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28 Aug 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 16 Oct 2017 Bulgaria

Bulgarian Investigative Journalist's Car Set on Fire following Warnings about TV Reports

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ
On 4 October 2017, a car belonging to Zornitsa Akmanova, a reporter for the TV programme ‘Lords of the Air’, was set on fire in the central Bulgarian town Karlovo. The ‘Lords of the Air’ programme sets out to expose and confront cases of fraud and other dishonest business practices. On the following day, the owner of a local car garage, Plamen Dimitrov, was arrested in connection with the attack on Ms Akmanova’s car. Just a few hours before the arson, the local authorities had closed down Mr Dimitrov’s garage business. Police intervention was prompted by high-profile TV reports by Ms Akmanova alleging Mr Dimitrov’s involvement in a number of acts of fraud against clients. Ms Akmanova has stated that she had previously received several threats warning her to stop reporting on Mr Dimitrov’s activities.

On 9 October, Mr Dimitrov was released on bail after being charged on a single count of fraud against a client. No charges have been brought in connection with the burning of Ms Akmanova’s car or the threats she has received. Bulgarian media report that following a number of previous claims made by local people against Mr Dimitrov, three local prosecutors have dropped the investigations on account of his reported relationship with a senior official in the Karlovo municipality. Subsequently those cases were re-directed to the regional prosecutors in Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city, but prosecutors there have also declined to carry out investigations against the garage owner.

The destruction of Zornitsa Akmanova’s car follows threats and acts of violence against other journalists working for ‘Lords of the Air’. In the recent past another reporter for the progamme, Eva Veselinova, was physically assaulted while filming an investigation into alleged fraudulent practices at a construction company. A third reporter, Dimitar Varbanov, received threats related to his investigations of the activities of a local businessman.
State replies
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08 Aug 2019 Lvl. 2
State repliedProgress
Alert created on: 07 Nov 2017 France

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

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ INSI RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ INSI RSF
The journalist Nadia Daam is being subjected to a hate campaign on the internet following the broadcast of her programme on Europe 1 radio, on 1 November 2017. She denounced the sabotage by members of the platform Jeuxvideo.com’s forum "Blabla 18-25" of a telephone line "anti-relou" (anti-bullies/harassers), which was opened to help female victims of street harassment. Nadia Daam described the forum as "a non-recyclable rubbish bin".

Since then, the journalist has been the victim of attacks on her electronic accounts, received insults of a pornographic nature, death threats, threats of rape, and hate speech on social networks. According to Europe 1, an individual also tried to break into her home in the middle of the night.

Europe 1 announced that it has filed a complaint at a police station in the 8th arrondissement of Paris for "threat of crime against persons".
Progress
11 Jun 2019: On 21 March 2019, the Rennes criminal court found a philosophy student guilty of threats of crime and sentenced him to five months in prison suspended and €2,500 in damages. Three other persons identified by the investigation remain to be tried.   Article from Le Monde (in French): "Prison avec sursis pour un étudiant qui avait harcelé la journaliste Nadia Daam"
Updates
13 Jul 2018
On 6 July 2018, a third man who called upon the announcement of the judgment to "avenge our fallen brothers" was found guilty by the Bobigny Criminal Court of crime threats and death threats and sentenced to six months of suspended prison, 180 hours of community service, an obligation to find a job or training, and €5,000 in damages.
06 Jul 2018
On 3 July 2018, the Paris Criminal Court found two men guilty of crime threats and sentenced each to six months of suspended prison and €2,000 euros in damages.
State replies
08 Aug 2019
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18 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 24 May 2017 Ukraine

Ongoing Impunity in the Case of Killed Journalists Andrea Rocchelli, Andrei Mironov and Wounded Photographer William Roguelon

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ
Partner RSF AEJ EFJ/IFJ
On 24 May 2014, on the Sloviansk southern front, Italian reporter Andrea Rocchelli, accompanied by Russian journalist and human rights activist Andrei Mironov and French photographer William Roguelon, were the victims of mortar fire that killed Rocchelli and Mironov on the spot and inflicted serious leg injuries on Roguelon, who eventually managed to return to France.

These three experienced reporters were in civilian dress and were travelling in a civilian taxi. They had press accreditation and had crossed ten checkpoints prior to the attack. Their presence was known and they could not be mistaken for military personnel or parties to the conflict.

An investigation was launched in Ukraine, which concluded that no evidence exist to find those responsible for this attack. However many evidences and testimonies were not taken into account : William Roguelon, as well as other key witnesses, were never heard, the ballistic test did not manage to draw any useful conclusion. A complaint has been filed also by William Roguelon in France, and by the Rocchelli family in Italy, where there has been considerable progress in the investigation.

Three years have passed since the date journalists were killed and the Ukrainian, French and Italian authorities cannot let this case go unpunished. They must collaborate and take all appropriate action so as the authors of this attack against journalists do not remain unpunished.
Updates
18 Jul 2019
On 12 July 2019, an Italian court sentenced Vitaliy Markiv, a volunteer fighter within the Ukrainian forces, to 24 years in detention, over his role in the killing of the Italian photographer. Mr Markiv denied he charges and vowed to appeal the sentence.
17 Jul 2017
On 30 June 2017, Vitaliy Markiv, a 28-year-old Italian-Ukrainian citizen was arrested in Bologna in the framework of the investigation into the death of Andrea Rocchelli.
State replies
13 Jul 2017
Reply from the Government of Ukraine
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17 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 17 Oct 2017 Malta

Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia Killed by Car Bomb

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ Index IPI RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ Index IPI RSF
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
17 Jul 2019
On 16 July 2019, three suspects were formally charged over the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio, as well as Vince Muscat, were arrested in December 2017. The public prosecutor now has 20 months to set a date for the trial.
12 Jul 2019
On 11 July 2019, at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Global Media Freedom conference in London, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta Carmelo Abela, responding to the demand of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to set up an independent public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, confirmed that the government will open such an inquiry within the next three months.
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
Follow-ups
27 Jun 2019
On 26 June 2019, PACE adopted the resolution on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and demanded the setting up of an independent public inquiry into her death within three months.
27 Jun 2018
Pieter Omtzigt, who is preparing a report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta, has been authorised by PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee to receive information from anonymous sources and to protect the identity of anyone who provides such information.
24 Apr 2018
PACE to monitor investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia
25 Jan 2018
PACE adopts a motion for a resolution 'Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the rule of law, in Malta and beyond: ensuring that the whole truth emerges'
25 Jan 2018
PACE appointed General Rapporteur on Media Freedom & the protection of journalists will make his first inquiry into the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
18 Oct 2017
APCE president strongly condemns the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana
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'
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
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10 Jul 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 19 Jan 2017 Turkey

Masterminds Still not Condemned, Ten Years After the Assassination of Journalist Hrant Dink

Source of threatState
CategoryImpunity for murder
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 19 January 2007, Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist and founder of Agos newspaper, was shot dead at 15:05 on the street in front of his office in Istanbul. The murderer, a 17-year-old Turkish nationalist, and some of his accomplices were apprehended and imprisoned but not all parties involved in the crime have been investigated. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkish authorities have failed to protect Hrant Dink’s rights to life and freedom of expression. Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that that civil servants and institutions must be investigated for their alleged roles in the journalist’s murder. Public servants who allegedly failed to protect the journalist and prepared false reports are currently being prosecuted at Istanbul 14th penal court.
Updates
10 Jul 2019
On 1 July 2019, the İstanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court issued its ruling on nine defendants whose files were separated from the main Hrant Dink murder trial. The court concluded that murder "was an organised crime" and sentenced seven defendants to prison, ranging from 99 years, 6 months to 2 years, 9 months. The lawyers of Dink family have appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals against this verdict, considering that defendants should be convicted of "membership of an armed terrorist organisation", rather than "membership of an illegal criminal organisation."
Follow-ups
19 Jan 2017
Ten years on, OSCE media freedom representative calls the authorities of Turkey to increase their efforts to ensure that justice is served in the case of journalist Hrant Dink
Relevant CoE instruments Disclaimer
19 Jan 2017
Case of Dink v.Turkey, ECHR Judgment of 14 September 2010 (Applications n°2668/07, 6102/08, 30079/08, 7072/09 and 7124/09) : Failure of authorities to protect life of a journalist following death threats and to protect freedom of expression of a journalist who had commented on identity of Turkish citizens of Armenian extraction
Disclaimer
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19 Jun 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 08 Nov 2017 Russian Federation

Russian Editor Arrested, Allegedly Injured in Custody; Newspaper Raided

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
19 Jun 2019
On 17 June 2019, the Moscovsky district court in St Petersburg dropped the charge of ‘financial extortion’ against Igor Rudnikov, and instead found him guilty of a lesser charge of “acting without lawful authority”. The Court sentenced Rudnikov to 550 hours of community work, but let him be released as he had been held for more than 15 months during the trial process.
07 Jun 2019
At the start of the trial on 6 June 2019, the prosecutor requested 10 years in prison for Igor Rudnikov, on extorsion charges.
14 Feb 2019
Igor Rudnikov is due to appear in court on extortion charges in St. Petersburg on 14 February 2019.
01 Feb 2019
On 1 February 2019, the Kaliningrad Regional Court, at the behest of Roskomnadzor, closed the newspaper “Novye Kolyosa”. The defense announced that it would appeal the decision, up to the European Court of Human Rights.
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
19 Jun 2019
OSCE media freedom representative welcomes release of journalist Igor Rudnikov, calls on authorities in Russia to drop all charges
07 Nov 2018
One year after arrest of Russian journalist Igor Rudnikov, OSCE Representative reiterates call for his release
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11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 2
Resolved
Alert created on: 27 Feb 2017 Belgium

The Law on the Protection of Journalistic Sources Ignored

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
The Brussels Prosecutor's office ordered the journalist Pauline Deglume, from the the daily newspaper "La Dernière Heure”, to be heard by the police on 23 February 2017 in Brussels. The journalist was interrogated as a "suspect" after a complaint was lodged by the Brussels Inter-municipal Transport Company (STIB) with a view to identifying the source of her information concerning an article she had published on 17 January 2015 about the monitoring of Brussels subway stations. The journalist and the professional organisations of journalists have denounced this intimidation and violation of the Belgian law of 7 April 2005 on the protection of journalistic sources. The law stipulates that only an investigating judge (and neither the public prosecutor's office nor the police) may interrogate a journalist about his/her sources and only in a situation of serious threat to the physical integrity of a person and when the requested information cannot be obtained in any other way.
Resolved
11 Jun 2019: On 11 June 2019, given that Ms Deglume is in a position to pursue her activity, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be “resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
Updates
18 Dec 2017
Pauline Deglume has published critical articles on the Brussels metro and the STIB in 2016 and 2017.
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11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 2
Resolved
Alert created on: 16 Jan 2017 Germany

German Journalists Refused Accreditation for Conference in Koblenz Organised by the European Parliament’s Group of Europe of Nations and Freedom

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ
Several journalists, including from Die Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung, der ARD-Tagesschau, Das Handelsblatt and Der Spiegel, who have been critical in their reporting about the German party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), were refused accreditation to attend the conference organized by the European’s Parliament’s group of Europe of the Nations and Freedom (ENF) in Koblenz on 21 January. The meeting is to be attended by leaders of the Germany’s AfD, France’s National Front, Dutch Freedom Party as well as Italy’s Northern League.

The Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV) requested fair accreditation for journalists who wish to attend the ENF conference in Koblenz. “When a political group of the European Parliament organises a conference, it is not a private meeting in the living room“, stated DJV-chair Frank Überall. “Parties, which are supposed to contribute to the political decision-making process, cannot exclude journalists from its meetings”. German public broadcaster ARD said that it may take legal action after it was refused access.
Resolved
11 Jul 2019: On 11 June 2019, given the reminder issued by the Federal Data Protection Officer, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be “resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
Updates
09 Apr 2019
On 5 April 2019, the Press Conference of Rhineland-Palatinate filed a complaint against the Federal Data Protection Officer against the publication on the Internet of the press cards which the organisation had required, and which included private data.
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11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yetProgress
Alert created on: 11 Oct 2017 Bulgaria

Threats from Politicians towards Bulgarian TV Journalist Viktor Nikolaev

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ EBU Index RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ EBU Index RSF
Viktor Nikolaev, journalist at NOVA TV, was threatened by an MP for ruling party GERB, Anton Todorov, and Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Simeonov during live broadcast of his TV morning show, on 6 October 2017. Todorov and Simeonov threatened the journalist that he would lose his job if he continued to ask inconvenient questions about the purchase of fighter aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force. The threat immediately raised a wave of concern among journalists in Bulgaria. Both politicians consider this incident as misrepresentation of their words. However, the same day MP Todorov apologised in a Facebook post. He resigned from Parliament on 9 October. On the contrary, Simeonov considered the accusations as slander and asked Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgarian National TV and NOVA TV for an apology otherwise the case will be taken to court. According to him, the media organized a scandalous campaign against him. The Union of Bulgarian Journalists (UBJ) called on Simeonov to resign.
Progress
11 Jun 2019: To date, no lawsuit has been initiated by Mr Simeonov against the journalist. However, that threat was not publicly withdrawn and Mr Simeonov has made no public apology or acknowledgement that his outburst was considered to be intimidating and an abuse of his position as an elected politician.
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11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 1
Resolved
Alert created on: 10 Jan 2017 Azerbaijan

Mehman Huseynov Sentenced to Two Years on Defamation Charges

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI PEN RSF
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI PEN RSF
On 9 January 2017, Mehman Huseynov, a blogger and journalist, was detained in Central Baku by plain clothed police officers and held incommunicado overnight. Mehman has reported that while in police custody, police placed a sack over his head and used force against him.

On 10 January, he was taken to Nasimi District Court, where he was tried on charges of disobeying the police (Article 535.1 of the Administrative Offences Code), which carries a sentence of up to 30 days in jail. The Court released him; however, he was fined 200 AZN (approx. 100 EUR).

Huseynov is well known for his investigative journalism, focused on corruption among the Azerbaijani elite. Most recently, he had posted pictures online of luxury properties, which he said were owned by government officials. He has long been subject to pressure by the authorities, and has been under a travel ban for several years.
Resolved
11 Jun 2019: On 11 June 2019, given the Azerbaijan authorities had lifted the travel ban on Mehman Hüseynov in April 2019 and his second case was filed, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ‘resolved’, concluding that it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
Updates
15 Apr 2019
On 12 April 2019, the authorities of Azerbaijan lifted the travel ban of Mehman Hüseynov, allowing him to leave the country and attend an OSCE conference on media freedom in Vienna.
10 Apr 2019
On 9 April 2019, Mehman Huseynov was informed that he was banned from leaving the country, according to the order of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan.
04 Mar 2019
Mehman Huseynov was released from prison on 2 March 2019 after fully serving a two-year prison sentence.
22 Jan 2019
On 22 January 2019, the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan announced that the new criminal case against Mehman Huseynov, regarding his alleged attack on a warden, has been discontinued. This follows the statement of the President of Azerbaijan, who issued a recommendation to the prosecution “to ensure the fairness and objectivity of the investigation”, taking into account the family situation and the youth of the defendant.
02 Jan 2019
On 26 December 2018, two months before his supposed end of sentence, new charges were brought against Mehman Huseynov. He was accused of beating a prison employee and placed in a punishment cell. In protest, he went on a dry hunger strike. On 30 December, Mr. Huseynov was transferred to Baku pre-trial centre. Due to his critical health state, a doctor was called in, who administered injections. The Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety addressed an appeal to the international community to “condemn another flagrant repressive act and call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mehman Huseynov”
28 Aug 2018
On 14 August 2018, Mehman Huseynov asked for a conditional detention, a request that was rejected by the Garadargsky District Court on 24 August.
28 Jun 2018
On 25 June 2018, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court rejected the second appeal by Mehman Huseynov, upholding his prison sentence for defamation.
18 Dec 2017
On 15 December 2017 the Baku Court of Appeals upheld the verdict against Huseynov, confirming his two year sentence for libel.
29 Sep 2017
On 29 September 2017 the Supreme Court of Baku partially granted Mehman Huseynov`s appeal, sending the case back to the Court of Appeals.
12 Apr 2017
On 12 April 2017, the Court of Appeals upheld the two years sentence against Mehman Huseynov.
03 Mar 2017
On 3 March 2017, Mehman Huseynov was sentenced to two years in prison on defamation charges (article 147.2 of the Criminal Code – defamation regarding a very serious crime) by the Surakhani district court. He was arrested in the courtroom. Nasimi district police chief filed the defamation charges against Huseynov, claiming the blogger lied when he stated following his release in January that he had been beaten by the police, demanding that he stopped his blogging activities. Mehman Huseynov is the first person to be convicted for slander in Azerbaijan.
Follow-ups
07 Jan 2019
PACE co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Azerbaijan call upon authorities to review Mehman Huseynov’s case
07 Jan 2019
Commissioner calls on the authorities of Azerbaijan to drop charges against Mehman Huseynov
07 Mar 2017
OSCE Freedom of Media Representative and Human Rights chief call for release of blogger and human rights activist in Azerbaijan
03 Mar 2017
CoE Commissioner for Human Rights calls the two-year sentence against Mehman Huseynov in defamation case "appalling".
11 Jan 2017
CoE Human Rights Commissioner expresses his worries at reported ill-treatment, arrest, fine of blogger Mehman Huseynov.
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11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 2
State repliedProgress
Alert created on: 19 Sep 2017 Croatia

Far-right Militants Threatened Novosti Newspaper During Protest

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 2 September 2017, members of the far-right Autochthonous Croatian Party of Right (A-HSP) gathered in front of weekly Novosti’s office in central Zagreb and burned a copy of the magazine, which is published by the Serb National Council in Croatia.

According to the Western Balkans Regional Platform for Advocacy of Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety, A-HSP accused Novosti journalists of spreading hate against Croatians and called on the Croatian government to stop funding the magazine.

During the incident, Novosti journalists also faced repeated hate speech through social media and threats - including death threats - according to Novosti editor Nikola Bajto, who said in an interview to Novi list newspaper that the A-HSP threatened Novosti journalists that "they will end up like Charlie Hebdo".
Progress
11 Jun 2019: On 14 September 2017, the Municipal State’s Attorney Office in Zagreb filed a criminal charge against Mr Dražen Keleminec for the criminal offence of “Public Encouragement of Violence and Hatred”.
State replies
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11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 1
State repliedProgress
Alert created on: 13 Oct 2017 Croatia

Physical Attack Against Journalist Drago Miljuš

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
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.
Progress
11 Jun 2019: Both police officers have been suspended and an internal disciplinary action has been initiated. Additionally, criminal charges were filed against the officers for causing physical injury and damaging property.
Updates
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
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11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 1
State repliedProgress
Alert created on: 02 Nov 2017 Croatia

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

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index
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.
Progress
11 Jun 2019: The police were able to quickly arrest the author of the dead threats who is now awaiting trial.   Article by Deutsche Welle: "Journalists in Croatia facing death threats"
State replies
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11 Jun 2019 Lvl. 1
State repliedProgress
Alert created on: 10 Mar 2017 Albania

Albanian Journalist Elvi Fundo Attacked in Tirana

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ Index RSF
On 8 March 2017, Elvi Fundo, director of Citynews.al online portal and Radio Best, was beaten up by unidentified assailants near the train station in Tirana. He was later sent to the hospital. He declared to Balkan Insight, the news portal of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network: : “Two individuals attacked me near my office at 10.30 am, causing injuries (…) I don’t believe it’s a political attack but the work of criminals financed by corrupt media clans tied to drug-trafficking.” Albanian politicians, including the Prime minister Edi Rama, as well as the Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) and OSCE representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, condemned the attack.
Progress
11 Jun 2019: On 23 August 2017, the court imposed a 30-day prison sentence for Ilir Kouni for attacking journalist Elvi Fundo. Police are still looking for the other aggressor.
State replies
Follow-ups
10 Mar 2017
OSCE media freedom representative condemns beating of journalist in Albania, urges quick investigation
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14 May 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 24 Feb 2017 Turkey

"Die Welt" Correspondent in Turkey Deniz Yücel Detained

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
Germany daily Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel was taken into custody in Istanbul on 14 February 2017. Mr Yücel, who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, is accused by Turkish authorities of being a member of a terrorist organisation, spreading propaganda and misusing information, charges refuted by the defendant as well as media organisations. The journalist had reported – like six other journalists working for national news outlets detained at the end of December 2016 – on emails that the hacker collective RedHack had acquired from the private email account of Turkey's Energy Minister Berat Albayrak who is President Erdoğan's son-in-law. The emails allegedly revealed media outlets' control and the use of fake Twitter accounts to influence the public in favour of the ruling AK party.
Updates
14 May 2019
On 10 May 2019, Deniz Yücel presented his defense statement at Amtsgericht Berlin-Tiergarten Court. The journalist alleged he suffered psychological and physical violence while in prison. This statement will be relayed to the 32nd High Criminal Court in İstanbul.
10 May 2019
On 8 May 2019, a Turkish Appellate court has overturned the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court decision rejecting the compensation claim filed by Deniz Yücel on the grounds that his year-long imprisonment in Turkey has been unlawful. His case for compensation will be heard again.
15 Apr 2019
On 11 April 2019, the court adjourned the next hearing to 16 July, allowing Deniz Yücel's defense statement to be heard in a Berlin rogatory court on 10 May 2019.
26 Sep 2018
On 25 September 2018, the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court rejected Deniz Yücel’s request for compensation for his year-long imprisonment in Turkey.
16 Feb 2018
On 16 February 2018, a criminal court in Istanbul ordered the release of Deniz Yücel pending trial. On the same day, prosecutors presented an indictment seeking up to 18 years in jail for the journalist on charges of "spreading terrorist propaganda" and "stirring enmity".
30 Mar 2017
On 30 March 2017, following the rejection of the appeal, Yücel’s lawyers filed a complaint at the Constitutional Court.
28 Feb 2017
On 27 February 2017, Deniz Yücel was arrested after an Istanbul court ordered him to be jailed pending trial. His lawyers have appealed against his detention.
Follow-ups
16 Feb 2018
OSCE Media freedom representative welcomes the release of Deniz Yücel, adding that all charges against him should be dropped.
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
02 Mar 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media calls on Turkey to decriminalize journalistic work following arrest of Die Welt journalist
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07 May 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 21 Nov 2017 Ukraine

Georgian TV Journalist Assaulted by Security Services and Deported

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ
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.
State replies
07 May 2019
Reply from the Government of Ukraine
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25 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 02 Jun 2017 Serbia

Serbian Reporter Lidija Valtner Attacked During New Serbian President’s Inauguration

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner RSF EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner RSF EFJ/IFJ Index
Lidija Valtner, a reporter for the Serbian daily Danas, was filming an altercation between supporters of Vučić’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and a protester during the President's inauguration on 31 May 2017, in Belgrade, when she was attacked by two Progressive Party supporters. One tried to grab her phone in order to prevent her from filming and, when she tried to defend herself, the two men seized her and forcibly took her away to a neighbouring park, 50 meters away.

In an interview with RSF, Valtner expressed dismay that two plainclothes police officers watched this attack without coming to her help.

Force was also used to prevent journalists with Vice, Radio Belgrade and the Cenzovska and Insajder websites from reporting or filming the demonstrations.
State replies
25 Apr 2019
Reply from the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia
11 Apr 2018
Reply from the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia
Follow-ups
23 Feb 2018
Commissioner for Human Rights: ‘Concerted efforts needed to protect media freedoms in Serbia’
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18 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 13 Sep 2017 Azerbaijan

Blogger Rashad Ramazanov Jailed for Nine Years

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index PEN RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index PEN RSF
The Azerbaijani blogger Rashad Ramazanov is serving a nine-year sentence in Baku Prison #2, which media freedom organisations link with his writings. Ramazanov was arrested on 9 May 2013, charged for drug possession, and on 13 November 2013 sentenced to nine years in jail. The Baku Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court later upheld this sentence. Ramazanov used to actively post micro blogs on social media networks, particularly on Facebook, in which he criticized the governmental policy and high-ranking Azerbaijani officials, including the President. After the arrest, he was unlawfully held in the Ministry of Internal Affairs Organized Crime Department for 11 days. His lawyer Aslan Ismayilov stated that Ramazanov was subjected to torture and beatings while in custody. Ismayilov's demands for investigation of the journalist's case yielded no results and he ended up being detained by police as well. Despite the repeated calls for release from local and international organisations, Ramazanov is still in prison.
Updates
18 Mar 2019
On 17 March 2019, Rashad Ramazanov was released, following presidential pardon.
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18 Mar 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 22 Jun 2017 Azerbaijan

Fikret Faramazoglu, Azerbaijani Chief Editor of News Website Sentenced to Seven Years on Extortion Charges

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner CPJ Index
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ Index
Fikret Faramazoglu, chief editor of the news website Journalistic Research Center, was sentenced on June 14, 2017 to seven years in prison on extortion charges. The judge also ruled to ban Faramazoglu from working as a journalist for two years after serving his prison term. Faramazoglu and his lawyer told the court the journalist was severely beaten in detention and lost several teeth as a result.

Faramazoglu was first detained on June 30, 2016 for allegedly receiving a large amount of money from a restaurant owner whom authorities claimed the journalist extorted. The journalist and his lawyer say the money was planted in his pocket. Faramazoglu also told the court he and his family were on a trip when the first incident of alleged extortion took place and requested that he be allowed to call witnesses. The judge denied his request. The judge also dismissed Faramazoglu's request for authorities to investigate the beating, according to reports.

The journalist's lawyer, Elchin Sadygov, told CPJ that the arrest came soon after Faramazoglu reported that restaurants were allegedly operating as brothels under the protection of law-enforcement agencies. Sadygov told media following the Baku court's verdict that he thinks the case was retaliation for Faramazoglu's reporting. Sadygov said Faramazoglu will appeal the verdict.

In 2006 Faramazoglu, then chief editor of the Baku-based opposition weekly 24 Saat, was found guilty of libel and sentenced to a one-year suspended prison term, which was considered by media freedom organisations as a retaliation for his articles on alleged corruption in Azerbaijani law enforcement.
Updates
18 Mar 2019
On 17 March 2019, journalist Fikret Faramazoglu was released, following presidential pardon.
26 Sep 2018
On 26 September 2018, the Supreme Court considered Faramazoglu’s cassation appeal and partially mitigated the sentence by reducing it from 7 to 6 years.
28 Sep 2017
On 18 September 2017, the Baku Appeals Court upheld the verdict.
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13 Feb 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 May 2017 Turkey

Judicial Harassment Against Opposition Journalists in Turkey

3 Journalists in detention
Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ
New media reports stress the critical situation of the young (27 year old) female Turkish journalist and law student Ayşenur Parıldak, arrested over 9 months ago, and released by court order on 2 May 2017 and immediately re-arrested on the same day on new charges related to the same facts (being a correspondent for the Zaman newspaper). Similarly in mid-April 2017, 12 journalists (Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Yakup Çetin, Bünyamin Köseli, Cihan Acar, Abdullah Kılıç, Oğuz Usluer, Atilla Taş, Hüseyin Aydın, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan, Seyit Kılıç and Yetkin Yıldız) who were arrested on 30 August 2016 for being members of an illegal terrorist organisation were released by a court in Istanbul and immediately re-arrested on charges of “trying to topple the constitutional order and the Turkish government” based on the same facts. In April 2017, in the city of Nusaybin, the female journalist Meltem Oktay, who is working for DIHA news agency was detained for reporting under the state of emergency, was released by a court decision in Mardin and re-arrested immediately on charges of “doing propaganda” by another court in Edirne, Also in the same month in the city of Antalya, 5 detained journalists (out of 8) were released by a court and then re-arrested immediately by another court decision on other charges based on the same facts.
In some of these cases, even those judges ordering the release of journalists were prosecuted and suspended for taking these decisions, which raises questions about access to a fair trial for detained journalists.
Updates
13 Feb 2019
Atilla Taş was released on probation on 8 February 2019.
25 Oct 2018
On 22 October 2018, the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice upheld Atilla Taş's sentence. Accordingly, on 9 November, he was imprisoned to serve the remainder of that sentence.
25 Oct 2017
Atilla Taş was released from pretrial detention by an İstanbul court on 24 October 2017. According to the decision of the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court, Taş 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.
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
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (3):

Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Meltem Oktay, Oğuz Usluer.
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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”.

1 October 2015