Media freedom alerts

 

Journalists Targeted by Protesters in northern Cyprus

Update: 14 Dec 2017 State replied
Year 11 Oct 2017 Country Cyprus Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
11 Oct 2017 Cyprus C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ Level 2

According to Basin-Sen (press workers’ trade union), on 9 October 2017 taxi drivers union (Birleşik Taksiciler Birliği) in northern Cyprus organised several public demonstrations where journalists and media workers covering the events were systematically targeted and threatened by protesters. The journalists have been exposed to verbal abuse, strong language and assaulted by the taxi drivers all day long. Police forces did not intervene when journalists were under attack, yet they only warned the journalists to stay away from the protestors.

Additional Information

State replies

New 14 Dec 2017 : Response from the Cypriot authorities

Italian Newspaper La Repubblica's Headquarters Attacked by Forza Nuova Supporters

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Year 14 Dec 2017 Country Italy Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
14 Dec 2017 Italy C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Non-state EFJ/IFJ Level 2
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On 6 December 2017 in the afternoon, the Italian far-right party Forza Nuova attacked the headquarters of left-wing newspaper La Repubblica and declared "war" against its publisher. Around twelve Forza Nuova supporters threw flares at the office of Repubblica, its publisher L’Espresso Group and the weekly magazine of the same name. They carried a banner which said “Boycott L’Espresso and Repubblica”. Nobody was reported injured. The attack came after the paper and publisher had expressed support for a proposed legislation to accelerate citizenship for immigrants’ children born in Italy. As a response, Forza Nuova stated on its Facebook page that it was "declaring war" on La Repubblica and L'Espresso, accusing them of "carrying out a genocide of the Italian people" by supporting the citizenship legislation. Interior Minister Minnitti visited La Repubblica on the same day in a show of solidarity and called the attack unacceptable. The Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (FNSI) has also publicly condemned the threats, calling on journalists to continue their work despite fascist groups’ reaction, and urging an urgent response from the government and authorities, condemning fascist attacks and threats to journalists.

Poland: TVN24 Channel Fined on Incitement Charges

Update: 14 Dec 2017 No reply yet
Year 13 Dec 2017 Country Poland Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 , IPI Alert level Level 2
13 Dec 2017 Poland E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 , IPI Level 2
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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.

Follow-ups

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

Six Journalists Detained Without Explanation

Update: 06 Dec 2017 No reply yet
Year 10 Jan 2017 Country Turkey Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Alert level Level 1
10 Jan 2017 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Index , RSF Level 1
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Journalists and media workers Tunca Öğreten (freelance), Mahir Kanaat (BirGün daily), Ömer Celik (DIHA news director), Metin Yoksa (DIHA correspondent), Eray Saygin (Yolculuk daily) and Derya Okatan (ETHA) have been detained by Turkish authorities on 25 December 2016 at 04:30 from their homes in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakır. Derya Okatan (ETHA) is on hunger strike against “state of emergency rulings” since 25 December and Ömer Celik (DIHA) was allegedly beaten during his arrest. Under the state of emergency, Turkish authorities have extended the detention period from 4 to 30 days and lawyers have no access to journalists for more than 5 days. No official reason has been given for these arrests and the journalists claim that they are being badly treated in detention.

Updates

New 06 Dec 2017 : On 6 December 2017 Tunca Öğreten and Mahir Kanaat were released on probation.The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 3 April 2018.
25 Oct 2017 : On 24 October 2017, the 29th Istanbul Court for severe crimes issued an interim judgement after the first hearing of the six journalists' trial. The court ruled to release Ömer Çelik. Öğreten and Kanaat are to remain in detention on remand. The journalists are charged with "being a member of an armed terrorist organisation", "propagandising for a terrorist organisation", "blocking, damaging information system" and "altering or destroying data".
18 Jan 2017 : On 18 January 2017, three of the six journalists were arrested (Tunca Öğreten, Mahir Kanaat and Ömer Celik). The other three were released under judiciary control (Metin Yoksa, Eray Saygin and Derya Okatan).

Follow-ups

01 Oct 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.

Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Killed by Car Bomb

Update: 06 Dec 2017 State replied
Year 17 Oct 2017 Country Malta Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI , RSF Alert level Level 1
17 Oct 2017 Malta A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Article 19 , AEJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has been murdered on 16 October 2017, around 3pm, by a car bomb in the town of Bidnija, near her family home. Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was known for her investigative journalism and her blog 'Running Commentary', which was one of the most widely read websites in Malta. In 2016, she was named by Politico as one of the “28 people who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”, after being the first to break news of Maltese politicians’ involvement in the Panama Papers scandal. The journalist had been sued many times for her blog posts in which she revealed several alleged corruption scandals involving Maltese politicians. In February 2017, her bank accounts were frozen and libel suits were filed against her by Maltese Economy Minister and his consultant, following a report revealing that both men visited a brothel during an official trip in Germany. According to media report, Daphne Caruana Galizia had filed a police report 15 days before her death saying she was being threatened.

Updates

New 06 Dec 2017 : On 4 December 2017 the Maltese police arrested ten suspects over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. On 5 December, three of them were charged with the journalist`s murder, as well as with criminal use of explosives, being involved in organised crime, and criminal conspiracy.

State replies

17 Oct 2017 : Reply of the Maltese authorities

Follow-ups

17 Oct 2017 : Shocked by the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Commissioner for Human Rights calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate the case.
17 Oct 2017 : CoE Secretary General appalled by the brutal death of Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, in a car bombing, calls for a thorough investigation to find those responsible for her death.
17 Oct 2017 : OSCE media freedom representative outraged by killing of prominent journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, urges thorough investigation'

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

Update: 06 Dec 2017 No reply yet
Year 20 Nov 2017 Country Russian Federation Category E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom Source of threat State Partner Article 19 Alert level Level 2
20 Nov 2017 Russian Federation E. Other acts having chilling effects on media freedom State Article 19 Level 2
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On 10 November 2017, Russian legislators announced that they were drafting amendments to Russia’s 2012 ‘Foreign Agents Law’, extending its provisions to foreign-owned media outlets. These amendments have been portrayed as a ‘tit-for-tat’ retaliation in response to the US Department of Justice requiring Russian state-funded TV Channel RT to register under the US Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). The Russian amendments were approved on 15 November by the lower house of parliament. They must now be approved by the upper house of parliament, before being signed into law by President Putin. It is understood that the upper house will discuss the amendments on Wednesday 22 November. The Foreign Agents Law currently requires all Russian NGOs receiving foreign funding and engaged in loosely defined ‘political activities’ to register as ‘foreign agents.’ NGOs must indicate their ‘foreign agent’ status in publications, and are subject to onerous reporting requirements, special inspection orders, and restrictions on the activities they may undertake. Criminal and administrative sanctions for non-compliance include, inter alia, fines of up to 500,000 roubles ($16,000) or imprisonment of up to two years. The amendments would extend this legislation to cover media outlets registered in foreign countries, and receiving funding from a variety of foreign actors. Once registered as a ‘foreign agent’, the outlet would be obliged to label all transmissions and publications as produced by a ‘foreign agent’.

Updates

New 06 Dec 2017 : On 5 December 2017, Russia`s Justice Ministry announced that it had designated nine U.S. government-funded press outlets as "foreign agents". The list includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and seven other affiliates.
27 Nov 2017 : On 25 November 2017 the amendments to the “Foreign Agents” Law were signed by President Putin, thus officially coming into force.
22 Nov 2017 : On 22 November 2017 the upper chamber of the Russian parliament approved the amendments to the “Foreign Agents” Law, extending it to media outlets. The law is now awaiting signature by President Putin.

Follow-ups

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

Bulgarian Journalist Georgi Ezekiev, Zov News Website Publisher, Receives Death Threat in a Filmed Interview

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Year 29 Nov 2017 Country Bulgaria Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner RSF Alert level Level 1
29 Nov 2017 Bulgaria A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state RSF Level 1
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The alleged murder plan came to light earlier this month in the course of a joint investigation by Zov News and the investigative news website Bivol into a drug trafficking ring in which police officers are thought to be implicated. A person who used to be involved in this network told the reporters in a filmed interview that his former mafia bosses were planning to eliminate Georgi Ezekiev, the publisher of Zov News website. One of the reporters participating in this investigation, Maria Dimitrova, meanwhile received threatening messages by SMS and on Facebook.

The Guardia Civil Raids Several Catalan Newsrooms

Update: 29 Nov 2017 State replied
Year 21 Sep 2017 Country Spain Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ Alert level Level 2
21 Sep 2017 Spain C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ Level 2

The Spanish Guardia Civil raided the offices of five Catalan newspapers on 15 September 2017 in relation to media coverage of the Catalan referendum on self-determination due to take place on 1 October. The Guardia Civil presented a judicial ruling prohibiting the targeted media (NacioDigital, El Punt Avui, Vilaweb, El Nacional, Raco Català, Libertat.cat) from publishing any institutional advertisement in favour of the referendum viewed illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court. The Guardia Civil then proceeded to identify the journalists present. Several journalist organizations, such as the Union of Journalists of Catalonia (SPC) and the Ethical College of Journalists of Catalonia, denounced the intervention of the Guardia Civil. The SPC issued a statement on 18 September condemning "police intimidation" and recalling the freedom to comment on current events. On 20 September, the information portal Vilaweb, which refused to stop the dissemination of institutional advertising in favour of the referendum, was threatened with closure by the Guardia Civil.

State replies

New 29 Nov 2017 : Reply from the Spanish authorities

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

Update: 27 Nov 2017 State replied
Year 02 Nov 2017 Country Croatia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
02 Nov 2017 Croatia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1

On 29 October 2017, Croatian public television (HRT) reporter Maja Sever received a death threat via Facebook following the broadcast of her report about refugees from Nigeria. The private Facebook message contained abusive racial language, stating that “if you want to live with N***ers, go live in England, France or USA, but do not promote that Freemason’s multicultural politics in Croatia.” The message ended by mentioning execution, warning the journalist that “the day when you will be killed is coming soon,” according to the Croatian Association of Journalists. Maja Sever said that the message was sent by a Croat living in Belgium.

State replies

New 27 Nov 2017 : Response from the Croatian authorities

Editor-in-Chief of Cumhuriyet Detained, Accused of Terrorist Propaganda

Update: 22 Nov 2017 No reply yet
Year 16 May 2017 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
16 May 2017 Turkey B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , Index , IPI , RSF Level 1
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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. Akin Atalay was arrested on 13 November 2016, Murat Sabuncu, Hakan Karasinir, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Güray Öz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Önder Celik, Turhan Günay and Kadri Gürsel were arrested on 15 November 2016, Ahmet Şık was arrested on 29 December 2016.

Updates

New 22 Nov 2017 : On 21 November 2017, Oğuz Güven received a three year and one month prison sentence on two separate terror charges.
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 September 14, 2017.

Novaya Gazeta Correspondent to be Deported

Update: 22 Nov 2017 No reply yet
Year 08 Aug 2017 Country Russian Federation Category B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists Source of threat State Partner Index , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , RSF Alert level Level 1
08 Aug 2017 Russian Federation B. Detention and imprisonment of journalists State Index , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , RSF Level 1
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Journalist for independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Khudoberdi Nurmatov, also known as Ali Feruz, was detained by police on 1 August 2017 and is now set to be deported back to Uzbekistan, his native country following a decision of the Basmannyi district court in Moscow. Nurmatov said a police officer stopped him on the street asking for his documents and then ordered him to get into the police car. At the station, officers filed out papers stating that he violated immigration laws. Nurmatov was also fined 5000 rubles (80 euros). Nurmatov has been based in Russia since 2011 after fleeing Uzbekistan where he was allegedly detained and tortured by officers from the National Security service for refusing to secretly collaborate with them. In May 2016 and in February 2017, Russia refused to grant the journalist temporary asylum. Friends and supporters are worried that he could be abducted by Uzbekistan security forces. Human Rights organizations documented several cases of Uzbek citizens who had been seeking asylum or had been granted refugee status have gone missing in Moscow in recent years only to reappear some time later in Uzbek jails. Nurmatov wrote articles on Uzbek domestic policy and the conditions in which Central Asian immigrants live in Moscow. Human Rights organisations believe that sending Khudoberdi Nurmatov back to Uzbekistan would put him in great danger as his journalistic activities and defence of human rights expose him to the worst in a country where torture is systematically used. According to the journalist's lawyer Daniil Khaimovich, Nurmatov attempted to commit suicide in a hallway at the court house. Before trying to cut his wrists the journalist told his lawyer "I would rather die than return to Uzbekistan". He was later taken to a deportation centre in Moscow. He was allegedly beaten during his transfer to the deportation centre and sustained significant injuries. Alert : 1 detention

Updates

New 22 Nov 2017 : On 21 November 2017, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow fined Nurmatov for "illegal work" in Russia and ordered his deportation. His deportation however remains suspended following the issuing of an interim measure by the European Court of Human Rights.The deportation process will remain halted while his case is reviewed by the ECHR.
23 Oct 2017 : On 20 October 2017, a Moscow district court turned down Nurmatov's claim against the Russian Interior Ministry’s immigration department for refusing to grant him asylum.
08 Aug 2017 : A Moscow City Court ruled on 8 August 2017 that Nurmatov cannot be deported until the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) examines his complaints. The ECHR issued an interim measure on 4 August barring his transfer to Uzbekistan for the duration of the proceedings before the Court. Interim measures are urgent measures which, in accordance with the established practice of the European Court of Human Rights, apply only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable damage (http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/PD_interim_measures_intro_ENG.pdf).

Follow-ups

08 Aug 2017 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media closely following appeal against deportation of journalist Ali Feruz with hope for a positive outcome.
08 Aug 2017 : Commissioner for Human Rights calls "on the Russian authorities to release Mr Nurmatov from the temporary detention facility and to ensure that he is provided with all the necessary procedural safeguards in the context of the administrative proceedings in question".

Georgian TV Journalist Assaulted by Security Services and Deported

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

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

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

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

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

Physical Attack Against Journalist Drago Miljuš

Update: 18 Nov 2017 State replied
Year 13 Oct 2017 Country Croatia Category A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 1
13 Oct 2017 Croatia A. Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 1

On 11 October 2017, index.hr portal journalist Drago Miljuš was standing at the public facility outside police lines covering the police intervention at the Obojena svijetlost beach in Split (Croatia). The intervention was related to a suicide bomber who, unfortunately, came through with his intention. One of the policemen present started driving Miljuš off, first verbally and then by pushing him away. The policeman threw Miljuš mobile phone into the sea. He was joined by a special police force officer who hit the journalist in the head, knocking him down and splitting his lips. After the incident, Miljuš requested medical assistance at the hospital where his lips were stitched. Split police department announced that it has opened an investigation into this incident and will inform the public about its findings.

Updates

New 18 Nov 2017 : Following the attack on Miljuš, the Parliamentary Committee for Information, Informatisation and the Media requested a report on the incident from the Ministry of the Interior. On 18 November 2017 the Committee received the report, which stated that both police officers had been suspended and an internal disciplinary action had been initiated. Additionally, criminal charges were filed against the officers for causing physical injury and damaging property, respectively.

State replies

31 Oct 2017 : Response from the Croatian authorities

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

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

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

Updates

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

Follow-ups

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

Armenian TV Station Editor Assaulted While Reporting on Road Building Project

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

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

State replies

New 14 Nov 2017 : Reply from the Armenian authorities

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

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

Draft Law Threatens Independence of AGERPRES News Agency

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

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

Updates

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

State replies

New 13 Nov 2017 : Response from the Romanian authorities

Follow-ups

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

Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer

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

Russian Editor Arrested, Allegedly Injured in Custody; Newspaper Raided

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

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