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15 Feb 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 26 Nov 2018 France

Repeated Attacks on Journalists by the 'Yellow Vest' Protestors

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ RSF
The French journalists unions SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT Journalistes denounce the multiplication of attacks on journalists during the "Yellow Vest" protests in several French cities. Since 17 November 2018, the insults or threats by some "yellow vests" against journalists have become commonplace during demonstrations and on social networks. Several journalists were also victims of physical assaults. TV news outlets had to take special measures to protect their reporters. On Saturday, 24 November, uninhibited violence was unleashed against several television crews who were covering the demonstrations. In Besançon, on 17 November, journalists from the BIP community radio were subjected to racist insults. One of them was hit in the face. Suffering from a broken bone, he filed a complaint. In Montpellier, on 18 November, several television reporters were attacked by dozens of protesters. Protesters spat in the face of a freelance journalist who collaborates with several television channels, including BFM TV. In Toulouse, on 24 November, the BFM TV and CNews teams were called "collaborators", and were also the target of spitting and threats. These journalists escaped an attempted lynching, on the Capitol Square, conducted by a hundred people, without the intervention of police. In Béziers, on 24 November, journalists from the regional public channel France 3 Occitanie were severely assaulted. A group of about 300 ‘yellow vests’ also attacked the office of newspaper Midi Libre. A journalist was beaten and the door handle of the local newspaper agency was broken when protesters attempted to break into the premises. Five journalists from CNEWS and BFMTV lodged complaints on grounds of "aggravated violence", "death threats" and "attempted gang assault" following protests held on 24 and 25 November.
Updates
New 15 Jan 2019
On 12 January 2019, several journalists were heckled or assaulted while covering "yellow vests" demonstrations in France. On the night of Friday 11 to Saturday 12 January, about thirty “yellow vests” blocked the Valenciennes storage house of the regional daily newspaper "La Voix du Nord", preventing the distribution of 20,000 newspapers on Saturday morning. About fifty "yellow vests", some hooded, blocked the printing center of the regional newspaper "Yonne Républicaine" in Auxerre. They gathered in front of the printing center shortly before midnight, preventing the delivery trucks from leaving. The blockade hindered distribution of some editions of "Le Journal du Center" and "La République du Centre" regional dailies. Near Angouleme, the regional daily "La Charente libre" could be published only thanks to police protection. About 70 “yellow vests” had gathered in front of the newspaper headquarters. They tried to block the distribution of the daily newspaper, accused of being "a pack of hacks on the government’s payroll". On Saturday in Rouen, a security guard who accompanied two journalists from the LCI news channel was beaten while on the ground. His nose got broken. A complaint was filed. In Paris, a team of LCI journalists was also attacked by some demonstrators and a journalist was thrown to the ground before the intervention of other protesters intervened to protect her. In Toulon, two video journalists working for the Agence France Presse (AFP) received threats while filming clashes before eventually taking shelter in a restaurant. In Marseille, a video journalist from public TV channel France 3 and two photographers were insulted and prevented from working. In Toulouse, a journalist from the regional daily "La dépêche du Midi", insulted and threatened with rape by hooded "yellow vests", filed a complaint on Sunday 13 January. Sheltered in her car, she heard protesters shout "We'll get you out and rape you," reported on Twitter Lionel Laparade, one of the newspaper editors in chief. In Pau, a freelance journalist from the local media "C L'Info Pau", Franck Paillanave, was hit while reporting live. "Yellow vests" surrounded, showered him with insults, and then beat him. He said on Sunday that he would also file a complaint.
State replies
15 Feb 2019
Follow-ups
28 Nov 2018
Recent attacks against journalists while covering protests are unacceptable. Journalists must be able to work, and inform the citizens on public demonstrations, safely.
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14 Feb 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 25 Sep 2018 United Kingdom

Media Freedom Advocates Raise Alarm over UK Counter-Terror Bill

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index
Partner Index
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - proposed legislation which critics argue will have a significant negative impact on media freedom in addition to other freedoms - is under consideration in Parliament. The bill would criminalise publishing - for example, by posting on social media - a picture or video clip of items such as clothes or a flag in a way that raises “reasonable suspicion” that the person doing it is a member or supporter of a terrorist organisation. It would also criminalise watching online content that is likely to be helpful for terrorism. No terrorist intent would be required. The offence would carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Freedom of expression campaigners and media organisations have pointed out that the clause relating to online content will severely impede the work of investigative journalists.
Updates
New 14 Feb 2019
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act became law on 12 February 2019. Improvements were made to the draft law aiming to protect journalistic activity, but concerns remain about the Act’s implications for media freedom. Clause 2 criminalises publication of pictures or video of clothes or an article such as a flag in a way that raises “reasonable suspicion” (a low legal threshold) that the person doing so is a member or supporter of a terrorist organisation. The UK Joint Committee on Human Rights found that the clause “risks a huge swathe of publications being caught, including historical images and journalistic articles …” (Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, Ninth Report of Session 2017–19, para. 26). The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism expressed concern that the clause risks criminalising “… a broad range of legitimate behaviour, including reporting by journalists ...” (Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Submission, House of Commons Public Bill Committee, OL GBR 7/2018, 17 July 2018, para. 14). Protections for journalistic activity under extensive new border security powers remain very limited (see Schedule 3).
State replies
03 Dec 2018
Follow-ups
03 Oct 2018
OSCE Representative expresses concerns regarding draft UK Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, urges Government to safeguard media freedom.
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14 Feb 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 08 Nov 2017 Russian Federation

Russian Editor Arrested, Allegedly Injured in Custody; Newspaper Raided

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
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 .
Updates
New 14 Feb 2019
Igor Rudnikov is due to appear in court on extortion charges in St. Petersburg on 14 February 2019.
05 Nov 2018
An order was issued on 26 September 2018 extending Igor Rudnikov's preventive detention by another six months.
27 Jul 2018
On 28 June 2018, the Moscow Basmanny Court extended Igor Rudnikov’s pre-trial detention until 1st September 2018.
18 Apr 2018
On 29 March 2018, a Moscow court extended Igor Rudnikov's pre-trial detention for another two months.
05 Mar 2018
On 2 December 2018, a month after his arrest, Igor Rudnikov was transferred to Moscow. He is currently held under a provisional detention order valid until 1 April 2018.
Follow-ups
07 Nov 2018
One year after arrest of Russian journalist Igor Rudnikov, OSCE Representative reiterates call for his release
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Igor Rudnikov
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14 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 16 May 2018 Ukraine

RIA Novosti Journalist Kyrylo Vyshynsky Held on Treason Allegations in Ukraine

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

Currently in detention (1):

Kyrylo Vyshynsky
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14 Feb 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 14 Feb 2019 Serbia

N1TV Journalists Subjected to Death Threats

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Private-owned TV station N1 received a letter on 4 February 2019 threatening to kill the N1 journalists and their families and to blow up the office. It said: “Do you have families? You’re killing our children and grandchildren, and are unaware that if the destruction happens, your building will be the first to be blown up, and you may lose your dearest. That’s why we, the veterans, warn you not to play with anyone’s destiny because your fate is in our hands.”

The letter was signed "Belgrade Veterans of the 1999 war" (a Serbian war veteran association), but the representative denied any involvement. The Prosecutor’s Office arrested a 70-year-old man from the town of Nova Pazova and ordered a 30-day detention. The death threats were issued after N1 journalists were labelled "anti-Serbs" and "traitors" by ruling party MPs for their reports about Kosovo.
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13 Feb 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 13 Feb 2019 Russian Federation

Russia Investigates Reporter, Seizes Property over Allegations of "Justifying Terrorism"

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ
Svetlana Prokopyeva, a Pskov-based stringer for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Russian service and the Echo of Moscow news radio station, is being investigated for comments critical of Russian authorities in relation to a suicide bombing last year, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the journalist, who spoke to CPJ. Russia's federal media regulator, Roskomnadzor, said those comments, made during a broadcast on the Pskov affiliate of Echo of Moscow, amounted to "justifying terrorism."

On 6 February 2019, armed special forces police raided Prokopyeva's home and seized two cell phones and three laptop computers, as well as many documents relating to her work, Prokopyeva told CPJ. She said police took her to a local station, where she was interrogated before being released. Prokopyeva's lawyer was present during the search and interrogation, according to the Russian office of Human Rights Watch. On the same day, local police conducted a "crime scene examination" of Echo of Moscow. Prokopyeva told CPJ that she was interrogated by police again on 7 February and that police forced her and her lawyer to sign an agreement stating that they would not disclose sensitive information about the investigation. Pskov police could not be reached by phone for comment.

The investigation into Prokopyeva stems from comments she made while hosting a show on the Pskov affiliate of Echo of Moscow on 7 November 2018, during which she discussed a suicide bombing attack in Arkhangelsk in October, when a 17-year-old detonated a homemade bomb inside a local Federal Security Service building. Prokopyeva said on-air that the bomber was "a teenager who grew up under Putin's rule" and that "a 'ruthless state' had raised someone who saw violence as the only path," according to a summary of her remarks by Human Rights Watch.

A transcript of the broadcast was published on Echo of Moscow's website and by local news portal Pskov Newsfeed. In December 2018, Roskomnadzor issued a warning to both outlets and both removed the transcripts. Later that month, Roskomnadzor fined the radio station 150,000 rubles (approximately US$2,280) and Pskov Newsfeed 200,000 rubles (approximately US$3,040) for carrying her comments. Prokopyeva could face charges under Article 205.2(2) of the Russian criminal code, which penalizes the public justification of terrorism; if found guilty, she could face up to seven years in prison.
Follow-ups
13 Feb 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls for dropping of criminal charges against Radio Ekho Moskvy journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva in Russia.
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11 Feb 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 06 Feb 2019 Slovak Republic

Slovakia Seeks to Introduce Right of Reply for Politicians

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner IPI AEJ
No state reply yet
Partner IPI AEJ
Lawmakers in Slovakia are considering a bill that would legally mandate a right of reply for politicians and public officials who claim their honour or reputation has been damaged in media reports. The measure was introduced by members of the country’s ruling Smer party after former Prime Minister Robert Fico said at a rally in December that measure should be introduced to end “media terror and lynching”. Slovakia’s current Press Act provides a right of reply but contains a clause excluding public officials and high-ranking politicians from having recourse to it. The current bill would terminate that exception and require media outlets to publish a reply by individuals, including public officials and political leaders, who claim their rights to dignity, honour or privacy were violated by “factual statements” in “periodical press or news agency items”. Media that fail to publish a reply can be ordered to pay damages up to nearly 5,000 euros. The country’s ruling parties are also toying with the idea of extending the right of reply to opinion pieces and establishing a state media council despite the fact that Slovakia already has a media council consisting of lawyers, former journalists and other professionals. Slovakia’s Press Act already contains a right of correction that all individuals, including politicians and public officials, can use.

The bill has been condemned by the Slovak Press Publishers’ Association and comes as media continue to unearth details about the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kucikak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, on 21 February 2018, the reverberations of which led to the resignations of Fico and other Smer officials last year. Journalists have recently published details about the communication of top politicians with Alena Z., an alleged middlewoman in the murder, and revealed that a high-ranking police official may have given an order to screen Kuciak through police databases.
Follow-ups
11 Feb 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls for repeal of Slovak Press Act amendments on right of reply.
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31 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 22 Nov 2018 Hungary

Media Council Refuses to Renew Broadcasting Licences of Two Radio Stations

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index
Partner Index
Two commercial radio stations, Music FM and Sláger FM, will be forced to close down after the Media Council refused to renew their broadcasting licences, which are due to expire in February 2019. Both Music FM and Sláger FM are popular stations enjoying audience figures of between 300 and 500 thousand listeners a day, and their closure will mean there are no popular commercial stations left that are not owned by close associates of the Hungarian government. The Hungarian media authority NMHH said their licences were not being renewed because both stations had committed "serious violations" of the media law by failing to observe child protection regulations.
State replies
31 Jan 2019
New Reply from the Hungarian authorities (information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
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31 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 31 Oct 2018 Hungary

Criminal Charges Brought Against Hungarian Investigative Journalist András Dezső

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner Index
Partner Index
Criminal charges have been brought against András Dezső, an investigative journalist who works for the independent news website Index.hu. On 31 October 2018, Dezső wrote on his Facebook page that he discovered he was being charged from a report published earlier in the day in a pro-government daily, but had not yet received official notification the prosecutor’s office. The charges appear to relate to alleged misuse of personal information in connection with an article that Dezső wrote for Index.hu looking into the background of a woman of Hungarian origin who in March 2018 - during the election campaign - gave an interview to the Hungarian state broadcaster M1 in which she said that she had moved back to Budapest from Stockholm because of a deteriorating security situation in Sweden she said was the result of the presence of large numbers of migrants there. The woman's interview with M1 caused a media storm in Hungary and was widely seen as providing a boost to the ruling party Fidesz in the run-up to the April 2018 election.
Updates
30 Nov 2018
On 30 November 2018, Index.hu journalist András Dezső received a reprimand from a Budapest court for the alleged misuse of personal information in an article he published in March about a woman who claimed that Budapest was a safer city than Stockholm because of the lower level of immigration in Hungary. According to the news website HVG.hu, the reprimand handed down by the judicial authorities was the mildest possible punishment. Dezső rejects the charge against him and insists that the information contained in his article was drawn from an official and freely accessible Swedish database.
State replies
31 Jan 2019
New Reply from the Hungarian authorities (information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
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31 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 08 Sep 2017 Hungary

The Website 888.hu Publishes a List of Eight Journalists Described as "Propagandists"

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
On 5 September 2017, the Hungarian internet portal 888.hu published a list of journalists accused of serving the interests of the American billionaire of Hungarian origin George Soros.
The article explicitly names eight journalists, including a photographer and a producer who are Hungarian or of Hungarian origin, working abroad for Politico Brussels, the German public television ZDF, Bloomberg, and the Reuters news agency.
These journalists are described as "foreign propagandists" and "spokespeople" of George Soros. The international media are presented as "biased” and “stigmatizing." Their only aim would be to "discredit" Hungary on the international scene.
State replies
31 Jan 2019
New Reply from the Hungarian authorities (information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
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31 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 12 Oct 2016 Hungary

Largest Opposition Daily Suspended in Hungary

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index AEJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner Index AEJ EFJ/IFJ
On 8 October 2016, the publisher Mediaworks Zrt. suspended, with immediate effect and with no prior notice, publication of online and print versions of the largest Hungarian opposition daily Népszabadság. The CEO resigned the day before and the publisher’s replacement as CEO announced the decision in a statement, citing "significant” financial losses as the reason for closure. The publisher said that Népszabadság lost 100,000 readers and suffered 5 billion forints (€16.7 million) worth of losses over the last 10 years. Népszabadság's journalists swiftly announced their intention to "take legal action against the publisher due to ongoing legal violations", including a failure to invite their representatives to a crucial meeting of the supervisory board. Journalists were blocked from entering their offices, and cut off from their e-mail accounts and the paper’s servers after receiving notification of the decision.

Mediaworks has been under Vienna Capital Partners’ investments for the last two years. Vienna Capital acquired Népszabadság, with a first-quarter circulation of 38,000, by buying stakes from Ringier AG in 2014 and a foundation with ties to the opposition Socialist party last year, expanding a portfolio that already includes the country’s largest business as well as profit-making sports newspapers.

The Népsabadság editorial team criticised the closure as a way of silencing criticism of the government, pointing out that it came days after the paper published stories with corruption allegations against Prime Minister’s close allies and a scandal involving the governor of the central bank. The Hungarian Press Union (HPU) also denounced the sudden shutdown and said that media pluralism, freedom of expression and labour rights are being violated. The organisations submitting this alert consider that the suspension of the newspaper in such a peremptory and untransparent manner risks serious damage to media diversity in Hungary and is liable to have a chilling effect on the capacity for independent and investigative journalism.
Updates
03 Nov 2016
On 3 November 2016, a Hungarian Court ruled that Nepszabadsag’s sudden closure in October 2016 was breaking the labour code because its owners and management should have consulted with the employee committee in a bid to keep publishing and avoid laying off all the staff.
State replies
31 Jan 2019
New Reply from the Hungarian authorities (information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
Follow-ups
26 Oct 2016
Secretary General Jagland discussed with Hungarian Justice Minister, László Trócsányi, the importance of media plurality in particular following the recent closure of the Nepszabadsag newspaper.
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31 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 12 May 2017 Hungary

Hungarian Journalist Júlia Halász Attacked and Violently Expelled from Fidesz’s Public Meeting in Budapest

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ RSF
Júlia Halász, a reporter for the Hungarian 444.hu website, was violently expelled from a public forum organised by the ruling party Fidesz party held at Saint Imre (Saint Emeric) Secondary School in Budapest on 4 May 2017. Halász had started editing her report when she was approached by three men, believed to be bodyguards of the country’s economy minister Mihály Varga and defence minister István Simicskó, who told her to leave claiming she could not film the event without registration. Halász later returned to the room and took some photos with her cell phone, but had to leave again to take a phone call in the corridor. She was followed by László Szabó, the Fidesz’s deputy chief of staff in the district and the organiser of the meeting, who, according to the journalist, aggressively tried to take her out of the building when she finished her call. He accused her of filming the event and snatched her the cell phone which he refused to return and deleted photos from the telephone while pushing the journalist around and refusing to let her back in the room to retrieve her equipment. Halász started yelling for help, but László Szabó grabbed her by the arm and dragged her outside the building where he continued to threaten her and other Fidesz’s supporters attacked her, as well.
The police was called by one school’s employee but, upon their arrival, Szabó had left the venue by the back door and nobody at the Fidesz’s event was willing to identify him as the man who had attacked Halász. The journalist said that Economy minister, Mihály Varga, later tried to mitigate the incident by promising that Ms. Halász’s equipment would be returned and offering to make himself available to her for an exclusive interview.
State replies
31 Jan 2019
New Reply from the Hungarian authorities (information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
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31 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 03 Oct 2017 Hungary

Journalist Lili Bayer Verbally Attacked by Government Spokesperson

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index
On 28 September 2017, Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács verbally attacked Politico correspondent in Hungary Lili Bayer. Kovács first insinuated in a Twitter post that Bayer is on drugs. He further elaborated by claiming on the same day, in an interview with ATV private channel, that “calling someone an antisemite or a Nazi is a strong drug, and the lady really struggles to get off it […] She is a drug addict of calling people antisemites and Nazis.” He was replying to Bayer's tweet drawing a parallel between the 1920's first Hungarian anti-Jewish measures and the state-funded campaign against American billionaire of Hungarian origin George Soros.
He went on by saying that Lili Bayer is not a journalist but a political activist serving Soros' interests: “I already spoke about this with the editor-in-chief of Politico, which is one of the papers where the lady works, I already put this forward, if I remember correctly, sometime at the beginning of the year, and one thing is for sure, that political activists should not hide behind a journalist badge. And what’s also for sure is that Lili Bayer from now on, for us, I think, is not a journalist.” He added that he will no longer work with her.
This statement follows on from the publication of a list of eight journalists described as "propagandists" on the Hungarian internet portal 888.hu . Lili Bayer was one of the journalists publicly accused of serving the interests of George Soros. Government spokesperson Kovács also criticized Bayer by name in March and July blog posts, while pro-government media outlets attacked her by name in eleven articles since February 2017.
Updates
17 Dec 2018
On 12 December 2018, Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács again denigrated Lili Bayer on Twitter, questioning whether Politico should be employing her as a journalist. In a tweet addressed to Politico Europe's political editor, Ryan Heath, Kovács wrote: "@politico is entitled to pay journalists, not political activists; regardless geographic location I do not consider @liliebayer a journalist. Please consider if she’s worth the money." Heath dismissed Kovács's tweet with one of his own: "It's not about who you consider a journalist. The EU institutions & POLITICO consider @liliebayer a journalist. Any non-Fidesz member who's met her agrees. And the point of a free press debate is that as a public figure, you occasionally accept questions from such people." Bayer was Politico's Hungary correspondent until April 2018, when she transferred to the outlet's Brussels office.
State replies
31 Jan 2019
New Reply from the Hungarian authorities (information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
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30 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 25 May 2016 Turkey

Criminal Investigation Opened Against Journalists for Solidarity Campaign

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
On 18 May 2016 Turkish judicial authorities opened a criminal investigation against six journalists and trade unionists for participating in a solidarity campaign with the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. The journalists include Ertugrul Mavioglu, Faruk Eren, Ayse Düzkan, Mustafa Sönmez, Melda Onur and Erol Önderoglu.

The Co-Editorship-in-Chief campaign was launched by Özgür Gündem daily on 3 May 2016 for World Press Freedom Day (#WPFD) where up to 16 journalists participated.Requests have been filed for the journalists and trade unionists to testify for articles that are being considered "terrorist propaganda" and an "incitement to crime" which were published whilst they participated in the solidarity campaign.
Updates
New 30 Jan 2019
On 29 January 2019, Ayşe Düzkan surrendered to authorities to serve an 18-month prison sentence handed down for serving as the symbolic editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem.
10 Dec 2018
On 30 November 2018, the court of appeal upheld sentences of journalists Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Bektaş and Hüseyin Aykol for “terrorism propaganda” in the Özgür Gündem trial.
12 Oct 2018
On 10 October 2018, the Istanbul 13th Heavy Criminal Court adjourned the trial of three defendants (Erol Önderoğlu, Şebnem Korur Fincancı and Ahmet Nesin) for the seventh time in nearly two years to wait for the execution of Ahmet Nesin's arrest warrant. The next hearing is scheduled for 28 January 2019, at which the prosecution is finally expected to present its summing-up and announce the sentences it wants the court to impose. On 11 October 2018, the trial of the other 11 defendants in the case was postponed to 17 January 2019. At the hearing, the Istanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court ruled to lift the travel ban that had been imposed on Erin Keskin and decided to extend Kemal Sancılı’s detention pending trial.
19 Jan 2018
On 16 January 2018 the 13th High Criminal Court in İstanbul convicted Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Ayşe Düzkan and Hüseyin Bektaş to 18 months in prison for spreading “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. The Court convicted Hüseyin Aykol to three years and nine months.
09 Jun 2017
The fourth hearing in the trial took place at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on 8 June 2017. Önderoğlu and Fincancı were in attendance, while Ahmet Nesin, who is abroad, was not present in the courtroom. The court adjourned the session until 26 December 2017 to wait for the implementation of the arrest order for Nesin and to obtain his defense statement.
01 Jul 2016
On 1 July 2016, Ahmet Nesin was freed. His release is also conditional. Charges against him are still outstanding.
30 Jun 2016
Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) Chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey Representative Erol Önderoğlu, who were arrested on charge of "terrorist propaganda" for participating in Özgür Gündem daily's Editor-in-Chief solidarity campaign were released conditionally on 30 June 2016. Charges are still outstanding and indictments (propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization and praising a crime and criminals) have been accepted by Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court. The first hearing is to be held on 11 November 2016.
29 Jun 2016
On 26 June 2016, journalists Nadire Mater, Yıldırım Türker, Tuğrul Eryılmaz and Faruk Balıkçı were the next four editors of Özgür Gündem to be questioned on "terrorist propaganda" charges for participating in the solidarity campaign with the newspaper.
Follow-ups
10 Dec 2018
OSCE Representative is alarmed that Turkey appeals court upheld sentences of journalists Ayşe Düzkan, Ragıp Duran, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Hüseyin Bektaş and Hüseyin Aykol for “terrorism propaganda” in the Özgür Gündem trial. Journalistic activities and solidarity are not crimes.
20 Apr 2018
OSCE Media Freedom Representative declared that interim decision to prolonge trial of Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem editors, including Erol Önderoglu, Ahmet Nesin and Sebnem Korur Fincanci means chilling effect these trials impose on journalists will continue in Turkey and urged for acquittal so they can continue their work freely.
20 Jun 2016
CoE Commissioner for Human Rights appalled by detention of human rights defenders in Turkey will take this up with the authorities.
20 Jun 2016
OSCE Representative appalled by imprisonment of two journalists and a human rights activist in Turkey, urges their release
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (0):

Ayşe Düzkan
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30 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 29 Jan 2019 France

Arson Attack against France Bleu Isère Radio Station

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ EBU
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ EBU
In Grenoble, the premises of public service radio station France Bleu Isère were partially destroyed following a fire that occurred around 2:30 am on the night of 27 January 2019. According to the investigation’s initial findings, the fire is most likely a deliberate criminal act. Two fire starts were identified; the door of the service entrance was forced. No injuries were reported, but material damage is significant: the entire ground floor of the building was damaged and the editorial offices destroyed. The first floor premises were spared thanks to the rapid intervention of firefighters. Editor-in-chief Leopold Strajnic said there had been no threat against the radio. The editorial team was able to resume work on 28 January in the afternoon, on the premises of France 3 television in Grenoble.
Updates
New 30 Jan 2019
Responsibility for the arson attack which destroyed the premises of France Bleu Isère, on the night of 27 January, was claimed in a message published on 29 January on an anti-capitalist anarcho-libertarian website.
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29 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 29 Nov 2018 Hungary

New Pro-Government Media Conglomerate Threatens Media Pluralism

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ CPJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ CPJ Index RSF
The owners of a majority of Hungary’s pro-government media outlets announced on 28 November 2018 that they are donating their companies to a foundation, the “Central European Press and Media Foundation”. This new media conglomerate will include cable news channels, online news portals, tabloid and sports newspapers and all of Hungary’s county newspapers, several radio stations and numerous magazines.
Among the media companies to be under its control are Echo Penisola Ltd. (Part FM radio station), Gong Radio Ltd. (Gong FM radio station), Hír TV (Hír TV station), Hold Reklam Ltd. (Retro radio station), Hung-Ister Jsc. (audiovisual producer), K4A Publishing House Ltd. (Figyelo weekly magazine), Mandiner Press Ltd. (mandiner.hu), Modern Media Group Jsc. (Lokal daily, Lokal Extra paper, lokal.hu and 888.hu), Napfenymedia (Deli Szo naewspaper and szegedma.hu), Ripost Media Ltd. (Ripost daily, Hello! weekly, ripost.hu, faktor.hu).
Some other media companies announced that they are ready to assign their ownership rights to the Foundation: Opus Press Ltd. (Opus closed down Nepszabadsag daily and owns all the county newspapers through Mediaworks Co., the Nemzeti Sport leading sport daily, the Bors tabloid daily, Vilaggazdasag economic daily, and weeklies), Echo Hungaria TV Jsc. (Echo TV), Magyar Idok Ltd (Magyar Idok daily), New Wawe Media Group (origo.hu, life.hu, travelo.hu, etc.).
According to media reports, most of the publications donated to the Foundation were acquired or founded by allies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the past few years. Some of them turned from relatively independent outlets into supporters of the government, with copious state and government advertising.
The Foundation’s media operations will be led by Gabor Liszkay, a newspaper publisher known for his loyalty to Viktor Orban.
On 28 November, the National Federation of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ) sent a letter to the Media Authority and the Competition Office in Hungary, in order to denounce the hegemonic position of the new conglomerate, in many areas of the press, including national commercial radio and county newspapers.
State replies
29 Jan 2019
New Reply from the Hungarian authorities (information received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
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28 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 02 Jul 2018 Turkey

Journalist and Former MP Eren Erdem Detained for his Work as Editor-in-chief

1 Journalist in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
A former Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker and professional journalist Eren Erdem was arrested on June 29, 2018 over terrorism charges.Mr Erdem was detained in Ankara after the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a warrant. He was brought to Istanbul by the police where he was arrested by the 35th Heavy Penal Court. The journalist and former member of the parliament was on trial over his work during his time as the editor-in-chief of Karşı newspaper. The prosecutor accused Erdem in the indictment for “aiding a terrorist organization without being a member,” “revealing the identity of a secret witness,” and “violating the confidentiality of a criminal investigation." Erdem, who is charged with links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), could be jailed from 9.5 years to 22 years, the indictment says. Turkish media reported on June 29 that Erdem was detained over suspicions that he would flee the country, a claim denied multiple times by Mr Erdem and reported by media outlets.
Updates
New 28 Jan 2019
In a letter dated 27 January 2019, Eren Erdem announced that he will go on a hunger strike as of 29 January.
New 08 Jan 2019
On 7 January 2019, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to the verdict of release given for Eren Erdem on the same day by the İstanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court. Following a Court decision, Eren Erdem was re-arrested on 8 January.
New 07 Jan 2019
On 7 January 2019, a Turkish court released former CHP lawmaker and journalist Eren Erdem pending trial.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (1):

Eren Erdem
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25 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 25 Jan 2019 Ukraine

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

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) reported that on 18 January 2019, during a press conference hosted by the press club of the daily “New Day” (Novyi Den) in Kherson, Ukraine, the newspaper came under attack from unknown assailants using rubber bullets and tear-gas from outside the building, before entering. One journalist present suffered chemical burns as a result. The police later arrested and released Kyril Stremousov, head of the Khersonian regional Socialist Party on charges of hoooliganism for the assault.
Follow-ups
25 Jan 2019
New Alarmed at attack on office of Novyi Den newspaper, the OSCE Representative on Media Freedom calls on the authorities to fully investigate and prosecute the attackers.
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24 Jan 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 17 Dec 2018 Greece

Terrorist Attack against Skai TV and Khatimerini Newspaper

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ CPJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ CPJ Index RSF
A bomb blast on 17 December 2018 damaged a building in Athens housing the headquarters of Greece’s private radio and television network Skai and Greek daily newspaper Khatimerini, but there were no casualties. Anti-terrorist police opened an investigation into the attack that focused on Greek extremist groups.
The homemade device went off at around 2:37 am, 45 minutes after an anonymous telephone warning to another TV network. Police cordoned off the neighbourhood in the Athens suburb of Neo Phaliro and evacuated the building, which contains the offices of Skai, a group owned by the Alafouzos shipping family, as well as those of Kathimerini, a centre-right daily critical of the government.
Police said the explosive device was attached to a metal crash barrier on a busy coastal road in the southern Faliro area. The bomb smashed windows on the facade. Nearby apartment buildings and cars were also damaged. Police, who were checking cameras in the area for possible clues on the bombers, also said the device had contained at least five kilograms of explosives.
“The terrorist attack will not discourage us..,” said Skai in a statement, accusing the government of failing to do enough to protect the media despite “recurrent threats against the station.”
The Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN) called on Greek authorities “to identify as soon as possible and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack.”
State replies
24 Jan 2019
New Reply from the Greek authorities (information from the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights)
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23 Jan 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 11 Dec 2018 Greece

A Journalist Dismissed Under the Pressure of Supporters of a Football Club

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
The Greek journalist Vangelis Braoudakis was dismissed on 30 November 2018 by the management of the daily "Ethnos", under the pressure of supporters of the football club PAOK, who publicly claimed his dismissal. On 5 October, Radio FM in Thessaloniki devoted two hours of broadcasting to the violent recriminations of the supporters of the PAOK football club against journalist Vangelis Broudakis, accused of being "an enemy of the club". His dismissal was explicitly claimed on the air. The harassment campaign continued on social networks. "Ethnos" ended up dismissing the journalist. The Journalists’ Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN-ESIEA) denounced "this illegal and abusive dismissal", condemning the incessant maneuvers of intimidation of supporters towards journalists.
State replies
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20 March 2018

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

20 March 2018

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