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18 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2019 Russian Federation

Russian Draft Legislation Would Ban Distribution of Foreign Print Media Without Government Permission

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner CPJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ RSF
On 2 April 2019, deputies in the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, considered amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses that would levy fines on individuals and companies for distributing print media from foreign outlets without permission from Russia's state media regulator, Roskomnadzor, according to an official statement from the Duma and media reports. For the amendments to become law, they must pass two more readings in the Duma and be approved by the parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, and then signed by President Vladimir Putin. Under the proposed amendments, Roskomnadzor would have the authority to seize all print media distributed without permission and penalize companies, such as newsstands, with up to 30,000 rubles (416 €) for the unauthorized distribution of media, according to the Duma statement. Individuals who disseminate unauthorized foreign print media would face fines of up to 1,500 rubles (20 €), while fines for public officials could reach up to 3,000 (41 €), according to the Duma.
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18 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2019 Albania

Albania: Journalists and Photographers Injured by Police During Anti-Government Protests

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ RSF
On 13 April 2019, Albanian police fired tear gas into a crowd during a demonstration in the capital, Tirana, affecting several journalists, according to news reports and video footage of the protest. Eliza Gjediku, a reporter for local TV station Tema TV, was incapacitated by the tear gas and was sent to a local hospital for treatment, according to her employer. The Associated Press reported that "a few journalists" were affected by tear gas. Arben Dajci, a freelance photographer, was hit on the head by a metal baton that he alleged was swung by a police officer, according to local English-language news website Exit. On the night of the protest, Exit published a photo of Dajci with a head injury allegedly caused by police. CPJ's emailed questions to the director of communications of the Albanian government did not immediately receive a response. Protests have been ongoing in Albania since mid-February, with the opposition demanding that the current government resign and hold early parliamentary elections, according to the AP.
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18 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2019 Italy

Italy: Journalist Valentino Gonzato Assaulted, Robbed while Reporting in Park

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ
On 2 April 2019, Valentino Gonzato, an Italian reporter with the daily newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza, was assaulted by a group of seven people while reporting in Fornaci Park in Vicenza, a city in Northern Italy, according to his employer. The group threatened the reporter, spat on him, and punched and kicked him, according to Il Giornale di Vicenza; members of the group also stole his phone. The paper reported that Gonzato suffered injuries and was taken to a local emergency room. It did not specify the extent of his injuries. According to regional news website Il Gazettino, police intervened in the assault and arrested seven people. The police also recovered Gonzato's phone, the website reported. CPJ emailed questions about the investigation to the local police in Vicenza but did not receive a reply. CPJ's emailed request for comment to Il Giornale di Vicenza also did not receive a response. According to Il Giornale di Vicenza, Gonzato was documenting the presence of drug dealers and tent encampments in the park when he was attacked.
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18 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2019 Bulgaria

Bulgaria: Journalists Injured by Police During Protest

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ
On 12 April 2019, at least two journalists were injured while covering clashes between police and protesters in Gabrovo, a town in central Bulgaria, according to local media reports. Veselin Tsvetanov, a reporter, and Daniel Stefanov, a cameraman, who both work for Bulgarian internet broadcaster Radio 999, reported that they had been hit by the police while they covered a demonstration, according to those media reports. Stefanov told Radio 999's affiliated TV station, TV 999, that that he was hit by a police baton above his left eye and required four stitches, according to a transcript of the interview by Bulgarian news website dir.bg. Tsvetanov was also hit on the head but did not require medical attention, according to Stefanov. CPJ emailed questions to the press center of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, but did not immediately receive a response. The Gabrovo police chief resigned on 12 April after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov criticised the police for mishandling the protests, according to the Bulgarian News Agency, the country's public news agency.
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17 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 17 Apr 2019 United Kingdom

Proposals for Online Harms Regulation Risk Impacting Media Freedom

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index
No state reply yet
Partner Index
Proposed new and wide-ranging legislation in the UK government’s “Online Harms White Paper” released on 8 April has raised concerns about media freedom. Proposed measures include a new legal duty of care to address a wide range of “harms” (not limited to illegal material or activities) with the possibility of large fines and potentially criminal liability for senior managers. Companies of all sizes, including social media companies, public discussion forums, non-profit organisations, file sharing sites and cloud hosting providers are included (for example, a blog and comments would be included). Media and campaigning organisations have raised concerns about the risks of direct and indirect interference with media freedom, such as prior restraint for comments sections and potential removal of "harmful" news stories online.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 12 Sep 2018 Turkey

Austrian Journalist Max Zirngast Detained in Turkey

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index IPI
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index IPI
Austrian journalist Max Zirngast has been detained on early hours of 11 September 2018 at his apartment in Ankara by anti-terror authorities. According to some media reports, he would be detained on "terror propaganda" charges. Allegations may be related to his political publications and involvement in civil activism against the Turkish government. He was arrested along with two other Turkish citizens.

Max Zirngast, a political science student at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), has been contributing to left-wing publications such as Austrian magazine re:volt, US left-wing publication Jacobin, Turkish socialist monthly Toplumsal Özgürlük. He was publishing content often critical to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has been politically active in the election campaign of pro-kurdish HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party).
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
Max Zirngast’s first hearing took place on 11 April 2019. Judicial control measure to sign weekly attendance at police station is lifted, travel ban remained. Hearing adjourned to 11 Sept 2019.
04 Jan 2019
On 25 December 2018, Austrian freelance journalist Max Zirngast has been released but is still under prosecution with a travel ban.
Follow-ups
12 Sep 2018
OSCE Representative strongly condemns detention of Austrian journalist Max Zirngast and urge authorities to immediately release him.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (0):

Max Zirngast
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yetProgress
Alert created on: 10 Jan 2017 Azerbaijan

Mehman Huseynov Sentenced to Two Years on Defamation Charges

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI PEN RSF
No state reply yet
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI PEN RSF
On 9 January 2017, Mehman Huseynov, a blogger and journalist, was detained in Central Baku by plain clothed police officers and held incommunicado overnight. Mehman has reported that while in police custody, police placed a sack over his head and used force against him.

On 10 January, he was taken to Nasimi District Court, where he was tried on charges of disobeying the police (Article 535.1 of the Administrative Offences Code), which carries a sentence of up to 30 days in jail. The Court released him; however, he was fined 200 AZN (approx. 100 EUR).

Huseynov is well known for his investigative journalism, focused on corruption among the Azerbaijani elite. Most recently, he had posted pictures online of luxury properties, which he said were owned by government officials. He has long been subject to pressure by the authorities, and has been under a travel ban for several years.
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
On 12 April 2019, the authorities of Azerbaijan lifted the travel ban of Mehman Hüseynov, allowing him to leave the country and attend an OSCE conference on media freedom in Vienna.
10 Apr 2019
On 9 April 2019, Mehman Huseynov was informed that he was banned from leaving the country, according to the order of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan.
04 Mar 2019
Mehman Huseynov was released from prison on 2 March 2019 after fully serving a two-year prison sentence.
22 Jan 2019
On 22 January 2019, the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan announced that the new criminal case against Mehman Huseynov, regarding his alleged attack on a warden, has been discontinued. This follows the statement of the President of Azerbaijan, who issued a recommendation to the prosecution “to ensure the fairness and objectivity of the investigation”, taking into account the family situation and the youth of the defendant.
02 Jan 2019
On 26 December 2018, two months before his supposed end of sentence, new charges were brought against Mehman Huseynov. He was accused of beating a prison employee and placed in a punishment cell. In protest, he went on a dry hunger strike. On 30 December, Mr. Huseynov was transferred to Baku pre-trial centre. Due to his critical health state, a doctor was called in, who administered injections. The Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety addressed an appeal to the international community to “condemn another flagrant repressive act and call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mehman Huseynov”
28 Aug 2018
On 14 August 2018, Mehman Huseynov asked for a conditional detention, a request that was rejected by the Garadargsky District Court on 24 August.
28 Jun 2018
On 25 June 2018, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court rejected the second appeal by Mehman Huseynov, upholding his prison sentence for defamation.
18 Dec 2017
On 15 December 2017 the Baku Court of Appeals upheld the verdict against Huseynov, confirming his two year sentence for libel.
29 Sep 2017
On 29 September 2017 the Supreme Court of Baku partially granted Mehman Huseynov`s appeal, sending the case back to the Court of Appeals.
12 Apr 2017
On 12 April 2017, the Court of Appeals upheld the two years sentence against Mehman Huseynov.
03 Mar 2017
On 3 March 2017, Mehman Huseynov was sentenced to two years in prison on defamation charges (article 147.2 of the Criminal Code – defamation regarding a very serious crime) by the Surakhani district court. He was arrested in the courtroom. Nasimi district police chief filed the defamation charges against Huseynov, claiming the blogger lied when he stated following his release in January that he had been beaten by the police, demanding that he stopped his blogging activities. Mehman Huseynov is the first person to be convicted for slander in Azerbaijan.
Follow-ups
07 Jan 2019
PACE co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Azerbaijan call upon authorities to review Mehman Huseynov’s case
07 Jan 2019
Commissioner calls on the authorities of Azerbaijan to drop charges against Mehman Huseynov
07 Mar 2017
OSCE Freedom of Media Representative and Human Rights chief call for release of blogger and human rights activist in Azerbaijan
03 Mar 2017
CoE Commissioner for Human Rights calls the two-year sentence against Mehman Huseynov in defamation case "appalling".
11 Jan 2017
CoE Human Rights Commissioner expresses his worries at reported ill-treatment, arrest, fine of blogger Mehman Huseynov.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 15 Apr 2019 Azerbaijan

Anar Mammadov Gets Suspended Prison Sentence

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner RPT
No state reply yet
Partner RPT
N/A
On 18 March 2019, Anar Mammadov, the editor of the Criminal.az website, was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison with a two-year probation period. The Baku Court for Serious Crimes found Mammadov guilty of making public calls against the state, abuse of professional duties and forgery. Mammadov insisted that his website reposted only articles by other sources and agencies. The investigation of the Mammadov's case began in 2018 after the Prosecutor-General’s Office accused him of distributing false information regarding the attack against the mayor of Ganca, and a massive power outage following the explosion at a thermal power station in Mingacevir. During the two-year probation period, the journalist is banned from changing his place of residence and leaving the country.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 15 Apr 2019 Russian Federation

Blood Feud Declared By Official Against Blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner RPT
No state reply yet
Partner RPT
A popular Russian blogger, Tumso Abdurakhmanov, was called “an enemy to me and my brothers” by the Speaker of Chechen parliament, Magomed Daudov. Daudov, a close ally of the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, declared a blood feud against Abdurakhmanov after the blogger published a video on his popular YouTube channel, calling Akhmat Kadyrov “a traitor” of the Chechen people. Abdurakhmanov believes that the blood feud declared against him is nothing less than a death threat. On 12 March, in his Instagram Live broadcast, Daudov vowed to track down Abdurakhmanov and retaliate, using the Chechen term for "blood feud." Daudov’s recording was translated into Russian and reported on the same day by several Russian news outlets. Abdurakhmanov fled Chechnya in 2015 after the Chechen authorities accused Abdurakhmanov of having links with the "Islamic State" (IS), banned in Russia by the court. A criminal case was initiated against him under the article of "participation in illegal armed formations (IAFs) outside the country". Abdurakhmanov is presently in hiding in Poland facing deportation. Despite strong opposition from human rights activists, Abdurakhmanov's first asylum application was rejected. He's currently awaiting the decision on his second application. Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was unaware of the threat made by Daudov and that there is “no such thing” as blood feuds in Russian law.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 24 Feb 2017 Turkey

"Die Welt" Correspondent in Turkey Deniz Yücel Detained

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
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.
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
On April 11-hearing, court adjourned the next hearing to 16 July, allowing Deniz Yücel's defense statement to be heard in a Berlin rogatory court on 10 May 2019.
26 Sep 2018
On 25 September 2018, the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court rejected Deniz Yücel’s request for compensation for his year-long imprisonment in Turkey.
16 Feb 2018
On 16 February 2018, a criminal court in Istanbul ordered the release of Deniz Yücel pending trial. On the same day, prosecutors presented an indictment seeking up to 18 years in jail for the journalist on charges of "spreading terrorist propaganda" and "stirring enmity".
30 Mar 2017
On 30 March 2017, following the rejection of the appeal, Yücel’s lawyers filed a complaint at the Constitutional Court.
28 Feb 2017
On 27 February 2017, Deniz Yücel was arrested after an Istanbul court ordered him to be jailed pending trial. His lawyers have appealed against his detention.
Follow-ups
16 Feb 2018
OSCE Media freedom representative welcomes the release of Deniz Yücel, adding that all charges against him should be dropped.
19 Oct 2017
On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
02 Mar 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media calls on Turkey to decriminalize journalistic work following arrest of Die Welt journalist
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 31 Oct 2016 Turkey

Turkey: Arrest of At Least 12 Employees of Cumhuriyet Newspaper

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
On 31 October 2016, Turkish police detained at least 12 employees of Cumhuriyet newspaper, Turkey's largest secular, left-leaning paper, and one of the few publications that continues to criticise the government. The detained media workers are accused of membership of, and committing crimes on behalf of, two terrorist organisations: the Kurdistan Workers’ party and the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ), which the government accuses of being behind the failed coup attempt. According to media reports, prosecutors also issued detention warrants for two of the newspaper’s executives, who are both currently abroad.

Following police raids, the following people were taken into custody: Murat Sabuncu (Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief); Güray Öz (Cumhuriyet board executive and columnist); Aydın Engin (former editor-in-chief of the newspaper); Hikmet Çetinkaya (columnist); Eser Sevinç, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik (all board members of the Cumhuriyet Foundation); Turhan Günay (Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper’s book supplement); and columnist Kadri Gürsel, who is also the head of the International Press Institute’s Turkey office.
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
On 19 February 2019, an Istanbul appeals court confirmed the sentences handed down by a lower criminal court in April 2018. Journalists in the case with sentences greater than five years have the possibility of further appeal. Lower sentences are considered final under Turkish law.
26 Apr 2018
On 25 April 2018, an Istanbul court convicted 13 journalists and executives of Cumhuriyet of aiding terrorist organizations and sentenced them to jail terms ranging between two and seven years. The court placed the journalists on probation and banned them from traveling until the appeals process has ended. The judge also ordered the conditional release of Cumhuriyet chairman Akin Atalay. The court acquitted three of the defendants : Bülent Yener, a former board member, Turhan Günay, chief editor of the daily's literary supplement, and Günseli Özatalay, the chief accountant.
12 Mar 2018
On 9 March 2018, the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled for the release of Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık pending the conclusion of the trial. Sabuncu and Şık remain under judicial control. The daily's chairman, Akın Atalay, however, was remanded in custody until the next hearing, scheduled for 16 March, during which the prosecutor is expected to submit his final opinion.
29 Dec 2017
On 29 December 2017 an Istanbul Court ruled to release Emre İper. He remains under judicial control and an international travel ban.
25 Dec 2017
On 25 December 2017 a judge at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse ruled to keep Ahmet Şık, Akın Atalay, Emre Iper and Murat Sabuncu in jail for at least two more months until the next session of the trial on 9 March 2018.
26 Sep 2017
On 25 September 2017, the Court ruled to release Kadri Gürsel, though he remains on trial on charges of links to terror groups. After completing formalities, he was released from the Silivri prison. The Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Emre Iper and Murat Sabuncu. Their next hearing is scheduled for 31 October 2017.
12 Sep 2017
On 11 September 2017, a Turkish court confirmed Ahmet Şık's detention. The next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
12 Sep 2017
On 11 September 2017 a Turkish court Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu and Kadri Gürsel. Their next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
31 Jul 2017
On 28 July 2017, an Istanbul court released seven Cumhuriyet journalists and executives. Five are to remain under arrest including Ahmet Şık. The court also decided that additional criminal charges would be brought against Ahmet Şık for his defense statement.
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 14 September 2017.
16 May 2017
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.
19 Apr 2017
On 7 April 2017, Cumhuriyet’s Finance Manager Emre İper was taken into custody during a midnight raid on his home by police. He was arrested on 19 April on charges of using ByLock, a communications app allegedly used by the Fethullah Gülen network and “being member of a terrorsit organisation”.
11 Jan 2017
On 29 December 2016, the investigative journalist Ahmet Şık was detained by Turkish authorities on charges of " propaganda on behalf of an illegal terrorist organisation" and "openly denigrating the Republic of Turkey, its judicial organs and its military and police". Şık tweeted that he was being detained due to a single tweet; a news report stated that the detention also related to various reporting elements including an interview with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)'s administrator published in Cumhuriyet daily in March 2015. On 30 December, Ahmet Şık was officially put under arrest on charges of spreading propaganda for the PKK, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) and for the Fethullah Gülen group, an Islamic network the Turkish judiciary refers to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). All three groups are outlawed in Turkey. A report published by the Cumhuriyet claimed that Ahmet Şık had been denied drinking water for three days at Metris Prison, where he was kept before being transferred to Silivri Prison on 3 January. The Justice Ministry's Directorate General for Correctional Facilities released a statement denying the allegation, the official statement claimed Şık was given 1.5 liters of bottled water on 1 January. The Turkish authorities own regulation states that "any inmate has to right to have on daily basis 200 liters of cold water and 50 liters of hot water". Ahmet Şık also claimed that he was denied access to newspaper, pen and books in the cell. Ahmet Şık's access to his lawyers (Can Atalay and Tora Pekin) and family members were also denied during the first 5 days of his detention because the authorities couldn't record the conversation between the lawyers and their client. Şık was previously arrested in March 2011 in relation to an investigation into the Oda TV news website. He spent a year in prison for an unpublished critical book about the Gülen movement supported, at that time, by the AKP government. Today, the journalist is charged with doing propaganda for the same movement.
14 Nov 2016
On 12 November 2016, the CEO of daily Cumhuriyet, Akin Atalay, was arrested for “being a member of a terrorist organization” , upon his arrival at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. A detention warrant had been issued for him on 30 October while he was abroad.
08 Nov 2016
On 5 November 2016, nine journalists and executives from the Cumhuriyet daily were placed under formal arrest by the İstanbul 9th Penal Court of Peace. The daily’s columnists Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya were released by the court pending trial. A travel ban was imposed on them. On 4 November 2016, Günseli Özaltay, the accounting manager of the newspaper, and former accounting manager Bülent Yener were released.
Follow-ups
04 May 2018
Secretary General deeply worried by the chilling effect the heavy criminal sentences may have on media freedom
26 Apr 2018
OSCE representative welcomes release of Akın Atalay in Turkey but strongly condemns prison sentences for Cumhuriyet journalists and staff.
23 Mar 2018
All Cumhuriyet journalists must be released, says OSCE representative Désir following continued detention of CEO Atalay
12 Mar 2018
OSCE Media Freedom Representative welcomes the release of two Cumhuriyet journalists, calls on Turkey to free Akın Atalay and drop charges against all defendants
19 Jan 2018
The Council of Europe Secretary General refers to the recent decisions of Turkey’s Constitutional Court in his address to the Committee of Ministers
19 Oct 2017
On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
26 Sep 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes the release of Kadri Gürsel and calls for release of imprisoned Cumhuriyet journalists in Turkey.
12 Sep 2017
OSCE Media Freedom Representative renews calls on Turkey to urgently release jailed journalists.
31 Jul 2017
Cumhuriyet trial interim court decision shows urgency to drop charges and release all imprisoned Turkish journalists, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
25 Jul 2017
OSCE media freedom representative calls on Turkey to release imprisoned journalists
12 Jun 2017
On 8 June 2017, the European Court of Human Rights communicated to the Turkish Government the case of Sabuncu and Others v. Turkey. The applicants, ten journalists from the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet placed in police custody and subsequently in pre-trial detention on suspicion of having committed offences on behalf of terrorist organisations and disseminating propaganda for them, complained about their pre-trial detention and its duration, and also submit that there has been a breach of their freedom of expression. They further allege that their detention is a sanction against them for criticising the government and amounts to politically-motivated judicial harassment. They rely in particular on Article 5 § 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security / right to speedy review of the lawfulness of detention), Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights).
15 Feb 2017
Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
31 Oct 2016
Statement from Secretary General Jagland expressing his concern about state of emergency measures and freedom of expression in Turkey
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 14 Mar 2019 Turkey

Turkey Revokes Press Accreditations of Foreign Correspondents

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ IPI
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ IPI
German journalists were compelled to leave Turkey on Sunday, 10 March 2019, after their press accreditations were not renewed for 2019 without any explanation. Thomas Seibert, reporter at the Tagesspiegel newspaper, was a long-term correspondent in the country. Jörg Brase was head of public broadcaster ZDF’s Istanbul office. The Turkish embassy in Germany tried in vain to make a deal to have the correspondents replaced, Tagesspiegel’s editor-in-chief reports. A third journalist, Halil Gülbeyaz, with public broadcaster NDR also had his accreditation refused and is not allowed return to Turkey. On 13 March 2019, Brase’s accreditation was renewed, after 20 freedom of expression and human rights organisations had urged Turkey to rescind the decisions. The status of Seibert and Gülbeyaz remains unclear.
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
Accreditation of Tagesspiegel Turkey correspondent Thomas Seibert is renewed and he returned back to Turkey on 8 April 2019 after being invited by Turkish authorities to return to the country.
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12 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
Resolved
Alert created on: 08 Mar 2019 Ukraine

Ukraine Places Entry Ban on Austrian Correspondent

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
Ukraine has placed an entry ban on Austrian correspondent Christian Wehrschütz, who has reported from the country since 2014 for the Austrian national public broadcaster ORF. The Austrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ukrainian authorities had confirmed the ban. Ukraine’s SBU security service has accused Wehrschütz of illegal entry into the disputed Crimean peninsula – a charge Wehrschütz has disputed – as well as “anti-Ukrainian propaganda”, according to media reports. Authorities had previously denied Wehrschütz accreditation to report from the eastern part of the country. An expert on eastern and southeastern Europe, Wehrschütz has reported for ORF in the region since 1999, based mainly in Belgrade. Since 2014, he has regularly reported from the front lines in Ukraine. That year, he was named as “Journalist of the Year” by Austria’s trade magazine for journalism for his coverage of the conflict.
Updates
New 12 Apr 2019
On 12 April 2019, taking into consideration the decision of the Ukrainian authorities lifting the entry ban imposed on the journalist, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ‘resolved’, concluding that it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
11 Apr 2019
On 11 April 2019, Ukraine’s Security Services (SBU) announced that it had lifted the entry ban earlier imposed on Wehrschütz and notified the journalist that he could travel to Ukraine again.
Follow-ups
08 Mar 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls on Ukrainian authorities to reverse entry ban for Austrian journalist.
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12 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 16 May 2018 Ukraine

RIA Novosti Journalist Kyrylo Vyshynsky Held on Treason Allegations in Ukraine

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ Index RSF
Kyrylo Vyshynsky, a Ukrainian journalist working for Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novotsi in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, was detained on 15 May 2018 on allegations of treason. His arrest came hours before raids by Ukrainian security service (SBU) at the news agency’s offices. According to media reports, the authorities suspected Vyshynsky, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2015 by Presidential decree, of allegedly collaborating with Ukrainian armed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The prosecuting officials in Kyiv also accused him of allegedly subversive reporting to justify Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, media reports added. 51-year-old Vyshynsky joined RIA Novosti in 2015 after having worked for several Ukrainian media outlets and Russia's state television channel Rossiya as its correspondent in Kyiv.
Updates
New 12 Apr 2019
On 4 April 2019, the trial against Kyrylo Vyshynsky began in Kyiv’s Podil District Court. Mr Vyshynsky faces up to 15 years in prison, if found guilty of treason charges against him.
14 Feb 2019
On 8 February 2019, the court in Kherson extended until 8 April 2019 the arrest of Kyrylo Vyshynsky.
02 Jan 2019
On 27 December 2018, a Kherson court has extended Kyrylo Vyshynsky’s arrest until 27 January.
02 Nov 2018
On 1st November 2018, the Kherson City Court extended for the third time the pre-trial detention of Kyrylo Vyshynsky until 28 December 2018.
03 Oct 2018
On 26 September 2018, Vyshynsky’s custody was extended until 4 November 2018.
17 May 2018
On 17 May 2018, a court ordered Kyrylo Vyshynsky held for two months detention on high treason charges.
State replies
12 Jul 2018
Reply from the Government of Ukraine
Follow-ups
29 Oct 2018
OSCE Representative expresses serious concern about lasting pre-trial detention of journalist Kirill Vyshinsky in Ukraine.
16 May 2018
OSCE Representative raises concern over raid against Russian News Agency and TV today in Ukraine
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Kyrylo Vyshynsky
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10 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 14 Feb 2019 Serbia

N1TV Journalists Subjected to Death Threats

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Private-owned TV station N1 received a letter on 4 February 2019 threatening to kill the N1 journalists and their families and to blow up the office. It said: “Do you have families? You’re killing our children and grandchildren, and are unaware that if the destruction happens, your building will be the first to be blown up, and you may lose your dearest. That’s why we, the veterans, warn you not to play with anyone’s destiny because your fate is in our hands.”

The letter was signed "Belgrade Veterans of the 1999 war" (a Serbian war veteran association), but the representative denied any involvement. The Prosecutor’s Office arrested a 70-year-old man from the town of Nova Pazova and ordered a 30-day detention. The death threats were issued after N1 journalists were labelled "anti-Serbs" and "traitors" by ruling party MPs for their reports about Kosovo.
State replies
Follow-ups
02 Apr 2019
New On 29 March 2019, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir denounced threats against journalists of the N1 news channel in Serbia. In a letter sent on 27 March 2019 to the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, the OSCE Representative expressed his concern about the threats and pressure against the N1 news channel.
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09 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 05 Mar 2019 France

Attempt to Search Mediapart's Newsroom

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 4 February 2019, at around 11 a.m., two officials of the Paris Public Prosecutor's Office, accompanied by three police investigators, arrived at Mediapart’s premises to carry out a search as part of a preliminary investigation opened by the Paris Public Prosecutor's Office on charges of "breach of privacy" and "unlawful possession of technical devices that may allow the interception of telecommunications or conversations". The investigative journalists present opposed the search citing the protection of journalists' sources.

In an article, Mediapart suggests that information provided by the Prime Minister's Office led the Paris Public Prosecutor's Office to decide to open a preliminary investigation, and considers that the measure does not strike the necessary balance between the prosecution of criminal offences and the protection of sources. Following the request for documents from the investigating judge in charge of the violences committed on 1 May 2018, the journalists then handed over seven recordings, without endangering their sources.

The preliminary investigation follows the publication on 31 January 2019, on the Mediapart website, of new information about the "Macron-Benalla case", which weakens the defence of Emmanuel Macron's former deputy to the President’s office chief of staff, Alexandre Benalla. It focuses on the conditions under which such information could be obtained.

The case began in July 2018, with the disclosures by the daily Le Monde, which accused Alexandre Benalla of having usurped the functions of police officer after molesting a couple of demonstrators on 1 May 2018. The case then highlighted dysfunctions within the Elysée with new information suspecting, in particular, Alexandre Benalla of having concluded a contract with a Russian oligarch on behalf of his own company, while he was working at the Elysée.
Updates
New 09 Apr 2019
On 5 April 2019, Mediapart took legal action against the state before the Court of Paris, in liability for gross negligence that caused "abnormal, special and particularly serious damage".
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08 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 08 Apr 2019 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Politician Attacks Cameraman of the Investigative Outlet Zurnal

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
On 28 March 2019, Huso Cesir, the head of the municipal council of Novi Grad, a municipality of the capital Sarajevo, attacked Adi Kebo, the cameraman of the investigative outlet ‘Zurnal’, who was trying to record the official’s private company while working on an alleged corruption story. Huso Cesir along with his son, Muamer Cesir, took away a camera of Abi Kebo and threatened to break it. After Kebo's contact with police, the camera was returned to the journalist. “Zurnal” filed a police report following the incident. The Association of Journalists of Bosnia and Herzegovina condemned the attack, highlighting that “journalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina are more and more often victims of various forms of violence.”
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08 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 08 Apr 2019 Slovak Republic

Former PM Robert Fico Launches a New Attack on Media

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ RSF
Robert Fico, former Prime Minister and chairman of the governing SMER party, launched new verbal attacks on journalists and the media in Slovakia. On 21 March 2019, at a press conference, Mr Fico accused the media of leading an open war against his party and promised to use "all legal and legitimate means to fight the media, until the situation returns to normal". He continued pressing the journalists saying to those, who attended the briefing: "I have no respect for you, I do not fear you at all", insisting that the media publish “absurdities” and linking this to the initiative to amend the Press Code, which would grant politicians the right of reply to content they do not like. The day before, at another press conference, he stated that the party set up a legal team, which will monitor the behavior of journalists and file criminal complaints against them, calling Slovak media as “the biggest threat to democracy”.
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05 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 10 Apr 2018 Turkey

Journalists Detained on Account of Social Media Posts Critical of the Military Operation in Afrin

2 Journalists in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
At least four journalists have been detained in police raids since 20 January 2018 as part of a social media crackdown on individuals who shared critical comments or news regarding the ‘Operation Olive Branch’, which was launched by the Turkish army on the Syrian town of Afrin.
Van-based journalist Idris Yılmaz, was taken into custody on 21 January following a police raid on his house in Van province. He was ordered arrested on 23 January 2018 on charges of “making terrorist propaganda”. His house has been raided by the police on 20 March 2018 and according to his wife, his family members intimidated.
On 22 January, Ishak Karakaş, editor-in-chief of Halkın Nabzı newspaper and columnist for Artı Gerçek, was taken into custody during a police raid at his home in Istanbul. An Istanbul court formally arrested Karakaş on 26 January. His social media posts criticising the Turkish military’s operation in Afrin have been used as criminal evidence.
Mezopotamya news agency reporter Seda Taşkın was detained on 22 January during a police raid on her home in Ankara. Taşkın was arrested on 23 January on “membership in a terrorist organization” charges.
On 23 January, Haydar Ergül, an editor for the Demokratik Modernite magazine, who had been in custody since he was detained at the Diyarbakır Airport on 16 January, was arrested by an Istanbul court on charges of “making terrorist propaganda” and “membership in a terrorist organisation”.
Updates
New 05 Apr 2019
On 26 March 2019, the 28th High Criminal Court of Istanbul convicted İshak Karakaş of “systematically disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and sentenced him to a prison term of 1 year, 6 months and 22 days. The court deferred the sentence.
21 Jan 2019
On 17 January 2019, the Court of appeal issued an interim decision ruling for the release of Seda Taşkın pending appeal. On 10 October 2018, the 2nd High Criminal Court of Muş had sentenced Taşkın to a total of 7.5 years in prison - 4 years and 2 months in prison for “aiding a terrorist organisation without being its member” and another 3 years and 4 months for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation.” The decision was brought to the appellate court.
07 Jan 2019
İdris Yılmaz’s initial detention period was meant to end on 16 May 2018. He however remained in prison due to a new investigation started in February 2018, on charge of "membership in a terrorist organisation". On 3 January 2019, the Van 5. High criminal court sentenced İdris Yılmaz to a 6-year and 3-month prison sentence on this charge. On 31 December 2018 his lawyer has brought an application to the Constitutional Court.
12 Oct 2018
On 10 October 2018, Muş’ 2nd High Criminal Court sentenced Seda Taşkın to a total of seven years and six months in prison. The court sentenced the journalist to three years and four months for "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" and four years and two months for "aiding and abetting a [terrorist] organization without being a member." The journalist is currently being held at the Sincan Women's Prison.
25 Sep 2018
On 18 September 2018, İstanbul 28. High Criminal Court ruled to lift the judicial control order that forced the defendant to give signature every week, however it rejected the request to lift the international travel ban.
09 May 2018
Editor-in-Chief of the local Istanbul daily Halkın Nabzı and Artı Gerçek columnist, İshak Karakaş, was released under judicial control measures in his first court appearance on 8 May 2018.
Follow-ups
21 Jan 2019
Relieved that Seda Taşkın was released, the OSCE Representative hopes for her acquittal on appeal.
12 Oct 2018
OSCE Representative appalled by Muş 2nd Heavy Penal Court 7.5 yrs prison sentence to reporter at Seda Taşkın for "aiding and abetting terrorist organisation as non-member".
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (2):

Idris Yılmaz, Haydar Ergül
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04 Apr 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 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.
New 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
New 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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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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