Media freedom alerts

 

Journalists Arrested in Major Clampdown following Failed Coup in Turkey

Update: 16 Jan 2018 No reply yet
Year 27 Jul 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI Alert level Level 1
27 Jul 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI Level 1
No reply yet

On 25 July 2016, the Turkish anti-terrorism Prosecutor Irfan Fidan has today issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists in the wake of the failed coup against President Erdoğan. According to Anatolian News Agency, the journalists targeted are: Abdullah Abdulkadiroğlu, Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Dönmez, Ali Akkuş, Arda Akın, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bilal Şahin, Bülent Ceyhan, Bülent Mumay, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cevheri Güven, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Erkan Akkuş, Ertuğrul Erbaş, Fatih Akalan, Fatih Yağmur, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, İnan Kızılkaya, Kamil Maman, Kerim Gün, Levent Kenez, Mahmut Hazar, Mehmet Gündem, Metin Yıkar, Muhammed Fatih Uğur, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mürsel Genç, Selahattin Sevi, Seyid Kılıç, Turan Görüryılmaz, Ufuk Şanlı, Ufuk Emin Köroğlu, Yakup Sağlam and Yakup Çetin. Among those targeted by the warrants was prominent journalist and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicak who was fired from the pro-government Sabah daily in 2013 for criticising ministers caught up in a corruption scandal, NTV and CNN-Turk reported. On 27 July 2016, journalist Nuriye Akman was taken into custody. On 27 July 2016, Istanbul prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 47 former executives and columnists of Zaman newspaper. Those named in the warrants include the following former columnists and executives : Osman Nuri Öztürk, Ali Akbulut, Bülent Keneş, Mehmet Kamış, Hüseyin Döğme, Süleyman Sargın, Veysel Ayhan, Şeref Yılmaz, Mehmet Akif Afşar, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Kardıç, Metin Tamer Gökçeoğlu, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ali Bulaç, Bülent Korucu, İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye Ural, Hamit Çiçek, Adil Gülçek, Hamit Bilici, Şenol Kahraman, Melih Kılıç, Nevzat Güner, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Sedat Yetişkin, Oktay Vızvız, Abdullah Katırcıoğlu, Behçet Akyar, Murat Avcıoğlu, Yüksel Durgut, Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, Hakan Taşdelen, Osman Nuri Arslan, and Ömer Karakaş. On the same day, Zaman daily columnist, Şahin Alpay, has been detained after police raided his house in the early morning hours. Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, who used to work for Zaman and Today’s Zaman and currently reports for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, was taken by police from her home early on that day too. She has reported in detail about issues concerning the Turkey armed forces, their financial assets, and shortcomings in terms of transparency and accountability. She has suffered for several years from poor health and has need of assured access to medical attention. Currently in detention under this alert (79) : Abdullah Kılıç, Abdürrahim Ersöz, Ahmet Memiş, Ahmet Yavaş, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Alaattin Güner, Ali Aşikar, Ali Ahmet Böken, Ali Bulaç, Ali Ünal, Ali Yüce, Ayşenur Parıldak, Aytekin Gezici, Aziz İstegün, Bayram Kaya, Beytullah Özdemir, Burçin Dokgöz, Cemal Kalyoncu, Cuma Kaya, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Erdal Şen, Erol Yüksel, Faruk Akkan, Fevzi Yazici, Gültekin Avcı, Habip Güler, Hakan Aksel, Hakan Taşdelen, Halil Ibrahim Mert, Hamza Günerigök, Hanim Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, Hüseyin Turan, Ibrahim Balta, İbrahim Karayeğen, Idris Okur, Ilker Ilkan, Isa Siyi, İsmail Avcı, İsmail Efe, Lokman Erdoğan, Mehmet Kuru, Mehmet Özdemir, Mümtazer Türköne, Murat Avcioğlu, Murat Dağdeviren, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mustafa Ünal, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Nazlı Ilıcak, Nadir Yücel, Nur Ener, Nuri Durna, Nurullah Kaya, Ozan Kaplanoğlu, Ömer Oruç, Ömer Özdemir, Özcan Keser, Osman Yakut, Rabia Özkaya, Ramazan Alkan, Resul Cengiz, Şahin Alpay, Serhat Şeftali, Şeref Yılmaz, Seyid Kılıç, Şirin Çoban, Tahsin Kürklü, Tuncer Çetinkaya, Ufuk Şanlı, Ünal Tanık, Vahit Yazgan, Yakup Çetin, Yakup Şimşek, Yalçın Güler, Zafer Özsoy. Alert : 80 detentions

Updates

New 16 Jan 2018 : On 12 January 2018, after reviewing the reasoned judgement of the Constitutional Court, the Istanbul 13th Criminal Court overruled the Constitutional Court’s verdict by saying it overstepped its jurisdiction and usurped the Criminal Court’s authority. On 15 January 2017, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court rejected Şahin Alpay’s appeal for release.
12 Jan 2018 : On 11 January 2018 Turkey`s Constitutional Court ruled to release Şahin Alpay. His release was halted by Istanbul`s 13th High Criminal Court, which announced that his detention would be reviewed after the Constitutional Court’s reasoned decisions were formally communicated.
22 Nov 2017 : On 21 November 2017, the 14th High Criminal Court of Ankara sentenced Ayşenur Parıldak, a correspondent for Zaman newspaper, to seven years and six months in prison for being a member of an armed terrorist organisation.
22 Nov 2017 : On 8 November 2017, an Istanbul court ordered the release of Izmir-based journalist Bekir Gökmen Ulu from the Sözcü daily. The journalist is also under an international travel ban.
25 Oct 2017 : Murat Aksoy was released from pretrial detention by an İstanbul court on 24 October 2017. According to the decision of the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court, Aksoy was released after the court determined that the suspect had no bank account with Bank Asya and never used the ByLock mobile phone application, both considered by Turkish authorities to be evidence of links to the Gülen movement.
23 Oct 2017 : On 17 October 2017, the Eskişehir 2nd court of severe crimes sentenced Mehmet Kuru to six years and three months' imprisonment for 'membership in a terrorist organization'.
15 Oct 2017 : Murat Dağdeviren, owner of the Demokrat Gebze newspaper, was arrested on 31 July 2016. On 10 October 2017, he was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison on charge of membership to a terror organization. Demokrat Gebze newspaper was shut down by decree.
05 Oct 2017 : Yüksel Durgut was released pending trial for health reasons on 29 September 2017.
29 Sep 2017 : Abdullah Özyurt was released on 15 September 2017.
29 Sep 2017 : On 22 September 2017, Mediha Olgun was released.
18 Sep 2017 : Burak Ekici, the online editor for daily newspaper Birgün, was ordered arrested on 16 August 2017 on accusations of links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Ekici was detained for allegedly having used mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement.
07 Sep 2017 : Mehmet Dener and Muhammet Taşçılar were released on 1 September 2017.
23 Aug 2017 : On 18 August 2017, the 25th court for severe crime of Istanbul released pending trial Cihan Acar, journalist for Bugün, and Aksiyon magazine journalist, Bünyamin Köseli, prosecuted for «coup attempt».
21 Aug 2017 : On 18 August 2017, Ali Ahmet Böken, a former TRT News coordinator and former columnist for the now-closed Samanyolu TV, was arrested. Accused of “membership in a terrorist organisation”, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
25 Jul 2017 : Hülya Karakaya was released on 18 July 2017 and placed under judiciary control.
20 Jul 2017 : Nizamettin İzgi, owner of the Batman newspaper, was arrested on 11 December 2016. On 17 July 2017, a court ordered his release under judicial control.
01 Jun 2017 : On 27 May 2017, a Turkish court formally arrested Mediha Olgun (internet editor) and Gökmen Ulu (press correspondent in Izmir), two opposition journalists working for Sözcü daily newspaper for "a story and photographs in the paper revealing where Erdogan was spending his vacation a day before the coup, and a crossword puzzle with the president’s name hidden in it", according to state-run Anadolu news agency. The two jailed Sözcü journalists face charges including “knowingly aiding and abetting the FETÖ terrorist organisation without being part of its hierarchical structure”, and “aiding the assassination attempt of the president”.
30 May 2017 : Idris Okur, Cihan reporter in Çorum, was put in custody on 1 August 2016. His trial started in May 2017 before the Çorum 2nd Heavy Penal Court.
29 May 2017 : Özkan Mayda was released on 24 May 2017.
26 May 2017 : Olgun Matur was released on 29 March 2017 and was arrested again 3 days later on 2nd April. He was released again on 24 May 2017.
05 May 2017 : On 4 may 2017, Ozan Kaplanoğlu, editor of the online platform @BursaMuhalif and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bursa Branch of the Contemporary Gazeteciler Derneği, was detained during an early morning raid on his home. The journalist was arrested by a Bursa court on 5 May on the charge of spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation on his social media account.
02 May 2017 : İbrahim Karayeğen, an editor for Zaman newspaper, was ordered arrested on 26 September 2016 as part of the coup attempt investigation. Karayeğen, who was detained on 16 July 2016 in İstanbul Atatürk Airport was formally put on pre-trial detention on 24 July 2016 by an investigating judge at İstanbul No.2 Criminal Court of Peace. On 27 April 2017, an Istanbul court indicted Karayeğen and 29 other former Zaman Media Group employees with attempting to overthrow the government, the Constitution and Parliament. Each suspect risks three consecutive life sentences. The indictment also seeks another 15 years for each suspect on charges of being members of a terrorist organisation.
20 Apr 2017 : Ali Akkuş was released on 31 March 2017 and detained a few hours later. He was released again on 15 April 2017.
18 Apr 2017 : On 5 August 2016, Yakup Şimşek, the former Brand Marketing Manager of Zaman was taken into custody, as part of a probe into a controversial commercial allegedly hinting at an impending coup bid some nine months before the 15 July coup attempt. The indictment drafted on 14 April 2017 by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office seeks three consecutive life sentences for 16 people, including Şimşek, on coup charges. On 29 March 2016, court-appointed trustees had fired Simsek along with 5 colleagues from the daily newspapers Zaman and Today's Zaman, for "abusing the trust of the employer" and "acting against the good will and morals, as well as the company's image".
17 Apr 2017 : Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız were released on 31 march 2017 and detained again a few hours later. They were re-arrested on 15 april 2017.
13 Apr 2017 : On 11 April 2017 an indictment of journalists and columnists of Zaman daily was filed to the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The indictment seeks three consecutive life sentences for the 30 defendants on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. 30 journalists, 21 of whom are already under arrest, were indicted. The defendants include former Zaman writers Mümtazer Türköne, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Şahin Alpay, Mustafa Ünal and Ali Bulaç. The journalists are charged with "attempting a coup d'Etat" for which the prosecutor demands three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Additionally, the prosecutor demands up to 15 years in prison for all the suspects on charges of "membership in a terrorist organisation." Anatolia News Agency reported that the defendants are Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Alaattin Güner, Cuma Kaya, Faruk Akkan, Hakan Taşdelen, Hüseyin Belli, Hüseyin Turan, İbrahim Karayeğen, İsmail Küçük, Mehmet Özdemir, Murat Avcıoğlu, Mustafa Ünal, Onur Kutlu, Sedat Yetişkin, Şeref Yılmaz, Yüksel Durgut ve Zafer Özsoy tutuklu, Ahmet İrem, Ali Hüseyinçelebi, Süleyman Sargın, Osman Nuri Arslan, Osman Nuri Öztürk, Lalezer Sarıibrahimoğlu, Nuriye Ural and Orhan Kemal Cengiz. Sarıibrahimoğlu, Ural and Cengiz are listed as suspects pending trial outside of prison.
05 Apr 2017 : Serhat Şeftali, Zaman regional burea Chief for the Med region, was arrested on 21 July 2016. He stands accused of preparing the ground for July 2016 coup attempt on behalf of the Hizmet movement. On 1 April 2017, Serhat Şeftali was ordered released on judicial probation by the Antalya 2nd High Criminal Court along 20 police officers and seven other journalists including Tuncer Çetinkaya and Olgun Matur pending the conclusion of their trial. However, the Antalya 3rd High Criminal Court ruled for the re-arrest of 16 of them, including Şeftali following objections to their release by prosecutors.
05 Apr 2017 : Tuncer Çetinkaya was released on 29 March 2017 and re-arrested on 2 April.
31 Mar 2017 : Kenan Baş was released on 29 March 2017.
10 Mar 2017 : Nur Ener, the news-editor of Yeni Asya newspaper, was detained on 3 March 2017 as a part of the purge of journalists allegedly linked to the Gülen movement. Ener was formally arrested on 6 March 2017 for allegedly having used the mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which Turkish prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement. Ener is currently in pre-trial detention in the Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison in Istanbul.
06 Mar 2017 : Erdem Mühirci was released on 28 February 2017.
28 Feb 2017 : Vedat Demir was released on 18 February 2017.
03 Feb 2017 : Hamza Günerigök, an anchor with of state-owned TRT, was arrested on 30 January 2017 by border security in military zone as he was trying to flee from Turkey to Greece in illegal ways. The authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Günerigök over his alleged link with the Gülen movement.
30 Jan 2017 : On 18 January 2017, Ünal Tanık, owner and editor-in-chief of the Rota Haber news portal, which is among the media outlets closed down in the aftermath of the coup attempt, was arrested after being detained in Yalova the day before. The arrest verdict of İstanbul’s 11th Penal Court of Peace was based on the charge of alleged membership to the Gülen movement. Tanık faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
23 Dec 2016 : Özcan Keser, reporter for state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Network (TRT), who had previously worked with Cihan News Agency, was detained on 12 August 2016. He was formally arrested on 19 December.
22 Dec 2016 : Ömer Oruç, a former reporter of the Cihan News Agency, was arrested on 18 December 2016. Oruç is currently imprisoned in Isparta prison.
19 Dec 2016 : Eda Şanlı was released pending trial on 18 December 2016.
16 Dec 2016 : On 14 December 2016, Mehmet Anıl was released.
12 Dec 2016 : Nadir Yücel, editor in chief of the Çorum Yıldız, was ordered arrested on 4 December 2016 as part of a purge of journalists allegedly linked with Fethullah Gülen.
31 Oct 2016 : Beytullah Özdemir, the Düzce representative for the newspaper Zaman, was ordered arrested on 27 October 2016 as part of the ongoing investigation into the failed 15 July 2016 coup attempt.
26 Oct 2016 : As of 26 October 2016, the list of detained journalists was updated, adding the following 24 journalists, arrested under State of emergency as part of the coup investigation: Abdullah Özyurt, Ahmet Yavaş, Ayşenur Parıldak, Aytekin Gezici, Aziz İstegün, Bayram Parlak, Cumali Önal, Gültekin Avcı, Eda Şanlı, Halil İbrahim Mert, İbrahim Karayeğen, Kenan Baş, Lokman Erdoğan, Mehmet Kuru, Murat Aksoy, Nurullah Kaya, Nuri Durna, Olgun Matur, Osman Yakut, Özkan Mayda, Tuncer Çetinkaya, Vahit Yazgan, Vedat Demir and Yalçın Güler. Most of them were former Zaman journalists and executives. Additionally, 11 journalists, arrested during the State of emergency outside the coup probe, were also added to the list of detained journalists: Erdem Mühirci, Hülya Karakaya , İlker İlkan, Mehmet Anıl, Mehmet Arslan , Necmiye Alpay, Nizamettin Yılmaz, Rabia Özkaya, Selahattin Koyuncu , Şirin Çoban and Zeynel Abidin Bulut.
18 Oct 2016 : As of 18 October 2016, 35 of the 89 journalists targeted by one of the 2 mass warrants issued after the coup attempt have been arrested : Abdullah Kılıç, Ali Akkuş, Nazlı Ilıcak, Bayram Kaya, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Emre Soncan, Ercan Gün, Habip Güler, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Haşim Söylemez, Hüseyin Aydın, İbrahim Balta, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Seyid Kılıç, Ufuk Şanlı, and Yakup Çetin - Şeref Yılmaz, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Alaattin Güner, Faruk Akkan, Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Ünal, Mustafa Ünal, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Ali Bulaç, Mehmet Özdemir, Fevzi Yazıcı, Murat Avcıoğlu, , Zafer Özsoy, Cuma Kaya, and Hakan Taşdelen. On Oct 12, former Taraf and Zaman columnists Lalezar Sariibrahimoglu and Nuriye (Akman) Ural were released from prison pending trial. An Istanbul Criminal Court decided that there were sufficient grounds for suspecting that both were members of the so-called Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure, or FETÖ/PDY, but also indicated that the case against them would be subject to further assessment to ascertain whether it could be shown to be strong enough to proceed. On that basis they were released from custody on appeal with certain legal controls. Both are banned from travelling abroad. To date, ten journalists have been released: Arda Akın, Bülent Mumay, Mehmet Gündem, and Yakup Sağlam -Zeki Önal, Hilmi Yavuz, Lalezar Sarıibrahimoğlu (Lale Kemal), İhsan Duran Dağı, Nuriye (Akman) Ural and Osman Nuri Arslan.
05 Oct 2016 : Ramazan Alkan, a journalist for Yeni Akit newspaper, was ordered arrested on 30 September 2016 for allegedly having used the mobile phone encryption application Bylock, which Turkish prosecutors consider to be evidence of membership in the Gülen movement.
12 Sep 2016 : Mutlu Çölgeçen, an editor with Millet newspaper, was ordered arrested on 9 September 2016. Çölgeçen is one of 29 journalists charged in a case accusing them of having been part of the Gülen movement’s “media wing”. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
05 Sep 2016 : On 2 September 2016, Ahmet Memiş, a reporter for Haberdar news website, was arrested as part of a purge of journalists allegedly linked to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Mr Memiş is accused of having been part of the Gülen movement’s “media wing” and is kept in detention at Silivri prison camp.
01 Sep 2016 : In August 2016, Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has ordered detention for 34 employers of TRT (Turkey's Public Broadcasting Service) claimed to be users of ByLock, an encrypted communication software allegedly used among members of the Gülen Community. According to Bianet, there are eight TRT employees among journalists taken into custody under the State of Emergency declared on July 20 and put behind bars. The names of the eight former TRT employees are as follows: Ahmet Yavaş (TRT radio Erzurum correspondent), Ali Yüce (TRT radio broadcasting manager), Ersin Şanlı (TRT domestic news manager), Hakan Aksel (TRT News and Sports Department Coordinator Assistant and Producer), Halil İbrahim Mert (TRT TV Erzurum cameraperson), Nuri Durna (TRT Erzurum correspondent), Yalçın Güler (TRT Erzurum correnspondent), Seyid Kılıç (TRT correspondent). Since August 2016, those eight journalists are kept in detention as part of the government’s investigation following the 15 July 2016 coup attempt.
29 Aug 2016 : On 21 August 2016, a court in Van arraigned Ali Aşikar, a journalist working for the Kurdish-language daily newspaper Azadiya Welat, and ordered him jailed pending trial on charges of "committing crimes in the name of [terrorist] organizations" and possessing explosives. Mr Aşikar is kept in detention at Van M type prison since 28 August 2016.
25 Aug 2016 : Burçin Dokgöz, a reporter for Zaman newspaper and for Cihan News Agency in the northern Anatolian city of Çorum, was ordered arrested on 21 August 2016.
24 Aug 2016 : İsmail Efe, the press consultant of the İzmir Directorate of Tourism, was arrested as a part of ongoing operations against alleged followers of Fethullah Gülen following the failed coup attempt. Efe is currently imprisoned in Aliağa prison in İzmir
24 Aug 2016 : Erol Yüksel, a vice president of the news department of state-owned TRT, was ordered arrested on 19 August 2016 as part of the investigation following the coup attempt.
15 Aug 2016 : On 10 August 2016, Habervaktim site and founder of Vahdet newspaper, Yener Dönmez, was detained at the Habervaktim Ankara bureau, in the scope of an investigation into the leaking of a sex tape featuring former leader of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deniz Baykal. The video was first published on Akit's unofficial website Habervaktim in 2010. An investigation at the time produced no arrests. Dönmez had been detained earlier in the post-coup investigation.
15 Aug 2016 : On 13 August 2016 Tahsin Kürklü, head of Logistics Department of the now-closed Zaman newspaper, was detained by gendarmerie officers in Gürün district of Sivas province and later ordered arrested by a Sivas court. He is said to be the former chauffeur of Ekrem Dumanlı, the former editor-in-chief of daily Zaman who was jailed for “attempting a coup” and “forming an organisation with felonious intent.”
11 Aug 2016 : On 10 August 2016, an Ankara court of penal peace arraigned Erdal Şen, former Ankara correspondent for the daily newspaper Habertürk, on suspicion of assisting an alleged high-ranking member of the Hizmet movement to escape after the failed coup. He was released on 21 April 2017, and re-arrested the next day upon objection of the prosecutor’s office.
08 Aug 2016 : İsmail Avcı, a former reporter for Zaman newspaper and Cihan News Agency, was arrested on 1 August 2016 as a part of the purge of journalists allegedly linked to Fethullah Gülen. Avcı was reportedly detained in the Yalvaç district of Isparta while trying to hide from police. He is currently being held in the Diyarbakır D-type prison.
08 Aug 2016 : On 5 August 2016, police in the western Turkish province of Denizli, detained Resul Cengiz, a former reporter for the shuttered Cihan News Agency. A local court ordered Cengiz jailed pending trial on terrorism charges on 10 August 2016.
01 Aug 2016 : Isa Siyi, journalist for Haberdar news site, was arrested on 28 July 2016, among the 88 journalists for whom arrest warrants were issued as part of the reaction to the July 15 military coup attempt.
01 Aug 2016 : Abdurrahim Ersöz, a local press correspondent for Cihan news agency In Antalya, was arrested on 28 July 2016 as part of a purge of journalists allegedly linked to the movement headed by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. Mr Ersöz was arrested along with Antalya correspondent Ömer Özdemir from Zaman newspaper and is kept in detention at Antalya L Type Closed Criminal Infrastructure Authority since July 2016.
26 Jul 2016 : In the early morning of 26 July 2016, journalist and former parliamentarian Nazlı Ilıcak, one of the 42 journalists named in the arrest warrants as part of the post-coup attempt crackdown operations, was detained in the Bodrum district of the Aegean province of Muğla. According to Turkish media reports, six other journalists appearing on the list were also detained: Yakup Sağlam, İbrahim Balta, Seyit Kılıç, Bayram Kaya, Cihan Acar and Hanım Büşra Erdal.
25 Jul 2016 : Mehmet Dener, the owner of the local sanliurfa.com website, was ordered arrested on 22 July 2016 along with the editor-in-chief of the website, Muhammet Taşçılar, as a part of the ongoing investigation into the failed 15 July 2016 coup attempt.

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
14 Mar 2017 : Opinion of the Venice Commission on the Measures provided in the recent Emergency Decree Laws with respect to Freedom of the Media
15 Feb 2017 : Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey

Exiled Journalist Abducted, Detained and Faces Charges in Azerbaijan

Update: 12 Jan 2018 No reply yet
Year 02 Jun 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index , Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
02 Jun 2017 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Index , Article 19 , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , IPI , RSF Level 1
No reply yet

Freelance Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was reported missing in Tbilisi, Georgia on the evening of 29 May 2017 by his wife Leyla Mustafayeva. Eurasianet reported that Mustafayeva said that her husband last called her when he was just a few blocks away from their home, but he never showed up. The Georgian police stated on 30 May that a search was underway for the journalist, but later, the independent Azeri news agency Turan reported that the Azerbaijani border service department detained Mukhtarli. Independent investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova confirmed that Mukhtarli was kidnapped from his neighbourhood where he was forced into a car, his hands were tied and he was beaten. Mukhtarli sustained serious injuries. His lawyer, Elchin Sadigov, told the Committee for the Protection of Journalists: “He was beaten, has a broken nose, bruises all over his head and right eye, his rib may be broken.” He was then taken across the border into Azerbaijan by car without his passport. Mukhtarli is being charged with trespassing, smuggling and resistance to law-enforcement (violations of Articles 318.1, 206.1 and 315.2 of the criminal code), his lawyer confirmed. The Azerbaijani police also claim Mukhtarli was in possession of 10,000 EUR during the police search. Mukhtarli, who has contributed to various independent outlets, including Meydan TV, fled to Georgia from Azerbaijan in 2015, after receiving threats over his investigative reporting on corruption in the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry. Afgan Mukhtarli is now in pre-trial detention. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

New 12 Jan 2018 : On 12 January 2018 Azerbaijan`s Balakan District Court sentenced Afgan Mukhtarli to 6 years in prison for illegal border crossing, smuggling and violent resistance to public officials.
17 Aug 2017 : On 17 August 2017 the Nasimi District Court of Baku extended Afgan Mukhtarli`s pre-trial detention until 30 October 2017.

Follow-ups

17 Jul 2017 : The European Court of Human Rights began its consideration of Afgan Mukhtarli abduction case. On 8 June 2017, the Court sent a request for information to the Azerbaijani government.
20 Jun 2017 : Volodymyr Ariev, PACE General Rapporteur on Media Freedom and the Safety of Journalists, calls for release of Afqan Mukhtarli
06 Jun 2017 : Boriss Cilevics and Kerstin Lundgren, co-rapporteurs of the PACE, urge Georgian authorities to fully investigate abduction of Afqan Mukhtarli
02 Jun 2017 : Commissioner for Human Rights "appalled by what happened to Afgan Mukhtarli, an Azerbaijani journalist and activist, who has reportedly been abducted in Georgia and forcibly taken to Azerbaijan, where he is now facing prosecution for illegal crossing of the border and smuggling".

Poland Opens Investigation over Article Critical of Constitutional Tribunal President

No reply yet
Year 12 Jan 2018 Country Poland Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner AEJ Alert level Level 2
12 Jan 2018 Poland E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State AEJ Level 2
No reply yet

The Warsaw regional prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal investigation against a journalist in a case alleging “a public insult or humiliation against a constitutional authority of the Republic of Poland”. The case concerns an article in the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper published on 20 October 2017 in which Wojciech Czuchnowski alleged that the head of the Constitutional Tribunal works for the country’s security services with the aim of ensuring that the court serves the interests of Poland’s current political leadership. Last year Czuchnowski was harshly criticised by the National Prosecutor’s Office for a publication in Gazeta Wyborcza in which he allegedly insulted the country’s chief prosecutor. The prosecutor demanded a public apology and the payment of a donation of 15,000 euro to a charitable foundation. Gazeta Wyborcza refused to apologise or make the payment and the case has so far not been pursued by the National Prosecutor’s Office. The offence in the present case carries a fine or a maximum prison term of two years. The investigation was initiated after Julia Przyłębska, the president of the Tribunal, reported the article to the Prosecutor’s Office in November 2017. Gazeta Wyborcza was formally notified of the opening of the investigation on 10 January 2018.

Poland: TVN24 Channel Fined on Incitement Charges

Update: 12 Jan 2018 Resolved
Year 13 Dec 2017 Country Poland Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , IPI Alert level Level 2
13 Dec 2017 Poland E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , IPI Level 2

On 7 December 2017 the National Broadcasting Council of Poland issued a decision fining independent broadcaster TVN 1 479 000 PLN (352 000 EUR) for inciting hatred and threatening public safety in relation to material broadcast on the channel TVN24. They allege that TVN24 news channel’s coverage of protests that took place in front of the Polish Parliament on 16-18 December 2016, violated Article 18(1) and Article 18(3) of the 1992 Broadcasting Act. These clauses state that "Programmes or other broadcasts may not encourage actions contrary to law and Poland’s raison d’Etat or propagate attitudes and beliefs contrary to the moral values and social interest. In particular, they may not include contents inciting to hatred or discriminating on grounds of race, disability, sex, religion or nationality" and "Programmes or other broadcasts may not encourage conduct prejudicial to health, safety or the natural environment". The decision notes that it was issued after "thorough monitoring" of media coverage on six channels: TVN, TVN24, Polsat, Polsat News, TVP and TVP Info. The decision does not state or describe what content violated these clauses. TVN is the most widely watched independent broadcaster, often critical of the current government. A number of media freedom and journalist organisations have raised concerns that the decision amounts to censorship and is a punishment for TVN`s critical coverage. The channel announced that it would appeal the regulator’s decision.

Resolved On 12 January 2018, following the repeal of the decision by the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

Updates

11 Jan 2018 : On 10 January 2018 the Decision against TVN was overturned by the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council.

Follow-ups

14 Dec 2017 : Poland broadcasting regulator’s fine against private broadcaster TVN SA is unjustified and disproportionate, says OSCE media freedom representative.

French Journalist at the Origin of LuxLeaks Revelations Charged in Luxembourg

Update: 11 Jan 2018 State replied
Year 24 Apr 2015 Country Luxembourg Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index Alert level Level 2
24 Apr 2015 Luxembourg E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , Index Level 2

On 23 April 2015, a judge indicted the French journalist Edouard Perrin, who had revealed the first elements of financial scandal LuxLeaks, in May 2012, on the public channel France 2. Edouard Perrin is accused as the alleged co-author of theft, breach of confidentiality, violation of professional secrecy, violation of trade secrecy, money laundering and fraudulent access to the automated data processing system, according to the prosecutor of Luxembourg. The justice suspects Edouard Perrin of being co-author of offenses committed by one of the former employees of the audit firm PWC. A number of documents that, to a large extend, allowed the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to reveal in November 2014 the scandal of hundreds of pre-tax agreements concluded by Luxembourg tax authorities with many international private companies were sourced from PWC. The European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists denounced these actions, saying they were part of actions to intimidate and were disproportionate with regard to the legitimate public interest to disclose tax avoidance practices in Luxembourg.

Updates

New 11 Jan 2018 : On 11 January 2018 the Luxembourg Court of Cassation annulled the suspended prison sentence against Antoine Deltour. The Court rejected Raphaël Halet`s appeal.
16 Mar 2017 : On 15 March 2017, the Court of Appeal of Luxembourg reduced the sentence of two “Luxleaks” whistleblowers and confirmed the acquittal of the investigative reporter Edouard Perrin.
01 Jul 2016 : On 29 June 2016, a Court in Luxembourg acquitted journalist Edouard Perrin, who had revealed the first elements of financial scandal LuxLeaks, in May 2012, of all charges. The two whistleblowers, former PricewaterhouseCoopers employees Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet received 12 (+ 1.500 EUR suspended fine) and 9 (+1.000 EUR suspended fine) suspended sentences respectively for leaking documents from the auditing firm. Appeal procedure was announced by the two whistleblowers. Media organisations and associations of journalists condemned the verdict, as having a chilling effect on whistleblowers as journalistic sources and asked for a strong legal protection of whistleblowers at the European level.
27 Apr 2016 : French journalist Edouard Perrin, a reporter for Cash Investigation programme on France 2 channel, appeared in court on 26 April 2016 for accusations that he was heavily involved in leak of documents that revealed the Luxleaks scandal, which uncovered tax evasion of large companies. He is being accused by the financial firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) of manipulating whistleblower Raphaël Halet to leak documents and of having played "an active part in the perpetration" of infractions that the latter together with a former PwC colleague, Antoine Deltour, are also being accused of: domestic theft, disclosure of business secrets, violation of professional secret and money laundering. Perrin revealed the Luxleaks scandal in May 2012 on the Cash Investigation programme, but the full scandal broke in November 2014, where tax optimisation practises of big firms such as Apple, Ikea and Pepsi were exposed. Deltour, who has kept a low profile and is now working as a civil servant in Nancy in the Lorraine region of eastern France, contacted journalist and co-defendant Edouard Perrin in 2012. Deltour had asked that the journalist to withhold PwC’s name in his exposé, and not to publish any of the document. However, Cash Investigation went ahead and published the details, which were eventually passed on to the New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. PwC sued after the airing of the programme on France 2.

State replies

27 Jul 2016 : Reply from the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
24 Jun 2015 : Letter from the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (in French)

Follow-ups

28 Apr 2015 : OSCE Representative on the Freedom of Media: Journalists should not face criminal charges for their work

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

Expulsion of Two Russian Journalists from Latvia

No reply yet
Year 05 Jan 2018 Country Latvia Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
05 Jan 2018 Latvia E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ Level 2
No reply yet

On 4 January 2018, the journalist Olga Kurlaeva, who works for the Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company VGTRK, was reportedly detained by Latvian law enforcement representatives and deported from the country. According to VGTRK, Olga Kurlaeva has been accused of representing a threat to Latvia’s national security. Two days previously, on 2 January 2018, her husband Anatoliy Kurlaev, who works for the Russian TVC State-owned television channel, was also deported from Latvia.

Follow-ups

05 Jan 2018 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media expresses concern regarding expulsion of Russian journalist Olga Kurlaeva from Latvia

Two Ukrainian Journalists Sentenced to 9 Years’ Imprisonment for Assisting Separatism

No reply yet
Year 31 Dec 2017 Country Ukraine Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
31 Dec 2017 Ukraine B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 1
No reply yet

On 28 September 2017 the Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Vasylets and cameraman Yevhen Timonin were sentenced to 9 years’ imprisonment, after being found guilty of assisting separatism by a district court in Zhytomyr. The prosecution ruled that Vasylets and Timonin helped to rebroadcast content from the separatist Novorossiya TV on YouTube. This sentence includes the two years they had spent in jail since the beginning of the case in 2015. It was read out in absence of the defendants, since Vasylets was removed from the courtroom after criticising the court’s ruling. Currently in detention under this alert (2): Dmytro Vasylets and Yevhen Timonin. Alert : 2 detentions

Turkey: Arrest of At Least 12 Employees of Cumhuriyet Newspaper

Update: 29 Dec 2017 No reply yet
Year 31 Oct 2016 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
31 Oct 2016 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
No reply yet

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. Currently in detention under this alert (3): Ahmet Şık, Akın Atalay and Murat Sabuncu. Alert : 3 detentions

Updates

New 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

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

Russian Journalists Deported from Ukraine

Update: 26 Dec 2017 State replied
Year 31 Aug 2017 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 2
31 Aug 2017 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 2

On 30 August 2017, the spokesperson of the Ukrainian State Security Service (SBU), Olena Gitlyanska, reported that Russia's Channel One journalist Anna Kurbatova is accused of spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda and will be deported to the Russian Federation. “The Russian propagandist Anna Kurbatova will be forcibly returned to Russia,” wrote Olena Gitlayanska in a Facebook post on Wednesday 30 August. ”At the moment, the necessary documents are being processed for her official deportation. It will be the same with anyone who allows themselves to discredit Ukraine.” Anna Kurbatova was deported and banned from entering Ukraine for three years. On 14 August 2017, Tamara Nersesyan, another Russian journalist working for the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), was deported from Ukraine. The SBU decided to bar her from entering Ukraine for three years, according to journalist Nersesyan, because of her reporting, which, officials told the journalists, inflamed the conflict in eastern Ukraine and posed a threat to Ukrainian security and territorial integrity. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, called on Ukraine not to arrest and deport journalists from other OSCE participating States.

State replies

New 26 Dec 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

31 Aug 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative calls on Ukraine to respect the work of foreign journalists

Journalist Viacheslav Veremii Killed in Kyiv

Update: 22 Dec 2017 State replied
Year 02 Apr 2015 Country Ukraine Category D. Impunity Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
02 Apr 2015 Ukraine D. Impunity State EFJ/IFJ Level 1

In February 2014, Viacheslav Veremii, a journalist for Vesti newspaper died of wounds he sustained in an attack allegedly perpetrated by the” tityshki”, a group of youths suspected of working with the security forces under the former regime in Ukraine, according to the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, an IFJ affiliate. The Union said that Veremii was shot and fatally wounded in the stomach. He was admitted to hospital on 18 February 2014 and later died.

Updates

New 22 Dec 2017 : On 22 December 2017 a district court in Kyiv convicted one of the main attackers and organizers of the assault on Vyacheslav Veremii and sentenced him on hooliganism charges to four years suspended sentence with a probation period of two years.

State replies

15 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Journalists’ Union ESIEMTH and Two Municipal Media Attacked in Thessaloniki

No reply yet
Year 22 Dec 2017 Country Greece Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
22 Dec 2017 Greece A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ Level 1
No reply yet

On 20 December 2017, a hooded group of individuals tried to enter the building of local TV station TV100 and radio station FM100 in Thessaloniki. They did not manage to go beyond the entrance, but broke the windows and damaged vehicles owned by the media which were parked outside the building. One worker was hit with a crowbar and was sent to hospital for a light injury. The twenty assailants also threw paint, and leaflets with slogans against journalists reading: “A broken TV station for every evening news bulletin” and “Journalists, you ruffians”. The next day at noon, what appears to be the same group of people attacked the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers's (ESIEMTH) headquarters. The staff were threatened by around ten hooded assailants and asked not to move as the intruders said that “an intervention (was) about to take place”. They destroyed two PCs, a TV set and other material such as chairs and a printer before leaving the office. Similar leaflets to those thrown on the premises of TV100 and FM100 were found. ESIEMTH told the EFJ that the police has launched an investigation.

Russian Journalist Aleksander Sokolov Held in Detention since July 2015

Update: 21 Dec 2017 No reply yet
Year 20 Jan 2017 Country Russian Federation Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner RSF , AEJ , Index Alert level Level 1
20 Jan 2017 Russian Federation B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State RSF , AEJ , Index Level 1
No reply yet

Aleksander Sokolov, a Russian journalist who was working for the RBC Media Group at the time of his arrest, has been held in detention since July 2015. Human Rights groups and media freedom organisations declared the journalist to be a political prisoner. Sokolov was arrested while he was helping to create a website for a group called “For Responsible Government” (IGPR “ZOV”), accused to revive an association banned in 2010 for extremism, “People’s Will Army”. The group IGPR “ZOV” was campaigning for a referendum to amend the Russian constitution so that politicians could be held accountable under criminal law. Sokolov was initially charged for publishing “extremist content” and trying to “destabilize the government.” The second of these charges was subsequently dropped for lack of evidence and the main charge was changed to “organizing a terrorist group”. Sokolov is the author of a thesis on public funds embezzlement and is an expert on these issues. His last article was about the embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome. His claims have been corroborated by the Russian Court of Accounts in December 2015, when it announced the discovery of “financial irregularities” in connection with this project and gave an estimate for the amount embezzled that was close to Sokolov’s own figure – around 93 billion roubles (1.27 billion euros). Alert : 1 detention

Updates

New 21 Dec 2017 : On 21 December 2017, the Moscow Court of Appeal upheld Sokolov` sentence to three and a half years of detention.
11 Aug 2017 : On 10 August 2017 Aleksander Sokolov was sentenced by a Moscow court to three and a half years imprisonment on extremism charges.

Crimea’s Prosecution Opens Criminal Probe against Journalist Mykola Semena

Update: 20 Dec 2017 State replied
Year 22 Apr 2016 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner CPJ , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
22 Apr 2016 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State CPJ , AEJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2

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

Updates

New 20 Dec 2017 : On 18 December 2017 the top Court in Crimea upheld the verdict against Semena, confirming his conviction on charges of separatism.The Court also shortened from three years to two the period of time during which the journalist is barred from undertaking “public activities”.
22 Sep 2017 : On 22 September 2017, the Court handed Mykola Semena a 2.5 years suspended sentence on a charge of separatism and barred him from “public activities” for three years. Semena's lawyer said he would appeal the ruling.
10 May 2017 : On 10 May 2017, the trial of Mykola Semena has resumed in Simferopol.
02 Mar 2017 : On 28 February 2017, Simferopol’s Zheleznodorozhny District Court announced that the trial against Mykola Semena will begin on 20 March 2017.
07 Dec 2016 : On 7 December 2016, Semena’s lawyers Emil Kuberdinov and Andrei Sabinin said their client has received the final written charges from the Russian-imposed authorities in Crimea: Semena is charged with spreading "calls for undermining Russian territorial integrity via mass media." He could be sentenced to five years in prison if convicted.
02 Sep 2016 : On 2 September, IFJ/EFJ launched an appeal, urging Russia to let a Ukrainian journalist return to Kiev for urgent treatment

State replies

22 Feb 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

22 Sep 2017 : OSCE Media Freedom Representative takes note of release of Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena from house arrest, but condemns his conviction.

BBC and The Guardian Taken to Court over Paradise Papers

No reply yet
Year 20 Dec 2017 Country United Kingdom Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , EBU , Index Alert level Level 2
20 Dec 2017 United Kingdom E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Non-state EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , EBU , Index Level 2
No reply yet

The main company involved in the Paradise Papers scandal, the law firm Appleby, has initiated legal proceedings against the BBC and The Guardian for the release of the papers, citing a breach of confidentiality. The Paradise Papers, released by the two British news organisations alongside 94 other news organisations worldwide, showed how hundreds of politicians, multinationals, celebrities and individuals with a high net worth use complex structures to avoid paying higher taxes. Appleby, the offshore law firm in Bermuda, was heavily implicated in the papers. Appleby has since initiated breach of confidentiality proceedings against the two British news organisations. The law firm is seeking damages for the disclosure of what it says are confidential legal documents. The BBC and The Guardian have responded to the legal action, saying that they will defend their role in the Paradise Papers, against the claim by Appleby. The general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Britain, Michelle Stanistreet, said that the legal action taken by Appleby is "an outrageous and cynical manoeuvre that should be condemned internationally".

Opposition and Independent News Websites Blocked

Update: 19 Dec 2017 No reply yet
Year 11 Apr 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Index , Article 19 Alert level Level 2
11 Apr 2017 Azerbaijan E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Index , Article 19 Level 2
No reply yet

On 27 March 2017, three websites had their access blocked in Azerbaijan, independent news platform contact.az reported. Meydan TV, Azadliq Qezeti and the local service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty all became inaccessible inside the country. According to independent sources, Azerbaijan Saadi (Azerbaijan Hour) had also been inaccessible for the past week. Azerbaijan Hour is a YouTube video channel, managed by editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper, Azadliq, who is currently living in exile.

Updates

New 19 Dec 2017 : On 19 December 2017, the Baku Court of Appeal upheld the ruling to block access to RFE/RL Azerbaijani service, Azadliq, Meydan TV & 2 other Internet TVs.
15 May 2017 : Court orders block to websites of RFE/RL Azerbaijani service, Azadliq, Meydan TV & 2 other Internet TV.
28 Apr 2017 : A district court in Baku began on 27 April 2017 hearing a lawsuit that seeks to compel internet service providers to block access to the sites. The lawsuit was filed by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Transport, Communications, and High Technology.

Follow-ups

26 Sep 2017 : The CoE Commissioner for Human Rights recalls that any restrictions on access to Internet content should be based on a clear and predictable framework affording guarantee of judicial oversight to prevent possible abuses.

Bosnia and Herzegovina : Blogger Flees Country after Receiving Death Threats

Update: 19 Dec 2017 Resolved
Year 21 Nov 2016 Country Bosnia and Herzegovina Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index , CPJ , RSF Alert level Level 2
21 Nov 2016 Bosnia and Herzegovina C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State Index , CPJ , RSF Level 2

On 20 November 2016, Slobodan Vaskovic, a well-known blogger and journalist from Banja Luka, announced he had left Bosnia and Herzegovina fearing for his life. “I realised that my life might be in danger and I was forced to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina until further notice,” Vaskovic wrote on his blog. Vaskovic also wrote that a high ranking police officer warned him that his life was in danger, which prompted him to immediately leave the country. The journalist was known as an outspoken critic of the government of Republika Srpska (RS), underlining that it was not the first time Vaskovic said he had received death threats. Dragan Lukac, RS Interior minister, told the press that the police had no knowledge of death threats made to Vaskovic. Vaskovic started to receive death threats via social media after reporting on 2 October local elections and publishing video clips allegedly showing RS President Milorad Dodik ordering his ministers not to communicate with any mayors from opposition parties. Vaskovic also published a video on his blog where Dodik can be seen saying the party has a "black book" of all the people that have represented a problem to them.

Resolved On 19 December 2017, following the journalist’s return to Banja Luka and his decision not to press charges, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ”resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.

Updates

29 Nov 2016 : On 29 November 2016 Slobodan Vaskovic returned to Banja Luka. He decided not to report the incident to the police.

Government Plan to Strongly Reduce Funding for Public Service Broadcasting

Update: 18 Dec 2017 State replied
Year 20 Sep 2017 Country Ukraine Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , EBU Alert level Level 2
20 Sep 2017 Ukraine E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State EFJ/IFJ , AEJ , EBU Level 2

The 2018 state budget, soon under discussion at Ukrainian Parliament, envisages for the public broadcaster around half of the budget defined in the Law on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine. The provisional budget of the public broadcaster, UA:PBC, for 2018 will be around 1,5 billion UAH (around 45-49 million EUR), which is one of the smallest budgets in Europe in comparison with other broadcasters, such as Poland, Romania, Croatia, having few times higher budgets, but covering smaller areas and communities. The Management Board of UA:PBC published on 18 September 2017 an official statement expressing its concern about possible under-funding of UA:PBC which could affect not only broadcaster's ability to fulfill its remit, but moreover could affect its independence, especially in the eve of the election campaign. Several professional organisations, including the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) called on Ukrainian Government to ensure appropriate funding for the public broadcaster in line with the Ukrainian Law and with European standards, as provided in Council of Europe Recommendation 1878 (2009) on Funding of public service broadcasting and EBU's principles for stable, accountable, fair and independent funding.

State replies

New 18 Dec 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine

Follow-ups

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

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

20 Sep 2017 : 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)

Azerbaijani Director of Internet Television Re-arrested

Update: 18 Dec 2017 No reply yet
Year 30 Jun 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
30 Jun 2017 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1
No reply yet

Aziz Orujov, director of internet television Kanal 13, was re-arrested on 1 June 2017 in Azerbaijan. On 2 May he was found guilty by court of committing an administrative offence - disobedience to a lawful order by police officer - and sentenced for 30 days. On 1 June, two hours before his expected release, he was taken to the Serious Crimes Investigation Department, then charged with illegal entrepreneurship with large income and abuse of official power. The judge has ordered the journalist's pre-trial detention for four months. After Ojurov's arrest, searches have been conducted in his apartment and in the office of Kanal 13. Computers, electronic carriers and documents were confiscated. Orujov's wife said that she is concerned about Ojurov's health because he suffers from chronic diseases. Media reported that the case against Ojurov is connected with his professional activities. Kanal 13 produces programmes on social and economic topics, presenting, among other things, positions of independent experts and opposition politicians. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

New 18 Dec 2017 : On 15 December 2017 the Baku Court for Serious Crimes sentenced Aziz Orujov to 6 years for illegal business and misappropriation of funds.

Follow-ups

New 18 Dec 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative calls on Azerbaijan authorities to end restrictive measures detrimental to journalists’ freedom and safety

Mehman Huseynov Sentenced to Two Years on Defamation Charges

Update: 18 Dec 2017 No reply yet
Year 10 Jan 2017 Country Azerbaijan Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
10 Jan 2017 Azerbaijan B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
No reply yet

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. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

New 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 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.

Uzbek Journalist on Interpol List Detained

Update: 18 Dec 2017 State replied
Year 02 Oct 2017 Country Ukraine Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index , EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 1
02 Oct 2017 Ukraine B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Index , EFJ/IFJ Level 1

On 25 September 2017, a Kyiv court approved a 40-day detention period for Narzullo Okhunjonov, who has been living in exile since 2013. Authorities detained Okhunjonov under an international arrest warrant on 20 September, when he arrived in Ukraine with his family from Turkey to seek political asylum. The authorities noted that his name was on an Interpol list. Uzbekistan filed the international warrant for Okhunjonov on a fraud charge. The journalist, who left Uzbekistan to avoid politically motivated persecution for his reporting, denies the charges. Okhunjonov writes critically, in Uzbek and Russian, from exile for sites including BBC Uzbek about Uzbekistan's authoritarian government, particularly on the the late President Islam Karimov. The journalist arrived in Kyiv from Turkey with his wife and five children. His family is currently in the capital of Ukraine.

Updates

19 Oct 2017 : On 5 October 2017, Narzullo Okhunjonov was released from the detention center by a decision of the Kyiv prosecutor’s office.

State replies

New 18 Dec 2017 : Reply from the Government of Ukraine
follow us follow us
Follow-ups to alerts Follow-ups to alerts
Twitter feed Twitter feed
Partners Partners
Thematic factsheets Thematic factsheets

OCTOBER 2017 Factsheet on detention with a view to expel, return, transfer or extradite a person to another country