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18 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 25 May 2016 Turkey

Criminal Investigation Opened Against Journalists for Solidarity Campaign

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
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 18 Jul 2019
On 17 July 2019, a Turkish court acquitted Erol Önderoğlu, the Turkey representative for press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and journalist Ahmet Nesin of terrorism charges.
04 Apr 2019
On 3 April 2019, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court, convicted Faruk Eren, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Fehim Işık, Celal Başlangıç, Öncü Akgül, İhsan Çaralan, Celalettin Can and Dilşah Kocakaya to one year and three months on charges related to "terrorist propaganda". Hüseyin Aykol, former editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem, was sentenced to three years and nine months on similar charges.
28 Feb 2019
On 27 February 2019, the prosecutor asked the court to convict Erol Önderoğlu and co-defendants Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Ahmet Nesin on charges of “terrorist propaganda,” “condoning crime” and “inciting crime”.
30 Jan 2019
On 29 January 2019, Ayşe Düzkan surrendered to authorities to serve an 18-month prison sentence handed down for serving as the symbolic editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem.
10 Dec 2018
On 30 November 2018, the court of appeal upheld sentences of journalists Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Bektaş and Hüseyin Aykol for “terrorism propaganda” in the Özgür Gündem trial.
12 Oct 2018
On 10 October 2018, the Istanbul 13th Heavy Criminal Court adjourned the trial of three defendants (Erol Önderoğlu, Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Ahmet Nesin) for the seventh time in nearly two years to wait for the execution of Ahmet Nesin's arrest warrant. The next hearing is scheduled for 28 January 2019, at which the prosecution is finally expected to present its summing-up and announce the sentences it wants the court to impose. On 11 October 2018, the trial of the other 11 defendants in the case was postponed to 17 January 2019. At the hearing, the Istanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court ruled to lift the travel ban that had been imposed on Erin Keskin and decided to extend Kemal Sancılı’s detention pending trial.
19 Jan 2018
On 16 January 2018 the 13th High Criminal Court in İstanbul convicted Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Ayşe Düzkan and Hüseyin Bektaş to 18 months in prison for spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The Court convicted Hüseyin Aykol to three years and nine months.
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
04 Apr 2019
Sentencing journalists to prison greatly damages media freedom in Turkey, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
10 Dec 2018
OSCE Representative is alarmed that Turkey appeals court upheld sentences of journalists Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Bektaş and Hüseyin Aykol for “terrorism propaganda” in the Özgür Gündem trial. Journalistic activities and solidarity are not crimes.
20 Apr 2018
OSCE Media Freedom Representative declared that interim decision to prolonge trial of Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem editors, including Erol Önderoglu, Ahmet Nesin and Sebnem Korur Fincanci means chilling effect these trials impose on journalists will continue in Turkey and urged for acquittal so they can continue their work freely.
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
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Ayşe Düzkan
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18 Jul 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 05 Jun 2019 Poland

Polish Court Bans Reporter Anna Wilk from Journalism for 3 years in Criminal Libel Suit

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner CPJ AEJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner CPJ AEJ EFJ/IFJ
On 24 May 2019, a district court in Poznań, in western Poland, ordered Anna Wilk, a reporter for local weekly newspaper Gazeta Powiatowa in the town of Legionowo, to pay damages and a fine totaling US$1,800 and banned her from working in the media or publishing houses as a journalist for three years, according to media news sites Wirtualne Media and Press.pl. The charges were brought against Wilk in a private bill of indictment based on Article 212 of the Polish penal code by Amica, an electric appliances company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, following her reporting in the newspaper and on Facebook on 23 March 2017, about the suicide of a company employee, according to Press.pl. Press.pl reported that the company requested a suspended prison sentence against Wilk; the penal code allows a maximum one-year sentence for criminal libel. In an interview with news site Onet, and in an email to CPJ, Wilk said she would appeal the verdict and vowed to continue her reporting on the complaints of Amica's employees. In an email statement sent to CPJ, Amica's PR manager, Tomasz Pietrzyk, said that in the company's view Wilk's reporting was "unreliable, defamatory and ungrounded," and "not based on any evidence." He added that the company would pursue the case in the hopes that a court of higher instance will affirm the ruling.
State replies
18 Jul 2019
Follow-ups
06 Jun 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative raises serious concerns about banning of journalist Anna Wilk in Poland from practising profession for three years.
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18 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 24 May 2017 Ukraine

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

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ
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.
Updates
New 18 Jul 2019
On 12 July 2019, an Italian court sentenced Vitaliy Markiv, a volunteer fighter within the Ukrainian forces, to 24 years in detention, over his role in the killing of the Italian photographer. Mr Markiv denied he charges and vowed to appeal the sentence.
17 Jul 2017
On 30 June 2017, Vitaliy Markiv, a 28-year-old Italian-Ukrainian citizen was arrested in Bologna in the framework of the investigation into the death of Andrea Rocchelli.
State replies
13 Jul 2017
Reply from the Government of Ukraine
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17 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 17 Oct 2017 Malta

Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Killed by Car Bomb

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ Index IPI RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ Index IPI RSF
Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been murdered on 16 October 2017, around 3pm, by a car bomb in the town of Bidnija, near her family home. Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was known for her investigative journalism and her blog 'Running Commentary', which was one of the most widely read websites in Malta. In 2016, she was named by Politico as one of the “28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”, after being the first to break news of Maltese politicians’ involvement in the Panama Papers scandal.

The journalist had been sued many times for her blog posts in which she revealed several alleged corruption scandals involving Maltese politicians. In February 2017, her bank accounts were frozen and libel suits were filed against her by Maltese Economy Minister and his consultant, following a report revealing that both men visited a brothel during an official trip in Germany.

According to media report, Daphne Caruana Galizia had filed a police report 15 days before her death saying she was being threatened.
Updates
New 17 Jul 2019
On 16 July 2019, three suspects were formally charged over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, as well as Vince Muscat, were arrested in December 2017. The public prosecutor now has 20 months to set a date for the trial.
12 Jul 2019
On 11 July 2019, at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Global Media Freedom conference in London, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta Carmelo Abela, responding to the demand of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to set up an independent public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, confirmed that the government will open such an inquiry within the next three months.
06 Dec 2017
On 4 December 2017 the Maltese police arrested ten suspects over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. On 5 December, three of them were charged with the journalist`s murder, as well as with criminal use of explosives, being involved in organised crime, and criminal conspiracy.
State replies
17 Oct 2017
Follow-ups
27 Jun 2019
New On 26 June 2019, PACE adopted the resolution on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and demanded the setting up of an independent public inquiry into her death within three months.
27 Jun 2018
Pieter Omtzigt, who is preparing a report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta, has been authorised by PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee to receive information from anonymous sources and to protect the identity of anyone who provides such information.
24 Apr 2018
PACE to monitor investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia
25 Jan 2018
PACE adopts a motion for a resolution 'Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the rule of law, in Malta and beyond: ensuring that the whole truth emerges'
25 Jan 2018
PACE appointed General Rapporteur on Media Freedom & the protection of journalists will make his first inquiry into the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
18 Oct 2017
APCE president strongly condemns the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana
17 Oct 2017
Shocked by the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Commissioner for Human Rights calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate the case.
17 Oct 2017
CoE Secretary General appalled by the brutal death of Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, in a car bombing, calls for a thorough investigation to find those responsible for her death.
17 Oct 2017
OSCE media freedom representative outraged by killing of prominent journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, urges thorough investigation'
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16 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 16 Jul 2019 Ukraine

TV Channel '112 Ukraine' Kyiv Office Targeted by a Grenade

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ Index
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ Index
On 13 July 2019, two unidentified persons targeted the office of the private TV channel '112 Ukraine' on Dehtiarivska street 21G, in Kyiv, using a grenade launcher. The attack happened at 3:27 a.m. and was recorded by three CCTV cameras installed outside the media building. The incident caused damage to the facade and nearby parked cars. Nobody was injured. At 3:40 a.m. local residents alerted the police who immediately started inspecting the area. A spent tube used to fire a rocket-propelled grenade was found. The press service of the national police qualified the incident as a "terrorist act". The Security Service of Ukraine has started an investigation. Channel 112 had received a warning earlier this week after the TV had planned to broadcast the public premiere of the documentary "Revealing Ukraine". Some employees of '112 Ukraine' received messages with threats. The documentary was considered as "anti-Ukrainian narratives of Kremlin propaganda" by the Ministry of Information Policy. Channel 112 cancelled the broadcasting in order to avoid possible legal consequences and requested police protection, but the police didn't follow-up on the request, neither before the attack or after, according to the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. '112 Ukraine' now strengthened its protection on its own.
Follow-ups
16 Jul 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative Statement: "OSCE Media Freedom Representative condemns attack against Ukrainian TV channel 112 in Ukraine"
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16 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 16 Jul 2019 Serbia

N1 TV reporter in Kosovo received death threats

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 4 July, Zana Cimili, a correspondent for TV Channel N1 in Kosovo, has received death threats on social network, including against her daughter. The anonymous person said he had "a life desire to kill an Albanian, even an Albanian child," and he hoped "for a new war in Kosovo during which the Albanians will feel Serbian rage."

On July 6, a Serbian national was arrested by Serbia’s police regarding this case, over “spreading of religious and national hatred and imperil safety,” N1 reported. The court placed the suspect under house arrest and banned from using the Internet during the stay at home.
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15 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 15 May 2019 Greece

Greek CNN Reporter Mina Karamitrou's Car Destroyed by Bomb

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ
On 14 May 2019 at about 2:30 a.m., flammable liquid placed under Mina Karamitrou's car exploded, while the car was parked outside the journalist's home in the northern Athens suburb of Papagou, according to local news reports. The car was destroyed but no one was injured, according to the reports. Karamitrou is a police reporter for CNN's Greek edition, according to her author page on the network's website. She also works for private broadcaster OPEN TV. Police have opened an investigation into the bombing, according to Greek news website Skai. CNN Greece condemned the attack in a statement, calling it "an attack on the entire journalistic world." Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos condemned the attack on Twitter, describing it as a "targeting" of freedom of the press, and saying that the perpetrators should be held to account. The Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers condemned the attack stating “violence, threats and blackmail will not force colleagues to shut their mouths”.
State replies
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12 Jul 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 12 Jul 2019 Austria

Kyrgyzstani News Website 24.kg Facing Damages in Austrian Courts

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner Article 19
No state reply yet
Partner Article 19
In April 2019, an Austrian court sentenced the Kyrgyzstani news website 24.kg to pay T&F Trade and Finance GmbH, a company quoted in an article on the breakdown of a business partnership in Kyrgyzstan, €40,000 in damages. T&F had argued that 24.kg’s qualification in the article of ‘pseudo investors’ was defamatory, but instead of pursuing legal action in Kyrgyzstan, T&F had relied on Article 1330 of the Austrian Civil Code to bring a civil law suit in Austria, where it is registered.

When publishing the article, the journalists acted in good faith, based on the evidence they had received, a spokesperson for 24.kg said. T&F’s version of events was subsequently published as well. Barbora Bukovska, Senior Director for Law and Policy at ARTICLE 19, denounced a case of ‘libel tourism”, a practice where wealthy plaintiffs use defamation laws in other jurisdictions to silence those who try to hold them to account elsewhere. She expressed concern that 24.kg is unlikely to get a fair trial in Austria on matters located in Kyrgyzstan and that the Austrian courts are being used to silence investigative journalism in Kyrgyzstan.

24.kg were without representation for the appeal hearing on 11 July 2019 at Vienna Commercial Court.
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12 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 11 Jul 2019 Ukraine

Cameraman Vadim Makaryuk Severely Assaulted

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
On 7 June 2019, Vadim Makaryuk, a cameraman for the 24th channel and Visti.News portal, was attacked with tear gas and beaten up by unidentified men, while filming a business-related dispute in the Barabashov marketplace in Kharkiv. The assaillants took away the journalist's camera and the memory card. Makaryuk spent more than a week in intensive care. He was still in hospital as of 9 July. Doctors diagnosed a hemorrhagic stroke and disrupted motor functions of the right arm and right leg as a result of the injuries. The police has opened criminal proceedings, under the charges of "obstruction of journalistic activities", "threat or violence against a journalist" and "hooliganism with the use of a weapon". Three suspects were placed under house arrest.
Follow-ups
12 Jul 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative Statement: "OSCE Media Freedom Representative condemns attack on cameraman Vadim Makaryuk in Ukraine, calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate it"
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11 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 14 Jun 2019 Romania

Romanian Investigative Journalist Diana Oncioiu Receives Anonymous Death Threat

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner CPJ AEJ
Partner CPJ AEJ
On 11 June 2019, an unidentified man using an anonymous phone number called Diana Oncioiu, an investigative reporter at independent news websites Dela0 and Sa Fie Lumina, and threatened to kill her if she continued to write about the Romanian Orthodox Church, according to the reporter.

Oncioiu filed a criminal complaint with the Bucharest police after receiving the call. In an interview with the Romanian edition of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a U.S. Congress-funded media outlet, Oncioiu said that the threat was likely related to her ongoing investigative work into allegations of pedophilia and other abuses at a theological seminary in Huși, a town in Eastern Romania.

Sa Fie Lumina confirmed that a threat had been made against one of its reporters and vowed to continue its investigative work into alleged sexual abuse at the seminary. Speaking with Romanian news website HotNews, Vasile Bănescu, a spokesperson for the Romanian Orthodox Church, rejected any association with the threats and said he hoped the perpetrator would be identified.
State replies
11 Jul 2019
New Response from the Romanian authorities
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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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