Media freedom alerts

 

Journalist Caroline Christinaz from “Le Temps” of Geneva Questioned by the Police While on a Reporting Assignment in France

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Year 21 Nov 2017 Country France Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
21 Nov 2017 France C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2
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On 11 November 2017 Caroline Christinaz, a journalist for the Geneva desk of daily newspaper “Le Temps”, was sent on a reporting assignment covering the new routes taken by migrants. She was travelling in vehicles that were bringing migrants into France clandestinely when they were stopped at a police roadblock in Col de l’Echelle, in the south of the country. Christinaz was released on the spot, but she was nevertheless asked to report for questioning the following day at Briançon`s police station, where she was interrogated for two hours. Despite showing her press card to the police, her status of journalist working on a story was never accepted by the authorities, who immediately treated her as a suspect in a context of heavy mobilization of law enforcement agents aimed at sending back migrants in the region. The journalist stated that during the interrogation she was the subject of intimidation attempts by the agents and the prosecutor, who interrogated her as if she were a suspect, repeatedly asking her questions aimed at obtaining information on her journalistic sources.

Georgian TV Journalist Assaulted by Security Services and Deported

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Year 21 Nov 2017 Country Ukraine Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index Alert level Level 1
21 Nov 2017 Ukraine A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists State Index Level 1
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Georgian television channel Rustavi-2 journalist Tamaz Shashvishvili was detained by force in Kyiv on 16 November and deported to Georgia on 17 November 2017. The journalist was detained in an apartment he was renting in Kyiv. Reportedly 15 armed men belonging to the Ukrainian security services stormed his apartment, hit him on the face with a pistol and blindfolded him. On 17 November, Shashvishvili was deported to Georgia via a two-day-long ferry journey from Odessa sea port along with a group of Georgian citizens accused of activities contrary to the interests of Ukrainian national security. SBU rejected the journalist’s claims of violence, stating that it had not beaten the journalist and had not subjected him to inhumane treatment during his deportation. "SBU decided to deport these foreigners on the basis of evidence presented by the State Migration Service and the National Police of Ukraine, which showed that these foreigners acted against the interests of the national security of Ukraine," SBU spokesperson Olena Hitlianska said. Shashvishvili reported on the activities of opposition politician Mikhail Saakashvili in Ukraine.

Russia: Proposals to Extend 'Foreign Agents' Law to Media Outlets

Update: 20 Nov 2017 No reply yet
Year 20 Nov 2017 Country Russian Federation Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 Alert level Level 2
20 Nov 2017 Russian Federation E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 Level 2
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On 10 November 2017, Russian legislators announced that they were drafting amendments to Russia’s 2012 ‘Foreign Agents Law’, extending its provisions to foreign-owned media outlets. These amendments have been portrayed as a ‘tit-for-tat’ retaliation in response to the US Department of Justice requiring Russian state-funded TV Channel RT to register under the US Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). The Russian amendments were approved on 15 November by the lower house of parliament. They must now be approved by the upper house of parliament, before being signed into law by President Putin. It is understood that the upper house will discuss the amendments on Wednesday 22 November. The Foreign Agents Law currently requires all Russian NGOs receiving foreign funding and engaged in loosely defined ‘political activities’ to register as ‘foreign agents.’ NGOs must indicate their ‘foreign agent’ status in publications, and are subject to onerous reporting requirements, special inspection orders, and restrictions on the activities they may undertake. Criminal and administrative sanctions for non-compliance include, inter alia, fines of up to 500,000 roubles ($16,000) or imprisonment of up to two years. The amendments would extend this legislation to cover media outlets registered in foreign countries, and receiving funding from a variety of foreign actors. Once registered as a ‘foreign agent’, the outlet would be obliged to label all transmissions and publications as produced by a ‘foreign agent’.

Follow-ups

New 20 Nov 2017 : Reacting to the new law, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights stated that 'these new restrictions on media freedom are highly regrettable'.
20 Nov 2017 : Registration of media as "foreign agents" not acceptable says OSCE media freedom representative

2 France 5 Journalists Denied Access to President Macron During his Visit to Lille

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Year 20 Nov 2017 Country France Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
20 Nov 2017 France C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2
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On 14 November 2017, journalist Tancrède Bonora and his videoreporter colleague were denied access to President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to the north of France. Both are working for the programme 'C à Vous’ of France 5 channel (which belongs to the public broadcasting group France Televisions). The reason cited by the presidential security services was the attendance of the two journalists at a demonstration held the day before and organised by the opposition movement, la France Insoumise, against certain government measures. When the reporters attempted to ask their questions to the head of state, they were physically removed by security agents who positioned themselves between the President and the journalists. Thus kept apart from other journalists, they were prevented from carrying out their report.

Malta Economy Minister Issues four Libel Suits and Warrants Against Blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia

Update: 17 Nov 2017 State replied
Year 10 Feb 2017 Country Malta Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 2
10 Feb 2017 Malta C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , IPI Level 2

Malta Independent journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia is having her bank accounts frozen with precautionary warrants for 47,460 EUR after a court upheld on 8 February 2017 a request by Maltese Economy Minister Chris Cardona and his consultant Joe Gerada to issue garnishee orders alongside four libel suits they have filed against her. The journalist is sued for publishing on her blog an article reporting that both men visited a brothel in Velbert (Germany) while on government business. Cardona has denied the allegation. According to media reports, the effect of the precautionary warrants on her assets means her bank accounts will remain frozen until the case is concluded and that could take many years. In a statement published on her blog, Daphne Caruana Galizia denounced an attempt to gag the press. The Institute of Maltese Journalists called on the minister to reconsider his action, highlighting the exaggerated nature of the legal action.

Updates

31 Mar 2017 : On 11 March 2017 Silvio Debono, owner of real estate investment company DB Group, filed 19 libel cases against journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Galizia published a number of articles about Debono cutting a deal with Malta's government to take over a large tract of public land in a high value coastal area on which he plans to build a Hard Rock Hotel and two towers of flats for sale. In her statement, Daphne Caruana Galizia said that the libel suits are all about the same subject, "taking advantage of the fact that the law allows them to sue for each comment, article or blog post even if the subject matter and the author are the same." “The cases will drag through the courts, it will cost me around €8,000 merely to file my responses, and anybody else would have been intimidated into submission,” she added.

Follow-ups

16 Feb 2017 : OSCE Representative for Media Freedom urges authorities in Malta to protect independent journalists and free expression

Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan Detained for Words Used on TV

Update: 17 Nov 2017 No reply yet
Year 13 Sep 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
13 Sep 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , RSF Level 1
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On 10 September 2016, Ahmet Altan (journalist and writer) and his brother Mehmet Altan (professor and journalist) were detained by Turkish authorities for the words they used on the "Özgür Düşünce" programme that was broadcast on Can Erzincan TV on July 14. According to the Anadolu Agency, both journalists are accused of "delivering subliminal messages evoking the coup" and they gave "the impression that they already knew about the coup". Because the prosecutors in charge of the case are currently on holiday, no access to files has been granted to their lawyers and an appeal procedure against the detention has been refused to both defendants. Alert : 2 detentions

Updates

New 17 Nov 2017 : On 13 November 2017, the third hearing in the Altans case took place in Istanbul. The judge dismissed the Altans’ entire defence team, on the grounds that they were in contempt of court. The case was not adjourned, and the Altans, who were not present in court but observed the proceedings via video link from Silivri prison, were forced to represent themselves.
12 Jan 2017 : The Altans legal team has applied to the European Court of Human Rights on 12 January 2017 to challenge the journalists continuing detention. The Altans are still waiting on applications lodged with the Turkish Constitutional Court on 8 November 2016.

Follow-ups

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

Armenian TV Station Editor Assaulted While Reporting on Road Building Project

Update: 14 Nov 2017 State replied
Year 05 Oct 2017 Country Armenia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner AEJ Alert level Level 2
05 Oct 2017 Armenia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state AEJ Level 2

On the evening of 28 September 2017, Narine Avetisyan, the chief editor of Lori television station in Vanadzor, Armenia's third largest city, was violently assaulted while filming the asphalting of a road in heavy rain. Local media and the Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA) Vanadzor human rights network reported that Tigran Nazaryan, the head of the Shinplus construction company, and some of his colleagues, assaulted Narine Avetisyan, throwing her to the ground and seizing the mobile phone she was using to film the work. Reports say the mobile phone was later found with the video images of the asphalting work deleted. HCA Vanadzor and the Yerevan Press Club have called on state prosecutors and other relevant authorities to investigate the case diligently and to bring those responsible to justice. Narine Avetisyan has reportedly been attacked five times while on various journalistic assignments. In the first four cases she was reporting on corruption-related stories involving local officials and no perpetrators were so far identified or charged.

State replies

New 14 Nov 2017 : Reply from the Armenian authorities

Brother of Mafia Boss Breaks Italian Journalist's Nose During Interview

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Year 13 Nov 2017 Country Italy Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
13 Nov 2017 Italy A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ Level 1
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Daniele Piervincenzi, a journalist for Rai TV, was hit by Roberto Spada, the brother of a mafia boss, during an interview about the local elections in Ostia, on 7 November 2017. Spada head-butted Piervincenzi after the journalist asked him about his alleged support for the far-right extremist group Casapound. Spada broke Piervincenzi's nose, then chased the cameraman away, lashing out at him with a baton. Edoardo Anselmi, the cameraman, continued filming during the attack. Roberto Spada was arrested on 9 November. He is under investigation for “grievous bodily harm and private violence with the aggravating factor of acting in a mafia context,” said judicial sources. On 13 November, the Italian Interior minister Marco Minniti announced he will meet on 15 November the Italian Journalists' Federation, FNSI, in order to discuss urgent measures to protect media workers under threat.

Azerbaijani Journalist Afgan Sadikhov in Pre-trial Detention

Update: 13 Nov 2017 No reply yet
Year 15 Dec 2016 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
15 Dec 2016 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 1
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On 22 November 2016, police arrested Afgan Sadikhov, a journalist and editor-in-chief of AzelTV news website, known for his reporting on embezzlement of public funds. Sadikhov was arrested in Gazakh region and was later transferred to Jalilabad city, where the Jalilabad District Court sentenced him to three month’s pre-trial detention on charges of “deliberate infliction of minor harm to health in a publicly dangerous way or through motives of hooliganism” under article 127.2.3 of the Criminal Code. Sadikhov faces up to five years in prison if convicted. The charges stem from an incident that occurred shortly before Sadhikov’s arrest. According to Sadikhov's family, he was summoned to meet with the local authorities, but on arriving at the spot was physically attacked by a local woman, who then filed a complaint to the law-enforcement against him. The woman has been previously involved in a number of similar altercations with individuals known for their criticism of regional authorities. Sadikhov wrote extensively about the poor conditions of roads and social infrastructure in Jalilabad region. According to his mother, prior to his arrest Sadikhov received several warnings demanding he stop his criticism. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

New 13 Nov 2017 : On 8 November 2017, the Supreme Court held Afgan Sadikhov's appeal hearing and ruled to reduce his jail term to one year and six months by changing the original charges brought against him.
25 May 2017 : On 25 May 2017, the Shirvan Court of Appeal rejected Sadikhov`s request for appeal.
09 Mar 2017 : On 9 March 2017, the head of the Jalilabad District filed a lawsuit against Sadikhov for aggravated defamation.
12 Jan 2017 : On 12 January 2017, the District Court of Jalilabad sentenced Afgan Sadikhov to 2 years and 6 months in prison on hooliganism charges.

Draft Law Threatens Independence of AGERPRES News Agency

Update: 13 Nov 2017 State replied
Year 09 Oct 2017 Country Romania Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 2
09 Oct 2017 Romania E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 2

A new draft law, which risks threatening the independence of the national news agency AGERPRES, will be discussed on 11 October 2017 by the Romanian Parliament. The draft law foresees that any political majority could decide to dismiss the director-general by rejecting AGERPRES’ anual report, whereas the current law stipulates that the director-general has a 5-year mandate and cannot be biased, meaning promoting the ideas, the programmes and the activities of the political parties. Such provisions would have the same impact as the legislation regulating the management of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation (SRR) and the Romanian National Television Corporation (SRTV): following each election, the SRR and SRTV administration boards can be dismissed before the end of their mandates to reflect the new political forces and many media freedom organisations had denounced this provision as an instrument to politicize the public service media. In a letter addressed to Parliament, AGERPRES’ general-director and the Romanian trade union of journalists said: “We believe that the proposed modification opens the path to a political subordination of the AGERPRES management. (…) Any political force could find that the director-general is not ‘loyal’ enough to the government, regardless of the quality of the work, for political reasons only. It must be abandoned.” The draft law has been initiated and submitted by Lucian Romascanu, now Minister of Culture, while he was president of the Culture Committee of the Romanian Senate. The proposal was also signed by four other senators.

Updates

New 31 Oct 2017 : On 30 October 2017, the Romanian Senate voted the law with 64 votes in favour, 16 against and 27 abstentions. The law is now supposed to be submitted to the National Assembly.

State replies

New 13 Nov 2017 : Response from the Romanian authorities

Follow-ups

02 May 2017 : The CoE Commissioner for Human Rights details the prerequisites for well-funded and strong public service media.

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

15 Dec 2016 : Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on public service media governance (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 15 February 2012 at the 1134th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

Russian Editor Arrested, Allegedly Injured in Custody; Newspaper Raided

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Year 08 Nov 2017 Country Russian Federation Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner CPJ , AEJ , Index Alert level Level 1
08 Nov 2017 Russian Federation B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State CPJ , AEJ , Index Level 1
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The editor-in-chief and owner of the independent, Kaliningrad-based weekly Novye Kolyosa, Igor Rudnikov, was allegedly beaten while in custody of Russia's security service (FSB) and faces criminal prosecution. On the night of 1 November 2017, the FSB also raided the Novye Kolyosa office. According to the Novye Kolyosa staff, Rudnikov was first detained at his house and brought to the newsroom in handcuffs with his hand swollen. Nearly a dozen officers in heavy armor and facemasks raided the newsroom and conducted a search that lasted for over five hours. Rudnikov was interrogated in a room separate from the rest of the staff. Rudnikov was then hospitalized with a concussion, a broken arm, and a broken rib, according to press reports and the paper staff. At around 2 a.m. on 2 November, Rudnikov was taken in his underwear from his hospital bed to his home where security forces conducted further searches. The law enforcement also searched his mother's house. Officers then placed Rudnikov in a Kaliningrad FSB detention center. On 3 November 2017, Rudnikov appeared at a local court to hear charges against him. The authorities charged Rudnikov with accepting a bribe from Viktor Ledenyov, head of the Kaliningrad branch of Russia's investigative committee. The judge denied the defense's request to place Rudnikov, who appeared with a cast on his hand, under house arrest to receive medical treatment, and ruled that the suspect should remain in custody until 1 January 2018 pending investigation, media reported. Rudnikov's colleague told CPJ they believe the charges are in retaliation for Novye Kolyosa's series of reports about a luxury villa in Kaliningrad allegedly belonging to Ledenyov . Alert : 1 detention

Journalist Nadia Daam Harassed and Target of Death Threats on Social Network

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Year 07 Nov 2017 Country France Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , INSI , RSF Alert level Level 2
07 Nov 2017 France C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ , INSI , RSF Level 2
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The journalist Nadia Daam is being subjected to a hate campaign on the internet following the broadcast of her programme on Europe 1 radio, on 1 November 2017. She denounced the sabotage by members of the platform Jeuxvideo.com’s forum "Blabla 18-25" of a telephone line "anti-relou" (anti-bullies/harassers), which was opened to help female victims of street harassment. Nadia Daam described the forum as "a non-recyclable rubbish bin". Since then, the journalist has been the victim of attacks on her electronic accounts, received insults of a pornographic nature, death threats, threats of rape, and hate speech on social networks. According to Europe 1, an individual also tried to break into her home in the middle of the night. Europe 1 announced that it has filed a complaint at a police station in the 8th arrondissement of Paris for "threat of crime against persons".

Continued Impunity for Murder of Azerbaijani journalist Rafiq Tagi

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Year 02 Nov 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category D. Impunity Source of threat Unknown Partner Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 1
02 Nov 2017 Azerbaijan D. Impunity Unknown Article 19 , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI Level 1
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To mark the upcoming International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Article 19 and IPI, submit an alert regarding the ongoing impunity for the murder of Azerbaijani freelance journalist Rafiq Tagi in Baku in November 2011. Tagi, who contributed to Radio Free Europe’s Azerbaijani Service and was well-known for his criticism of Islam and the Azerbaijani authorities, died in hospital on 23 November 2011. He was receiving treatment having been stabbed in Baku on 19 November by an unknown assailant. During an interview on 21 November, Tagi suggested the attack could have been related to his criticism of the Iranian authorities for their theologically based policies and suppression of human rights in an article published the previous month. Previously, in November 2006, a prominent Iranian cleric had issued a religious fatwa calling for Tagi’s death. The Azerbaijani authorities have failed to adequately investigate both the circumstances of the initial attack and Tagi’s subsequent death, and no perpetrator has been brought to justice. In January 2014, Elcin Sadyqov, Tagi’s lawyer, reported that the Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General's Office had informed him in writing that the probe into Tagi's death has ended. Tagi’s family and rights groups have raised suspicions about the circumstances of his death, stating that he died suddenly as his condition stabilised and noting a lack of security in the hospital prior to his death. They have also raised multiple shortcomings in the process of the investigation into his death. On 17 May 2017, the European Court of Human Rights accepted an application from Tagi’s widow, alleging a violation of Article 2 (‘right to life’), on the grounds that the Azerbaijani authorities failed to protect her husband’s right to life because they should have known about the threats faced, and that the domestic authorities failed to conduct an effective investigation into the death of her husband. The application also alleges a violation of Article 10 (‘freedom of expression’), on the grounds that Tagi was targeted on account of his journalistic activities.

Continued Impunity for Murder of Journalist Gadzhimurad Kamalov in 2011

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Year 02 Nov 2017 Country Russian Federation Category D. Impunity Source of threat Unknown Partner Article 19 , Index Alert level Level 1
02 Nov 2017 Russian Federation D. Impunity Unknown Article 19 , Index Level 1
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On the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Article 19 is submitting an alert regarding the ongoing impunity for the murder of journalist, Gadzhimurad Kamalov, on 15 December 2011 in Makhachkala, the capital city of the Republic of Dagestan, Russia. Kamalov, founder and editor of the popular Chernovik newspaper, one of the few independent media in Dagestan, was shot dead by an unknown assailant as he left his office to go home. A vocal critic of corruption and abuse of power, Kamalov and other journalists at Chernovik, had previously experienced a wide-range of attacks, from harassment, threats, and physical violence, to criminal charges and confiscation of copies of the newspaper. The Dagestani authorities have failed to properly investigate Kamalov’s murder, failing to find any suspect or bring charges. Although there is little publicly available information about the status of the investigation, at the time of writing, complete impunity in Kamalov’s murder remains. Investigators have failed to explore leads brought forward by Kamalov’s family, and refused their requests for the case to be investigated by Russia’s Federal Security Service. In 2013, Kamalov’s brother told the Committee to Protect Journalists that they did not rule out the involvement of Dagestani officials in the murder. In spring 2013, Orkhan Jemal, a local journalist in Dagestan published an investigation into Kamalov’s death, alleging the involvement of a Dagestani MP in the murder. The MP denied the allegation and brought a defamation case against Orkhan Jemal; however, this was subsequently dropped.

Croatian Journalist Maja Sever Received Death Threat Via Facebook over Her Report on Nigerian Refugees

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Year 02 Nov 2017 Country Croatia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
02 Nov 2017 Croatia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1
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On 29 October 2017, Croatian public television (HRT) reporter Maja Sever received a death threat via Facebook following the broadcast of her report about refugees from Nigeria. The private Facebook message contained abusive racial language, stating that “if you want to live with N***ers, go live in England, France or USA, but do not promote that Freemason’s multicultural politics in Croatia.” The message ended by mentioning execution, warning the journalist that “the day when you will be killed is coming soon,” according to the Croatian Association of Journalists. Maja Sever said that the message was sent by a Croat living in Belgium.

Criminal Case Opened against Turan Independent News Agency in Azerbaijan

Update: 02 Nov 2017 No reply yet
Year 21 Aug 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
21 Aug 2017 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 1
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On 7 August 2017, Azerbaijan's tax authorities opened a criminal investigation against Turan, an independent news agency. Turan is accused of under-declaring profits since 2014 and faces a fine of over 37,000 manat (18,000 euros) in back taxes and other charges. The agency denies the allegations and has referred the matter to a Baku economic administrative court. They believe the proceedings are part of a government-orchestrated campaign to limit the organisation's critical reporting. They have faced similar allegations in the past, and an audit conducted previously demonstrated that they were complying with their tax obligations. Although Turan agreed to cooperate with the authorities and to provide them with the requested financial documentation, Turan’s office was raided by tax officers on 16 August. The following day, the authorities announced that they had extended period covered by their investigation and requested the agency's financial records since 2010. Turan is considered by many media freedom organisations as one of the last remaining independent media outlets in Azerbaijan.

Updates

New 02 Nov 2017 : On 2 Novembre 2017, the criminal case against Turan news agency was closed and charges against Mehman Aliyev dropped.
11 Sep 2017 : On 11 September 2017 Mehman Aliyev was released from pre-trial detention and placed under house arrest.
30 Aug 2017 : On 30 August 2017, the Baku Court of Appeal confirmed Mehman Aliyev's pre-trial detention.
25 Aug 2017 : On 25 August 2017 Mehman Aliyev was sentenced to a three-month pre-trial detention.Turan news agency has announced that it will suspend its operations starting from September 1 as a result of Aliyev`s arrest and the agency`s bank accounts being frozen.
24 Aug 2017 : On 24 August 2017, Mehman Aliyev, director of Turan news agency, was detained by the authorities as a suspect in a tax-evasion and abuse of power investigation.

Follow-ups

13 Sep 2017 : PACE monitors react to release of Mehman Aliyev in Azerbaijan.
11 Sep 2017 : Statement by the Spokesperson of the Secretary General on the release of Mehman Aliyev
11 Sep 2017 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes release of Azerbaijani journalist Mehman Aliyev, calls for all charges to be dropped.
11 Sep 2017 : Volodymyr Ariev, PACE General Rapporteur on Media Freedom and the Safety of Journalists, welcomes the release of the Director of Turan agency Mehman Aliyev.
31 Aug 2017 : CoE Commissioner for Human Rights dismayed at last blow to media freedom in Azerbaijan: Turan news agency Director Mehman Aliyev detained and announced suspension of agency operations.
25 Aug 2017 : CoE Secretary General calls on the authorities in Azerbaijan to respect the spirit of the country’s cooperation with the Council of Europe and to fully abide by its commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights in order to avoid yet another case of unjust deprivation of liberty which has no place in a democratic society.
25 Aug 2017 : PACE co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan (Sub-Committee on Conflicts between Council of Europe Member States) calls for the immediate release of Mehman Aliyev.

Turkish-Swedish Journalist Detained at Airport Following Request by Turkey

Update: 02 Nov 2017 Resolved
Year 09 Aug 2017 Country Spain Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index , EFJ/IFJ , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
09 Aug 2017 Spain B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Index , EFJ/IFJ , IPI , RSF Level 1

Turkish journalist Hamza Yalçın, who also holds a Swedish passport, was detained by passport police at the El Prat airport in Barcelona on 3 August 2017, where he was vacationing. Police reported to Spanish news agency EFE that he was held by police following Interpol order, Turkish news website Diken reported. The next day he was arrested on charges of “insulting the Turkish president” and “terror propaganda” for an article he wrote for Odak magazine. A group of Swedish journalists have condemned the detention in an open letter, asking the Swedish Government to intervene. Yalçın has lived in Sweden since 1984.

Resolved On 2 November 2017, following the release of Hamza Yalçin and the decision of the Spanish Government not to extradite him to Turkey, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

Updates

New 29 Sep 2017 : On 29 September 2017, the Spanish Government decided not to extradite Hamza Yalçin to Turkey.
New 29 Sep 2017 : On 28 September 2017, a Spanish judge has granted provisional release from custody of Hamza Yalçin, after Pen International and the Barcelona City Council guaranteed to the court that they would house him in Spain while the extradition claim is being assessed.

State replies

New 05 Oct 2017 : Reply from the Spanish authorities

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

09 Oct 2017 : PACE resolution on abusive recourse to the Interpol system: the need for more stringent legal safeguards

Two Spanish Journalists Deported from Ukraine

Update: 02 Nov 2017 Resolved
Year 28 Aug 2017 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
28 Aug 2017 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , CPJ , Index , RSF Level 2

Spanish freelance journalists Antonio Pampliega and Manuel Angel Sastre were intercepted by Ukrainian police upon arrival at Kiev airport on 24 August 2017. They were deported on the same day under the pretense that they represented "a threat to national security". The two journalists intended to cover the armed conflict in the east of the country, as they did in a previous report in December 2014. The Spanish consular authorities told the journalists that the Ukrainian authorities justified their deportation by the fact that they were on a list drawn up by the Ukrainian secret service. The Federation of Associations of Journalists of Spain (FAPE) condemned the deportation. It asked the Spanish authorities to request official explanations from the Ukrainian authorities.

Resolved On 2 November 2017, following the lift of travel ban on journalists Antonio Pampliega and Manuel Angel Sastre, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

Updates

New 23 Oct 2017 : On 10 October 2017, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced that it lifted the travel ban on the two Spanish journalists who were denied entry to the country in August.

State replies

New 02 Nov 2017 : Official reply from the Ukrainian authorities

Spanish Government Threatens to Take over Autonomic Public Media in Catalonia

Update: 31 Oct 2017 Resolved
Year 25 Oct 2017 Country Spain Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
25 Oct 2017 Spain E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2

On Saturday 21 October 2017, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the application of article 155 of the Constitution, which will limit the sovereign capacity of the Catalan government. The measures announced by the Prime minister Mariano Rajoy (People’s party), with the support of the two main opposition parties (Socialist party and Ciudadanos) include the possible takeover of Catalan autonomic public media by the national government. The national government would have the power to revoke the current leaders of the Catalan Corporation of the Audiovisual Media (CCAM), which oversees the autonomic public media (TV channel TV3, Catalunya Radio and Catalan News Agency ACN). According to the national government, the measure aims at guaranteeing “a truthful, objective and balanced information, respectful of political, social and cultural pluralism, as well as territorial balance“. Several journalists' unions (SPC and FSC-CCOO) strongly condemned the threat of takeover of Catalan autonomic public media by the Spanish government.

Resolved On 31 October 2017, as the takeover of Catalan public media was excluded from a series of measures adopted in application of article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows the Spanish government to take over the autonomous communities, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

Updates

New 30 Oct 2017 : Takeover of Catalan public media was excluded from a series of measures adopted in application of article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which allows the Spanish government to take over the autonomous communities. This measure was invalidated by the Senate on 27 October 2017, following an amendment tabled by the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) . The control of the Catalan public media will hence remain in the hands of Parliament.

Özgür Gündem Daily Shut Down and Journalists’ Homes Raided in Turkey

Update: 31 Oct 2017 No reply yet
Year 18 Aug 2016 Country Turkey Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 2
18 Aug 2016 Turkey A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 2
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A court in Istanbul ordered on August 16, 2016 the closure of Özgür Gündem newspaper for spreading alleged "propaganda on behalf of the outlawed terrorist organisation". Shortly after the announcement of the newspaper’s closure by authorities, police raided its office in İstanbul’s Beyoğlu district. During the police raid, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Zana Kaya, journalists Günay Aksoy, Kemal Bozkurt, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Önder Elaldı, Ender Önder, Sinan Balık, Fırat Yeşilçınar, İnan Kızılkaya, Özgür Paksoy, Zeki Erden, Elif Aydoğmuş, Bilir Kaya, Ersin Çaksu, Mesut Kaynar,Sevdiye Gürbüz, Amine Demirkıran, Bayram Balcı, Burcu Özkaya, Yılmaz Bozkurt, Gülfem Karataş, Gökhan Çetin, Hüseyin Gündüz and Aslı Erdoğan were taken in custody by the authorities. Media freedom organisations condemned the violence of the detentions. Following the closure of Özgür Gündem, the authorities raided the next day (17 August) the house of Ragip Zarakolu, a journalist, writer and editor known for his publishing work on minority rights in Turkey. The writer was not home but his books about Armenian, Pontus and Assyrian genocides have been confiscated by the authorities. Houses of journalists Eren Keskin and Filiz Koçali have also been raided by the police for similar purpose. The total number of staff members detained has risen to 24, P24 reported on 16 August.

Updates

New 31 Oct 2017 : On the fifth hearing in the main trial of Özgür Gündem daily held on 31 October 2017, the Court decided to release the managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya pending trial. The Court also placed him under an international travel ban. The next hearing will be on 6 March 2018.
08 Sep 2017 : On 7 September 2017, Aslı Erdoğan was given back her passport, after the travel ban imposed on her was lifted in June 2017.
29 Dec 2016 : On 29 December 2016, Aslı Erdoğan was released and a travel ban was imposed on her pending trial.The hearing is set for 22 June 2017. Zana Kaya was also released.
18 Oct 2016 : On 23 August 2016, Özgür Gündem daily’s Editor-in-Chief Zana Kaya and Chief Editor İnan Kızılkaya were arrested on charge of being a member of an illegal organization. Kaya and Kızılkaya who denied the accusations have filed complaints against the police officers for having beaten them during their six-day detention.
22 Aug 2016 : 23 staff members of Özgur Gündem Daily have been released, according to EFJ. Journalist Aslı Erdoğan is the only one to be kept in detention to date.

Follow-ups

15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
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