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20 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 28 May 2018 Montenegro

Impunity in the case of the murder of Dusko Jovanovic

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On the evening of 27 May 2004, journalist Dusko Jovanovic, editor-in-chief of the opposition daily Dan in Montenegro, was shot dead while he was leaving his office in Podgorica. Unidentified individuals shot him in the head and chest with an automatic rifle as he was entering his car just after midnight. The daily newpaper Dan was closely tied the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic throughout the 1990s. Before the killing, the newspaper has faced numerous lawsuits for criticizing Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.
Both Dan and Jovanovic's family reported that the editor had received numerous death threats, and the newspaper's office in Podgorica was set on fire in April 2003. The editor's wife, Slavica Jovanovic, testified before the court that the head of Montenegro's State Security Service, Dusko Markovic, had called her husband and threatened to kill him in April 2003, according to Dan.
On June 9 2004, police arrested Damir Mandic, a local organised crime figure. In October 2004, prosecutors charged Mandic with murder, citing evidence linking him to the vehicle used in the crime. While the indictment did not clarify the reason for the murder, the only motive discussed in the local press has been Jovanovic's work for Dan exposing government abuses.
In April 2009, Mandic was sentenced to 30 years in prison for being an accomplice in Jovanovic's murder. The lawyer representing the Jovanovic family and Dan staff has criticised the police investigation for failing to identify Mandic's accomplices; not identifying who ordered the killing; and not investigating possible links between Mandic and Montenegrin government authorities.
On 28 May 2018, the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro issued a statement demanding "to secure the conditions for carrying out an independent investigation of the assassination of Dusko Jovanovic" in order to "find and arrest the perpetrators and masterminds of the most grave violation against journalists in the history of Montenegro"
State replies
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20 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 11 Mar 2019 Croatia

Wave of Lawsuits Against Journalists in Croatia

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
According to the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), there are more than 1,160 ongoing lawsuits against journalists and news outlets in the country. Many cases filed by politicians, public figures and corporations include the offence of ‘shaming’ which is still part of the Croatian Criminal Code. Most of the court cases involve compensation claims for alleged non material damages such as “mental anguish” or “tarnished reputation". On Saturday 2 March 2019, hundreds of journalists led by the CJA rallied in Zagreb to protest against this wave of lawsuits targeting the media. The protest was called after Croatian public broadcaster HRT itself filed 36 lawsuits against its own journalists and others, including CJA head Hrvoje Zovko and CJA branch in Public Service Media, who complained of censorship. “I urge HRT to engage in a constructive out-of-court dialogue with journalists and resolve the current disputes,” reacted on 6 March the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir. “It is commendable that the reconciliation process has started in some of the cases and this will hopefully result in the dropping of all charges against journalists.”
State replies
20 Mar 2019
Follow-ups
11 Mar 2019
New OSCE Representative concerned about numerous lawsuits against journalists in Croatia and disputes involving public service broadcaster HRT.
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19 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 19 Mar 2019 Serbia

Public TV Building Stormed by Anti-Government Protesters

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
A group of around 100 anti-government protesters stormed the building of the Serbian national broadcaster RTS in Belgrade on Saturday 16 March, demanding to be allowed to make a public address live on air. Protesters, who wanted to voice their opposition to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, had to be evacuated from the RTS building after about 50 riot police were deployed to the premises. It was the first time in 20 years that protesters invade the Serbian public TV headquarters. According to the Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS), some journalists were pushed and threatened by protesters. However, and despite of the tension, no one was hurt in the incident. The Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) condemned the incident.
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19 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 26 Feb 2018 Slovak Republic

Slovak Investigative Journalist Killed at Home

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner Index Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ INSI IPI PEN RSF
Partner Index Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ INSI IPI PEN RSF
Investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, who had been reporting on tax fraud, was shot dead at his home, news website Dennik N reported, citing the Interior Ministry. According to Dennik N, the murder took place in the journalist’s house in the village of Veľká Mača 5 km east of the capital Bratislava, some time between 22 and 25 February 2018 . Kuciak was shot in the chest and his fiancée was shot in the head. Kuciak worked for Slovak news website Aktuality.sk.
Updates
New 14 Mar 2019
On 8 March 2019, the prosecutor's office formally charged businessman Marian Kočner with ordering the murder of Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.
01 Oct 2018
On 27-28 September 2018, the Slovak police detained nine suspects in connection with the murder of the journalist and his fiancée. Four of them were later charged and put into police custody on the grounds that they might try to influence witnesses if freed on bail.
State replies
19 Mar 2019
New Statement of the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the Council of Europe
27 Feb 2018
Statement of the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the Council of Europe
Follow-ups
14 Mar 2019
New OSCE Representative commends indictment against instigator of murders of journalist Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová in Slovakia
22 Feb 2019
New CoE Human Rights Commissioner encouraged by the various developments in the murder investigations, which so far have led to the arrest of four persons suspected of being involved in the murders, and the possible identification of one person who may have ordered them. However, she calls for extreme vigilance to guarantee the independence of the investigation.
01 Oct 2018
OSCE media freedom representative welcomes important progress in investigation of murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová in Slovakia.
16 Mar 2018
Following his country visit in the Slovak Republic, the Commissioner calls for a prompt and effective investigation in the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak in order to identify and punish the perpetrators, but especially those who ordered the murders. He also calls for an urgent public discussion about media freedom.
02 Mar 2018
OSCE media freedom representative calls for full and transparent investigation of journalist’s murder at meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Fico
01 Mar 2018
PACE President condemns murder of investigative journalist in the Slovak Republic
26 Feb 2018
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media representative strongly condemns murder of investigative reporter Kuciak in Slovakia
26 Feb 2018
"If death of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak is linked to his journalism, it would be an unprecedented attack on freedom of the press and democracy".
26 Feb 2018
Human Rights Commissioner: "I will raise the issue during upcoming visit to the country."
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15 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 25 Feb 2019 Poland

Polish Party Leader Initiates Libel Charge Against Critical Newspaper

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner IPI AEJ
Partner IPI AEJ
Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), has initiated a criminal libel charge against the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza for publishing reports about his reported involvement in the construction of a 190-meter-tall skyscraper in Warsaw. The Polish state-owned news agency PAP reported that the newspaper would be subject to public prosecution based on the defamation complaint filed by Kaczyński due to the existence of a “legitimate public interest”. Under Article 212 of the Polish Penal Code, defamation committed via mass media can result in a fine or up to one year in prison. Gazeta Wyborcza had reported on Kaczyński’s plans to build the skyscraper on a plot of land the newspaper said was given to him by political allies. Construction was to be undertaken by a company called Srebrna, closely linked to PiS, and with the help of a credit line given by a bank recently brought under state control. The newspaper also published several hours of recordings between Kaczyński and a businessman whom Kaczyński has reportedly refused to pay. Gazeta Wyborcza has said its reporting was fully substantiated and called the libel charge “an attempt to stifle criticism by the press, and in doing so to deprive the public of important, concrete allegations”. Article 212 has been the target of several failed repeal efforts in the past due to its use in stifling free expression.
State replies
15 Mar 2019
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15 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 30 Nov 2018 Ukraine

Journalists Attacked by Far-Right Radicals

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
On 18 November 2018, two Ukrainian and a Canadian journalists have been attacked in Kyiv by right-wing groups participating in counter-rally on Transgender Commemoration Day. The peaceful rally was attacked by mobilised ultra-right groups and was disrupted. People were attacked with teargas, smoke bombs. Among those who were injured there were journalists.
Margareta Bondari, aged 19, freelance journalist with Spilka magazine, was attacked by three men when she was leaving the site and got injuries caused by pepper spray. In the course of the next days, she was personally targeted by Yevgen Karas, the leader of the S14 ultra-right group, through media and social networks. Margareta Bondari was subjected to intimidation campaign early this year when she exposed facts of deliberate arson of Roma houses in Kyiv.
Bogdan Aminov, aged 22, a journalist with Newsone TV channel, was also attacked during the counter-rally. According to him, his official complaint to the police is not being investigated.
Canadian journalist Michael Colborne was also assaulted with pepper spray and punched in the face by two counter demonstrators near a metro station, suffering a swollen lip and cuts on his face from his broken glasses. The Police said they opened an investigation on Michael Colborne’s attack, classifying it as hooliganism.
State replies
15 Mar 2019
New Reply from the Government of Ukraine
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15 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 25 Jan 2019 Ukraine

Kherson daily “Novyi Den” Tear-Gassed and Shot at During Press Conference

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) reported that on 18 January 2019, during a press conference hosted by the press club of the daily “New Day” (Novyi Den) in Kherson, Ukraine, the newspaper came under attack from unknown assailants using rubber bullets and tear-gas from outside the building, before entering. One journalist present suffered chemical burns as a result. The police later arrested and released Kyril Stremousov, head of the Khersonian regional Socialist Party on charges of hoooliganism for the assault.
State replies
15 Mar 2019
New Reply from the Government of Ukraine
Follow-ups
25 Jan 2019
New Alarmed at attack on office of Novyi Den newspaper, the OSCE Representative on Media Freedom calls on the authorities to fully investigate and prosecute the attackers.
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15 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 21 Jan 2019 Ukraine

Belarusian Journalist Pavel Karnazytsky Deported from Ukraine

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 2 January 2019, officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) arrested Belarusian journalist Pavel Karnazytsky, founder of the Ukrainian newsportal Glavnovosti and deported him to Belarus. SBU accused him of spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda and fake news. According to their statement: “Special services found out that a foreigner living in Ukraine illegally, publicly disseminated fake information. In particular, during speeches on some television channels, he questioned the internationally recognized evidence of the presence of the aggressor country troops in the temporarily occupied territories of our country. Also, Mr Karnazytsky repeatedly published anti-Ukrainian materials on media resources controlled by the terrorist organisations “DPR” and “LPR”,”.

Pavel Karnazytsky lived in Ukraine since the end of the 90s, when he left Belarus. His lawyer stated that Karnazytsky had left Belarus because of political persecution.
State replies
15 Mar 2019
New Reply from the Government of Ukraine
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14 Mar 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
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
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.
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11 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 21 Jan 2019 Belgium

Multiple Complaints Filed Against Investigative Journalists David Leloup and Tom Cochez

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Several complaints have been filed against Belgian investigative journalists David Leloup and Tom Cochez by companies or individuals belonging to the political and financial community of the city of Liège. Following the publication of a series of articles between April 2017 and December 2018, in the weekly "Le Vif-L'Express", regarding a corruption case involving Socialist MP Alain Mathot and the Nethys company’s business, led by Stéphane Moreau, former socialist mayor of the city of Ans, David Leloup has been the target of five complaints and two threats of complaints, within little less than a year, between 5 January and 28 December 2018. The journalist must answer criminal charges following a complaint filed by the Semeb company. Four complaints were also filed with the Journalistic Ethics Board (CDJ) by Alain Mathot and by the Nethys SA and Ogeo Fund companies. Brussels businessman Dominique Janne and Ogeo Fund threatened the journalist with two additional judicial complaints.
The journalist Tom Cochez is also targeted by two ethical complaints and faces two threats of judicial complaint, including one targeting the Flemish online investigative media Apache, which collaborates with Le Vif-L'Express on the above-mentioned investigation cases. The Belgian Association of Professional Journalists (AJP) is worried about this multiplication of complaints targeting those journalists. The AJP provided David Leloup with a lawyer, in order to respond to the judicial harassment he is obviously subjected to.
Updates
New 11 Mar 2019
On 8 March 2019, the Belgian association for the support of journalists and whistleblowers Xpress revealed that Nethys' and Stéphane Moreau's lawyer served a formal notice to the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) to remove all references to its clients in the alert published on the Council of Europe Platform to strengthen the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists. The EFJ did not answer the demand.
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08 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
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
No state reply yet
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.
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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08 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 08 Mar 2019 Albania

British Journalist Targeted by Smear Campaign

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
A British journalist working in Albania for the web portal exit.al has been the target of a smear campaign following a statement given to Russia Today on 23 February 2019 related to the protests hitting the country.

Alice Taylor recently wrote about vote rigging, violence at protests and the government's links to organised crime and money laundering. Asked to comment about the state of corruption in Albania and the current developments in the country, Alice Taylor said to Russia Today that allegations of corruption can easily be documented with evidence showing links between the current government, organised crime, money laundering and drug trafficking. In her statement, she also questioned the fairness of the 2017 elections which confirmed Edi Rama as Prime Minister for a second term.

The next day, dozens of local portals started publishing photos accusing her to be linked to and paid by Russia, or that her portal is linked to the opposition party. Her partner was also targeted on social media platforms.

The journalist also informed that her residence permit was refused on 6 March after being approved some weeks before.
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07 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 07 Mar 2019 Belgium

The Daily Newspaper 'L'Avenir" Locked Out

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Following the announcement on Monday 4 March 2019 of a two-day strike to protest the dismissal of three journalists from the regional daily "L'Avenir", the newspaper's management locked out the company. The management decided on Monday evening to deny to the newspaper's journalists access to their work tools: it became impossible for the editorial staff to post articles on the newspaper's official accounts on social networks and on the "L'Avenir" website. On 6 March, even though the editorial staff had voted to resume work, in the morning, the management maintained the ban on access to the newspaper's website and social networks until late in the evening. An agreement was reached shortly before midnight. Journalists' representative organisations denounced the "muzzling" of the editorial staff of "L'Avenir" and the threats to media pluralism and independence. They likened the two-day lockout by the newspaper's management to "plain and simple censorship", undermining the right of "L'Avenir"’s readers to access information.
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05 Mar 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.
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05 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 06 Jul 2018 Greece

Greek Journalist Tony Bosnakoudis Detained when Investigating Police and Bus Company Links to Illegal Traffickers

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 25 May 2018, a Greek journalist, Tony Bosnakoudis, member of the ESPIT Press Union was detained for three hours, until after midnight, by police officers of the Alexandroupolis Police Station belonging to the DIAS Group. Between May 30 and June 22, the journalist was allegedly targeted five times by local police officers who used different means to intimidate him. The journalist was arrested outside of the local Evros Bus Station (KTEL) even though the policemen had seen his press card delivered by ESPIT press union. This incident immediately followed him telling them he was investigating complaints against KTEL and police officers for assisting the trafficking of undocumented and illegally arriving foreigners/migrants sent to Greece by Turkish trafficking networks. ESPIT has denounced the arrest and detainment of its member “noting that this is not the first time that colleagues have been attacked by police forces, during reporting, with inappropriate conduct and abuse of power".
Updates
New 05 Mar 2019
On 6 July 2018, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the largest organisation of journalists in Europe, representing over 320,000 journalists in 71 journalists’ organisations across 45 countries, has sent an alert to the Council of Europe's platform on the safety and protection of journalists regarding the detention and intimidation against Greek journalist Tony Bosnakoudis. The journalist was investigating and documenting police and a company links to illegal traffic of foreigners/migrants sent to Greece by Turkish trafficking networks. At the police station, the policemen forced him to erase the recorded video showing the traffic and put him under pressure to stop his investigation. Additionally, the journalist was prosecuted and will now appear on trial on 7 March 2019 at the Alexandropoulis Court. In October 2018, the same policemen who were intimidating the journalist were arrested by the Greek authorities and are now accused of being members of a trafficking network.
State replies
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04 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
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 04 Mar 2019
Mehman Huseynov was released from prison on 2 March 2019 after fully serving a two-year prison sentence.
New 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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01 Mar 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 22 Jan 2019 Romania

Romanian Media Regulator Imposes 10-minute Blackout on Realitatea TV

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index
Partner Index
Romania's media regulator, the National Audiovisual Council (CNA), announced that it was imposing a 10-minute blackout on privately-owned Realitatea TV to punish it for what the CNA said were shortcomings in the news channel's coverage of a mass anti-government protest in Bucharest on 10 August 2018. The suspension of transmission was put into effect during the peak viewing period on the evening of 17 January 2019. According to the CNA's ruling, the Council decided to impose this penalty because an analysis of Realitatea's coverage of the protest showed that it had failed to fulfil its obligation "to ensure that viewers are objectively informed by presenting them with the correct facts". Romanian freedom of expression NGO Active Watch accused the regulator of double standards, pointing out that when the channels Antena 3 and România TV were found guilty of a comparable misdemeanour in 2017, they were merely fined, not taken off-air.
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28 Feb 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 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”.
New 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
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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25 Feb 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 25 Jul 2016 Turkey

Journalist Zehra Doğan Arrested and Charged with "Membership of an Illegal Organisation"

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index
Zehra Doğan, JINHA editor (women's news agency) and a painter, was arrested by the police in Mardin, south-east of Turkey, on 22 July. She was taken to the Nusaybin police office the day after. According to reports, the authorities accused her of "being a member of the terrorist organisation PKK". The police presented Doğan 's paintings, along with her news reports and her social media posts, as evidence of this membership. The reason cited for the decision to detain her was a testimony by a confidential witness who reportedly claimed that Zehra had worked alongside DİHA reporter Bilal Gülden, also reporting from Nusaybin. Doğan was sent to the court which ordered her pre-trial detention and was transferred to Mardin Women's Prison.
Updates
New 25 Feb 2019
On 24 February 2019, Zehra Doğan was released after serving her full sentence.
14 Jun 2017
After losing her final appeal (2 June 2017), Zehra Doğan was arrested on 12 June 2017 and sent to Diyarbakır Prison.
02 Mar 2017
In March 2017, the court ruled that Ms Doğan be acquitted of the crime of "being a member of a terrorist organisation" but sentenced her for "propagandising for a terrorist organization" to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days in prison for her social media postings.
06 Dec 2016
On 6 December 2016, Zehra Doğan was released pending trial.
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22 Feb 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2018 Turkey

ETHA Journalists Detained and Arrested in Turkey

2 Journalists in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index
Following a police raid on 13 April 2018, several journalists working for the left-wing ETHA news agency, Semiha Şahin, Pınar Gayıp and Adil Demirci were detained by the authorities on charges of alleged propaganda on behalf of an illegal organisation. According to the news agency, the detained journalists were not allowed to inform their lawyers, friends or family members about their situation. On 17 April, ETHA journalist Adil Demirci living in Cologne (Germany) and visiting his family was formally arrested by a court in Istanbul on charges of alleged membership of an illegal organisation and doing propaganda for the same organisation. The ETHA agency confirms that all defendants are detained or arrested for their journalistic activities and believes that the government is aiming to silence political dissent. No access has been granted to the details of the dossier by the authorities invoking the secrecy of the judiciary. ETHA news agency counts also the following colleagues Isminaz Temel (editor), Havva Custan (reporter) and Ali Sönmez Kayar (reporter) put in jail and charged with heavy imprisonment sentence. The trial of Mesale Tolu, a Turkish-German ETHA reporter and translator was released in December 2017 is still ongoing.
Updates
New 22 Feb 2019
On 14 February 2019, the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul issued an interim ruling deciding to release İsminaz Temel under judicial control and adjourned the trial until 24 April 2019.
New 22 Feb 2019
On 14 February 2019, the 25th High Criminal Court of Istanbul issued an interim ruling, releasing Adil Demirci. The court imposed on Demirci a ban on leaving Istanbul. The next hearing in the case will take place on 30 April 2019.
08 Nov 2018
On 31 October 2018, the 32nd Heavy Penal Court in İstanbul ruled to release on probation reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar. An international travel ban has also been imposed on the defendant by the court.
22 Jul 2018
On 17 July 2018, a court issued an interim decision and released reporters Havva Cuştan, İsmail Geçer, Meral Tatar, Onur Binbir and Özgen Saadet, while ordering to keep editor İsminaz Temel, in jail.
20 Apr 2018
On 19 April 2018, detained ETHA journalists Adil Demirci, Semiha Şahin and Pınar Gayıp were arraigned on charges of membership of an illegal organisation and propaganda.
Follow-ups
18 Apr 2018
OSCE Media Freedom Representative worried about the arrest Etkin Haber Ajans reporter Adil Demirci, on terrorism charges and continued detention of journalists Semiha Şahin, Pınar Gayıp.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (2):

Semiha Şahin and Pınar Gayıp
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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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