istanbul on 14 February 2017. Mr Yücel, who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, is accused by Turkish authorities of being a member of a terrorist organisation, spreading propaganda and misusing information, charges refuted by the defendant as well as media organisations. The journalist had reported – like six other journalists working for national news outlets detained at the end of December 2016 – on emails that the hacker collective RedHack had acquired from the private email account of Turkey's Energy Minister Berat Albayrak who is President Erdoğan's son-in-law. The emails allegedly revealed media outlets' control and the use of fake Twitter accounts to influence the public in favour of the ruling AK party.

Azerbaijani Journalist Elchin Ismayilli Detained

No reply yet
Year 23 Feb 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , Index Alert level Level 1
23 Feb 2017 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , Index Level 1
No reply yet

On 17 February 2017, Elchin Ismayilli, founder and editor of Kend.info, an on-line news portal known for its reporting on corruption and human rights violations in the Ismayilli region of Azerbaijan, was detained by police. He is accused of threatening a local government employee, and has been charged with extortion and abuse of a position of influence. Ismayilli denies all the charges. On 18 February, the Nasimi District court sentenced Ismayilli to pre-trial detention for an initial period of 24 days. Ismayilli is currently being held in the Kurdakhani pretrial detention centre.

Crimea’s Prosecution Opens Criminal Probe against Journalist Mykola Semena

Update: 22 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 22 Apr 2016 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner CPJ , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
22 Apr 2016 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State CPJ , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2

On 19 April 2016, FSB agents in the Russia-annexed Ukrainian region of Crimea raided and searched the house of journalist Mykola Semena (freelancer with Krym.Realii - RFE/RL's Crimea service), confiscated his reporting equipment, and briefly detained him for interrogation in connection to a criminal probe on charges of making calls to separatism. The charges stem from an article published by Krym.Realii under a pseudonym; Semena denied any wrongdoing. According to his lawyer, FSB told Semena that he is the main suspect in the case and that he is banned from leaving the region for the period of investigation. If convicted, Semena faces up to five years in prison. On 19 April 2016, Crimea's Chief Prosecutor, Natalia Poklonskaya announced that an unnamed journalist with Krym.Realii (Crimea Realities) was under FSB investigation in connection with an article published by the news website, which she said had quoted Ukrainian activists' calls to isolate the Crimean peninsula and to conduct military action to wrest the region from Russian control. On the same day, Poklonskaya's office said in a statement that she was overseeing the case against an unnamed Krym.Realii reporter, and that the prosecutors were looking to ban the website in Crimea arguing that their review of the publications showed that the news outlet is allegedly aiming to "discredit the actions of the Russian Federation on the territory of Crimea, incite inter-ethnic hatred, and make calls to extremism." Mykola Semena was detained on 19 April and later released on bail, with travel restrictions, according to his lawyer. Based on the lawyer’s statement, CPJ concluded that Crimea prosecutors are overseeing the probe against Semena. This is at least the second time since the annexation of Crimea that the Russian authorities in Crimea have investigated a journalist on separatism charges. In March 2015, FSB agents raided the house of the parents of journalist Anna Andriyevskaya, telling her family that she was being sought on charges of making public calls for Crimean independence in a November 2014 article.

Updates

07 Dec 2016 : On 7 December 2016, Semena’s lawyers Emil Kuberdinov and Andrei Sabinin said their client has received the final written charges from the Russian-imposed authorities in Crimea: Semena is charged with spreading "calls for undermining Russian territorial integrity via mass media." He could be sentenced to five years in prison if convicted.
02 Sep 2016 : On 2 September, IFJ/EFJ launched an appeal, urging Russia to let a Ukrainian journalist return to Kiev for urgent treatment

State replies

New 22 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Journalists Beaten by Security Guards and Local Police in Kharkiv

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 16 Nov 2016 Country Ukraine Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
16 Nov 2016 Ukraine A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1

On 12 November 2016, in Kharkiv, two journalists from Stop Corruption news website and a journalist from apravda.com news website were threatened and beaten by four security guards and three policemen, in “French Boulevard” shopping mall. The journalists were investigating the ceiling collapse of the shopping center. Journalist Sergei Medyanik said he was threatened with guns, enchained and beaten in the basement of the mall. He said perpetrators attempted to rape his colleague, stole their money and broke their smartphones. The incidents were reported to the local authorities.

State replies

New 17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Personal Details of Thousands of Journalists Posted on Ukrainian Website over Accreditation with Rebels

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 12 May 2016 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 2
12 May 2016 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Level 2

A Ukrainian organisation called the “Research centre of elements of crimes against national security (Myrotvorets)” has published on its website thousands of personal details of journalists who it claims have accreditation with rebels movements in the east of the country. The details include names, employers, emails addresses and mobiles phone numbers of over 4000 journalists, including 36 Ukrainians and foreign. The publication of this data has been condemned by Ukrainian journalists who consider this as an attempt to intimidate journalists from seeking access to rebel-held areas in Ukraine for fear of being accused of treason or facing mob violence in the country.

State replies

New 17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

13 May 2016 : The Secretary General writes to the President of Ukraine.
12 May 2016 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media expresses concern about journalists’ safety in Ukraine

The National Radio and TV Council of Ukraine Bans Broadcast of Russian TV Channel Dozhd

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 13 Jan 2017 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
13 Jan 2017 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 2

On 12 January 2017, the National Radio and TV Council (NRTC) of Ukraine voted unanimously to cease the retransmission of the Russian TV Channel Dozhd (Rain) within a month, following TV reports showing Crimea as part of Russia. NRTC member Serhiy Kostynsky said that Dozhd's depictions of Crimea as a Russian republic had spurred the decision, but that the station had also repeatedly violated Ukrainian advertising laws throughout 2016. Dozhd Director Natalya Sindeyeva explained that Russian law requires the use of maps that indicate Russia’s possession of Crimea. She also claims that the channel had not received any official notice of non-compliance from the Ukrainian authorities. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović qualified on Twitter the ban as “very damaging for media pluralism in Ukraine”.

State replies

New 17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

13 Jan 2017 : OSCE Freedom of the Media Reprensentative describes decision of NacRada to stop broadcasting of DozhdTV as very demaging for media pluralism in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Local Newspaper Raided, Office Sealed by the Representatives of the Local Authorities in Kivertsy

Update: 17 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 19 Sep 2016 Country Ukraine Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Alert level Level 2
19 Sep 2016 Ukraine C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ Level 2

The office of the Ukrainian local newspaper “Vilnym Shliakhom” (Free Way) based in Kivertsy, Volyn oblast, was raided and its office sealed by the representatives of the local council in the morning of 8 September 2016, without a Court judgment or a decision of the State Execution service. The doors of the office were broken, locks were changed and the newspaper’s premises were sealed by the local representatives, who claimed to be acting on the “decision of the local council”. The police officers on the spot failed to intervene. The editor of the newspaper was changed and the Charter modified by the head of the Kivertsy district council without the agreement of the staff (who co-own the newspaper alongside the council). The raid is only the latest action in the long-standing row between the Kivertsy district authorities and the newspaper over the privatisation process, launched by the newspaper following the adoption in Ukraine of the law on “reforming the state and communal printed media”. The staff of “Vilnym Shliakhom” announced an indefinite strike starting on 19 September, over the “illegal actions of the local government”, inaction of the local enforcement structures and the inability to resolve the conflict with the district council. The Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine condemned the attack and denounced it as an attempt to stop the privatisation. International journalists organisations appealed to the Ukrainian President, as the guarantor of the Constitution, to stop attacks which undermine media freedom. They requested using all possible means to resolve the conflict - negotiations, reconciliation commission, appeals to the Prosecutor General and the Head of the National Police of Ukraine – in order to avoid the strike.

State replies

New 17 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Continuing Impunity in the Killing of the Ukrainian Investigative Journalist Georgiy Gongadze

Update: 16 Feb 2017 State replied
Year 16 Nov 2016 Country Ukraine Category D. Impunity Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
16 Nov 2016 Ukraine D. Impunity Unknown EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 1

Following the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the EFJ, IFJ, Index on Censorship, AEJ, RSF and CPJ submit an alert to the Council of Europe concerning the continuing impunity surrounding the kidnapping and killing in Ukraine of the investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze. On 16 September 2000, the journalist disappeared; his beheaded body was found six weeks later. Georgiy Gongadze had been investigating corruption within the Government and in the Presidency of the then President Kuchma. In the months leading to his death, Gongadze reported that he was under surveillance and had been receiving threats. After years of investigations, four former officers of the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) were convicted, but no one was sentenced for ordering and instigating his killing. Over the last 16 years, the lack of an effective investigation into Georgiy Gongadze’s kidnapping and murder has had a heavy impact on the Ukrainian society and on the journalistic community at large. The partner organisations of the CoE Platform call on the Ukrainian authorities to confirm their commitment to the freedom of press, by bringing all those responsible for the death of Georgiy Gongadze to justice.

State replies

New 16 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

15 Nov 2016 : Murder of Gongadze must be fully investigated, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media says, calls on authorities in Ukraine to end climate of impunity.
Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts
Twitter feed Twitter feed
Partners Partners
Resources Resources

Latest additions:

 

Council of Europe publications

Other resources

 

   Contact us
follow us follow us